Cause For Concern With The Warriors?

The Golden State Warriors are considered by many to be head and shoulders above anyone else in the NBA. They have depth, star power, the ability to play stifling defense along with offense that can only make a basketball purist grin from ear to ear. Essentially, they are the gold standard of the NBA and everyone is trying to catch up to them right now. As the season goes on, many are watching them, wondering how they will conduct themselves during the regular season in preparation for a run that is to be expected in the playoffs. As of right now, the Warriors are where many thought they would be record-wise, sitting at 19-6, which is shockingly only good for second place in the Western Conference (the Houston Rockets are sitting a half a game ahead of them with a record of 18-4). While the record may be good and they may get it really cranked up when it comes time to win the title, there have to be some concerns with how they are getting things done. Plenty may ignore it and think it is nothing, but in all actuality, it is something that has to be looked at and eventually addressed by Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and his team.

The Warriors are known for their patented runs and have been known for that throughout their reign as one of the NBA's best teams. When Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant start catching fire, it can be hard to extinguish them and that leads to losses for their opponents. While those types of runs have been impressive to watch, when those runs are coming has to be an issue. The Warriors have not always started games off well this season. In fact, at times they look disinterested in the game and especially on the defensive end. The result of the disinterest leads to big deficits for the Warriors going into halftime. Now after halftime, they come out refocused and ready to play and come back to win games, but this pattern is becoming all too familiar and has to be especially disturbing. One may not think so, but a familiar team to the Golden State Warriors played in a fashion similar to the Warriors after their title run. The 2016-2017 version of the Cleveland Cavaliers were coming off a championship and it seemed like the huge weight was off their back. While that may have been the case, it seemed like the Cavs started playing like they could turn it on and turn it off. The result would be they would start some games in a malaise and then turn it on to win games. That type of play eventually caught up to the Cavs when they played against the Warriors in the NBA Finals. While it did take a long time to catch up to them, the fact is it did catch up to them and the Warriors could become victim to that same type of malaise if they continue along the path their on. The Warriors need to come out with more energy to start games before they eventually dig themselves a hole they cannot get out of.

The start and finish of games is not the only concern with this team this year. The injury bug has been something that has to be looked at. Andre Iguodala has sat out some games to rest for some minor things and that is to be expected with him, but the injury issues with Durant and Curry have to be something to pay attention to. Durant is currently playing with an ankle injury. That may not seem like a big thing to many that watch the game, but you must remember the issues that Durant had in the OKC with his foot and the injury issue he had last season. Durant sat out a good portion of games last season with a knee injury. Of course he healed from that and rebounded to be the NBA Finals MVP, but this season, he is dealing with a nagging ankle injury. Durant is playing through it at this point, but those ankle injuries are ones that can linger for some time. Not only is Durant dealing with an ankle injury, but so is Steph Curry. He has had a few times where he has seemingly did something to his ankle or foot this season and kept playing through it, but the ankle injury he suffered recently against the New Orleans Pelicans looked really serious. He is supposed to be re-evaluated in two weeks, but the concern not only is that he rolled his ankle bad, but that it is the ankle that he had so much trouble with earlier in his career. It may not seem like a big thing to those that are used to seeing him play and play so well the last few years after those ankle issues, but those thoughts definitely have to creep into the minds of Warriors fans and the mind of Steph Curry as well. These injuries along with guys sitting out could all be to get ready for another run, but the Durant and Curry injury issues have to be a little concerning to the Warriors team.

The Warriors are the prohibited favorites to win the NBA title for a reason, but there is a reason for concern also. The team has all the pieces but it's all about getting to that point of being healthy and also playing at a high level at the right time. As the season goes on, we shall see how the Warriors do in terms of getting prepared to defend their title. While they are the best team in the NBA, they still have some work to do.

(AP Photo Courtesy of Brandon Dill)

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