By their historically great standards, the Golden State Warriors are struggling. The team is a half-game behind the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference standings, and it’s the first time in recent memory that they haven’t been atop the conference.
Their 14 losses this year are only one shy of the their highest mark in the Steve Kerr era, and there are still 21 games left to be played.
Still, “struggling” is relative. The Warriors are 47-14 - a dynamic mark - and their net rating (point differential per 100 possessions) of +10.6 is tops in the league, by a wide margin.
But their small step backward - combined with the emergence of the Rockets - has led many inside NBA circles to think that there’s been a power shift in the West. According to ESPN’s Mike Wilbon, many NBA players believe the Rockets are now the team to beat.
Hey Warriors fans, have fun with this... pic.twitter.com/EO2veTXwoz— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) February 27, 2018
“Here’s what players, not just on the Rockets think, but OKC, and Utah, and some of these other teams, the Clippers,” Wilbon recently said on Pardon the Interruption. “They think Houston is better than Golden State. They come out and say it to you. Nobody wants to come out and say it on the record yet, because everyone’s hedging their bets.”
That’s . . . cute.
While some of us may find that a bit silly, and Draymond Green will likely use it to get pumped up, Stephen Curry sees nothing wrong with it. Or at least nothing wrong with Houston believing so.
Steph Curry on the confidence flowing out of Houston: "What are they supposed to say?...We were probably saying the same thing four years ago." pic.twitter.com/SA4Uti2ewq— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 28, 2018
“What are they supposed to say?” Curry said after Wednesday’s shootaround. “We were probably saying the same thing four years ago when we were chasing our first championship.”
Curry is right, of course, when it comes to the Rockets players. They should have that confidence and belief.
But players on other teams thinking Houston reigns supreme? Sure, pal . . . whatever you say.