here is my second effort - thanks for your patience.
Many of us are excited about the Warriors starting lineup! But how do each of our guys match up against the rest of the West?
Comparing western conference team’s starting lineups by position - trying to assess our chances for the playoffs. Ignoring benches, team history and coaching – which I acknowledge hurts my argument.
PGs: Curry, Steve Bake (assume he’ll start for Lakers), B. Davis, Steve Nash, Tyreke Evans, Jason Kidd, Aaron Brooks, Mike Conley, CP3, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups, Johnny Flynn, Russell Westbrook, Andre Miller, Deron Williams
Analysis: We have great guard in the West. Some great ones on the decline, some in their prime and some on the rise. I’d say Nash, CP3 (if healthy) and DWill are the best – but in the next group of three I’d say Curry belongs. So we have a top 5 PG in the West.
SGs: Monta, Kobe, Eric Gordon, JRich, Francisco Garcia, Caron Butler, Kevin martin, OJ Mayo, Marcus Thorton, Manu, JR Smith, Wesley Johnson, James Harden, Brandon Roy, CJ Miles
Analysis: Other than two or three guys, this list is less than impressive. It is odd how much better the PGs are than the SGs in the West. Putting this list together made me value Monta more too. I know his turnover and efficiency numbers are a mess, but I think with the team improving around him we will see improvements to these numbers. I’d say Monta is behind Kobe and Roy clearly, and battling two or three guys as the third best SG in the west – similar to Curry.
However, and this key - our backcourt has two high quality guards compared to other backcourts (most of them have either a great PG OR a great SG).
SFs: Dorrell Wright, Ryan Gomes, Ron Artest, Hedo (assuming Grant comes off bench), Omri Casspi, Shawn Marion, Ariza, Rudy Gay, Peja, Alonzo Gee (who?), Carmelo, Corey Brewer, AK-47, Durant, Batum
Analysis: Pretty good list. Clearly, our guy is pretty low on this list based on his production so far. However, some of these guys are too one dimensional and our guy may be a more well rounded player – good at everything, great at nothing. Durant, Carmelo are obviously the best SFs in the west.
PFs: David Lee, Griffin (my pick for ROY), Pau, Channing Frye, Carl Landry, Dirk, Tim Duncan, Al Harrington, Kevin Love, Jeff Green, Aldridge, Al Jefferson, Zach Randolph, Luis Scola, David West
Analysis: Even with Boozer and Amare splitting town, the PF position in the West is still pretty impressive. Despite that, I put Lee in the top 4 with Duncan, Dirk, Pau. However, Love, Griffin, West, Jefferson – all guys who, if they have a great year, could also be a top 5 PF in the West.
Centers: Biedrins, Kaman, Bynum, Robin Lopez, Dalembert (until Cousins takes over), Tyson Chandler, Brad Miller (assuming Yao too hurt), Marc Gasol, Okafor, McDyess, Darko, Nene, Nenad Kristic, Oden, Okur
Analysis: I miss the 80s. Where have all the true centers gone? Oh well, if everyone here stays healthy (a big if with this group) I think Oden is the best Center. If our guy is healthy he is better than about half this list.
Overall analysis: Looking at the starting lineups for teams in the West I think our team is one of the best in terms of 1-5. Three guys who are in the top five in their position, two guys who are pretty good. Other teams that seem solid in the 1-5 spot include Portland, Lakers, Mavs, Thunder. Lots of teams that made the playoffs have big question marks at one or two positions.
Bonus analysis: In years past, we’ve begun spent the off season asking multiple IF questions – “if a, b, c, and d happen we make playoffs”. This season, I think we have only two big Ifs that will determine if we make the playoffs – IF Beans can be as healthy and productive as he was a couple years back, and IF we get better as a defensive team. I have faith that Monta and Curry will work fine together, and that Monta will be better with better teammates. I have faith that D.Wright will bring not only defense but have his best year in terms of ppg. I have faith that Curry and Lee will be one of the best pick and roll duos in the league. Looking back at the two IFs I listed – I can’t speculate on the first one. As for defense – I see reasons why we might improve. Lee is a scrappy guy who loves to be told what he can’t do – he always answers his critics. Plus, two reasons why his defense suffered in NY was the style of play and the fact that he was guarding Cs more than PFs. Most nights his defensive help was Al Harrington - ouch. Curry can be a decent defensive PG and he has worked hard to improve in this area – Monta can also play decent defense when he chooses to. Neither will ever be great defensive players, of course. Wright is a huge improvement over Maggs in the SF spot with regards to defense. Udoh is a good defensive player as well -we haven’t had a scrappy big defensive player who can guard 3-5 in a long time.
It sure is nice to have only two big Ifs as opposed to the norm in our off season of about 4 or 5 Ifs!