Warriors’ nightmare seeding scenario, matchup for 2024 NBA Playoffs

What Warriors fans do not want to see in NBA Playoffs

Warriors' Steph Curry, Draymond Green, NBA Play-In Tournament

Warriors' Steph Curry, Draymond Green, NBA Play-In Tournament
With the NBA regular season nearing a close, it is all too easy for teams to look ahead to the playoffs. The Golden State Warriors (42-35) do not have that luxury, however. But even if the Dubs decide to be risky and sneak a glance at their potential path forward, it is only going to remind them of the steep and unforgiving climb they will have to make in order to reach the Western Conference summit.

The team has made the trek to the top several times before, but the conditions are quite severe in 2024. A plethora of younger contenders and superstars crowd the mountain, forcing Steph Curry and company to rely on their experience and chemistry to carry the day. The Warriors’ talent alone is not enough to propel them past the competition.

Though, perhaps they can outlast the field. Regardless of matchups and seeding scenarios, there will be grueling obstacles for them to clear at every turn. Just advancing to the final eight in the West is going to be exhausting. That being said, there is one trail that appears to be more perilous than the others.

We are going to brave the storm and confront the Warriors’ nightmare scenario for the 2024 NBA Playoffs, which is one that could definitively end their proud dynasty.

An NBA Play-In Tournament matchup vs. Suns could be disastrous

At this point, Golden State is probably resigning itself to its NBA Play-in Tournament fate, as the squad has only five games to erase a four-game deficit and earn a spot in the postseason.

So, barring complete intervention by the basketball gods, this franchise will be competing in the Play-In this month. It currently sits in the No. 10 slot and is two games behind the Sacramento Kings for ninth place. While home-court advantage would seemingly be of paramount importance in a must-win clash, the Warriors have been far more dangerous on the road this season.

A rabid California crowd– can also meet the Los Angeles Lakers in No. 9 vs. 10 matchup– should not faze the veterans. They can set the tone, while young talents like Jonathan Kuminga, Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis follow suit. But a subsequent showdown with the Phoenix Suns, home or away, is disconcerting.

Devin Booker and Kevin Durant are practically unstoppable these days, and Bradley Beal is embracing his role as the clear No. 3 scoring option while also averaging 5.1 assists and one steal per game. Grayson Allen is enjoying the best season of his career and cannot be overlooked, either. Translation: a potential win-or-go-home showdown in the second round of the Play-In could be an absolute barnburner.

How Warriors could survive this hypothetical Play-In war

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) and Phoenix Suns guard Bradley Beal (3) and Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) reacts during the second half of the game against the Chicago Bulls at Footprint Center.Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors lost three of four meeting versus the Suns this season but did win their last face-off after Curry drilled an incredible 3-pointer with almost no time left on the clock. It would take another clutch outing from him, as well as a solid showing from fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson, to keep up with Phoenix’s core.

The X-factor, though, is Golden State’s supporting cast, which is arguably deeper than that of its hypothetical opponent. Chris Paul packs a playmaking punch, Podziemski can keep the defense off balance when he is at his best and Jackson-Davis and Kevon Looney can handle the dirty work down low.

But even if the Dubs survive such a battle, they might enter the NBA Playoffs worse for wear. The agony a team has to go through to eliminate offensive savants like Durant and Booker is bound have an effect in Game 1 of the Warriors’ first-round series.

Still, fans will accept that rough set of circumstances if it means the dynasty lives to see another postseason. But there is one team they should want to avoid at all costs. You can probably guess who that is.

A first-round duel with Nuggets would be nightmarish for Warriors

On paper, it is safe to say that this is the worst possible draw for any Western Conference squad. It is extra excruciating, however, to envision playing the reigning champions after a tense two nights of do-or-die basketball. Enduring that type of grind can smash even Golden State’s championship foundation.

Now, that is not to dismiss the Warriors. They cannot be taken lightly given their depth, experience and the presence of the greatest shooter of all-time. The team is also back to playing some of its best basketball. Assuming they continue this full sprint to the regular season finish line, the Warriors are going to be bristling with confidence and momentum.

Those pivotal postseason intangibles will only be amplified if the Warriors fight their way through the NBA Play-In Tournament. Nevertheless, devising a game plan to thwart the unsurpassed two-man game of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray over the length of a seven-game series is migraine-inducing.

Murray is not healthy quite yet, but when he is on the court during the playoffs, enemies must be on high alert. While both starting fives boast chemistry and balance, Jokic is the top dog in the NBA right now. His singular impact, coupled with the elevating affect he has on his capable teammates, is bound to wear down any underdog.

The Warriors and their fans must brace themselves for plenty of pain and stress in the coming weeks, regardless of how everything shakes out. But if the unexpected does happen, victory will taste much sweeter after defeating the elites.

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