The growth of the Warriors.

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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 11:37 am
I just want to talk a little bit about the growth of this team. It's absolutely crazy to me how much this team has grown in a course of one season. This is probably closely tied to Ringbro's thread about how he's excited for next season, but I want to talk in more detail how this basketball team and players have improved.

Let's start by talking about the brand of basketball we play. Before this year, we were an undersized run and gun team. Something we've been used to for a long extended period of time. It was an exciting brand of basketball, but we all knew it wasn't going to be a winning style. Fast forward to today, we still like to play an up and down paste, but we have the ability to play in a half court set. Mike Malone installed set plays that allows our shooter to get open, and if defenders cheat on perimeter, we'd dump it down low to Landry and Lee and they've shown all season long that they could finish down low. In addition to horns, the elevator play and our passing has been a revelation.

The team's defense has evolved as well. In large part, players like Bogut, Ezeli, Green, and Thompson gave us our identity on defense. Not a lot of pundits would characterize this team as a defensive juggernaut, but we've seen our strides in this area all year and I couldn't be more proud.

In the first couple of games, we saw what Bogut offered this team. He was a big body, great passer, and could anchor an entire defense by himself. Unfortunately he shut himself down because of his health. When he came back, you could definitely tell he wasn't over the hump yet. He still may be suffering from his ankle injury, but as he inches closer and closer to 100%, his production has increased, peaking in the series against Denver. It goes without saying how much he can contribute to this team once he's completely healthy.

So, while Bogut was out, we placed the defensive anchor duties on our rookie, Festus Ezeli. Ezeli has WAYS to go, both offensively and defensively. We all know his offensive short comings, but what he lacks in that area he makes up with effort on the defensive end and his activity on the offensive boards. Ezeli gave us all we can expect from a rookie, but the good news is that he has so much room for improvement. Unlike Green and Bogut, we don't see a lot of positional defense from him. If he can learn from these two over the offseason, work on his hands, and find a go-to post move, it would be astronomical to his growth.

On to Thompson, who did not start the year with defensive tendencies. Over the course of the season, Jackson put the onus on Thompson to be our perimeter stopper. It all started in the San Antonio game where he guarded Tony Parker. He did enough to bother Parker who was having a great stretch of games before Thompson drew the assignment of guarding him. Over the stretch of the 2nd half of the season, you saw Thompson drawing tough defensive assignments. He did well against some players like Parker, James Harden, and even did a hell of a job on Ty Lawson the times he had to guard him. Just like Ezeli, Thompson will also benefit from learning positional defense. He too has a lot of room to grow and if he improves his ball handing, finishing ability, and take another step on the defensive end I will be more than pleased.

Green is also worth mentioning as well because he's been so big for us. In the regular season, he struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball, but was huge for us on the defensive side and rebounding. Can't say enough about this guys IQ. Before the season I didn't know what it meant to play a "Coach Izzo" brand of basketball, but the more I watched Green the more I understood. Green has shown me in a hand full of plays that he has an awareness that not even veterans are able to display. He's also very tough and doesn't back down from physical play. To top everything off, he's finding his stroke when it matters the most, in the playoffs.

Last but not least, the leap Curry has taken into superstardom. He walked in the Madison Square garden and scored the most of any player in a regular season game with 54 points. He did it again in the Staples Center. Now, he's taking over 3rd quarters every other game with his Hall-of-fame-esque stroke. Without Curry putting the team on his shoulders for short stints, we probably would have not been able to withstand the runs Denver throws at us.

Overall, man, this team has been such a pleasure to watch. This roster is built for success and it's been great to witness this kind of growth from players that are so young. If we continue to grow and make the right basketball and personel decisions, we are not very far away from contention.
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 9:29 pm
Great thread 8th ave.

I'll say it now, I think the current roster can be a championship contender, health is the key thing, as it is for all teams.

Curry is now a superstar. The issues about his ankle(s) are still present, but he has been playing close to every game and his salary looks like a steal right now. He is the best performing player we've had since Sprewell and I'll say that he is better than he was, especially in the team aspect. He likely won't get much better than what he currently is, but his level is top 5 PG and we can ask no more.

Klay is improving and already and important player. His defense seems underrated and he was able to defend well some real good SGs during the season. His outside shot makes him so valuable and as long as he improves in other aspects, if only a bit, he is a keeper and already a top 10 SG. I see him becoming allstar caliber within two years.

Barnes is showing that he can step up when needed and can play out of position if needed. I said he was the one that had to get drafted, to fill the starting SF spot and being able to keep the lottery pick and get him has and will prove to be among the biggest moves we've had. He'll develop and become allstar caliber for sure, if not even more.

