Curry leading the charge as Warriors strive for success.
Despite their ten-game winning streak coming to an end in Brooklyn on Wednesday night, the Golden State Warriors are starting to show what they’re capable of this season.
While the loss on Wednesday saw them slip to sixth place in the Western Conference, they remain in the hunt for a top four finish and will ultimately be one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the post-season given the talent on the roster.
Fanatix NBA experts Sumeet Paul and Scott Hazlewood discuss whether or not this Warriors team can be considered the real deal this year.
Scott Hazlewood: The Warriors have really come on in leaps and bounds this year and it’s little wonder given how they have managed to acquire talent and draft in some vital pieces, and another sign of how people are starting to view them came a while ago when Andre Iguodala chose to sign on.
However, they are not the team that jumped up and surprised teams last year in the playoffs, the best teams have a target on their back every night because they are so heavily scouted and that is the biggest question left to be answered, can the Warriors handle the pressure, because they have the talent on paper.
Sumeet Paul: For me, I think they’re too unpredictable still. They are undoubtedly one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the NBA given the likes of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can shoot ‘lights out’ basketball from beyond the arc at any given time.
However, even though they have added defensive solidity and improved overall with Iguodala, they need to consistently show an ability to win games when they’re not executing on offense. Their recent 6-1 road trip will help with that, and if they can continue to mature between now and the end of the regular season then who knows what they could achieve if they’re on their game in the playoffs.
There is one area of potential weakness though, is there enough depth inside to help Andrew Bogut?
SH: To be honest no I don’t think they have enough depth in their front court. Bogut is finally showing why he was picked number one, and when healthy he can be a solid 14-10 kind of player for you. David Lee is the other workman down low and is skilful for a big guy but beyond that, the names in the rest of the squad won’t scare any sides that play ‘big ball’ in the playoffs.
Jermaine O’Neal is well past his best, Marreese Speights is back-up at best, and Ognjen Kuzmic and Dewayne Dedmon average less than a minute each so that tells you about their likely impact for the rest of the year.
SP: Although unlikely in the next few weeks, that in turn then brings up what they could do in terms of trade deals. Harrison Barnes appears to now be a bench player, perhaps too talented for such a limited role, and could be used as a piece in a trade deal to acquire another solid center.
Nevertheless, Mark Jackson is developing the individual game of a number of his players to improve on the defensive end, as ultimately the Warriors can’t rely on scoring big every night to achieve their ambitions.
What do you see Golden State achieving this year, assuming they make the post-season?
SH: You make a good point with Barnes. On the open market he would attract a lot of attention as some teams seems to be grasping at straws as the losses start to pile up and the trade deadline gets closer.
Looking into my crystal ball, where will the Warriors finish up. San Antonio, Oklahoma and Portland (they are in the same boat as the Warriors, potential yet to be proven) are the runaway leaders for the top four seeds at this stage if all continues as it has through the first quarter of the season. If Golden State can become more consistent and improve on the defensive end, I can see them finishing as high as the fourth seed. That would put them in an interesting battle in the first round against the likes of maybe the Clippers and Houston, either of which would be fun to watch.
Really though this year, unless they lift a gear like they did in last year’s playoffs, I can’t see the Warriors making it past the second round of the playoffs, but they will be a team to watch out for in the West for the next three years at least.
SP: I agree, with the competition in the West I can see them coming unstuck before we get to the Conference Finals. However, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want them to make it further, as with their habit of entertaining combined with the atmosphere in the Oracle when it gets going, they would bring a lot of fun to the post-season with a deep run.
However, this season they may not have enough to go all the way despite further heroics from Curry et al, but they ultimately have the pieces in place to remain competitive for years to come.