The Warriors head into the 2012-2013 season as a glaring question mark to fans all around the NBA. This glimpse of usually false hope is familiar for Warriors fans (remember; because 'We Believe') but that false hope seems more real when we hear rumblings outside of the fanbase. Injuries to Curry and newcomer C Andrew Bogut (who has yet to step on the court in a Warriors uniform) are of course the most pressing issues with this year's team. The issue that gets kicked under the rug due to the constant injury bug that surrounds this team is it's depth.
The Warriors roster is completely revamped from last year's squad. Their was no transformation; the center-pieces are still such. What did happen was a complete turn-up throughout the depth-chart. Gone are long, athletic, utility guys like Domonic McGuire, Mikki Moore, and Mickell Gladness; all who along with then rookie Jeremy Tyler did what they could (admirably) to solidify last year's front-court. Also, the most noticeably missing piece (via the lack of premature jump-shots) will be Nate Robinson. Replacing that stellar contingency will be the trio of rookies F Harrison Barnes, G-F Draymond Green, C Festus Ezili; as well as two veterans who were castaway during the Hornets youth movement in Carl Landry and Jarret Jack. Add in the hopeful and healthy returns of Bogut and Curry as well as the development of 2nd-year players Charles Jenkins (who so far looks like he will force Jackson to find him minutes) and Jeremy Tyler (who could burry Biedrins deeper down the depth-chart.) and you're starting to see the potential recipe for success that has Warriors fans buzzing.
You can already start to see the effects. The Warriors were recently ranked #1 "Must-see League Pass team" in this piece by Zach Lowe for Grantland, http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/39319/the-all-league-pass-teams-to-watch-this-nba-season . In previous years when the Warriors were a "must-see" team it was due to the fun, yet uncontrolled chaos known as 'Nellie-ball'. Now, several seasons removed from those days (and Biedrins' inflated contract being the only surviving piece left) things are turning up for this franchise and it is for all the right reasons. In prior years (see 2011-2012 Warriors) when the team's key players were hurt they would have to scrap and claw the bottom of the barrel for help. This year's squad is much different and that is all in thanks to the great work done by Bob Myers, Jerry West, and company.
The Warriors have 3 different options as far as a starting SF, the other two will bring their talents to the bench for reserve minutes. Carl Landry may not provide the defense this team needs, but he brings a scoring presence off the bench to fill the void when Lee goes to the bench. Festus Ezeli, also known as 'SKYNET' has all the potential to be the defensive anchor this team has always been looking for, but he gets to backup Bogut (and maybe, but probably not, encourage Biedrins to fight for minutes.) If Curry (fingers crossed I'm not casting a jinx) happens goes down for a short or even long period of time; Jarrett Jack can fill the void of starting PG after averaging career #'s in NO last season. Jack can also play side-by-side with Curry where both could benefit mutually allowing Curry to play off the ball. Charles Jenkins is also a scrappy, small PG who can flat out score and looks like he has an extra sense of focus and determination so far this preseason. Rookie Draymond Green will fill the void of everything-man left by Domonic McGuire. After all that; Jeremy Tyler and Biedrins are really just back of the rotations guys that could be a pleasant surprise because with all of that depth there aren't going to be many minutes for them to fight for.
The Warriors do still have clear holes beyond the Curry/Bogut health issues such as perimeter defense, but veterans Richard Jefferson and Brandon rush will be relied on in those aspects in crunch time. Also, Klay Thompson has looked very stingy in one-on-one defense so far this season so if his head in his the right place in that aspect he has all the physical abilities to learn and grow on that end. Same with Barnes and Curry. The verdict has been out for a long time on Lee and Landry's defensive prowess, but Tyler could help in those areas if he shows he belongs. The key-issues with this team will be a) health and b) team defense; if the Warriors rotate well and just cover ground as a team on the same page they will be fine and should be able to fight for one of the last 2 open playoff spots.