The Golden State Warriors are going to the NBA Playoffs in 2013 or they are going to fail.
It's that simple.
This year, he will get an entire offseason, and, more importantly, the players to install his defensive scheme to turn the Warriors into winners.
With everyone seemingly happy and expected to be fully healthy in Golden State, the only ones that can stop them from making the playoffs this season are themselves. Or if someone pokes their Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry voodoo dolls.
Here is a preview of is what to come in the 2012-2013 NBA season for the Warriors.
- Wednesday, October 31 at Phoenix Suns
- Friday, November 2 vs. Memphis Grizzlies
- Saturday, November 3 at Los Angeles Clippers
- Monday, November 5 at Sacramento Kings
- Wednesday, November 7 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
- Friday, November 9 at Los Angeles Lakers
- Saturday, November 10 vs. Denver Nuggets
- Wednesday, November 14 vs. Atlanta Hawks
- Friday, November 16 at Minnesota Timberwolves
- Sunday, November 18 at Oklahoma City Thunder
- Monday, November 19 at Dallas Mavericks
- Wednesday, November 21 vs. Brooklyn Nets
- Friday, November 23 at Denver Nuggets
- Saturday, November 24 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
- Thursday, November 29 vs. Denver Nuggets
Friday, November 2 vs. Memphis Grizzlies
We will see what the new-look Warriors are made of here in their home opener against one of the top teams in the West. This will be a good test of big men, with Andrew Bogut and David Lee squaring off against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Harrison Barnes gets his welcome to the NBA assignment, going up against Rudy Gay.
Monday, November 5 at Sacramento Kings
The Warriors playing against their Northern California rival is usually a good matchup, or is it a poor one? They do usually have battles, but the Warriors need a big win here to establish dominance against lesser talented teams.
Friday, November 16 at Minnesota Timberwolves
This is the Warriors' first game of a road trip that includes three games in four nights, and it's against a team with the same playoff aspirations as they have. This game can set the tone that things will be different when they play away from Oracle this season.
For a team that historically struggles on the road, this would be a great start to turn their struggles around. It also gives them the chance to show Brandon Roy he should have signed with them instead.
Thursday, November 29, vs. Denver Nuggets
This is the third time the Warriors face the Nuggets this month in what should be the rubber match. The Warriors need to come out the series winner here, as the Nuggets are going to be a fierce competitor for a spot in the NBA playoffs. It is also the first nationally televised (not counting the NBATV appearance) game for the Warriors to show off their new-look defense.
October/November W-L Prediction: 8- 7
Wins: Suns, Kings, Cavs, Nuggets, Hawks, Mavericks, Timberwolves, Nuggets
Losses: Grizzlies, Clippers, Lakers, Timberwolves, Thunder, Nets, Nuggets
Best One-on-One Matchup of October/November
In the Warriors' 15-year drought of no NBA All-Star, we will get to see if Andrew Bogut can reverse that trend this season. He goes up against his major competition at the center position in Andrew Bynum two weeks into the season, and we will see exactly what Bogut brings to the Warriors here.
Warriors have the best-case scenario for October/November if...
The new-look Warriors immediately gel and establish themselves as a defensive unit and look like a team that belongs in the playoffs. If Lee thrives with Bogut as a safety net in the post and Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry form a great relationship in the backcourt, with Barnes holding his own on the wing, the the Warriors will get off to a good start.
Warriors have the worst-case scenario for October/November if...
The Warriors struggle to make an impression defensively and fail to establish an identity. If they struggle out of the gate adjusting defensively, they would be stuck playing in catch-up mode for the rest of the season. If Curry's surgically-repaired ankles don't hold up, the Warriors would be in trouble early.
