2013 Golden State Warriors

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Golden State Warriors (Last Year: 47-35)

2012-13 Season Summary:
The Golden State Warriors quietly posted their highest win total in five years and made the postseason for the just the second time since 1995. Nothing was quiet about the Warriors in the postseason as they bounced the Nuggets in the opening round and then gave the Spurs all they could handle before falling short.

Curry’s blossoming superstardom was put on the national stage as he is rapidly becoming one of the more exciting players to watch in the league due to his ability to go off from three in the blink of an eye. He had some terrific running mates in David Lee and Klay Thompson. Lee played at an All-NBA level before suffering an injury late in the year that ultimately rendered him helpless to the team during the playoffs. Thompson improved off a terrific rookie season to give Golden State the “most sniper” backcourt in the NBA. (Yes, I just made that up.)

Harrison Barnes added more excitement and talent on the wing by putting together a productive regular season. He especially shined in the playoffs though, and suddenly, the Curry/Thompson/Barnes wing seems like a terrifying trio for years to come.

Barnes wasn’t the only rookie to make his mark for Golden State. Andrew Bogut’s injury (if you are keeping track at home, he has played in just 44 regular season games the past two seasons) opened up minutes inside for Festus Ezeli, while Draymond Green was a terrific glue guy and looks to be a second-round steal. The play of all three rookies contributed to the reduced roles for veterans Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson, who are nothing but eyesores on the salary cap as the duo is combined to make more than $20 million next season. Newcomers Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry were the anti-Jefferson and Biedrins, playing pivotal roles off the bench adding some needed experience and toughness to the floor.

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Andrew Bogut/Festus Ezeli/Andris Biedrins

PF: David Lee/^Carl Landry

SF: Harrison Barnes/Draymond Green/Richard Jefferson

SG: Klay Thompson/Brandon Rush/Kent Bazemore

PG: Stephen Curry

NBA Free Agents:

^PF-Carl Landry (PO)

PG-Jarrett Jack (UFA)

PG-Scott Machado (UFA)

PF-Dwayne Jones (UFA)

2013-14 Team Salary: Approximately $74.9 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. Health inside: While the Warriors were very effective using a smaller lineup during the season and especially in the playoffs, they need Andrew Bogut and David Lee to be healthy in order to have any chance of taking the next step in the challenging Western Conference. There are too many teams with legitimate centers to have Carl Landry playing the five during important stretches. Keep Bogut and Lee healthy, and pair them up with one of the most talented young wings in the NBA – and the sky could be the limit.

2. Backup Point Guard: Jarrett Jack was an integral part of the team’s success this past season, but with him being a free agent, won’t come cheap to re-sign. His role was very well-defined under Jackson but you can’t help but wonder if Jack is okay coming off the bench or trying to look for a starting job elsewhere. If Jack is too pricey to re-sign, the Warriors then need to find a new backup for Curry.

3. Find a Sucker to take on Biedrins or Jefferson: The decision to amnesty Charlie Bell a couple of years ago is looking like a regrettable one right now. With Biedrins making $9 million next year and Jefferson more than $11 million, having that amnesty in its back pocket would save Golden State a lot of money. I can’t see anyone wanting to take on either contract but you never know. NBA GM’s have a tendency to make boneheaded moves. At the very least, both guys are in the final year of their contracts, so they could be used as trade bait before the deadline for a team looking to dump salary. Otherwise, they will free up more $20 million in cap space next offseason.

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