The NBA isn’t ready for the Golden State Warriors to miss the playoffs

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Highlights The Golden State Warriors’ playoff dominance over the past decade ranks them #1 in series wins and championships.
Despite a potential playoff miss, the Warriors remain a major draw with the most national TV games in the league.
The NBA heavily relies on aging superstars like Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant as the faces of the league.
The Golden State Warriors have been at the forefront of NBA fans’ minds for over a decade of basketball, and have been one of the league’s main draws since Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and co. hit their primes in the early 2010s.
Entering the 2023-24 season, the Warriors had an 11-year stretch where they made the playoffs nine times, only missing because of excruciating injury luck to their three best players.
Golden State Has Been the Dominant Team of the Era
No other team has won at a higher level over the past decade
24 playoff series victories and four championships later, Golden State has forged one of the most memorable dynasties in NBA history, all centered around six main guys. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Steve Kerr, and general manager Bob Myers were present for the entirety of the championship run, and will go down in conversations with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and Magic Johnson’s LA Lakers.
Golden State’s Playoff Success since 2013 Category Stat NBA Rank Playoff Series Wins 24 1st NBA Championships 4 1st NBA Finals Appearances 6 1st Playoff Appearances 9 2nd
However, all sports runs must come to an end, and Golden State is finally showing cracks in their armor. Myers and Iguodala are gone, Thompson has rapidly declined because of devastating injuries, and Green seems to be in the news for all the wrong reasons lately.
Some poor roster management and draft choices have culminated in the worst healthy Warriors season in over a decade, placing them on the brink of missing the Play-In Tournament entirely. As things stand on April 2, Golden State sits just two games ahead of the Houston Rockets for the final spot with eight contests remaining. The Warriors will hold the tiebreaker due to head-to-head records but have a huge road matchup with the Rockets on April 4.
Needless to say, the Warriors are in danger of missing the playoffs, which would have seemed impossible a year ago.
The NBA Isn’t Ready for Golden State to Miss the Playoffs
Stephen Curry remains one of the league’s top attractions
Despite the notion from fans that they hate watching teams dominate the league year after year, it is usually the exact opposite. Golden State has been by far the most popular team to watch over the past decade, only rivaled by whatever team LeBron James is on.
The 2016 and 2017 NBA Finals between the Warriors and James’ Cleveland Cavaliers remain two of the highest-rated finals series of all time, putting more eyeballs on the sport than ever before. Whether the Warriors are hated or loved, NBA fans always tune in to watch them. This holds true today, with Golden State still playing in the most national TV games despite such a mediocre product on the floor.
National TV Games by Team (2023-24) Team National TV Games Warriors 41 Lakers 40 Suns 37 Celtics 34 Nuggets 30
Golden State is playing exactly half of their games on national TV, easily surpassing the defending NBA Champion Denver Nuggets and the league’s best team this year in the Boston Celtics. This proves that the NBA and their fans still prefer to watch the league’s most popular stars rather than the best basketball teams, and Curry, James, and Kevin Durant have done them a huge favor by defying Father Time in their late 30s.
If the Warriors miss the play-in tournament or ultimately lose within one or two games and aren’t present in this year’s playoffs, the NBA will be losing out on one of its main draws for viewership.
Where Should the NBA Pivot to Going Forward?
The league still remains dependent on their three aging superstars
Clearly, the NBA is choosing to squeeze as much juice out of the three players who have defined the post-Kobe era of basketball by continuing to favor LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant over the league’s young rising stars.
Although all three are still playing elite-level basketball, they are 39, 36, and 35 years old respectively, and are showing signs of slight decline. Even NBA legends are doomed to fall apart at some point, and these guys are very close to the end.
Furthermore, all three have been let down by their teams many times in recent years, leading to a situation where they are currently the 7th, 8th, and 10th seeds in the Western Conference. Durant and James should at least get a chance to make the playoffs, but Curry is in serious trouble and Golden State appears to be irrelevant going into future seasons.
With one of their main attractions unlikely to make the actual postseason even if they get a chance in the Play-In Tournament, the NBA will be forced to ask themselves the dreaded question of where to go for the main faces of the league going forward.
They have several young stars who are either in their prime or entering it soon, but all of them come with questions about their marketability.
Firstly, there is a foreign group of superstars, Luka Dončić, Nikola Jokić, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid, who are four of the five best players in the league. The only question surrounding these guys is whether any of them want to be the face of the league, especially as they enter the later stages of their primes.
There are also stars such as Jayson Tatum and Anthony Edwards, who have become top-10 players in the league but haven’t been able to crack the top five yet. However, they have a lot of time to improve, and winning a title soon would put them on everyone’s radar going forward.
Lastly, there is rookie Victor Wembanyama, who looks poised to become the next all-time great player after an incredible first-year campaign. Any of these guys could take the mantle to drive the league forward into its next era, but the NBA clearly still trusts their three legends to bring in viewership.
Possible Next Faces of the NBA Player Age Playoff Series Won Nikola Jokić 29 8 Luka Dončić 25 2 Giannis Antetokounmpo 29 8 Joel Embiid 30 5 Jayson Tatum 26 10 Anthony Edwards 22 – Victor Wembanyama 20 –
There is no doubt that the quality of basketball will be impressive and the competition fierce, but the NBA must be concerned about the Warriors missing the 2024 playoffs and what it says about the current state of the league.

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