The Golden State Warriors are a very young, fresh and exciting team. They are a team under new ownership who want to win, rather than just turnover players to reach the ultimate goal of not a championship, but rather lining his pockets.
The Warriors have a great backcourt duo in Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. Those two just need a little help elsewhere to make this team a serious contender in the every increasingly hard Western Conference.
In 2007 I thought this team was extremely close to being one of the top four or five teams in the west, but due to some bad signings, poor drafting and having a coach (Don Nelson) who just didn’t seem to have it any longer or really care anymore, the Warriors have fallen flat and haven’t made it back to the playoffs since that magical series against the Dallas Mavericks.
There is definitely one thing that the Warriors do not need to improve on and that is the support of their fans. I’ve had the opportunity to attend a couple of Warriors games in my life and I have to say it was some of the best basketball experiences in my life. Saw them play the Sonics and the Suns. Both great games, great fans and great times.
The Warriors fan base is definitely the heart and soul of the team.
How do the Warriors get back on track and become a serious threat to make the playoffs this coming season?
Curry's health is key to the team's success
Two big pieces of the Warriors starting lineup are either missing or just missing in action.
Stephen Curry is the team’s starting point guard and very few teams in the NBA can recover from losing their starting point guard, no matter if it’s one game or two or two weeks or a year. It’s all the same.
Missing Curry results into missing over 20 points a game, six assists and over two steals. Those are hard numbers to lose for any team and remain competitive.
When Stephen Curry comes back the scoring will pick up and the defense will be just a little bit better.
David Lee needs to sit out and let his elbow heal. The wound is disgusting and the infection is still causing stiffness and lack of movement in his elbow. He is a trooper and you love him for going out there and playing with such a injury.
He needs to rest it though. Lee not being 100% is hurting the team. His scoring is down, his rebounding is down and his hustle plays are down. He can’t follow through on his shot, he’s not diving on the floor or banging down low. He’s not the same player and he won’t be until that infection and wound are fully healed. For the benefit of the team he needs to take at least a few more games off.
Lee is putting pretty decent numbers in the last five games(15 and 10), but not the numbers that’s he capable of and not the numbers we expect night in and night out from David Lee.
Yes, I just heaped praise upon Stephen Curry, but he’s not a true point guard. At Davidson I always thought he was much better off the ball and coming off screens.
Do they then start Acie Law at point guard?
If Acie Law is the answer then I want to be deaf to the question.
There are very few guards in the league who can come in and do what is needed for the Warriors.
Therefore I prose a trade:
Vladimir Radmonovich would be sent to Charlotte for Eduardo Najera and DJ Augustine.
Charlotte needs to start rebuilding and this dumps two contracts for one expiring contract. Sure they don’t have anyone to really play point guard full time, but this really sets up them up to draft a Josh Selby or Kyrie Irving with a top five pick and start building from there.
Why does this work for the Warriors? Check out #3.
Gotta hit the floor a lot
Adding Augustine and Najera give the Warriors two extremely serviceable guys, one starting and one off the bench.
The Warriors would need to go small, starting Augustine, Curry, Ellis, Wright and Lee. Then go way into the bench and go nine to ten deep on a nightly basis.
Lots of pressing, lots of running, lots of crazy and a lot of hell.
The Warriors would be the only team in the NBA with the personnel who could do this and in the NBA there isn’t a single team who currently runs a three guard set.
With the NBA going to a mostly hybrid power forward (Kevin Durant, Rashard Lewis, Dirk Nowitzki) there is no reason that the Warriors can’t put Monta Ellis at small forward. The Warriors starters have three guys who can spread the floor and force much bigger forwards (Gasol, Jefferson, Garnett) to run the floor. Most of the traditional power forwards will have a hard time keeping up with this small lineup, wearing down as the game goes along and usually bigs commit dumb fouls when they get tired and the Warriors are not a team that’d I try to put on the line.
This is what made the Warriors so successful in 2007. I think it’s time to bite the bullet and go for it.
I love it when all five men on a basketball team crash the boards. It leads to more opportunities to run (goes back to point three) and being such a small team this will drastically cut back on second chance points and allowing the other team to rest on offense.
