Thing started great for the Golden State Warriors in the 2023-24 NBA season. After losing their home opener against the Phoenix Suns, they rattled off five wins in a row and looked like they might put themselves into a position to contend for another NBA title. Led by the indefatigable Steph Curry, who has averaged 30.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists a game, the Dubs looked like they were on the right path.
Things haven’t been so rosy since that 5-1 start, though. They’ve since flipped the script and gone 1-6, which has pushed them from near the top of the Western Conference to the play-in positions. To make things worse, they’re now currently dealing with a knee injury that has caused Steph Curry to miss game time. The Warriors have downplayed the severity of the injury, stressing that there’s no structural damage, but that also means that they won’t be trying to rush him back considering his age and importance to the Warriors’ contention hopes.
Sadly for them, in their latest game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Gary Payton II also sprained his ankle and was unable to return to the game.
Those two injuries to a star and a key role player are enough of a problem, but the Warriors now also have to deal with Draymond Green’s suspension for choking Rudy Gobert during an altercation that happened less than two minutes into a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Green was handed a five-game suspension by the league – thinning out their options even further.
The five-game suspension for Green also sets a precedent for the rest of the season. Should he be caught committing more violent acts on the court, he could find himself forced out with a lengthier suspension. The league highlighted that his past history played a factor in the length of his current suspension, which is a pretty clear warning. The suspension even prompted Steve Kerr to finally admit that Green took things too far after initially trying to come up with excuses for his player’s actions.
Golden State are now desperately short on firepower, especially when you consider that Klay Thompson is averaging just 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 40.1% from the field and 32.9% from beyond the arc. He shot 1 of 10 in his most recent game against the Thunder, which ended up being a 128-109 blowout defeat.
The Warriors only have two other players averaging double-digit scoring in Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins, with the latter also struggling this season with averages of 10.5 points and 4.2 rebounds.
The recent slump shows how important Curry is to the team, but even his elite scoring may not be enough for them this season. Others need to step up, especially once Curry returns to action. Having their best player on the court will always give the Dubs a chance to win, but with the Western Conference being loaded with talent, the Warriors’ supporting cast needs to show up regularly for them to make a deep playoff run.