With the acquisition of Andre Iguodala, the Golden State Warriors have bolstered their starting lineup. Defensively, Iguodala is a major upgrade from Barnes and gives the Warriors a player who is a proven defensive stopper.
The Warriors will likely have a starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut. Though each of those Warriors and the former Nugget had great 2012-13 seasons, there are substandard parts to their game. If the Warriors want to return to the playoffs and ultimately compete for a championship, the starting lineup has to improve.
Here is one thing each starter needs to work on to improve during the offseason:
Stephen Curry: Clutch
Curry went from an overlooked point guard to a fully realized superstar in the span of one season. Though he can score with the best of them, Curry has a huge disadvantage in his inability to be clutch.
During the 2012-13 season, Curry shot 46.6 percent with at least three minutes remaining in a quarter. However, after the nine- minute marker, Curry shot 37.3 percent.
If the Warriors are going to lean on him, Curry needs to make the tough shots at the end of quarters. Curry’s inability to effectively create his own shot relegated the playmaking to the hands of Jarrett Jack, a very capable point guard but not the Warriors’ star player.
Klay Thompson: Aggressiveness
Thompson was a spot-up, catch-and-shoot player in 2012-13. Though this served him well, the Warriors would have benefited from having him be more aggressive.
Thompson is a 6’7” shooting guard that can take advantage of many size advantages on the offensive end. Curry is often guarded by the opposing team’s larger, more physical guard, leaving Thompson guarded by the smaller point guards.
Thompson needs to create shots on post-up isolation plays against smaller guards like Tony Parker. Once he is able to do so, the Warriors will be able to punish opposing teams for switching on Curry and Thompson.
Iguodala is expected to be the starting small forward for the 2013-14 season. Though he has made a career with his physical, aggressive play, he needs to improve his free-throw percentage to be an effective wing player.
The Warriors don’t have a slasher who can consistently draw fouls, and Iguodala only attempted 3.4 free-throws per game, less than Curry. When he did get to the line, Iguodala only shot 57.4 percent. Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson carried the weight of penetrating and getting to the stripe, but the Warriors don’t have that luxury. Iguodala needs to fulfill that role for the Warriors at an effective pace.
Lee needs to work on his defense. There are Warriors who can cover Lee’s defensive liabilities, but in the end, Lee needs to be able to alter shots of other power forwards in the league.
Bogut is the Warrior most needing to get healthy in the offseason. Despite all the Dwight Howard rumors over the past week, Bogut may be the Warrior most vital to Golden State’s success next season.
Bogut only played in 32 regular season games last season. As the defensive anchor of the team, Bogut needs to be the body that patrols the paint and covers the defensive mistakes of the rest of the team. Festus Ezeli’s injury has increased Bogut’s value for the Warriors even further.
The Warriors went on a tear mid-season without Bogut that helped them secure a spot in the playoffs. By the end of the season, even with Bogut in the starting lineup, the Warriors nearly fell to the eighth seed by the end of the season. If Bogut can reliably provide a defensive presence throughout the season, the Warriors will be a nightmare to deal with.