Warriors set for potential play-in, Kings eliminated from contention


Courtesy of Chico State Athletics

Kevin Warren drives in the paint in a game.

The NBA regular season is just days away from winding down and there are plenty of questions yet to be answered. Warriors point guard Steph Curry is in a position to win another league Most Valuable Player award, though he’ll have to go through Nicola Jokic and Joel Embiid first. He is also in a tight race with Bradley Beal to get the league’s scoring title.

Not only that, but it looks as if the Golden State Warriors will face the dreaded play-in tournament to earn their spot in the playoffs. Here’s how that would look:

Golden State holds the eighth seed right now, and if nothing changes, they will have to face the seventh seed, currently the Los Angeles Lakers, for a chance to earn the No. 7 seed. If the Warriors lose, they will have another chance, as they will play the winner of the ninth vs. 10th seed game as their last chance to make the playoffs. A win in this game gives the Warriors the No. 8 seed, earning them the final spot in the playoffs.

If Golden State drops to the ninth seed, their chances become slimmer. They would have to beat the 10th seed, which is most likely going to be the San Antonio Spurs. Then, they would face the loser of the seventh vs. eighth seed matchup, with their best case scenario being getting the eighth overall seed. A loss in either game means they are eliminated from the playoffs.

The play-in tournament was introduced last season during the pandemic, and was brought back for at least another year. It has become a hot topic among the players, with big-names such as LeBron James and Luka Doncic speaking out against it. Chico State basketball guard Kevin Warren likes the idea, but thinks it should be carried out differently.

“The play-in tournament is a great idea, but hasn’t been executed the right way,” Warren said. “I think the added wear and tear on the NBA player’s bodies can have negative effects later in the playoffs. However, entertainment wise it’s going to be great to see how it all pans out.”

The Sacramento Kings were eliminated from the playoffs Thursday, following a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, and will have to wait until next year to see if they can break their 15-year playoff drought. Chico State basketball player and Kings fan Brennan Wheeler gave his thoughts on the current state of the Kings franchise.

“I’m from Sacramento so my team is the Kings, but they’re not playing too well right now, or for the last ten years,” Wheeler said. 

The two title contenders all the hype is built around are the Brooklyn Nets and the Lakers. A potential Nets-Lakers finals matchup has a lot of different things at stake. It will show if a LeBron-Anthony Davis duo is good enough to stop three of the best scorers in the game, in Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden. It will also give LeBron the chance to win his fifth NBA title.

However, when they are at full strength, the Nets are an exciting team to watch. James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, among others, are some of the most explosive players to watch on offense and Chico State point guard Colby Orr is looking forward to seeing what they can do.

“I think the Nets are going to win,” Orr said. “They’re stacked with Kevin Durant and Kyrie [Irving]. There’s so many good scorers who have to play together. They did make it work when they were all healthy.”

The regular season ends on Sunday, with most teams having either three or four games left in their schedule. There are still a lot of moves to be made; it will be interesting to see which teams make it and which teams don’t. It will also reveal which teams will have to face the play-in tournament, which will get underway between May 18-21. 

Connor McPherson can be reached at [email protected] or @theGOATMcphers1 on Twitter.