Sitting on the wrong side of the playoff bubble seems unreal for the Golden State Warriors as their merry-go-round season continues to rise up and down.
The Warriors are currently 15-13 and sitting ninth place in the Western Conference as they head into their road game against the Denver Nuggets tonight. Their current record is nowhere close to what the Warriors were anticipating when they began the 2013-14 campaign with high hopes of making a deep playoff run and possible NBA Finals birth.
Last year’s success inspired immense expectations where the Warriors were beginning to earn respect around the league as a team to be reckoned with for the future.
Last year was a season where they produced their first All-Star in over a decade with David Lee making the roster as a reserve. The Bay Area witnessed the emergences of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in becoming all-star caliber players, which gave the fan base an excitement that has been absent since the days of Run TMC. The roster had even improved with the big free agency signing of Andre Iguodala in the offseason by solidifying their small forward position and strengthening the perimeter defense.
The Warriors’ cards were all falling the right way and it appeared they had loaded up an arsenal that would be powerful enough to take down the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder in the wild west.
However, the expectations are beginning to crumble as they’ve taken a step back from the progress of last year. They’re not sitting on top of the Western Conference and the emergences of serious contenders like the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets has made their road to the Finals even tougher now.
It’s easy to blame the struggles and failed expectations on shifts in power with stronger competition in the Western Conference, early season injuries to starters and offseason departures of key role plays like Jarrett Jack. However, these are things that all championship contenders must undergo if they want to fulfill their expectations of hoisting up the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.
The Warriors’ expectations were fair going into this season, but poor play and inconsistency has plagued their performances on the court as they continue to drop games against bottom-feeder opponents. Additionally, their record against playoff teams is not pretty and questions if the season full of high expectations can be saved at this point. The odds of making a deep run in the playoffs seem very bleak if they’re forced to go up against the top seeds in the Western Conference in the first round so the wins need to start tonight and come in fast. The Warriors have a lot of ground to make up, but it’s very possible for them to at least finish fifth in the playoff chase that will give them a fair chance at making a late-season run.
Fifth might not what the Warriors were aiming for initially, but it may be time to adjust and make new expectations as they approach the half way point in a season full of highs and lows.