The Golden State Warriors have been mentioned as a potential playoff sleeper for much of the 2020-21 NBA season and, for the most part, they’ve managed to stay in the hunt for a berth in the play-in tournament. However, do they really have a chance to make noise in the playoffs — if they end up reaching that stage in the first place? The Warriors had a very rocky start to the season but late in their schedule they have started to put the pieces together. Winning 10 of their last 15 games the Warriors are not only knocking on the door for the play in tournament they have become one of the best picks in the NBA on a night to night basis.
Entering Thursday’s action, the Warriors sit in 10th place of the Western Conference standings with a 31-31 record. With only a handful of games left in the schedule, Golden State seems primed to end up between eighth and tenth, as the New Orleans Pelicans sit 4.0 games behind Golden State. That’s just too much ground to make up for, especially considering the way both the Warriors and the Pelicans have been playing of late. If the season ended today, the Warriors would face the San Antonio Spurs (31-30) in the first round of the play-in tournament.
Let’s say the Warriors eliminate the Spurs and move on to the next round. Based on the current standings as of April 29th, the Warriors would decide their playoff fate by facing the loser of the matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Warriors would have to win both games to sneak into the postseason, where they’d face the #1 seed in the Conference. As of now, that means they’d be facing the Utah Jazz.
The Jazz have not locked up the first seed in the Conference, though. That spot could also go to the Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Clippers, or the Denver Nuggets. One thing is certain, though — the Warriors wouldn’t have a chance against any of those teams.
Golden State can rely on Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, but there’s not a lot more material in their current roster. James Wiseman has been slowed down by injuries, Andrew Wiggins has failed to take the next step in his development, and Kelly Oubre Jr. has been too inconsistent to be relied upon as the Warriors’ second-best scoring threat behind Curry. Both Oubre and Wiggins can get the job done, but both can also disappear on any given night. That’s something that simply can’t happen in the postseason.
The Warriors also lack the bench depth to make a deep playoff run. Gone are the days where they featured names such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston off the bench, and now the Warriors are lacking reliable weapons in the second unit — and that’s considering the notable improvements made by Jordan Poole in the second half of the season.
No one should count Curry out, as the star point guard can single-handedly carry the Warriors into the playoffs — as he’s done pretty much all season long. However, it wouldn’t be realistic to imagine the Warriors going deep into the playoffs with the way their current roster is constructed. The odds for Golden State to make a deep run in the playoffs are looking bleak, as this team lacks the depth, the experience, and the number of weapons to potentially make a deep postseason run in an increasingly difficult Western Conference.