Golden State Warriors: 30 Team Previews in 30 Days
Finished 26-56, fourth in Pacific Division, 13th in Western Conference
Additions and Re-Signings
Ekpe Udoh via draft, Charlie Bell via trade, David Lee via trade, Jeremy Lin via signing, Jannero Pargo via free agency, Dorell Wright via free agency, and Dan Gadzuric via trade.
Corey Maggette via trade, Kelenna Azabuike via trade, Anthony Randolph via trade, Anthony Morrow via free agency, Anthony Tolliver via free agency, C.J. Watson via free agency, and Ronny Turiaf via trade.
With one of the youngest cores in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors might have one of the brightest futures to go along with it. Even though the oldest starter is 27 years old, David Lee, each starter has shown more promise than most of the other young, talented players in this league can boast.
Monta Ellis finally had his breakout season after a freak accident allowed him to only play 25 games in the 2008-09 campaign. In only his fifth year though, Ellis finished at 26 points per game, good for sixth in the league. His astounding agility and smooth jumper allows him to thrive in the Warriors run and gun of an offensive system.
Ellis's move to the two spot last season truly showed up what position he should play as he could shoot, while finding open teammates due to his ability to attract double teams to limit his scoring production. The career high five assists per game to go with his 26 points revealed just how multi-dimensional and dangerous of a player Ellis can be on the offensive end.
The defense doesn't need to be shown for now on a team like the Warriors.
Ellis and his now-sophomore counterpart in Stephen Curry have quickly established themselves as one of the more dangerous and volatile back court's in the NBA with only a combined six years of experience between the two. If not for Tyreke Evans' record-breaking season with Sacramento, Stephen Curry would have been the clear cut winner of the Rookie of the Year award.
Curry has always been recognized as a scorer since his days at Davidson, but no one expected him to transition that game to the NBA in only one season. His 42-point outburst in the final game of the season was a tease of what was to come in the future from the fresh faced 20-year-old. Curry blew up for 18 points, six assists, five rebounds, and two steals per game in his rookie season.
The three turnovers per game will need work, but if Curry can continue to hit two three-pointers per game at 44 percent, then his turnover problem can be put on the back burner for now. Curry has the capability to become the fifth player in history to gain a quadruple-double in a game because of his impressive numbers in the four statistical categories of points, assists, rebounds, and steals, but the Warriors would rather see Stephen win games for them before that.
With Ellis and Curry in the back court, the Warriors could be the sleeper team to watch for in the Western Conference. Even though the West has established itself as a two-tier conference with a majority of quality teams and a minority of awful teams, a team like Golden State could be on the rise as an eighth seed in the near future.
Now that they are equipped with a big man that can score, it could happen as soon as next year.
The Warriors traded for David Lee, who will be entering his sixth year after spending his previous five with the New York Knicks as one of the main scoring and rebounding threat. Lee is coming off of a career season where he averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists in 81 games with the Knicks.
It's going to be an interesting experiment to see the Warriors with a scoring big man who relies mainly on scoring in the paint rather than from beyond 20 feet, like most of the players on the team other than starting center Andris Biedrins.
The Warriors completed a number of moves this offseason that could result in a change of heart in the offensive and defensive plans, including signing defensive stopper Charlie Bell and drafting Ekpe Udoh with the sixth pick. While Bell can hit from deep as a career 36 percent three-point shooter, the Milwaukee Bucks utilized him last season mostly as a defensive stopper against opposing shooting guards.
Whether the Warriors will use him the same way is up to Don Nelson, who has had an offensive mindset with the Warriors since 2006. It's obvious that the offense has no problem scoring when they finished second in the league in scoring at 109 points per game, but at the cost of giving up a league leading 113 points, Golden State might want to use players like Bell, Udoh, and Gadzuric mainly for defense.
The 23-year-old Udoh is listed at 6'10" and has a thing for blocking and altering shots. His four blocks per game with Baylor last season showed off why he should be a first-round pick and that the Warriors might have found their new starting center after Biedrins injury shortened season became a liability for the Warriors offense.
Biedrins was coming off of a career best of a season when he averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds, but in 33 games last season he only averaged five points and and eight rebounds while shooting a historic worse free throw percentage at 16 percent. Udoh, on the other hand, has an offensive skill set with a jump shot and an ability to find open teammates. His 14 points and 10 rebounds per game as a starting center in the college ranks would be an excellent addition to this Warriors club.
Curry, Ellis, and Udoh aren't the only young, talented players on this team, as second year player Reggie Williams impressed the Golden State camp with his incredible ability to score at will in the summer league. At 15 points and five rebounds per game last season as an unheard of rookie out of Virginia Military, Williams adds another offensive threat to an already dangerous offensive team. As a Warrior, Williams also possesses the ability to shoot threes and did so last season at 36 percent per game while hitting at least one per game.
None of the Warriors should worry about their offensive stats decreasing, since Lee will replace Corey Maggette as one of the main scorers, but Golden State has no doubt established themselves as a sleeper team of the West. A postseason appearance this upcoming season would be shocking, but within the next five years, the Warriors could become a regular as a six to eight seed.
The development of Curry, Williams, and Udoh will be a sight to behold for not only the fans, but for the other NBA teams to see what type of competition they will receive from the Warriors for the next decade.
Projected Starting Lineup
This is Part nine of a 30-day series of 2010-11 season previews of each NBA team. My profile will contain every other team that has been previewed before.
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