This past season the Golden State Warriors turned doubters into believers, making the playoffs, pulling off an upset of the Denver Nuggets, and giving the San Antonio Spurs a run for their money. Stephen Curry blossomed into a superstar, David Lee was a double-double machine, and three rookies led by Harrison Barnes all contributed to a successful campaign.
So why change anything? They seem to have a young team that has bonded and that has the ability to turn into a force to be reckoned with in the western conference. But what if there are moves on the table that the Warriors could be a part of? Could they push them over the top? Or could it blow up in their faces? These are many obstacles and tough decisions that will have to be made in forming the roster for the 2013 – 2014 NBA season.
With all the rumors surrounding the Warriors and many of their players, there is absolutely one player who is untouchable – Stephen Curry. Barring a trade for LeBron James or Kevin Durant, Curry is the guy that the Warriors will build around now and in the future. After finally having a season of minimal damage to his ankles, Curry shot on to the national scene, most notably his 54 point outburst at MSG and his 27 point 3rd quarter in Game 4 against Denver. He is by no stretch the prototypical point guard, but he has an ability and vision of the court that few in the game possess. He has the “it” factor and he is going nowhere.
While it may seem like one of the other four starters in Golden States lineup is a lock to be a Warrior next season, that may not be the case. Draymond Green, Andris Biedrins, and Richard Jefferson are probably safer bets to be wearing the gold and blue next season.
Both Biedrins and Jefferson have hefty contracts and options that they have exercised that will make Golden State pay them. Biedrins is entering the final year of his mammoth contract signed after the 2008 season, and Jefferson is entering the final year of a deal signed with San Antonio a few seasons back.
While the Warriors can just dump both of the players and still pay them, it is highly unlikely. Biedrins will be especially relied on after a knee injury knocking out second year center Festus Ezeli for much of the season. The best case scenario is to find teams that would want to trade for these two players, but their talent doesn’t match up to their price tag.
Draymond Green is making near the league minimum. The second year power forward out of Michigan State contributed more than any thought – his combination of low cost/high hustle will keep him a member of the Warriors.
You can also throw Brandon Rush in as a player who will most certainly be a part of the 2013 -2014 Warriors. Rush was a key player that the Warriors were excited to have back after a eye opening 2012-2013 season. He signed a two year contract to remain with Golden State, but after blowing out his knee on the breakaway in the second game of the year against the Memphis Grizzlies. While it was unfortunate to have Rush miss the season, the Dubs will be glad to have his solid defense and nice shot back in the rotation.
This brings us to Jarrett Jack, who was traded for to be Currys backup point guard. After Rush’s season ending injury, Jack was relied on even more to contribute to the team’s success. During the season, Jack was usually in close games in crunch time, switching off handling the ball with Steph. But there are a few reasons that it wouldn’t be a shocker if he was to leave.
First off, Rush will be back and play a good amount of minutes. In addition, Harrison Barnes is a developing player and will not be sitting the bench during close games. His athleticism is too valuable to be on the bench. Third, a team will probably over pay jack to become their main PG, unlike the Dubs, who have Curry. Don’t get me wrong – Jarrett Jack will never get as much praise as he should for the Warriors success last season, but they should be just fine moving forward without him.
Also acquired before last season was Carl Landry, a power forward who proved vital throughout the season and especially in the playoffs. Landry was brought in for David Lee and actually played alongside him much of the regular season due to Andrew Boguts injuries. Landry’s midrange jumper was almost automatic, and his aggressiveness and leadership are traits that will not let Golden State from letting him walk away.
Look for the Warriors to investigate the free agent market to perhaps bring in a point guard or center. Toney Douglas is an interesting player. He only made a little over $1 million last season, and averaged close to eight PPG in 18 mins last season. He also shot an incredible 90 percent from the FT line, which could prove key in late game situations.
Another player is Jason Collins, the veteran seven-footer who could compete with Andris Biedrins for some playing time at the center position. Collins will probably make the league minimum, and could be a nice piece and small contributor until Festus Ezeli comes back.
This brings us to the rest of the Warriors starting five: David Lee, Andrew Bogut, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes.
As crazy as it sounds, none of them are a virtual lock to be on the Warriors next season. The reason, you ask? Dwight Howard.
Some love him. Some hate him. But he will be the deciding factor. If he comes to Golden State, it will require a sign and trade, in which Andrew Bogut and either Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson will be traded to acquire the “Dwightmire”.
David Lee has been tossed around in rumor land to perhaps move for an improved defensive power forward. In all likelihood, Lee is staying. The Warriors thrived around his energy he brought; Lee even limped down the court to give Golden State some tough minutes with a torn hip flexor he suffered in the first game of the playoffs.
Howard? My bet is he stays in LA – no matter what the situation is, if one team can offer you $30 million more than any other team, that’s hard to walk away from. Barnes, Thompson, and Bogut will all be back.
There you have it: Curry, Barnes, Thompson, Lee, Bogut, Landry, Green, Rush, Biedrins, Jefferson, Douglas, and Collins make my 12 man roster for the 2013 – 2014 season.
What do you think? Is Jack coming back? Is Lee moveable? Is Dwight coming to Golden State? We shall wait and see.
Tags: Andrew Bogut Andris Biedrins Brandon Rush Carl Landry David Lee Draymond Green Dwight Howard Golden State Warriors Harrison Barnes Jason Collins Klay Thompson Richard Jefferson Stephen Curry Toney Douglas