The story with the Golden State Warriors all season long has been one of underachievement with dashes of brilliance thrown in. Though the Dubs are sixth in the West and Stephen Curry is a fringe MVP candidate, Golden State also hasn’t blown us away like many thought they would once they acquired Andre Iguodala in the offseason. There have been signs of potential greatness like the 10-game win streak and signature wins over some of the NBA’s elite teams, there have been just as many underwhelming moments to keep fans from dreaming too big.
Early in the season, the Warriors’ excellent defense quickly reaffirmed that the addition of Iggy could make all the difference in being a fun team to watch in the West and a team that could actually take the conference. Building on a surprising playoff run in 2013 wasn’t the goal; the ultimate destination in mind was the NBA Finals.
Saturday’s loss to the shorthanded San Antonio Spurs served as yet another reminder that the Warriors still aren’t a team to be feared in the Western Conference. You think the Spurs, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers or the Houston Rockets are seriously concerned about facing the Warriors in the first round? As the top teams in the conference, they’ll have home court advantage against a team that inconsistent to the point of frustration.
Nobody can deny the Warriors are entertaining and talented. Curry is a delight to watch, David Lee is a regular walking double-double, the Splash Brothers are capable of going from zero to 160 at any given time and the Dubs have come back from down 15 points or more multiple times this season. They have a top ten defense, they’re in the top five in rebounding and they have the fifth best point differential (+4.5) in the West. But the Dubs have a long way to go to become true contenders and these problems aren’t readily fixable.
Golden State’s offense often flounders without Curry on the floor, even if the Warriors finally have a bench that Mark Jackson doesn’t have to be afraid of feeding minutes. Klay Thompson‘s inflated numbers and hot three-point shooting (41.3 percent) often overshadow his mediocre defense. Bogut and Iggy have both dealt with injury problems on and off all season, including the knee tendinitis that has kept him sidelined for the last two games.
If the playoffs roll around and the Warriors are fully healthy, they’ll be a much tougher unit. An epic Curry game will win you at least one playoff game and Golden State still has a semi-impressive record at home, going 23-12 at Oracle Arena so far this season. But losing to a Spurs team without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili on the floor is a pretty clear indicator of how this season will likely end for Golden State. Though plenty of teams have fallen prey to one of Gregg Popovich’s starless lineups over the years, most of the teams that haven’t are the ones that have realistic title hopes. As of right now, the Golden State Warriors don’t fit the mold.