It was fun while it lasted.
With their backs against the wall, the Golden State Warriors were in a must-win Game 6 at Oracle Arena against the San Antonio Spurs last night.
The Warriors battled on their home court to try and force a Game 7 but ultimately fell short to the Spurs, 94-82.
While it may still feel like a dagger is slicing through your heart, Warriors fans should feel proud of what their team was able to do.
At the beginning of the season, if you would have told me the Warriors would finish 6th in the Western Conference, I’d have called you crazy. If you’d have said they would do it without Brandon Rush or Andrew Bogut for most of the season, I would have checked you into a mental ward. But they did it.
There are financial concerns afoot. $35 million tied up to Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson will make it tough to keep Jarret Jack and Carl Landry, who are set to hit the open market in free agency. However, the future is still looking pretty good.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, aka the Splash Bros. or as Head Coach Mark Jackson proclaimed, “The greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history” have made their mark on the league. This playoff experience will only help them when they are faced with similar challenges in the future.
For the first time since his rookie year, Curry will be healthy heading into the offseason. This means he will have the opportunity to improve his game in the summer. Considering the amazing year he had, breaking the record for most three-pointers in a season, the thought of how dangerous he could be with a whole offseason of improvement is just scary.
Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, and Festus Ezeli were all thrown to the fire this season as rookies. They all played a huge role in the Warriors playoff run. Barnes was expected to get big minutes and play well, but the way Green stepped his game up was incredible.
Getting a taste of playoff basketball in their rookie years and playing well will definitely boost their confidence. If Ezeli can get some playing time in the summer league to fine tune his game, he and the other two rookies will reap the benefits of this experience next year.
Brandon Rush should be back and healthy, Andrew Bogut will be healthy for a full season and David Lee, who was out for the playoffs, will be back. If the Warriors stay healthy next year a top 4 seed is definitely within reach, even in the heavily stacked Western Conference.
It may not feel like it right now, as you agonize in this heartbreaking end to the season, but with the pieces that are in place, you should be very excited about the future if you are a Golden State Warriors fan.
Oh, and Stephen Curry is an All-Star. If anyone still questions that after the show he put on in these playoffs, they’re just haters.