5 Things the Golden State Warriors Must Do to Get Back into the Playoffs
Whatever they have been trying to do the last couple decades obviously hasn't been working; that's why they traded their best player, Monta Ellis, to change their direction.
If everything they have been doing has been wrong, the opposite must be right.
Right, George Costanza?
Next season, the Warriors are going to try to do the opposite.
They will have a true center—that's fun to say—as they try to make the transformation from an offense juggernaut to defensive stalwarts.
Well, for the most part.
As the Warriors head into next season with a new identity, here are things they must improve on if they want to make going to the playoffs a reality.
1. Improve Their Road Record
37 times the Warriors have won a game on the road in the last four seasons...combined.
Compare that to the (incredible) 119 loses in those four years; it means that they need a vast improvement if they are serious about the playoffs.
They always have a great chance, no matter who is on the floor, playing at home to win thanks to the fantastic home crowd. But if they want to be considered among the top eight teams in the Western Conference they need to take that same energy they have playing at home to the road.
2. Make the Defensive Adjustment Quickly
Mark Jackson tried to implement his "defensive mentality" this season with few results.
While they did stop the running and gunning a little, the players just were not there this season to really make the change defensively.
Enter Andrew Bogut.
He is going to be the centerpiece of the defensive transformation that the Warriors will need to take to get their name mentioned in playoff talks.
Everyone on the team can now get more aggressive defensively knowing that he will be in the middle serving as a security blanket. Hopefully they can mimic the play of the Dallas Mavericks from last season, with Bogut playing the role of Tyson Chandler.
We will find out what kind of coaching chops Mark Jackson has next year because now he has the players to play in the system he wants to implement.
3. Make Sure Their Training Staff Is the Best in the League
The Warriors training staff needs to rival that of the Phoenix Suns.
Stephen Curry and Bogut are both likely going to get hurt next year. We know that by their history, and even if they will be "fluky" injuries, the two of these guys will miss games next year.
The training staff needs to attend to their injuries quickly and thoroughly to minimize their time missed. The Warriors need both of these guys healthy if they are even going to consider being a playoff team.
They can't be without either of them for any extended period of time.
4. See Improvements from Their Young Guys
Charles Jenkins, Klay Thompson and Jeremy Tyler are all promising rookies who could play a big role for the Warriors next season.
Thompson more so than the other two, as he is expected to fill the scoring void left by Monta Ellis.
Big shoes to fill, but if he works on his shot selection this offseason and minimizes wasted possessions, he should be in the running for most improved player in the NBA next season.
Charles Jenkins is expected to be the first guard off the bench (as of today) next season. Given the frequency of Curry's tendency to get hurt, he could be playing vital minutes next season.
The more Jenkins improves on his decision-making, the less they will miss Curry when he needs to rest.
Tyler looks like he will be a special player. Given the lack of contribution from Andris Biedrins, the Warriors need strong bench play from someone in the post next season. Maybe Tyler can be that guy.
If he has a strong offseason he could give the Warriors everything Biedrins doesn't.
5. Make Something Happen in Free Agency
The Warriors are already near the salary cap ceiling for next season and just have nine guys under contract, so their options may be limited.
With their own first-round draft pick hanging in the balance, the Warriors will need to look to free agency or retain their own free agents in Brandon Rush and Dominic McGuire to have enough depth to last 82 games next season.
With only a mid-level exception to deal with, the Warriors must make the most out of every dollar they spend this summer.
Adding a veteran with plenty of playoff experience would be an ideal fit.