Golden State Warriors - Golden State of Mind
Last Years Record: 42-40
Key Losses: Jason Richardson, Adonal Foyle, Sarunas Jasikevicius
Key Additions: Marco Belinelli, Austin Croshere, Troy Hudson, Brandan Wright
1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?
Chris Mullin was bold this offseason making one blockbuster trade and playing hardball with the re-signing of his own free agents. Mullin's first move came during the 2k7 draft with the trade of fan favorite Jason Richardson to the Bobcats for Brandan Wright and a $10 million trade exception. Unless Mullin is able to use that trade exception to bring in a big man to help the team's rebounding woes, the short term outcome of the trade will be a failure. Baron and Nellie want to win now. Brandan Wright will take a few years to develop. The two just don't match. There are plenty of moves Mullin can make with the $10 million trade exception, let's hope he makes the right one.
The other significant move was playing hardball with the re-signing of their own free agents and coach. Matt Barnes and Mickael Pietrus each hit the free agent market and were looking for deals from other teams but could not find the deals they wanted. Mullin stuck to his guns and got them back at the price he wanted them at. In addition to Barnes and Pietrus, Mullin was able to get Coach Nelson back on the Warriors' terms and not Nellie's. The franchise has become more and more frugal lately with an emphasis on being fiscally responsible.
2. What are the team's biggest strengths?
The biggest strength of the team is their belief in the system. With the up tempo running game Coach Don Nelson brought last year, the players love the ability to get up and down the court. Every player wants to play like that where they can go for steals and blocks, then get out on the break and score at ease. After a year in the system and many others now with a full training camp under Nellie, this team will run even more efficiently. Add in the fact that Nellie knows his players even better, so you can count on the game being more tailored to their individual styles. With no other team playing at the Warriors' pace, this "controlled chaos" is one of their biggest strengths.
Another major strength of the team are the captains. Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, and Matt Barnes fire up the crowd, fire up their teammates and keep everyone in the game. These three are the clear leaders on this team both on and off the floor. In fact with the current group of guys, Nellie couldn't have chosen a better trio to lead this team.
3. What are the team's biggest weaknesses?
Rebounding is clearly the biggest weakness on this team. It showed up in the playoff series loss to Utah where the big, bad Jazz frontline muscled and hustled their way to every rebound and loose ball. Andris Biedrins is a blossoming young big man but he needs help. He also didn't get that help this offseason. All that happened was they drafted Brandan Wright who most likely won't contribute this season, signed Austin Croshere who will not play a significant role, had Al Harrington show up even lighter, and have now moved small forward Mickael Pietrus to the starting power forward spot. Finally, last year's first round draft pick, Patrick O'Bryant, has been playing well in the preseason and hopefully will be able to contribute. Al Harrington is most likely the one to get the most minutes next to Biedrins, but unless Mullin can pull off a trade, Nellie will be constantly juggling the lineup to not get killed in the rebounding department.
Another weakness is the uncertainty of who will replace Jason Richardson's production. Fans are hoping Kelenna Azubuike's preseason is a sign of things to come in the regular season. We're also hoping that the Warriors other first round pick this year, Marco Belinelli is able to live up to the hype he generated at the Summer League. Again, Nellie will have to juggle the lineup to keep whoever is hot in the game.
Lastly, one weakness may be the captains that are also one of their strengths. Because the team plays with such emotion, they can get carried away. In the playoffs, Stephen Jackson was one technical away from a suspension, Baron had his fair share, and Barnes sometimes plays basketball as if he were on the football field. The emotional leadership that can carry this team to wins, may also be the downfall of the team. However, Nellie trusts these veterans to step up and be the leaders of this team, and I trust his decision.
4. What are the goals for this team?
Simply put, the goal is to not start another 13 year playoff drought by making the playoffs for a second consecutive year. This team has not improved since the end of last year with the loss of Jason Richardson, no proven replacement, and no improvement in the frontline. There are a lot of if's with this team and it looks like just making the playoffs will be the top goal because as we saw last year, once you get there, anything can happen.
Predicted Record: 44-38