When the 2021-22 NBA season started, the Golden State Warriors have been thought-about one of many front-running contenders for the world championship.
They got here out of the gates white-hot, successful 18 of their first 20 video games and looking out like arguably the most effective group within the league – even earlier than Klay Thompson returned to sport motion.
However ever since Thompson made his season debut, the Warriors have had some cracks of their armor, they usually have now misplaced 15 of their final 22 video games.
The common season cut up into fourths: pic.twitter.com/l2Tz4qKhk7
— Tom Bassine (@tvbassine) March 29, 2022
Sitting now in simply third place within the Western Convention, one has to surprise if Golden State’s championship hopes are in peril.
The Points They’ve Been Dealing with
First off, the Warriors have by no means been wholesome this season.
Quickly after Thompson performed his first sport in almost three years, Draymond Inexperienced, their Swiss Military knife and non secular chief, was sidelined for about two months with a again damage.
With out him, the Warriors have been lacking one among their fundamental ball-handlers and distributors, to not point out arguably their finest rebounder and one of many actually elite defenders in basketball.
Thompson, in the meantime, has had spurts through which he has appeared like his outdated self, however total he has been inconsistent as he continues to get again into true sport form and rhythm.
Thus far this season, he’s averaging 18.9 factors in 28.7 minutes per sport, however he’s capturing simply 42.1 p.c from the sector.
Though his 37.6 p.c capturing share from 3-point vary appears sturdy, it’s effectively beneath the norm for him, as he has all the time shot over 40.0 p.c from that distance previous to this yr.
Now, Golden State is coping with a foot damage to Stephen Curry that would preserve him out for nearly the remainder of the common season.
Even when he returns prior to later, the Warriors may have little or no time to ramp issues up as a full unit earlier than the playoffs begin.
As well as, reserve Andre Iguodala, who was the Finals MVP when Curry and crew gained their first championship in 2015, has been out for some time as a result of his personal damage woes, and his return is taken into account a key to the group’s title hopes.
Klay Thompson on Andre Iguodala’s return: “Wow. That’ll be a welcome sight. I miss playing with him.” pic.twitter.com/GwEtN6QyrA
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 28, 2022
On prime of all that, second-year man James Wiseman won’t play in any respect this season as a result of a knee damage.
It seems like an entire lot to beat, and it’s, however the Warriors aren’t your normal title contender.
What Golden State Has Going For It
Curry, Inexperienced and Thompson comprise the core that has gained three NBA titles for the Warriors in recent times.
No different group within the NBA can boast that form of championship pedigree.
Golden State additionally has head coach Steve Kerr, now in his eighth season with the group, who’s arguably the most effective coach in professional basketball.
All that championship expertise, in addition to the expertise of shedding Recreation 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at dwelling to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, can be an enormous benefit as soon as the second season begins.
As well as, the final time the Warriors gained all of it, additionally they needed to cope with an damage to Curry.
In March 2018, he sprained the MCL in his left knee and was pressured to overlook almost two months of motion, which saved him out till the second spherical of the playoffs.
One should additionally think about that after successful these three championships, the Warriors’ trio have needed to cope with plenty of adversity within the final three years.
Curry and Thompson have sustained main accidents, and the group had a really poor document in 2019-20, then it missed the playoffs final yr after shedding each video games of the play-in event.
All that adversity seemingly implies that Curry, Thompson and Inexperienced are very hungry to return to the mountaintop.