Can Andre Iguodala beat out Steph Curry in the power rankings?
The Golden State Warriors are weeks away from training camp, and the team looks as powerful as one can remember in the past 20 years. The returning core, along with the free-agent acquisition Andre Iguodala, gives the team its best chance for the first Pacific Division title in almost 40 years.
Steph Curry is currently getting the most national attention these days, but does he lead the team in power rankings? The Warriors have one of the most complete starting fives that also includes Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Klay Thompson.
Harrison Barnes is also in the mix, as he came out of his shell during the playoffs and is looking to take advantage of his new sixth man role. The additions of Marreese Speights, Jermaine O’Neal and Toney Douglas also want their input.
These rankings are based on the players overall value to the team, including injury concerns and stations on career arcs. Their places on the totem pole will definitely change as the season progresses and minutes are adjusted.
But for now, let’s take a look at the Golden State Warriors’ player power rankings.
15. Dewayne Dedmon
The Warriors recently signed PF/C Dewayne Dedmon to a partially-guaranteed contract and filled the last of the 15 roster spots. He stands at 7-foot, 255 pounds, but he is lean and very agile.
As a junior at the University of Southern California last year, he averaged 6.7 PPG and 7.0 RPG. He also led the team in blocks and steals, which is why the Warriors like his potentially high upside.
14. Seth Curry
Besides being Steph Curry’s little brother, the undrafted rookie point guard from Duke University is looking to catch on as a backup point guard. He was chosen as First Team All-ACC last season, while averaging 17.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG and 1.5 APG in his senior season.
Just like his brother, Seth can shoot the ball by averaging 46.5 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from behind the arc. He missed out on the pre-draft process, as he was sidelined by surgery on his lower right leg.
He will have his chance to show other NBA teams what they missed.
13. Festus Ezeli
Festus Ezeli earned starts and quality minutes last season as the primary backup to center Andrew Bogut. He was solid on the defensive end of the ball, as he averaged 2.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 0.9 BPG, but his offense was limited outside of three feet.
Ezeli falls this far down the list because he had his knee operated on at the end of the playoffs and will not return until at least December. It is never a good sign to be a big man and have knee problems this early in a career, but Ezeli has the mindset to overcome it and increase his production in his sophomore season.
12. Nemanja Nedovic
Nemanja Nedovic was the only pick for the Golden State Warriors in the 2013 NBA draft. The Warriors brass had scouted him at 2013 adidas Eurocamp and found a way into the draft to select him.
Nedovic missed his one opportunity to play in the Las Vegas Summer League before moving on to play with the Serbian National Team.
He is an exciting young prospect and will be fighting for minutes at either guard position, as he assimilates to the NBA.
11. Kent Bazemore
In Las Vegas, Kent Bazemore focused on his offense and led the team to the inaugural summer league championship. He has primarily been known for his celebrations on the bench, but he wants a guaranteed spot on this young and exciting roster.
Bazemore averaged 18.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists during his seven-game Las Vegas stretch, where he gained MVP honors.
He will now look to improve upon his 2.0 PPG, 0.4 RPG and 0.4 APG in only 4.4 minutes that he put in last season.
The injury to center Festus Ezeli forced the Warriors to go out and recruit Jermaine O’Neal to fill that vacancy. O’Neal is on the downslope of his career, but he put in a rejuvenating effort last season with the Phoenix Suns by averaging 8.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 18.7 minutes.
O’Neal will spell the hopefully healthy Andrew Bogut, and he can rotate between the center and power forward positions. O’Neal will be able to post up on offense, and he is still a good defender.
He went to Germany to have the same procedure done to his knees as Kobe Bryant, which resulted in the upswing last season. He returned again this summer, as the former 17th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft wants to go out on his own terms.
When Ezeli returns, coach Mark Jackson will look to maximize O’Neal with 10-15 minutes each night.
