The Warriors woke up Thursday morning with the best record in the Western Conference and tied for the second-fewest losses in the NBA.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr correctly said Wednesday, one day after a 26-point home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, that his players "have set the bar really high" and added "we're maybe the most scrutinized team in the history of the league."
Just how high is the bar and how much is that scrutiny? Consider this breakdown of the dates the Warriors suffered their 12th loss in each of the past five seasons under Kerr:
Date of 12th loss in the Steve Kerr era
First season: March 2nd (46-12)
Second season: Never (73-9 season)
Third season: March 8th (52-12)
Fourth season: February 3rd (41-12)
Fifth season: December 25th (currently 23-12)— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 26, 2018
As you can see, the Warriors have brought this upon themselves. And it's a lot to live up to, especially now.
Yet the Warriors still would be the West's No. 1 playoff seed, if the NBA season ended today.
Kerr noted "the number of media outlets and the immediacy of the judgment and criticism" when discussing what the Warriors face as back-to-back defending NBA champions, and he's right. So, perhaps they should remember one of Shakespeare's most famous lines when pondering their current predicament.
"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown"
The Warriors are one of the NBA's most legendary kings, and worry, doubt and criticism are part of the challenge of holding that status. Over the next four months, we'll see if the Warriors truly are or are not still basketball royalty, but for now, there's many more games to be played and much perspective to be had.