Since Steve Kerr took over as head coach eight years ago, the Warriors have seen it. They’ve rewritten the record books, won championships, and transformed themselves from a fun up-and-coming squad to one of the world’s most recognizable sports organizations.
All of this happened in less than a decade, leaving out a lot of specifics. Nothing compares to the 2021-22 NBA season in terms of how much has changed, and the book on this campaign still has plenty of blank pages now that the regular season is over.
Klay Thompson returned triumphantly and concluded the regular season on a high note. On the other hand, Draymond Green was knocked out the moment he returned. Steph Curry was out for the last month of the regular season when Draymond’s 31-game layoff ended. After waiting 941 days for Thompson to return to the floor and complete this all-time trifecta, the Big Three played 11 minutes together in the regular season.
Adding two 19-year-old lottery picks to the mix only adds to the franchise’s mysterious past. Andre Iguodala was limited to 31 games, while James Wiseman, the No. 2 choice in the draft just two years ago, did not play in a single game due to difficulties with his torn meniscus rehab. Is your mind already spinning?
Despite this, the Warriors finished the regular season on a five-game winning run sans Curry, finishing third in the NBA with a 53-29 record and the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
So, how do you sum up a tumultuous Warriors regular season filled with highs and lows? With the help of Kerr and a few of our NBC Sports Bay Area staff, I attempted to answer that question and find the correct phrase to describe everything.
Chris Mullin: It’s a dream come true for me.
“With Klay missing the first few weeks of the season, I believe being a top-four team with homecourt advantage was the upper limit of expectations. It’s a significant deal for them to finish third with so many irregularities, such as Klay missing time and Steph, Draymond, and Wiseman. Winning 52, 53 games… winning 50 games in the NBA is difficult; only eight teams have done it.
“Despite all of their inconsistencies, it was a satisfying season, and I believe they found their stride right before the playoffs.”
Dorell Wright is a seasoned professional.
“Veteran players are joined by a group of young players eager to assist the team in making a long postseason run right now.
“A healthy Warriors squad is made up of a blend of youth and high-IQ veterans on the bench. My X-factor is Otto Porter Jr. It’s uncommon to obtain a top-three choice and a player with such a high IQ. He needed to show he could stay healthy while still playing at a high level. He’ll play a key role if the Warriors win the championship.”
Bonta Hill is a wild place.
“It’s been a bumpy trip after starting 18-2, but we have no idea what this squad can or will do in the postseason because they haven’t played together for a single game this season. There isn’t one. It may be said that it was unfinished.
“This season has been a ride on Great America’s Grizzly, which has given everyone whiplash.”
Burke, Kerith: Resilient
“All season, the Warriors have battled injuries to Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala and the absence of James Wiseman.
“Despite this, they managed to win almost 50 games. Injuries disrupted the team’s continuity and caused positions to alter, but this tenacious group was able to persevere.”
Grant Liffmann: Take a chance.
“The Warriors took a risk by attempting to build a young movement while fighting for a title. The season has been a roller coaster of success, injuries, and inconsistency. The postseason results will determine whether the risk paid off or not.”
Monte Poole is a visionary.
“This franchise will jump headfirst into any option that has a chance of helping them build their global brand. They’re unstoppable.”
Steve Kerr is an indescribable, fascinating, and successful individual… TBD
“In the end, I believe it was a success. We will win 50 games or more this year, which is a fantastic year. The playoffs will determine a great deal. So, perhaps you might ask me this question after the season, “Kerr said to me with a slight chuckle before the Warriors’ final regular-season home game, a 16-point victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on April 7.
Dalton Johnson is a tenacious individual.
The Warriors came into this season determined to prove that they can still be championship contenders when they’re healthy and reside atop the league’s elite. They were dead set on proving that they had made the right option by picking two youngsters in the same year and that they could balance two timelines while bringing in a mix of youth and experience. They silenced skeptics in some cases and raised more issues in others.
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We wouldn’t even consider winning 53 games if we knew they wouldn’t be complete for a single game during the regular season. It would be impossible to do so. They made it this far, surpassing expectations, and that was before they knew how many injuries and inconsistencies they would face.
The regular season went well. The big plan’s final results are yet to be determined. As Kerr and many others have stated, the playoffs will, of course, select everything.
Hold on, the roller coaster isn’t nearly over yet.