Toney Douglas gets a chance to establish himself under the radar while backing up point guard Steph Curry. Douglas has a key role for the Warriors, as he will handle the point when Curry is on the bench and when coach Mark Jackson wants to shift Steph to the 2 position.
Douglas has been tagged with the dreaded “potential” label, because he has yet to stick with a team during his runs with the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings. He now gets the opportunity to try and fill the shoes left by the dynamic Jarrett Jack.
His task will be a difficult one to fill, but he has his goals laid out for him. He needs to improve his shooting, as he only shot 40.3 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point land.
He won’t get the repetitions that Jack received, but Douglas has to make an attempt to improve at this area.
The biggest benefit that he brings is his defensive intensity. With Curry on the bench for a breather, the Dubs will not be giving away any leads.
Draymond Green is coming into training camp with a whole new look and focus. He is training hard during this offseason with his own weight and conditioning program that helped him drop 15 pounds.
He also brings more flexibility and agility to his game with the right attitude coming into camp. He understands his role with the Warriors and wants to continue to fight for more playing time and quality minutes.
During summer league, he chose to drive to the basket more often than settling for open shots in order to get to the free-throw line. He also took his leadership to another level, as he was leading the charge in summer practices.
With his new size and quickness, Green will be plugged into a myriad of holes as a “stretch 4” in order to help win games. He has a very high basketball IQ and will look to take advantage of his minutes, like he did against the Miami Heat last season.
Marreese Speights gets the call to fill the void vacated by now Sacramento King, Carl Landry. Speights' role is to be a physical power forward, rebound the ball and convert offensive opportunities.
He will look to increase his totals from last year’s production, after he found a niche with the Cleveland Cavaliers after being traded by the Memphis Grizzlies. He is a good shooter, who frequently uses the pick-and-pop and spot-up shots, but he is not the same caliber in the post as Landry.
He increased his point total to 10.2 in 18.5 minutes after the trade, and he is excited to be part of a team that is moving in the upward direction. He will bring his physical nature to the power forward position and will anchor down the key when substituting for David Lee or Andrew Bogut.
He can run the court and is a proficient offensive rebounder, but his lack of quickness harms his defensive abilities. If Coach Jackson can surround Speights with quality defenders, Jackson will be happy with 10 points and six boards in roughly 20 minutes a night.
David Lee’s offensive production was red-lining last season, as he monopolized the double-double category. He brought the tenacity and the team-first spirit, as he helped guide the Warriors to their first playoff appearance since the “We Believe” squad.
However, his long-awaited playoff debut resulted in a torn right hip flexor in Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets. The team won the series without him and gave Harrison Barnes an opportunity that he maximized.
Lee says he is 100 percent healed from the offseason surgery, and he showed some of that skill while teaming up with Kent Bazemore at New York City’s Rucker Park. He and Steph Curry have already gone back to work with 10 other Warriors in Oakland to start preparing for the season.
He claims to be in the best shape of his life and with his added endurance, he can focus on his biggest weakness, defense. He will be flanked by two strong defenders in Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala, but if he can improve his defense, the Warriors could be one of the top three teams in the West.
Lee is steady, but until he can improve his defensive abilities, he will finish at the bottom of the starting six.
Klay Thompson is primarily known for his catch-and-shoot ability, but he is also recognized as an up-and-coming defender. He now wants to increase his offensive acumen.
The other “Splash Brother” took on the role of guarding Tony Parker in the Western Conference semifinals and held his own. He made the transformation after working with the Team USA Select last summer, where he learned a lot from players like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Like last year with defense, Klay is now focusing on making a dent in his offensive game. He is a great shooter, but he’s had a lot of problems getting to the rim and finishing.
Klay’s goals during the summer and at camp are to improve his moves to the basket and his ability to fight off contact to convert his opportunities. As you can remember, Klay finished last in the league at the shooting guard position in free-throw attempts.
