Golden season without the Gold

There's no question about it, everyone (save for Cavaliers fans and the Cavs themselves) pegged the Golden State Warriors to repeat as NBA Champions this year. After the record-setting 73-9 regular season, there was little doubt: the Golden State Warriors would be hoisting the gold -- except they didn't. When all was said and done, they blew a 3-1 series lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and blew the chance to win Game 7 in front of their home crowd with everything on the line. There are no two ways about it, Cleveland outplayed the Warriors. Keeping all of this in mind, how does one go 73-9 in the regular season, reach the NBA Finals, and then go back to the drawing board looking for ways to improve upon that?

Well, this is exactly where the Golden State Warriors currently find themselves. But, ultimately, the larger question is whether the team should stick to the formula that has served them well over the course of the last two years, or, do they try something new and tweak the chemistry they have already built?

A need to panic...or not?

Realistically, one can look at what the Warriors have done and easily say that they could go into next season doing more of the same and hoping for a different result, and they wouldn't be wrong in that. Yes, they failed to win it all when it was all on the line, but their foundation is still solid. Steph Curry was dealing with an injury that he didn't fully recover from, and, when it comes right down to it, they missed shots that they'd normally make.

Still, as silly as it sounds even typing this, there's always room to improve. There have been rumors floating around that they may try to go after Dirk Nowitzki. This certainly cannot be dismissed outright, however, it seems like it would take an act of God to remove Dirk from a Mavs uniform. He just seems like one of a dying breed of players that will stay with one franchise through thick and thin for the duration of their career.

Of course, there's always a chance that he just might take a pay-cut to pursue another championship, but still, it seems highly unlikely.

Of course, there is still the most coveted free agent prize in Kevin Durant. A few months ago it would have been seen as a no-brainer that Kevin Durant would want to explore his options and possibly play elsewhere while still in his prime, but, after the latest Playoff run that the Thunder had, that may no longer be a safe bet.

The fact remains that the Thunder were one victory away from heading back to the NBA Finals, and, in a lot of ways, that can be looked at as a success. He may choose to give it another go with the Thunder, he may not, but, with the deep Playoff run they were able to pull off, he may want to take another whack at it with Russell Westbrook as his wingman.

There's no way to ease the sting for the Warriors and DubNation after essentially blowing a championship run that they had well in hand. However, before ultimately doing anything drastic, maybe the simplest course of action lies in following the one that they are already on, and realizing that while they did let one get away from them, they are still very much in the running, and are likely to find themselves right back in the mix without needing to mix anything up.

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