At this rate, even POs are at risk… Golden State at greatest risk

Golden State’s playoff hopes are in limbo.

The Golden State Warriors fell 111-123 against the Indiana Pacers in the 2023-2024 NBA regular season at the Chase Center in San Francisco, California, on Monday night (Jan. 23).

Ace Steph Curry led the way with 25 points and 11 rebounds, but the Warriors were outplayed by Indiana’s one-two punch of Pascal Siakam and Tyreese Halliburton in the home loss.

The loss dropped Golden State to 36-33. They remained in 10th place in the Western Conference. The problem was that the gap to the 11th-place Houston Rockets had shrunk to two games.

Midway through the season, it looked like the race for 10th place in the Western Conference was effectively over as Houston struggled, but the Rockets have won seven straight games to close the gap.

The 10th spot is important because it’s the final spot in the play-in tournament. If they finish 11th, their season is over. Golden State is also paying a hefty luxury tax this season. Missing the playoffs would be financially devastating.

Golden State”s recent form hasn”t been good. They’re 4-6 in their last 10 games and have been very up and down. When they’re playing well, Golden State looks like the team they were in their prime and can beat any team, but when they’re not playing well, they look like the worst team in the NBA.

The reason for Golden State’s ups and downs is that they don’t have a consistent player. Curry, the only player who can be considered consistent throughout the season, has been up and down lately, possibly as a result of his declining health.

The same can’t be said for the other players. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Cuminga, and others have been up and down from game to game.

When you’re inconsistent on offense, you have to hang in there on defense and find opportunities. However, Golden State’s defense this season hasn’t exactly been doing that.

This season, the Warriors are giving up an average of 116.9 points per game, which ranks 20th in the NBA. They also have a defensive rating of 116.2, which is 18th in the NBA, meaning they are a below-average defensive team this season.

The Warriors are known for their spectacular three-point shooting, but they’ve also been great on defense. Curry, Thompson, Green, and others have all been able to dominate on defense. In their prime, Golden State’s defense was as scary as their three-point shooting.

This season, however, their defense has declined. Green has consistently played good defense, but he’s missed a lot of time due to suspension. The problem isn’t Green, it’s the other players.

Wiggins, who was rated as the second-best defender after Green, has dropped significantly, and Kuminga has been up and down on defense. Add to that Thompson’s injury and aging, and you have a player who has lost a lot of his defensive ability. The decline of Kevon Rooney, who has been a stalwart in the backcourt, is also disappointing. Chris Paul is no longer the player he was in his prime. Gary Payton II, who was acquired via trade, has missed too many games due to injury.

The Warriors have been fueled by rookies Brandin Pogbaemski and Tracy Jackson-Davis, but their inexperience has been showing lately. In fact, both rookies have exceeded expectations all season long. It’s harsh to put the blame on the rookies.

The reason Golden State is in crisis is that they don’t have a rebounding factor. It’s hard to expect veterans who have struggled all season to suddenly come alive at the end of the season when they’ve been out of shape.

The younger players are too up and down from game to game to be trusted. Steve Kerr isn’t the type of coach to actively play young players.

As a result, the veterans need to bounce back. The Warriors will have to rely on Curry, Thompson, Green, Wiggins, and other veterans to bounce back.

The Warriors are now in danger of falling out of the top 10 in the Western Conference. Can the Warriors pull themselves out of the hole?