For the past five seasons, the Golden State Warriors have been near the top of the basketball world. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have changed the way basketball is played, Steve Kerr has solidified his coaching credentials, and the franchise grew into a modern dynasty. This season, however, has been quite a bit different.
After losing almost all of their star power to free agency and injury, the Warriors are sitting at the bottom of the NBA standings. One move, however, reveals how far the mighty have fallen, at least temporarily.
The Golden State Warriors fall from grace
While the Golden State Warriors assembled a modern dynasty, everything started changing after their NBA Finals defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors. Kevin Durant left headed east and joined the Brooklyn Nets; Andre Iguodala moved to Memphis, and Shaun Livingston retired.
When the season began, the Warriors were still playing without Klay Thompson, who tore his ACL against Toronto. Things quickly got worse, however, as Steph Curry broke his hand. Draymond Green has also been in and out of the lineup, as the forward battles a heel issue.
That reality has left the Warriors severely undermanned in a competitive Western Conference; while D’Angelo Russell and Eric Paschall are doing their best to keep the club afloat, they simply don’t have enough firepower. Golden State currently has the worst record in basketball, but that’s not the biggest indignation they’ve suffered this year.
The NBA drops the Warriors from the ESPN lineup
NBA players, like all other professional athletes, have a bit of an ego. Everyone has to believe in their own abilities; no athlete wants to feel like their talents are underappreciated and unseen. Unfortunately for the Golden State Warriors, that’s going to become their reality.
The NBA recently decided to remove two of the Warriors’ games from the nationally televised lineup. While Golden State’s games with the Utah Jazz on December 13 and the Portland Trail Blazers on December 18 were slated to air on ESPN, those games have been replaced. The Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves will fill the former spot, while the Boston Celtics will play the Dallas Mavericks in the latter.
While the move will probably seem like a bit of a slap in the Warriors’ collective face, it makes sense; not too many fans want to tune in to watch Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson. When you’re the best team in the NBA, everyone wants to watch your games. When you’re the worst team in the league, fans are a bit less receptive.
The Golden State Warriors should return to form
While being bumped off of national TV may rub salt in the Golden State Warriors’ wounds, the franchise doesn’t have that much to feel bad about. This season is painful, but it’s also an aberration. If anything, being this bad could be a blessing in disguise.
Playing without Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Klay Thompson was always going to be painful, but losing Steph Curry gave the Warriors an excuse to write this season off. Rather than fighting uphill for a shot at the title, the club can use the 2019-20 campaign to bed some new players into the lineup. Next season, when Curry and Thompson are back to full strength, they’ll know what to expect from guys like Eric Paschall; the Warriors might even have a number one draft pick to add to the mix.
No one wants to lose games or suffer the indignity of being dropped from the ESPN schedule. If it helps the team in the long run, however, the Golden State Warriors won’t be complaining.