Are The Golden State Warriors NBA Championship Contenders?

By Shane Phillips
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The return of Andre Iguodala to the lineup has jump-started the Golden State Warriors and catapulted them into the fourth position in the NBA Western Conference. The season started a bit shaky when the Warriors lost Iguodala to injury. Without “Iggy”, the Warriors were marred by mediocrity and hovered around the eighth and final playoff spot.

Since Iguodala’s return 11 games ago, Golden State has gone 10-1, including their current nine game win streak. They also earned their first signature victory over the Miami Heat, 123-114. The Warriors were on point all game as David Lee and Stephen Curry combined for 68 points.

With that being said, are the Warriors a championship caliber team? It sure seems that way lately, especially with their impressive victory over the defending champs. They seem to have the right pieces with the “Splash Brothers” in Klay Thompson and Curry running the backcourt. The Golden State frontcourt also is turning the corner with a healthy Iguodala and Lee stepping up. The biggest concern for this team going forward is their style of play.

The Warriors are the type of team that lives and dies by the three-pointer. They average roughly 24 deep balls a game and shoot a high percentage, but the three-pointer is not a consistent form of success. The post-game has begun to develop around Lee and Andrew Bogut, but Curry and Thompson are the main bread winners for the Warriors.

Golden State might not be ready for a title run just yet, but they are an incredibly fun team to watch play. Mark Jackson has done a fantastic job in turning the franchise around and implementing some defensive philosophy. When Don Nelson was the coach the Warriors didn’t have an ounce of defense in their bodies, but now they are ranked 11th in points allowed and third in rebounding.

I look at this team and I see the Oklahoma City Thunder from a few years ago. The Thunder made it to the Finals, but they weren’t ready. The Warriors have a shot at making it to the championship round, but they are not ready for it. They are a young team and need time to develop. Jackson has a great, young core group of players to work with, and they will be successful for the years to come. The biggest thing that the Warriors need is experience, and that only comes with time.

Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for Follow Shane on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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