clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2015-16 Warriors preview: Strengths and weaknesses

Each SB Nation - NBA blog will be previewing their team as part of the network's massive 2015-16 preview effort. We're getting a head start on that by having our staff answer the questions and soliciting your input as well. Today, we look at the team's biggest strengths and weaknesses.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It is often said that hometown fans are either too easy or too hard on their own team, exaggerating strengths or harping weaknesses.

Where does GSoM fall on that spectrum? See for yourself with our staff's responses below.

What are the team's biggest strengths?

Conrad Chow: Continuity will pay huge dividends for the Warriors. The entirety of the team with the exception of David Lee was retained in the offseason and will have a chance to grow together. Building from last year, Golden State added more of what is arguably their biggest strength - versatility. Drafting Kevon Looney and trading for Jason Thompson have given the Warriors greater depth and positional interchangeability.

Bram Kincheloe: It is easy to forget just how young this team is. When Steve Kerr took over before last season, everyone hoped that he would have a huge impact. But who in their right mind could have envisioned the Warriors ending the season as NBA champions? The core of the team is signed for the long term, and barring significant injury, the Warriors have a chance to be in the running for the championship year in and year out for the next bucket-full of years. The Warriors are young, they are suddenly very experienced, and they are deep. Those three things alone should make the rest of the league shudder.

Andrew Flohr: The Golden State Warriors' biggest strength is that they possess the greatest shooting backcourt in NBA history. They have a young core of players who are signed for multiple years. They still have a great amount of depth, versatility and now the confidence of knowing that they are the best. Also, having a coach who has been a part of back-to-back championship runs. Steve Kerr knows what it takes to not only win a championship, but to come back the very next season and do it all over again. Kerr will keep these players focused on the task at hand, and that's keeping Larry O'Brien in Oakland.

Chris Nielsen: The Warriors' greatest strength is their defense. They were the best defensive team in the league last year, and I don't see them declining on that side of the ball this season. Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala may be losing some of their physical skills, but they are both intelligent defenders who will be able to make an impact defensively for the majority of their careers. Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Festus Ezeli are all young plus defenders that will become more consistent with age. Oh yeah, and Draymond Green, runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, suits up for the Dubs.

Ivan Bettger: Talent, depth, youth, intelligence, moxie, length, the long-ball, toughness, camaraderie, and confidence. Not necessarily in that order.

Derek Knight: Their bullpen of ~6'7 wings who can all switch on defense. This gives them defensive versatility, which, in the positionless era of basketball that the NBA is barreling towards like a derailed bumper car, is the greatest strength of all.

Hugo Kitano: It's not the Warriors' "greatest" strength, but the team is truly unselfish. The players always make the extra pass and will accept smaller personal roles to ensure the team's success.

Amanda Edwards: The team always remains focused on playing with a high degree of passes. They're unselfish. They cater to the players they have with a focus on their outside shooting. This can be seen in their choice of Kerr as a coach last year, who was one of the most successful outside shooters in NBA history, and now they've just hired Steve Nash as a consultant.

Ronaldinho: Steph Curry.

Basketball Jonez: Steph. It all falls apart without him. After him, take your pick: good system, good management, good players, good depth, good chemistry, good experience. It's hard to put one thing above another when they win 83 games and come home as champions

Jeff Cheal: Returning the whole starting five (and even 6 thru 9) of a championship team leads me to believe that the strength still lies in this team's chemistry. They play a system, and that system is fully executed by one of the smartest floor squads in the league. They can play so many different ways... big when they need to, and obviously small when they want to run you off the floor. It's versatility, but one of the five best players in the league in Steph doesn't hurt either.

What are the team's biggest weaknesses?

Bram Kincheloe: It remains to be seen how much longer Andrew Bogut will remain an effective NBA center. He serves as an emotional anchor of the team, sure, but inevitably his body will betray him. Stephen Curry's ankle injuries are well documented. Andre Iguodala is not getting any younger. If injuries start piling up, the Warriors could be in trouble. Depth is a huge strength for this squad, sure, but there's no one on the team (or in the universe) who can replicate the combination of smarts, poise, and shooting that Curry brings to the court. If his ankle injuries return, it would spell doom for his squad.

