After their first 12 games of the 2019-20 season, the once-mighty Golden State Warriors currently have the worst record in the league.
Their roster has been absolutely decimated, mostly due to injuries to their two franchise cornerstones Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. But their wild offseason also included the departures of two former NBA Finals MVP in both Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala. Golden State hardly resembles the team that won the Western Conference five years in a row.
While the offense has struggled without these players, it has been especially bad on the other end of the court. Their defensive rating (117.2) ranks as the worst in the league. Overall, their winning percentage (.167) is a far cry from their mark in 2018-19 (.695).
According to our research, that would be the largest year-over-year negative difference in NBA history. This pace would be worse than the Cleveland Cavaliers after they first lost LeBron James in 2010-11 and the Chicago Bulls after Michael Jordan retired for the second time.
The good news is their eerie similarities thus far to the San Antonio Spurs in 1996-97. Much like the Warriors who added an All-Star (D’Angelo Russell) in the offseason and have started 2-10, the Spurs signed a former All-Star in Dominique Wilkins before the season began and started 2-13. San Antonio received just six games from David Robinson due to an injury while Golden State lost Curry after only four appearances.
The Spurs finished the season 20-62 and ended up with a lottery pick that was used to draft Tim Duncan. Once he returned from injury and played alongside Duncan, they went on to win two titles together following their rough speed bump in 1997. If Golden State gets a high lottery pick to add alongside Curry and Thompson, perhaps a similar fate is coming to the Bay Area.
For context: This is not the first time that the Warriors have experienced an incredibly poor change in their year-over-year performance. They made the NBA Finals in 1964 behind 36.9 points per game from Wilt Chamberlain, who was traded the following season. Later the year, the team then finished with the worst record in the league.
HoopsHype’s Alberto de Roa contributed research to this report
Basketball, DunkWire, NBA, Top, Andre Iguodala, D'Angelo Russell, David Robinson, Dominique Wilkins, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Stephen Curry, Tim Duncan, Wilt Chamberlain, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs