While the Western Conference has generally been deeper than the Eastern Conference over the past decade, this year the quality gap between the conferences seems especially wide. Even playing twice as much against more difficult opponents, the West has a dozen teams looking competitive for a playoff spot, while in the East, staying at .500 may get you a fifth or sixth seed.
This may create a difficult situation for the Golden State Warriors. While the Warriors have fielded one of their better rosters in recent history, their depth has been tested early. With injuries to Andre Iguodala, Toney Douglas, Jermaine O’ Neal, Festus Ezeli, Harrison Barnes, and even Stephen Curry, the Warriors have spent the season plugging gaps. This has kept them from exploding out of the gate as many would have predicted.
With a deep and competitive conference we may see another 2007-2008, where a 48 win team is left home watching the playoffs in the West. This puts a lot of pressure on the Warriors. They may exceed the level of play of last year, but the competition for the 5-8 seeds is stiff. In order to be one of these teams or hopefully better, the Warriors will have to scrap, grind, and find a way to make a playoffs and go to the next level.