Golden State Warriors losing their edge

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Back to Article

Golden State Warriors losing their edge

PHOTO BY NIKK-LA WARRIOR/FLICKR

PHOTO BY NIKK-LA WARRIOR/FLICKR

PHOTO BY NIKK-LA WARRIOR/FLICKR

By Edward Soper, SPORTS EDITOR

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Coming into the season, the Golden State Warriors knew that this season would be tougher than most. After an injury in last season’s NBA Finals, the team would be without their all-star shooting guard Klay Thompson until at least February. In an effort to remedy this situation, Golden State completed a sign-and-trade deal with the Brooklyn Nets that saw small forward Kevin Durant depart for the Big Apple, and point guard D’Angelo Russell head out west to the Bay Area.
With this addition, it seemed like the Warriors would remain competitive after all. However, this feeling was short-lived. In their fourth game of the season, the Golden State Warriors lost star point guard Stephen Curry to a broken hand in the third quarter of the team’s loss to the visiting Phoenix Suns on Oct. 30. Curry sustained the injury while attempting to drive to the rim against Suns’ center Aron Baynes, who inadvertently landed on Curry’s hand when both men were falling to the ground.
Curry underwent successful surgery on Nov. 1 and is expected to miss at least three months. To make matters worse, the remaining two stars on the roster, Russell and Draymond Green, both missed the team’s last game against the Charlotte Hornets at the Chase Center in San Francisco.
This loss drops Golden State’s record to an abysmal 2-5 in the season. It is worth noting that the only thing holding the Warriors out of the cellar in the West is their two wins, which came against last-place New Orleans Pelicans and the Portland Trailblazers.
These early-season woes for Golden State might actually benefit them in the future, however. The team can take this opportunity to allow Thompson to sit out the entire season and fully heal instead of rushing him back in February. Additionally, the team can look forward to a higher draft pick next summer and shore up their bench, which has been a major issue. In fact, the Warriors’ bench has been in the bottom half of the league in points per game every season since the 2014-2015 campaign.
This implies what we already know, Golden State relies far too heavily on their starting five. This was perhaps most evident during the 2015-2016 season when the team went all-in for their NBA all-time best record of 73-9. The Warriors may have reached the NBA Finals that season, but it was clear that they were burnt out. The team eventually lost in Game 7 by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This season, however, is a little different. Golden State looks far off their Western Conference champion’s pace a season ago. In all honesty, the Warriors don’t even look like a playoff team thus far. Assuming their current form hold through the rest of the season, we may see the Warriors drafting in the top five, something we haven’t seen since 2002 when the team drafted Mike Dunleavy third overall.