Warriors players have been adamant this offseason that, despite a summer defined by offseason departures and Klay Thompson's extended injury absence, Golden State's streak of five straight trips to the NBA Finals is far from over.
The rest of the NBA world seems to think differently. In ESPN's 2019 NBArank, a collective rating of the league's top 100 players, both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green fell quite a few spots from 2018's list.
It's #NBARank season 🏀
Our experts predict Zion will be a top-50 player in 2019-20. https://t.co/rpcto1OlTn pic.twitter.com/aq29XTA4xK— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 24, 2019
We've already been through this with the Sports Illustrated Top 100, as Thompson is difficult to evaluate due to no one having any idea when Klay intends to return to the court. His father has said late next season, while one medical expert suggested Thompson should take two years off to fully recover from the injury.
However, if Thompson returns to form, calling this list laughable is an understatement when John Collins, Aaron Gordon, and Zion Williamson (the guy hasn't even played a preseason NBA game, let alone a regular-season game) are all ranked ahead of Klay.
Green also fell 22 spots to No. 38, which is very curious considering the former Defensive Player of the Year isn't dealing with any kind of injury or major regression statistically.
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While Green's numbers play definitely takes a step up in the postseason, he still was a member of the NBA All-Defensive second-team and finished in the top 20 among all players in total assists.
This is all just media fodder until the NBA season gets going in late October, but if I were any of the other 29 NBA teams, I wouldn't be interested in giving anybody on the Warriors any more bulletin-board material.
I'm glad we have ESPN's "expert panel" to weigh in, though.