Can’t allow a single breath by the opposing team.
Hold on to the ball, prevent running chances for the other team
The above numbers are not some lucky numbers in power ball. Those are the turnovers for the Warriors in their last five games. This needs to come down quite a bit. These numbers need to come down to around 12-13 a game. Can’t afford to give a team almost 20 extra possessions a game, they will get plenty of opportunities with all the shots that will be going up on the offensive side of the ball.
When a team plays fast they usually play extremely reckless, turnovers mount, shooting percentages plunge and the number rises in the loss column.
One thing I have noticed about the Warriors is that they shoot threes no matter how far behind the line they are and no matter how many defenders are near them. They let the rock fly with no fear and it gets them in trouble.
With a three guard set they would have more than enough ball handlers to move the ball and find open shots. Just because the offense has to “slow” down in the half court doesn’t mean the defense has to rest.
Lots of screens, lots of movement.
Play the half court set as if Norman Dale was your coach.
Four passes and then shoot in the half court.
Have to beat the Blazers twice in the coming week.
The Warriors have played the hardest schedule so far in the NBA and there are some extremely winnable games to close out the month of December.
If the Warriors ran the table they would go into 2011 at .500 and right in the thick of things in the Western Conference.
Their hardest games will be against the Blazers (play them twice in a week) and the Hawks. Rockets, 76ers, Bobcats and Kings are all extremely winnable and the Warriors should be expected to win them. Split with the Blazers and beat the Hawks, Warriors will be in a great spot heading into 2011.
David Lee is one of many new faces
The Warriors have experienced a lot of turnover from last year to this and it’s going to take a little bit of time to get all the parts of the machine to get into sync with one another. Injuries have not helped at all and only slows down the process.
Once Lee is healthy and Curry is back, Coach Smart will be able to get his lineup set, each player will know their role a bit more and feel more comfortable in the system.
Comfort is such a huge part of the team system and is often very overlooked, especially in basketball.
He was born to play for the Warriors
Andris Biedrins is a fine center, but he’s not necessarily the defensive answer that you want. I could be wrong, but he’s stiff and gets bumped around a lot.
The Warriors need a center that is more like Tyson Chandler.
Tyson Chandler was meant to be a Golden State Warrior and if god was a basketball fan he would make this happen and keep Chandler healthy for at least 80 games a year.
Chandler runs the floor, does all the dirty work in the paint, doesn’t need the ball to run through him and is more than adequate on the defensive end.
Sadly, the Warriors do not have the assets to pull off a trade to get Chandler and he’s really thriving in Dallas. Plus I don’t think Mark Cuban is over 2007 yet and wouldn’t do anything to help the Warriors out. Maybe after Chandler inevitably breaks his leg or foot and is out for the year, then I’m sure he’d be glad to ship him over.
Reggie Williams is a new face, but has a big game
I decided to end on the new buzz phrase that is making its way through sports to describe a completely turned over or young team.
It usually does apply and it applies here.
I talked about continuity a few points earlier and this is an extension of it.
You cannot force your team to be good just by sheer will and determination. That’s when mistakes happen, that’s when pressing happens and that’s when teams fall apart.
There are still over 60 games left in the NBA season. Over five months of games to be played still. The Warriors haven’t had a chance to mesh yet. Again injuries, new players, new coaches, new schemes are all part of this. Nothing can happen overnight or in twenty games.
The best part of the Warriors hard schedule has been how the team has played in the losses. They don’t give up and stay with teams far better than them well into the second half.
Outside of the Miami Heat, the Warriors have played teams that have been mostly together for a few years and have had a chance to slowly grow and develop together over that time.
Golden State is only three games out of the eighth playoff spot. It’s right there for the taking and the next 15-20 games are going to be crucial. They need to get healthy, they need to learn each other and they need to grow.
The chance is there to slide into the playoffs and recreate some magic.
I know the Warriors fans are going to be there come playoff time and ready to fill the arena, but will the team open the doors for the fans and provide some great playoff basketball again in the bay area?