The more times that Klay can make a move and score, he will gain an extra step between him and the defender. That extra spacing will allow him to either take a quick shot, drive to the basket or find Andre Iguodala cutting through the lane.
If Klay can bring the consistency and improve his offensive weaknesses, he will improve upon the 16.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 2.2 APG that he produced last season.
Andrew Bogut is going into a contract year and by all accounts, he is coming into camp with a clean bill of health. Warriors fans finally will get a glimpse of the real Bogut, like when he truly dominated the paint against the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs.
He comes to camp with a defensive perspective, where his favorite plays are meaningful blocks or hard-fought rebounds. He likes to get the crowd amped up, when he makes a game-changing play.
One of his biggest assets is the ability to handle the ball for a big man. He isn’t limited to the restricted area, and he can create plays with his passing ability and find the open man on the perimeter.
Bogut is definitely a leader, and the Warriors are hoping that he can show the consistent skill that made the Monta Ellis trade so plausible. He should improve upon the 5.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG and 1.7 BPG that he put up in only 32 regular-season games and have the chance to earn a contract extension.
He is their lynchpin in the frontcourt and playoff success will be determined by how big of a factor he can be. If he can avoid getting injured, the Warriors should be a difficult opponent this season.
Harrison Barnes showed his true value during last season’s playoff run, where he played both his normal 3 position and the “stretch 4.” He was a playmaker and an inspirational leader, as he willed the Warriors to a home-floor comeback in Game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs.
The potential became reality and pushed Barnes up the list in the pre-training camp power rankings. The addition of small forward Andre Iguodala moved Barnes to the sixth-man role, and now he will have to adapt to coming off the bench.
The major positive news about this move is that Barnes will not be limited to just the 3 position, as he can now rotate between both forward spots. He will need to bring the energy and fight for a spot in the crunch time minutes, like he didn’t get last season.
As a second-year veteran, Barnes did not play on the Las Vegas Summer League squad, but instead honed his craft at the Team USA minicamp. Barnes looked like he fit in perfectly with the squad, especially after posterizing former Cal-product Ryan Anderson.
Barnes will adapt to his new role and be a more confident contributor on this season’s squad. I see him getting a lot more quality minutes, especially late in the game.
Andre Iguodala is the biggest free-agent splash the Warriors have inked in recent memory. He brings a wealth of talent to the team and can play just about every position.
His skill set is highly rated, as he can drive to the basket, shoot from the outside, feed teammates and lock down defenders. He will be extremely helpful when the Warriors have to face the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Iggy is now going into his 10th year as a professional and will start the season at age 29. His recent statistics are relatively consistent, but his point totals and free-throw shooting percentage have dropped considerably since the 2007-08 season.
He will play a large part to open up the offense and not have everyone double-team Steph Curry. His slashing ability will open up lanes for Klay Thompson, as well as the frontcourt tandem of David Lee and Andrew Bogut.
He is the missing piece that the Warriors have lacked for many years, and a 50-win season and long playoff run should be the just desserts.
Stephen Curry outperformed expectations and the $3.95 million option of his initial contract, as he now enters the first year of his four-year, $44 million contract extension. He did not earn the All-Star appearance, but he put himself on the NBA map with the 54-point performance at Madison Square Garden.
He led the Warriors to a second-round playoff appearance and many dominant third quarters. He continued to develop his offensive game with a floater that lets him drive to the rim.
Curry also broke Ray Allen’s single-season three-point record in the season’s final game. He has all of the tools in place, including team leadership to help the Warriors eventually make it to the NBA Finals.
His biggest deficiencies are his ankle and his defense. His ankle surprisingly held up the entire season and was only a factor against the San Antonio Spurs.
Curry is now considered an elite player and he wants to defend that way. His main focus this summer and during camp is to learn how to be more consistent on both sides of the ball.
Curry is only going into his fifth year as a player, and he has the whole NBA watching his every move. He will make it an exciting season.