We are just one week away from the Golden State Warriors’ first regular season game of the 2020-21 schedule. The Dubs kicked off their preseason with a win over the Denver Nuggets and will resume their schedule with a game against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
The good news is that Draymond Green and James Wiseman re-joined the team after missing the beginning of training camp after testing positive for the coronavirus. Unfortunately, head coach Steve Kerr said we most likely won’t see either of them during the preseason, meaning we won’t get to see a full Warriors squad until the opener against the Brooklyn Nets.
As the season’s tipoff draws nearer, we are starting to see more-and-more predictions from various NBA pundits. ESPN’s Tim Bontemps conducted an NBA offseason surveyed eight scouts and executives from around the league, and one of them isn’t too bullish about Golden State’s chances.
“I think they have almost no shot at the playoffs. Unless Draymond has a renaissance, Steph might be everything that he’s ever been and they still might not make the playoffs.”
Bontemps’ colleague — Kevin Pelton — released his predictions on how what each Western Conference teams’ record will be after the shortened 72-game regular season. Pelton has the Dubs grouped among the teams he believes will be in the Nos. 7 through 10 seeding range.
Between Phoenix and Memphis are two very different teams with plenty at stake in a possible play-in. Golden State, without Klay Thompson, would still be a tough out in a one-and-done setting with a healthy Steph Curry.
While the Warriors are looking to extend their run of contention, the Pelicans are looking to begin theirs in Zion Williamson’s second season. As a result, a possible Golden State-New Orleans matchup with the eighth seed on the line would be a must-watch.
Pelton has Golden State finishing 36-36, which I think is too low. Stephen Curry is back and fully healthy, while general manager did his best to mitigate Klay Thompson’s loss by trading for Kelly Oubre Jr.
The executive who mentions Draymond Green’s renaissance has a valid argument. Green is the second-most important player on the roster and the only one other than Curry with an All-Star pedigree.
If Draymond can get back to being a defensive force who helps run the offense like he was during the Warriors’ dominant run, Golden State should be in line for one of the top-six seeds.
Oubre and Andrew Wiggins are also wild-cards. Both players are just 25 years old and have the potential to take another step in their careers. If Oubre and Wiggins can contribute on the offensive end while also being stingy wing-defenders, it will help Kerr balance his rotations. The key for Oubre and Wiggins is consistency. If both have up-and-down seasons, I could envision the Dubs struggling to put together some extended winning streaks that will shoot them up the competitive Western Conference standings.
I have Golden State going 42-30 overall and finishing as the sixth seed. The Dubs have enough talent to compete each night, and depending on how injuries/COVID-19 test results play out, they should be among the teams who guarantee themselves at least a first-round appearance.
How many wins do you think the Warriors will finish the season with?
On to some links:
ESPN’s NBA Insiders may not be too high on the Dubs’ playoff chances, but one writer is. Patrick Murray of Forbes gives eight reasons why the Warriors will be in the postseason.
Green has been chomping at the bit to get back onto the court. Draymond didn’t shy away when asked about his expectations for the upcoming season. (Warriors Wire)
Wiseman became Golden State’s high draft picked in 25 years when he was selected second overall. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Didion ranks the best season by a Warriors rookie since 2000.