The Golden State Warriors are living the life of an apex predator.
They can survey their domain secure in the knowledge that there are no real threats either looming over their shoulder or on the horizon. With Kevin Durant in the fold, this team is untouchable — and it's only going to get better.
Yet good things come to a screeching halt far too often in the NBA. Today's superteam can transform into tomorrow's cautionary tale in the blink of an eye, and the Warriors are by no means immune.
Here are five ways Golden State's run at a dynasty could fail sooner than you think.
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A catastrophic injury to one of their two vulnerable superstars
Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry form one of the most devastating one-two punches in NBA history, but both have significant injury histories we tend to gloss over.
To be fair, the Warriors have a top-notch training staff supported by advanced applications of sports science and the latest in biometrics. They went out of their way to protect Curry after he battled ankle injuries early in his career. They'll apply that same care to Durant's surgically repaired knee.
Having so many superstars on the same team provides Golden State a bit of wiggle room if one or the other goes down. That redundancy, combined with Curry's injury in the 2016 postseason, is a big reason the Warriors wanted KD (that, plus the fact he's one of the best players in the world, of course).
A fluke injury is the one omnipresent specter that haunts any potential dynasty, particularly one built on the backs of two stars with long-term injury concerns.
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A coaching brain drain limits the Warriors' ceiling
The Warriors lost assistant Alvin Gentry to the New Orleans Pelicans and Luke Walton to the Los Angeles Lakers over the past two seasons, and the difference was absolutely noteworthy. The combined weight of those absences put a fair amount of strain on Steve Kerr's offense, at least until Kevin Durant came around to patch up the cracks in the foundation.
Defensive assistant Ron Adams likely isn't going anywhere soon, but lead assistant Mike Brown could very well get another chance as a head coach of his own team in the near future. As Golden State continues to hemorrhage coaching talent, finding new ways to deploy the Warriors' superstars will become increasingly difficult.
That might not seem like a huge problem for a team with four All-Stars, unless you believe the rest of the NBA is going into the laboratory this summer to find ways to slow Golden State's offense, like the Spurs did in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. The Warriors' coaching staff is a big part of why this team is on the verge of a dynasty.
If they can't find top assistants to fill the void, or if Kerr's health becomes an issue once more, Golden State could have issues proving its supremacy year in and year out. The Warriors would still be a championship contender, but a dynasty might not be in the cards.
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Draymond Green decides to prove how good he really is
Green is not your typical superstar. He doesn't score 20 points a game, he's not going to lead the league in blocks, and he doesn't look like the type of player who can change the course of a championship chase.
He's just the ultimate team player — one of the smartest guys in the NBA and seemingly content with playing his part in Golden State.
It's only human nature to wonder if there's more out there, though, especially with all the whispers about whether Green would succeed as the No. 1 option on his own team.
Green could decide the summer of 2020 is the perfect time to strike out on his own and test his mettle as he becomes a free agent. Then again, if the Warriors are coming off of their fourth straight championship and making a case as the greatest dynasty in modern history, Green probably won't be going anywhere.
The rest of the NBA comes together to challenge the Warriors
"If you can't beat them, join them," doesn't necessarily apply to this period of NBA history. Instead, that idiom should go, "If you can't beat them, join together."
The Warriors' superteam was a reaction to LeBron's success in Cleveland, which grew out of his squad in Miami, which follows in a long tradition of NBA superteams — so really, a few superstars deciding to come together to try to take down the Warriors would be a fitting next step in this overarching narrative.
With all of Golden State's firepower, though, such an allegiance would require a concerted effort by some of the NBA's best players. They'd need to take far less than their max deals to bring four (or five?) All-Stars together in somewhere like San Antonio or Los Angeles, then hope they develop the required chemistry quickly enough to go toe-to-toe with the Warriors as soon as possible.
At that point, we'd have two All-NBA squads vying for the championship every season, which might downgrade the Warriors from "dynasty" to "NBA Cold War superpower."
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Internal sabotage strikes in one of its many ugly forms
In all honesty, there's not a single external threat to the Warriors' dynasty outside of injury. Things are good in Oakland, and they'll remain good for a very long time ... unless Golden State gets in its own way.
That sabotage could rear its head in one of three ways. First, there's Pat Riley's "Disease of More," that dreaded malaise that comes over a champion as players experience more and more success. Certain guys become content with their title hunger satiated, while others decide they no longer need to sacrifice for the greater good.
Second, ownership might prove a problem if the luxury tax bill climbs too high. Will Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber balk when they have to spend $300 million in a season to compete for their fifth championship in six years? The Warriors would have a dynasty at that point, but would that be the end of the gravy train?
Finally, and related to the second point, Golden State could ruin its own success by trying to prolong its window of title contention. A hypothetical Klay Thompson trade in 2019 might make sense on paper if you can get back the right assets — until you have to replace Thompson's actual production with those theoretical players.
Yet self-sabotage is probably the best bet for a Warriors collapse in the near future. Otherwise, this is Golden State's world, and everyone else is playing for second place.