The Golden State Warriors 2011-2012 season will be an intriguing one as the team has the pieces to become a competitive team in the Western Conference and could make the playoffs as a seventh or eighth seed. There’s a number of reasons why the Warriors will be improved and the two biggest reasons are the hiring of Mark Jackson as head coach and adding more depth to the team.
Jackson was a great hire for the Warriors and since he arrived he has emphasized defense, which will benefit the team in the long run as it works to change the perception of the team from just a “run and gun” type of offense to a more controlled offense. Jackson is the perfect fit to implement that system.
What won’t change for the Warriors is the starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright, David Lee and Andris Biedrins.
The bench on the other hand is much improved with the drafting of Klay Thompson and Charles Jenkins and the acquisitions or signings of Brandon Rush, Dominic McGuire, Kwame Brown and Jeremy Tyler. Also, 2010 first round pick Ekpe Udoh has looked like a different player than from a year ago as he is healthy and has shown a plethora of offensive moves and more confidence from last season.
One thing that does need to be changed from a year ago is the number of minutes that the Warriors starters play and with the acquisitions the Warriors have made this season it is unlikely that there will be many games where Ellis or any other starter will be playing over 40 minutes a night. There’s only one position at this point that the team lacks depth in and that is at the point guard spot, so it wouldn’t be surprising if there’s a move to bring in a third point guard especially after Curry injured his ankle in the second preseason game and is currently day-to-day.
Along the lines of injury it will be important for the Warriors to have a healthy season. Last season Lee missed a number of games due to a fluke injury and even when Lee returned it was clear he wasn’t 100 percent until closer to the end of the season. Also, Biedrins had another year filled with injuries.
With the 2011-2012 season fast approaching there’s no question that if the Warriors can stay healthy and with the adjustments made to the team in the offseason the Warriors can compete in the Western Conference. Even if these moves do not not earn the team a playoff spot, the Warriors are certainly heading in the right direction and will be one of the more exciting teams to watch.