The Warriors have been in a slump recently, losing four of their last six games. Their championship aspirations are still intact and they’ll likely be in the mix for a top-three seed this season. They don’t seem to realize that they already won the matchup against most potential second round opponents because of their early success with them being one of best teams in NBA history.
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors looks on during a 2019 playoff game.
The Golden State Warriors were always going to be better this year than last, but an NBA-best record before Klay Thompson and James Wiseman returned was beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
So, what went wrong? Or, to put it another way, why did it happen?
On his self-titled podcast last week, NBA commentator Bill Simmons, publisher of The Ringer, offered an argument that was remarkable in its simplicity: This season, the Warriors can win even if All-NBA point guard Steph Curry isn’t playing well — at least, not well by his absurdly high standards. They couldn’t do it last season. That’s all there is to it.
“This is a team that already looks pretty excellent, really polished, really complete,” Simmons said in a podcast episode that aired Thursday, November 4. “I believe they can really grow better, because Curry hasn’t played that well this season,” Simmons said. “He’s had a number of successful games. He’s also had games when he didn’t shoot well but still managed to win, such as (Wednesday night, November 3). The Hornets were defeated.”
“One of the reasons I enjoy this squad is because of it,” Simmons added. “They have a chance to win this season even if Curry isn’t playing well.” Curry didn’t have much of a chance last year if he didn’t play well. Now, even if Curry isn’t playing great, they can still win.”
Warriors win with good or great Curry; there is no such thing as bad Curry.
GettyStephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors’ point guard.
To be fair to Curry, and to temper Simmons’ opinion just a smidgeon, the point guard’s “poor games” would be excellent starts for most NBA teams’ third- or fourth-best players. Even when he puts up such kinds of performances, his team manages to win.
Curry has shot 40 percent or worse from the floor in five of the Warriors’ ten games this season, according to ESPN. The Dubs are 4-1 in those games, with the lone defeat coming in overtime against a tough Memphis Grizzlies team.
Curry had four straight games of 20 points, 15 points, 19 points, and 20 points before to his explosive 50-point performance against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, November 8. Every time, Golden State came out on top.
The Dubs are the NBA’s deepest team.
Jordan Poole drives against the Portland Trail Blazers in a game.
Despite losing key players Thompson and Wiseman, both of whom are expected to return to starting positions before the regular season ends, the Warriors are looking like the most complete team in the NBA at 9-1 and alone atop the Western Conference rankings.
The solution to the enthralling enigma of how the Warriors are doing it is twofold: depth and defense.
“They’ve tracked down all of the key people.” “They found it out at long last,” Simmons stated. “Defensively, I’m a lot better. In terms of opponent field goal percentage, they are third. They have the ability to bounce back. They’re now sixth in rebounding, which is intriguing sans Wiseman. They’ve got the league’s greatest chemistry.”
“Right now, there are ten of them.” Klay Thompson isn’t among them. “That doesn’t include James Wiseman, the second choice in the draft a year and a half ago,” Simmons added. “It excludes Kuminga and Moody, the seventh and fourteenth choices in this year’s draft.” They’re still ten deep for some reason.”
The Dubs still have a deal to make for another big-name player if they want it, thanks to their depth and excellent roster design.
Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins’ yearly contract of $30 million over the next two years might be packaged with a collection of young assets to make the money work, and it’s just a matter of time until a true NBA star wants out of a horrible scenario. Every year, it takes place.
“I believe they are the greatest team in the West,” Simmons said.
The Warriors’ six-game winning streak since Simmons made that assertion has proven Simmons’ premise correct, at least thus far this season. And things only seem to be getting better for Golden State, which should now be regarded one of the top candidates for the NBA title in 2021-22.
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