- Saturday, December 1 vs. Indiana Pacers
- Monday, December 3 vs. Orlando Magic
- Wednesday, December 5 at Detroit Pistons
- Friday, December 7 at Brooklyn Nets
- Saturday, December 8 at Washington Wizards
- Monday, December 10 at Charlotte Bobcats
- Wednesday, December 12 at Miami Heat
- Friday, December 14 at Orlando Magic
- Saturday, December 15 at Atlanta Hawks
- Tuesday, December 18 vs. New Orleans Hornets
- Wednesday, December 19 at Sacramento Kings
- Friday, December 21 vs. Charlotte Bobcats
- Saturday, December 22 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- Wednesday, December 26 at Utah Jazz
- Friday, December 28 vs. Philadelphia 76ers
- Saturday, December 29 vs. Boston Celtics
Wednesday, December 5 at Detroit Pistons
No exciting storylines here, but getting off to a good start in the first game of an eight-game road trip is key to build a little momentum to start off a brutal stretch.
Saturday, December 8 at Washington Wizards
These are exactly the kind of games the Warriors need to win. On the road in the second night of a back-to-back to a lesser talented team in the middle of a road trip, the Warriors need to stay focused and not let winnable games slip away.
Tuesday, December 18 vs. New Orleans Hornets
The Warriors will get their first look at rookie Anthony Davis and the new-look Hornets. The Warriors will get to show New Orleans here that they will be the most improved team in the Western Conference this season.
Wednesday, December 26 at Utah Jazz
This one has trap game written all over it. One road game in the middle of a five-game homestand, and in Utah no less. The Jazz have the same playoff aspirations as the Warriors, and a win here in a tough environment could prove to be the difference in April.
December W-L Prediction: 9-7
Wins: Pacers, Magic, Pistons, Wizards, Bobcats, Hawks, Hornets, Bobcats, 76ers
Losses: Nets, Heat, Magic, Kings, Lakers, Jazz, Celtics
Best One-on-One Matchup of December
Thompson can establish himself as one of the premier shooting guards in the NBA in a game against the Brooklyn Nets, when he will be going up against six-time All-Star Joe Johnson. Despite his age, Johnson is still one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, and this will be a great test to see how much Thompson has improved since his rookie season.
Warriors have the best-case scenario for December if...
The taxing eight-game road trip proves to be no problem, as the Warriors go 6-3 on the road in December. If the home crowd helps them get wins over the Lakers, Celtics, Pacers and 76ers, that would give the Warriors double-digit wins in the month of December while establishing themselves as Western Conference contenders.
Warriors have the worst-case scenario for December if...
Their eight-game road trip is worse than the movie with the same title. If the Warriors struggle on the road and struggle against tough teams in their home games this month, December could be disastrous. The Warriors face five of last year's playoff teams at home, and if they aren't up to the task, they will bury themselves in the standings.
- Wednesday, January 2 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
- Saturday, January 5 at Los Angeles Clippers
- Wednesday, January 9 vs. Memphis Grizzlies
- Friday, January 11 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
- Sunday, January 13 at Denver Nuggets
- Wednesday, January 16 vs. Miami Heat
- Friday, January 18 at San Antonio Spurs
- Saturday, January 19 at New Orleans Hornets
- Monday, January 21 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
- Wednesday, January 23 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
- Friday, January 25 at Chicago Bulls
- Saturday, January 26 at Milwaukee Bucks
- Monday, January 28 at Toronto Raptors
- Tuesday, January 29 at Cleveland Cavaliers
- Thursday, January 31 vs. Dallas Mavericks
Wednesday, January 2 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
The Warriors and Clippers were a good matchup last season, as they split their series 2-2. In the first game of a home-and-home against a team they are comparable in talent to, the Warriors need a win at home. Then, hopefully, they steal the next game at Staples Center before they play the Clippers at home again for their third matchup of the month.
Wednesday, January 16 vs. Miami Heat
It's always exciting when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade come to town. This will be a great test for the Warriors at home against the defending champions on ESPN, and a lot of eyes will be on this matchup. The Warriors get a chance to show the entire country what they are made of. Hopefully, that will be a good thing by then.
Saturday, January 26 at Milwaukee Bucks
Andrew Bogut returns to his former home, and Monta Ellis faces his former teammates for the first time in this matchup. I know Warrior fans wish Ellis the best; just not on January 26.
