Throughout the shorter-than-usual offseason, the Golden State of Mind community has been busy at work dissecting every minute detail of every single player on last year's roster. As the new season approaches, we take stock of our community grades for last year's championship performance before taking a deep dive into the 2015-16 season.
The 2014-15 Golden State Warriors season still feels like a dream to me, which is sort of weird considering that I never actually dreamed about anything remotely resembling a championship during all those horrible years of mediocrity.
I mean, sure it was cool to argue about how good Anthony Randolph could become or whether Mike Dunleavy would ever find anything resembling confidence in a Warriors' uniform, but I had just accepted the fact that my favorite team would never actually win a championship.
So as hard as it is to put a season to rest when I have barely accepted it as reality, it's about time that I did as we turn our attention to a new season with a totally different outlook on basketball life. And we'll do so by quickly reviewing Golden State of Mind's report card for the 2014-15 season, as completed by the community in response to staff reflections on the season.
I've organized the grades based on GSoM polls by player type and provided a brief comment on his season along with a longer quote from one of the highly recommended comments of his season review post.
Comment: (We didn't actually even do a grade poll on this one because, really, did we need to? Unless you hate puppies and sunshine, this one is an A...if you dispute that, please express your displeasure with my anti-democratic grade in the comments.)
Quoteworthy: "Steph Curry's life this year was just magical on and off the court. I too believe he is the "patron saint of the Underdogs", the "Baby-faced assassin". That's why so many people can cheer for him for he's not Superman, big athletic bulldozer Lebron. He's humble. He has these funny vine videos all over Youtube that takes you inside a bit to discover who Steph Curry is and what you see is what you get. He's just an everyday, funny, extremely nice guy off the court, and a superstar basketball player exceeding where others have failed, by pushing himself, working "his butt off" to be the best he can be." - muspirit
Review: Another year of growth for Klay Thompson by Conrad Chow
Comment: The thing that I didn't really mention in my historical look at where the Splash Brothers rank among the league's all-time best backcourts is that Klay Thompson became one of the better backcourt "sidekicks" in history this year — some of the most successful backcourts included a second fiddle who was obviously riding the coattails of a superstar, but this was the year that Thompson really made a name for himself apart from Curry.
Please forget that I was ever adamant that the Warriors should trade him for Kevin Love.
Quoteworthy: "The only standard he fails to live up to is the Steph Curry "I'm the greatest shooter the world has ever seen" standard, but he's still pretty freaking awesome. Do you realize that this year Klay had the 9th most made 3pt field goals in NBA history? Of the 8 performances better than him, 3 of them are Steph Curry. Oh yeah, and he did it on almost 44% 3pt%. Klay is awesome. We just happen to have an even better shooter on our team, but that doesn't diminish what he does at all." - Missing Barry
Full review: A season of sacrifice for Andre Iguodala by Andrew Flohr
Comment: I was definitely among those who was totally against Iguodala moving to the bench in favor of Harrison Barnes. But if moving Iguodala to the bench played any part in keeping him healthy enough for his MVP performance in the Finals, then that may well be the most amazing thing that first-year coach did all year.
Quoteworthy: "I thought Curry was the Finals MVP, but I'm ten times happier that Andre got it. Just the perfect recognition for all his contributions." - Apricot
Review: Harrison Barnes builds his constituency by Bram Kincheloe
Comment: So...I ended up choosing a comment of mine for the quoteworthy thing below...and there's still a live debate going on about Barnes...so I'll just say my piece on his contract here: he was very good this season and uniquely so. But, despite his success, I am leaning more and more toward wanting to see what he does this season and risking losing him as a restricted free agent than paying him more than $16 million per year right now. Will that be the right move or will I be as wrong about that as I was about Klay Thompson? I look forward to finding out.
Quoteworthy: "I was definitely among those who dismissed Barnes as nothing more than Dorell 2.0 but where Barnes might really set himself apart is in his ability to finish...Claims that he'd be a perennial All-Star or Paul Pierce were always outlandish, but I still see room for growth beyond the Dorell projection." - NP
Review: Appreciating Shaun Livingston by Nate Parham
Comment: I just posted this one yesterday so there's not much more to say, except for the thing that I managed to forget: three point range would be nice for Livingston, but I think it's a mistake to assume it's at all necessary. He gives the team so much in terms of his versatility on both ends that I'm satisfied with who he is right ow.
Quoteworthy: "Shaun's a unique cog and a perfect back up behind Curry. I think he'd do extremely well playing more with Curry and even Thompson, stepping in and logging 6th man minutes - upping his usage. Fortunately/unfortunately (however you want to look at it) the Barnes/Igoudala tandem makes it a little more to get the most out of him in terms of pairing him with our premium shooters. I'm very interested to see how Kerr riffs on his momentum and navigates what's proven to be effective vs. developing Barnes and giving Igoudala what he deserves." - Justin Swinderman
Review: Leandro Barbosa and the Structural Familiarity of GSW by Andy Liu
Comment: So...seeing as how you all voting this man off the island in Basketball Jonez's asset poll...I feel the need to stick up for this man. And I think I can do it in exactly four letters: WGBC.
Quoteworthy: "He was the team's de facto eighth rotation player in the playoffs, with 229 total minutes played, just ahead of Ezeli (183), well ahead of Lee (107) and Speights (67).
