Golden State Warriors Game of the Season: Key Dates, Exciting Matchups, and Bold Predictions

Here’s everything Warriors fans need to know about the inaugural in-season tournament, from dates to opponents and bold predictions.
Steph Curry, Draymond Green and the Warriors tipoff in-season tournament action on Friday

The Golden State Warriors are playing for a much bigger prize this season than the NBA Cup. Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are vying for a near-unprecedented fifth championship in 10 years, while fellow future Hall-of-Famer and key summer addition Chris Paul is still hoping to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time in his legendary career.

So far, so good. The new-look Dubs are 4-1 just over week into the regular season, their lone loss a nail-biter to the Phoenix Suns in the opener as Green watched from the bench with a sprained ankle. It’s too early to submit Golden State has already vaulted toward the top tier of title contention reserved for the defending-champion Denver Nuggets and utterly dominant Boston Celtics. But the Warriors have arguably been the third-best team in basketball so far, with only room to grow as the 82-game grind wears on.

Just because Steve Kerr’s team counts its ultimate success in June, though, hardly means a group of the most competitive, proud veterans in basketball won’t be inspired by the lure of some extra hardware. As group play dawns, here’s everything you need to know about the Warriors for the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament.

Warriors headline West’s loaded Group C

NBA In-Season Tournament West Group C with Stephen Curry, Anthony Edwards, De'Aaron Fox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Victor Wembanyama

In-season tournament action tips off on Friday night with the beginning of group play. The NBA split the league’s 30 teams into six different groups of five based on conference affiliation, a draw that did Golden State no favors.

There’s an argument to be made that more legitimate contenders exist in West Group B, where the juggernaut Nuggets, undefeated Dallas Mavericks, surging New Orleans Pelicans and ever star-studded Los Angeles Clippers are poised to beat up on each other while preying on the Houston Rockets. But no quintet is more exciting than the West’s Group C, filled with upstart playoff hopefuls, ascending superstars and the game’s single-most intriguing player, San Antonio Spurs rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama.

Golden State’s group play schedule

The Warriors tipoff group play Friday with a road tilt against the electric Oklahoma City Thunder at 5:00 p.m. (PT). No team in basketball boasts a more impressive collection of young talent than Oklahoma City, led by First Team All-NBA honoree Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and standout rookie big man Chet Holmgren. Along with do-it-all wing Jalen Williams and playmaking wizard Josh Giddey, they’ll pose a major challenge for Golden State defensively, incessantly attacking the rim, launching triples across the floor and pushing the pace with exuberant abandon.
L'NBA In-Season Tournament è un obiettivo per i Warriors? | Dunkest

Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves visit Chase Center on November 14th for Golden State’s next game of group play. Though the twin towers of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert aren’t exactly a perfect fit on either side of the ball, the Wolves’ sheer size and physicality could be a problem for the Warriors, who have embraced small-ball more than ever in the season’s early going. Don’t forget about Jaden McDaniels, either. He might be the most disruptive, versatile wing defender in the league, with a rare combination of length and quickness that will bother both Curry and Paul on the ball.

Wembanyama and the Spurs are the Dubs’ next in-season tournament foes, coming to the Bay on November 24th. San Antonio has the long-term makings of a championship contender, but Wembanyama is clearly still getting comfortable offensively, an inevitable acclimation period made more difficult by Jeremy Sochan’s rough early-season turn as his team’s starting point guard. The Warriors know full well what Wembanyama can do when he has it going, and Devin Vassell continues emerging as one of the best all-court shot-makers in the league. Don’t sleep on San Antonio.

A team Dub Nation definitely won’t be sleeping on? The Sacramento Kings, who the Warriors will face for the third time in just over a month on November 28th at Golden 1 Center for the final game of group play. De’Aaron Fox was sidelined by an ankle injury as Thompson sent Golden State to last-second victory on Wednesday, but should be back in the lineup at full-strength in late November. Sacramento’s crowd will be absolutely rocking for this game, especially if it could decide who will move on to the knockout stage of the in-season tournament. It’s not too early to get your popcorn ready.

Warriors in-season tournament predictions

Golden State Warriors players Chris Paul, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green

Wembanyama, frighteningly, is already finding his offensive footing, and the Spurs should get better at point guard as the season progresses whether Sochan remains the starter or Tre Jones soon supplants him. Still, San Antonio would be the only truly surprise winner of the West’s Group C, inexperience and lack of quality depth likely to keep Gregg Popovichs’s squad from the single-elimination portion of the in-season tournament even as a second-place wild card.

The Thunder, Wolves and Kings are all good enough to win Group C. Any notion otherwise ignores not only their top-end talent, but how those teams have fared during the first few games of the regular season. They could all win a round in the playoffs.

But the Warriors have simply been better early, Paul’s singular presence finally keeping non-Curry bench units above water and the ongoing development of Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga providing additional two-way dynamism and lineup flexibility. A healthy Gary Payton II has quietly reverted back to his 2022-23 form, too, his everywhere-all-at-once-defense and overall role versatility juicing the Dubs on both ends of the floor. If Andrew Wiggins ever rounds into near-peak form, watch out.

Golden State is the favorite to win Group C, and rightfully so. You think a team led by notoriously maniacal competitors like Paul and Green, not even accounting for Curry and Thompson, would relish the opportunity to announce itself as a tier one championship contender by raising the NBA Cup for the first time? If the Warriors advance to the knockout stage, rest assured they’ll fight like hell to make that history.

Expect Golden State to take a loaded, incredibly fun Group C. And if the ball bounces their way in do-or-die games from there, it wouldn’t be at all shocking if the ultra-motivated Warriors went ahead and won the inaugural in-season tournament, either.

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