January W-L Prediction: 8-7
Wins: Clippers, Trail Blazers, Heat, Clippers, Bucks, Cavaliers, Raptors, Mavericks
Losses: Clippers, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Spurs, Hornets, Thunder, Bulls
Best One-on-One Matchup of January
Ellis and Curry match up for the first time, as both have something to prove. Ellis will want to show the Warriors what they are missing without him, and Curry will want to show Ellis the Warriors made the right move by keeping him.
They may not necessarily guard each other the entire game, but you know they are going to try and out-duel each other. This one is going to be tremendous to watch.
Warriors have the best-case scenario for January if...
The Warriors play well on the road. That is what will be the most important factor in the months of December and January. If they go 5-3 on the road and they play well at home, getting wins against tough competition, the playoffs picture will be starting to look a lot clearer for them.
Warriors have the worst case scenario for January if...
The Warriors struggle against the Clippers, whom they face three times this month. If they get swept by them and they struggle to get wins at home, as again, five games come against playoff teams, it will put the Warriors in the bottom of the standings looking up.
- Saturday, February 2 vs. Phoenix Suns
- Tuesday, February 5 at Houston Rockets
- Wednesday, February 6 at Oklahoma City Thunder
- Friday, February 8 at Memphis Grizzlies
- Saturday, February 9 at Dallas Mavericks
- Tuesday, February 12 vs. Houston Rockets
- Tuesday, February 19 at Utah Jazz
- Wednesday, February 20 vs. Phoenix Suns
- Friday, February 22 vs. San Antonio Spurs
- Sunday, February 24 at Minnesota Timberwolves
- Tuesday, February 26 at Indiana Pacers
- Wednesday, February 27 at New York Knicks
Tuesday, February 12 vs. Houston Rockets
Jeremy Lin is back in the Bay Area as he returns home to face his former team. This is the second time the Warriors face the Rockets this month, and ideally, they would be going for their second win in as many tries.
Sunday, February 24 at Minnesota Timberwolves
Every game against the Timberwolves is going to be important this season, and just as exciting. Ricky Rubio against Curry, Lee against Kevin Love, Barnes against Derrick Williams; every matchup should be thrilling. More importantly, getting wins like this one on the road is going to be necessary for a trip to the postseason to happen.
Friday, February 22 vs. San Antonio Spurs
With all of the road games the Warriors have, winning games against tough teams at home is essential. The Warriors historically are a much better team at home, and they will need to be here to beat a Western Conference power in San Antonio.
February W-L Prediction: 5-7
Wins: Suns, Rockets, Rockets, Suns, Spurs
Losses: Thunder, Grizzlies, Mavericks, Jazz, Timberwolves, Pacers, Knicks
Best One-on-One Matchup of February
David Lee can establish himself as the premier power forward in the West with a strong performance against Kevin Love. Love is an All-Star and Olympian, but with a strong performance here, Lee can prove that he is just as good as the guy who gets all the publicity.
Warriors have the best-case scenario for February if...
The Warriors beat the Suns and Rockets twice each, which can easily be done, and then they split the rest of the games this month. That would give them a chance at an 8-4 record in February, which is outstanding considering their schedule this month.
Warriors have the worst-case scenario for February if...
The road trips get to them. This is the fourth straight month that the Warriors have more games on the road than at home, which is tough for any team. The theme for this team is strong road play to start the season, but if it's not happening by now, the rest of the season may be futile.
- Friday, March 1 at Boston Celtics
- Saturday, March 2 at Philadelphia 76ers
- Monday, March 4 vs. Toronto Raptors
- Wednesday, March 6 vs. Sacramento Kings
- Friday, March 8 vs. Houston Rockets
- Saturday, March 9 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
- Monday March 11 vs. New York Knicks
- Wednesday, March 13 vs. Detroit Pistons
- Friday, March 15 vs. Chicago Bulls
- Sunday, March 17 at Houston Rockets
- Monday, March 18 at New Orleans Hornets
- Wednesday, March 20 at San Antonio Spurs
- Saturday, March 23 vs. Washington Wizards
- Monday, March 25 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- Wednesday, March 27 vs. Sacramento Kings
- Saturday, March 30 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Saturday, March 9 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Monta Ellis returns to where it all started, and I expect there to be plenty of applause, but just until the ball is tipped. It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction he gives the Warrior fans back.
