At this point of the season for the Golden State Warriors, the playoffs shouldn't be anywhere near the team's mind, but there should be a reasonable goal to finish the season and that is to surpass the Sacramento Kings for third in the Pacific division.
Currently the Warriors have a record of 9-22, while the Kings have a record of 14-16. I believe this is definitely a plausible goal for the Warriors after their recent play and the returns of both Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf.
In the three games that Turiaf has been back, the Warriors are 2-1 and with Biedrins back the Warriors are 1-1. The teams that the Warriors have beaten with the help of Turiaf were the Phoenix Suns and the Boston Celtics and the loss came to the Lakers. Biedrins returned for the win against the Celtics and the loss against the Lakers.
Even with the loss to the Lakers, the Warriors played extremely well. The question of what if comes to mind if Turiaf and Biedrins had been healthy throughout the season, would the Warriors have pulled out a few more wins.
Against the Lakers last night, the Warriors shot 55.4 percent from the field and on the 46 field goals made, the Warriors had 31 assists, that meant 67 percent of the field goals made by the Warriors there was an assist, and also every Warrior to play had at least one assist.
At this point there's hope for the Warriors, especially after beating Phoenix and Boston and hanging close with the Lakers. With that being said, the Warriors now can set a modest goal of catching up to the Kings.
The main reason why the Warriors could possibly catch the Kings is because coming in January, the Warriors play a stretch of 18 of their next 24 games at home, which could be a major boost to bettering the record.
With that stretch of games at The Oracle Arena, I wouldn't be surprised if the Warriors start digging themselves out of the cellar of the Pacific Division and surpass the Los Angeles Clippers who are currently fourth and the Kings as mentioned before.
Another reason why I believe the Warriors will be able to pass the Kings is because Stephen Curry is playing better, excluding the Boston and Los Angeles games. Curry has been playing like I thought he would be when he was drafted. He had been looking or his shot and taking care of the ball, it's never been a question that Curry couldn't play in the NBA, it's looking for that consistency.
I also think with Curry playing much better it, allows for C.J. Watson to give Monta Ellis a rest. The Warriors should also try to keep Watson as the primary backup for Curry and Ellis.
Watson proved that against Boston when his suffocating defense on Ray Allen helped the Warriors erased an 18 point first-half deficit.
Along those lines Corey Maggette has been on fire as of late as well. With the return of the big guys, it makes Maggette even more dangerous because not only is he hitting his mid-range jumper, he's making excellent decisions on when to drive and when to pass.
In December, Maggette has shot 54.5 percent from the floor, gotten to the line about eight times per game, is averaging 6.1 rebounds, two assists, and 19.1 points per game.
With Don Nelson playing Maggette at his normal position small forward, he has the strength and quickness advantage against other teams small forwards. Which, definitely helps by getting teams into foul trouble. Essentially, right now Maggette is playing the way I thought he would have last year.
Finally, Anthony Morrow has seemed to have turned the corner for his shooting slump. He did hit some big shots against the Lakers and the Celtics.
What's been even better for Morrow is that he has also been doing a better job of attacking the rim as well on his drive, but most importantly, Morrow has improved tremendously on defense.
With the Warriors playing well, the Warriors should be able to set the goal of passing the Kings and executing this goal.