Five bold Warriors predictions after 2022-23 NBA schedule release

·4 min read

Five bold Warriors predictions after 2022-23 schedule release originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors' path to defending their championship is becoming clearer.

On Wednesday, the NBA released regular-season schedules for all 30 teams. Now that we know when and where Golden State will be playing all 82 games of the regular season, it's time to grab the crystal ball and look ahead to how the season could unfold.

Here are five bold predictions for Golden State this upcoming season:

Championship hangover

Emotions will be flying high on Oct. 18 when Golden State is awarded championship rings ahead of the season-opening clash against the Los Angeles Lakers at Chase Center.

The Warriors will win that game to start the season 1-0, but then will trip up trying to clear the starting gate.

Over the first 20 games of the season, the Warriors will win just 11, as tough matchups against the Phoenix Suns (twice), Miami Heat (twice), Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets highlight the first five weeks of the schedule. Golden State will lose a few games it should win against hungry teams like coach Mike Brown’s Sacramento Kings, who the Warriors face three times over the first 12 contests.

But there's no need to worry, Dub Nation. It might take a bit of time for young players like James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody to get settled into their new, prominent roles.

Just like last season, the experienced Warriors will be able to see the bigger picture. Legacies aren’t built in October and November. After a sluggish start to the season, Golden State will find its stride once again before the calendar flips to December.

Curry flurry for the ages

Curry’s name is all over the Warriors’ team record book -- and NBA annals for that matter -- but the one category he hasn’t touched yet is the team’s single-game scoring record.

Now, Curry won’t touch Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary 100-point game with the Philadelphia Warriors, which arguably is the most untouchable single-game record in all of sports.

But Curry will go off for 66 points in one game this season, breaking the team’s post-Chamberlain era record of 64, set by Rick Barry in 1974. (Chamberlain scored over 64 points an incredible 12 times, and four of those occurred after the franchise moved to the Bay Area in 1962.)

Since this article is titled "bold predictions" and not just "predictions," we'll pencil in a specific game for this scoring burst -- the Dec. 5 clash at home against the Indiana Pacers.

It's the perfect cure for an early-season hangover.

The Warriors will finish ...

Fourth in the Western Conference. Golden State's 11-9 start to the season puts them behind the eight ball in the opening months, and the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and -- gasp -- Memphis Grizzlies narrowly finish with more wins.

The fourth seed won't give Golden State home-court advantage past the opening round of the postseason. But as the team experienced last season, championship trophies aren't handed out for regular-season wins.

Here comes the hardware

For the first time since 2018-19, Klay Thompson will play a full NBA season.

Making his glorious return to the court in January, Thompson showed glimpses of his five-time All-Star self, like when he went off for 41 points in the regular-season finale against the New Orleans Pelicans and those 30 postseason points against the Memphis Grizzlies that added to his "Game 6 Klay" resume.

In 32 games last season, Thompson averaged 20.9 points. He shot 38.5 percent from downtown across 32 regular-season games and 22 playoff games. Refreshed by a summer with no trace of rehab, Thompson gets his career back on track and is named an All-Star for the sixth time.

In another award conversation, Jordan Poole -- motivated as he will become a restricted free agent next summer -- shows that his glimpses of star potential were for real last season and will become the first Warriors player in team history to win the Sixth Man of the Year award. The league owes him one after botching last year's Most Improved Player award.

RELATED: What Wiggins is focusing on in offseason to improve his game

But unfortunately, it's not all positive news for the Warriors when it comes to trophies. For a second straight year, Draymond Green is snubbed of the Defensive Player of the Year award. And for a second straight year, it goes to a Boston Celtics player -- but this time, it's Robert Williams III.

Hang another banner

The Warriors’ playoff journey won't be easy. Golden State takes down the fifth-seeded Denver Nuggets in six games and wins a heated series against Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers in seven games. In the Western Conference finals, the Warriors and Grizzlies test their new rivalry with higher stakes. But once again, the veteran Warriors prevail.

Giannis Antetokounmpo guides a healthy Milwaukee Bucks team through the Eastern Conference to the 2023 NBA Finals. The Bucks take a three-games-to-two series lead, but the Warriors steal away the final two contests to take home their fifth championship in the last nine years.

For Curry, Thompson and Green, that's a championship ring for the thumb.

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