Editor’s note: This is the 19th of Sam Amico’s 30 NBA team previews entering the 2014-15 season.
C Andrew Bogut; PF David Lee; SF Andre Iguodala; SG Klay Thompson; PG Stephen Curry.
SF Harrison Barnes; PG Shaun Livingston; F Draymond Green; C Festus Ezeli; F-C Marreese Speights; SG Brandon Rush; PG Leandro Barbosa; C Ognjen Kuzmic; PG Aaron Craft.
Steve Kerr, first year. As for Kerr the coach, well, this is his first stint. Anywhere, ever. We don’t know much about Kerr, other than he seems like a really cool guy. But Kerr played and knows the game, and when it comes to this team, about all you need to do is manage substitutions and keep the locker room cohesive. That seems like Kerr’s specialty. This should work.
They call them the Splash Brothers, and when it comes to Curry and Thompson, you’d better be on your toes and defending the 3-point line. Because between those two, no opposing lead is safe. … Along with being perhaps the league’s best shooter (barely edging Thompson), Curry is a remarkable passer. He wasn’t a true point when he entered the league, but he sure is now. And he may still get better. … Meanwhile, Thompson has great length for a guard and gets his shots off quickly and easily. This is a backcourt that almost can’t be defended. … Iguodala is a step-in-the-lanes, steal-the-pass defender, and his slashing is a wonderful complement to the guards’ splashing. … Lee seems to have hit his ceiling, but it’s at a borderline all-pro level. In short, the guy is good even on his worst days. … Bogut, if he can stay healthy, remains a threat at both ends.
The Warriors were in NBA’s top 10 for most of the important categories, including defense (they finished 10th in points allowed). But despite the buzz about splashing threes, they still don’t seem like a true championship contender. Why? Well, probably because they fall in love with those threes. … Instead of making one extra pass for a better shot, the Warriors often settle for long bombs. That will win you some games, but it will lose some, too. … The bench, while typically solid, can be iffy. Aside from the occasional game from Barnes (or Green), there appears to be little explosiveness.
The Warriors’ decision to switch from successful and well-liked former coach Mark Jackson to the unproven Kerr was a head-scratcher, and it’s too soon to say if it was the right move. But if Kerr can simply keep a good thing going, or even improve it a little, the Warriors possess the talent and depth to go places. Read: With good health and more growth, winning the West is certainly doable.