Golden State Warriors: Olympians Teasing Next Season


Team USA features three players for the Golden State Warriors providing excitement before the start of the 2016-17 NBA season.

Since making the choice to sign with the Warriors as a free agent, Kevin Durant was eager to get back on the court and play. An opportunity to be part of Team USA and to get to represent the United States in the Olympics in Rio is an honor not just for Durant, but for every member on team USA competing in their respected sport.

Durant gave Warriors’ fans an opportunity to watch him in an exhibition game against China for Team USA at Oracle Arena, where he was given a nice reception. As soon as the opening round began at the Olympics, Durant and the rest of the team got down to business. From USA’s 119-62 drubbing of China, Warriors’ fans got excited with Durant’s leading the team with 25 points. Expect more when he takes the court at Oracle Arena.

With the conclusion of group play Durant has been the most consistent player each game and has scored 84 points, including 17 in a game against France capped by an athletic play by Kyrie Irving, as he threw the ball while falling to the ground to Durant for the dunk. Coach Mike Krzyzewski expects Durant to continue his production as the team enters the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Team USA finished group play 5-0 but the last three games raised concerns defensively after two blowouts to start group play. Australia and Serbia kept the United States a little too close for comfort as they competed until the end. Give credit as the talent over the world has seen incredible young individuals compete with the best in the NBA. Basketball has grown in popularity over the years and the talent shows from the countries facing the United States.

Make no mistake, the international talent team USA has faced from Australia, Serbia, and France shows the gap has narrowed since the Olympics featuring the Dream Team. Coach Krzyzewski must be concerned as too many mental mistakes defensively lead to close finishes. Players on USA did not have the killer instinct to put the game away. The team is aware and can no longer afford to continue playing poor defense at the end of games moving forward.

While Durant has provided Warriors’ fans with what to expect from his play, his future teammates are having some hard luck.

Warriors forward Klay Thompson’s play has been missing the splash seen in the blue and gold when he is lighting the rim from deep along with his team mate Stephen Curry. Thompson has been struggling only scoring 12 points the first four games. Despite struggling from the arc, it was only a matter of time before he would find his rhythm.

In USA’s close 100-97 win over France, Thompson found the groove to which Warriors’ fans have grown accustomed, dropping 30 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He may not need to score 30 the rest of the way, but hopefully for Thompson, his shooting touch will remain.

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An athlete with great shooting capability, Thompson said even with Durant coming aboard he doesn’t have to sacrifice his game. He is right about not having to. Curry may get the attention for his unbelievable ball handling skills and ridiculous shot, leaving players and fans in disbelief but Thompson has played a tremendous role in the Warriors success. For a player dropping 37 points in a quarter, a NBA record, Thompson will take his shots when he catches fire.

Draymond Green has been quiet, only scoring 11 points in five games. Defensively he has not been effective as he was with the Warriors, but is making the plays when necessary. With a roster loaded with talent in Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler, and Paul George, Green needs to focus on being down in the paint collecting rebounds and dishing out passes.

Overall the Warriors’ three on Team USA have been productive. Thompson has been working on building chemistry with Durant and the two will need to work with Curry come training camp to find the perfect balance. Green is staying out of the spotlight after his recent off the court actions have been dealt with. He can now focus on improving his game and fine tune the corrections when training camp opens for the Warriors.

For now, this is only a small sample for NBA fans as the season approaches. Sure, the Warriors may appear to be a superstar team, but don’t forget about the Chicago Bulls or New York Knicks who made moves and could challenge for the role. Until the season gets started, placing labels just doesn’t make sense.

Next: Golden State Warriors: It's Not About Sacrificing, It's About Winning

There is plenty of intrigue and excitement surrounding the Warriors this season. Durant, Thompson, and Green are doing a great job representing USA in basketball and will hope to bring gold medals back to the Bay Area from Rio, where business remains. The loss in the Finals still stings for Thompson, Green, and the rest of the Warriors, and having Durant now in the fold will quite possibly bring a better ending.