At the beginning of the season, the Warriors had gone undefeated in the Summer League and preseason games. People mocked Mark Jackson for his "we want to win them all" mentality, with the usual comments that those two sets of games are meaningless. Jackson argued that building a culture that expected wins was what the Dubs needed to do. Preseason rankings had Golden State in the lower middle of the pack, expecting anywhere from 35-40 wins on the season. Achieving that was predicated on complete team health, and Andrew Bogut starting, with Brandon Rush either starting or as sixth man.
By the end of November, when I started putting these reviews together, the Warriors had climbed to the 10-14 range in the rankings. Admittedly, they got a boost from Harrison Barnes' monster dunk, but the trend was already noticeable, if not something anyone wanted to stake their reputation on. Since then, the trend has continued upward to the current plateau, where the Dubs have basically stabilized over the last couple of weeks.
Instead of a healthy Andrew Bogut, the Warriors have all-star level play from David Lee and rookie Festus Ezeli starting at center, with Andris Biedrins being more productive than anyone expected. Instead of BRush off the bench backing up Klay Thompson, Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack are having near-career seasons. Instead of Harrison Barnes either dominating or busting, he's played solidly as a starter. Instead of relying on Richard Jefferson for wing depth, Draymond Green has (as predicted) made it hard to keep him off the court.
While not playing much, Charles Jenkins has given sold minutes. Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Tyler have shown patience on the bench while tearing up the D-League. And a healthy Stephen Curry is better than many of us thought, both locally and around the league.
There's a lot of basketball left to play this season, and a lot of tough games on the horizon. But no one's laughing at Jackson's way to build a winning culture anymore. The proof is in the pudding, and so far it's been plum delicious.