There's been quite a few moves by the Golden State Warriors over the years that didn't really make sense. I know what you're thinking-
NEWSFLASH! STOP THE PRESSES! The Warriors didn't make sense!
The decision-making in the Chris Cohan era was obviously a joke of epic proportions, but the Joe Lacob/ Bob Meyers era has had some silly misses as well (namely not amnestying Andris Biedrins, now out of the league at age 28). With the coaching staff upgrades and player pickups this offseason, the decision making finally makes sense. Making sense means making trips to the playoffs.
Rewinding 2013-2014 WE ARE WARRIORS
Regular Season: 51-31 -- 50+ wins in the NBA is no joke. Credit to the entire team for getting over the 50 game hump.
1st round loss vs LA Clippers in 7 -- Minus Andrew Bogut, losing to a strong Clippers team is understandable and expected on the surface. However, I still have nightmares about that 40 point Game 2 loss. That was just embarrassing. I doubt a horrific loss of that nature happens this season with this veteran group and sharp coaching staff.
Jermaine O'Neal- Hopefully he's just taking an extra long offseason. O'Neal gave the Warriors a solid backup center to Andrew Bogut and a very serviceable spot starter.
Well that was quick...
- Steve Blake- I thought the Warriors finally solved the backup PG/ 3pt shooter conundrum when they pulled the trigger on a swap with the Lakers, but it didn't quite work out that way.
- Jordan Crawford- It's too bad that random 41 point outing didn't happen in Game 2 against the Clippers.
- Marshon Brooks- Some big moments... in Santa Cruz.
Kevin Love???- We will never know what could've been.
Shaun Livingston- 8-3-3 from a lanky defender at the 1 or 2 is a nice win off the bench.
Leandro Barbosa- His speed should provide a different look and a nice lift off the bench.
Brandon Rush- The 2011-2012 GSW version of Rush would be great in 2014-2015 off the bench.
Festus Ezeli- It's worrisome that Ezeli still hasn't suited up for the Warriors, but he could provide a much needed physical presence off the bench.
Note "off the bench" could be quite key this season.
Last year with an iso-heavy (and unimaginative) offense the Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson drained 774 3-pointers. Imagine what they'll be able to do in an offensive system that utilizes passing and movement. I'm not just imagining- I'm expecting even more treys.
Right after the loss to the Clippers Joe Lacob, Bob Myers, Jerry West and crew wondered:
- What if last season's team had real practices?
- What if they had a creative offense?
- What if they were prepared for each and every single game?
- What if they had a coaching staff that worked NBA coaching hours?
- What if they had a team that didn't quit on their coach in the playoffs and embarrassingly lose by 40 points?
Well they wanted to find out the answers, so they fired Mark Jackson and his
5 4 3 assistant coaches.
In their place the Warriors decision makers hired the hottest coaching candidate on the market in Steve Kerr. Now why he was the hottest candidate is another story for a different time, but it was impressive at least from a PR and marketing standpoint that they were able to keep Kerr on the West Coast and out of the reach of Phil "triangle" Jackson and the bright lights of New York City.
Kerr is a rookie Head Coach and there will definitely be a learning curve, but with Associate Head Coach Alvin Gentry poached from the LA Clippers a lot of the typical 1st year coaching struggles should be mitigated. Gentry would have been a fine Head Coaching hire, but he's an outstanding lieutenant as it is.
It's nice to see some fresh blood in the NBA coaching ranks with Luke Walton and Jarron Collins.
Between Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, Livingston, Barbosa, Rush, and Ezeli, the Warriors should have something here. During the regular season if this bench is as solid as I'd project, the starters should be able to conserve energy for the playoffs- and avoid 40 point losses!
Hyper Athletic Wing with Handles
The Warriors don't have that hyper athletic wing who can take players off the dribble with sick handles and throw down the nasty dunk or draw the foul. Now Klay can get to the rim occasionally without the crazy handles, Barnes can obviously throw it down, and Iguodala still has his moments, but there isn't a consistent deadly rim attacker on the roster. Maybe it won't matter on most nights with all those trifectas and movement on offense, but it would be a nice addition.
Good, but Not Spectacular
There's no glaring weaknesses on this roster and coaching staff. They can rebound, defend, and pass. The overall coaching looks to be solid if not top-notch. These guys can obviously shoot and score. It's a very good playoff caliber roster, but in the West that could just mean a 1st round exit. The Warriors just don't have the superstar punch that is (for the most part) required for championship contention in this league of stars. Without major internal improvements, this team is just another fun team to watch that plays great basketball, but will be gone fishing by mid-May. After the Chris Cohan era we'll take that 101 times out of 100, but it's a funny knowing that the NBA glass ceiling has already been reached before the season starts.
- No one regrets firing Mark Jackson.
- Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are both All-Stars.
- Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut both make the NBA All-Defensive Team.
- 55 wins.
- A trip to the 2nd round of the Western Conference Semifinals.
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Golden State Warriors: Golden State of Mind
Los Angeles Clippers: Clips Nation
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