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?

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

OAKLAND -- It was with impeccable timing, for the Warriors and for Andre Iguodala, that he has spent recent weeks summoning all the best parts of his game.

He has been a disruptive force on defense, as usual, but at a time when the Warriors needed something extra at both ends of the court, he is providing an abundance of offensive electricity.

Iguodala came through once more on Sunday as the Warriors suffocated Memphis in the fourth quarter to take a 106-94 win at Oracle Arena. Though the team’s Sixth Man again scored at an efficient clip -- 20 points on eight shot attempts -- his ability to energize teammates from Stephen Curry to Draymond Green to Klay Thompson and beyond is no less significant.

“We feed off his energy when we see him get a rebound or get a steal, push up the court, make a crazy inside-out dribble and finish at the rim, knock down threes or play-make for other guys,” Curry said. “It’s fun to watch.”

Iguodala’s rise has coincided with the loss of Kevin Durant, the team’s leading scorer and someone who plays the same position. With Durant out, Iguodala has taken on additional playing time, which can be risky for someone in his 13th season.

“He’s been fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He looks incredibly athletic, bouncy and fresh. He’s a pro. The guy just knows how to take care of his body. He’s done a great job of stepping up in KD’s absence and recognizing what we need from him.”

The Warriors have played 13 games since Durant went down with a knee injury, and Iguodala has played in 11 of them, shooting 44 percent from deep and 61.8 percent overall. The man who shot 62.3 percent from the line in his first three seasons as a Warrior is at 70.1 percent this season. Leadership also is part of the package.

“I try to read (what’s needed) when I get into the game,” Iguodala said. “Try to bring that energy. And, more than anything, lead by example. Not say too much. Just show it.”

When Iguodala is sprinting up and down the court, rising and dunking on one end, stripping balls away on the other, the Warriors are appreciably better team. If the Curry-Durant-Green-Thompson foursome is the engine, Iguodala is the turbo boost.

“We’re a completely different team when he’s as aggressive as he’s been of late,” Green said. “When he’s moving the way he’s been moving -- he’s beating everybody down the floor -- it makes us a completely different team. “

Igoudala’s minutes have spiked, from 23 per game in November, to 26 in December, to 27 in January and February, to almost 29 in March.

“I don’t want to run his minutes up too much,” Kerr said. “But if he has to play a couple extra minutes while KD is out, then that’s fine.”

It’s fine with Iguodala and it’s paying off for the Warriors.

Iguodala hopes it pays off, literally, when he becomes a free agent in July.

Though free agents entering their 14th season don’t often command big money, he is making a very impressive audition for the Warriors or any team that might be interested in his services.

Iguodala has made it clear he’d prefer to stay in the Bay Area, and at this rate the Warriors may have to find the necessary coins to bring him back.

Instant Replay: Warriors finish strong, grind past Grizzlies

Instant Replay: Warriors finish strong, grind past Grizzlies

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- There was plenty of tension and more than a few pulse-stopping moments, but the Warriors found a way to win their seventh consecutive game.

The Warriors’ 106-94 victory Sunday over the admirably recalcitrant Memphis Grizzlies was a work in persistence and overcome moments in which the worst of their work was on full display before a sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Klay Thompson scored 31 points to lead the offense. Stephen Curry had 21 points and a game-high 11 assists, Andre Iguodala had 20 and Matt Barnes finished with 10 as the Warriors evened the season series with the Grizzlies at 2-2.

The Warriors (59-14) fought off numerous Memphis rallies but turned up the defense in the fourth quarter, holding the Grizzlies to 13 points on 5-of-25 (20 percent) shooting over the final 12 minutes.

The Warriors offset 18 turnovers, giving the Grizzlies 16 point, by shooting 54.2 percent from the field.

Mike Conley scored 29 points to lead Memphis, which fell to 40-33.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

As good as the Splash Brothers were, and they were superb, it was Iguodala’s play at both ends that made a major difference.

Iguodala’s line: 20 points (7-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, 4-of-5 from the line), a team-high-tying seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot. He played 32 minutes and was plus-9 for the game.

TURNING POINT

After the Grizzlies pulled into an 81-81 tie with 25.2 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 15-5 run to go up 96-86 on a 3-pointer by Curry with 4:57 remaining.

Memphis got no closer than nine in the final minutes.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain and bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (L foot strain) was listed as questionable and declared out prior to tipoff. F Chandler Parsons (L knee rehab) was listed as out. C Deyonta Davis and F Jarell Martin are on assignment with Iowa of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors travel Monday to Houston, where on Tuesday night they face the Rockets at Toyota Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.