Warriors' fans have a lot to look forward to this season.
The Golden State Warriors are now legitimate contenders in the NBA, but every fan needs to know about some key things for the 2013-14 season. The team has arguably the best starting five in the Association, and Harrison Barnes is the new sixth man.
The team has set a lot of goals this season, and one of the first ones came out of Steph Curry’s mouth when he said that five would be the first number in the games won. The team is coming back healthy for the first time in a few years, so that victory goal looks attainable.
There are also a few knowledgeable items that stretch from the hard-core Warriors fan to the fan just getting to know the Bay’s team. With that being said, let’s take a closer look at the 2013-14 Warriors.
Steph Curry woke up the national audience with a 54-point performance at Madison Square Garden and continued his marketing tour with dominant playoff performances. He did not make the All-Star team last season, but he positioned himself to be a perennial attendee with his play.
He has the personality, the marketability and the playmaking skills to be the next big thing. It is time for the world to be introduced to Steph Curry.
Andrew Bogut has gotten a bad rap, as he can’t make it through an NBA season without getting injured. The Warriors traded Monta Ellis for the hope that Bogut could stay healthy.
Last season, the Warriors had to wait an extended time period to see what he could accomplish on the court. Bogut only played in 32 regular-season games last year, but he was a monster in the playoffs, hurt ankle and all.
Bogut had a chance to get healthy during the summer in Australia and was excited when no more restrictions were placed on him.
He will demonstrate that he is one of the top defending centers with the talent surrounding him by tearing down rebounds and swatting away balls. He will also show that he is fierce on the offensive end by throwing down slams like the way he posterized JaVale McGee.
He is entering his contract year, so I expect Bogut to dominate, stay healthy and be the Warriors' center for an extended period of time.
Iguodala fills in a lot of holes for the Warriors.
Andre Iguodala was a huge acquisition, because not only was he the first legitimate free agent to sign with the Warriors, but he also has so many tools to fill the holes. He is a slasher, a playmaker and best of all, he is a premier defender.
Coach Mark Jackson will use Iguodala in many different situations this season, and you can expect him to be playing both guard and forward positions. Since he knows how to move with and without the ball, he will free up the other shooters.
He is the glue to the defense, as he will improve everyone around him. He can man up against the opponent’s best offensive perimeter player, which will let Klay and Steph have easier matchups.
He also causes turnovers and sets up the transition very well, so he can turn his defensive stops into points. While defense was the Warriors’ biggest problem a couple of years ago, it is now one of their strong suits and can help them win games.
Iguodala will bring his huge skill set to the team and make each player better. He is currently pushing Harrison Barnes in practice, which will only make Barnes that much better.
The Warriors have their best chance at 50-plus wins in almost 20 years.
The last time the Warriors won 50 games, Chris Webber was a rookie and “Spree for three” was being echoed copious amounts of times at the then Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena. Don Nelson was the coach, and the Warriors' last significant run of success was about to come to a screeching halt.
Almost 20 years later, the Warriors have new ownership and a dynamic team that is shooting up the standings. Steph Curry is the ball-handler and supported by a wealth of talent.
The Warriors also went out and signed a major free agent, who was willing to come to Oakland. Times are a-changing, and the Warriors are looking to use that momentum to win 50-plus games.
The addition of Iguodala will free up a lot of key members to make moves and earn less-contested shots. Harrison Barnes now comes in as the sixth man, and he has already shown his potential in the regular season and playoffs.
The team won 47 games last season, and there should not be any doubt that this team can win at least 50 games barring any significant injuries.
There will be some exciting matchups between Chris Paul and Steph Curry.
The Golden State Warriors have a legitimate shot to win their first Pacific Division title in this century. Well, it has been almost 40 years since their last foray at the top.
The perennial contender and usual division champs, the Los Angeles Lakers, are now a shadow of their former self. Kobe Bryant will be back after tearing his Achilles tendon, but he doesn’t have the arsenal around him.
The Clippers are now the better tenant in the Staples Center, and they will look to improve upon their 56-26 record. The Clips traded backup point guard Eric Bledsoe for J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley in order to fill the holes around their perimeter.
The Warriors will have to win over 50 games and hope that the rest of the league adjusts and adapts to the Clippers. The Warriors held their own last season versus their SoCal rivals and will hope to do it again this season.
I predict that the Warriors win at least 51 games and stay in the division title chase until the final week of the season.
