Culture of Hoops

2013-14 NBA Season Preview: Golden State Warriors

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Most Important Player: Stephen Curry
Curry is the star and leader of this Golden State Warriors team. He was the biggest All-Star snub last last year, and if he keeps up his progress he could make the jump to superstar this season.

X-Factor: Team health
For the Warriors to stay on track, Steph Curry and Andrew Bogut need to stay healthy. Curry is the heart, soul and best player of Warriors, so losing him would be a huge blow to any championship aspirations. Andrew Bogut is the key to the Warriors defense. If he is lost, Festus Ezeli or Jermaine O’Neal won’t be able to fill his shoes.

Rotations: While the starting lineup for the Warriors is pretty set, there are some intriguing battles to be had for the backup positions, especially in the frontcourt. It will be interesting to see who emerges as the primary backup for Bogut at center. On one end of the spectrum you have Jermaine O’Neal, who has the veteran experience that can help a young playoff team like the Warriors. On the other end you have Festus Ezeli, who was more than solid as a backup last season. At the 4-spot, veteran Marreese Speights and youngster Draymond Green will jockey for minutes behind David Lee. While the Ws have a plethora of guards, three will shoulder most of the load. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will start and Toney Douglas, with his ability to play both guard spots, will be the third guard and first one off the bench. Kent Bazemore will see spot minutes as a pesky defender, and Seth Curry and Nemanja Nedovic will be used as emergency players. At small forward, Harrison Barnes is the clear backup to newcomer Andre Iguodala.

What Needs to Go Right: Curry needs to continue on his current path to becoming one of the best point guards in the NBA, Andre Iguodala needs to be the wing defender that he was brought in to be, Klay Thompson needs to continue to improve and David Lee and Andrew Bogut just need to do their thing and stay healthy.

It’s Really Bad If: The injury bug hits this team all at once. The Warriors have the depth to handle a few injuries as long as they don’t all happen together.

Bold Prediction: The Warriors will win the Pacific Division and find themselves with the third seed in the playoffs.


Harrison Barnes, SF
Strengths: Slashing, athleticism.
Weaknesses: Consistency, creating his own shot.
Season Prediction: A sixth-man role will be perfect for Barnes. Expect him to be in the conversation at the end of the season for Sixth Man of the Year.

Kent Bazemore, SG
Strengths: Size, defense.
Weaknesses: Shooting.
Season Prediction: Bazemore will likely only see playing time if both Thompson and Iguodala are hurt or in foul trouble.

Andrew Bogut, C
Strengths: Defense, shot-blocking, rebounding.
Weaknesses: Free-throw shooting, injury prone.
Season Prediction: When healthy, Bogut has been a top-five center in the NBA. If he can remain healthy all season, there is no reason he can’t get back to that level.

Seth Curry, PG/SG
Strengths: Shooting.
Weaknesses: Defense, creating.
Season Prediction: If Curry makes the roster, he will most likely be on the IR or in the D-League for most season.

Stephen Curry, PG
Strengths: Shooting ability, leadership, passing.
Weaknesses: Defense, injury prone.
Season Prediction: It’s hard to imagine Curry regressing to the point where he wouldn’t make the All-Star team. If he continues to progress the way he has so far in his career, he will not only be an All-Star but an All-NBA candidate.

Toney Douglas, PG/SG
Strengths: Defense, shooting.
Weaknesses: Creating scoring opportunities for teammates.
Season Prediction: If used right, Douglas can be an adequate third guard in a rotation with Curry and Thompson.

Festus Ezeli, C
Strengths: Size, defense.
Weaknesses: Raw, not a threat on offense.
Season Prediction: Ezeli will get the majority of the backup center minutes as long as head coach Mark Jackson doesn’t go small with David Lee playing the 5.

Draymond Green, SF/PF
Strenghs: Versatility, defense.
Weaknesses: Size (when guarding 4s), speed (when guarding 3s), shooting.
Season Prediction: Expect Green to have a similar season to last year—effective in limited minutes off the bench. He will be the third option at small forward and power forward.

Andre Iguodala, SG/SF
Strengths: Defense, athleticism.
Weaknesses: Shooting.
Season Prediction: Iguodala was the perfect pickup for the Warriors this offseason. At this point in his career, he’s a superb role-player that will fit in perfectly with what the Warriors already have. There will be little pressure on him to be a real scoring threat which will allow him to be the defensive stopper he’s meant to be.

David Lee, PF
Strengths: Scoring, rebounding, leadership.
Weaknesses: Defense.
Season Prediction: Expect Lee’s All-Star numbers from last season to go down. Not only is he coming back from a torn hip flexor, the team won’t rely on his scoring as much with Curry and Thompson’s improvements. Expect him to take on the role of the third option on offense. He will still have a great season though.

Nemanja Nedovic, PG
Strengths: Potential.
Weaknesses: Very raw.
Season Prediction: Nedovic will likely see time in the D-League.

Jermaine O’Neal, C
Strengths: Shot-blocking, experience.
Weaknesses: Age, injury prone.
Season Prediction: Expect him to be used as the third center behind Ezeli.

Marreese Speights, PF/C
Strengths: Jack-of-all-trades.
Weaknesses: Master of none.
Season Prediction: Expect Speights to be the first big off the bench. His versatility allows him to relieve either Bogut or Lee if they get into foul trouble or need rest.

Klay Thompson, SG
Strengths: Shooting.
Weaknesses: Defense, consistency.
Season Prediction: Thompson will continue to improve. His biggest issue is that he is either red-hot or ice-cold. But as he gains experience in important games, expect to see this start to change.

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