The Golden State Warriors are not supposed to be here. A team that does not feature a relevant player over 30 years of age is now headed to the second round of the NBA playoffs after a 92-88 win in Game 6 over the Denver Nuggets Thursday night.
The series victory over the No. 3-seeded Nuggets advanced the Warriors to the next round of the playoffs for the first time since the “We Believe” team of 2007.
The Warriors have a superstar in 25-year-old Stephen Curry, a sharpshooter in 23-year-old Klay Thompson and untapped talent in 20-year-old Harrison Barnes.
The sky is the limit.
This young team is far ahead of schedule, though. They were widely regarded as a team still two or three years away from NBA relevancy. ESPN’s preseason projections had the Warriors finishing at 28-54. Now, they are one of the final eight teams standing in the NBA playoffs.
A team with an ESPN-projected standing of 13th in the Western Conference at season’s end is now headed to San Antonio to take on a team as consistently dominant as there has been in the last decade.
Instead of a finish outside of the top eight in the Western Conference, the Warriors are relevant in the NBA once again. The “We Believe” Warriors, while talented throughout, never had this much upside.
The 2007 Warriors were just a temporary team. The 2013 Warriors are built for the future and are just getting started.
Sure, there are holes in this team, and experience was never more necessary than in the final hectic moments of the Game 6 win. But much-needed growth may be the biggest hole at the moment.
They will surely grow in experience as individuals and as a team when they match up with the Spurs in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
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