Three takeaways from Warriors' 2022-23 NBA schedule release originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The suspense is over. Warriors fans already knew they'd be hosting the Los Angeles Lakers for opening night of the 2022-23 NBA regular season on Oct. 18. To the delight of both Draymond Green and Ja Morant, it also already was announced the Warriors would welcome the Memphis Grizzlies to San Francisco for Christmas.
Now, the Warriors' entire schedule has been released. What did we learn?
Let's break down what the schedule presents in Golden State's quest for another title defense, highlighted by three key categories.
The Warriors went 14-2 over their first month of play last season. Through November, they were 18-3 with losses to the Grizzlies, Charlotte Hornets and Phoenix Suns. Klay Thompson, while still rehabbing his torn Achilles, wasn't available for any of those games.
However, the Warriors also were seen as having the fifth-easiest schedule through their first 20 games -- one game before that loss to the Suns.
In the first month of their schedule last season, the Warriors played nine home games and seven on the road. Eight of those games at Chase Center came from a season-long homestand, and three of their first four games were on the road. This season, the opposite is true.
Along with opening in front of Dub Nation, the Warriors' first three games are at home before they fly to Phoenix. Golden State's home-road splits for the first month couldn't be more even. Literally. The Warriors play eight homes and eight away games in their first 16 contests.
Now, what about the competition?
Through the first month of the season, nine games will be against playoff teams from last season, including the play-in tournament. But one of those teams in the San Antonio Spurs, who are in no rush to compete right now. Plus, three games are against the Sacramento Kings, who should be better and fight for at least a play-in spot, though they're not exactly a championship contender.
What will be the most noteworthy is the fact that the Warriors play the Suns twice in the first month, both times being in the desert. They also play the Miami Heat, who were the top seed in the East last season and one shot away from the NBA Finals, twice in that first 16-game stretch.
Though a strong start is needed, an even better finish can propel teams going into the playoffs. The Warriors ending the regular season on a five-game win streak was huge last season.
While having Steph Curry for only three of their last 16 games, the Warriors went 9-7 to end the regular season. The final month in 2022-23 shouldn't do them many favors.
Starting with a game in Memphis to end a three-game road trip, 12 of the Warriors final 16 games will be against either play-in teams or playoff teams from a season ago. That also doesn't include a Portland Trail Blazers team that should be better if healthy and can have plenty to play for on the regular-season finale. Six of those 12 mentioned games are at home and six are on the road.
Overall, the Warriors' season ends with two straight road games and nine overall, compared to seven in San Francisco. Road games include battles with the Grizzlies (twice), the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks, with the Houston Rockets, Kings and Blazers sprinkled in.
Every team will be gunning for Golden State. They're back atop the mountain as basketball's kings, and their competition would love nothing more than to knock them off as the regular season comes to a close.
What will matter just as much at this point in the season, is the progress of three players: Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman. Particularly, the last two listed names. How much progress has Wiseman made by the final month of the season? What did he look like at the start compared to the end? And will Steve Kerr fully trust Kuminga down the stretch of important games?
Those are key questions that will need answers.
The first and final months of the season for the Warriors feature two five-game road trips.
The first features games at the Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans. There's only one back-to-back in there. The final features games at the LA Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. Again, one back-to-back.
Last season, the Warriors had a four-game road trip in the first month and a five-game road trip in the final month. The difference? Back-to-backs.
Schedule makers gave Golden State the honor of facing 15 back-to-backs for the second straight season. But a scheduling change to a COVID outbreak gave the Warriors 16 back-to-backs. To add the cherry on top, four came in the last month of the regular season. The Warriors this season only have one over the closing month.
The Warriors also have a season-long eight-game homestand again this season. Last season, it came within the first month. This time it's the final eight games of 2022, against Memphis, Charlotte, Utah, Portland, Atlanta, Detroit, Orlando and Phoenix. Their longest road trip is over six games from Dec. 13 through Dec. 21. It features two back-to-backs and their opponents in that stretch are Milwaukee, Indiana, Philadelphia, Toronto, New York and Brooklyn.
Eight of their 15 back-to-backs come in 2022, or the first 37 games.
All this might not sound like much. Every advantage matters, and the Warriors will take whatever they can with every team chasing the champs.