Golden State Warriors Youth To Be Tested Early

Steve YobContributor ISeptember 25, 2008

Baron Davis is gone, Monta Ellis is out for three months, and trade rumors continue to surround Al Harrington.

Gone are the days of Michael Pietrus, Matt Barnes, and Austin Croshere. The roster has been overhauled, with new faces such as Corey Maggette, Ronny Turiaf, and Marcus Williams.

The Warriors will have to depend on this year’s sole returning team captain in Stephen Jackson. Thos streaky volume shooter will have to handle the ball a lot more in the early part of the season, and must look to get his teammates more involved in the beginning of the games.

One of his favorite targets, Andris Biedrins, will have to be more assertive and shoulder more of the scoring load. Coming off an offseason in which he signed a six-year deal for over $60 million, bigger things are going to be expected from the young 22-year old. The addition of Ronny Turiaf in the offseason will add toughness and rebounding to complement Biedrin’s low-post scoring.

But if the Warriors are going to succeed this season, it will be because of the players from their last two draft classes. Summer league sharp-shooter Marco Belinelli, Brandan Wright, and Anthony Randolph will have their chances to shine.

With Monta out, Marcus Williams is the only true point guard on the team.

While Belinelli is more of a shooter, he has the court vision and decision making ability to run Nellie’s run and gun offense if needed. It will only be a matter of consistent minutes for Marco to show the incredible talent that he possesses.

Both Wright and Randolph are high energy guys who can run up and down the court, and rebound on both ends.  As Randolph showed in summer-league play, he can be an ideal mismatch in Don Nelson’s offense. With his 6'9" height and freaky athleticism, he has the ability to take his man off the dribble and finish at the rim.

The Warriors have plenty of young talent on the roster.  They will just need consistent playing time, and to not have a short leash—which Nelson tends to do—with his young players.

Corey Maggette may surprise some fans this year with his scoring ability and knack for getting to the charity stripe (eight free-throw attempts per game). But although while both Maggette and Jackson will put up points, it is going to be the young guys like Belinelli, Wright, Randolph and Williams who will make or break the Warriors season.