Monday, March 11 vs. New York Knicks
Mark Jackson faces his old team, and Jason Kidd returns home to the Bay Area as the Warriors look to knock off the Knicks.
Both teams are changing from a run-and-gun offensive style to a defensive one. Here, we will get to see who made the better transformation.
Monday, March 25 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The Warriors face their top division foe and can really build some momentum for the remaining games of the season with a win here.
March W-L Prediction: 10-6
Wins: Raptors, Kings, Rockets, Bucks, Knicks, Pistons, Bulls, Wizards, Kings, Trail Blazers
Losses: Celtics, 76ers, Rockets, Hornets, Spurs, Lakers
Best One-on-One Matchup of March:
This is Curry’s season to establish himself as a premier point guard in the Western Conference. Tony Parker, even after all these years, is still one of the elite backcourt players in the entire NBA, and Curry could surpass Parker in the individual rankings with a strong year.
This would be a huge win on the road against a premier team in the West, and a strong performance by Curry is necessary for the Warriors to come away with a win.
Warriors have the best-case scenario for March if…
Home is indeed sweet home.
The Warriors have 11 home games this month, seven of which are against non-playoff teams from 2012. This month's homestand is the most important stretch of the season. If they play at their capability, the Warriors can make a strong push for the playoffs. Even if they go winless on the road, they still have a great chance to end up with a good record this month with all of their games to be played at Oracle.
Warriors have the worst-case scenario for March if…
The Warriors do go winless on the road and split their home games. If the Warriors don’t go at least 10-6 this month, the playoffs might be out of reach.
- Wednesday, April 3 vs. New Orleans Hornets
- Friday, April 5 at Phoenix Suns
- Sunday, April 7 vs. Utah Jazz
- Tuesday, April 9 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
- Thursday, April 11 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
- Friday, April 12 at Los Angeles Lakers
- Monday, April 15 vs. San Antonio Spurs
- Wednesday, April 17 at Portland Trail Blazers
Thursday, April 11 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Presuming the Thunder have something to play for, this could be a preview of a potential first-round playoff matchup. That, and the Warrior fans get to see Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden up close.
Wednesday, April 17 at Portland Trail Blazers
The Warriors beat the Trail Blazers in Portland in the final game of the 2007 season to clinch a playoff berth. Could we see the same thing here?
April W-L Prediction: 4-4
Wins: Hornets, Jazz, Thunder, Trailblazers
Losses: Suns, Timberwolves, Lakers, Spurs
Best One-on-One Matchup of April
Harrison Barnes will have a full regular season under his belt, and it will be nice to see how he has progressed going up against the NBA's new $46 million small forward in Nicolas Batum.
Warriors have the best-case scenario for April if...
The Lakers, Thunder and Spurs all have nothing to play for this late into the season. If that is the case and the Warriors take care of business with their remaining games, they have a chance to go 7-1, which would greatly enhance their chances of making the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Warriors have the worst-case scenario for April if...
Their elite opponents need wins, and the Warriors falter down the stretch. They could easily end up going 2-5 here and miss out on the playoffs. A heartbreaking scenario would be if they lost to Minnesota and have to watch the Timberwolves make the playoffs over them by one game.
Final Record 44-38
Which would put them on the brink of the NBA playoffs.
The theme for the 2012-2013 Golden State Warriors is going to be how well they play on the road.
Well, that and staying healthy.
Historically, this is not a good spot for this franchise to be in, but this is supposedly a new-look Warriors squad, and we will see if Mark Jackson has the chops to make it as a coach in the NBA very quickly.
The Western Conference is once again going to be very competitive, with as many as 12 teams that have serious playoff aspirations. Even the weaker teams have plenty of talent.
The Warriors have the players to make the playoffs; they just need to execute and start closing out games. If they can beat the teams that they are better than, play well on the road and stay healthy, they should be right in playoff contention in the West.