The Golden State Warriors are certainly one of the favorites to win the Finals this year. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. The Warriors have won three of the last four championships and that kind of success takes its toll. Every time the Warriors take the court they are expected to win. Sure, everyone knows that even the best teams lose sometimes. But no one ever expects the Warriors to lose on any given day. That’s a lot of pressure to have on your shoulders each night you go to work.
This pressure comes from fans, the media, and perhaps most importantly, from the Warriors themselves. When you’ve been the best team in the league for a few years running, you don’t want to lose that status. But that means you have to play your best every single night. This kind of effort, day in and day out, is hard to maintain. There’s a reason that most teams can’t sustain championship teams year after year.
Perhaps the biggest difficulty of being known as the best team in the league is that every other team gives you their best effort every night. Each time the Warriors take the floor, they’re going up against the best of whatever their opponents have to offer. Coaches are not resting their star players on the night they play the warriors. Players are not phoning it in when they go up against Steph and company. Everyone wants to bring down the king and right now that’s Golden State.
The Stress of Success
It isn’t easy to manage success and keep it going. But the Warriors are doing a good job of it. But although they are still in the running for the number one seed in the West, they are not quite as confident as in years past. They are a game out of first place at the moment. The Denver Nuggets currently hold the top spot.
While the Warriors are already in the playoffs, which seed they might be is still up in the air. This is new for them. With only a few games left in the season, the Warriors are usually already locked in at number one or at least number two. But things are a little bit more precarious at the moment.
Steph and Green have come out and said in interviews that the pressure and difficulty of playing at such a high level every night has been slowing them down. They haven’t won as many games this season as they have in past years. And they’ve lost more at home as well. They’ve won just over 50 games and there are only a handful of games left to play.
Should the Warriors be Worried?
The Warriors may not be in as good a place as they have been in past seasons but there is no reason to panic. They still have Steph Curry after all. They may be slowing down a bit as a unit. Or perhaps the rest of the league is catching up. Either way, the narrowing of the gap between the Warriors and everyone else only makes for a more exciting NBA playoff.
In the end, it may not matter if the Warriors get the number one seed or not. All along they’ve played with the attitude that the only games that matter are the ones that keep the season alive. Losing a regular season game or getting the number two seed don’t exclude you from getting to the Finals. So the Warriors don’t worry too much about those shortcomings. They are in the playoffs and rest assured their presence is already felt.
With a lower win total than usual near the end of the season, are the Warriors on pace to make it to another Finals?