Initial 2013 Golden State Warriors Post-NBA Draft Depth Chart Projections
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The offseason has barely begun and the Golden State Warriors have already made ripples that will be felt up and down the roster for the foreseeable future.
They wheeled and dealed through the NBA draft to land explosive, 22-year-old combo guard Namanja Nedovic. They also shed the contracts of Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush, along with five total picks (two first rounders and three second rounders) to acquire Andre Iguodala.
Though the starting lineup is set, barring another Dwight Howard change of heart or unforeseen David Lee salary dump, the Warriors still need to set up the rest of the roster.
With Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry signing free-agent deals, there is plenty of work left to do.
And it appears they'll have the assets to do so. According to Marcus Thompson of San Jose Mercury News, the Warriors will own several trade exceptions and even though they won't be able to necessarily sign players (over the cap), they can trade for players without incurring taxes.
With that being said, the top seven to eight players are set and it'll be interesting to see how the minutes and responsibilities will fall to each player.
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Starter: Stephen Curry
The unquestioned best player and captain of the team, Curry is not only the best long-range shooter in the NBA, but an underrated playmaker in that he makes the right plays in most circumstances.
In a telling moment in last season's game against the Los Angeles Lakers (the Kobe Bryant Achilles game), Curry, instead of forcing a shot after a pick-and-roll, tossed an over-the-head pass to a wide open Carl Landry, who subsequently missed the game-winner.
Curry played a career-high 38.3 minutes last year and will look to play a little less to prevent wear-and-tear on his ankle.
The scariest part about Curry's defense is that he won't have to do much because of Andre Iguodala's ability to defend guards and forwards.
The options are limitless on both sides of the ball with Iguodala's addition.
Sub: Scott Machado
This is probably a bit preliminary, as the Warriors can cut him during training camp, but he has the ability to become an excellent floor leader and backup point guard.
Machado has great vision—led college in assists the year Kendall Marshall played—and provided the minutes, should find shots for scorers like Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes.
Sub: Nemanja Nedovic
The first round pick, Nedovic is an explosive guard who is able to get into the lane seemingly at will. He doesn't provide the outside game or nuances yet to ostensibly handle guard duties.
But he is 22 years old and if the Warriors choose not to stash him in Europe, he could be ready to go right at the start of training camp.
He's a player to watch during Summer League in Las Vegas.
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Starter: Klay Thompson
Thompson has missed nary a game as a Golden State Warrior and during the course of last season the postseason, his defense improved into an asset Mark Jackson could use in games.
The probable starter and second leg of the Splash Brothers duo, Thompson's shooting percentages went down but his overall play rose as the year progressed.
The next step is to become a better ball-handler and improve his ability to finish around the rim. There's no reason to think he won't work hard enough to make those areas serviceable.
With Iguodala in the fold, Thompson could be relegated as the bench scorer that Warriors fans envisioned Monta Ellis would be for the franchise. As of now, however, his best position is playing off the inside-outside games of Curry and Lee.
Sub: Kent Bazemore
He should be considered a point guard but I have high hopes for Machado. Bazemore can easily slot in there as a ball-handler as well.
Bazemore will likely become the most important aspect of the Warriors' Summer League. The franchise wants to find out if he can handle the ball and get people involved. He will need to work on his shaky jump shot.
If he can improve in those areas, he could easily supplant Machado and become part of a defensive group of wings that has become very athletically potent.
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Starter: Andre Iguodala
The Swiss Army Knife of defensive players, Iguodala is the lesser man's version of a LeBron James. He can defend point guards and power forwards on defense and handle the ball on offense.
Not only will he become the immediate lockdown perimeter defender, taking Thompson's role, he might serve as Curry's backup. Iguodala has averaged over five assists in the last five seasons, so the ability has always been there.
Though he might not score much, his role projects him as a perfect complementary player to Curry and Lee on offense. Iguodala functions best as a supersized role player and his defense, ball-handling and intangibles will help form one of the best cores in the league.
A starting five of Curry/Thompson/Barnes/Iguodala/Bogut would play incredible defense while undressing opposing defenses with impeccable passing and shooting.
Sub: Draymond Green
Green started incredibly slow, especially on offense, as he adjusted to the NBA pace, but he woke up in the playoffs with much better three-point shooting.
His defense bordered on illegal in its physicality.
If he can sustain that shooting rate (39.1 percent from distance), he represents another player who provides defense and three-point shooting, albeit to a lesser extent, like Brandon Rush, a player traded to the Utah Jazz.
Underrated as a player already, his ability to pass and crash the boards will contribute some toughness to this squad.
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Starter: David Lee
Lee will make around $44 million over the next three years and it's tough to see him take a seat on the bench. He will, however, assuredly play less than the 36.8 minutes he averaged last season.
Lee is an excellent offensive player who boasts an ability to finish near the rim and away from the rim with a solid mid-range jumper. He is an excellent interior passer but he was atrocious on the defensive end last season.
There was energy in the beginning of the year, as Mark Jackson implemented a new defense, but we saw the same old phantom Lee defense in the second half.
It isn't a coincidence that the team took off when Lee got injured against the Denver Nuggets and Barnes was inserted as the starting power forward, thus allowing more space on the floor.
Bogut's defense and size combined with Barnes' offense makes Lee expendable but his interior scoring and toughness—playing through a torn hip flexor in the second round against the San Antonio Spurs—are valuable to the team.
Sub: Harrison Barnes
Barnes should function somewhat as a super-sub for the Warriors, filling in at the shooting guard, small forward and power forward positions.
Wherever he plays, he should only get better as he improves his shooting touch, dribbling skills and most importantly, aggressiveness to the basket—though spacing went hand in hand with that last postseason.
Along with Green, Thompson, Bazemore and Iguodala, they form one of the deepest wing combos that can shoot and defend on the perimeter. That versatility allows the Warriors to play many different small lineups without losing the ability to defend.
Combine that with the next guy on the list and this could become an elite defensive team.
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Starter: Andrew Bogut
After an up and down and back up season, Bogut is poised to play the way he did as a Milwaukee Buck with an offseason to rehab and heal.
When healthy, Bogut is able to anchor the back end of a defensive scheme by moving his feet and challenging spots without jumping on every single shot fake.
Though most people might not notice, Bogut's the vocal leader on the defensive end, telling players where to go and more often than not, saving their behinds with blocks and contested shots.
His offensive game, especially hook shots, was gravy last season but look for him to get more comfortable as his ankle should be 100 percent.
A game changer on the defensive end, his smarts and length on the defensive end, along with Iguodala, could propel this defense into the top 10.
Sub: Festus Ezeli
There will probably be another player here before the season begins—with the trade exceptions and injury concerns looming—but Ezeli grew into a solid backup after starting the bulk of the team's games at center.
Look for the Warriors to find a veteran big man, think along the lines of Jermaine O'Neal or Ivan Johnson, to split the minutes with Ezeli.