Teams are looking for the best matchups as potential first-round playoff matches come into focus. Interesting justification for who the Warriors want is provided by Draymond Green.
NBA teams are vying for the best first-round matchups as well as playoff spots with just over a week left in the regular season. The Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves are currently tied for the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. The Dallas Mavericks, who are the No. 11 seed outside of the Play-In Tournament, are only two games behind the Warriors in the standings.
The Warriors would obviously prefer to get the No. 6 seed because it would prevent them from needing to make it through the Play-In Tournament in order to remain in the playoffs.
On a recent episode of his podcast, Draymond explained why the Kings are such an appealing opponent for the Warriors, saying, “I’m not upset at if the standings shook out how they did today and we met Sacramento in the first round. Not because I think Sacramento is a weak team, because the travel is so much easier.”
Green is not wrong. The Warriors’ and Kings’ home arenas are separated by just 86 miles. If the Warriors fell to No. 7, they’d face a journey of more than 2,000 miles to FedEx Forum where the Grizzlies play. Slipping to No. 8 is only slightly better — a 1,200-mile trip to Denver to face the Nuggets.
Easy travel is an underappreciated advantage for a veteran team like the Warriors but he may also be underselling his desire to see the Kings for other reasons. The Kings are one of the lest experienced teams likely to make the playoffs in the West and the Warriors have already beaten them in two of their three regular-season meetings.