Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected Record: 49-33 (5th in West)

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Steve Kerr

New coach Steve Kerr has no shortage of weapons in Golden State. (AP)

Head coach: Steve Kerr
2013-14 record: 51-31
2013-14 ORtg: 105.3 (12th)
2013-14 DRtg: 99.9 (3rd)
Players in: Steve Kerr (coach), Aaron Craft, Jason Kapono, Shaun Livingston, Brandon Rush
Players out: Mark Jackson (coach), Hilton Armstrong, Steve Blake, Jordan Crawford, Jermaine O'Neal
Projected Starting Lineup: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Andrew Bogut

Not much has changed in Golden State... So it seems.

The biggest difference is at head coach. Gone is Mark Jackson, the famously demonstrative coach, former player, and TV analyst, and in his stead comes Steve Kerr, a less bombastic former player and TV analyst. Kerr, statistically the best three-point shooter in NBA history, inherits two of the best shooters ever: Stephen Curry (who ranks third all-time) and Klay Thompson (who ranks 17th), and the team later signed Jason Kapono, who ranks second behind Curry in three-point percentage among active players.

Seeing Curry & Thompson, you might think the Warriors made their bread-and-butter on their offense. You'd also be wrong. The Warriors, led by stalwarts Andrew Bogut and Andre Iguodala, actually ended last season with one of the best defenses in the league, and were only one of three teams to allow fewer than one point per possession last season.

It's hard to know what the Warriors will look like defensively with Kerr, a first-time coach, at the helm. But on the other end, they'll shoot a ton, and probably lead the league in three-point attempts, especially if Iguodala (35.4 percent shooting from 3 last year) and Harrison Barnes (34.7 percent) can continue to improve their long-range shooting. When they need to go inside, they'll look to David Lee; Lee, who developed a mid-range game with the New York Knicks, shot over 82 percent of his attempts from within 10 feet last season, his highest since joining the Warriors, and averaged 19.8 points per 36 minutes, second only to Curry on the roster.

Their depth is a concern. They did lose Jermaine O'Neal, a staple of their defense off the bench for 44 games last season, and they'll have to hope that Marreese Speights can make a leap forward defensively. They did bolster their backcourt by signing Nets fan favorite and longball maestro Shaun Livingston to a three-year deal to back up Curry & Thompson, but lottery pick Barnes hasn't improved in two seasons in Golden State, and outside of their top seven, there's not a lot of talent for Kerr to use.

They're also also betting on players who've struggled with injuries: Bogut hasn't played more than 70 games in a season since 2008, Stephen Curry endured ankle problems two seasons ago, and Iguodala has missed significant time in three of the last four seasons. If they run into injury troubles, they'll tumble down the ranks in a hotly contested Western Conference.

That said: if they're on, they're explosive. Curry is on pace to shatter Ray Allen's recently-set three-point record: he's hit 905 threes and averaged 2.7 three-pointers per game through age 25, both the best in NBA history, and he's an ironclad top option on a fast team. Thompson isn't far behind as a shooter, and Iguodala is one of the league's most underrated playmakers.

They'll win a ton of games on the talent of their top players alone. But unless they make some surprising leaps forward, it's hard to see them making a deep playoff run.

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Today's installment of Better Know An Opponent focuses on the Golden State Warriors. Let's take a look.... MORE →

 

1) Indiana closing it out. After splitting the two games in New York and then sweeping the two-game home stretch in Indiana, the Indiana Pacers hold a commanding 3-1 lead on the New York Knicks and are one more road victory away from guaranteeing a spot against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Outside of a dominating 105-79 victory over the Pacers in Game 2, the Knicks have looked exceedingly vulnerable, a chilling contrast from their record-setting start to the season -- fewer three-pointers, Carmelo Anthony at small forward instead of power forward, and a lot of one-on-one offense. In Game 4, the Knicks shot just 35.6% from the field, and 61 of their 87 field goal attempts came from three players (Anthony, J.R. Smith, and Raymond Felton). If the Knicks continue their freakish stagnancy, they won't last beyond tonight.

2) Golden State staying alive. This is a personal choice. I'm a big fan of the Golden State Warriors and want to see them survive. They're down 3-2 to the San Antonio Spurs, but this is their last stand at home to force a Game 7. Earlier in the playoffs, Zach Lowe of Grantland called the Warriors' new offense -- particularly, Stephen Curry's new role thanks to the absence of David Lee -- "a glitch in the program." There's few things I enjoy more than watching a shooter dismantle a team from afar. Here's hoping Stephen Curry can do that tonight.

