Warriors, ousted in 6, agree: This was not a championship team

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The Golden State Warriors have been one of the most successful franchises in recent NBA history. With five straight NBA Finals appearances and three championships over those five years, the Warriors have been the cream of the crop in the Western Conference. However, those days are now behind them, after they were ousted in six games by the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in tournament. Many fans and analysts are now saying that this was not a championship team, and we have to agree.

One of the key factors in the Warriors’ demise this season was the absence of Klay Thompson. Thompson, one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, missed the entire year with an Achilles injury. Thompson’s absence was felt deeply on both ends of the court. Not only did the Warriors lose one of their top scorers, but they also lost one of their best defenders. Thompson’s elite perimeter defense was sorely missed, as the Warriors struggled to stop opposing guards and wings all season long. This was evident in their play-in game against the Grizzlies, as they let Ja Morant put on a masterful performance, dropping a game-high 35 points and leading the Grizzlies to victory.

Another issue with the Warriors this season was their lack of depth. Without Thompson, the Warriors had to rely heavily on Stephen Curry and Draymond Green to carry the load. While Curry had a historic season, averaging 32 points per game and leading the league in scoring, he simply couldn’t do it all on his own. Green, while an excellent facilitator and defender, isn’t much of a scorer. The Warriors’ lack of scoring options off the bench was also a problem. Their bench unit was one of the weakest in the league, with players such as Kent Bazemore and Jordan Poole struggling to provide meaningful contributions offensively. When Curry was off the court, the team’s offense sputtered, resulting in several close losses throughout the season.

Another issue that contributed to the Warriors’ downfall was their inability to stay healthy. In addition to Thompson’s season-ending Achilles injury, the Warriors also had to deal with injuries to several other key players. Curry missed a handful of games with various ailments, and Green dealt with nagging injuries all season long. Andrew Wiggins, who the Warriors acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2020, also missed time due to injury. When the Warriors were healthy, they were a formidable team, but too often, they were forced to play with less-than-ideal lineups due to injuries.

It’s worth noting that head coach Steve Kerr deserves some blame for the Warriors’ struggles this season as well. Kerr has long been hailed as one of the best coaches in the league, but this season, some of his decisions left fans scratching their heads. For instance, some fans questioned why Kerr didn’t give more playing time to rookie center James Wiseman, whom the team selected with the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Wiseman showed flashes of potential throughout the season, but he only played in 39 games and never seemed to gain much momentum. Some fans also criticized Kerr’s decision to start Juan Toscano-Anderson in the play-in game against the Grizzlies over Poole, who had been playing well in the team’s last few regular-season games.

Despite all of these issues, it’s important to remember that the Warriors were still a playoff team this year. They finished the regular season with a 39-33 record, good for eighth in the Western Conference. They also managed to hang tough with the Grizzlies in the play-in game, despite Curry having an off night shooting-wise. The Warriors may have been a flawed team this season, but they still had some moments of brilliance.

Looking ahead, it’s unclear what the future holds for the Warriors. Thompson will return from his injury next season, which will be a huge boon for the team. However, there are still concerns about the team’s depth and their ability to stay healthy. The Warriors also have some decisions to make regarding their roster; players such as Bazemore, Poole, and Kelly Oubre Jr. are all set to become free agents this offseason.

In conclusion, the Golden State Warriors were not a championship team this year. They had several key issues that held them back, including the absence of Klay Thompson, a lack of depth, injuries, and questionable coaching decisions. However, the Warriors still have some talented players on their roster and a bright future ahead of them. It’s just a matter of addressing their weaknesses and putting together a team that can contend again in the Western Conference.