Warriors' superstar's playoff absence harming NBA in contrast to 12 months ago

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

For just the third time in the last 12 seasons, the Golden State Warriors failed to make the NBA Playoffs following their Play-In elimination defeat to the Sacramento Kings last month.

It was an unusual season for the franchise and that for many fans, with the Warriors having grown a global adoring audience built off their style of basketball, immense recent success, and the popularity of their superstar in Stephen Curry.

The absence of Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors had an impact on the viewership of the first-round of the NBA Playoffs

A new era may be on the horizon for the NBA -- not only is Curry an absentee in this year's playoffs, but fellow all-time greats in LeBron James and Kevin Durant were soundly defeated in rather one-sided first-round series.

It was always going to be interesting to what the absence of Curry, and the minimal impact of James and Durant, would have on audiences during the postseason. In a recent report from Sports Media Watch, it was found viewership of the first-round of the playoffs had taken a hit compared to the same time 12 months ago.

"The first round of the NBA Playoffs averaged a 1.7 rating and 3.14 million viewers across ABC, ESPN, TNT/truTV and NBA TV, down 8% in ratings and 9% in viewership from last year (1.9, 3.44M)."

Sports Media Watch's Jon Lewis

Backtrack to last year's playoffs and the three generational superstars were all in action. Curry had 50 points in a Game 7 in Sacramento to defeat the Kings, moving to the second-round where the Warriors would meet James and the Lakers who had beaten the Memphis Grizzlies in six games. Meanwhile Durant and the Phoenix Suns accounted for the LA Clippers in five games, before falling to the eventual champion Denver Nuggets.

However, there may be no need to truly panic from an NBA standpoint as the careers of Curry, James and Durant come towards their conclusion. This year's first-round of the playoffs was still the third-most watched of the past decade, trailing only last season and 2018.

There still remains an inkling that this year's postseason is a little poorer for not having at least one of the legendary trio in the second-round, but perhaps that's a reality that Warrior and general NBA fans will need to become accustomed with.