Golden State Warriors: 5 Critical Keys to the Dubs' Preseason
The NBA season is right around the corner, and the reloaded Golden State Warriors still have a few things to figure out during the preseason. The Dubs’ have some big additions in the form of free agents and draftees who will don a Warriors jersey for the very first time.
Now is the time for basketball, as the players are hard at work getting themselves into shape for the upcoming season. Making the playoffs is the No. 1 goal for this team, so the Dubs need to sort out a few things before the opening tip.
Let’s take a closer look what is necessary to accomplish that goal:
5) Rookies Get Their Feet Wet
Harrison Barnes is looking to quickly get acclimated to the NBA.
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The rookies have a lot to learn as they transition from being the focal point at smaller college arenas to life in the NBA and Oracle Arena.
Rooks get to learn a new set of plays and a new style of basketball.
Harrison Barnes will be shooting for the starting small forward position, Draymond Green will try to continue impressing with his complete game, Festus Ezeli will begin to develop some post moves and defensive stalwart Kent Bazemore will try to get a little more offensive.
The rookies will use the time to get adjusted to the four-quarter, 48-minute game. They will have another adjustment trying to deal with an 82-game schedule when they hit “the wall” later in the year.
4) Name Tags and Introductions
Jarrett Jack is one of the new faces of the Dubs this season.
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The Warriors roster has turned over a great deal since the beginning of last year. Because of trades, injuries and the addition of new draft picks, some of the Warriors have not played many games, if any, with their current teammates.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have never started a game together, and neither have David Lee and Andrew Bogut.
The Warriors are waiting patiently to see how far Curry and Bogut have progressed in their respective rehabs before having them return to the floor. They will probably play very sparingly in the preseason.
Key free-agent signing Carl Landry will have to adapt to his new role behind Lee. Guard Jarrett Jack should see a lot of playing time, as Curry's ankle is still a question.
The Dubs will use the preseason as a feeling-out process to see how they can match up with opponents and to find that combination of players that gives them the best opportunity to win games.
3) Perimeter Introduction
Klay Thompson should get a lot of activity on the perimeter.
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Golden State's perimeter game has the potential to be very exciting when you consider a starting lineup that includes Curry, Thompson and Barnes.
Thompson (SG) and Barnes (SF) can light it up from behind the arc, and Curry, at the point, will do an excellent job as a playmaker and scorer.
The biggest key to successful three-point shooting is players getting accustomed to where each player will be on the court. Passing and moving without the ball will really open up the offense. Thompson could especially benefit since he is one of the best young catch-and-shoot scorers in the league.
The bench will be critical to the team's perimeter shooting, too. Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson, Draymond Green and Kent Bazemore will need to produce in key situations and when the starters need a breather. If each of those players can hold their own, they will make the Warriors that much deeper.
With more open looks and fresher legs, Warrior perimeter players should be able to increase their field-goal percentage and help increase the team's scoring average.
2) Big Guys Need to Gel
The Bogut and Lee show will be entertaining.
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The Dubs finally have their first set of legitimate big men since the 1970s, and they need to get acclimated with each other fairly quickly.
Yes, Bogut is still recovering from ankle surgery, but he will eventually be the presence they have lacked for many years.
Both Bogut and David Lee need time to learn how to play with each other, to learn each others' moves with and without the ball. Lee should improve offensively since he won’t be the main focus down low and Bogut protecting the rim should also help improve Lee's individual defense.
The Dubs will also get help off the bench from Landry, Ezeli, Jeremy Tyler and the long-forgotten Andris Biedrins. Landry and Ezeli should contribute this year; Landry can hold his own down in the post, while Ezeli could emerge as a shot-blocking presence.
The addition of a proven big man should finally get the Warriors to the free-throw line where they have finished at or near the bottom in total attempts the past couple of years. A low-post presence on offense will also create shot opportunities for perimeter players.
1) Play Defense
Mark Jackson better backup his defensive focus.
Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Defense is the most important priority for the Warriors this year.
This year, Mark Jackson has a full preseason to get his new additions accustomed to his defensive strategies. The team needs to learn the basics so that they have at least a foundation going into the regular season.
Bogut brings a defensive mentality to the floor, which should be used as a template by the rest of the squad.
Having a deeper team helps out as Jackson can rotate players. Expect him to emphasize defense and he should penalize players who aren’t making the needed effort on that end of the floor. Brandon Rush and undrafted free-agent Kent Bazemore should provide a lot of defensive energy at the right time during games.
Jackson has his work cut out for him, but he knows what it takes for Golden State to be a complete team and make the playoffs.
By focusing on the defense in preseason, the Dubs should be a lot more dangerous come playoff time.
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