If you are so inclined to worry about things, the Golden State Warriors are curiously struggling to a point where these things can alter your perception of a team that just reached 50 wins over .500 and just set a franchise record for home wins at 37. These numbers are surreal, unreal, and perhaps unattainable for the rest of your entire life. But 10 games over the second place team has gotten us, or at least me, jaded to the point where beating lottery teams like the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves by slim margins are a problem.
The Warriors struggled again on Saturday night. The offense is good but not great. The scheme is fine but the pieces that are used in their roles aren't exactly Spurs-esque. There are nice players like Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut that fit into that system to perfection but there just aren't enough shooters and high-IQ players to replicate peak performance. This isn't a bad thing. No team in history can function the way the Spurs can, no matter how much the Warriors are trying to get there.
There aren't enough shooters or passers to get there. The offense relies perhaps a little too much on the gravity given to Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. So now we have a team predicated on its defense struggling to defend the past couple weeks, leading to a malaise that's less sustainable when the team itself isn't playing for anything. That's where the uncharted waters are taking us. We aren't used to watching a team accomplish so much and so fast while playing for nothing at the end of the regular season.
It's hard to gauge or even comprehend what the issues because these might be strawmen arguments that have no merit if their point differential wasn't at historic levels. Ordinary teams look over and past the Minnesotas of the world on Saturday nights because that's normal human behavior. But spoiled by a season that's seen them come out and trample teams from the first second to the last? Even if watching Zach LaVine tantalize us felt a little bittersweet considering the style and production of play on the floor.
I'm just rambling and stumbling around here. The Warriors are fine, I truly believe this because when the games mattered and Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green were playing for a goal that was seemingly unreached and unmatched, they were unbeatable.
The problems start on defense and stagnate an offense that does have issues when their best player isn't on the floor. Focus and hard work aren't the only factors to playing good defense. Talent is just as important on that end as it is on offense. Just because you try and slap the floor really hard doesn't mean defense is automatically easy. But for these Warriors, a proven team that's the best in the league on defense when they're locked in, focus is an excuse worth understanding.
They're struggling a bit right now, and it's the defense. It's just that motivation works as a real excuse for a team that's already awesome on that end when they need to be.
Here is a couple hundred words dedicated to Stephen Curry and a season so good that an MVP award is a real thing worth celebrating in about a week.
There are things that we as fans take for granted. This is an overwritten trope by most people, including myself, when we feel that players are credibly given their due. But Stephen Curry? Warriors fans, and the entire media and legion of people everywhere, can and are appreciating what's happening right now.
The rumbling starts when he's veering off a screen on the baseline, crescendo-ing to a jet on the runway as he catches the ball, nearly peaking as he releases at the top, and exploding in ecstasy when it rips through the net.
Curry is shooting 150 percent from the three since the All-Star Break. Even when he was "struggling" before the break, he was at sub-40 percent levels. As he reaches supernova heights, Curry is playing to the whims of the crowd, and himself. The shoulder wiggle, counting of the fingers, and premature turnaround as the ball is in mid-flight reactions are hypnotizing the crowd. Curry wants it this way and he's giving back to the people gasping at every single crossover and flick of the wrist.
He's the best player on the team, carried them this far, and enjoying the type of success reserved for revisionist fables. Stephen Curry is the MVP. Stephen Curry is also your MVP. Maybe that's insufferable. But it's pretty awesome right now.