Warriors' roster has balance, but needs another big

825277.jpg

Warriors' roster has balance, but needs another big

The Warriors roster sits at 13 players, if youre includingrestricted free agent forward Brandon Rush. There may be a tweak or two in the next couple of months, but the Warriors are pretty much set heading into the 2012-13 season.They will likely sign a backup power forward and perhaps a multi-position player type, but it's tough to see a significant move happening between now and the start of training camp in early October. Heres a look at the Warriorsroster:Harrison Barnes, 6-foot-8, 210 pounds,SF:Barnes was OK in summer league. He had his moments butoverall he didnt shoot well and he has work to do on his defense, like mostplayers coming into the league. Barnes doesnt look like an immediate star, buthes not without talent, either.Hes athletic and has good size for his position. It seemslike only a matter of time before hes the teams starting small forward. Andwho knows? It could be from Day 1 of training camp.Andris Biedrins, 7-feet, 240 pounds,C:It doesnt really matter anymore what has happened toBiedrins, only that it has and that hes under contract for two more years.Its pretty safe to say most Warriors fans have given up on Biedrins, andsometimes from afar it looks like Biedrins has given up on Biedrins.If Biedrins can help the Warriors in any way in 2012-13 itwould be considered a bonus. From a practical standpoint, Biedrins will becounted on less with Andrew Bogut on the team.Andrew Bogut, 7-feet, 260 pounds,C:He is the single-most important player on the Warriorsroster when it comes to impacting wins and losses. On offense, he gives theWarriors a versatile player who can set up teammates or score a little bit forhimself. On defense, he occupies space, blocks shots and takescharges.Of course with Bogut, it comes down to whether he can puttogether a whole season without injury. If he gets hurt again, its tough tosee the Warriors having a successful season.Stephen Curry, 6-3, 185 pounds,PG:Most Important player No. 1A for the Warriors is Curry, whois coming off a season of injury. Curry played just 26 games in 2011-12 becauseof right ankle issues, and if he has another season like that, the Warriorswill be in trouble.The Warriors are more equipped to sustain a setback toCurry, however, thanks to the acquisition of Jarrett Jack. Still, if theWarriors want to make noise in 2012-13, Currys going to need to be healthy.Festus Ezeli, 7-foot, 270 pounds,C:Ezeli figures to battle Andris Biedrins for backup minutesat the five, but dont expect too much, too soon. Ezeli is still very rawoffensively, and while he can occupy space with his frame, hes prone tocommitting fouls.Still, everyone agrees hes a quick learner so you wouldthink that in the second half of his first season youd start to see sometangible progress here.Draymond Green, 6-7, 230 pounds,PF:The Warriors may very well be in the market for a backuppower forward, but until they sign one, Green is in the mix for minutes behindDavid Lee. The Warriors have talked glowingly of Greens basketball IQ andall-around game. But Green didnt shoot well in Vegas and fouled at an alarmingrate. He did rebound there and he can pass, though, which gives him achance.Jarrett Jack, 6-3, 195 pounds,PG:Jack was the most significant acquisition of the offseasonfor the Warriors, giving them a versatile third guard to go along with StephenCurry and Klay Thompson. Jack can play either guard position, and hes a defensiveupgrade over both Curry and Thompson.Make no mistake, Jack is going to get minutes and hesgoing to get a lot of them.Richard Jefferson, 6-7, 230 pounds, SF:After acquiring Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson in theMonta Ellis trade last March, the Warriors quickly moved Jackson to San Antoniofor Jefferson. The move yielded the No. 30 pick which turned into FestusEzeli but it also left the Warriors with a player a little out of place ontheir roster.Jefferson has two more years remaining on his deal at bigmoney and hes on the downside of his career. Hell be expected to mentorrookie Harrison Barnes, but its easy to see Jefferson wanting more of a rolethan that.Charles Jenkins, 6-3, 220 pounds,PG:At this point, Jenkins appears to be the teams third pointguard, but dont rule out the possibility of him getting minutes. Startingpoint guard Stephen Curry missed most of last season with right ankle issues,and Jarrett Jack, the backup, missed the last 13 games of 2011-12 because of astress fracture in his right foot.David Lee, 6-9, 240 pounds, PF:Lee has his detractors, but he will head into the 2012-13season as the Warriors most-known commodity, and that says something. We allknow Lee isnt your prototypical back-to-the-basket, physical power forward,but his numbers are still his numbers and theyre nothing to scoff at.He averaged 20.1 points and 9.6 rebounds last season for theWarriors. Its possible Lees numbers could take a hit this upcoming season with better players around him but that doesnt necessarily mean Lee canthave a very productive season.Brandon Rush, 6-6, 210 pounds,SF:The Warriors have made it clear theyre likely to match anyoffer sheet Rush might sign. That is no doubt inhibiting other teams frommaking offers to Rush. Assuming the Warriors bring back Rush, and theres noreason to believe they wont, hell likely be the first swingman off thebench.Rush averaged a career-high 9.8 points per game last seasonand shot 45 percent from beyond the arc. But as good as Rush was last season,the Warriors would like to see him chip in more when it comes to defense andrebounding.Klay Thompson, 6-7, 205 pounds,SF:Thompson had an encouraging second half of last season forthe Warriors, scoring in double figures in 31 of the final 32 games. TheWarriors are hoping Thompson takes the next step in 2012-13, both improving onhis defense and his ability to get to the rim.Thompson had carte blanche offensively in the last six or soweeks of the season for the Warriors. He wont have as much free reign thisyear; but more efficiency will be expected.Jeremy Tyler, 6-10, 260 pounds,PF:While general manager Bob Myers and coach Mark Jacksoncontinue to support Tyler, it seems obvious theyd like to see more out of him.The teams No. 1 area of need right now is backup power forward, and yet Tylerhasnt been mentioned very much as a candidate to assume that role.Tylers contract is guaranteed for the 2012-13 season, butTylers role on the team is not.

