There’s no doubt that the 2013 Golden State Warriors campaign was successful. They made the playoffs, beat a higher seeded team and competed in a close series with the eventual Western Conference Champions. But like all young teams, the Warriors still have a lot of room to grow, and this past season was just the beginning.
The Warriors’ core is based around the perimeter trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. Curry’s the oldest of the three, but he’s only 25. Thompson will be heading into his third year while Barnes will just be a sophomore. Throw in the addition of David Lee and you have four starters that’ll be together until at least the end of the 2014-15 season.
Continuity among your core is important. It’s the reason the Spurs have been so successful around the Tim Duncan-Manu Ginobili-TonyParker trio. The comfort level and trust isn’t the same when teams have no continuity, just look at the Los Angeles Lakers this year.
But looking into the more immediate future, there’s still hope for the big rotation players to stay with the Warriors. Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry have both stated how much they love the team, the fans and the way things are run. Sure, one (or both) could leave for greener pastures, but the Warriors still are boosted with the return of the ultimate glue guy in Brandon Rush. Rush is a solid defensive player who can hit the three. Other teams have coveted him, but the Larry Riley has (smartly) said “no” to the suitors.
Another aspect that people are forgetting about is the development of the other three rookies. After a full professional season behind them, you can only expect more good things from Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green and Kent Bazemore.
Green and Ezeli already played quality minutes in the rotation and often provided excellent defense and rebounding. Green also helped out on the offensive end of the court, shooting really well from beyond the arc during the playoffs.
Ezeli needs more work on offense, as he often seems uncomfortable with the ball in his hands. Bazemore has potential. He was an excellent defender at Old Dominion and has the length and athleticism to do the same in the NBA. His offensive skill set is incredibly similar to Rush’s but is a lot less polished. If the Warriors don’t sign Rush to an extension next season, Bazemore would be the most likely reason.
Big things are coming to the Bay Area. The young team that gave the San Antonio Spurs the most losses this postseason (so far) was just in their first season together. Now that they’ve had more time to gel, and an offseason with their entire starting lineup working together (remember Bogut was injured), it’s not hard to fathom a Western Conference Championship berth for this team.