3) Golden State's Backcourt. On the heels of my gushing over Curry, I'd be remiss not to mention his partner in crime, Klay Thompson, whose production has plummeted since his 34-point, 14-rebound career night in Game 2 -- 17 points in Game 3, 10 points in Game 4, and just 4 in Game 5. The Warriors will need another great night from Thompson along with Curry to extend the Warriors' season to Game 7 -- will they get it?

 

Each day that there's a playoff game, we'll have three things to watch in the NBA playoffs. Each note will be accompanied by a contest. We'll announce winners after each round. Here's today's three things to watch:

1) Indiana doing it again. The Pacers now have a 2-1 lead over the Knicks in the second round of the playoffs, and it's no accident. While New York runs its offense through Carmelo Anthony at a historic rate (more on that in a bit), the Pacers utilize a balanced attack. Three different players (David West, Paul George, Roy Hibbert) have led the Pacers in scoring in their three games against New York, and they've gotten important contributions from George Hill and D.J. Augustin (in Game 1). It's not just their offense: the Pacers have done an excellent job funneling three-point attempts away from New York like no team has been able to this year. At home, their success should continue tonight.

2) An unlikely hero. With San Antonio joining the world in expecting Stephen Curry to shoot the Warriors through the playoffs, the Warriors got two unlikely heroes in their two series wins: guard Klay Thompson (who put up an enormous 34-14 in Game 2) and Harrison Barnes (who somehow took 26 field goal attempts in their Game 4 overtime victory). I'm guessing Thompson will do it again: you can only stay at home on Curry for so long without giving Thompson some open looks.

3) Melo the shooter. As Kevin Pelton of ESPN noted today, Carmelo Anthony is currently using 38.7% of his team's possessions in the playoffs, the highest of any multi-series playoff performance ever. He's taken 230 field goal attempts in the playoffs, just ten fewer than his next two teammates combined. If that trend continues and Anthony continues to shoot poorly -- just 39.1% in the playoffs an 29.5% from deep -- it could spell trouble for New York.

 

Each day that there's a playoff game, we'll have three things to watch in the NBA playoffs. Each note will be accompanied by a contest. We'll announce winners after each round. Here's today's three things to watch:

1) Miami bouncing back. Even without Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and Luol Deng -- again -- the Chicago Bulls shocked the Miami Heat with a 93-86 victory in Miami in Game 1, thanks to improbable performances yet again from Nate Robinson, Jimmy Butler, and Joakim Noah. After losing Game 1, Miami has to feel an impetus to defend its home court, and LeBron James is always due for a dominating performance. I am notoriously terrible at predictions, but I smell a blowout cooking. Is tonight the night the wheels finally fall off for a beaten-up Chicago team?

2) Stephen Curry. Before Game 1 of the Golden State Warriors-San Antonio Spurs series, I said that no player in the league has a light as green as Stephen Curry, and his otherworldly shooting ability makes him a threat for a huge scoring night in any game. Sure enough, Curry dropped a 44-point outburst on the Spurs in a thrilling 129-127 overtime loss -- outscoring his next two teammates combined by a full six points. The Warriors offense runs through Curry as its first and second option. Will lightning strike twice again?

3) Nate Robinson. Perhaps the most improbable of all storylines in this year's playoffs is Nate Robinson's sudden emergence as an offensive juggernaut. Through eight playoff games, Robinson has averaged 18.3 points in 31.3 minutes per game, shooting 50.4% from the field and 36.6% from deep. Robinson, unbelievably, is doing most of his damage when the game matters most: he leads the entire NBA playoffs in points per game in the fourth quarter with 8.3, including 11 against the Heat in Game 1. The Bulls will need him to come through once again to have a shot against the Heat in Game 2.

 

The Brooklyn Nets season has ended, with a 49-33 regular season record and a 3-4 postseason record, and much like in the regular season, we've got three winners for our first-round contest, The BK Playoff Game:

First place: Brian McNamara
Second place: Joey Convery
Third place: Rebecca Nesi

Congrats!

Fun note: Joey also finished second in our regular season game, The BK Game Streak. Always a bridesmaid...

On to important news: the Nets may be out of the playoffs, but we're not. We're going to continue The BK Playoff Game for each round of the playoffs, with a lean towards following the NBA playoffs as a whole.

Here's how it'll work: Each day that there's a playoff game, we'll have three things to watch in the NBA playoffs. Each note will be accompanied by a contest. We'll announce winners after each round.