Rewind: Warriors' dominance over Clippers in 'rivalry' continues

Rewind: Warriors' dominance over Clippers in 'rivalry' continues

LOS ANGELES – Once robust, the fabled Warriors-Clippers rivalry is rapidly going the way of the typewriter.

When the Warriors strolled walked into Staples Center Wednesday night and laid a 115-98 mashing on LA, prompting much of the sellout crowd streaming toward the exits in the fourth quarter, it was seventh consecutive time they have throttled the Clippers.

More deflating for the Clippers and perhaps the rest of the NBA is that this much-hyped game, with LA’s new and improved defense ranking No. 1 in the league, was supposed to be more competitive than the previous six losses.

It was, instead, a 17-point victory, the biggest Warriors rout yet.

Though the Warriors shot a respectable 47.7 percent (but only 23.3 percent beyond the arc) and also lost a tight rebounding battle, 46-45, they did most everything else so well the Clippers were done before the first quarter was over.

They had 32 assists and only 11 turnovers. They held LA to 39.6-percent shooting, while forcing 14 turnovers, leading to 16 Warriors points.

“Defensively, that’s where we won the game,” Kevin Durant said.

“If we defend like that and take care of the ball, even on a night when shots aren’t going in, we have a chance to win anywhere,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Even on the road against a great team.”

The Warriors (19-3) locked up star forward Blake Griffin, holding him to 12 points on 5-of-20 shooting – and an unsightly seven turnovers – mostly under the unyielding defense of Draymond Green.

In a game circled on their calendar, the Clippers’ starting five finished with 41 points – less than the combined totals of Klay Thompson (24) and Green (22).

The Clippers (16-7) lost this game on merit, perhaps more than the Warriors won it. Committing nine first-quarter turnovers, which the Warriors turned into 8 points, LA looked like a team that was not prepared to play an NBA game, certainly not under the microscope of national TV.