Jared Stearne: I am interested to see what this season brings for Andrew Bogut as well. The stage has been set for Festus Ezeli to take the torch as dominant big man from Bogut. If Bogut or Ezeli (or both) go down late in the season it would hurt the Warriors. But then again that is what makes this team so dynamic, they can run small or big. But having two healthy athletic seven footers is a tremendous advantage for any team. Injuries could be this team's biggest weakness. We will also have to see how hungry this team is after tasting the cherry on top of the sundae.

Chris Nielsen: The Warriors' greatest weakness is (twist!) shooting. The Splash Brothers need some adopted Splash Siblings. It's scary to think that the Warriors would have been closer to losing in the Finals if Andre Iguodala hadn't made the open shots that the Cavs were giving him. It's also scary to think that taking a flier on Ben Gordon is the solution, but it's good to see the team attempting to address the need.

The road to a repeat is brutal, and a little bit of complacency...could cost the team playoff seeding -Ronaldinho

Ivan Bettger: I want to say that their biggest weakness is a lack of a true post presence that can back down opponents, draw double teams, and produce points from the block. But then I'd just be trolling Charles Barkley and this here preview is serious business, so instead I'll say that their biggest weakness is reliable playmaking and shotmaking from the second unit.

Curry's presence does so much for the Warriors in how the defense plays everyone else; he draws attention in ways that defenses are still uncomfortable with, forcing them to tweak their system and creating cracks in what might otherwise be stout armor. Without Curry on the floor, defenses can play this team fairly straight, and it would be nice to have another reliable pick-and-roll penetrator, and another shooter to benefit from that penetration.

Derek Knight: Now, this all comes with the obvious caveat that this is a ‘weakness' for a defending NBA champion returning all of its major contributors from last season. On the court, it's still a tertiary scorer. Harrison Barnes will likely continue to fill in the hole of that great-efficiency/uber-low usage third scorer, but this group will inevitably drop a few games due to excellent game planning against the Splash Bros./the Splash Bros. just not finding the basket on a particular night.

Of course, if Speights revives his torrid and unprecedented output from the first half of 2014, that changes the equation. I think it's one of the safer bets one can take to bet against a player repeating his apex form.

Ronaldinho: The Western Conference. Make no mistake. If the Warriors swapped conferences with the Cavs, they'd waltz into the finals. But instead the road to a repeat runs through a conference that should be even stronger than it was last year, with the Thunder, Jazz, and Pelicans likely to be much stronger, against only Dallas and Portland being substantially weaker. The Spurs, Clips, Rockets, and Thunder can all beat the Warriors in a playoff series if the breaks go their way - they'd all (except maybe the Spurs) be underdogs, but not such big dogs that it'd shock you if they took a series. The road to a repeat is brutal, and a little bit of complacency (say, Draymond not working quite as hard in the offseason because it was so short) could cost the team playoff seeding and mean they have to win four losable series to win repeat.

Basketball Jonez: While I think adding Jason Thompson was a great move, I think our depth is weaker this season. Andre and Leandro are both another year older, while Lee and Holiday are being replaced with probably worse players (Thompson and Rush/Clark/Eddie/Gordon?). We managed to stay relatively healthy last season, which meant that the end of the bench didn't matter as much, but resting our guys will be an even bigger priority now than it was a year ago.

Jeff Cheal: Our weakness is in our age. We would seem to feel young and prominent with our superstars (though the ghost of ankles past is ever present) but we also feature an aging declining Bogut in the starting five, Iguodala whose best starter years might be in his past, and bench players like Barbosa who are at the tail end of their time. Kevon Looney and Festus Ezeli represent our younger depth, but both are in the stages of long-term growth — Festus is just now is obtaining his offensive game. If Harrison Barnes doesn't stay on long term, this team could find itself with a few holes to fill when these older bodies retire. And not to mention we had the huge luck of health (knock on wood) last year that kept our core on the court for most of the season.

What do you see as the Warriors' biggest strengths and weaknesses? Let us know in the comments. For more of our thoughts on the upcoming season, stay tuned to our 2015-16 Warriors Preview section.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Golden State of Mind Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Golden State Warriors news from Golden State of Mind