Today SB Nation will be releasing its 2013-14 NBA previews and our beloved Golden State Warriors will be up later this morning.
But before we move full steam ahead, we're going to look back at the player evaluations from the offseason to help frame expectations for this season.
The one player we didn't get around to reviewing this offseason was Festus Ezeli, perhaps because his knee surgery left his future uncertain and perhaps because his limitations were so clear throughout the season.
But I thought a comment Ezeli made himself during an interview at a Warriors camp this offseason put his season in perspective as well as some of the other players on the roster: "My expectations, because I was a rookie...I expected to come in and help my team win...The fact that I was able to come in - not knowing that I was gonna start - come in and start the first half of the season, we were 12 games above .500, 13 games, whatever it was and eventually I was helping my team in the playoffs, I think I did just what I expected to do as a rookie. Coming into this next year I have to make some new goals and adjust to what I expected as a rookie."
However, it's also not difficult to argue that Ezeli exceeded expectations for a rookie selected 30th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft: reality is that he had a better rookie season that many of the players who were selected ahead of him, which makes him a value pick by any measure.
So here's a quick grade that others can sound off on in the comments: I struggle to see how Ezeli could deserve less than a B, given the circumstances of his rookie season (e.g. starting right away due to Bogut's injury for an eventual playoff team).
On to the rest of our reviews, with a quicker summary, a comment from the GSoM community, and the grades you gave the players during the offseason.
Summary: "Draymond Green was hardly perfect this season, but when you look at this roster few players better represent the organization's emphasis on defense and high IQ players."
Top comment: Sleepy Freud
I’m pretty stoked to see what he can do next season, with a full training camp and a year of experience (including big playoff minutes) under his belt. He definitely makes me miss Landry less: he’s about the same size as Landry (shorter, but with a better wingspan), a better rebounder, and much better passer and defender. Totally fits with the new regime of defense, unselfish ball movement, and versatility. Unless Speights really shows me something, I want the bulk of minutes at backup PF going to Green.
Community grade: B (57%)
Summary: "The 2012-2013 WE ARE WARRIORS team was incredibly watchable, inspiring, and coachable. Here's the lone exception... who now plays (or sits?) for the Utah Jazz!"
Top comment: Killjoy
Did Atma light up a cigarette after posting this?
Community grade: F(-) (56%)
Summary: "The silver lining is that having a worse player in his place — or leaving his place entirely vacant — means more time for Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes at the power forward in small-ball formations, and I for one would like to know if that playoff lightning can be bottled."
Top comment: James Russell
Losing both Jack and Landry will mean a regression next year. We can live without one of them, but losing both collectively takes stuff off the court that won't be replaced by the existing personnel - even if the role player guys like Bazemore, Barnes and Green amp up their games.
Community grade: B (56%)
Summary: "If we think of Bogut's up, down, and back up season as a showcase for next, there are many reasons to start printing out those playoff tickets again. If this is the worst to come in Bogut's career as a Warrior so far—and there's plenty reason to think the worst has passed—the good will surely overshadow the struggles that's come with an Australian hook shot."
Top comment: AussieFan
In my opinion, there are only two bigs in the league that can defend elite post scorers one on one and block shots from the strong side- Dwight and Bogut. Chandler can’t do that, Bynum doesn’t bother, Noah isn’t wide enough. Plus Bogut sets some of the best screens in the NBA (just ask Iggy).
Community grade: B (50%)
Summary: "Lee's not likely to ever live up to that contract, but he's an important part of this team. We don't make the playoffs this last year without him. In some ways, the worst you can say about him is that he's the basketball equivalent of that starting pitcher who isn't so great, but keeps you from having to put legitimately bad players out there because he always makes it to the 7th inning. There's real value in that."
Top comment: James Russell
The team turned a corner this season psychologically by which I mean they started looking like a team that expected to win (most of the time, Feb and March excepted). Lee was a big reason this happened — leading by example, leaving it on the floor night in night out, playing within himself and giving a professional effort over the long grind of the NBA season. It’s a marathon and an endurance contest, and while Lee might have not been the fastest, quickest or most athletic guy in the race — he was definitely in the top 20 percent.
