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John Hollinger's Golden State Warriors Preview

John Hollinger known best for his statistics analysis Golden State Warriors preview. Unfortunately, it's an ESPN Insider article so we can't just copy and paste the whole thing. But I'll do my best to pull out the key points.

Golden State was undone by several heartbreaking finishes -- it went 7-14 in games decided by three points or less -- and even more, it may have been undone by its own immaturity. As a young, guard-oriented team with an inexperienced coach in Mike Montgomery, it's not surprising that the team repeatedly forced long jumpers, took ill-advised shots and rarely played within the team concept.

And he highlights two of the most talked about Warriors, Mike Dunleavy and Baron Davis:

Individually, a few key players disappointed. Foremost among them was small forward Mike Dunleavy, who signed a five-year, $45 million extension in the offseason and seemingly set about proving that the Warriors had wasted their money.

He was well below average at both ends of the court, with his wayward shooting particularly disappointing, but what made it worse was that the Warriors couldn't replace him...

Speaking of Davis, he was perhaps the biggest reason the playoff drought continued. Once again, his inability to stay healthy had a major impact, as Davis played only 54 games. But he was as big a problem on the court as he was off it. The team's most talented player was also its least disciplined, leading the three-ring circus on offense with his awful shot selection and routinely ignoring play calls from the bench. Montgomery's inability to keep Davis under control had a wider impact, as the locker room bordered on mutiny by the end of the season.

In his offseason moves section, he mentioned the salary dump of Fisher and the drafting of O'Bryant as an odd choice given the talented swingmen availble.

He says the Warriors greatest strength is their youth, while their greatest weakness is their shot selection. In summary, here's what Hollinger has to say:

Based on that fact and the expected improvements from Nelson's return, some folks are automatically penciling Golden State into the postseason. However, I doubt it will be that's easy to forget that the Warriors had a number of things go right last season. Richardson and Fisher both had career years, while Murphy may have peaked as well. Golden State also defended well by its recent standards... Golden State's win total might creep closer to 40, but it says here the playoff drought goes on for at least one more year.

This year I'm going to try to forget the past and give everyone a clean slate. It's a new regime under Nellie and everyone has a chance to make up for their wrongs last year. Nelson's going to give each player an opportunity to show what he can do and help them succeed by highlighting their skills and hiding their weaknesses. It's a new year with a new coach, and I'm full of optimism. This team can make the playoffs if everyone plays their role well.

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