SAN FRANCISCO – In the days before he returned from his ankle injury, Monta Ellis talked about how excited he was to come back, how the team needed to play “Warriors basketball” and how it was time to make a playoff run.
Around that same time, Warriors captain Stephen Jackson was getting asked an awful lot about Ellis’ return and how it might impact the struggling team.
Jackson started talking playoffs, too.
Somebody cue up Jim Mora.
The notion of the Warriors making the playoffs is not just unreasonable or unrealistic, it’s preposterous. I’m all for optimism, but talking about the postseason is nothing short of crazy talk.
Can we do some math?
The Warriors are 14-31, which means there is an 11½-game expanse between them and the eighth-place Dallas Mavericks. Guess it means tonight’s game has playoff implications.
For the Warriors to finish the season at .500, they have to go 27-10. Not likely.
But guess what? That’s not going to get it done. Dallas is on a 46-win pace. Utah is right behind the Mavericks, six games over .500 after winning Tuesday.
In other words, as improbable as 27-10 sounds, the Warriors are probably going to have to go something like 31-6 or 32-5 to get into the playoffs.
That’s Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers territory.
Even suggesting that making the playoffs is possible shows you’re not paying attention — to either the NBA standings or how bad your own record is.
Before anybody on the Warriors talks postseason, how about winning a road trip first? Or playing .500 for more than a couple of weeks. Or, heck, how about just winning one game on the road against a winning team (which they haven’t done this season)?
From this end, it’s an awfully big presumption that the Warriors — even at full strength — are a .500 team, let alone one that is good enough to rip off 16 of 19 or something like that.
There’s something admirable about holding onto even slivers of hope, but Jackson and Ellis must be under the impression that they’re playing on last year’s Warriors … or the “We Believe” Warriors.
Those teams had runs in them. Those teams also had players such as Baron Davis, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus and Al Harrington.
This year’s Warriors are young and very inexperienced: Anthony Morrow, C.J. Watson, Anthony Randolph, Brandan Wright and Marco Belinelli.
Not to mention, two of their key veterans — Corey Maggette and Jamal Crawford — have little to no playoff experience.
We might not know it all about this year’s Warriors, but there are two things we do know: They’re 14-31 and they’re not a playoff team.
They’ve got to stop talking like one.
Matt Steinmetz is the NBA insider for Warriors telecasts on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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