Way-too-early Power Rankings suggests Warriors are headed for more pain next season

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings - Play-In Tournament
Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings - Play-In Tournament / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

With the 2023-24 NBA season officially done and dusted, the Golden State Warriors find themselves as one of 29 teams looking to topple the all-conquering Boston Celtics who completed their 18th championship victory against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday.

Yet before the Warriors even dream of lifting a fifth title in the last dozen years, they'll have to earn a playoff berth and advance through a Western Conference which is expected to be even more competitive next season.

The Golden State Warriors may be headed for more pain next season according to ESPN's way-too-early NBA power rankings

Golden State's chances of returning to playoff action appears unlikely, let alone producing a deep playoff run that reignites their dynasty. That's the early indication anyway from ESPN's team of reporters and analysts who've combined to give their early thoughts on next season.

Things don't look great for the Warriors who ranked 18th on the way-too-early power rankings. While that may initially appear like a rather pessimistic outlook, it does reflect this season's standings where Golden State finished 18th in win-loss record.

An optimistic perspective would suggest the Warriors can be far better than that -- they lost a plethora of close games this season and gave up a series of big leads, numbers defined in the fact they actually ranked 13th in overall net rating.

Alas, ESPN's rankings would suggest that Golden State are in for more pain next season, with the franchise ranked as the 10th-best team in the West which lends itself to another likely Play-In Tournament appearance. All four division rivals placed above the Warriors, with the Clippers ranked 10th ahead of the Suns (14th), Lakers (15th) and Kings (17th).

ESPN's Kendra Andrews questioned whether the franchise will "lean more into veteran experience or continue to infuse their group with youth", viewing Klay Thompson's free agency decision as pivotal to that answer.

The Warriors can't afford to miss the playoffs again as Stephen Curry enter his age 37 season, with such a result likely to lead to even more change and a bleaker outlook on their future. For now, such rankings should be taken with a grain of salt until the offseason plays out.