In June 2022, the Golden State Warriors took back the NBA throne by defeating the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Point guard Steph Curry finally quelled the notion that he couldn’t step up in the big moments and won his very first Finals MVP.
The Warriors were not expected to be there. Their previous season saw them lose in the Play-In Tournament, just two seasons removed from Kevin Durant’s departure. Questions began circling the Warriors, including those deliberating whether it was the end of Golden State’s dominant dynasty.
But those questions were answered with a stern “No” after their unexpected championship run.
Today, in March 2023, the reigning champs are back to being the subject of many questions. They’ve had a disappointing regular season in which they’d struggled mightily on the road and their young, unproven bench has failed to produce. Yet, some say the Warriors should still be feared.
Golden State has been hovering around .500 all season. They currently have a record of 7 wins and 24 losses on the road, which is comparable to the bottom-feeding Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets.
The bench has been a big reason for their struggles on the road. While Jordan Poole can put on a show, he does so without consistency, and Anthony Lamb and Jonathan Kaminga have failed to provide quality minutes on a night-to-night basis.
On top of that, Golden State has dealt with their fair share of injuries. Steph Curry recently missed several weeks due to a partial tear in his superior tibiofibular ligaments and a contusion in his left lower leg. He returned on Sunday and logged 27 points on 40% shooting from the field and 38.5% from three-point range, but the Warriors fell to the Lakers despite LA’s own injury bug recently hitting LeBron james.
Still in Contention?
Despite all of the cards stacked against Golden State this season, many analysts still believe they are a legitimate threat to win the NBA title. For most of the year, this take looked rather foolish. However, the Warriors have played much better ball recently. Though they lost to LA on Sunday, they’ve propelled themselves into a desirable position in the western conference standings in recent weeks, including an impressive win against the Clippers.
Currently at the 5 seed in the west, the Warriors would match up with the Phoenix Suns if the playoffs were to begin today. Though I don’t expect them to win that series, if Golden State can keep winning and perhaps secure a top-4 seed, they would be gifted home court advantage in the first round. This would be their best shot at proving the analysts correct and going all the way to the Finals, as they have a home record of 27 wins and 7 losses this season, among the best in the NBA.
So, can the Warriors win the NBA title? If I had to say… no. I don’t believe they can get past the loaded Phoenix Suns or the deeper, healthier Denver Nuggets. But we’ve seen stranger things, and Golden State still has Steph Curry. As long as he’s there, it’d be foolish to dismiss them.
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