As All-Star weekend approaches, I’d figure it’s time to do Golden State Warriors mid-season review.
For the first time since the historic “We Believe” year, the Warriors seem on course to make the playoffs. Earlier in the season I predicted, like many others, that the Dubs would just sneak into the playoffs as the eighth seed.
But through excellent coaching and a team-friendly approach, the Warriors are only half a game behind the fourth seed in the Western Conference, and are playing some terrific basketball, beating elite teams such as the Clippers, Heat and the Thunder.
What’s even more impressive is that they’ve been winning all these games while giving three rookies big minutes, and doing it without starting center Andrew Bogut for most of the season.
Around this time last year, fans were booing Joe Lacob to the point that beloved Warriors’ legends, Chris Mullin and Rick Barry, had to step in and save him.
You won’t be finding the same hate towards management this year, as Lacob, GM Bob Myers, and Scouting Director Larry Riley have put together a strong and consistent core around the All-Star caliber duo of Stephen Curry and David Lee.
The additions of Harrison Barnes, Jarrett Jack, and Carl Landry have been huge. Even the lesser additions have made an impact: Festus Ezeli with his defense and rebounding, Draymond Green with his defensive flexibilty, and even Richard Jefferson, who has been putting up points in his limited minutes.
The team as a whole has been rebounding strongly, taking higher quality shots, and has played better defensively, though not as well as commentators would have you believe.
Though one thing remains consistent, Mark Jackson has gotten them to buy into his team-first philosophy. They have five players averaging double-figures scoring wise, with two of them coming off the bench.
Each player understands their role on the team, and they show support for one another even while on the bench. The clubhouse has become a tight-knit organization that is trying to bring its winning traditions back into the modern day NBA, something that the fans haven’t experienced much of since the Chris Mullin and the Run TMC years.
I strongly believe that the Warriors can make a strong run in the playoffs, even reaching the Western Conference Finals. When the Warriors are healthy, they have one of the most complete teams in the NBA and have reserves that can act as catalysts when things go bad.
One thing’s for sure, Bay Area fans are looking forward to what Mark Jackson can get out of his team when the post-season comes around.