10 Reasons Why The Golden State Warriors Are Going To The Playoffs

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4. Well-Rounded Group of Rookies

In addition to teaching Stephen Curry, Coach Jackson also has been a great mentor to the rookies, Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, and Draymond Green. Unlike some coaches, Jackson has given them fairly consistent playing time, so they can continue to develop and improve throughout the season. Through this experience, the rookies have learned their roles on this team, and they have stuck to them effectively.

After a promising college career, many people thought that Harrison Barnes might actually be a better pro than he was a college player. Barnes had an up and down rookie season in terms of production, but he did play in the Rising Stars Challenge at the All-Star game. He also has showcased his athleticism and explosiveness several times on some pretty amazing dunks. Barnes will continue to grow as an all-around NBA player, especially now that he will have some postseason experience going into next season.

Since Bogut started off the season injured and has been injured a few more times since then, Ezeli started 41 games this season out of the 78 that he played in. No one expected Ezeli to start that many games, and he impacts games much more than expected, even though his stats might not show it. Defensively, Ezeli is very strong, but his offensive game clearly needs work. Towards the end of the season though, Ezeli showed more of a post-up game and looked more offensively competent.

When Brandon Rush went down in the beginning of the season with a season-ending torn ACL injury, Draymond Green had to step up. At the beginning of the season, Green wasn’t expected to get many minutes at the small forward position behind Rush, Barnes, and possibly Richard Jefferson. However, Green has played quality defense all season and even converted this game-winner over the Heat.