Why We Should Not Count Out the Golden State Warriors Just Yet
The Golden State Warriors concluded the 2021-22 campaign with their fourth title in eight years. And although they’ve been often referred to as a modern-day dynasty, the defending champs have not looked the part this season.
It is said that “defense wins championships.” But the Dubs are not what anyone would refer to as a good defensive squad.
They are giving up a whopping 117.5 points per contest, which is the seventh-worse mark in the association. And they are ranked 15th in defensive efficiency, allowing 114.2 points per 100 possessions. To put this in its proper perspective, the Warriors finished 3rd and 1st, respectively in these categories last season.
When the Warriors are at home, they are tough to beat. This sentiment is supported by the fact that they are 26-7 at the Chase Center. But away from their home court, this team is an absolute train wreck, having posted only seven wins in 30 road contests.
And if those numbers aren’t bad enough, Stephen Curry has been on the shelf with an injury since Feb. 4 with torn ligaments in his leg. Given the fact he is the team’s best player, this recent development could have eradicated any postseason hopes. But in a strange twist, Golden State has been playing some good basketball as of late.
Since the team’s 119-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 4, Golden State has posted seven wins in their last 12 outings. This includes a streak of five consecutive wins against the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, LA Clippers, and the New Orleans Pelicans. They fell to the Lakers, 113-105 last night.
Not only has Golden State posted wins in each of their last five games, but they’ve also had to overcome double-digit deficits in four of those games. With Curry out of the rotation, the Warriors have moved from the No. 8 spot to the fifth spot in a crowded and competitive western conference. It is also worth noting that Andrew Wiggins has been out of the mix as well.
The fact that any team can play above .500 with its star player nursing an injury is quite impressive,. Sure, the Warriors don’t have a huge margin for error. This is especially true considering that only two games separate them from the Pelicans, who are currently at the No. 9 spot in the conference playoff race.
On the other side of the narrative, Curry made his return against the Lakers last night. And the team is hoping that Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II will be able to suit up at some point as well.
Should that happen, this team can be as dangerous as any team in the league when everyone is healthy.
So even though the defending champs currently have the fifth-best title odds (+1000) behind the Celtics (+280), Suns (+400), Bucks (+475), and Nuggets (+750), those odds could improve down the stretch, should they continue to play well.
If Golden State clinches another postseason berth, they won’t be an easy out for any team they face in a playoff series.