What's next for the Warriors?

With three starters under 25 years old, Golden State has a bright future

Updated: May 17, 2013, 4:19 PM ET
By Bradford Doolittle | ESPN Insider

Stephen Curry Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty ImagesGuard Stephen Curry helped the Warriors end a five-year postseason drought.

There really is no Cinderella in the NBA, or if there is, the second round is when it's pumpkin time. Ultimately, the Golden State Warriors proved no different from other teams that pulled off first-round shockers.

The Warriors might have won 47 games and ended a five-year postseason drought. They might have escaped the first round for just the second time in 22 years with an upset of the Denver Nuggets. They might even have put a legitimate scare into the powerful San Antonio Spurs, coming within a Game 1 collapse of winning three of the first four games of the series. But Golden State was a team with a point differential typically worth about 43-44 wins, and no such NBA squad has advanced to the conference finals in a non-strike season since the 1986-87 Seattle SuperSonics.

Although the Warriors' season might not have been a fairy tale, it doesn't mean this story has an unhappy ending. Golden State hasn't been this well positioned since the early days of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. Only the Rockets outperformed their preseason forecast by more than Golden State, and with three starters 25 years old or younger, and two more still in their prime, there is every reason to believe that even better days lie ahead for the Warriors.