Lee is better than what I thought he was. He arrived and looked pretty average, just a numbers guy, but he has skills and fundamentals that will last all of his career. To me he fits better next to Bogut than most PFs and his offensive skills are as valuable to the team as Curry's. He likely won't get better, but since he doesn't rely on too much physical skills, he'll stay close to his current level for years.

Bogut to me is still the x factor and as valuable as any other player on the team. He has shown that when he plays to his abilities, the team can be as good as any other. As good and valuable as he is, his injury issue has to be resolved, otherwise the team will never be 100% and never reach proper potential. I want him to stay and be what he was in Milwaukee and a few games this season.

Jack has been awesome and is a keeper. He has been the difference in the team being in the playoffs and not I think. I didn't expect him to be this good, but he has played like a starter. The team must have a bench contributor like him that can let Curry and Klay rest and allow Curry at times to play off the ball.

Landry has also been rather awesome and I think he has to be kept as well. He rebounds well enough, doesn't play good defense, but his offense is very important. He scores in spurts at times and provides the boost that has made the difference in many games this season. He could improve but likely won't and will stay what he is, which for us is as a good bench player that allows Lee and Bogut to rest.

Ezeli has been an asset and far better than he was expected and should have been required. He started most of the season obviously and held his own. He has alot of developing to do, but with what he has shown it looks like he'll improve enough to not only be a keeper, but likely draw interest from a number of teams in a couple of years. Great to have a solid backup big like that as they are hard to find, especially that young and late in the draft.

Green has been a revelation at times. He was a second round pick and had Rush not got injured, maybe would have been a full time D-Leaguer. Comes up big and plays the defense, which is a weakness a such or at least the aspect that needed the most improving. A keeper for quite a while, especially if he improves offensively.

That's the contributing players this season. Add Rush to that and you have ten very good players that could be the ones making the team a real contender. It is all here, stars and role players at all positions and it is the first time I've seen this in all my years as a Golden State Warriors fan. That's since 1989. Actual fact, first time the team has had this since their last championship in 1974-75.


The present and future looks better than ever.
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 1:47 pm
Let's not forget about the toughness of the team as well. How many times before were we the kind of team that got pushed around. Our we believe team had some spunk to them, but surely did not have enough muscle to play against your physical teams. Our grittiness and willingness to bang has also been a revelation this year.

To me it started with the mini brawl in the Indy game. David Lee was a disappointment, but you seen CURRY getting in a scrum with ROY HIBBERT! Not a lot of people notice this but Curry is a gamer, man. He's the best shooter in the NBA, and he also has some Reggie Miller in him in terms of chirpiness. You also saw Klay Thompson taking a stand for his teammates. Jarrett Jack is such a tough and gritty player as well. I'm not even mentioning players liek Bogut, Green, and Ezeli yet, but I will soon.

Enter the series we had with Denver. Faried had been giving us trouble all year long. I thought we were going to get bullied again, but this was definitely not the case. You can argue that some of the stuff we did was dirty, and quite honestly, I don't think our flagrants were that big of a deal. But man, we walked in there with a kind of toughness I haven't seen from a warriors squad ever. We gave Faried all he wanted. Bumping him, pushing him around, face boxing him out, gave him shoulders and elbows on screens, I loved every single moment of it. We weren't physical with just Faried either. Koufos, Iguodala, and Miller was also at the receiving end of some of our physicality.

Denver definitely presented us with some matchup issues with their length, athleticism, depth, and toughness, but boy were we up to the task. Another reason, out of many, I'm so proud of this team. Feel very blessed to have this squad right now and I don't even practice religion. I guess I'll just give my thanks to the basketball gods.
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 9:29 pm
Good thread what a difference a couple years could make and what a difference new ownership can make is all I can say....starts at the top. From firing the "sole-focus is $$" circus entertainers (cough Robert Rowell) and back stabbing control freaks (cough Don Nelson), to hiring competent people / leaders to run the organization / team (the legend Jerry West, Bob Myers, Mark Jackson). Putting a team together has a lot to do with decision-making. And we went from some of the worst decision makers (if you want to win) in all of sports -- Cohan and the GM's he hired -- to a front office who had the real goal of winning over entertainment.

Basically trying to say this -- there was a REASON the Warriors were so bad for so long -- consistently bad. Consistently poor decisions, consistently having horrible years, consistently never attracting good free agents, consistently making you scratch your head in awe. The reason was they were one of the worst run franchises in sports (next to the Clippers) for as long as Cohan owned the team (shocker I know). So now that that Cohan era is over --- btw the day he sold the team seems like it should be an official Warrior holiday that everybody drinks to -- we are actually seeing the fruits of what it looks to like to be a well-ran organization.

