Tuesday, December 20, 2011

(Lockout) Season Preview: Golden State Warriors

Another year and hope is springing eternal for the Dubs.  They have enthusiastic owners in Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber.  They have a new coach in Mark Jackson.  They have a young roster with talent, led by the dynamic backcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis.  And they have the youthful legs that will be a key factor in this abbreviated season.  Jackson is preaching defense and toughness for his Warriors, but when you have thoroughbreds like the Dubs have, sometimes you just want to let them run.  You don’t take a Ferrari out on the highway, and then obey the speed limit.

Jackson must preach defense because that’s exactly what the Warriors have lacked in past seasons.  Even in the Baron Davis years, they were successful because they got the necessary stops when needed, and had a roster of tough guys with chips on their shoulders, who didn’t back down from anyone.  Jackson was a stellar player throughout his career, who has enough NBA experience, and enough street mentality, that it hopefully rubs off on the right players.  The Warriors also need key contributors to stay healthy, throughout this shortened season.

PG – Stephen Curry, Ishmael Smith
SG – Monta Ellis, Tommy Mitchell, Charles Jenkins
SF – Dorell Wright, Al Thornton, Klay Thompson
PF – David Lee, Ekpe Udoh, Chris Wright, Jeremy Tyler
C – Andris Biedrins, Kwame Brown, Louis Amundson, Mikki Moore

David Lee

Lee received much scrutiny for signing an $80 million dollar contract, especially for a guy knocked for playing zero defense.  And while the offensive numbers were David Lee-like (16 points, 10 boards, 51% FG), Lee never seemed comfortable in his new situation.  Year two should be different, and Lee is now healthy, and accustomed to their style of play.  Lee is looked upon as a leader, and can be a solid veteran for the excess of young bigs the Warriors may employ.

Dorell Wright

Wright’s coming out party last season (16.4 ppg, playing in all 82 games, finishing 3rd in NBA Most Improved Player, setting Warriors records for Three-Pointers in a season), was a great story, and should continue for many more years.  Wright is a deadly shooter, as well as a high-flyer, who fits into the Warriors run-and-gun system perfectly.  If Mark Jackson wants to slow things down, things could get sour.  Let’s hope not.

Stephen Curry

He’s knocked for his lack of defense, and questions of what his true position is.  But the truth is, he’s a savant on the offensive end, capable of scoring at will, or distributing to open teammates all night long.  Curry exhibits all the traits of a winner you want in a player, and has several intangibles you want in a star player:  Plays hard every night because he’s been told he’s too small, high NBA IQ due to a basketball family, and, the purest jumper around.  Just a treat to watch, and a great player.


These are all names that may be on the Warriors roster, at some time, at some place.  This is awful.  This is a D-League team, if that.  As a Warriors fan, I am now very worried.

The Warriors won 36 games last season, and generated a lot of excitement in any gym the played in last season.  The main reason is the electric backcourt of Curry and Monta Ellis.  One of them is always on the trading block, which bamboozles me.  I believe they can co-exist, and play together.  I’ve talked about Curry, but when it comes to Monta, he’s one of the purest scorers the League has.  Every night is the same for him, in what is asked:  42-46 minutes, 24-28 points, 6 assists, guard (or try to) the other team’s best player, and take a TON of punishment.  He’s an elite player, I don’t care.  A lot of teams would be lucky to have him.  The Warriors raised a lot of eyebrows by giving #1 bust Kwame Brown a $7 million dollar contract, so fans can just keep praying that he’ll turn the corner.    Won’t happen.  The Warriors will always be fun to watch, and they may even contend for an 8 seed.  They need huge seasons from their starters, and need to revamp their entire bench.  My prediction is that they fall just short, much to my, and all the Dubs fans, chagrin.


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