Golden State Warriors: Predicting the Warriors' Starting Lineup for 2012-13
Golden State fans may have mixed feelings about their first full season without Monta Ellis since 2005.
The lightning-quick guard quickly became a fan favorite; his blistering speed and superior ability to score at the rim was something truly special to watch (even though his defense was spotty).
But the front office made the right decision parting ways with an increasingly selfish star.
There was no need for that in the locker room and his cancerous attitude was not helping the team move forward.
Trading for Andrew Bogut and Richard Jefferson was a solid move and added a piece to the puzzle that the Warriors have been lacking for years: a formidable defensive presence in the paint.
So while it remains to be seen how the team clicks, the Warriors have the pieces intact to have a successful 2012-13 season.
Here is a look at who they will be putting on the floor come opening day.
Point Guard: Stephen Curry
Young sharp shooter Stephen Curry has had some health issues, but Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area reports that the team "expects Curry to be ready for training camp in the fall."
His injury shortened season last year doesn't adequately represent the true potential the former Davidson star possesses. Curry is a career 44 percent three-point shooter, a 90 percent free-throw shooter and scores nearly 18 points per game.
Curry is the Warrior that benefited most from the Monta trade. Without Ellis, Curry will have more opportunities to be the playmaker and facilitator he is capable of—he has shooters as well as offensive post players.
Look for him to continue to improve on the court and showcase his multi-faceted game.
Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson
Second-year sharp shooter and NBA All-Rookie First Team player Klay Thompson has shown he can be a lights-out three-point shooter.
Now that Monta Ellis is gone, Thompson will surely clock in big minutes at shooting guard.
Like most Warriors, Thompson could use some work on his defensive game, but his offensive ability was what led former GM Larry Riley to select the Washington State star with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
Thompson will be one of the more exciting players to watch because he will finally get the opportunity to show why he deserves to be an NBA starter.
Small Forward: Dorell Wright
Dorell Wright has been a starter for 97 percent of the Warriors' games over the past two years.
He can get a bit shot-happy at times, but Wright will certainly be a starter for the Golden State Warriors come opening day.
He is similar to former Dallas Maverick Jason Terry in his streakiness, as well as his invincibility when he catches fire.
Wright's energy and ability will be provide a steady contribution for the Warriors night in and night out.
At 26 years old, Wright is in the prime of his career. The Warriors definitely expect respectable contributions from the former NBA champion.
Power Forward: David Lee
David Lee has been starting to prove to the Warriors that he is worth his $80 million six-year contract.
In 2011, Lee averaged over 20 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game, while shooting just above 50 percent from the field. He was definitely a centerpiece to the Warriors' offensive game in 2011 and should be expected to do the same in 2012.
The former New York Knick star is yet another Warrior under 30 years old and shouldn't be slowing down anytime soon.
If Lee can continue to contribute like he did last year, the Warriors will be more than happy.
Center: Andrew Bogut
The Warriors gave up one of the league's premiere scorers in Monta Ellis to get the former Milwaukee big man.
But they really needed him.
Andres Biedrins simply has not been getting it done.
Golden State has notoriously been one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, and they made a serious attempt to diminish that weakness with the acquisition of this seven footer.
Bogut has averaged nearly 10 rebounds per game over the course of his career and his shot-blocking ability will help keep opposing offenses from driving to the rim with reckless abandon.
Bogut is an efficient scorer who has a career shooting percentage of 52.2. In 2008-09, the former No. 1 overall pick shot a career high 58 percent from the field.
The Warriors don't expect a career year from Bogut, but a steady, healthy big man will go a long way towards helping the rebuilding process in the City by the Bay.