The Warriors had a pretty successful season considering they weren’t poised to get past the first round, let alone make the playoffs. Most of that success can be attributed to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and mainly David Lee, who led the league in double-doubles for the regular season. Without a doubt, this has been one of the most successful seasons in the past couple of decades because they’re finally back on track.
To avoid a post-playoff collapse, the Warriors are going to need to fix a couple of things. Right now, the starters are doing more good than bad, but if they want to keep winning, and work on making their game flawless, there are a couple things that they’re going to have to do this offseason or come regular season.
1. Ankle Rehab: It’s no secret that Curry is injury prone. For the Warriors, it gets a bit worry-some at times, as he’s not able to play at a high level. He injured his ankle three times in the playoffs, and it’s just bad for him. Whenever he goes down, you assume the worst because it looks bad for him. This offseason, Curry is going to strengthen that ankle so he can play better with the Warriors.
2. Defense: Curry isn’t a terrible defender with 1.6 steals per contest, but his perimeter defense is awful, and that’s something that he needs to work on. When playing teams with elite point guards like Deron Williams or Chris Paul, Curry is often stuck guarding the off-guard, or the Warriors have to play zone. They leave Klay Thompson to do the dirty work, while Curry gets to “take a break”.
1. Stop Fouling: If it wasn’t for the fouls, I would consider Thompson one of the premier perimeter defenders in the league. Because he’s so good with on ball pressure, he comes up with some steals, of course, and also forces turnovers with the blocked shot. He fouls entirely too often, however. Most of the time, when guarding big names, he gives them a little shove, and the refs, of course, call a foul. Thompson needs to learn how to play physical, but clean.
2. Consistency: Mark Jackson has acknowledged the fact that Thompson wants to be great. We know this already, but he’s not consistently living up to those expectations. He has the potential to be one of the best shooters in the NBA, without a doubt. Unfortunately for him, he averages 20 points per game in a set of five games, then seven points per game in the next five games.
1. Shooting: Barnes isn’t a terrible shooter, and when he gets hot, he can be really damaging. In Game 5 against the Nuggets, Barnes nailed five 3-pointers to give the Warriors a boost, which wasn’t enough. However, it showed that he can spread the floor and not just drive. Still, his shot is a little flat, and he doesn’t seem to shoot the ball with confidence. If the learns how to let it fly without a care, it’ll become more natural. That will come as he grows as a player in the NBA.
2. Consistency: In the postseason, Barnes was one of the most consistent players, but in the regular season, he didn’t produce the same types of numbers. Fortunately for him, the playoffs were a time where he really cut loose and learned how to play in important games. In his second year, he should be able to average upwards of 15 points per game, while being a crowd pleaser. Most of Barnes’ problems comes with the inexperience.
1. Defense: If there’s one thing that Lee needs to work on, it’s his defense, no question. He’s not so bad in a post-up situation, but when other power forwards are taking jump shots, he just stands there. Half of the time, those PF’s aren’t even bad shooters!mHe fails to communicate properly as well, leaving other teams with wide open layups and dunks. The only good thing he does defensively, of course, is rebound the basketball.
The only weak part of Lee’s game is his defense.
1. Presence: When the Warriors traded Monta Ellis for Bogut, they were really gambling a lot. Of course, the trade would have worked if the Warriors traded Monta Ellis for just Richard Jefferson. In the 2012-2013 season, Bogut hardly did anything. Don’t get me wrong, he had a couple of great games, but he never really got into his flow. In the playoffs, he had some great games against the Nuggets, but wasn’t consistently a factor for the Warriors. That may be because of injury, but it also may be because he’s just that type of player now.
2. Hype: If there’s one thing that we know for sure, it’s that Bogut has failed to live up to the hype. I criticize him because he hasn’t been that rock under the basket that the Warriors have been looking for. Now in the talks for Dwight Howard, the Warriors are possibly looking to trade away Bogut just like that.
Is it fair? Bogut really needs to step up his game in order to stay on this Warrior squad.