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Even The Warriors Seem Sick Of The Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors looks on in the second quarter against the Washington Wizards at Chase Center on February 13, 2023 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Two nexuses of shit currently swirl 60 percent of the Western Conference. Fifth place and eighth place are separated by half a game, and ninth place and 13th place are separated by one game. The Golden State Warriors, whose whole thing is losing road games in weird, embarrassing ways, seemed actually primed to grab an oar and free themselves from the poopy gyre once Steph Curry returned, but no, instead they lost a road game in Oklahoma City in a weird, embarrassing way on Tuesday night.

"Here come the Warriors," I thought this past Sunday, when Curry rejoined the team on the heels of a five-game winning streak that vaulted them into fifth place, forgetting to finish that thought with, "towards the toilet!" Fresh on the heels of losing to the Lakers on Sunday, Golden State looked horrible against the Thunder. They fell behind 13-2 within the first three minutes of the game thanks to some shocking defensive lapses, bungling actions as simple as helping on a vanilla pick-and-roll or not doubling a screener and leaving a three-point shooter wide open in the corner. Curry made 10 threes and dropped 40 points and he looks like he's moving around fine, but the team can't guard anyone and certain elements seem to openly loathe playing with each other. Consider the following:

Since bottoming out for a bit starting in the 2019-20 season, the Warriors have famously tried to thread one of the trickiest needles in sports by attempting to build a bridge between the core of their title-winning teams and a bunch of young guys, rather than trading those young guys for veterans who would give them a better chance of winning as much as possible with said core. You can't really say it was a failure at all, as they won the championship last year, though you also can't mount a very strong argument that any of those young guys have cemented themselves as future core pieces on a good team. James Wiseman is in Detroit. Moses Moody doesn't play. Jordan Poole has regressed this season and the veterans, namely the guy who punched Poole this past offseason, are openly sick of him. Jonathan Kuminga is cool and does good things, I like him. Andrew Wiggins, neither a core veteran nor a future young guy, hasn't been seen in weeks and nobody knows what's going on. Steve Kerr looks so exhausted by having to wrangle all these contradictions.

Despite all those good reasons not to take them seriously, the Warriors will correctly be feared by all potential playoff foes because they still have Steph Curry. This is a weird place for a team to be 66 games into the season, and though their statistical profile and bizarre disinterest in playing with each other screams that they're going out in the first round, the idea of them winning multiple playoff series still doesn't seem ludicrous to me. Klay Thompson has been balling out lately. Their rotation is slowly becoming more normal, though if you are out here letting any Thunder guy drive to the basket unimpeded and failing to execute the simplest of defensive actions, the only way this gets fixed is if Wiggins and the clearly unhealthy Gary Payton II come in and save everything. It is still possible, though they aren't cracking the top four, which means that in the playoffs they will have to win a game outside of San Francisco. The last time they did that was in January, and they're running out of time to get their shit together.

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