Warriors’ playoff hopes fading out of sight

November 18, 2019 — by Kevin Sze

OK, I was wrong. Very wrong.

Two issues ago, I predicted the Warriors would still make a run at the NBA championship this year. If you’ve followed the NBA at all so far, you probably know that this is looking about as likely as getting struck by lightning. 

In the first possession of the 2019-2020 season in the new Chase Center in San Francisco, point guard Stephen Curry launched a 3-pointer from 40 feet. 

And completely airballed. 

The shot was symbolic of the Warriors’ performance so far this year as they sit at a league-worst 2-9 record as of Nov. 12. 

Curry suffered a broken hand against the surprisingly competent Phoenix Suns team on Oct. 30. Power forward Draymond Green has missed multiple games with a finger injury. Even their best player, newly acquired All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell has been sidelined sometimes by ankle injuries. 

In the 2018-2019 season, the Warriors started the following lineup: point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guard Klay Thompson, small forward Kevin Durant, power forward Draymond Green and center Demarcus Cousins. 

Three MVP awards and 27 All-Star appearances split among the five players. 

In the 2019-2020 season, after Curry and Green’s injuries, the Warriors started the following lineup: point guard D’Angelo Russell, shooting guard Jordan Poole, small forward Glenn Robinson III, power forward Eric Paschall and center Willie Cauley-Stein.

One All-Star appearance and approximately 280 NBA regular season game appearances among the five players. To put that in perspective, Curry has played 698 games over the course of his career. 

The rest of the season looks rather miserable for the Warriors. Curry will be re-evaluated in three months, but the team clearly wasn’t the same even with Curry on the floor. 

With injuries and lackluster play from the Warriors, it’s clear that they won’t even make the playoffs this year. 

With that in mind, I’m rooting against the Warriors. I’m hoping teams thrash them night in and night out, and they end the regular season with the worst record in the NBA and receive a lottery pick.

With that pick, the Warriors can secure a solid young player — ideally a big, as they lack size. 

Another possibility for the Warriors is to trade Russell before the trade deadline for a pick, a wing player, or a combination of the two. 

Russell’s skillset is largely redundant to Curry, and starting Curry at the point guard and Russell at the shooting guard raises questions on the defensive side of the ball. 

They still have formidable players in Curry, Thompson, Green and Russell. If Curry and Thompson come back from their injuries fully recovered, they can look toward the 2020-2021 season to make another run at a title. 

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