Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com (insider only) wrote an article that caught my attention. He argues that the Warriors' 7-4 start is an illusion. Naturally, I beg to differ.
The schedule has played a big role in the Dubs best start in years, as pointed out by Haberstroh. What he neglects to mention, though, is that the Warriors have played more road games than at home and haven't lost one that they shouldn't have, save for their first game on the road against the Pistons. They've won games without Stephen Curry and David Lee. Even the acquisition of David Lee was downplayed, as previously chronicled here on this blog.
What's the idea behind pointing out the Warriors' easy schedule? Did anyone expect them to be title contenders? If the playoffs started today the Dubs would be the 6th seed, just ahead of the Thunder and Trailblazers. No one is expecting them to beat the Lakers, Celtics and Heat.
The teams they need to stay in front of aren't powerhouses, are they? The Nuggets, Suns, Rockets and Grizzlies certainly all have flaws. Last I checked none of them have improved their defenses, and a couple of them have their best players on the trade block. It's safe to say that the Dubs can stay ahead of these teams and maybe even the Blazers due to the recent news about Brandon Roy and Greg Oden's health.
The Utah Jazz were cited as a quality victory, but the Dubs were also discredited for beating the Rockets. A team who was thought to be playoff worthy before the season started, the 5-0 home record was neglected information as well.
Finally, Monta Ellis, who an anonymous western conference GM states is "overpaid", was suggested as trade bait since this would be the perfect time to cash in on Monta's talents. If $11 Million a year is too much for the second leading score in the league and your best player, then I don't know who isn't overpaid.
So should Warriors fans take this early season start with a grain of salt and fall back to being cautiously optimistic? Personally, I felt the Warriors proved they can make the playoffs when they beat the Utah Jazz. They're playing real basketball, something that very few teams are doing. You know, rebounding, running when they can, and as mentioned, playing defense.
They don't need to beat the Lakers on the road to prove they're a playoff team, they just need to continue beating the teams that they should and that continue to be conveniently placed in front of them. Like the Knicks on Friday. As it stands right now they're doing a pretty good job of staying ahead of the "contenders" for that 8th seed.
Nuggets 6-5 (Will most likely trade Carmelo Anthony before February.)
Suns 6-6 (May trade Steve Nash and start rebuilding.)