The season starts on Oct. 19 with a visit to the Los Angeles Lakers, and concludes on April 10 when the Dubs head to Louisiana to take on the New Orleans Pelicans. In between, 80 other games will take place. Here are six takeaways from the schedule drop.
The season begins with some barometers
Those were barometer games. We’d get to see just how good the Warriors were.
Turns out not very good. While the Warriors would recover and play quality basketball by the end of the season, they lost those first two games by a combined 65 points, and it would be months before the sour taste of harsh reality was out of their mouths.
The Dubs kick things off with another set of barometer games this year. On Opening Night, they travel to SoCal to take on the LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and the Los Angeles Lakers, seen by most as favorites in the Western Conference.
Two days later the Warriors are at home hosting the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers will be without Kawhi Leonard, but are still one of the top teams in the West, with a two-way star in Paul George, a wildly deep lineup, and a top coach in Ty Lue.
The Warriors don’t need to go 2-0 in these games, but we will learn a lot about how competitive the team is. Let’s just hope they don’t lose by 65.
Immediately after the barometers come some highly winnable games, as the Warriors spend the next month playing a very light schedule.
From Oct. 24 through Nov. 21, the Dubs play the Oklahoma City Thunder (twice), Charlotte Hornets (twice), Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, and Toronto Raptors.
That is a wildly easy schedule (in NBA terms, at least), and that’s before you consider that it has an eight-game home stand in the middle of it. The Dubs should have a prime opportunity to build up a nice record by the time Klay Thompson returns.
The toughest stretch bookends the All-Star break
Remember the All-Star break last season? Remember how the Warriors were finally finding rhythm, then dropped three-straight heading into the game, and faced a truly brutal schedule on the other side of it?
They have a similar situation this year. Their final three games before the Feb. 20 All-Star Game come against the Lakers, Clippers, and Denver Nuggets. After the break they’re met with this eight-game doozy of a drive: at the Portland Trail Blazers, vs. the Dallas Mavericks, at the Timberwolves, at the Mavericks, at the Lakers, vs. the Clippers, at the Nuggets, and vs. the Bucks.
Half of their games are nationally televised
41 of the Warriors 82 games are on ESPN, TNT, ABC, or NBA TV this year. So if you’re a non-Bay Area resident who cuts cords and just watches on League Pass, you’ll only be able to see half the season live.
There are two massive home stands
The Warriors are going to get some stretches in the season where they can really get used to the feel of their own beds. From Oct. 28 through Nov. 12 they play eight straight home games. Then in late January they have a seven-game home stand.
They still play 41 games at home and 41 on the road, as in any 82-game season, but at least they’ll have sustained stretches at home to gain momentum and be with their families.
They’re still a marquee team
The Warriors may have missed the playoffs last year, but the NBA chose them as one of four teams to play on Opening Night, and matched up against the most popular team and player in the league in LeBron’s Lakers. There are eight nationally televised game in the league’s push to have an “Opening Week,” and the Dubs are in two of those eight games.
They play on Christmas, against the Phoenix Suns. They have MLK Day off this year, but, as previously mentioned, play half of their games on national TV.
The Warriors may not be coming off a good season, but they’re still one of the biggest draws in the league, and for one reason: Steph Curry.