2012 NBA Off Season Preview: Golden State Warriors

Golden State Warriors

2011-2012 Record: 23-43, 4th in Pacific
Stat Leaders: David Lee, 20.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg. Stephen Curry, 5.3 apg. Brandon Rush, 0.9 bpg.

Depth Chart

C - Andrew Bogut, Andris Biedrins
PF - David Lee, Jeremy Tyler
SF - Dorell Wright, Richard Jefferson
SG - Klay Thompson
PG - Stephen Curry, Charles Jenkins (TO)

Restricted Free Agents: GF Brandon Rush
Unrestricted Free Agents: F Dominic McGuire, FC Mikki Moore, G Nate Robinson, F Chris Wright, FC Mickell Gladness

The Good: As usual, not much went right in Oakland. If I wanted to find a good, I guess it is that David Lee once again helped his fantasy basketball owners by putting up his usual 20 point 10 rebound numbers. That didn't help the Warriors win games of course. Then again, Lee has never helped his team win much games. The mid season trade that brought Andrew Bogut to Golden State could work out for them if he will ever be able to stay healthy. Speaking of staying healthy, Stephen Curry has ankles made of Play Doh. The few games he did play he was decent. Klay Thompson showed plenty of scoring punch when he was thrust into the starting role after the entire team got hurt. Eh, enough of the back handed compliments. There is really very little to like about this Warriors team that always seems to lack purpose and direction.

The 2007 8 seed Warriors defeating the top seed
Mavericks seems like it happened 50 years ago.
The Bad: The Warriors roster is full of big contracts without the production to match. Golden State failed to generate consistent offense after Monta Ellis was traded. Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Dorell Wright are good spot up shooters, but only Curry can get a shot off without help of a pass. Of course, every other jump shot he takes results in a twisted ankle. The team really needs Curry to stay healthy, because with Ellis gone, he is the team's only option as a ball handler and distributor, and the team's main scorer as well. This team plays no defense. If you are a fantasy basketball player, every time one of your big men went up against the Warriors, you knew to put him in the lineup because he would have a huge day. That is evidenced by the fact that Brandon Rush led the team with 0.9 blocks per game. Bogut will really help, but only if he can stay healthy, which bares repeating over and over again.I can't forget to mention Andris Biedrins, who has become the most overpaid player in the NBA. His regression has been staggering, as he is now one of the worst players in the NBA.

Key Free Agents: All of Golden State's unrestricted free agents were just bench fodder forced into playing roles after the whole team became injured. Nate Robinson will get a look after he had a good run with the Warriors, but the other guys are 12th men only. Brandon Rush will probably be resigned as he will be a cheap restricted free agent and the Warriors lack depth on the wing.

Projected Cap Space: $762,195. The Warriors have their mid level exception to use on someone, but they are right at the cap. This is with four players making at least 9 million a year, including perhaps the two most overpaid players in the league in Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson.

Amnesty Possibilities: The Warriors, as usual, did not think ahead and went ahead and amnestied Charlie Bell, even though he was only making 4 million dollars and would have been a free agent after this year. Now they are stuck with Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson through the 2013-2014 season. Both players are making around 10 million dollars a year. Good job as always, Golden State.

Free Agent Possibilities: The Warriors are always active in the free agent market, even though they are rejected by potential suitors more often then not. The team really needs a wing player who can do more then just shoot, a veteran backup point guard and a reserve big man who can block shots. The team could look to split their exception and fill two of those needs, maybe by signing Reggie Evans and Jason Kidd. Or aim bigger and throw it all at Carlos Delfino or Antawn Jamison.

Draft Possibilities: The Warriors went on a tanking spree for the ages, and they just managed to keep their first round draft pick, which will be #7 overall. I do not think the Warriors need another young player on this roster, though. They would love to trade up and draft Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who is just what the team needs, but I can't see the Bobcats moving down to 7 where the talent level is significantly lower. More likely Golden St. will try to move this pick for an established defensive presence on the wing. If they do take the pick they could go after a young big man like Andre Drummond or Meyers Leonard to groom behind Andrew Bogut, who cannot finish a season these days.

Contending, Rebuilding or Status Quo?: Status quo. The Warriors will try to use their first round pick to add additional veteran help. That is really the only tradeable asset the team has, since they are saddled by some very bad contracts. Expect the starting five to return intact, although Dorell Wright should be easily replaced. If Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry can ever stay healthy, this team has the rebounding and scoring to challenge for the 8th seed in the West.

All logos courtesy of http://www.sportslogos.net/

Jonathan Carrano

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