The Golden State Warriors failed to gather any significant momentum throughout last season, largely thanks to an horrific road record that seemingly stalled their campaign at every possible turn.
The 2022 NBA champions finished with a disastrous 11-30 road record, sitting only above the paltry Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs as the fourth-worst in the league.
With a road-heavy early fixture, the Golden State Warriors will have an early opportunity to address their biggest issue from last season.
Were the Warriors’ road problems limited to last season, or is it set to become a more systematic issue? Fortunately, the answer to that question will become apparent within the first 10 games of next season.
Golden State open their season with a blockbuster matchup at home against the Phoenix Suns, signalling not only Kevin Durant’s return to a crowd-filled Chase Center, but a mouthwatering debut for Chris Paul against his former team.
Yet after that highly-anticipated battle, seven of the Warriors’ next eight games will come on the road. It will provide an early challenge for Golden State and an opportunity for them to re-establish their championship credentials.
The Warriors will be thrown into the fire early with a three-game road-trip in four days. That starts with a visit back to Golden 1 Center to face the Sacramento Kings, before a back-to-back in Houston and New Orleans.
After a return home to face the Kings for the second time within a week, Golden State will be back on the road for four-straight road games beginning with their opening NBA Cup game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
They will then head East to face the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons, before a trip to altitude to face the NBA champion Denver Nuggets. It’s not an impossible stretch — four of the seven opponents didn’t make the playoffs last season — but it’s still an early litmus test sure to garner plenty of analysis and reaction.
Following a 3-2 start to their championship-defending campaign, the Warriors lost five-straight games on the road to fall a 3-7 record through 10 games last season. It wasn’t just the additions to the loss column, it was the way in which it occurred with defeats to the lottery-bound Hornets, Pistons, Pelicans and Magic.
In what projects as a deep and tightly-packed Western Conference, Golden State can’t afford a similarly slow start once again. Doing so could summon them to the same fate as last season, and will put undue pressure on a veteran core more concerned with reaching the playoffs in full health.