Golden State Warriors: 5 Players To Watch This Season
Keep Your Eye On These 5 Golden State Warriors
This is the year, Golden State Warriors fans. This is the year you all have been waiting for for some time. This is the year the Warriors have their best shot at winning the NBA Finals since winning it last in 1975.
Golden State’s preseason, however, has not shown evidence of this. Their latest game, a 90-74 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, was especially troubling. Golden State led by 11 in the third quarter but relinquished the game by missing 17 straight shots. Damian Lillard of the Blazers easily capitalized on the opportunity and took the win.
A 3-4 preseason record has the Warriors going into the regular season with some questions. Their bench is nowhere near the same after Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry left for greener pastures. Nevertheless, Golden State is widely considered to be the favorite in the Pacific Division and a top contender in the Western Conference.
The Warriors front office added an absolutely vital piece to the Golden State roster that it hadn’t possessed is many years. They should be able to play much better defense because of this individual as well as contribute scoring to an already dynamic offense.
With the exception of forward Harrison Barnes and center Festus Ezeli, the Warriors are also fairly healthy. Two players on this list experienced struggles with injury at some point last season, but they are reportedly healthy and ready to be main contributors to this campaign.
Some call the preseason meaningless, but there are some unanswered questions for coach Mark Jackson. With that aside, the Warriors have plenty of players worth watching when the regular season starts up, but who ranks in the top-5?
5. David Lee, PF
David Lee has evolved into one of the captains of this Golden State Warriors team. He was elected to his second career All-Star Game last season and finished off the year averaging 18.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists while starting in all but two games. Because Lee is coming off a hip injury sustained during the first round of last year’s playoffs, his health will be key for the Warriors this season. The injury shouldn’t stop Lee from remaining a very productive and important player for Golden State.
4. Klay Thompson, SG
Now in his third year in the league, Klay Thompson is primed to make an even larger leap into the NBA spotlight this season. He has one of the smoothest and prettiest jump shots around, and his potential rises every time he steps on the floor. Thompson has no room for regression, however. He must remain the same quality player for the Warriors to contend for an NBA title this year. In 2012-13 Thompson averaged 16.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. He was incredible from beyond the arc, hitting a total of 211 three-point baskets at a shooting percentage of just over 40-percent. And he's not even the best three-point shooter on the team.
3. Andre Iguodala, SF
Golden State had little trouble scoring the basketball last season, finishing seventh in the NBA with 101.2 points per game. The Warriors’ problem, however, was allowing an average of 100.3 points per game. Guard-forward Andre Iguodala was brought in to help defend the opposition, albeit he can provide scoring as well. He’ll be fun to watch help that second number drop. Iguodala has always been regarded as a solid defender, and he’s exactly the type of player the Warriors have been lacking. He increases the Warriors’ chances of an NBA title ten-fold.
2. Andrew Bogut, C
The former No. 1 overall selection in the 2005 NBA Draft says that he is finally 100-percent healthy after battling leg injuries over the past few seasons. He exploded into success during the playoffs last year, averaging 7.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game against the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs. Bogut is an intricate piece to the Warriors’ puzzle this season — a productive center is something Golden State has always wanted. The team might finally have that component in a healthy Bogut. He knows he’s healthy and he’s headed into a contract year, so if there’s any season to watch Andrew Bogut it’s this year.
1. Stephen Curry, PG
Point guard Stephen Curry is by far the best and most exciting player to watch on the Golden State Warriors. He broke the NBA single-season record for three-pointers made with 272 last year. He exhibits incredible ball handling while getting into open space on the floor and creating his own shot. He is currently among the top-3 point guards in the NBA, but Curry has the potential to be at the top of that list by season’s end. The Golden State Warriors changed their franchise by selecting Curry out of Davidson with the seventh-overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. Now, Curry has an opportunity to change the Golden State franchise forever by leading it to its first NBA Championship since 1975.