The game was advertised never materialized, partly because the Clippers were so bad and partly because the Warriors were appropriately ruthless in taking it.

“It happens,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You go into a game that you really want to do well, things don’t go well for you, and you lose it sometimes.”

Largely thanks to Clippers turnovers, the Warriors smoked LA in paint points, 58-38, as well as fast-break points, 27-11. The Warriors had 12 steals, including a career-high-tying seven by Stephen Curry.

“When we get a steal, especially live-ball turnovers, it’s three-on-one and you’ve got to pick your poison,” Durant said. “We were getting layups, we were getting wide-open 3s – although we missed a lot. But for the most part, when we get out and run that kind of ignites us, no matter if we miss or make the shot.”

So it didn’t matter than Curry failed to make a 3-pointers for only the second time this season, or that Durant endured his worst shooting night as a Warrior, going 5-of-17 from the field.

With Curry, Durant and Thompson all shooting under 50 percent, it was left to Green to operate the efficiency department. He mastered it, going 8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 beyond the arc.

“It was great to get some shots to fall,” Green said. “(My shot has) been feeling good the last couple days, so I said if I got a shot that I would come in aggressive. But still focus in on the defensive end. That’s always my No. 1 focus, especially against a team like this.”

To locate the genesis of the Warriors recent domination of the Clippers, look no further than Green. He suffocates Griffin, who tends to come apart. The Warriors have faced the Clippers nine times since Green was installed as the starting power forward. They’ve won eight of them.

“If you want to take a positive away from this experience, it’s that this isn’t the playoffs,” Griffin said. “So we have some work to do, obviously. It’s a good lesson for us and I think we’ll be better off because of it. We have to allow ourselves to learn from it.”

It’s a theme very similar to that which was expressed the last time the Clippers lost to the Warriors, as well as the time before that, and so on and so on and so on, going back to the days when this was a real rivalry.

The Warriors simply take the W and keep quiet. No gloating. Maybe that will come in the playoffs.

Instant Replay: Warriors in control from start to finish, beat Clippers

Instant Replay: Warriors in control from start to finish, beat Clippers

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES – Shredding the league’s top-rated defense, the Warriors sprinted ahead of the Clippers early and raced to a 115-98 victory before a bipartisan sellout crowd Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by 24 points from Klay Thompson, as they defeated Los Angeles for the seventh consecutive time, dating back to March 2015.

Draymond Green scored 22 points, Stephen Curry 19, Kevin Durant 16 and Andre Iguodala 10 as the Warriors (19-3) emphasized ball movement and crisp passing to shoot 48 percent from the field, posting 32 assists on 42 field goals.

Curry consistently disrupted LA’s attempts to create rhythm on offense, as he nabbed seven steals, tying a career-high and also posting the individual high for the NBA this season.

Veteran guard Jamal Crawford scored 21 points to lead the Clippers (16-7), who lost for the fifth time in seven games.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Green provided his usual buoyant energy and dirty work but also turned in a highly efficient scoring night, resulting in a season-high.

Green’s line: 22 points (8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, 3-of-4 from the free throw line), five rebounds, four assists and two steals. He played 32 minutes was plus-25.

TURNING POINT

After a DeAndre Jordan dunk gave LA a 10-9 lead with 6:58 left in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with an 18-3 run to go up 27-13 with 2:38 left in the quarter.

The Clippers got no closer than seven (53-46, 2:21 left in the second quarter) after that, as the Warriors led by 13 at the half and by 16 after three quarters.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: No injuries listed. C Anderson Varejao was a healthy inactive.

Clippers: G Raymond Felton (family matter) was declared out prior to tipoff. Clippers: F Brice Johnson (lower back herniated disc) is listed as out.

ROSTER NOTE

Warriors C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors left LA immediately after the game, bound for Utah, where on Thursday night they will play the Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:05 Pacific.