By Nathan Grubel @The_Only_Grubes on April 16, 2014
The Golden State Warriors have had their ups and downs this season due to new player additions, injuries and changes to the coaching staff. Nevertheless, the team still sits at 50-31 good for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. This is still a dangerous group, and if the Warriors can follow five key things, they will be guaranteed to advance past the first round in the West.
With Andrew Bogut being out indefinitely due to injury, this gives the Warriors a chance to go with a small-ball lineup and play the four around one in order to maximize their ability to stretch the floor and shoot the three. Harrison Barnes is a more effective player when he is in a small-ball lineup instead of being a sixth man coming off the bench, and the more shooters to space the floor, the more room David Lee has to work in the post.
Speaking of Lee, he is not a player to be taken lightly in terms of offensive production in the paint. This season, Lee has been effective down low by averaging 18.2 points per game on 52.3 percent shooting. Not only can he score in the post, but Lee is a great rebounder (9.3 rebounds per game this season) that can use his wide body and great hands to gobble up more than 10 rebounds any given night, even against the best teams in the league.
The Warriors can almost say they have two point guards in the starting lineup. Both Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala possess fantastic court vision, and have a knack for being able to set up teammates for open looks both on the perimeter and off the pick and roll with either Lee or Bogut. Penetration in the lane will be key for both of them because it only gives each of them more opportunities to drive and kick for open looks on the perimeter.
The Warriors are not strangers when it comes to shooting the long ball. As a team, the Warriors shoot 38.0 percent from downtown, good for fourth best in the NBA. The team has a multitude of shooters that are great spotting up beyond the arc for the open three. As long as the Warriors can continue to knock down shots and stick to their identity as a shooting squad, they have the ability to up end anyone in the playoffs.
The Warriors have the identity has a deep shooting team, but very few of the team's contributors outside of Curry and Klay Thompson can create their own shot effectively off the dribble and shoot a respectable percentage. The Warriors will have to move the ball in order to ensure the best looks possible; jacking up contested threes will not do them any favors against experienced defensive teams.
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