While many people are looking for a fresh start in 2018, the Golden State Warriors are looking to keep things the same. In 2017, Golden State went 16-1 in the playoffs en route to the franchise’s fifth championship. And they ended the calendar year with the best record in the NBA.
But just because things are looking up, doesn’t mean there aren’t areas to improve. So here’s a resolution for each player on the roster.
Jordan Bell: Learn to play through the mistakes. As Steve Kerr trusts Bell more, the young big man will be on the court more often, even when he messes up. The Dubs will be relying on Bell as the season goes on, and he’ll have to quickly adapt a veteran mindset.
Omri Casspi: Shoot more threes. Casspi is as selfless as they come, and he’s never going to look for his own shot if someone else has a better one. Still, he’s averaging just 0.5 three-point attempts per game, while making 52.9% of them. He needs to find a way to shoot more, even if that means telling his teammates to find him more frequently.
Quinn Cook: Work on off-ball movement. Cook is a very nice shooter. While he’ll never provide the value that Stephen Curry does, he can do a better job replicating what Curry does. The place to start is by improving his off-ball movement so that he gets more open looks.
Stephen Curry: More aggression when sharing the court with Kevin Durant. Curry is the best offensive player in the world, and for the most part, plays excellently beside Durant. But Curry is often a little hesitant to take over and call his own shot now that he’s alongside another MVP. As we saw on Saturday night, the Dubs are at their best when he does.
Kevin Durant: Composure. Durant is already at 10 technical fouls, just six away from earning a suspension. The closer he gets, the more opposing teams will start goading him and trying to lure him into unnecessary aggression. Durant is too good to take himself out of the game.
Draymond Green: Take some deep breaths. Like Durant, Green is approaching the technical foul limit, as he already has eight. Unlike Durant, Green’s demeanor is a necessary part of his game. He can’t just dial back the aggression and histrionics, as they’re part of what drives him. What he can do is take some deep breaths from time to time to make sure that his emotions are productive.
Andre Iguodala: Improve the three-pointer. Plain and simple.
Damian Jones: Stay ready and focused. Jones has been obliterating the G-League, but hasn’t had much of an opportunity yet with the Warriors. That will change, either this season or next, and Jones needs to be ready.
Shaun Livingston: Work on positioning. Livingston is at the age where he might soon begin to lose some verticality. If he wants to maintain efficiency through the final two and a half years of his contract, he’ll need to be sure that he’s getting deep into the post for his patented short-range jumpers.
Kevon Looney: Work on the jumper. Looney’s minutes have been sparse lately, but he’s still shown a lot of great things this year, particularly on the defensive end. If he can develop a consistent jumper from 10-15 feet, he may start earning a lot more minutes.
Patrick McCaw: Confidence. Perhaps McCaw can visit the Wizard of Oz in the coming year. In his second season, McCaw has shown flashes of everything: driving, cutting, playmaking, shooting, rebounding, and defending. But far too often, he looks like he’s simply trying to hide when he’s on the court.
JaVale McGee: Patience. McGee’s time is coming. He’ll either be traded to a team that will rely on him more than the Warriors do, or he’ll find himself getting called off of the bench in a key moment, when he least expects it. As long as he maintains a good attitude and some patience, he’ll be ready to capitalize when the opportunity arises.
Zaza Pachulia: Be a supportive veteran. Pachulia may still be the starter, but Bell is getting the bulk of the minutes at the center position. Eventually, Bell will be the starter, and Pachulia’s attitude when that happens will be important.
Klay Thompson: Shoot more. Thompson is shooting a career-high 45% from deep, but taking fewer attempts than in the last two years. Time to change that.
David West: Teach as much as possible. West’s career is winding down, but he has a lot to teach the next generation of players. West is not only one of the toughest and most respected players in the league, but one of the most consistent players, too. If he can teach some of the youngsters - especially Bell - how to be consistent on a nightly basis, he’ll leave his mark on the game and this team for years to come.
Nick Young: Defensive intensity and focus. Young has been an underrated defensive player for a few years, but focus isn’t his strength. Now that he’s coming off the bench and his minutes are less predictable, focus is even more important.
Happy New Year to all, and good luck with your resolutions!