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sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors messed around and found out this season. It might just work out for the best

o BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors messed around and found out this season. It might Allen

BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors messed around and found out this season. It might just work out for the best


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors messed around and found out this
season. It might just work out for the best
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2024 19:14:43 -0700
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 by: Allen - Wed, 17 Apr 2024 02:14 UTC

Kurtenbach: The Warriors messed around and found out this season. It
might just work out for the best
Golden State Warriors: The Warriors will be the No. 10 seed in the
Western Conference play-in tournament, and that might be the best place
for them to be.
>Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green gestures after a 3-point
basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of an NBA
basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

PUBLISHED: April 14, 2024 at 4:45 p.m. | UPDATED: April 15, 2024 at
12:58 a.m.

The Golden State Warriors messed around on the hardwood for the last six

In Sunday’s regular-season finale, they found out what doing that gives you:

A bus ride and one more game in Sacramento on Tuesday.

Win it, or get back on that bus and go home for good.

Which is to say it doesn’t give you much.

“We’re happy to have a shot,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Sunday.

Sure, we’ve suspected for a while and known with certainly for a bit
that the Warriors would be in the play-in tournament, and going into the
final game of the regular season, it wasn’t hard to game out the likely
scenarios for the team.

But this checkpoint, this moment of finality, shines a bright and cold
light on the 82 games the Warriors played this regular season. They all
mattered, save for Sunday’s contest, which had no bearing on the
standings, with the Kings and Lakers winning their simultaneous games.

Regardless, the reflection is less than flattering to the Warriors.

The most expensive team in NBA history will need to win two games to
make the playoffs, and they won’t even host those games. That might be
the worst return on investment in NBA history.

And while the Warriors have been adamant that they are, in fact, a
better team this season than last season—they won more games, they’re
arguably deeper, and they have some really nice young players in the mix
these days.

They might even be right.

But there’s just one thing the Warriors are overlooking in that positive

A bunch of other teams in the West improved, too.

Year-over-year progress is a nice thing to sell, but these Dubs aren’t
rebuilding. They’re all in. As such, all that matters is how much better
you are than your peers.

The Warriors only finished with better records than five teams in the West.

But they have a shot, and they are playing much better basketball as of

“I’ve got a good feeling about what’s ahead,” Kerr said. “I think we
still have a good chance to do something special.”

It would, indeed, be special for the Warriors to surpass last year’s
ending and make it to the Western Conference Finals.

2025 WNBA Draft: Five prospects to watch for Golden State’s expansion
Klay Thompson addresses uncertain future ahead of Warriors-Kings
play-in game
Will the Warriors big bet on Jonathan Kuminga pay out?
Warriors-Kings, Vol. 5: The X’s and O’s that will keep Dubs alive or
send them packing
Steph Curry to compete for Team USA in Paris 2024 Olympics: Report

Golden State is banking on their recent form to carry into the
postseason. They’ve been a top-10 team in the league since the All-Star
Game and an even better team over the last ten games.

But that success hasn’t translated into wins against top teams. The
Warriors ended the season with a 4-19 season against the top six teams
in the West, and the only top-10 team they had a winning record against
was the Lakers (3-1).

But if the play-in was inevitable, the Warriors might have lucked into a
best-case scenario.

Sacramento is not a top team. They’re down two key role players and have
lost five of their last six games going into Sunday’s contest (a win
against the tanking Blazers). That losing run included a must-win game
Friday against the Suns, when they choked away a 16-point lead.

The Warriors can then play in Los Angeles or New Orleans. There are no
easy wins, but the Warriors could theoretically beat both teams in a

Win those, and the Dubs will take a trip to Oklahoma City, which
clinched the No. 1 seed in the West Sunday.

The Thunder are no joke. They’re long, talented, and precocious. They
have a bonafide MVP-caliber player in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and two
young stars in Jalen Williams (of Santa Clara) and the impossibly long
Chet Holmgren.

But they are babies. The average age of their starting five is 23 years
old and they have not played a playoff series yet — much less hosted one
as the favorite.

Of the three teams vying for the No. 1 seed, the Warriors would have
picked this one to be their opponent. Golden State isn’t as good as
Oklahoma City—no sir—but the Dubs have a massive experience gap, and it
could come into play.

But that’s only if the Warriors do, in fact, play in the playoffs. They
have two elimination games between now and then, and neither is a gimme.

If the Dubs are to survive the week, they must raise their game to an
even higher level in the coming days.

Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson are going to have to
drink from the fountain of youth. (Or “flip the switch,” in their
salad-day parlance.)

The Warriors will need Andrew Wiggins — the second-best player on the
2022 title team — to tap into that form once again.

Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis will need to continue to
show wisdom beyond their years, and the uber-talented Jonathan Kuminga
will have to lock in on his responsibilities on both ends of the court,
because the Warriors are going to throw a lot his way.

And perhaps they can all do it. The significance of the moment at hand
can be a galvanizing and focusing force.

The Dubs’ season has been one of mediocrity, tragedy, and ups and downs,
and it will all be defined game by game moving forward.

Are these the final days of the Warriors as we know them, or the start
of that something special Kerr envisions?

We’ll find out soon enough, and after six months where definition and
clarity seemed fleeting, we’ll take that as a win.

sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors messed around and found out this season. It might just work out for the best


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