It’s been a long while since the Bay Area has had something to cheer about, in terms of basketball. With other BA teams such as the Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers performing at high levels, can the Warriors finally achieve that same success?
Second year head coach Mark Jackson will have a lot more to work with this season as opposed to last season. If anything, the Warriors are a little more complete and deeper this season. Center Andrew Bogut should be fully healthy and ready to resurrect his career. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, but has missed significant time the past few seasons due to various injuries. Provided he is healthy, he will help the Warriors defensively.
Carl Landry signed with the Warriors this offseason to be the back-up power forward to David Lee. Landry will add toughness and depth to a “soft” front line. He is a very good rebounder and is able scorer. Backing up Lee, Landry should see solid minutes.
Speaking of adding players, the Warriors added three players during the draft: Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, and Festus Ezeli. There is a grave possibility that the Warriors could get production from all three players this season, but I think the Warriors would settle for solid production from one player: Barnes. I think Barnes has the chance to become a very, very good basketball in the NBA. He has a very nice mid-range game and I think he will fit right in with the Warriors on the offensive end.
The player I want to keep my on eye this season is their draft pick in 2011: Klay Thompson. Once he started games, Thompson elevated his game to the next level. I think he is in for a very big season and could, potentially, become an All-Star as soon as next season.
Point guard(s) – Stephen Curry: I want to see Curry healthy. He is one of the best shooters in the game (career 44.1% three-point shooter) and has all the tools to become an All-Star-caliber point guard in the Western Conference. I think Curry will benefit from having a solid backup point guard in Jarrett Jack, which will allow him to also play the shooting guard position.
Jarrett Jack will back up Curry.
Position Grade: B+
Shooting guard(s) – Klay Thompson: He came-on strong over the last two months of last season. He proved that he is a deadly three-point shooter (41.4% last season), but I am unsure of what else he can become other than a knock-down shooter. I would like to see his overall game improve this season, before I say anything else. One thing a team can’t have too much of though, are good shooters.
Brandon Rush will back up Thompson.
Position Grade: C+
Small forward(s) – Harrison Barnes: I don’t know who will get the start when the season begins next week, but I do know that the Warriors didn’t draft Barnes, a top ten pick, to have him sit on the bench. I don’t know how good Barnes will be this season, but in the future, I think he will be solid. He knows how to score, but defensively is where he will have to improve.
Richard Jefferson will back up Barnes, unless Mark Jackson decides to go with the veteran Jefferson.
Position Grade: C+
Power forward(s) – David Lee: I believe that Lee is over-paid but, nonetheless, he had a solid season last season. He averaged 20 points and nine rebounds per game and shot 50.3% from the floor. He doesn’t play much defense and that won’t bode well for the Warriors, due to all the great power forwards in the Western Conference.
Carl Landry will back up Lee.
Position Grade: B-
Center(s) – Andrew Bogut: Provided he is HEALTHY, Bogut will help the Warriors defensively. Bogut can score a little, too, but he is mainly a defensive center. After all the weird injuries he has endured over the past few seasons, it will be interesting to see how his body reacts to playing basketball again.
Festus Ezeli will back up Bogut, because God knows Andris Biedrins is worthless.
Position Grade: B-
Projected Starting Lineup
G: Stephen Curry
G: Klay Thompson
F: Harrison Barnes
F: David Lee
C: Andrew Bogut
Starting Lineup Grade: B-
G: Jarrett Jack
G: Brandon Rush
F: Richard Jefferson
F: Carl Landry
Bench Grade: C+
Coaching Grade: B- (Mark Jackson)
The Warriors will be an improved team in the Western Conference, but it won’t be enough to vault them into the playoffs. For what it’s worth, I have them finishing 3rd in the Pacific Division.