The Golden State Warriors were wheeling and dealing early in the offseason, as they made numerous intriguing decisions. While they seem to have finished modifying their roster, let’s check if the Warriors addressed all of their needs.
Who’s in and who’s out
Over the course of free agency, Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry, Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush have departed either through trade or via free agency. Although the last three names mentioned were hardly given the opportunity to see the light of day, Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry will surely be missed; however, the Warriors added Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights, Jermaine O’Neal and Toney Douglas to compensate for their loss.
Toney Douglas is an underrated point guard who can produce points in a hurry. During the 2012-13 season, Douglas appeared in 71 games and averaged 7.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1 steal in 18.1 minutes per game.
On 26 different occasions, the Florida State product, scored in double figures, including his season-high of 22 points in 28 minutes as the sixth man for the Houston Rockets. He will undeniably be a solid contribution to the team when he comes off the bench.
With Carl Landry’s exodus, the Warriors needed someone to fill their void defensively and on the boards.
When healthy, Jermaine O’Neal, an adequate replacement, can provide solid minutes off the bench. The 35 year old has shown that he is prone to injuries in the past, but he had a year of revival with the Phoenix Suns last season, as he posted 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 18.7 minutes. Although the 6-foot-11 center may see his minutes diminish, he will surely be a reliable standby for starting center Andrew Bogut.
Marreese Speights was also signed by the Warriors to recompense for Landry. The 25 year-old has shown glimpses of developing into a high quality power forward/center in the league. Last season, Speights logged 20-or-more minutes in 24 games where he averaged 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Speights’ playing style is similar to that of David Lee, as they both shoot efficiently from the mid-range and spend most of their time outside of the key on offense. It’s no secret that the Warriors refer to a pick-and-roll offense more often than not, and with Speights’ shooting ability, he should be able to blend in well with the system.
The All-Star small forward, Andre Iguodala is certainly the Warriors’ greatest signing of the offseason. Iggy, the swing-man, ironically chose to sign with Golden State, who beat his former team, the Denver Nuggets, in the playoffs last season.
While playing with the Nuggets, Iguodala was one of their primary scorers; now that he has teamed-up with Curry, Thompson and Barnes, Andre will have the liberty to focus on defense and facilitate to his new squad.
One of the Warriors main deficiencies last season was their defense, but this year, Iguodala will certainly aid the team in that category. The Nuggets’ defensive efficiency improved from nineteenth place to eleventh place thanks to his long, lanky figure in the perimeter.
As a key distributor to the “Splash Brothers”, Andre will also provide depth. Harrison Barnes will come off the bench as a lethal sixth man, even though he proved himself to be a valuable starter in the league.
Although the Warriors were already an impressive team in the Western Conference last season, they’ve currently improved. They’ve even weakened a conference rival in the Denver Nuggets by luring in Andre Iguodala.
Generally, their defensive concerns were met. The spotlight will now be on them. Their identity used to be to get in transition, launch the three-pointer and have fun, but now there’s exceedingly more pressure on them to perform.
The newly acquired veterans on the team will play a huge role on and off the court by providing valuable experience. Their expectations will be high this year, and with the recent acquisitions, the Warriors are legitimate title contenders.