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The Bottom of the West

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All of us have been consumed by the race to the playoffs, but how many wins will get us in? 39? 40? Ray Ratto writes about how the only reason we even have a shot at the playoffs is because the bottom of the West stinks. When you look at it, a team with more losses than wins is going to secure the 8th seed in the West. He goes on to write about how the Warriors are improved, but to what degree?

Indeed, by any reasonable assessment, the largest percentage of their improvement is the devolution of the bottom half of the Western Conference. In other words, they have not risen to the challenge so much as the challengers have stooped to meet them, most notably the Clippers, Kings, Lakers and Nuggets. In addition, the Timberwolves have risen and the Hornets have stayed about the same.

So here's why I'm really pointing out this article to you. We're all excited about the lineup when healthy and believe that they're a playoff team. But, is that really true? Over the course of an entire season could this team really make the playoffs in any "normal" season where the 8th seed in the West is above .500?

The reason the Warriors will tell you they're crummy is injuries, most notably those to Baron Davis and Jason Richardson. The gents are 7-3 with the full post-trade lineup of Al Harrington, Davis, Richardson, Andris Biedrins and Stephen Jackson (7-15 without), and fine. Good numbers to back up the alibi, kids.

But nobody in his or her right mind would suggest that this lineup would go 58-24 if health were all there was standing in its way. This isn't close to that type of team, and thinking that it could be only if does nobody any good. The quintet's top end, quite frankly, is 42 wins, which -- in most years -- wouldn't be postseason worthy.

I have to disagree with Ratto here. I think they're a 47-49 win team with the current 5 and would make the playoffs. They're definitely not going to make a run in the playoffs because they need a power forward who makes all the hustle plays, but I definitely think they could be the 7th or 8th seed. I know being healthy is just wishful thinking and that injuries happen, but this is a team that is showing remarkable improvement on the road and much better chemistry. I'd like to see what a full off season and training camp would do for Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, and most importantly, Jason Richardson. Ratto says 42 wins. I think this 5 would come up with a few more.

How many wins does this team get if they're fully healthy?