The Warriors are four games out of the playoffs with three teams ahead of them. Usually, this would be enough to have us thinking about the lottery, but the teams in front of the Warriors are showing glaring weaknesses.
Portland sitting in fifth relies solely on the brilliant play of LaMarcus Aldridge. Can he keep it up? Can he stay healthy? He falls and so do they.
New Orleans currently sits in sixth, but is falling fast. Chris Paul's knee is far from healthy and they are not a playoff team without Emeka Okafor, who is currently hurt and if he does not come back or gets hurt again, they will continue to fall.
Denver just traded an All-Star and a good point guard for less established players. They were seventh with them, but they could likely be out of it without them.
Utah is in free fall at eighth with an angry Deron Williams, an interim coach, a hole at shooting guard, the enigma that is Kirilenko at small forward and Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson providing an undersized frontcourt with no defense.
Memphis, a team that has been playing well, just lost one of its best players (Rudy Gay) to a shoulder injury that could take him out for a month or possibly the rest of the season. OJ Mayo and Tony Allen went from fighting to manning the wings. The future looks questionable.
Phoenix is the only team that looks ready to make a run given that Steve Nash has finally begun to gel with new teammates and time does not affect the ageless wonder.
With only Phoenix in a position to improve on its current record, it is important for Warrior fans to remember that the We Believe Team had a 26-29 record at the All-Star break. It can be done again. But first let's dispel some myths.
Myth No. 1: It is not a big deal if the Warriors don't make the playoffs, we will have a better draft pick.
New Jersey has our first-round pick if it is lower than No. 7 because of the craptastic Marcus Williams trade. At this point, there is less than a 10 percent chance that we get that pick and most of that chance is if the Warriors lose most of the rest of their games. If we keep up our pace we have to win a top three spot. Not likely. So the worse we do, the only team that benefits is New Jersey.
Myth No. 2: If we don't make a deal we can get a great player with all of our cap space.
Truth: We have precious little cap space. Given the labor squabbles the cap is unlikely to increase. So even with $17 million in expirings, our cap space is likely to do little more than re-sign Reggie Williams and maybe a Lou Amundson-like player. Tim Kawakami talks about our plight in the Mercury News. We almost assuredly will not have the first-round pick, so it is not as bad as he says, but we are not getting anyone great with our cap space.
So, with no help on the horizon, we must use our expiring assets to improve. Here are some ideas.