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Are the Warriors ready for the playoffs?

The Warriors, even without Stephen Curry, have a tremendous amount of talent. Can they put it together and play with intensity from the very first game?

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017-2018 regular season has been frustrating for the Warriors.

After three straight NBA Finals appearances, the Warriors decided to take this season easier than before. They’ve been more sloppy, less intense defensively, and have lacked consistency for the majority of the season. We’ve seen the peak performance of this team a few times this season, and it’s good as ever. But the Warriors have not maintained that level at all this year, and for the most part, that’s fine.

Furthermore, injuries to almost every player on the roster have resulted in both a loss of talent and lack of continuity for the team. The most crucial one, to Stephen Curry, could decide the Warriors’ success in the playoffs. They’ll certainly need him at close to full strength against the Rockets.

Without Curry, the Warriors are a very different team. It’s still a very good team, but their offensive and defensive strategies will change. The issue is that because of so many other injuries, the Warriors haven’t had much time to work out their new dynamic. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have all recently returned from injury, but injuries to the bench as well have forced coach Steve Kerr to trot out different lineups nearly every game.

Most of these injuries are fairly minor, and I’d expect most of the guys to suit up if these games were playoff games. But still, it’s troubling that the Warriors haven’t had time to work out the details of an offense without Stephen Curry. It seems like we have little idea what to expect from the Warriors in the first round: we don’t know their opponent, their offensive strategy, or rotation minutes.

However, I do believe the Warriors should be able to round into playoff form defensively. They don’t need Steph to be an elite defensive team, and they should be able to absolutely smother teams with big lineups. They just have to be more disciplined.

Without Steph for the first round of the playoffs and maybe part of the second, the Warriors will have to figure out their offense on the go, and finally turn on the switch defensively. They really can’t afford many more injuries. Hopefully, by the time Steph returns, the Warriors are already locked in and ready to go. The margin of error for this team is much less than it was last year.

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