After a positive start to the season, eight losses in 11 games has sunk the Golden State Warriors below a .500 record through 17 games. With an 8-9 record, perspective on the franchise is beginning to shift after early championship aspirations.
The Warriors entered the season as a top 10 team in the league according to most analysts and media outlets. The trade of Jordan Poole for Chris Paul characterized an offseason where they seemingly prioritized their veteran core, which in turn suggested Golden State were capable of another deep playoff run.
After five wins in their first six games, that expectation appeared appropriately forecasted. Since then the Warriors have hit a roadblock -- that's not to mean they can't re-enter championship conversations, but just that many would have them outside the current discussion.
The Golden State Warriors' underwhelming start to the season has seen them drastically slide down ESPN's Power Rankings.
The Warriors had rose to fifth in ESPN's Power Rankings one week into the season, and fourth by the end of week two. After week three they had dropped to eighth, yet that's nothing in comparison to their most recent slide down to 16th.
That would signify Golden State's average status among the league right now -- in an unwanted group where you're neither a championship contender nor battling for a high lottery pick. It's a place the Warriors have been unaccustomed to for much of the last decade.
The Warriors, and every other team in the league, entered the season chasing the reigning champion Denver Nuggets. While the Boston Celtics have taken the number one spot in ESPN's rankings, the Nikola Jokic-led Nuggets still remain the team to beat in the Western Conference.
The Warriors have slid to the eighth-placed West team in ESPN's rankings, with the impressive Minnesota Timberwolves exploding up to the second spot behind Denver and fifth overall.
The young Oklahoma City Thunder are third and Dallas Mavericks fourth, before Golden State is shaded by their pacific rival Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers. That's a rough position for the Warriors who only recently were viewed as the most likely contender to Denver's reign.
But just as the franchise has slid dramatically over recent weeks, so too can they rise back to where they wish to be. Draymond Green is on the precipice of a return from suspension, while the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson have shown positive signs after their slow starts contributed to this rather dispiriting summation of the team's standing.