It's a safe bet that for the 18th time in 19 seasons the Warriors aren't going to make the playoffs. Instead of harboring—and being disappointed by—unrealistic expectations, they should be focused on the future by reestablishing the health and confidence of point guard Stephen Curry and center Andrew Bogut. (Curry, who had surgery on his right ankle in April, has been given a clean bill of health; Bogut, who fractured his left ankle in January, hopes to be ready for the season opener.)
The midseason deal that brought in Bogut sent the team's leading scorer, Monta Ellis, to Milwaukee. Ellis and Curry, two players with similar frames and similar games, never meshed well. Klay Thompson took Ellis's place in the lineup; while his numbers improved (he averaged 18.1 points as a starter), the team went just 6--17 after the deal. Coach Mark Jackson has to utilize the shooting of Thompson and first-round pick Harrison Barnes—and fix a D that has been in the top 10 only once since 1978--79.
COACH: Mark Jackson (2nd season with Warriors)
2011--12 RECORD: 23--43 (4th in Pacific)
OFFENSE: 97.8 ppg (12th)
DEFENSE: 101.2 ppg (28th)
PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE: 23.1 ppg (17th)
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
New acquisition (R) Rookie (college stats)
A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE WARRIORS
This is a bad team with an unproven coach and a poor mix of players. All of them are overrated, with the exception maybe of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.... The Warriors are making Andrew Bogut out to be the face of the franchise along with Curry, but I don't see it. Bogut is nothing special. He'd be good if he was your fifth-best guy.... I thought Curry would be a superstar, but injuries have set him back. Obviously he has deficiencies defensively, but, man, can he play at the other end.... Thompson can shoot the hell out of it. He can get a shot off screens with a really quick release, particularly for a young guy.... Everyone says David Lee is a great guy, but talk about overrated. He's looking for his own numbers big-time. I'm guessing he leads the league in rebounds off missed free throws. The story you hear from the Knicks is that his teammates used to call him FEMA, because he's never there when you need him.... I used to love Andris Biedrins. But no one has seen him perform for years now. He's the worst free throw shooter in the NBA, so he doesn't want to get fouled.
Curry thrives, Thompson and Barnes play well together, and the Warriors lay the groundwork for future playoff runs.
Injuries continue to slow Bogut and Curry, and the team's long-suffering fans have to put up with another roster overhaul.
Field goal percentage for Warriors opponents last season, their lowest in eight years. That improvement was offset on the boards—Golden State's foes grabbed an NBA-high 13.2 offensive rebounds per game.
ROCKY WIDNER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES