How the Golden State Warriors can build off breakout season


stephen curry warriors

Behind budding superstar Stephen Curry and the leadership of head coach Mark Jackson, the Golden State Warriors were one of the most improved teams in the NBA.  With a solid young nucleus in place, the team doesn’t need to make any drastic moves this off-season.

Golden State Warriors (47-35 last year)

2012-13 Season Summary:
The Golden State Warriors quietly posted their highest win total in five years and made the postseason for the just the second time since 1995.  Nothing was quiet about the Warriors in the postseason as the bounced the Nuggets in the opening round and then gave the Spurs all they could handle before falling short.

Curry’s blossoming superstardom was put on the national stage as he is rapidly becoming one of the more exciting players to watch in the league due to his ability to go off from three in the blink of an eye.  He had some terrific running mates in David Lee and Klay Thompson.  Lee played at an All-NBA level before suffering an injury late in the year that ultimately rendered him helpless to the team during the playoffs.  Thompson improved off a terrific rookie season to give Golden State the “most sniper” backcourt in the NBA.  (Yes, I just made that up.)

Harrison Barnes added more excitement and talent on the wing by putting together a productive regular season.  He especially shined in the playoffs though and suddenly the Curry/Thompson/Barnes wing seems like a terrifying trio for years to come.

Barnes wasn’t the only rookie to make his mark with the Warriors.  Andrew Bogut’s injury (if you are keeping track at home, he has played in just 44 regular season games the past two seasons) opened up minutes inside for Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green was a terrific glue guy and looks to be a second round steal.  The play of all three rookies contributed the reduced roles for veterans Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson who are nothing but eyesores on the salary cap as the duo is combined to make more than $20 million next season.  Newcomers Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry were the anti-Jefferson and Biedrins, playing pivotal roles off the bench adding some needed experience and toughness to the floor.

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Andrew Bogut/Festus Ezeli/Andris Biedrins
PF: David Lee/^Carl Landry
SF: Harrison Barnes/Draymond Green/Richard Jefferson
SG: Klay Thompson/Brandon Rush/Kent Bazemore
PG: Stephen Curry

NBA Free Agents:
^PF-Carl Landry (PO)
PG-Jarrett Jack (UFA)
PG-Scott Machado (UFA)
PF-Dwayne Jones (UFA)

2013-14 Team Salary: Approximately $74.9 million

Team Needs:
1. Health inside: While the Golden State Warriors were very effective using a smaller line-up during the season and especially in the playoffs, they need Andrew Bogut and David Lee to be healthy if they have any chance of taking the next step in the challenging Western Conference.   There are too many teams with legit centers to have Carl Landry playing the five during important stretches.  Keep these Bogut and Lee healthy, pair them up with one of the most talented young wings in the NBA, and the sky could be the limit.

2. Back-up Point Guard: Jarrett Jack was an integral part of the team’s success this past season but with him being a free agent, won’t come cheap to re-sign.  His role was very well defined under Jackson but you can’t help but wonder if Jack is okay coming off the bench or trying to look for a starting job elsewhere.  If Jack is too pricey to re-sign, the Warriors then need to find a new back-up for Curry.

3. Find a Sucker to take on Biedrins or Jefferson: The decision to amnesty Charlie Bell a couple of years ago is looking like a regrettable one right now.  With Biedrins making $9 million next year and Jefferson more than $11, having that amnesty in their back pocket would save Golden State a lot of money.  I can’t see anyone wanting to take on either contract but you never know.  NBA GM’s have a tendency to make boneheaded moves.  At the very least, both guys are in the final year of their contracts so they could be used as trade bait before the deadline for a team looking to dump salary.  Otherwise, they will free up more $20 million in cap space next off-season.

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David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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