NBA Champion Makes Bold Prediction on Warriors ‘Flipping the Switch’ in the Playoffs

Stephen Curry Warriors-Kings

Getty Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry celebrates following a bout with the Sacramento Kings.

The 2023 NBA Playoffs are finally upon us, as the Golden State Warriors are set to tip off their first-round series with the Sacramento Kings on Saturday at Golden 1 Center. And just like a handful of other teams — the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers and play-in hopeful Miami Heat immediately come to mind — the Dubs are hoping to prove their lackluster regular season doesn’t mean a thing in the title chase.

However, after a 44-38 campaign that was defined by intrasquad strife coming out of camp, injuries, young players failing to seize the moment and a consistently woeful effort on the road, one has to wonder whether the Warriors can flip the proverbial switch.

For his part, retired three-time All-Star and 2006 champion Antoine Walker thinks Golden State may be able to do it.

“That core has been together and they’ve made a run like this, obviously, for multiple championships,” Walker told 95.7 The Game’s Steiny & Guru on Tuesday. “So, I kind of [have to] believe that they have the ability to do that because of their success.”

Former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker Sounds Off on Failing to Rise to the Occasion in the Playoffs

For his part, Walker couldn’t recount a time when a team he was on was able to suddenly turn it on after coasting for 82 games. On the contrary, he observed that the club he won the title with actually failed in its attempt to do so the year after taking home the trophy.

“I just go back to the days with the Heat and we won the championship our first year and that second year we couldn’t turn it on,” Walker said.

“We thought we’d be able to turn it on and we dealt with some injuries — kind of the same stuff that Golden State [went through] — and we thought, ‘Once the playoffs start, we’re a playoff-ready-built team.’ But we weren’t able to turn it on again.”

After winning 52 games and capturing the title in ’06, Walker’s Heat stumbled to a Dubs-esque 44-38 record during the 2006-07 campaign and were promptly swept by Ben Wallace and the “Baby” Bulls in Round 1 of postseason play.

Walker Believes That the Warriors May Have What It Takes to Do What His Heat Team Couldn’t

As Walker sees it, the ability to reach a higher level during the postseason is wholly dependent on a team’s mindset. And, to the Dubs’ credit, he sees the defending champions as having established a strong baseline heading into the Kings series.

“They’ve won a few games on the road — that’s good momentum that you want to have going into the playoffs,” Walker opined. “Once you start winning games and start feeling good… it kind of goes down the line and then the younger guys pick up on

“But they’ve been there before. I’m not worried about them. They’re going to be a tough out. Nobody wants to play Golden State.”

The Warriors finished their regular season having won three straight games and eight of their last 10, several of which came on the road.

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