May 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) and forward Blake Griffin (32) during game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Warriors 126-121 to win the series 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Warriors Confident They Can Contend for A Title Next Season

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The Golden State Warriors can win a NBA title next season…at least THEY seem to think so.

They’ve remained relevant over the offseason through high profile trade rumors and USA Men’s Basketball, but they haven’t really made as big of a splash in franchise changing trades or free agent signings.

Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, the Warriors added Shaun Livingston in free agency to add some depth in the backcourt, as well as Brandon Rush, but neither were the near the top of the list when it comes to the 2014 free agency pool.

While a team lacking much reliability off the bench is sure to make use of both Livingston and Rush, not many analysts see the Warriors doing enough over the offseason to indicate much improvement from last year.

The postseason is looking to be a sure thing should the team stay healthy over the course of next season — with or without coaching improvements from their new coaching staff — but championship aspirations from Golden State are widely considered to be nothing more than blown smoke.

Nevertheless, Warriors players remain confident in their ability as a team and feel that they are capable of winning a title this next year.

Despite the Warriors reportedly having a huge chance at landing the premier power forward in the NBA, Kevin Love is now in Ohio playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers. All-Star starting point guard Stephen Curry, however, believes that his front office made the right decision in sticking with fellow Splash Brother, Klay Thompson.

“Obviously Kevin Love’s a great player,” Curry told WFAN, “and [the front office] was making the decision whether that would make us a better team to let [Klay] go, bring Kevin on, and I think they made the right choice that me and [Klay] in the backcourt and core that we have, we’ve got a legit shot at winning the championship next year, and I’m ready to take that on.”

Normally not the type to give the media any contentious quotes (flashback to the incident with Blake Griffin in April), Thompson revealed that he also believes that the team can be the one to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season and is ecstatic that the Warriors organization decided to keep him on board.

“I’m happy. It makes me feel great,” Thompson said. “The Warriors believe in me. That makes me want to work that much harder. They believe in me and Steph, they believe in the team we have. I believe in us too. I think we have all the ingredients to win a championship.”

It’s great that the Warriors were able to keep their core group intact, and they’ll be looking to prove the Warriors brass made the correct decision passing on a legitimate NBA superstar.

Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In keeping the core group together, however, the Warriors chose not to make any drastic changes to the roster. Even with the additions of Livingston and Rush, the Warriors still look like last year’s Warriors, which is likely the reason why analysts do not see the team competing for a title any time soon.

The biggest change for the Warriors — and possibly the most underrated offseason transaction over the offseason — was the complete overhaul of the coaching staff.

Steve Kerr, a 5-time NBA champion, has been called in as the new head coach for the Warriors, and he’s surrounded himself with some of the best assistants in the business in Alvin Gentry, Ron Adams, Luke Walton, Jarron Collins and Bruce Fraser.

The new staff is now looking to make slight changes to players’ roles and minutes, all the while adding set plays involving more ball movement and more shooting without giving up the team’s top defensive structure.

Former Warriors assistant and NBA legend Brian Scalabrine thinks the coaching change will do a lot for the Warriors going into next season.

“… I was a part of that staff (last season). But at the end of the day, if you think about adding Steve Kerr and the three guys…Ron Adams, who was in Chicago when we were there, he’s a great coach. Alvin Gentry, who’s one of the best offensive coaches in the NBA.”

“If the Warriors could somehow take care of the basketball…get five to seven more attempts up as opposed to turning the ball over, which allows the easy bucket on the other end, if they can take care of the basketball, which I think they will because they’ll be better organized, then I think that they’re a team that can beat the San Antonio Spurs.”

Former Warriors Mark Jackson also chimed in after he was let go of the organization, expressing his belief that the Warriors have been a championship contender and will continue to be with the new staff.

“We accomplished a lot in three years and we should be proud. I wish them nothing but the best.

But to me, now the pressure’s on for them to get a championship. It’s not the time for them to be patient any more. This is a championship-caliber team. We were in the playoffs without David last year, and we were without Bogut this year.

When this team is healthy, it is a legit contender. That’s something that we’re all looking at going forward.”

Can the Warriors win a championship? Can they meet the expectations set by themselves, the organization and familiar faces within the league? Can Golden State take advantage of the open championship window they have this season?

To be completely honest, it seems unlikely considering the other top teams in the West remain just as good (on paper) as last year.

But confidence goes a long way when it comes to achieving your goals, and the Warriors seem to talk the talk. It’s up to them to prove they can walk the walk.

 

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Tags: Golden State Warriors Klay Thompson NBA Stephen Curry

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