The Biggest Weakness for Every Member of the Golden State Warriors
We all know the Golden State Warriors aren't exactly perfect. When they're healthy, they're a talented bunch who can win games. But rarely are they healthy. And when they aren't, all the pieces need to be working well.
I'm going to list each player by position, followed by what they could do most to become a better player.
While I do think that they'll be a playoff lock next year if they stay healthy, there are some simple things that guys can do that will make them that much better.
Stephen Curry: Stay Healthy
Role: Starting point guard
Now that Monta Ellis has been traded, it's Steph Curry's turn to be the primary perimeter threat. He's ready to take it on.
Since his rookie year, he's been drawing comparisons to Steve Nash. Both are elite shooters and quick ball-handlers who are good at finishing at the rim.
Neither is a great defender, although Curry isn't nearly as bad as Nash. And neither is an explosive athlete.
The primary difference (it's a big one) is that Curry is a pretty good passer while Nash is arguably the best who ever lived. But it's obvious that Curry can be dominant.
While Curry could add some muscle to improve his strength, speed and leaping ability, his primary problem is that he has two really bad ankles. He was indestructible his rookie year, but he couldn't really be counted on last year.
As for this year, he's been practically worthless. As soon as one ankle heals, he hurts the other. People are starting to label him as an injury bust.
It has been recommended that he sit out the rest of the season. If he can stay healthy, he can develop into an All-Star.
Klay Thompson: Defense
Role: Starting shooting guard
Now that Monta Ellis is gone, Klay Thompson is the starting shooting guard. Despite a rough start to the season, he has quickly earned a reputation as one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the NBA.
He has good size, at 6'7", and for a spot-up shooter, he gets up and down the court pretty well. You have to play right on him, and his handle is good enough that he can get by you if you do so.
He's not a great finisher near the rim, but his main problem is that he just can't play defense. It's not that he doesn't try. He just can't do it.
He will work as hard as he can to stay with his man, but he always gets beat. He's not very good at rotating from the help side. If he can develop into at least a fair defensive player, like Curry did, he can become a respectable starter in this league.
Dorell Wright: Consistency
Role: Starting small forward
Dorell Wright is the classic example of a talented player who does not have the mental game to consistently put it together.
Last season, Wright was a solid candidate for Most Improved Player, playing at a level that many thought he never would achieve. But he's taken a bit of a step back this year, playing significantly fewer minutes and not bringing it every night.
He's bringing effort every night. He's at least a solid defender, and he's a pretty good passer. It's just that last year he was a great scorer. His long-distance shooting commanded so much attention that when he wasn't draining a three in your face, he was getting by you and instigating a play.
While last year he led the league in threes made, this year he's afraid to take them in close games. He's become more willing to take that shot as the season has progressed, but he needs to want to shoot the ball.
David Lee: Defense
Role: Starting power forward
Let me start off by saying that David Lee has it rough. He hasn't played with a quality center all year long, or at all since joining the Warriors, and he is not big enough or defensively-minded enough to play at least half of his minutes at center.
Despite playing out of position, Lee is pulling down more than nine rebounds and scoring more than 19 points per game. He has a nice touch near the rim, and he actually has one of the better high-post games in the NBA. Next year, he'll be playing with Andrew Bogut, and I think his stats will only rise.
Still, his defense is shaky. He's a rather poor on-ball defender, although he is tough to back down. But his main problem is that he will do very little for you once another team gets into the key. His help defense is virtually nonexistent, and with Ekpe Udoh gone, he's going to have even more defensive responsibility.
Andrew Bogut: Health
Role: Starting center (Out for season)
Besides Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard, Andrew Bogut is the best fit possible for the Warriors at center. He's exactly what they need. He can score in the low post, and he's an exceptional inside presence. If only he could stay healthy.
He's only played 12 games this season and 170 in the three seasons before this one. If he plays 70 or more games next year, the Warriors are almost a lock for the playoffs (assuming the rest of the guys stay moderately healthy).
Nate Robinson: Decision-Making
Role: Sixth man
Unless Steph Curry comes back, Nate the Great is the starting point guard for the rest of the year. His ridiculous athleticism and scoring ability are no secret.
But at 5'9" (really 5'7"), he needs to be able to distribute the ball efficiently, and his bad turnovers and ill-advised shots are not helping that cause. He is capable of being a respectable player, but he needs to look before he leaps.
Brandon Rush: Creating Own Shots
Role: Seventh man
Brandon Rush is a good defender and elite shooter. His skill set just doesn't include anything about creating his own shot.
He isn't quick, he isn't good at pulling up, he isn't anything special in the air, and he just doesn't have the ball-handling skills to break down his defender. This isn't likely to change, either.
Dominic McGuire: Develop Offensive Game
Role: Hustle player
The Warriors bring Dominic McGuire in whenever they need a spark. He's a guy who'll dive for loose balls, shut down the other team's best scorer, and at times, pull down 15 rebounds.
Thus, his minutes can range greatly. Part of the reason his playing time isn't consistent is that he has no offensive arsenal. He can't shoot or drive well. His mid-range game is improving, but even then, he has to be wide open.
If he can find some way to contribute offensively, he could be the missing piece on a lot of teams.
Richard Jefferson: Picking His Spots
Richard Jefferson is becoming a more well-rounded offensive player. His jump-shooting and ball-handling are still showing improvement.
It's just that at times he'll be content to be no factor, and at other times he'll kill the flow by throwing up ridiculous shots.
Like Nate Robinson, he can return to being a quality player with better decision-making.
Andris Biedrins: Just Play Better
Role: Starter (until next year)
Honestly, what has happened to this guy?
Despite a strong start to the season, he's actually having his worst one to date. It doesn't make sense.
He lost weight over the offseason, played as hard as he could, and here we are. He's lazy and useless.
Luckily, the Warriors have Andrew Bogut coming in for next year.
I don't think anybody knows how to get to Andris.
Jeremy Tyler: Continue to Develop
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Jeremy Tyler is athletic and has shown glimpses of great play. If he continues to develop, he'll get consistent playing time.
Charles Jenkins: Continue to Develop
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Like Jeremy Tyler, Charles Jenkins has gotten better throughout the season. When he had to start, he failed miserably, but he's doing more and more for this club.
Mickell Gladness: Develop Offensive Game
Role: Bench warmer
Mickell Gladness was just signed to a 10-game contract. Gladness is an elite shot-blocker and a solid rebounder. If he can do anything offensively, he'll actually get signed for a while.
Keith Benson: Bulk Up
Role: Bench warmer
When Keith Benson entered the NBA, he was listed at 6'11" and only 200 pounds. He's only played in two games this year, so we haven't seen much of him.
The Warriors say he's 230 pounds, but I find it hard to believe that he's put on 30 pounds. Even if he has, he needs at gain at least 10 more.
Chris Wright: Dominate D-League
Wright now (bad pun), Chris Wright needs to get out of the D-League. Once he does, he needs to develop some offensive ability.
But it doesn't matter how much he can score in the NBA if he can't get back into it.