NBA analyst outlines Golden State Warriors best path to playoff spot

Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors
Portland Trail Blazers v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Despite having won the second-most games in the NBA since January 29, the Golden State Warriors appear headed for the dreaded Play-In Tournament with just four games remaining in their regular season.

The Warriors have won seven of their past eight games to revitalize their chances of a top eight seed, yet it remains highly likely that they'll finish ninth or tenth even if they end up with a better record than 12 months ago where they finished sixth in the Western Conference.

Bill Simmons has outlined the Golden State Warriors best path to earning a playoff spot should they have to win two Play-In games

Golden State will need the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers to falter in order to push up the standings, but even if that doesn't eventuate, the Warriors won't be your traditional tenth-seed entering the postseason.

No team will want to play Stephen Curry in a one-off elimination game, not to mention the championship experience of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and head coach Steve Kerr. The odds may be against them, but Golden State's personnel and recent form makes them more than capable.

In the latest episode of his podcast, The Ringer's Bill Simmons believes the Warriors best chance is to beat the Kings and New Orleans Pelicans in back-to-back Play-In games.

"Warriors beating the Kings in the 9/10 and then getting to play potentially the Pelicans in the 8/9 is their path to get to the playoffs. I think it would be really hard to beat Sacramento and then the Lakers."

Bill Simmons

Such a scenario would require the Lakers, not the Kings to secure the eighth-seed, while the Phoenix Suns would also have to beat out the Pelicans for the sixth-seed. Should Golden State beat Sacramento in the 9/10 game, they would then face the loser of New Orleans and Los Angeles.

A Play-In game featuring Stephen Curry and LeBron James may be great for the league, but Simmons is right in suggesting it wouldn't be ideal for the Warriors. The Lakers have won nine of their past 11 games, while the Pelicans have lost four of their past five and are currently without former All-Star Brandon Ingram due to a knee injury.

A 14-game NBA slate on Tuesday will see the Lakers host the Warriors, the Suns host the Clippers, the Pelicans visit Portland to face the Trail Blazers, and the Kings travel to OKC to see the Thunder.