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Higher expectations

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The Warriors were not happy campers in the aftermath of their loss to the Timberwolves the other day. It wasn’t simply that the setback was their third straight, or that it dropped them to an abhorrent one and three at Chase Center. It was that they appeared to be wasting the sterling production of Stephen Curry. For all the outstanding numbers the two-time Most Valuable Player awardee had been putting up, they somehow seemed to find ways to falter in the crunch — uncharacteristic for a core boasting of a dynastic run.

Even for casual observers, it’s obvious that the Warriors’ record of futility stems from the inability of Splash Brother Klay Thompson and fellow starter Andrew Wiggins to live up to billing. To argue that both have had slow starts would be an understatement; the former is norming a relatively anemic 16.1 points on 42.6% shooting per contest, while the latter is at 10.5 and 41.2%. If nothing else, the significant drop-offs have accentuated the pitfalls of their small-ball predilections.

To be sure, the season is young, and pundits remain high on the Warriors’ capacity to turn their fortunes around. After all, these are veterans who understand the rigors of competition through a long campaign. On the other hand, the signs are telling enough to get the brain trust thinking of ways to jump-start their efforts. Thompson, in particular, should be motivated to exceed himself, what with his contract situation remaining unresolved. And they’re not wrong to want to do something — anything — by way of an answer to their woes. After all, what is insanity but doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting the same result?

Perhaps the Warriors are likewise suffering from the burden of heightened expectations. Offseason projections counted them among legitimate contenders for the hardware, the advancing age of their vital cogs notwithstanding. It’s also fair to concede the need for time to make adjustments and incorporate the addition of point god Chris Paul to the rotation. All the same, the here and now needs to be addressed, and fast. The National Basketball Association is too deep for hopefuls to absorb a slump.

 

Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is a consultant on strategic planning, operations and human resources management, corporate communications, and business development.

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