I will be helping Jacob out with these NBA previews and figured why not start off with the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Draymond Green
C: Andrew Bogut
Key Bench Pieces:
Golden State brings back relatively the same roster as their 2014-15 championship team heading into the new year. Led by none other than Steph Curry, Golden State is primed for another big year in the Western Conference. Most of Golden State's playoff series started off slow while finishing strong, displayed most notably in the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Golden State ran away with the series after a 2-1 start led by the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James. None of the games after being down 1-2 were particularly close as James and the rest of the Cavs lost their mojo. Andre Iguodala won finals MVP as he was truly the difference maker for Golden State.
Golden State returns an elite core led by Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Thompson and Green really broke out last year alongside Curry's regular season MVP campaign. Andrew Bogut is another key piece for Golden State as he has never been a stranger to injury. Apparently Bogut broke his nose in a preaseason game but should be fine for the Regular Season. Astutely by Golden State, they traded for Jason Thompson in the offseason to sure up their center position if Bogut were to ever go down. Returning all 5 starters is huge and puts Golden State as the front runner to not only win the Western Conference but repeat as champions.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, their coach Steve Kerr had offseason back surgery that is taking more time than expected to heal and he may not be with the team as they begin their season. This story is in flux and Kerr any day now could announce he will be fine and ready to go. As it stands now however, the Warriors are slated to start the season without their head coach and will be lead by former NBA player Luke Walton. Walton has kept the team in check this preseason and they should be fine with him if Kerr isnt ready.
The Splash brothers, Curry and Thompson, are elite and get all the media attention but Harrison Barnes is really the X Factor if Golden State wants to get back to the Finals. Barnes has always been a top prospect and has excelled in the playoffs each of the last 2 years. If he can improve his play and take that next step similar to what Thompson and Green did last year, the Warriors will be scarier than they already are.
Golden State will have another great year and are a lock for a top 1-4 seed in the West. If they can escape the injury bug and can have some guys step up there is no doubt in my mind they will be visiting Boston in June come NBA Finals time.
By Jack Journeay