The Golden State Warriors in their 2012-2013 season have been playing amazing ball; they’ve been playing a lot better than most fans expected.
The majority of Warrior fans certainly anticipated an average season at least considering the off season moves the organization made, although I don’t think most expected a 30-19 record midway through the season.
General manager Bob Myers and head coach Mark Jackson have both done a fantastic job with a team that was in dire need of dramatic improvements and new pieces in order to form into legitimate playoff contenders. I believe it’s too early to officially claim the Warriors as championship contenders, but they can definitely make some noise in the postseason.
Remember just a year ago people couldn’t use the words defense or rebounding in the same sentence as the Warriors?
Well that changed swiftly as the Warriors are now fourth in the league in rebounding averaging 44.7 rebounds per game and their defense has greatly improved as a team. Not to mention their prolific offense with arguably the best shooting back court in the league – Curry and Thompson.
Then there’s All-Star forward David Lee who has been the Warriors most consistent producer and seems virtually unstoppable when he has the ball in his hands. I don’t forget about the big man in the middle. The Warriors finally have a game changer in the paint, Andrew Bogut. With Lee and Bogut, the Dubs have one of the better front courts in the league when all is healthy.
I can rant about the positives of the Warriors all day. However there are still areas of improvement for the Warriors in order to make that next step to become championship contenders and ultimately champions.
One issue I’ve noticed is that the Warriors lack the ability to penetrate to the basket. Penetration is key in basketball because it does not only give you an opportunity to score or shoot foul shots, it opens up the perimeter as well.
The Warriors lack athleticism which is the ultimate factor on not getting to the rim as much as they should. This is where the athletic
rookie Harrison Barnes needs to come into play. He has made two dunks already that were probably some of the best throw downs we have seen since Baron Davis slammed one over Andrei Kirilenko in the NBA playoffs a few years back. The youngster is the most athletic player on the team with a great ability to get to the basket at will. Barnes needs to be utilized a bit more in the offense so his aggression continues to build and his ability to create will eventually come as well.
Now, their outstanding shooting usually complements their lack of penetration, but on days when the shots are not falling, points don’t come easy for the Warriors. This will become a larger concern when the Warriors enter the playoffs simply because that’s when high percentage shots become key.
Another concern I have is their front court without a healthy Andrew Bogut. Bogut is just beginning to return to game action after sitting out through most of the season thus far. He is not completely back as he is still being monitored and not playing back to back games.
When he is in the lineup, the Warriors have one of the better front courts in the league – but without Bogut, it’s concerning. Star forward David Lee has played so well throughout the season that he made up for a lot of what was missing without Bogut.
Come playoff time, it’s tough to rely on Andris Biedrins and Festus Ezeli at center the entire game. The Warriors need to get Bogut back and 100% healthy when the postseason begins because he is an impact player and makes them significantly better. He will also help with taking high percentage shots as Bogut is a back down, post up player on offense and typically shoots a very high percentage from the field.
The Warriors are doing a number of things right this year, as opposed to last year. They are playing phenomenal ball and have showed us they can compete with the best. Nevertheless I still worry about how much they rely on perimeter shots and getting a fully healthy Andrew Bogut back in the middle.
I have faith in the Warriors under coach Mark Jackson to continue their success and make some noise come postseason.