The Warriors have looked a little bit more juiced in their past two contests after some early-season jitters. That will happen when Steph Curry explodes, like he did Sunday for a career-best 62-point outburst.
If the franchise hopes to get back to the playoffs after last year’s disastrous campaign it will need to keep up the same energy. Along with the shortened 72-game regular season comes an expanded 2021 playoff field that will include the top 10 teams from each conference. Under the new system, the top six teams will automatically advance to the first round but the No. 7 through No. 10 seeds will fight for the final two spots via play-in games.
Through seven topsy-turvy contests to begin the year, where should Dub Nation expect the squad to finish in the West? NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors play-by-play man Bob Fitzgerald recently joined The Morning Roast on 95.7 The Game to share his thoughts.
“To me, an amazing year would be the No. 6 seed in the West,” Fitzgerald said. “A realistic year would be in the 7-8-9-10 tournament.”
The Warriors are only through roughly 10 percent of the season, but let’s take a look at the standings.
Entering Tuesday’s action, the 4-3 Warriors are the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference that’s been wide open so far. The Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers lead the West with 5-2 records, while five teams are tied with 2-4 marks at the bottom of the standings.
Fitzgerald said the Warriors are also in prime position to succeed in 2021-22, with the anticipated return of Klay Thompson and a more mature James Wiseman.
“People just have to realize that in a 72-game season, 40 wins, that’s still a really good year,” Fitzgerald said. “Because you don’t have Klay. You’re not the team you’re going to be in a couple months. When Klay comes back and you have Minnesota’s pick and your own pick added on to this group, that’s when the Warriors are back, back, in the elite, elite.
“But right now this is a total learning curve for them. This next gauntlet, to be honest, there’s a competitiveness you look at. You don’t want them to get housed by 30. You don’t learn anything in those things.”
Over the next two weeks, the Warriors will play the top three current teams in the West, beginning with two games at Chase Center against the Clippers on Wednesday and Friday. Kawhi Leonard and Co. should provide a good test to see if the recent gains the Warriors have shown are legit.