Can Golden State Warriors Make the Playoffs This Year?

Photo: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

With just two wins recorded through their first eight games, it’s fair to say things haven’t exactly gone to plan for Steve Kerr’s side following their recent move to San Francisco.

Having traded the likes of Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shawn Livingston, Warriors fans had every right to be concerned with their distinct lack of defensive identity. Draymond Green immediately called out his teammates following their lackluster performances during the first few games of the season, which did spark an initial reaction in their victory against the Pelicans. However, things have got a whole lot worse since then.

All-star guards Steph Curry (fractured hand) and D’Angelo Russell (ankle) have both been sidelined with injuries, as has Kevon Looney (hamstring) and Green himself (finger). That leaves the Warriors looking incredibly threadbare on both sides of the court. Eric Paschall has stepped up on the scoring front the past few games and, as far as NBA predictions go, few saw his dominating 34-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers coming.

Yet despite the undeniable promise shown by Paschall, the lack of depth is still there for all to see. With all this in mind, let’s take a look at three key factors that need to happen if the Warriors are to stand any chance of making the playoffs next year. Let’s get to it.

Stay injury-free

On the paint” (CC BY 2.0) by Gunn Shots (On and off these days)

To say the Warriors haven’t had too much luck with injuries lately would be an understatement of the highest proportion. Their starting line-up has been absolutely decimated in recent weeks, which is why they’re no longer considered a serious contender in most people’s NBA picks for the playoffs. And that’s before you even take into account the fact that Klay Thompson looks set to stay out for the remainder of the regular season.

Kerr and his staff will have their mind fixed firmly on getting the likes of Green and Russell back in the starting line-up as soon as possible. Add Curry and Looney to the mix and the Warriors start looking like a serious contender in the Western Conference once again. They’re certainly due a spell of good luck, that’s for sure.

Develop young talent

Every cloud has a silver lining and in the case of the Warriors that lining is the fact that their young talent will get a chance to learn, grow and adapt to the pace and pressure of an NBA season. The likes of Paschall, Glen Robinson III, Jordan Poole and Alec Burks all have a huge opportunity to make a name for themselves in the absence of so many regular starters.

This extra playing time will do wonders for their confidence by the time Curry and the rest slot back into the starting line-up. It may actually bode well for the Warriors in the long term, though only if the young auxiliaries can avoid getting blown out in every other game.

Curry needs to find MVP form

Steph Curry” (CC BY 2.0) by EDrost88

Though he’s due to stay out with a hand injury for a few more weeks at least, Steph Curry will no doubt have his mind fixed firmly on hitting the ground running as soon as he’s fit and healthy. He’ll need to get back to his best form quickly if the Warriors are to keep in touching distance with the rest of the playoff contenders in the West. We certainly haven’t seen the best of Curry so far this season, though you certainly wouldn’t put it past him to rediscover his shooting touch sooner rather than later. It seems like a long shot right now, but if the Warriors do manage to hit all these key points then they’ve got every chance of turning their season around before Christmas. Let’s see how it all plays out!