Community grade: B (56%)
Summary: "If you don't grade him with an Incomplete, you're lying."
Top comment: ERock386
F U Zach Randolph
Community grade: Incomplete (63%)
Summary: "I hate to wonder, but will next season with the Utah Jazz be RJ's last in the NBA? If so, I hope people remember the New Jersey Nets RJ and not the one who was somewhat of a bust signing with the San Antonio Spurs or the solution to the Warriors Stephen Jackson 2.0 nightmare."
Top comment: Rasputin10
The end of his career is very near but I want to give him props for being – as far as we can tell – a positive member of the team. No public complaints about playing time, no locker room disruption, no undermining the youngsters. When Jackson put him in, he was ready to play the best he could. He wasn’t RICHARD JEFFERSON, but RJeff did his best to contribute what he could. And really, that’s all you can ask for.
Community grade: F+ (44% F, 31% D)
Summary: "There's no shame in becoming a lethal three-point threat, a solid defender and a sprinkling of playmaking on the other end. On a team with a tantalizing number and potential assortments of lineups, depth and playmakers, this is perhaps Thompson's easiest year—usage-wise—as an NBA player."
Top comment: Uwe Blog
...other than Bogut’s injury problems leading to 41 starts for Festus, we had one of the most stable starting lineups in the league. Curry played and started 78 games. Lee was 79 games. Klay started all 82, and Barnes started the 81 games he played in.
Community grade: B (71%)
Summary: "For what the Warriors expected, I'm certain that Barnes exceeded their expectations and more. The questions going into next season aren't whether he will fulfill his potential but whether the additions of Iguodala and a healthy Lee will stunt his growth."
Top comment: hammystyle
Is Luol Deng a considerably better passer, shooter and/or ball-handler? No, he’s arguably less skilled in all those regards, but is smarter and a better defender due to experience. At 20, you’d expect he’d get better in all those areas. In particular I think he’s a lock to be an excellent long-range shooter and defender.
Community grade: A- (50% A, 47% B)
Summary: "How we then evaluate Kent Bazemore's first season depends upon what exactly it is that we value: if you begin with what your expectations were, I can't imagine that anyone was so optimistic about what he'd contribute in his rookie year that he managed to disappoint."
Top comment: GSW9
I don’t think I’ve ever been happier for a player when Bazemore hit the almost game winner in Game 1 vs San Antonio. It would have been a great story had Manu not have ruined it. But overall as an undrafted rookie, Bazemore made himself known and at the end of the day that’s all he could have asked for.
Community grade: A- (46% A, 27% B)
Summary: "Jack remained an enigma all season in that we all love his play when the shot is going, the floater is falling, the confidence exuding levels of Don Draper, but when that ceased to exist, as it did as often as it didn't, fans decried his lack of passing ability and questionable shot selection as something that sunk the team in losses. In truth, his attitude and playing style didn't change any, if at all. Jack is who he is..."
Top comment: Goofus
"Does anyone else wonder if Jack’s style was amplified due to his pending free agency. Going on 30, perhaps he was looking ahead and trying toshow the world he’s of a big deal. Maybe he’ll mellow out a little bit and be less of a chucker and a little more of a distributor if he has the secuity of a contract."
Community grade: B+ (51% B, 45% A)
Summary: "Whether Curry will emerge as a true superstar is yet to be seen. However, anyone who has watched Curry play, or had to prepare to defend him, knows that Curry poses a defensive nightmare. Is there a way to guard Curry, or does a player with his offensive ability break the defensive system?"
Community grade: A+ (93% A)
Top comment Black Falcon Punch
One guy will never break a defensive system. However, when you put him in the context of the other Warriors, I think we have something special. The Spurs were able to contain us because Barnes couldn’t score at a super high rate even on Tony Parker, which I think will change this year as Barnes will be a much more experienced player and a better scorer. Teams are going to have problems.
How would you grade the team's performance?
We'll have our 2013-14 preview up later today, but for now, how would you grade the 2012-13 season in hindsight?
For the complete list of season reviews - and a few accompanying videos - check out our 2012-13 season reviews section.