Warriors 2012-2013 roster analysis

928035.jpg

Warriors 2012-2013 roster analysis

Programming note: Catch the Warriors season opener against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., exclusively on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!

Look, you can pick apart everything about the Warriors -- from Mark Jacksons coaching, to their perceived lack of defensive players, to their overall lack of rebounding, to their improved depth to their blah, blah, blah.Everyone who follows the Warriors knows that none of that matters if Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry arent healthy.What is healthy, you ask? Great question. Who knows how many games Bogut and Curry, both coming off season-ending injuries in 2011-12, must combine to play in order for the Warriors to make the playoffs?Is it 120? 130? More than that? Less?But even if Bogut and Curry are largely healthy, the Warriors still have work to do to end their five-year playoff drought. Yes, its already been that long since We Believe.Theyre going to need second-year shooting guard Klay Thompson to build off his solid rookie season. Theyre going to need rookie Harrison Barnes to provide a needed boost of athleticism on the perimeter. Theyre going to need power forward David Lee to perhaps take a little bit of a numbers hit statistically in exchange for some more dirty work. And theyre going to need Jarrett Jack, Brandon Rush and Carl Landry to provide energy and consistent play off the bench.And, of course, they need Bogut and Curry to be healthy.What the Warriors do have going for them is an intriguing group of players, one thats a touch unconventional and yet more balanced then teams of the recent past.The Warriors certainly have more size than they have had in the past, with the addition of Bogut and the drafting of Festus Ezeli, a legitimate 7-footer with a big frame.Andris Biedrins, who used to be the Warriors starting center until his game went missing, is the teams No. 3 center. That alone shows the Warriors have made a concerted effort to get bigger.The Warriors also have a slew of 3-point shooters. But more than that, they have high-percentage 3-point shooters. Curry is shooting 44 percent for his career from 3-point range. Thompson, as a rookie, shot 41 percent a year ago. Rush is a 41 percent career shooter from beyond the arc and last year shot a career-best 45 percent. Harrison Barnes, who will start at small forward as a rookie, made 48 percent of his 3-pointers in the preseason. Richard Jefferson has hit more than 40 percent of his 3-point shots in each of the past four years.In other words, make no mistake, the 3-point shot is going to be an important part of the Warriors offense.What adds a little twist to the Warriors 3-point shooting is that their two most important big players Lee and Bogut also happen to be good passers.In other words, Jackson has something to work with there.Its hard to say what kind of team pace-wise and style-wise the Warriors will evolve into this season, but its hard to imagine them being consistently uptempo.They dont necessarily have the makeup to be a running team because theyre missing a speedy, push-first point guard and their big men arent exactly the fastest interiors in the league up the court. Thats not to say that the Warriors wont be able to have numbers on occasion, but theyre more likely to turn a quicker-type tempo into 3-point shots in transition than fastbreak dunks or layups.When the Warriors dont have the fastbreak, they will likely need to rely on halfcourt execution on offense. While Bogut and Landry give them more interior scoring, the Warriors still dont have a legitimate back-to-the-basket player.Look for the Warriors to run a lot of their offense through Bogut and Lee, with them looking for shooters coming off screens.Defensively, the Warriors should be improved from a season ago. But again, much of that will come down to Bogut and how many games he plays. Bogut is a space-eater, shot-blocker and charge-taker. But hes got to be on the court for the Warriors to benefit.Last season, the Warriors finished a disappointing 23-43, and were no factor in the Western Conference playoff picture despite Jackson and owner Joe Lacob promising the playoffs.This season there have been no such predictions from the organization. Now, that doesnt mean the Warriors cant make the postseason. It is certainly possible with their roster upgrades.But its impossible to predict anything at this point for Golden State. Because as we know, its all going to come down to health.-------
The Warriors open the 2012-13 regular season on Wednesday night in Phoenix against the Suns. The Warriors have 15 players on their roster. Lets take a look:
Harrison Barnes, 6-8, 210 pounds, SF:
Warriors coach Mark Jackson named Barnes the starting small forward on Monday. Barnes is by no means a finished product, but hell be the most athletic player in the starting lineup.Kent Bazemore, 6-5, 200 pounds, SF:
The Warriors like Bazemore, but he didnt play a ton in the preseason. Hes a defensive specialist and his contract is not fully guaranteed. Theres a chance he could see some playing time for Santa Cruz in the D-League.Andris Biedrins, 7-feet, 240 pounds, C:
Biedrins was banged-up most of preseason, and right now he is considered the No. 3 center on the roster.Andrew Bogut, 7-feet, 260 pounds, C:
Boguts return will likely come sooner rather than later, and theres a chance he could squeeze some playing time into the season-opener. The more games Bogut misses, the less likely the chances of a Warriors playoff season.Stephen Curry, 6-3, 185 pounds, PG:
Curry maintains his right ankle issues from a season ago are behind him. And yet he tweaked the ankle once in the preseason and didnt play after that. Cross your fingers.Festus Ezeli, 7-foot, 270 pounds, C:
Ezeli has been impressive in the preseason, showing a willingness to defend and also a little bit of a post game. Ezeli will start opening night if Bogut cant play.Draymond Green, 6-7, 230 pounds, PF:
Green started the preseason with a left knee injury but began playing more and more as time went by. The question is are there minutes to be had for Green at either small forward or power forward?Jarrett Jack, 6-3, 195 pounds, PG:
The key for the Warriors is for Jack to have a role but not too big of a role. The reason: If Jack has too big of a role, it means that something happened to Curry. In an ideal world, Jack will pay 25 minutes or so, backing up Curry and playing some two guard on top of it. If his minutes are over 30 per game, it likely means Curry suffered an injury.Richard Jefferson, 6-7, 230 pounds, SF:
At this point, Jefferson appears to be the odd man out at small forward behind Barnes and Brandon Rush. But Jefferson has veteran know-how and its not difficult seeing coach Mark Jackson lean on him at times.Charles Jenkins, 6-3, 220 pounds, PG
Jenkins is going to have to fight for minutes this season as he is clearly the No. 3 point guard on the depth chart. That could change if Jack begins to get playing time at shooting guard.Carl Landry, 6-9, 248 pounds, PF:
Landry gives the Warriors a frontcourt scorer off the bench. Landry isnt a prototypical post-up player but he can score in there at times. Hes also got a nice little face-up game and an ability to get to the foul line. Landry should help.David Lee, 6-9, 240 pounds, PF:
Lee almost averaged a double-double last year (20.1 ppg., 9.6 rpg.), but this year those numbers will likely come down. The key for Lee is to become more efficient with less playing time and less shots.Brandon Rush, 6-6, 210 pounds, SF:
Rush will be expected to provide a scoring and energy spark off the bench this year. His role will be even more expanded should Barnes struggle to make the adjustment to the NBA.Klay Thompson, 6-7, 205 pounds, SF:
There are expectations of a breakout year from Thompson, but in reality, he broke out in the second half of last year. In 28 starts after Monta Ellis was traded, Thompson averaged 18.1 points per game. Thompson can score, no doubt. But where he needs to improve is on the defensive end.Jeremy Tyler, 6-10, 260 pounds, PF:
Tyler seems to be in no-mans land right now. If everyone is healthy, there doesnt seem like there will be much of a role for him. Then again, hes still young and only in his second year.

