Posted on: February 27, 2023, 11:32h.
Last updated on: February 27, 2023, 01:16h.
The Golden State Warriors could miss the playoffs and not get a chance to defend their championship. DraftKings posted an NBA postseason prop bet on whether the Warriors will make the playoffs, and it’s a lot closer than you might think.
The Warriors are -260 odds to make the playoffs, but +205 odds to miss the postseason.
With a 31-30 record, the Warriors are in seventh place in the Western Conference playoff standings. Ten teams are separated by only four games, including the Phoenix Suns in fourth place and the Oklahoma City Thunder in 13th place.
If the season ended today, the Warriors would participate in the Western Conference Play-In Tournament, which decides the #7 and #8 seeds. Teams that finish seventh through 10th place qualify for the Play-In Tournament, but only two of those teams actually secure a spot in the playoffs. The Warriors would like to finish sixth place or higher to avoid the Play-In Tournament.
In the final quarter of the season, every game counts, especially with a clogged-up Western Conference, where only the top-seeded Denver Nuggets feel secure about their playoff positions.
Healthy Curry Key to Warriors Postseason
All-Star guard Steph Curry has been out since the first week of February. He missed the last eight games with a left leg injury. The Warriors expect him back in the lineup shortly, but a specific return date hasn’t been set.
Curry appeared in only 38 games this season, but led the team in scoring with 29.4 points per game. He missed five weeks of action with a left shoulder injury and returned to the lineup for just 11 games before missing the last three weeks with a leg injury.
Andrew Wiggins played in only 37 games this season after he missed time with an abductor strain and a bout of COVID-19. He missed the last four games because of personal reasons and a family matter. The Warriors didn’t elaborate on the issue, nor have they indicated a timetable for his return.
Even without Curry and Wiggins, the Warriors won two games in a row thanks to a red-hot Klay Thompson, who averaged 37 points per game in both victories. Thompson dropped 42 points and a dozen 3-pointers against the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
The Warriors are a veteran club that can flip the switch when the playoffs begin. Head coach Steve Kerr is less concerned with winning a division title or specific playoff seeding, so long as the Warriors make the playoffs with well-rested and healthy starters.
Tough Road to Repeat, Yet Favorable Forecast
The Warriors won the championship last season with the #3 seed, and they never had to play in a Game 7. They knocked out the Memphis Grizzlies and the Boston Celtics in six games in those respective series. They also dispatched the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks in five games.
The Warriors are +1700 odds to repeat as NBA champions. They’re +850 odds to win the Western Conference in back-to-back seasons as the fifth-highest team on DraftKings’ futures board.
The Pacific Division has the closest divisional race in the NBA, with three teams fighting for the title among the Phoenix Suns (-115), Sacramento Kings (+180), and Los Angeles Clippers (+550). The Warriors are long shots at +2200 odds to win the division, even though they’re just 4.5 games behind the first-place Kings.
FiveThirtyEight predicts the Warriors will finish the season with a 43-39 record, with a 77% chance to qualify for the postseason. FiveThirtyEight also estimates the Warriors have a 12% chance to advance to the 2023 NBA Finals, with a 6% chance to win the championship. That’s a favorable forecast for a team that could end up in the Play-In Tournament.
On Deck: 11 Road Games, Grizzlies Seek Revenge
The Warriors have the eighth-hardest schedule in the NBA with 21 games remaining, including 11 road games. Their opponents have a combined .513 winning percentage.
The Warriors meet the Memphis Grizzlies twice more, and the two teams developed some bad blood in last year’s postseason. The Grizzlies were eliminated in the 2022 Western Conference semifinals after they lost All-Star Ja Morant to a knee injury, which they still claim happened on a dirty play from Warriors guard Joran Poole. The Grizzlies have been struggling recently, but they’d love to have a chance to deny the Warriors a playoff spot or force them into the Play-In Tournament.
The Warriors play three tough games against future playoff teams in the Western Conference, including the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings. They will also have to square off against a pair of elite teams from the Eastern Conference, with home games against the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Warriors are finishing up a homestand with three more games in San Francisco. In early March, they have a three-game road trip, with two games against desperate bubble teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Warriors will be tested later in March when they embark on a five-game road trip against the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, and Dallas Mavericks.
In April, the Warriors play three out of their final four games of the regular season on the road. The April sojourn includes away games against the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, and Portland Trail Blazers.