Few fans of the Golden State Warriors will reflect on last season with enjoyable memories. There were certainly games and moments where the franchise mustered somewhere near their best, but it was never consistent enough to complete the aspiration of back-to-back championships.
The Warriors were ultimately eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Conference Semifinals, ending what most would classify as a disappointing season. Yet with so many on and off-court issues, some of which were out of their control, should the year be focused on with a different lens?
Do the Golden State Warriors deserve more credit for making it through to the second-round of last season’s playoffs?
Golden State’s season begun in mediocre fashion, undoubtedly impacted by the short turnaround after winning the 2022 championship. Some of their veterans were ill-equipped, mentally and physically, to jump out of the blocks as intended.
On a recent episode of the Podcast P with Paul George, presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment, Warrior shooting-guard Klay Thompson said he’s proud of the team’s effort in the midst of a rough period.
"“It was tumultuous at times. It’s hard going back-to-back man it’s’ a whole different beast and I didn’t have the greatest start to the year. We had a bumpy road, injuries plagued us a little bit, but I’m still proud of the way we fought.”"
After a 3-7 opening, it felt as if Golden State were playing catch up for the remainder of the season. Hovering around a .500 record till almost late March, the Warriors often appeared destined for the Play-In Tournament and the potential of missing the postseason entirely.
Golden State steadied late in the season to secure the sixth-seed in the West, before undertaking a classic first-round series against their pacific rival Sacramento Kings. After rallying from a 0-2 deficit, the Warriors won on the road in Game 7 on the back of the most memorable performance of the season — a 50-point masterpiece from Stephen Curry.
Although they may have gone in as favorites in that series, Thompson recalls it as a ‘tough Sacramento team’ and compared the raucous crowd at Golden 1 Center to that of Cleveland in the 2016 Finals.
With their two best players from the 2022 playoff run, Curry and Andrew Wiggins, out for extended periods through injury and personal issues, should the Warriors actually get more credit for getting to where they did? It may not have reached the lofty expectations the franchise and fans place, but it equally wasn’t the disaster some have made it out to be.