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2014-2015 NBA Season Analysis- Golden State Warriors
This has to be the year for the Warriors to really go off and become a championship contender. They’ve got the best backcourt in the entire Association and great two-way versatile players in Iguodala, Draymond Green or Barnes, so if David Lee and Andrew Bogut can stay healthy, they have to be one of the top teams in the NBA and fight for the title.
Coach: Steve Kerr
PG: Stephen Curry; Shaun Livingston
SG: Klay Thompson, Leandro Barbosa; Brandon Rush
SF: Harrison Barnes; Andre Iguodala; Justin Holiday
PF: David Lee; Draymond Green; Marreese Speights
C: Andrew Bogut; Festus Ezeli; Ognjen Kuzmic
Let’s start to analize one of the league’s smoothest teams offensively on that end of the court:
Obviously, when you try to analize GoldenState’s offense, you gotta start talking about the Splash Brothers. They are unbelievable not only for how good they are, but also because they can beat you in so many ways. They both can do so off the dribble, catch and shoot, through multiple screens… We all know about Curry’s amazing ball handling skills, but they’re extremely dangerous when Iguodala comes off the bench as well and they both play off the ball. Besides that, Thompson’s also developed a pretty solid post-up game. They just beat you in a variety of ways.
Another key player for them is Draymon Green, who’s now a starter due to injuries and plays that stretch four role. His ability to knock down shots from the outside takes power forwards out of the paint and it’s such a powerful weapon when they play high pick and roll between Green and Curry, because the opposing power forward can’t just help his teammate out on Curry (we saw this in a game in Chicago earlier this season, where Green just killed the Bulls) and this gives Curry extra space either for the jumper or for penetrations (and we all know what this means). Speights can also be this pick and pop guy, and Lee can roll to the basket where he’s a great finisher. The Warriors’ versatility really puts the opposing team in a tough spot because of how well they move the ball. When you over help or overreact to these plays, the ball is gonna end up finding the open man, and they’ve got a bunch of shooters that’ll make you pay; mainly Curry and Thompson, but also Barnes, Green, Iguodala (who’s not a great three point shooter but is taking more outside shots than ever with a decent percentage) or even Justin Holiday, who’s proven himself to be of great help for this basketball team.
They’ve also become a much deeper team (with a great all-around player in Iguodala, a good back-up point guard in Shaun Livingston, some scorers like Speights, Barbosa or Holiday), and with Green on the starting line-up, David Lee can really provide a spark for them coming off the bench.
Finally, the Warriors need to get some production from Shaun Livingston mainly via post-ups (he’s longer and stronger than most point guards), and they also need Bogut to stay active on the offensive glass, score some easy points close to the basket taking advantage of how much attention his teammates grab and contribute to their outstanding ball movement (he’s a really talented passer from the center spot).
Let’s now take a look at the defensive end of the court:
They became a much better defensive team under Mark Jackson, and that’s really key to their success, because there’s no question about their offensive talent but it’s this end of the floor what will make them a real contender, and I believe they’ve got the pieces to really make a difference.
First of all, it’s such a luxury to have one of the best two-way players in the entire NBA in Klay Thompson, who can successfully guard any perimeter guy in the league, what also gives Curry a break and allows him to defend less capable offensive players (he’s one of the best in the league in steals, but still has some trouble when defending certain players 1-on-1). They’ve also got a couple more elite perimeter defenders in Iguodala and Barnes, who can defend multiple positions but are particularly important on guys like Durant, Lebron… Then you have one of the league’s most versatile defenders in Draymon Green, who always does a great job no matter which player he’s on, and this is really priceless.
But to me, Bogut is really their key player defensively because of his rebounding, rim protection and great defence on opposing bigs. He’s the only one who can really make a difference in those categories (maybe Ezeli in certain situations, but I don’t think he can do it consistently), and the Warriors have really had a hard time in the past years when he’s been out.
Arguably Memphis’ grind house is the only place where you can find so many great individual defenders, so I do believe they should be a top team in the league in this end of the floor as well.
Likely Starting Line-up
Curry – Thompson – Barnes – Green – Bogut
The Golden State Warriors have really improved in several areas and are now a much better basketball team, and they got off to an outstanding start, but I’m gonna stick to my prediction and say that they’ll clinch #4 spot in the Western Conference (just because of how loaded this conference is).
Here are some of the best plays from the Bay Area in the past seasons: