At 16-13, the Warriors have showcased just enough overall skill to be considered a playoff team. Golden State is three games over .500 for the first time this season, and currently sits at seventh in the Western Conference.
Some nights, the Warriors look like a definite playoff team. Other times, they are questionable at best. That type of inconsistent pattern has been the standard for Golden State so far this year, and it likely will continue down the stretch of the second half of the season, even with Steph Curry producing another MVP-caliber season.
The Warriors are without Klay Thompson for the year, and even though Curry is approaching his 33rd birthday, he's playing as spry as ever. Golden State is a fairly young team overall, with a high ceiling ahead and plenty of room to go. That's part of the reason why ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst believes the Warriors might be better off missing the playoffs this year.
"It might behoove them, especially considering they have the Minnesota Timberwolves’ draft pick this year if it’s outside the top three, that it might be best of them to miss the playoffs and get two lottery picks in this draft," Windhorst said Thursday on ESPN's The Jump.
That's ... one heck of a strategy. Although a bonus lottery pick would obviously help the Warriors rebuild, you'd be hard-pressed in convincing Curry, coach Steve Kerr or any player on Golden State's roster that missing the playoffs in 2021 would be beneficial.
You'd also be hard-pressed in convincing former Warriors and The Jump co-host Richard Jefferson.
"Steph is having a MVP numbers stats season and the Warriors are the seventh team in the conference. The best I think they can do is probably the second round [of the playoffs]. I’m not going to ever say a guy having an MVP season, that’s one of the top 10 players of all time, should … think about losing to get a second lottery pick," Jefferson said.
Even in their roller coaster season so far, and despite the fact that they are far from the most dominant team in the league, the Warriors will give a playoff shot their best attempt, regardless what the best long-term strategy is.