When Joe Lacob and Peter Guber paid an NBA record $450 million to become the new owners of the Golden State Warriors, they meant business. The two men were optimistic about the future of the franchise, and they truly did give fans a reason to have high hopes. Last offseason, they even guaranteed that the Warriors would have at least one player get voted into the annual NBA All-Star game. GUARANTEED. And they even said that if that goal wasn’t accomplished, they would give away autographed balls and memorabilia to fans, for no charge at all.
But unfortunately, not all stories have a happy ending. The Warriors didn’t even come close to having a player selected to the All-Star game, as Stephen Curry battled injury through most of the season, and Monta Ellis (before he was traded) failed to draw attention around the league amongst the more highly-coveted guards.
Now here we are, hoping that this 2012-2013 season, the Warriors can avoid a 16th straight year of not sending a player to the All-Star game.
The last Golden State Warriors All-Star was Latrell Sprewell, way back in 1997. 15 years, it’s been a long time.
But to give you a perspective of how long it’s been, take a look at some facts. The last time the Golden State Warriors had an All-Star:
-LeBron James was in middle school
-Kobe Bryant was just starting his rookie season in the NBA
-Michael Jordan was still with the Chicago Bulls
As you can tell, it’s been quite a while. But that shouldn’t matter, because any player on any roster in the NBA is capable of having a breakout year and showing why they are All-Star worthy.
But who will it be? Well, my prediction for the Warriors starting lineup this season is this:
Point Guard: Stephen Curry
Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson
Small Forward: Harrison Barnes
Power Forward: David Lee
Center: Andrew Bogut
Based on this, let’s break down each position of the starting five: the guards, forwards, and center; and see who has the best chance of making the cut this year.
Guards: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson- Last year, the Western Conference All-Star guards consisted of: Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, and Russell Westbrook. Those are names of some pretty talented guards, and players that have been to All-Star Weekend several times in the past. I find it hard to believe that either of the Warriors backcourt members will be able to make it this year, mainly due to a few things. Stephen Curry is still fighting back from injury, and nobody knows for sure how well he can play. Also, Curry isn’t too experienced, and a breakout/career season for him would just be any other season for the elite guards in the West. They make explosive plays and put up incredible numbers, so the competetion is thick. I think the same goes for Klay Thompson, who definitely has tons of potential, but again, a great season for him would just be a below average season for a player like Russell Westbrook’s caliber.
Forwards: Harrison Barnes, David Lee- This is a position that I think the Warriors actually have a chance in. For David Lee, he knows what its like. He was an NBA All-Star in the 2010 season, and I’m sure he’d like to be in that position again. Last year’s Western Conference All-Stars were Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Dirk Nowitzki. To me, Durant and Love are the only givens to qualify again this year. But with Griffin battling the left knee injury that held him out of the Olympics, Dirk’s old age, and Aldridge’s inexperience, I think Lee has a shot. David averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game last season, but it just wasn’t enough. It’ll be tough for him to increase his stats this year, especially while playing on a well-balanced team like the Warriors, but if Lee can bring those numbers up to 22 PPG and 12 RPG, and also average about a block a game (David has never averaged over 0.5 BPG in his career), then I think he has a legitimate chance at being an All-Star again. As for Harrison Barnes, he’s only a rookie, so we have to cut him some slack on this one. He should aim to make the Rising Stars challenge, and maybe even go for the MVP in that game. His game will develop and mature over the next few years, and hopefully he will be an All-Star caliber player by then.
Center: Andrew Bogut- This one is going to be really tough. The Western Conference centers last year were Andrew Bynum and Marc Gasol, and they were sensational. With Andrew Bynum off to the 76ers, and Dwight Howard coming to the Lakers, many people believe Howard will be the starting center for the West this year, and I don’t blame them. Howard is expected to be out of action till January due to the back injury he’s recovering from, but the six-time NBA All-Star should have no problem racking up votes come February. Marc Gasol has been praised by many as the best “all-around” center in the NBA. He’s helped Memphis reach the playoffs the last two seasons, and his veteran experience is key to his success. Andrew Bogut will have to really make a tremendous step forward to be in the All-Star game this year, and I just don’t see it happening. He will be playing in a system that is new for him, and coming off his injury, many are still skeptical about him, and if he was worth trading Monta Ellis for. Bogut should strive to remain healthy all season, and contribute as much as he can to the Warriors, especially on the defensive side.
With all that analysis and breakdown, I don’t think having a representative in the All-Star Game is very important. The Golden State Warriors need to focus, and play the disciplined basketball that they are more than capable of playing. This type of play should help them reach the playoffs and even make a long run, especially if the team can stay healthy and play up to their potential. Golden State is finally drawing attention around the league, I’d hate to see it all go to waste.