Inside the Paint: Curry not a SG; he's a PG who can score
Andre Iguodala took a pay cut to sign a four-year, $48 million dollar free agent contract with the Warriors. (AP)
Programming note: Catch the Warriors Wednesday when they take on the Kings in Sacramento -- coverage begins at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California.
OAKLAND – They can, and will, run. They can, and will, shoot as well as any team in the NBA. They can, and will, play respectable defense.
What the Warriors cannot do, not anymore, is hide in the dense fog of incompetence that defined the franchise for the better part of a generation.
In a little more than one calendar year – in one postseason, really – the Warriors have remade themselves. In 2011-12, they were a losing bunch with a rookie head coach and some young talent. They entered last season as a team hoping to make the playoffs. They enter this season as a fringe championship contender and one of the league’s marquee teams.
In the annual preseason poll of general managers, conducted by NBA.com, the Warriors were considered the "most fun team to watch." Point guard Stephen Curry was voted the best pure shooter in the league. These results are similar to those in polls and projections offered by other media outlets.
Not that coach Mark Jackson, speaking after practice Tuesday, was ready to crown his team or smooch himself.
"The thing about that -- it’s one category we probably couldn’t care less about winning," he said, referring to the fun designation. "But I can understand what they’re saying.
"When you have guys that can shoot the basketball and make plays, it is a thing of beauty. And I appreciate the front-row seat that I have, night in and night out, watching these guys."
So much of the love being showered upon the Warriors goes back to their performance in the playoffs last season, when as a No. 6 seed they took out third-seeded Denver in six games and pushed second-seeded San Antonio to the brink before falling in six.
If regular-season success generates widespread notice, any measure of postseason success stirs imaginations and raises eyebrows.
"It builds confidence," Jackson said. "We are not guessing that we can do something; now we know we can do it. We’ve added guys that have playoff experience, that have a body of work that even makes us better.
"It can work for you or against you. One thing I realized, watching these guys continue to come in a month early – bodies in shape, the right mindset, holding each other accountable – they didn’t lay on what we were able to accomplish last year."
Yet there is at least a modicum of trepidation among the players. They understand the NBA is about constantly adapting. They also realize this is a new season, with some new faces.
Out are guard Jarrett Jack and power forward Carl Landry. Now joining center Andrew Bogut, power forward David Lee, wing Klay Thompson and Curry are shooting guard Andre Iguodala, backup point guard Toney Douglas and backup big man Marreese Speights.
"We still have work to do, with a lot of new faces," Bogut said. "We still trying to incorporate Andre and Jermaine and Mo and Toney, and make sure they know our stuff."