23-24 NBA Season: Mavericks Defeat Warriors 132-122, How Do You Evaluate This Game?

True Point Guard: 22 points + 23 assists, the number of assists is nearly catching up with the “point guard” next door’s scoring…

Oh right, in the last game, Haliburton’s number of assists was more than the “true point guard’s” combined points and assists…

Warriors' Offseason Hopes and Struggles

During the offseason, the Warriors' owner insisted that the core lineup with Curry, Thompson, and Green still had championship potential. However, after a third of the season has passed, it seems more realistic for the Warriors to aim for the play-in tournament spots.

With such results, the team should be thankful for Chris Paul leading the new recruits to perform beyond their contract levels. Currently, the Warriors are spending the highest salaries in the league, which is definitely not meeting the owner’s expectations.

Consequently, rumors have started circulating that the Warriors are considering trading Andrew Wiggins to promote the Curry-led lineup. This might not be an unfounded rumor. With the current salary cap situation, the Warriors don’t have much room for reinforcement. Curry is untouchable as the soul of the team, Green is unattractive to other teams, and Thompson’s current performance doesn’t hold much trade value, especially with his contract expiring next summer. Wiggins, being in his prime age and holding a reasonable contract, holds the most trade value.

If the team doesn’t make it to the playoffs this year, it might be better for the Warriors to rebuild. They could let Thompson and Paul go next summer, trade Wiggins, and save on salaries, allowing the current young roster to gain more playing time and experience, which might offer more hope for the future.

Warriors' Dilemma: Between Legacy and Future

The Golden State Warriors suffered losses against the Nuggets and Heat, and upon reviewing the games along with their match against the Mavericks, it’s evident that Curry’s shooting has significantly declined. The underlying issue is Draymond Green’s suspension, which has disrupted Curry’s shooting rhythm—he’s lost his tempo setter in Green.

For a shooter, an excellent shooting rhythm is like the launch button for perfection. It reminds me of watching my cousin smoothly execute Iori Yagami’s combos in the arcade, defeating other players. When I asked him the secret, he emphasized the importance of the timing in the combo; too slow or too fast wouldn’t work. Mastering this is akin to understanding rhythm and touch.

Curry and Green have developed a unique rhythm over the years, and any minor changes or prolonged absence of Green can disrupt Curry’s shooting rhythm. Even with Curry’s vitality, the deepening season and physical fatigue can lead to missed shots, further leading to a vicious cycle of rushing and missing more.

The same logic applies to Klay Thompson. After severe injuries, his explosiveness has diminished, affecting his shooting rhythm.

But the question remains: Can the Warriors rely solely on the Curry-Green tempo for success? Or more bluntly, can they still believe in a 36-year-old Curry as the sole core for championship contention? The surrounding all-stars may seem intimidating, but it’s clear their age, injuries, and mentality no longer consistently deliver an all-star caliber performance of averaging 20 points per game.

Since their last championship, the Warriors have been stuck in a contradiction between honoring veterans and integrating new talents. Now, the contradiction lies in multiple playstyles and lineups. The Warriors' rotation is vast, almost cobbling together three competitively similar squads:

A Curry-Green passing and cutting game;

A Paul-Saric pick and roll centric strategy;

And a need for young players like Jordan Poole and Davis to run and play in open space for growth and error-making.

The veterans have secured four championships, but this season Paul has carried the bench numerous times, and the rookies are evidently more energetic and ambitious. This leaves coach Steve Kerr in a difficult position, juggling multiple developmental paths.

The crux of all these issues is whether the Warriors still believe in the competitiveness of the old guard of Curry and Thompson. The team’s confidence seems to fluctuate, hesitating between commitment and doubt.

This is in stark contrast to teams like the Mavericks, who regardless of Luka Dončić’s fluctuations, have centered their strategy around him, leading to a more decisive and perhaps satisfying path, even if it doesn’t lead to a championship.

Can you say the Warriors don’t want to win? They’re certainly giving it their all, but no matter the lineup or strategy, they’re not at the top tier of the league. So, Kerr tried mixing it up, bringing in the much-anticipated lineup with Poole and Wiggins alongside Curry, Paul, and Davis. While this lineup has potential, it’s under-rehearsed, especially against a well-synchronized Mavericks.

The Warriors are arguably the most perplexed team in the league, leaving fans equally baffled. While teams like the Nuggets, Bucks, and Celtics are clear contenders, others are blatantly tanking or retooling for future contention. Teams with defined cores are building around them, and franchises like the Lakers, Clippers, and Suns at least have a semblance of a plan.

Yet, the Warriors seem lost, caught between their illustrious past and an uncertain future, unable to decide which path to commit to fully.

During lunchtime, the Lakers and Warriors both lost. Let’s go, Wuhan takeoff~

NBA Playoff Outlook

I have no expectations for the Warriors' games anymore, so I don’t pay much attention. A team with five All-Stars is now on the edge of the play-in tournament, and there’s not much to look forward to.

After a five-game winning streak, Curry has completely lost his touch, scoring only thirteen points in the last game. The problem is that thirteen points are still the highest individual score on the team. It fully illustrates how weak the team’s offense is right now, with Curry scoring thirteen points as the team’s leading scorer. The other Warriors players have been modest for years!

Losing to the Mavericks today was expected. In previous games, they could come back from behind thanks to Curry’s outstanding performance, but in these recent games, Curry has lost his shooting touch. With no more Curry’s gravity, the Warriors no longer have the ability to compete with any strong team. This season, they will likely be on the edge of the play-in tournament. Don’t be surprised if the Warriors are excluded from the playoffs because many young teams in the Western Conference have been honing their skills for years and are ready to make a breakthrough, such as the Timberwolves, Thunder, Nuggets, and Clippers, who have essentially secured the top four spots in the West.

The fifth to eighth playoff spots in the West are likely to be claimed by the Kings, who are stable and have a reasonable roster, and the Suns. The remaining two spots will be contested by the Lakers, struggling Warriors, young Rockets, Pelicans, and Mavericks. The Mavericks will likely fall behind in the late season, the Pelicans have injury issues with their two stars, and they lack late-season strength. They may be the first to drop out.

The Rockets have had a decent season, but they will likely struggle to compete with the Lakers and Warriors in the late season. I believe the Lakers and Warriors will secure the last two playoff spots.