We learned many things about the Golden State Warriors in their 116-112 loss to the Houston Rockets last night, one of which is that they’re just not an elite team in the Western Conference this year and will be in trouble once the playoffs arrive.
It’s still pretty conceivable to see the Warriors making the playoffs as they’re currently 13-11 and on the outside looking in at ninth place in the Western Conference standings. However, it will be hard to see them making it any higher than the seventh seed if things continue the way they’re going with the season being already a quarter over. Teams have already begun to solidify themselves as contenders while the Warriors are still trying to figure themselves out and see if they can somehow rejoin the discussion of contending for a championship.
At this point, it will be very hard for them to regain their preseason hopes of winning a championship because so far they have a 2-7 record against playoff teams in the Western Conference and have dropped bone headed losses to non-playoff teams, such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzles.
It’s easy to blame their struggles on a tough early schedule and the loss of Andre Iguodala to injury, but these are things that every team in the NBA must deal with if they want to make a run in the playoffs. The Warriors’ issues deal more with their greatest team weakness in having a lack of depth of big men in the paint as the only true threat they have is David Lee who is playing very well this season. However, they cannot win the battle down low night-in and night-out just solely on the back of Lee and should look to call in reinforcements that can help them become an elite team again.
This is why the Warriors should seriously look at trading for Zach Randolph, as the Memphis Grizzles are looking to deal him in order to relieve cap space. The trade would be very beneficial to both teams as the Warriors have many attractive pieces to move that could spark the Grizzles’ interests. The Warriors could potentially relieve their guard-heavy backcourt by packaging Harrison Barnes with another player for Randolph since the small forward position will have a lot of depth as Iguodala is getting closer and closer to returning back to the line up. Additionally, Randolph would add physicality and a defensive presence in the paint that they;re desperately missing as teams continue to exploit that weakness in games.
Think about seeing a starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Zach Randolph on the floor. They would make the Warriors a team to reckon with as this line up solidifies a balanced attack on offense and defense that would give teams in the Western Conference all types of headaches in the playoffs. They would become an elite team and reignite their chances of contending for a championship by making tons of noise come June if they would be able to pull off this trade.
It will be interesting to see if the front office would pull this move off or any type of trade because right now, they’re just not an elite team and Warriors’ fans shouldn’t get their hopes up right now. They’ll play another playoff team tomorrow night in the Phoenix Suns so it will be an opportunity to gauge where they stand in the discussion of elite teams yet again so all we can do is just wait to see what happens in the coming weeks.