More than half of the season has been played, the trade deadline has passed and now teams are gearing up for their playoff push or starting to book reservations for the Tank Express. For the first time in a long while, the Golden State Warriors are part of the former of that conversation.
Although the Warriors are proving themselves to be a playoff team, they are still many moons away from even breathing the same air as the Larry O'Brien trophy.
Their win against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night may trick a first-time viewer of the NBA that Golden State is capable of seriously contending for a championship (and also have them believing that yellow short-sleeve jerseys are the norm), but in reality, it was nothing more than a big win for a team that will ultimately find itself fighting for one of the last playoff spots in the West.
Andrew Bogut missed the game against the Spurs due to back spasms and will be out indefinitely according to coach Mark Jackson (via SFGate). Thus far, the Bogut experiment hasn't exactly worked out for the Warriors.
The man who was supposed to anchor the defense and take this team to the next level entering this season has played a mere 12 games and hasn't looked very good on the court as of late.
If Golden State were to have any legitimate shot at winning the NBA title, Mr. Bogut would have to be at 100 percent and performing like the man who led the league in blocks back in 2010-2011.
Without him, they boast a front line of David Lee, Carl Landry, rookies Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green, as well as the basketball player formerly known as Andris Biedrins. Call me crazy, but that's not going to be enough to be a contender.
The Warriors were active at the trade deadline, but just like the rest of the league, the moves they made didn't break the Internet or even come close to crashing a server.
The chances of the Warriors landing a major impact player at the deadline were extremely slim (despite speculation of an Eric Gordon deal) and in the end, decided shedding salary to get under the luxury tax would be enough for them.
The Warriors have improved across the board in 2012-13, and their record is very much indicative of that. They've proven critics wrong with their respectable defense and rebounding, but are now tasked with maintaining that over the next 27 games.
While they are undoubtedly well-positioned to find themselves in the playoffs come April, without a top-tier superstar able to take over at a moment's notice, that elusive NBA championship will continue to be but a pipe dream for the Warriors.
Las Vegas had Golden State at 100-1 odds to win the title before the season began. If you placed a bet hoping to catch lightning in a bottle, well, looks like that's money you'll never see again.