Here's today's three things to watch:

1) Chicago's resiliency. If any team's fanbase knows how good this Chicago team can be, it's Brooklyn. The Nets an up against a supremely focused and prepared Chicago roster, and the Bulls ended up the victors despite missing Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and Luol Deng. Now the Bulls take on a much tougher task: the defending NBA champion Miami Heat, who have had a week of rest after sweeping the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. All signs point to a Miami victory -- but they also pointed to a Brooklyn one in Game 7.

Weight: If you pick YES and it happens, you'll win nine points. If you pick NO and it happens, you'll win one point. Wrong answers do not affect your score.

2) Stephen Curry. At 24.3 points per game, Curry leads all players in tonight's Warriors-Spurs matchup in points per game in the playoffs. He can score in a variety of ways, most notably from behind the three-point line; I've never seen someone who has as many moves into scoring from beyond the arc. He's not just a spot-up shooter or an in-rhythm shooter, he's a fire-from-25-feet-at-any-angle shooter. He dropped 54 points against the New York Knicks this year and look how he did it. Just watch from 3:15 on if you're short on time. It's insane. While Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker all have the capacity for enormous scoring nights, no player shoots as frequently or as efficiently as Curry does.

Weight: If you pick YES and it happens, you'll win six points. If you pick NO and it happens, you'll win four points. Wrong answers do not affect your score.

3) LeBron James. James deservedly earned his fourth MVP Award this weekend for what's arguably his best season yet: as Brian Windhorst eloquently stated, James moved from competitor to chessmaster this season, dominating the mental aspect of the game like never before. After finishing the season with averages of 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game, shooting 56.5% from the field and 40.6% from three-point range on nearly 18 shots per game. One way to celebrate this accomplishment: by notching his fifth triple-double of the season and his first of the playoffs. James was on cruise control against the hapless Milwaukee Bucks -- how will he adjust to the Bulls?

Weight: If you pick YES and it happens, you'll win seven points. If you pick NO and it happens, you'll win three points. Wrong answers do not affect your score.

 

A Crew Goes To Brooklyn

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andrewlordahl2

 

 


We should feed him this ALL DAY.

After back-to-back losses to the reigning champion Miami Heat and reigning Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder, the Golden State Warriors come to town to take on the Brooklyn Nets tonight at Barclays Center. The Warriors are 11-7 and have won four of their last five games, but they're also in their second game of a seven-game East Coast road trip.

I haven't seen too much Warriors basketball, except I did have the pleasure of watching this live, which was, uh, well, just watch:

Wouldn't it be nice if Brook Lopez did that on Nikola Pekovic just once while the Nets were blowing a 22-point lead at home against Minnesota?

Outside of that game, I haven't watched enough Golden State basketball, so I asked someone who does to help us learn a little more about the team. Joining me to talk Warriors is J.M. Poulard, blogger at ESPN TrueHoop Warriors Affiliate WarriorsWorld. J.M. knows his Warriors -- follow him tonight for the alternate perspective on tonight's contest.

Usual format: I ask J.M. three questions on the Golden State Warriors, he asks me three on the Brooklyn Nets. Onward!

J.M. Poulard on the Golden State Warriors

 
Devin: Are the Warriors better or worse off after the Monta Ellis trade?

J.M.:... MORE →

 

 

Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson

(AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Chat it up in tonight's game thread!

The Brooklyn Nets (6-3) face the Golden State Warriors (5-5) at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California tonight. Here's all you need to know about tonight's matchup.

Remember: you can grade the players at any time.
... MORE →

 

Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors

Harrison Barnes could've been a Brooklyn Net. Now he & the Warriors play Brooklyn tonight. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)

So the Brooklyn Nets lost last night in a semi-heartbreaker, falling 93-90 (I refuse to believe those last two free throws, with 0.2 seconds left and no chance of anything important happening, really counted) to the Los Angeles Lakers. But they (nor we) can dwell on that: the Nets schedule doesn't stop because the whistles do. Tonight, the 6-3 Brooklyn Nets take on the 6-5 Golden State Warriors in the Bay Area, finishing off their road trip with another 10:30 EST game.

The Warriors are always good for an interesting matchup, even without starting center Andrew Bogut (out indefinitely with an ankle injury) and backup wing Brandon Rush (out for the season after knee surgery). To give us a little insight into how interesting they are, I'm joined by Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN TrueHoop Warriors blog Warriors World. Ethan is also an NBA Lead Writer for Bleacher Report, and contributor to HoopSpeak and ESPN.com.

In today's edition, I ask Ethan three questions about the Golden State Warriors, and he asks me three questions about the Brooklyn Nets. Onward!

Ethan on the Golden State Warriors

 
Devin: How have your preseason expectations changed, if at all, for this Warriors team?... MORE →