Looked at through a narrow lens, the Golden State Warriors are not entering the All-Star break the way they were hoping to. They’re coming off a double-digit loss to the LA Clippers, one of the teams they’re battling in the Western Conference standings. They squandered an opportunity to head into a week off with momentum.
But looked at through a wider lens, well ... the Warriors are even less of where they meant to be. They’re sitting at an even .500, with 29 wins to 29 losses. It’s a stark contrast to how they’ve entered the break in their previous championship seasons: last year they were 42-17; in 2018 they were 44-14; in 2017 they were 47-9; and in 2015 they were 42-9.
Their superstar Steph Curry is injured, and it’s unclear when he’ll be back. The recently-acquired Gary Payton II is injured, and it’s unclear when he’ll be back. Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole have regressed after breakout seasons. Competitors like the Clippers, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Lakers added reinforcements, while the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns made superstar acquisitions with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, respectively.
It doesn’t seem like the Warriors are losing confidence, though. And after the loss to the Clippers, guard Klay Thompson — healthy at long last — expressed his trust in the team to not just right the ship, but repeat as champs.
“The West is stacked,” Thompson told reporters. “But at the end of the day, you gotta go through who you gotta go through to win the whole thing, and whether that’s in the Finals or in the first round there’s incredible talents, so there’s really no rounds off. There’s no gimmes. And for us, we know what it takes. We gotta hold the fort down ‘til Steph gets back, and just gotta get whole again, but I know this break’s gonna be very beneficial towards us, and I still love our chances to repeat. And I’m never gonna lose confidence in this team. We’ve been through too much together, and we just know what it takes to win the whole thing.”
It’s hard to question Thompson’s confidence. In the last five seasons that he’s been healthy, the Warriors have won four titles and come heartbreakingly close to a fifth.
He’s earned the right to speak confidently. And it should make us all excited for the rest of the season.