Report: W's encouraged by KD's rehab, hopeful for regular season return

Report: W's encouraged by KD's rehab, hopeful for regular season return

When the Warriors announced the severity of Kevin Durant's knee injury, they did not rule out a return before the end of the regular season.

And based on the progress of his rehab, the team is "hopeful" but "cautiously optimistic" that Durant will indeed play before the end of the regular season, according to ESPN.

The Warriors have 11 games remaining on their schedule and their final regular season game is April 12 against the Lakers.

On Tuesday, prior to the Warriors game against Dallas, Durant was seen working out on the court and putting up jump shots.

Just a day earlier, Durant worked up a good sweat while riding a stationary bike in Oklahoma City.

Durant is expected to be re-evaluated by the Warriors' medical staff next week.

After initially struggling without Durant, the Warriors have won five straight games. Durant sat on the bench for the road wins in Oklahoma City and Dallas.

Over the weekend, Warriors PG Stephen Curry and PF Draymond Green addressed Durant's recovery.

“You can tell he’s making improvements and following the game plan,” Curry told the media. “I see him in the weight room doing cardio stuff trying to stay as close to game shape as he can while he’s hurt. You like to see improvements every day. We still don’t know when he’ll be back.”

“When he’s ready, we’ll know,” Green told the media. “But it’s not really our job to try to figure out every day how he’s doing. You can kind of see he’s getting better and you just leave it at that.”

 

Adonal Foyle recalls brutal first talk with Don Nelson

adonal-foyle-don-nelson.jpg
USATSI

Adonal Foyle recalls brutal first talk with Don Nelson

SAN FRANCISCO -- He is among the greatest basketball coaches ever to walk a sideline. Creative and abrasive, accomplished yet unfulfilled, all wrapped in a 6-foot-7 package of Svengali.

Some say Don Nelson, who served two stints coaching the Warriors, was brutally honest, others insist needlessly cruel. There is little dispute, though, that “Nellie” could be as subjective as the sun is hot.

If you were one of “his guys,” you could do little wrong.

If you weren’t, you knew it early and you heard it often -- as former Warriors center Adonal Foyle, who was on the roster for 10 seasons, discovered in 2006.

“Don Nelson told me the first day he showed up at the gym: ‘You suck. You’ll never play for me. You make too much money.’ That was it,“ Foyle recalled Tuesday on the Warriors Insider Podcast.

“And he was having a cigar when he did it.”

Foyle, who returned to the Warriors in 2014 to serves as a Community Ambassador, clearly enjoyed his time with the “We Believe” Warriors, despite and because of the presence of Nelson. Foyle quickly learned about the two sides of Nellie.

Nelson had favorites. There was, in his first stint coaching the Warriors, Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway, to name two. In his second stint, there was Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson.

Yet the list of those who could not seem to escape Nelson’s doghouse may have been longer, including the likes of Terry Teagle, Tyrone Hill, Sarunas Marciulionis and, later, Al Harrington, Ike Diogu, Marco Belinelli. Nelson’s most famous object of disgust was, of course, Chris Webber.

Foyle, who logged 1,824 minutes before Nelson’s arrival in 2006, played only 475 minutes in 2006-07.

“I knew I wasn’t going to play, because he made it clear,” Foyle recalled. “So I could be pissed off. I could be angry.

“I’m just going to be there. I’m just going to do my job the best way I could for that year. And I’m just going to learn. And I’m just going to help our where I can. I’ll help my teammates out. I’ll do the job that I’m paid to do.”

Foyle, the team’s all-time leader in blocked shots (1,140), scored a total of 107 points that season. His 50 blocks ranked third on the team. His ratio of blocks, one every 9.5 minutes, led the team.

The Warriors staged a furious rally to close the season, ending a 13-year postseason drought by gaining the No. 8 seed. They pulled off an epic upset, stunning top-seeded Dallas in the first round.

The Utah Jazz in the second round eliminated the Warriors in five games, the last played on May 15.

Ninety days later, Nelson and the Warriors bought out Foyle’s contract. He spent his final two seasons in Orlando and Memphis.