NBA Preview: Aw, shoot. Warriors seem armed
OCT 05, 2012 7:43p ET
That seems to be the philosophy of the perimeter-proficient Golden State Warriors entering their second season under coach Mark Jackson.
Of course, unlike predecessor Don Nelson, Jackson’s teams at least try in other areas of the game. But when you have the bullets, you may as well put them in the pistol and fire away.
From Stephen Curry to Klay Thompson to Harrison Barnes to Brandon Rush, the Warriors are one of the few teams that can give their guys the green light without concern. Each has zip code range, too.
What makes these Warriors different than in years past is, again, they now have interior guys willing to take a stab at defense, rebounding, and real-life moves in the post.
Also, Curry is an underrated passer who distributes graciously — perhaps an easier task with Monta Ellis no longer on the team. Nowadays, Curry actually may get the ball back.
So while the Warriors may not possess a super-duper star (or even All-Star), they do seem to have enough of just about everything. Occasionally, that counts for something.
Last season: 23-43, did not make playoffs.
Coach: Mark Jackson (23-43, 2nd year).
Top returnees: PG Stephen Curry, PF David Lee, C Andrew Bogut.
Key additions: SF Harrison Barnes, PG Jarrett Jack, PF Carl Landry.
X-Factor: Curry and Bogut. Two big names and everyone loves their games. What’s not so great is their injury history. If either makes his annual pilgrimage from the court to the sidelines for an extended stay, the Warriors can forget visions of the playoffs. Each is just too valuable to be wearing street clothes on gameday. On the other hand, if both can pull off the practically unthinkable and suit up the majority of the time, who knows? The Warriors may have something here.
Strengths: Curry can shoot well from anywhere. Thompson began to do the same toward the end of last season. Barnes arrives with a similar reputation. Throw in Bogut, Lee, Jack and a still-productive Jefferson, and the Warriors shouldn’t have a problem scoring. That’s true if even one or more have an off night. Along with that, Bogut, Lee and Landry are capable of grabbing any misses — and either following them up or kicking it back out for another try.
Weaknesses: Well, let’s just say nobody on the roster is likely to make a strong case for the league’s all-defensive team. The Warriors aren’t wretched, but they’re pretty darn close. Rebounding shouldn’t be an issue, but other important subtleties, such a chasing down loose balls, seem to be lacking. Offensively, Curry won’t be breaking any ankles. He’s more of a shooter than a traditional drive-and-dish point guard. Sometimes, that can lead to a lot of standing around.
Outlook: This brand of Warriors is fairly new, and is destined to need time to get acquainted. The result could be a slow start. They also seem primed to take the thrill ride that relying heavily on outside shooting typically offers. But with good health, improved defense and steady play from the frontcourt, a run to the postseason wouldn’t be inconceivable.
2012-13 schedule: Link
FOX Sports: Warriors home
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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