Golden State Warriors Individual Growth Is Key To Title Defense


After approximately three months of making the championship rounds and guest appearances on the late-night talk show circuit, it’s time for the Golden State Warriors to get back to business. This past NBA offseason saw a lot of big time money being thrown around and not necessarily to big time players. Teams were in search of that missing championship ingredient. What most teams were searching for, the Warriors already had.

The Warriors are still a relatively young team despite their playoff success, and Golden State’s general manager Bob Myers has concentrated on keeping this core group together. Myers is taking a similar approach to what the San Antonio Spurs did in building their dynasty.

The Warriors championship nucleus was built through the draft and with free agents who fit their system. The core group of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green are all under the age of 28, and Myers is looking to keep the young group intact for many years. In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Myers spoke of the importance of keeping the nucleus of his championship team together.

"“When you have the success that we had, you like to keep it together as much as possible, it doesn’t mean you don’t open your eyes to see what else is out there, but if it’s a close call, you always want to retain the talent that got you a championship,”"

Management has done its part so far in keeping the band together, but it’s going to be the players continual growth that determines the Warriors’ future success. Curry has established himself as a franchise player, but it’s his supporting cast’s ability to improve that will determine the destiny of the franchise. The ability of Thompson to become more consistent and less streaky would make the NBA’s best backcourt almost impossible to stop.

Thompson has the ability to get into a zone that even his Splash Brother teammate hasn’t reached, and his 37 points in one quarter against the Sacramento Kings was indicative of that. However, there are periods where Thompson seems a bit out of rhythm, and will struggle with his shot, leading him to force the action. The Warriors’ brass are hoping for Thompson’s game to continue to expand, and be the perfect complement to his backcourt brethren.

Barnes’ potential has been widely discussed throughout the league. The former number-seven overall selection in the 2012 draft, has shown flashes of the great ability and athleticism that made him the number one high school recruit in the nation, but at times lacks the aggressiveness that is needed to be a true star. Although Barnes and Festus Ezeli both can become restricted free agents if they don’t sign extensions by November 2nd, the Warriors see both as vital parts of their future.

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Barnes is probably the Warriors’ most athletic player and has earned the nickname of “Black Falcon” because of his ability to soar through the air and posterize big man like Minnesota Timberwolves’ center Nikola Pekovic. There’s never been a question of Barnes’ athletic ability, but like most young players, his confidence seems to sway from game to game. The Warriors need Barnes to take on a more aggressive mindset, and not disappear for quarters at a time. It is a must for Barnes to create his own shot off the dribble, and not just rely on others to create scoring opportunities for him.

Ultimately, the Warriors are depending on every player on the roster to continue improving on what they already do well, but at the same time add something new to their repertoire. From Curry to the 12th man on the bench, there is no room for complacency. This internal growth will help determine if last year’s championship run was a once in a lifetime experience, or just the beginning to a possible epic run.

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