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The Golden State Warriors are set to be one of the most exciting teams to watch this upcoming NBA season. Their roster is full of fresh-faced and talented young players on the rise. So its no surprise that they are considered one of the top five teams in the Western Conference.
Last year’s team shocked the country by slipping into the playoffs as a six seed and beating out third seeded, Denver, to advance to the second round of the playoffs. However, last year’s team and this year’s team are quite different. The 2012-2013 Warriors were carried by the breakout season of point guard Stephen Curry and were known around the league as having the best chemistry. Having chemistry in this league is important, just look at the Lakers from last year. The Warriors lost much of the players who built that chemistry in the off-season. Jarrett Jack was certainly the leader of the bench but left in free agency to a Cleveland team that was willing to offer him more money. Carl Landry moved on to the rising Sacramento Kings. Andris Biedrins, Brandon Rush, and Richard Jefferson were traded to the Utah Jazz to free up some cap room. All that left the Warriors with some gaping holes.
They made a major signing in the off-season with the new cap space bringing in Andre Iguodala from Denver. He brings something the Warriors haven’t had in a long time. A player with incredible defensive skills AND offensive ball handling skills. He gives Mark Jackson many line-up options. Of course, Iguodala is coming in to be a starter, so somebody must come off the bench that was a starter last year. In most likelihood, Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson would move to the bench. Both are former all-rookie first-teamers and both are capable of starting. Thompson proved to be an offensive force last season teaming up with Curry to form the most dangerous shooting back court in the NBA. Barnes really shined last year in the playoffs making several of the top ten dunks of the the season. Not bad for a player who was called non-athletic leading up to the draft.
Thompson is great right now, but Barnes has more potential down the road to be a great player for a long time. Benching Barnes could hinder his growth and many feel would make him a trade chip. Furthermore, Thompson knows how to come off the bench as he did in his rookie year while Monta Ellis was still on the squad.
I see Thompson coming off the bench. However, Barnes has not played in the past couple of preseason games due to an injury. The games before that Barnes was the one starting with Thompson coming off the bench. In the most recent preseason game taking place in Beijing, Barnes did not play due to his injury and Draymond Green got the start. Of course Green will not start during the regular season, but was probably starting to have Thompson continue to come off the bench.
As far as the rest of the roster goes, the Warriors drafted Nemanja Nedovic, a guard from Serbia. Nedovic is extremely raw but the Warriors already have outstanding guards so they are in no hurry to get him ready. One of last year’s second round draft picks that the Warriors had the rights to also came over, Ognjen Kuzmic. Toney Douglas was brought in to take over the role that Jarrett Jack had. Big men Jermaine O’Neal and Marreese Speights were also new additions to the roster. Festus Ezeli (injured), Draymond Green, and Kent Bazemore round out the bench. Dewayne Dedmond, Seth Curry (Stephen’s younger brother who went undrafted), and Joe Alexander will fight for the final spots.
So here are my projected starting five. Andrew Bogut, David Lee, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, and Stephen Curry. Klay Thompson comes off the bench as a sixth man. However the lineup shakes out, this deep Warriors team definitely has the players to make special things happen this NBA season.