Kent Bazemore was an All-Star last season as a bench celebrator, but he wants to begin his transformation into a roster contributor. He started that process this summer, as he led the team to the first Las Vegas Summer League title.
He focused on his offense by putting up 18.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 3.1 APG during the seven-game summer tour. Those averages are from a man whose primary focus has been on defense.
Bazemore has been working on his mid-range jumper and his shooting stroke this offseason. With his enormously long wingspan, he has to learn how to abbreviate his shooting motion.
He is trying to expand his offensive possibilities by playing point on the summer league team and working on his handles. If he can become a reliable ball-handler, his minutes should shoot up, since he won’t be used only as a defensive specialist.
Bazemore is very athletic and when he does have the ball, he can get up in the air and dazzle. I hope to see more of him on the floor than on the bench celebrating.
Seth Curry has finally made it to an NBA roster and wouldn’t you know, it is the same roster that has his brother on it. In a childhood dream situation, Seth and Steph have a chance to play in the same NBA backcourt.
While Steph is an emerging NBA superstar, Seth is an undrafted free agent, who is trying to make the team out of camp. He decided to go the NBA route instead of playing in Europe.
Seth has the basketball IQ, but he is undersized and does not possess the physical tools of his brother. However, just like his dad and Steph, he has the soft touch and can score in a hurry.
I predict Seth making the roster, but he will be spending a lot of time with their NBA D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz, so that he can keep his skills sharp and get some real playing time. As his skills progress, he will get limited time in the backcourt with his brother.
If he can consistently hit the NBA three-pointer and improve his defensive skills, he should have more than a cup of coffee in the Association. Plus, the Warriors would get an easy marketing campaign with the two on the same team.
Draymond Green took this offseason to make some major changes in his life. He reported to summer league with a whole new body, thanks to a conditioning program that helped him lose 20 pounds.
He now has added flexibility and agility to go with his cut body, and he can use his numerous skills to be the Warriors' X-Factor. Yes, he will be coming off the bench, because the starting five is so loaded with talent, but Green can definitely pick his spots.
All Warriors fans remember how Green snuck by the Miami Heat’s Shane Battier for the crucial game-winning basket in Miami last season. With a whole year of experience behind him, Green is taking on a heavier load with the team.
Expect to see Green driving more and making plays than settling for the spot-up jumper. He did become more comfortable behind the three-point line, but he would like to be converting layups or going to the free-throw line as a result.
He also brings the leadership ability with him, as he has a very high basketball IQ and will take advantage of that knowledge when he makes his moves on the court. Green might not get as many minutes as he would like, but he will take advantage of his time and make the necessary contributions to win games.
Steph Curry flew under the radar last season on his way to breaking Ray Allen’s single-season three-point record. He eclipsed Allen on the last day of the season in Portland by ending up with 272 threes.
This season, he is being torn in two different directions. He gains the spacing with Andre Iguodala’s playmaking and slashing abilities, but he is the marked man since he dominated throughout the playoffs.
Curry will have to balance the role and expectations to free himself up for three-point opportunities. He can’t be selfish either, as he now has more weapons to pass the ball to, including a healthy Andrew Bogut.
Curry will need to continue to improve his dribble-drive and perfect his floater, when big men come near. However, if Curry picks the right times and runs with a lot of hot streaks, he should get close to the record.
Either way, Warriors fans will start counting his threes, as soon as he hits the first one against the Los Angeles Lakers at home on October 30.
The Golden State Warriors defense has dramatically improved with the addition of Andre Iguodala. Instead of being a Band-Aid, he is a fortified rubber patch with his defensive abilities.
He will be the one to guard the opponent’s best perimeter player and be a major helper when one of his teammates is struggling. His ability to rebound, steal the ball and create turnovers will definitely enhance the Warriors’ chances to win ballgames.
Iguodala will definitely be in the game during the final minutes, when the Warriors require that necessary stop or a penetrating score. The team also has a healthy Andrew Bogut, who was dominating, while injured, in last season’s playoffs.
Bogut likes to make the big block and tear down rebounds in order to get the crowd going. He knows how to position himself on the floor and can limit opponent’s opportunities.
The Warriors also have underrated defender Klay Thompson to go along with the two other starters working on improving their defensive abilities, Steph Curry and David Lee. Harrison Barnes, Toney Douglas and Kent Bazemore head a solid bench crew.
The team is already a monster when rebounding the ball, but this season it should be even better in the remainder of the defensive categories.