Golden State Warriors – Contenders or Pretenders?

The Golden State Warriors have been basketball royalty for quite some time. The last couple of seasons have been rough due to injury, but they bounced back earlier this season. Now, however, the Warriors are struggling with injury again right before the playoffs.

Golden State Warriors – Contenders or Pretenders?

Current Standings

Golden State is third in the Western Conference, but that seed is nowhere near clinched. The NBA regular season is ending quickly, but the Warriors are in the midst of a slide after the injury to Stephen Curry and the long-awaited return of Draymond Green. They played well throughout the Klay Thompson absence this season, but the Warriors need all three stars on the court to truly succeed.

The Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz aren’t far off from the Warriors in the standings.

Strengths

The Warriors’ main strength is clear, when healthy. This team is electric when it comes to shooting and can fill up the bucket at insane rates. Curry is the best shooter of all time, while Thompson is close to that territory. Andrew Wiggins now has an All-Star starter role to add to his resume, and he’s a major offensive weapon too.

Golden State ranks ninth in the league in three-point shooting percentage. Sure, it may not be number one, but not a single team would dare the Warriors to shoot. They’re also third in three-pointers made per game at over 14.

They also rank among the top in other categories. The Warriors rank second in steals per game, fifth in assists per game, and seventh in rebounds per game.

Weaknesses

Injuries are a clear weakness with the Warriors. They’ve struggled with it all year long. Curry is one of the greatest players in the league, and Golden State will need him healthy come playoff time.

The same goes for Thompson and Green. Curry and Thompson form a fear-inducing backcourt capable of dropping 50+ points in any game. Green is an absolutely elite defender.

James Wiseman will also be absent, as he’s been for the duration of the season. This weakens the five for Golden State. Kevon Looney is solid and experienced, but not a major game-changer. Nemanja Bjelica provides depth but that’s about it. The uber-athletic Jonathan Kuminga can play the five, but his talents are best served elsewhere. The Warriors chose to stand pat instead of exploring big man trades at the deadline.

Golden State Warriors X-Factor

The main x-factor for this team is Thompson. This season he’s averaging about 19 points, four boards, and three assists per game. He’s also shooting close to 38 percent from three. Although these are very solid numbers, he hasn’t quite been the Thompson of the past. His last couple of games showed glimpses of what he’s capable of, and Golden State needs that older version of Thompson to truly contend.

His return from two major injuries, however, has been a true feel-good story and a phenomenal example of strength. It wouldn’t surprise many to see Thompson regularly drop 20+ points in the playoffs.

The Final Verdict for the Golden State Warriors

Golden State looked great to start the season and struggled to an extent when Thompson return. Thompson then improved, the Warriors got better, then Green, and finally Curry got injured.

It’s been a rollercoaster season yet the Warriors are still amongst the top in the league’s standings. Assuming they will be healthy (minus Wiseman), the Warriors will absolutely be contenders.

Curry, Thompson, Green, and Wiggins are all All-Star capable players. Jordan Poole is much improved, and overall the Warriors have strong youth. It’s a talented roster as well as one that isn’t short of contender experience.

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