Golden State Warriors: Why the Preseason Results Don’t Matter


The Golden State Warriors haven’t performed like the defending champions they are in the preseason so far. Sporting a 2-4 record, the Warriors have lost all three games on the road and haven’t been playing to their own lofty expectations. With the regular season a week away, should the team’s performance be a concern?

The short answer: No.

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While it’s true that the Warriors’ performances have been decidedly below average, it’s still only the preseason. The Warriors and interim head coach Luke Walton have been trying out new lineups, and giving playing time opportunities to players who are hoping to make the roster. For roster hopefuls like Ian Clark, Chris Babb, Jarell Eddie, and Tony Mitchell, NBA experience is something that they lack severely, which explains why the Warriors have looked out of sorts for most of the preseason.

Another thing to consider is that the Warriors’ chemistry and familiarity with one another will be affected with the influx of new players. Once the regular season begins, the team will be able to revert to their normal rotation, and that smooth Warriors’ offense should be humming once again.

Oct 20, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Chris Babb (right) defends against Los Angeles Clippers forward Wesley Johnson (center) during the fourth quarter at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers won 130-95. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The key to assessing preseason games is not in terms of results and box score statistics. By focusing on individual performances, we get a better idea of how this player will fit into the system – a preview of what is to come. That’s what the coaches are keeping an eye out for. The number of points scored, or rebounds and assists tallied don’t matter as much as how the player looks in the team’s offense and defense. Everyone is going up against much poorer opposition, so naturally, those stats aren’t a good indication of their ability relative to the rest of the NBA.

To make matters worse for the Warriors, they’ve had to sit out two key starters in the previous few games. Andrew Bogut broke his nose against the Houston Rockets, and Harrison Barnes has been dealing with a niggling calf injury that made him miss two games (he played last night against the Los Angeles Clippers).

A player that has come under some fire for his performances of late is Klay Thompson. Until last night, when he went for 21 points in 27 minutes, Klay has seemed distracted and lacklustre in the preseason. Many have been quick to criticise Klay and have started to theorize that his breakout performance last year was just an outlier.

However, another player that struggled in last season’s preseason was Draymond Green. And we all know how Draymond’s season continued.

All in all, the preseason is nearly meaningless. The NBA has already shortened this year’s preseason, and there are multiple calls for it to be shortened further. It is nothing more than a means to evaluate roster hopefuls, rookies, and test experimental lineups. The results don’t matter, and most of the players are playing at half-speed.

The regular season starts in a week. Until then, no meaningful basketball will be played.

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