ESPN does previews every year for each NBA team, but this one was interestingly negative. These predictions for the Golden State Warriors weren’t horrific, rather, considerably realistic. Are the Warriors going to be better than last year? These are the responses of J.A. Adande.
1) What grade would you give the Warriors’ offseason?
B. The Andre Iguodala acquisition was nice, but they’ll miss Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry. This was another example of the collective bargaining agreement making it tougher for ascending teams to challenge the big boys, rather than leveling the playing field. The good news for the Warriors is they’re currently set up with cap space for next summer.
I would have given the Warriors a B+. Sure, the losses of Jack and Landry damaged the Warriors roster, but Iguodala is really worth a lot. He’s a terrific rebounder, like Landry, a facilitator, like Jack, and he can defend. He’s the whole package, like a mini-LeBron James. Iguodala was the third best player on the market, and the Warriors were lucky to snag him first and sign him to a gigantic deal.
For what they’re losing in Landry and Jack, they’re making up for in Iguodala. The acquisitions of Toney Douglas and Marreesse Speights, the true replacements, will prove to be good fits. Still, there is no making up for the energy and chemistry that Landry and Jack brought to the table. They let two of the NBA’s best bench players sign with other teams.
2) What is the biggest question facing the Warriors in 2013-14?
How well-made are their shoes? Their kicks had better provide good ankle support for Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut. Bogut played only 56 games the past two seasons combined, and while Curry is coming off his best season, the playoffs reminded us of how fragile his ankles are. As fun as the Warriors can be, they’d be better served with the traditional inside-out combo Bogut and Curry can provide.”
Adande is basically saying the big question would be: are we going to see the injury bug this season? When asked that question, two players immediately come to mind. Give up? Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut. It really depends on how these guys’ ankles hold up. If they do, the Warriors could unlock un-foreseen treasures that have never been attainable before. If not, the season is ruined. It’s a best and worst case scenario in this situation.
3) Who is the Warriors’ Most Intriguing Player?
Curry. Nothing’s more fun to watch than the emergence of a star, and last spring served as Curry’s declaration for entry into the superstar draft. But if that “draft” were held today, he’d be on the fringe of the lottery. Another stellar season, followed by a strong postseason, and we could start talking about Curry as a top-10 NBA player.
Well, Adande’s prediction came true. Curry is now one of the top-10 players in the NBA ranked at number 10. A pretty big jump for him, considering that he has had plenty of injury problems in the past. I would agree that Curry is the Warriors most intriguing player. He has yet to hit his apex. One could only imagine how high up that is!
Most intriguing, yes. But the player that we want to keep our eyes on is Harrison Barnes. Barnes is a hard-worked, and he really emerged as a young stud during the 2013 postseason, were he incessantly took advantage of the smaller point guard, Tony Parker. He even used some veteran moves against the master to get some open shots.
4) What is one bold prediction for the Warriors?
Curry will be among the NBA’s top 10 in assists. Passing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Curry, but he averaged just fewer than seven assists a game last season. Improving that number by even half an assist would get him into the top 10.
Well this isn’t much of a prediction. This is more of a fact. Curry has great passing skills and point guard vision, even for a player who really shines at the shooting guard position. He is pure and knows what he’s doing when he passes the ball. He’s the type of player that likes making a nice pass almost as much as hitting the 3-point shot. Okay – maybe not the 3-point shot, but you get what I’m saying.
My bold prediction would be either Curry breaking his own record of 3-point shots made, or Barnes cracking the All-Star’s list. It’s no secret that David Lee is not going to be an All-Star, so maybe Barnes can step in as the other Warrior player who does the damage. He’s emerging as one of the young and budding talents in the NBA. Why not?
5) Real Prediction: How far will the Warriors get in the postseason?
We’ll see less of the Warriors in the 2014 playoffs, because they’ll be gone in the first round. They’re a good team, but if one of the Clippers, Spurs, Thunder, Rockets and Grizzlies won’t make it to the second round, how will the Warriors?
From a mathematical standpoint, this seems fairly accurate. What Adande is forgetting, however, is the certain magic that the playoffs have. It may not make any sense, and it may seem unethical, but the playoffs are a completely different atmosphere where the team with the most heart seems to pull ahead.
For example, the Warriors in this last postseason, lost their captain David Lee. Did this discourage them? No! Instead, they kept their heads up and won against the best home team in the NBA, the fully-loaded Denver Nuggets. I’d say that the Warriors get deep into the second round.