OAKLAND -- The trade deadline passed, and the Warriors' loudest statement was in the one they didn't make.
General manager Bob Myers and his staff, by not making a major move, announced their belief in the core of this bunch. Even though potential difference-makers were for the taking -- such as Philadelphia's young stud Evan Turner -- the Warriors opted against major shake-up.
They stiff-armed offers for Harrison Barnes, even though it might have been a way to get out of David Lee's burdensome contract. They turned down calls for Klay Thompson, laughed off overtures about Stephen Curry.
They are sticking with their core. This is a smart move because their core is as complete as any in the league. They should be able to meet expectations despite their obvious flaws.
The Warriors' top six players -- Curry, Lee, Thompson, Barnes, Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut -- stack up well against any other in the league. This sextet has its holes and concerns, but it also has multiple strengths that make it formidable.
If it can ever find a rhythm, if Iguodala and Barnes can recapture the playoff grooves from last spring, the Warriors are going to be a problem. Of course, nothing guarantees they ever find that rhythm. But that is much more likely than landing a pipe-dream trade to fix the team's ills.
Even if Golden State had cashed in one of its valuable chips, that would've had just 28 games left for the rejiggered core to mesh, with little room for error.
The Warriors have all they need to finish the season strong and make some noise in the playoffs. The Western Conference is so daunting that five or six teams could be knocked out in the first round or reach the West finals. But this team should be in that mix because it is constructed for the postseason.
Among the bigger problems, and most easiest to fix, was the bench. But guard Jordan Crawford, who was acquired from the Boston Celtics last month, seems to be finding a comfort zone. The trade Wednesday for Lakers guard Steve Blake, a move Kobe Bryant publicly disapproved of, gives the Warriors a point guard to back up Curry and a gamer to take some big shots.
The major worry now is the health of Bogut and who backs him up. Center Festus Ezeli, who started most of last season, is still not close to coming back from offseason knee surgery.
If he takes to the court in March, that would be a bonus, but a source with knowledge of his recovery says April is a more reasonable goal.
But Ezeli isn't the difference between an eighth seed and the fifth seed. That's on the core six.
Entering play Thursday, the Warriors had 15 of their remaining 28 games at home. They still had 15 games remaining against teams currently with losing records.
This team should make the playoffs. Sitting four games behind the No. 4 seed entering Thursday, the Bay Area's team has some work to do for home court advantage in the playoffs. But at minimum, barring injury of course, Golden State should finish 18-10 to get the franchise's first 50-win season since 1993-94.
In the postseason, the Warriors are fashioned to cause problems. They rank fourth in field goal percentage defense and third in defensive rating. A shot blocker in Bogut, a premiere wing defender in Iguodala and a scheme to cover their weaker defenders plays into the Warriors' hands in the heightened intensity of the playoffs.
On offense, they have two of the best offensive players in the league in Curry and Lee and, on paper, a matchup exploiter in Barnes.
If Blake indeed improves the bench, the Warriors can go eight or nine deep easily -- when teams shorten their rotation anyway.
Even with the disappointment thus far, the right move was to play out the string with this core six. Give them a full season at least to get it together. If that group crumbles under the weight of the expectations, management is still in position to blow up the core in the offseason.