Having breakout teams in the postseason is not a rarity, but many times teams that break out fade back to reality during their next season, and the Golden State Warriors must avoid that fall. The Warriors, though, could fall back to the norm of the NBA and struggle to make the leap.
Here are five potential obstacles that the Warriors must avoid:
You can’t predict when they happen. But when injuries occur, they are often deadly for a team.
Andrew Bogut is as fragile as a thousand-year-old Greek statue, and as one of, if not the most injury prone player in the NBA, he cannot be depended on to play a full 82-game season.
David Lee is coming off a hip flexor injury. So is backup center Festus Ezeli, who is underwent surgery on his right knee earlier this offseason.
Superstar point guard Stephen Curry has shown that not only does he break the ankles of his opponents thanks to a killer crossover, but he is capable of breaking his own as well. In 2011-12, Curry played in only 26 games due to ankle injuries.
If Klay Thompson, Harrison Barne or Andre Iguodala get injured early in the season, then the Dubs could be in trouble.
2. Increased Level of Competition
Houston won the Dwight Howard contest. Chris Paul is still in Los Angeles. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook should carry Oklahoma City. San Antonio and Memphis are still forces to reckon with. And all that is just the West. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are in Brooklyn. Derrick Rose returns for the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks and Pacers should be quality teams, and of course, the back-to-back champion Miami Heat will be good again next season.
Add all this together and the NBA has a ton of quality opponents. What that means for the Warriors is that they could be on the losing end of a ton of quality losses.
3. Lack of Depth
Both Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry departed via free agency to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings, respectively. There replacements are Toney Douglas and a combination of Marreese Speights and Jermaine O’Neal. That is a blatant step down in terms of possible production.
This past postseason, one of the key factors in why the Indiana Pacers lost to the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals is because of the Pacers’ lack of bench production. For the Dubs to be successful, they will need 12 to 18 quality minutes per night from their bench.
4. Lack of Experience
For a team poised to be an NBA title contender next season, the Warriors lack tons of experience compared to the other elite squads. Keep in mind that the Warriors were the six seed in the Western Conference last season. They were 47-35, two games better than the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. They were mediocre on the road, and their 9-7 division record is nothing special.
After a hot start, the Warriors cooled off, losing four and six games consecutively at different points in the season, all before a strong finish.
5. Stephen Curry Let-Down Year
Next year is make-or-break for Stephen Curry. He is coming off his career year where he averaged 22.9 points, 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Curry, though, emerged as an elite point guard during the postseason and as a result, could now be guarded differently next season. He will be on all NBA teams’ radar next season and will be the focus of all opposing game plans.
Curry could be an legitimate MVP candidate next season, but he could also fall back to players like Jrue Holiday, Ricky Rubio, and Damiam Lillard. Curry is one of the best off-the-dribble shooters in the NBA but if opposing teams take away his jumper than his offense arsenal would have to adjust if Curry wants to be successful.