The better decision makers led to better decisions. A.k.a hiring West, making fantastic trades like D Lee for a bunch of scrubs, Ellis for Bogut, firing Nelly and Rowell, etc. These were basketball decisions and basketball culture decisions. Instead of $$$ decisions (cough Belinelli for D. George) and entertainment decisions. A franchise who focuses on making good basketball decisions is going to have a better basketball team (another shocker!! lol). It's amazing because we are so used to a retard Front Office and we are seeing now -- hey so THIS is what it's like to have a legitimate FO with a legitimate interest in winning and a legitimate (not gimmicks like small ball) roster and lineup. I look at the players they brought in and drafted -- Lee, Bogut, Landry, Barnes, JJack, Thompson, etc etc. What a great group. Can't remember the last time that I looked at a roster and genuinely liked each player and what they bring to the team. This team has a lot of players with high bbiq, heart, will to win, skill, tougness, experience, and size that I don't think could be said about the 07 team or any team since the Run TMC era. Curry Klay and Barnes still have a lot of room to grow, and if one or any of them reach their potential, this team will definitely be a force in the west. Future is definitely bright.
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 1:56 am
Nice one, 8th. Good read.

Though, I gotta ask you, why no love for Barnes? :) Kid played some great games for us, had amazing highlight dunks, and really stepped up when help was most needed after Lee's injury. I was saying all season long that kid is gonna be special, he just needed more touches, when he gets them, he's dangerous.
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 2:33 am
Guybrush wrote:Nice one, 8th. Good read.

Though, I gotta ask you, why no love for Barnes? :) Kid played some great games for us, had amazing highlight dunks, and really stepped up when help was most needed after Lee's injury. I was saying all season long that kid is gonna be special, he just needed more touches, when he gets them, he's dangerous.


Ahhh yes, Barnes. I didn't do that intentionally. I can't believe I missed him. I think the main reason I probably forgot about him is because his growth was not as evident as the ones that I have mentioned.

In terms of his growth, there are 2 big things that I have noticed. The first one being his post up game. How rare is it to find a rookie that has a post up game, or at the very least, working on it at this stage of his career. Usually players don't establish a low post game until later on in their careers, Barnes however, established one in his rookie season. Make no mistake though, he is far from a polished product in this area. The only thing we've seen so far is him turning into his strong side, and a little drop step. Whichever way he chooses, he never goes up on the first attempt. He either pump fakes and gets the defender in the air for contact, or pump fake and if the defender doesn't contest, he goes up on the 2nd try. We rarely call plays for Barnes on the post when we need to score, but I have a feeling that this portion of his game will come up BIG for us in years to come.

The biggest improvement from Barnes, in my opinion, was his willingness to use his athleticism. There was one particular game where Barnes cut to the basket 4 or 5 times for dunks. It was this game when he started to realize how athletic he was. After that, the Black Falcon started to take flight. Every other game we would see a relatively authoritative dunk. And occasionally we'd see an absolute rim rocker that would get you out of your seat. This is great to witness too, because at the beginning of the season, we knew that this was area that we needed help in. He's not only growing and developing his game on his own terms, but he's being molded into the exact player that this team needs.

Next year, if Barnes continues grow in these two areas and become an effective wing defender that could keep up, bother, or contain your superstar small forwards like James, Anthony (stuggled mightily against), Gay, and Granger, it would definitely help elevate us into contention.
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 3:03 pm
Great write-up 8th. Ownership, Ownership, Ownership, shout out to them for actually putting the effort in creating a team worth rotting for.

Every move that new management made I was on board with, like majority of fans who follow the warriors close. This includes the Monta-Bogut trade, the draft picks (Barnes, Green, Ezeli), all playing roles. Not too long ago we had to wait on rookies to develop (Patrick O'Bryant, Anthony Randolph), and a coach that was unwilling to play them.

The signing of Jarret Jack, and Landry both important elements to the team.

Only thing and i mean only thing I would have done differently would've been amnestying Beans instead of Charlie Bell but we can't be perfect now.

Overall with Curry shooting and creating his own shot, Barnes growth he just needs to keep attacking, Lee, Bogut, Klay. Things looking up.
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 10:11 pm
Guys, look how far we've come. This is surreal.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 10:22 pm
If this team continues to maul the Spurs like this, after besting Denver...

Can any analyst honestly claim that these Warriors aren't a defensive force to be reckoned with?
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