I know you checked your calendar just now. That’s alright. Go ahead. If you’re thinking that it’s too early to be talking about the NBA playoffs, I would agree with you to an extent. It’s too early to think about the big picture, especially before the NBA’s annual trade deadline. One trade could completely reshape a pseudo-contender after all.
Injuries also play a huge role in who ends up winning the championship. I don’t know if the Chicago Bulls would have won the 2012 World Championship if Derrick Rose hadn’t gotten hurt, but I do know that they made the Conference Finals in 2011 and added Rip Hamilton to help Rose with his scoring and ball-handling duties. Hamilton is a nice player, but once Rose went down, any chance Chicago had at a Finals run went down with him.
However, a quick glance at the standings shows that the Memphis Grizzlies are the 4th overall seed in the Western Conference at the moment. If the playoffs started today, they would play the 5th seed, who just so happens to be their opponent on Wednesday night, the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors have been one of the great success stories so far in this young season, going from a lottery team in 2012 to a playoff contender in 2013. The Warriors ascent really began at the trade deadline in 2012 as they turned the page on the Monta Ellis era and ushered in the Andrew Bogut era. Bogut has only played in four games in his Warriors career, but the franchise’s mentality changed with the trade. They went from a team that relied on it’s offense to carry them to one that was committed to playing defense.
The Warriors are 22-11 on the season, 5th in the Western Conference and 2nd in the Pacific Division. They are led by power forward David Lee, who was part of a ton of amnesty speculation in the offseason, but has responded with 20 double-doubles for an average of 19.9 points per game and 10.9 rebounds.
Golden State also inked Stephen Curry to an extension over the offseason and he has responded after at least two seasons of injury concerns. Curry has thrived in Ellis’ absence, averaging 20.1 points and 6.5 assists per night and is shooting a scorching 45% from three-point range this season.
The two teams have already met once this season and the Grizzlies spoiled the Warriors’ first home game. Zach Randolph had 15 points and 14 rebounds.