After an offseason that signified their intentions to improve upon a second-round playoff exit, the Golden State Warriors have thus far failed to live up to the championship expectations they placed upon themselves.
Many considered the Warriors in the top handful of teams entering the season, with that standing appearing well-founded when they burst out of the blocks with a 5-1 start. Since then, Golden State has fallen flat, losing 10 of their past 15 games.
The Athletic's recent NBA Power Rankings shows just how far the Golden State Warriors have fallen and how they're viewed across the league
The Warriors currently sit with a 10-11 record through 21 games, a record that gives them a task to simply re-enter the playoff mix let alone anything further. Does their 11th-place standing in the West reflect their standing, or are they a genuine playoff team that have been plagued by injury, suspension and a touch schedule.
According to The Athletic's most recent NBA Power Rankings, Golden State is nothing more than a team fighting for a Play-In Tournament spot. They ranked in 'tier 5' and 21st overall, far from the top tier of contenders.
From aspiring championship contender to Play-In candidate -- that's the blunt reality of how the Warriors' season is panning out so far. It could be so much different had they won a host of close games, a fact The Athletic's Zach Harper alluded to in the summary.
""The Warriors being so mediocre in the clutch and so bad in the fourth in general is concerning, as is the fact that they can’t blow out teams too," Harper wrote."
Other teams in tier 5 include the LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets. Aside from the Clippers who have been equally disappointing, the other three could have all been forecast in this group ahead of the season. The Warriors in the same tier as the Rockets? That's enough for Golden State fans to feel sick.
Fortunately for the franchise, there's still plenty of time to turn things around. They began last season in similar fashion, before finishing in a disappointing but still respectable manner. Can they make a shaper, more impactful resurgence on this occasion?