After reaching the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2007, what will the Golden State Warriors do for an encore in 2013?
Just the same old, explosive, electrifying basketball that left opponents’ jaws dragging down the court in 2012. Health permitting, (west coast) primetime entertainment should resume in Oakland because:
1) They’re high octane
Shades of Nellie ball? Last regular season the Warriors ranked ninth in the NBA in fast break points (14.3, up more than a point from the year before) and were fifth in fast break efficiency.
They also attempted roughly 20 three-point tries a game (while the Memphis Grizzles averaged 13.5) and surrendered the third-most turnovers at 14.8 per contest.
As the offense reaches full-throttle, it’s inevitable to get sloppy with the rock, but fans can ignore a free basket or six when the team is winning a track meet (thanks for the memories, Baron Davis).
2) Precision-guided bombing
Of those 20 three-point attempts per game, eight landed through the hoop, resulting in a 40.3% success rate and the league’s top marksmanship award. This was in large part thanks to Stephen Curry, who broke Ray Allen’s NBA record for most triples made in a regular season (272 in 2012). Klay Thompson also chipped in 2.6 threes per contest, and while Jarrett Jack’s accuracy will be missed (40.4% behind the arc), import Toney Douglas should seamlessly fill the void.
3) They bring the pain
If you’re a fan of men colliding into each other, tune in to every Warriors game. Every player on the team checked in their ego and exposed a shoulder at some point in 2012, so head coach Mark Jackson will expect nothing less this coming campaign. Toughness is a given.
And find me another squad that runs elevator screens as often as the Warriors…not in the NBA!
4) *Star* power
It’s safe to say at this point that Curry is an adorable superstar. The baby-faced guard deploys the sweetest shooting stroke since Ray Allen’s, and he can single-handedly carry the offense for minutes at a time. Curry could be the biggest on-court sensation in the league since Allen Iverson.
Joining Curry, All-Star David Lee and shot-blocking extraordinaire Andrew Bogut will be Andre Iguodala, a master of all aspects on defense and a former slam dunk champion as well. Throw in the creaky Jermaine O’Neal, and there’s no shortage of fan-favorite names featured on the roster.
5) More coming soon
Unlike the aging Miami Heat, New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs, the Warriors boast several prospects who could evolve into studs overnight.
Thompson averaged 16.6 points in 36 minutes per game as an NBA sophomore, and the 23-year-old possesses the killer instinct to excel in his craft.
Harrison Barnes had an uneven rookie campaign, but the 2012 lottery pick out of North Carolina is a physical specimen with scoring range of his own. If his infamous dunk over Nikola Pevokic didn’t convince you, the sky is probably the limit for his basketball ceiling.
Don’t sleep on Kent Bazemore or Nemanja Nekovic either. Bazemore has been flexing his muscle in Summer League, while Nekovic and the Warriors’ brass believe the 2013 first rounder is ready to contribute in the states. If both harness their deceptive athleticism, they figure to see major minutes in the near future.
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