And lest we forget: dude was picked up last September as an 11th-hour depth signing when a lot of people assumed our roster was set. I think the pick-up was mostly well-received given that we got him for peanuts, but a lot of people questioned how much he had left in the tank. Relative to his ultra-modest expectations, I don't see how he gets anything but an A." - Sleepy Freud
@NTreglia1 I've played with a lot of great teammates.. Barbosa is top 3 teammates ever tho— Paul George (@Yg_Trece) August 5, 2015
Review: Why Brandon Rush might still be a valued contributor by Basketball Jonez
"Brandon was a pleasure to have in class." I don't really know what to say about Rush, to be honest. We didn't really see him play much and I'm holding out hope that BBJ is correct in his assertion that his challenge moving forward is more mental (confidence) than physical. I'm really interested to see how he performs this preseason and whether some of the other players vying for a spot on the end of the bench give him a run for his money.
Quoteworthy: "Who here wouldn't like to collect a handsome paycheck to get front row seats to all the Warrior games? Now add in the bonus of receiving a championship ring in the end. Bravo, B Rush." - Bearly Legal
Review: Draymond Green, Golden State's breakout player of the year by Conrad Chow
Comment: Does it matter that he didn't get Defensive Player of the Year when he was vital to a small ball lineup that won the championship? Not to me.
Quoteworthy: "basically how I read this
BOB: hey Dray, here's some money.
DRAY: that's cool but...I kinda want more money
BOB: like a max?
DRAY: yeah I think I can get a max
BOB: eh, fine, see if you can get a max and we'll match it
BOB: also if the Lakers call, here's a list of good restaurants in LA
DRAY: for sure"
- Reuben Poling
Review: Andrew Bogut and the case of the Ever Shrinking Big Man by Jeff Cheal
Comment: Before small ball won the title for the Warriors, Bogut was the anchor for this elite defense. It's hard to argue with All-Defensive value.
Quoteworthy: "Bogut had one bad series. Other than that, he was all we could have hoped for last year. For a guy to finish as the second best defensive player in the league by RPM behind only his frontcourt-mate and receive anything other than an A seems like selective memory." - stephencurry
Review: Marreese Speights finds his place and makes me look dumb by Ivan Bettger
Comment: Since I was just watching a whole lot of Shaun Livingston footage, Speights' ability to knock down shots from the high post was invaluable to this team last season. Hoping he can keep it up because he's a major asset to this second unit on a team that has an injury-prone big in the starting lineup.
Quoteworthy: "I wonder how much of Mo's improvement comes from his well documented one-on-one battles with Draymond... Going up against one of your best friends, who is one of the biggest trash-talkers and best defenders in the league every day likely had a significant impact on Speights. And likewise, how much of Dray's defensive improvement comes from facing a great individual scorer/bff/trash-talker who is much taller than him?...Speights has the biggest and most willing smile on the team, and his personality was a huge part of the winning chemistry." - Basketball Jonez
Comment: I'm really glad that Lee got traded, not because he can't play defense or no longer fit, but because he was the ultimate teammate this year after putting in his fair share of time on some bad Warriors teams. Best of luck moving forward, David.
Quoteworthy: "DLee was the first free agent that wanted to come here after we became the laughing stock of the NBA, and we understand the $ was the bigger draw, but he came here to make the best of a cellar dweller and he will walked away with a ring!
I had to grade him a "B" although I wanted to give him an "A" but he just couldn't find his rhythm this year coming off the bench, but he gets the B for helping us in the finals...
Good luck to DD (double double) wish him nothing but the best!" - Cryptic
Review: Festus Ezeli is primed for a breakout year by Bram Kincheloe
Comment: Our community's choice for top breakout candidate player in 2015-16, Ezeli showed ample promise in the Warriors' championship season and especially in the playoffs when Bogut struggled a bit. This may not be a make or break season for him, but we'll get a good sense as to whether he can be a fixture here in the future.
Quoteworthy: "First, I agree that Festus will be a key player for us this year, especially if Bogut gets injured. And even if there are no injuries, he will be a great guy to have at center at any point in the season. Second, I am impressed by Festus' high IQ — Vanderbilt is not Chico State, where I attended after turning down Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth — they brew Sierra Nevada in Chico! HIs high intelligence will be an asset for the Warriors, as it has been an asset for Festus. I love doctors, and I'm sure that Festus would have a been a great doctor, but I'm glad that he's playing basketball for the Warriors." - Parvenu
James Michael McAdoo
Review: James Michael McAdoo and the Allure of Potential by Jeff Cheal
Comment: I'm not quite as excited about McAdoo's potential as some people, but I'm sort of reserving judgment on him until we see whether he can earn anything resembling consistent minutes.
Quoteworthy: "He's got really good length and movement skills. In the Warriors switching scheme he could be a nightmare. Individually if he can be a lockdown defender at 4, and above average at SF and/or C that would be enough to earn a spot in the league.
Do that and become a better cutter/finisher and he has a role. Do that and be a 3 point shooter and he might be a legit rotation player." - hammystyle
Review: What does the future hold for the talented, 25 year old Warriors center? By Bram Kincheloe
Comment: We didn't grade this one, instead assessing his talent relative to Hakeem Olajuwon. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait to see him realize that potential in the NBA as it's not going to be part of his present.
Quoteworthy: "Finally one of these writers give us a real story
KUZZZZZZZZZZZZZ" - WeBeChampionship
Review: A look inside Warriors coaching culture by Bram Kincheloe
Comment: I mean, a title in your first season? Deciding to move Andre Iguodala to the bench? An offense...with movement? You win, Steve Kerr & Co.
Quoteworthy: "He was being totally serious during his parade rally speech. We’re lucky because teaching Steph and Klay how to become great shooters would cause a lot more damage than a herniated disk to most other coaches." - dont_stop_believin'
- - -
So we've done all the hard work, but we still have more to do. Please see the poll below.