The Three Players with the Most to Prove Next Season


The 2023-2024 season is essentially 2 months away, and that also means the return of All Things Warriors. From the ATW team, we thank y'all for the neverending support and patience! Now, let's dive into the subject at hand: who are the three Warriors players with the most at stake for the 2023-2024 NBA season, as the Warriors try to reach the mountaintop of the NBA once again?

3. Klay Thompson

It feels wrong putting Warriors O.G Klay Thompson on this list, but at the end of the day, it's needed. Thompson has had an up-and-down 2022-2023 season, experiencing the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, particularly during the Warriors' playoff run to the conference semifinals. Now, Thompson enters his final year of the contract, with reports saying there's no real traction gaining between Thompson and the front office on a contract extension. Given the financial constraints placed upon the league by the new collective bargaining agreement, the Warriors may be more cautious regarding the contracts it hands out to its players. Though Klay is most certainly looking for a paycut from his 43 million dollar salary, his play in the upcoming season will be directly correlated with how much money he'll earn in his next contract. His age will certainly play a factor in the contract he receives in the future, but overall, his age is simply a question. He's obviously still a top-3 shooter in the league, but is he still versatile and good enough to be a 2nd option on a championship contender? If he'll never get back the lateral quickness needed to keep in front of speedy guards, is he still the best backcourt partner for Curry? These are some uncomfortable questions facing the franchise, and Thompson must do what he can to answer them this season, despite Warriors fans presumably being extra hard on Thompson given his play in the 2023 playoffs. 

2. Jonathan Kuminga

Kuminga and Moody are the last players remaining on the Warriors from the "two-timeline" approach era. Poole, Wiseman, Baldwin, and Rollins have been traded for more experienced, veteran players, leaving more pressure on Kuminga. Moody's pressure is seemingly less than that of Kuminga's, simply because Moody's ceiling isn't as high, and the team knows what Moody will provide: length, 3-D, and hustle. As for Kuminga, it remains a question what he may provide. On some days, his defense and rim-running abilities are impeccable, while his jumper seems to be smooth. On other nights, Kuminga seems out-of-touch with the game, unfocused and unmotivated, leading to minimal minutes being played. Kuminga is going to enter his third year, a year where most players take a huge leap, and the fact that the Warriors didn't trade Kuminga, despite heavy interest around the league, shows that the organization still has immense faith in JK. As players and analysts have said, the arrival of Chris Paul should unlock JK's game as a PNR partner, and quite frankly, there are no more excuses for inconsistencies. All JK has to do is focus on mastering three things: defense, rebounding, and attacking the rim. As long as JK can target those areas of the game and excel, he should be a 20+ minute player, even in the playoffs. Kuminga serves as the Warrior's last hope for a future star as the team seeks to maximize the final years of Steph's prime, and third-year developments are critical. 

1. Chris Paul

Though Chris Paul is only in the last year of his contract, he is seemingly the one player on the Warriors who will be under the most attention and scrutiny. His past reputation certainly doesn't help him, but most importantly, he's the one major player that the Warriors acquired this offseason, being the blockbuster move of the Warriors. And, the compensation that the Warriors gave up to acquire Paul is controversial in the eyes of many. Poole, a young, promising offensive threat who, just 2 years ago, was instrumental in the Warriors' title run, was traded for a 38-year-old Paul, all to maximize Steph Curry's prime. By trading Poole, the Warriors are saying this: they believe Paul is the piece that can get the Warriors over the hump. However, with most fans already questioning the move, if Paul can't at least be serviceable, stay healthy. and help the Warriors make a deep playoff push, then fans and media alike will be ruthless towards Paul. However, there is hope that the Paul experiment could work out. Paul's workload will be significantly reduced, and with that, he's less likely to become injured. Also, despite posting career lows in scoring, he hasn't lost what the Warriors value most: a high basketball IQ and passing expertise. Whether it's handling the second unit and providing stability there, which the Warriors seemingly haven't done even in the championship run, or playing with the first team alongside the Splash Brothers, Paul's passing abilities will be of need.

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