Few expected the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship in 2015, but this season the Warriors won’t be sneaking up on anybody. With arguably the best roster in the whole league, Golden State didn’t do much during the off season, and their starting five is unlikely to change from now until the start of the season. Here is the projected starting five for the defending champs:
PG – Stephen Curry
Steph Curry proved he’s a superstar this past season, averaging 23.8 pts, 7.7 apg and 4.3 rpg while vastly improving as a defender on his way to winning the MVP award. It seems that Curry’s bum ankles are a thing of the past, as he’s played in 78+ games each of the past three seasons. Look for Curry to not only lead the Warriors every night as their starting point guard, but look for him to further cement himself as one of the best point guards in the league.
SG – Klay Thompson
A lot of pressure was on Klay Thompson coming into last season for two big reasons: 1) the Warriors decided against trading him for double-double machine Kevin Love, and 2) after choosing not to trade Thompson, Golden State gave him a four year, $70 million contract extension. Thompson responded by showing he’s the perfect 2nd option for the Warriors while proving he’s the best two-way shooting guard in the league. Look for this splash brother to make another appearance in the all star game for the West, while continuing his elite level perimeter defense.
SF – Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes had a nice bounce-back season after a sophomore slump, and he’ll look to continue to make strides this upcoming season. Barnes was able to thrive in the starting lineup after being reinstated into it by Steve Kerr, as Barnes benefited from having better players around him as opposed to being the first option off of the bench. If Barnes is able to continue to knock down the open corner threes he gets and improves his perimeter defense, the sky is the limit for the high flying product from North Carolina.
PF – Draymond Green
The trash talking tweener from Michigan State had a breakout season last year after being inserted into the starting lineup after David Lee injured his hamstring during training camp. Draymond Green trades in size for versatility and work ethic, and he fits perfectly in Kerr’s offensive and defensive schemes. Green loves playing for Golden State, and after signing a near max contract extension this summer, look for Green to keep his edge/chip on his shoulder. Green is an early candidate for Defensive Player of the Year due to the fact that he can guard multiple positions, and hold his ground well when matched up with bigger opponents.
C – Andrew Bogut
Warriors’ fans were able to see how important a healthy Andrew Bogut is to Golden State’s success, as the pairing of him and Green formed arguably the best defensive front court in the league. Not only is Bogut an elite rim protector, but he’s also one of the best passing big men in the game. His ability to set screens off of dribble hand-offs for ball handlers on the team sets up threes and opens up passing lanes around the court. If Bogut stays relatively healthy again this season, look for him to make the All-Defense team for the 2nd straight year, while anchoring the best defense in the NBA.