Golden State Warriors: Biggest Reasons for Hope in 2013

Branden FitzPatrickCorrespondent IJuly 4, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28:  Harrison Barnes (R) of North Carolina greets NBA Commissioner David Stern (L) after he was selected number seven overall by the Golden State Warriors during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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There are many reasons why Warriors fans should be excited for the upcoming 2012-13 season. Out of all the 2012 NBA lottery teams, the Golden State Warriors may have the most ready roster in order to compete for a spot in the postseason. 

It wasn't long ago that the Warriors appeared to be the usual suspect for tanking in order to get a high draft pick. In fact, the Warriors needed to finish in the bottom seven of the standings in order to keep their 2012 NBA Draft pick.

The Warriors did and received the No. 7 pick in the 2012 Draft. They drafted Harrison Barnes from the University of North Carolina with the pick.

Now the Warriors roster consists of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee, Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes as its central core. Not too shabby.

Curry is the face of the Warriors' franchise. After falling to them at No. 7 in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Warriors found their point guard of the future. Curry had a successful rookie season, averaging 17.5 points and 5.9 assists per game, while finishing on the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Curry's second season was impressive as well, but ankle sprains hampered Curry’s 2011-12 lockout shortened season.

Even with Curry only playing 26 games last season, Thompson managed to put together his own successful rookie campaign. Thompson proved to be an efficient scorer, averaging 12.5 points and shooting 41 percent from the three-point line.

After trading fan favorite Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson, the Warriors declared that Curry and Thompson would be the backcourt of the future. 

The Warriors traded Jackson to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Richard Jefferson and a conditional first-round draft pick. Now the Warriors have a low-post combination of Lee and Bogut, along with a backcourt of Curry and Thompson. The only thing missing on the roster was a small forward.

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 15:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors in action against the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena on February 15, 2012 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading
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Barnes was passed over by six teams in the 2012 NBA Draft. Things could not have gone better for the Warriors, and they got their man to fill their hole at the small forward spot.

Barnes is the perfect mold for a small forward. He stands 6'8" with great length and athleticism. He can also knock down the mid-range jumper, which should give him a long, lustrous NBA career. 

If things go as planned, the Warriors should roll out one of the best offense line-ups in the NBA. They can shoot, rebound and spread the floor. Defense could be an issue, but head coach Mark Jackson claims to be a defensive coach, so the Warriors won't be a complete abomination.

The Western Conference is deep. Unlike the Eastern Conference, there are at least 10 teams in the West that can beat anyone on any given night. Now with the acquisition of Barnes, add the Warriors to that list. 

There are two things standing in the way of the Warriors and a spot at the NBA postseason. One is their youth. Experience goes a long way and the Warriors have a lack of it. Players learn from the hurt that losing in the playoffs brings. Other than Bogut (who was injured the year the Bucks made the playoffs in 2010), none of the Warriors main core has even sat on the bench in a playoff game.

The other obstacle is injuries. Curry and Bogut aren't known for being the most sturdy of players. If one of them goes down, it could throw a wrench in the Warriors plans to make a playoff push. 

Things could finally be going the way Warriors fans have always hoped. After many years of pain and suffering, the Warriors have finally assembled a team that looks good enough on paper to excite the fan base.

Obviously there's a reason teams play games, and looking good on paper means nothing. But it's a good start, especially when things looked bleak just two months ago.