Kerr hoping to achieve immediate success in rookie season as a coach…
The Golden State Warriors are one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA, but can new coach Steve Kerr guide them to real success this season?
The Warriors finished the regular season with a 51-31 record and but for a late push from the Portland Trail Blazers, they would have ended in fifth spot. However, they had to make do with sixth and a first round exit against the Los Angeles Clippers followed.
Nevertheless, it has been a steady road of progress for the franchise in recent years and familiarity on the roster will now start to become key as they maintain their core.
Mark Jackson has paid the price for not achieving more coupled with his troubled internal relationships within the organisation, and so Steve Kerr takes the reigns of this exciting team.
Best backcourt in the NBA will have to make up for weak options up front
Although there has been significant debate over this in the off-season, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson undoubtedly form one of the best backcourts in the league, if not the best.
The ‘Splash Bros’ will potentially go down as one of the best shooting pairs in the history of the league and they are capable of lighting up any game at home or on the road from beyond the arc.
Curry averaged 24.0 points and 8.5 assists per game while Thompson had 18.4 points per game last season. The duo also played in the FIBA World Cup this summer which will give them an edge in terms of sharpness when the season starts, with Thompson in particular making an impression in Spain.
Aside from their offensive threat, they are also more than capable on the defensive end and add Andre Iguodala to the equation and you have real solid perimeter defense.
The addition of Shaun Livingston adds more depth and quality along with Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green off the bench, but ultimately, the same weakness could yet prove to be Golden State’s undoing.
Forward David Lee is ‘Mr. Consistency’ on both ends of the court, but unless Andrew Bogut is able to stay healthy for an entire season, particularly at crunch time in the playoffs, they look a little soft on the boards.
The Warriors also have a new coach to adapt to and settle with, and much will depend on what Kerr opts to change from the Jackson era. If the players buy into his system and style of play then they could be even more dangerous, but it remains to be seen whether or not they have luck on their side in terms of injuries.
Golden State look set to remain in that mini group of teams in the middle of the Western Conference. They are too talented to fall down and become involved in a scrap for the final few places, but ultimately, they may still be short of competing with the likes of the Spurs and Thunder.
However, fourth spot in the West to end the regular season is a more than realistic target after finishing just three games behind Houston and Portland last year, and with the core benefiting from another year together last season, they should come out firing from the first game of the season.
Nevertheless, much depends on their health, and if Bogut goes down and misses significant minutes again, then Kerr will have to find a way to mask their deficiencies.
When Curry and Thompson shoot lights out, there are few teams that can keep up the pace. Look for Golden State to be a real threat in the post-season this year.
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Andre Iguodala
PF: David Lee
C: Andrew Bogut
Sixth Man: Shaun Livingston