Draymond Green said the Golden State Warriors are "nowhere near a championship team", though the three-time NBA title winner believes they have the pieces to potentially develop into a contender.
The Warriors have failed to qualify for the playoffs in each of the past two years as they prepare to open their 2021-22 campaign against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Tuesday.
It comes after the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals prior to Kevin Durant's departure, having won championships in 2015, 2017 and 2018 before Klay Thompson's serious injuries.
Thompson is stepping up his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and Achilles injury, while former number two pick James Wiseman is recovering from a knee problem, though the Warriors still boast two-time MVP Stephen Curry.
"I think this team could be very good," three-time Warriors All-Star Green said of Golden State. "But I think this team has to grow.
"We have to put it all together. Is there aspirations to winning a championship? Absolutely. But this team is nowhere near a championship team.
"I think we have a lot of pieces that could grow to be that, I don't doubt that at all, but we also can't get fooled by 5-0 in the preseason and say, 'Oh man, we're a championship team.' We've got a long f****** ways to go."
Dressed for success. pic.twitter.com/H4qVXOu6Yz— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 20, 2021
Golden State averaged 27.7 assists per game last season, leading the league for the sixth time in seven seasons, according to Stats Perform. The Warriors tied the Brooklyn Nets for the most games with at least 30-plus assists, going 24-3 (88.9) in those games.
Green added: "You don't just win a championship because you think the pieces fit. You don't just win a championship because you think you got good talent. You got to make that s*** work.
"And so do I think we have a good chance to be a really good team? Absolutely. But to say we can win a championship, we're so far away from that as is just about every other team in this league except maybe the Milwaukee Bucks because they're coming off that.
"Everybody else has a long ways to go and we're right there in that group that's going to be trying to create separation to be one of those teams that can contend in June."
Curry will play his 763rd game on Tuesday, with the three-time NBA champion on pace to be the second-quickest player in the last three decades to hit 5,000 assists (currently 4,984) and 18,000 points (currently 18,434), behind only Lakers superstar LeBron James (726 games).