Warriors Talent Runs Deep, but is it Enough
Looking at the Golden State Warriors from afar, one gets the idea they appear to be a legitimate contender for a NBA championship.
The team has two of the best shooters in the NBA, a great defender on the wing, a frontcourt loaded with veteran experience all of which makes one of basketball’s best starting units.
However, with the NBA as with anything else, what you see is not always, what you get.
The Warriors won 51 games last season yet Mark Jackson could not keep his job due to a longstanding rift between him and the front office.
Steve Kerr, a former general manager with the Phoenix Suns, a longtime broadcaster and one of Phil Jackson’s disciples, was hired replace Jackson.
That last part, a disciple of Jackson, could be the most important. With the talent on the Warriors, the triangle offense, perfected by Jackson and learned by Kerr, makes great sense with the floor spacing between Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry and the effective playmaking of David Lee, Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala.
This offense for the Warriors could rewrite record books, but it might only have a season or so to do so.
Thompson is approaching free agency but Golden State can match any offer, as he will be a restricted free agent.
The Warriors balked at trading Thompson for Kevin Love and that alone should tell any observer what they are willing to splash out to keep the sharpshooter. The price to keep him next summer likely will be a maximum salary.
Should Golden State keep Thompson, it would be next to impossible to do the same with Harrison Barnes who in two seasons will be open for bidding.
Of course, Barnes had a sophomore season in the NBA to forget, but that does not mean he will not return to great form over the next two seasons.
While Lee, Bogut, Iguodala and the team leader Curry are locked in for two years or more, enough injury history within their ranks nearly guarantees some injuries down the road.
The Western Conference with its tremendous depth will be a tough road for Golden State and they have little or no room under the cap to make any moves to change the roster they currently have.
Kerr will have his hands full because not only it is his first, yes first NBA head coaching job, but also because of the short time frame, the nucleus of the team might be together.
Kerr will help with his knowledge of the triangle offense and his pedigree as one of the all time best NBA shooters.
However, it will not be just the guards that gain from Kerr, the big men will benefit from his experience playing for Jackson who sees the game different from many others.
Since Kerr was at times a seldom used backup, he learned how to be more appreciative of the strategic nuances of the game and how all the different pieces fit together.
Kerr’s bench should be stronger this season with Barnes, Shaun Livingston, Marreese Speights and Draymond Green.
The pieces are all there. Now let’s see if Kerr can put the puzzle together.