With some of the many surprises that have happened in this early NBA season, one of the biggest would be the struggles of the Golden State Warriors. Coming into this season, the sky seemed to be the limit, with the Warriors winning their fourth championship in eight years. In addition to Steph Curry doing the usual incredible Steph Curry things, the Warriors seem to have a stable of young talent ready to step up with forward Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, Guards Jordan Poole, Moses Moody, and center James Wiseman.
Sounds great, right? Well, not really. First, the Draymond Green practice punch overshadowed the start of the season. Then, there continue to be questions surrounding fellow splash brother Klay Thompson and if he could get back to his all-star ways after two season-ending injuries. Jordan Poole has been inconsistent, and Wiseman has been sent down to the G League.
Suddenly, the free-flow, high points scoring Warriors team is looking at a 6-9 record (0-8 on the road) coming off a 130-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns, where Curry scored 50 points. Usually, that would be a death sentence for teams, but not anymore. You can’t blame it on Curry – he’s been doing his part with a 32.8-point average on 53-45-93 shooting splits. (that’s amazing). The all-star guard spoke after the Suns game about the team’s struggles.
“Forget the road record, we can’t find a sustainable period of success where habits start to form and we’re in a position where we’re coming off the court feeling good about ourselves,” said Stephen Curry, who posted his 11th career 50-point game to tie Allen Iverson for ninth all time.
“It’s a struggle right now, keeping it real,” Curry said. “We have to understand that it’s going to be really hard to dig yourself out of the situation that we’re in because there are a lot of issues.”
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One of the most underrated aspects about these Warriors teams is what they do on the defensive end. Last season, they had one of the best defensive ratings at one point. In just 15 games, the Warriors have given up 125 points or more in six games. They are ranked 27th in defensive efficiency. Head coach Steve Kerr contributes this to a lack of cohesiveness.
“We lack collective grit. We’re playing a Drew League game right now,” Kerr said. “I’ve always felt the game rewards you if you commit to the game. If you compete together, shots go in, calls go your way, breaks fall your way, and we’re not earning any of this stuff. That’s why we are winless on the road. It’s a pick-up game.”
If any team in the NBA can get out of a funk, it’s the Golden State Warriors. However, these struggles feel different. As the league itself gets more athletic and their big three get older, time is running out for them to keep this dynasty going.