Warriors thoughts

Long as I’ve started back to writing about basketball, might as well weigh in a little bit on the Warriors. They lost to the Lakers last night, and are now 29-30 and in 10th-place in the Western Conference.

Two schools of thought have emerged about this year’s team and it’s immediate future: One is that their championship pedigree will kick in at some point, the Warriors will get into the postseason, and once there, it’s possible they could run the table; thought No. 2 is that the Warriors are done … “cooked,” as Charles Barkley said.

Some quick thoughts, and I’m sure we’ll get to them on today’s show:

–Looking at the standings, it’s appearing more and more clear that the only seeding the Warriors are playing for is seeds No. 7 through No. 10. Right now, Dallas is No. 6, and you’ve got to figure they’re on the upswing rather than downswing. The Lakers are behind the Warriors right now, but with LA healthy and the Warriors without Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins, how much longer can it stay that way?

–Nobody will ever say the Warriors have a Steph Curry problem, but maybe they have a Steph Curry dilemma. Look, when Curry is on the court, the Warriors can beat anyone. We know that. The problem is, as he nears his 35th birthday, that Curry is playing less and less.

Curry has played in 38 of 60 games this season, good for 63 percent of his team’s total. Last year, Curry played 64 games, good for 78 percent of his team’s total. Year before that, Curry played in 63 of 72 games, but keep in mind he had missed all but five games the previous season. Curry missed 13 games in 2018-19 and 31 games the year. before that.

As Curry gets older, you can’t expect him to play night in and night out. But if Curry can play only a portion of his team’s games, how can the Warriors be better than just an average team in the standings? So they’d be looking at what feels like a longshot run for the next few years. Not sure what the solution is, either.

–Jonathan Kuminga has a ton of talent and will likely be a nice player down the road. But at this point, is he consistent enough to the first big off the bench on a title-contending team? When Kuminga is good, he can guard on the ball and finish around the rim. But there are too many games where Kuminga doesn’t make an impact, and the Warriors aren’t good enough to live with that game in and game out.

–On any other team, Klay Thompson’s drop-off defensively wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But Thompson always has been the most important defender on this team, with the exception of Draymond Green.

At his best, you could put Thompson on the other team’s point guard or best backcourt player and he would turn that player most nights into a volume shooter. Since his injury, Thompson has slipped defensively, which is likely age too. Hey, it happens.

The Warriors can’t/don’t put Thompson on those players anymore; instead he guards small forwards and bigger players even. But Thompson is a significantly better on-ball defender than off-ball so when he guards those players, it’s not his strength. The only way the Warriors have a run in them is if they can begin to contain dribble penetration. That used to be Thompson’s forte.


About Steinmetz

Matt Steinmetz is a veteran San Francisco Bay Area sports journalist. He covered the Golden State Warriors for the Bay Area News Group for more than a decade before becoming a television analyst with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Steinmetz can be heard on "Steiny & Guru" on 95.7-FM The Game in San Francisco, from 12-3.
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