Prior to the start of the season, I picked the Golden State Warriors to narrowly miss the playoffs. At the time, I thought that the Dubs’ new commitment to defense would help them improve their overall record but have them fail to qualify by a few games. The way I saw it, Golden State would finish with a 32-34 record and sit on the sidelines while other teams managed to make the West’s top eight.
With games slated to start once again tomorrow night with the All-Star break now over, the Warriors still have a chance to win 32 games; but should it happen, it may be the greatest feat the Warriors ever pull off. Yes, more impressive than winning the title in 1975. OK, perhaps that was a bit of an exaggeration, but play along.
Golden State is currently third in the Pacific division with a 13-17 record; which means that the Dubs would have to win 19 of their remaining 36 games. That doesn’t sound too difficult, mind you if we take a closer look at the schedule, well it becomes obvious that the odds are quite slim.
Indeed, 21 of the Warriors remaining 36 games will come against opponents with a record above .500. Of those 21 games, 13 of them will be on the road; and we’re talking about some tough contests here:
- February 28th: @Indiana
- February 29th: @Philadelphia
- March 11th: @L.A. Clippers
- March 22nd: @Houston
- March 25th: @Portland
- April 1st: @L.A. Lakers
- April 3rd: @Memphis
- April 9th: @Denver
- April 11th: @Portland
- April 14th: @L.A. Clippers
- April 20th: @Dallas
- April 21st: @Houston
Needless to say, the Dubs will have a tough time winning ball games in the second half of the season. The upcoming stretch of 10 games in 16 days should essentially determine the direction the franchise takes with respect to the young talent on the roster. If the Dubs are anywhere close to having a .500 record, they will continue to ride out the veterans and aim for a playoff berth. However, if the Mark Jackson’s unit loses ground in the standings, it will be time to give the young players on the team a little more burn to determine where the team is going in the next couple of years.
Golden State will surely want to know if Ekpe Udoh can be a reliable long-term option at center, if Klay Thompson can handle starters minutes and if Jeremy Tyler can be a productive NBA player. The time will also serve to evaluate if Dominic McGuire and Brandon Rush will be back with the team next season.
And obviously, the biggest question will be whether Ellis and Curry continue to play alongside each other in the same backcourt.
Last summer Monta Ellis’ name made its way into several trade rumors (Andre Iguodala and Rudy Gay to name a few) and one can only assume the same will hold true should the Dubs keep him on the roster after the March 15th trade deadline. But then again, perhaps Ellis is the wrong guard to consider trading…
The second half of the 2011-12 regular season should help answer several questions going forward.
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected].