By Brian Gewecke
Graphic By Yiying Zhang
After the Warriors roster was plagued by injuries last season that left the team in a temporary drop to the bottom of the league, it was expected they would rise right back up to contenders that this year. However, the draft day announcement that Klay Thompson would sit out yet another season due to injury made it abundantly clear that the Warriors would have to wait another year to compete at full strength. There were hopes that with the return of Stephen Curry, the Warriors would still be a solid playoff team, but this season hasn’t quite lived up to expectations.
The Warriors spent most of the season just afloat, but their recent play has been a disaster. With Stephen Curry out with a tailbone injury, the Warriors lost almost every game, including one of the worst games in franchise history against the Raptors, losing by 53. Since he came back, he has been the hottest player in the league and the team has played much better. With one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league, the Dubs can look to salvage their season, but at this point that may not be the priority.
Personally, I believe that at this point in the season, the best approach for fans watching games is to simply go with the flow. Seeing as next year will be the do-or-die year for the team, the team should currently look to develop the youth and team chemistry, and if they slip into the play-in games, make the most of the opportunity. This mindset could be freeing, as it allows fans to root for the team without the disappointment of likely failures.
Looking at the season from an optimistic perspective, there are definitely some positives. The Warriors have had noticeably one of the best defenses in the league, even with stretches of games being forced to play without a center. If the Warriors can keep this defensive intensity going into next season, they should be a formidable two-way threat.
Another bright side has been the development of the Warriors’ youth. Although James Wiseman hasn’t looked like one of the top rookies in the league, he has shown some bright spots and can hopefully shake off the common rookie mistakes as next year begins. As his season-ending injury will slow his development, Wiseman may not be in ideal shape by the start of next season, but we can only hope. Jordan Poole had an unexpected breakout in a recent stretch of games. Though he has slowed down, Poole showed his potential as an efficient scorer from anywhere on the floor. Finally, Andrew Wiggins has finally become a winning player. He will never be the star he was once expected to be, but his incredible improvement in his defense and three-point shooting fix the main issues people previously had with him. Next season, if the Warriors want to be successful, each of these players will have to keep up their performances and probably improve even more.
The Warriors currently sit at ninth in the west, with a 29-29 record just outside the eighth seed. If the Warriors aren’t able to turn the season around, Golden State fans will have to wait until next year to be competitive again.