Warriors

Warriors exceeding expectations this season, Van Gundy says

Warriors
Warriors' Steph Curry celebrates

The Warriors entered Friday with a 6-6 record, good enough for eighth place in the Western Conference.

With as many wins as losses, Golden State's a blank canvas for one's own expectations. Apologies for the mixed metaphor, but the Warriors' glass is either half empty or half full, depending upon your perspective, with no real room for middle ground based solely on their record.

Count ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy among those with an optimistic outlook.

"I think Golden State has really rebounded well [from an 0-2 start]," Van Gundy said Friday night during ESPN's broadcast of the Milwaukee Bucks-Dallas Mavericks game. "They had an awful first two games where they looked overmatched. And now, they are finding themselves. I think they've exceeded what anybody's expectations could have been for them to start the year."

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One sixth of the way into the 72-game season, the Warriors have been enigmatic. They're still trying to forge an identity in Klay Thompson's absence, with rookie center James Wiseman still acclimating to the NBA and the Warriors still acclimating to each other following a substantial offseason makeover.

There have been encouraging wins, including back-to-back victories over the Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors. Of course, the Warriors then proceeded to lose their next two games.

The abnormalities of this season make it difficult to come to any meaningful conclusions. The Warriors are not only playing without Thompson, but (primarily) in empty arenas as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the United States. In a season unlike any other, how much stock can -- or, better yet, should -- be put into any team's performance?

 
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At the very least, Golden State's .500 record also represents a stark improvement over last season. The Warriors never were better than a game under .500 in 2019-20, as Thompson missed the entirety of the season and Curry missed all but five games.

With all of the adverse and unusual circumstances this season, Van Gundy's choosing to look on the bright side of the Warriors' up-and-down start to 2020-21. Chances are Golden State is, too.