Intrigue, concern for Warriors in 2012-13

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Intrigue, concern for Warriors in 2012-13

The Warriors might make another move or two this offseason,but it seems clear the core of their team is in place.Theyll have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in theirbackcourt, with Jarrett Jack likely coming off the bench. Harrison Barnes orRichard Jefferson is expected to start at small forward, and the four-fivecombination should be David Lee-Andrew Bogut.The Warriors will expect a little something from second-yearguard Charles Jenkins and rookies Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green.The Warriors still hope to re-sign Brandon Rush and add abig man off the bench, but the team is not expected to dramatically changebefore October training camp.Well what do you think? Keeping things very broad at thispoint, thats a roster that is both intriguing and concerning. Yes, its stillonly July, but its not too early to start talking about the 2012-13season.THE INTRIGUEThe Warriors roster is different from virtually every otherroster in the league in one, specific way: The best passers and decision-makerson the team are in the frontcourt. Andrew Bogut and David Lee are both terrificpassers when you compare them to other big man.Other four-five tandems may be better in other areas, butwhen it comes to passing, know-how, and a little cleverness in delivering theball, Lee and Bogut have the potential to be the best passing frontcourt in theleague.Thats good, in and of itself. But it should be even moreadvantageous given the Warriors backcourt of Curry and Thompson. Those twoexcel at shooting the basketball from the perimeter and coming off screens. Ditto for rookie Harrison Barnes, who should get plenty ofplaying time in his first season.If theres been a knock on Curry early in his career itsthat hes not a true point guard and running a team doesnt come naturally. Atthe same time, Curry is a dynamic shooter, and with his feet set among the bestin the NBA.So, why not take the ball out of his hands a little more andput it into the hands of the frontcourt players? In short, why wouldnt thisteam try to emulate Sacramentos style in the earlymid-2000s, when they had VladeDivac and Chris Webber delivering the ball to Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic,etc?Thinking about the Warriors offense that way makes it easyto look forward to the 2012-13 season.THE CONCERNTheres a fine line between bad luck with injuries and beingplain-old injury prone. This is a big year for Bogut and Curry, likely definingwhich side of that line theyll be on in their careers.Bogut is going on four seasons now of being banged-up andmissing too many games. Yes, a couple of them were of the strange variety, butthat doesnt matter anymore and it certainly doesnt matter for theWarriors.Its all about this year for him and them.For the Warriors to be successful, Bogut has to play a fullseason or pretty close to it. Hes too important to this team on both ends ofthe floor for the Warriors to win consistently without him. Ditto for Curry,though not to the same degree.And the reason its not to the same degree isnt becauseCurry is less important, but because hes got a very good point guard in Jackbacking him up.Simply by being on the floor, though, Curry makes theWarriors better. His flaws have been documented, but hes such an elite shooterthat he always must be accounted for.Can Curry make it through a full season? Who can say forsure after seeing him tweak and re-tweak his right ankle during the 2011-12season?Acquiring Jack helps a lot because it means that if Currygets hurt the season doesnt need to be lost. Golden State can progress and besuccessful with Jack.But lets be clear: The Warriors cannot reach theirpotential as a team unless Curry is healthy. And speaking of Jack, hes notwithout his own health issues. Jack quietly missed 21 games last year (almost athird of the lockout season), including the last 13 with a stress fracture inhis right foot.Can Thompson get through a Year No. 2 in which hes going toplay more games and more minutes?

Zaza on All-Star vote spotlight: 'This is a special moment'

Zaza on All-Star vote spotlight: 'This is a special moment'

Zaza Pachulia was the People’s Choice. The Warriors center received 1,528,941 votes from fans eager to see him start in the NBA All-Star Game.

Pachulia in the final fan voting announced Thursday finished behind only teammate Kevin Durant among frontcourt players in the Western Conference. Zaza had more votes than Spurs star Kawhi Leonard (1,058,941) or Pelicans star Anthony Davis (974,802), both of whom will be starting for the West. 

With an extremely strong showing from voters in his native land, the Republic of Georgia, Pachulia finished precisely 613,068 votes ahead of Warriors teammate Draymond Green, who was an All-Star last season.

Yet Pachulia won’t join the All-Stars that flock to New Orleans from Feb. 16-19. The NBA prior to the season changed the voting procedure to ensure fans didn’t have complete control of the starting lineups.

Once the province of fan voting, the starting lineups are determined by a combination of fan voting (50 percent), player voting (25 percent) and media voting (25 percent). This way, a strong showing among fans hardly ensures a starting spot.

Some refer to this alteration as The Zaza Rule, as it was instituted Pachulia nearly made the team last season as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.

And Pachulia is OK with that. He made it clear weeks ago, when his numbers were dwarfing those of players who have made multiple All-Star appearances, the most important aspect of the voting was not how he finished but the incredible support of his fellow Georgians.

“It’s such an overwhelming situation,” Pachulia said a couple weeks ago. “You’re not talking about a couple of thousand (votes). There’s hundreds of thousands. And with such a small country like Georgia, there are only 3.5 million people. The whole country’s involved in it.”

Pachulia, in fact, saw the humor in the matter. He knows his stats don’t compare to those of the league’s elite big men. He knows there is no single element of his game that the average fan would find irresistible.

He even knows he doesn’t belong in the NBA’s showcase game, with many of the players destined for the Hall of Fame.

“It’s just happening. All I can do is just sit back and enjoy and be thankful -- be really thankful -- for all of this,” Pachulia said. “Because I’m telling you, like you can get as mad as you want, you can be as happy as you want, but you can’t buy this. This is a special moment and I really appreciate the support. And that’s what I care about.

“I don’t care about being an All-Star, the fame that comes with it, the recognition that comes with it. I care about the support and the love I’m getting.”

Believe him. He’d prefer to enjoy the time with his family even more than he would have enjoyed the game itself.

Steph Curry, Kevin Durant named starters in 2017 All-Star Game

Steph Curry, Kevin Durant named starters in 2017 All-Star Game

Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been voted to start the NBA All-Star Game for the fourth consecutive season, and this time there was a measure of suspense.

Curry will join Rockets guard James Harden in the backcourt for the Western Conference squad, as voters snubbed MVP candidate and triple-double specialist Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City.

Joining Curry and Harden in the starting lineup for the West will be Warriors forward Kevin Durant, Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard and Pelicans forward/center Anthony Davis.

A combination of fan balloting (50 percent), player balloting (25 percent) and media balloting (25 percent) comprises the overall vote.

Curry’s selection is sure to generate considerable debate, as Westbrook leads the league in scoring (30.6 points per game), is second in assists and 11th (10.4) in rebounding (10.6). Westbrook also leads the league in PER at 29.56.

Moreover, he is bidding to become the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double over the course of a full season.

Coming off back-to-back MVP seasons, Curry ranks 12th in scoring (24.6 points per game), 15th in assists (6.1), second in 3-pointers made (158) and eighth in steals (1.81). His 92.6-percent shooting from the line ranks second in the NBA.

He is the first Warrior since Wilt Chamberlain to start four straight All-Star games.

Durant, in his first season with the Warriors, leads the team in scoring (26.2) and blocks (1.71) and double-doubles (16). He’s second in rebounding (8.6) and third in assists (4.7). His 54.4-percent shooting from the field is 10th in the league and tops among perimeter players.

Durant will be making his eighth appearance, and his fifth as a starter.

The Eastern Conference starters are as follows: guards Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers and DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors, with frontcourt players LeBron James of the Cavs, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks and Jimmy Butler of the Bulls.

All-Star reserves, which are chosen by NBA coaches, will be announced on Jan. 26.