During the 2015-16 season, Steph Curry won the scoring title -- and became a unanimous MVP -- when he averaged 30.1 points per game.
Kevin Durant then joined the Warriors the following summer and Curry's scoring output dipped to 25.3 points in 2016-17, 26.4 in 2017-18 and 27.3 points a night last season.
KD is no longer Curry's teammate, and Klay Thompson is expected to be out until at least mid-February as he recovers from a left ACL tear. So should we expect the six-time All-Star to lead the league in scoring for the second time in his career?
On the most recent episode of "The Lowe Post" podcast, ESPN's Zach Lowe reminded everybody of the following:
-In 2017-18, when Steph Curry was on the court with Draymond Green -- and KD and Klay were on the bench -- he averaged 45 points per 36 minutes.
-In 2018-19, when Steph Curry was on the court with Draymond Green -- and KD and Klay were on the bench -- he averaged 43 points per 36 minutes.
"I think he's gonna win the scoring title," Lowe declared. "Forget the MVP, I think Curry's gonna win the scoring title."
ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz then said that as long as Curry appears in 66 games, he will capture the MVP and scoring title.
While it is entirely possible that the 31-year-old puts up massive numbers this season, his shooting percentages might dip in the process. During Curry's historic unanimous MVP season, he shot 50.4 percent overall and 45.4 percent from beyond the arc.
It will be extremely difficult for him to match that type of efficiency without his fellow splash brother on the floor. Teams will be able to send more traps and doubles and force other guys to beat them.
New addition D'Angelo Russell should be able to make the defense pay, but he might not share the floor with Curry for long stretches. Coach Steve Kerr most likely will stagger the guards to ensure one of them is on the court at all times.
Likewise, we know that Kerr traditionally has kept Curry and Draymond on the court together for as many minutes as possible. But with the roster turnover and lack of depth, he might not have that luxury this year.
During the regular season, players aren't laser-focused each and every possession like they are in the playoffs. Defenses aren't as sophisticated and teams don't scheme as intensely. But you should expect to see some "gimmicky" stuff thrown Curry's way (more box-and-one?) to keep him guessing.
Ultimately, Curry's good enough to overcome the challenges that lie ahead and it wouldn't be wise to bet against him.
Furthermore, Lowe offered his thoughts on the Warriors as a whole:
"I think they are going to make the playoffs. Let me just say that. When I list my eight playoff teams -- which I will do -- they are going to be on it. I just get nervous when teams, no matter how good their top-end talent is, have to play a lot of bad NBA players.
"It's bad. Here's their starting lineup: Curry, Russell -- I don't worry about the redundancies on offense at all; I think Russell will have a really good year there; if you can shoot and you're playing with Curry and Draymond Green, you're gonna have a good year.
"Draymond, (Kevon) Looney presumably at center. I am of the school of thought that Looney's maybe a little overrated -- he's got the Warriors' pixie dust sprinked on him -- who's the fifth guy?! It's like Alfonzo McKinnie, or Damion Lee is gonna get a look maybe, or Alec Burks or Glenn Robinson III. Those are starters.
"That means all those other guys are coming off the bench. That's scary. That's scary to me."
If those role players aren't able to make open shots and keep the defense honest, Curry is going to have even less room to operate and work his magic.
As for Lowe's final thoughts:
"These guys have been to five Finals in a row and are coming off three years in which they could just loaf every single regular season game. They can't (do that now). They have to play every game.
"Are they ready to do that? Are they mentally ready to do that? Are they physically ready to do that? I believe that they probably are because I respect those guys so much.
"But I am less convinced that they are a stonecold lock for the playoffs than most people."
The margin for error is pretty thin, and these are fair comments, questions and concerns. The fun part is that we will get the answers soon ...