February 12, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons (25) shoots the ball against Golden State Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes (40) during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Rockets defeated the Warriors 116-107. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors: 6 Possible Opening Night Lineups


Every NBA coach and GM has countless options for their roster. Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, however, has a lot to figure out between his versatile swingmen and clogged wing rotation. Either way, he has to send out a team each night. A group that he expects to be productive when on the floor together.

With the arrivals of Marreese Speights and Andre Iguodala in addition to power forward David Lee returning from a torn hip flexor in April, Jackson will be faced with more possibilities than he otherwise would have.

Here are six possible opening night starting lineups for the Warriors come October.

Possibility 1

PG- Stephen Curry

SG- Klay Thompson

SF- Andre Iguodala

PF- David Lee

C- Andrew Bogut

 Why it makes sense: This will most likely be the Warriors starting lineup come opening night. It features new free agent acquisition Andre Iguodala, not to mention the return of David Lee. Iggy adds more defensive pressure, and look for the Splash Brothers (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson) to be even better this season than last.

Drawbacks- Starting Iggy at the small forward spot over Harrison Barnes takes away some of the wide open three’s that Curry and Thompson hit last season. Iguodala shot only 31.7% from three last season and defensives will gear up on Curry and Thompson from behind the arc and leave Iguodala be.

Likelihood- 8. This lineup features the best players at each position on the Warriors and come opening night is the lineup coach Mark Jackson will likely roll out.

Possibility 2

PG- Stephen Curry

SG- Klay Thompson

SF- Harrison Barnes

PF- David Lee

C- Andrew Bogut

Why it makes sense- With Barnes in at the small forward position the Warriors will be far more lethal on the offensive end of the floor than with Iggy. Barnes also has great chemistry with Thompson and Curry. Barnes averaged 16.1 points per game in the postseason, more than Thompson and Bogut and would be an offensive upgrade over Iguodala on that end.

Drawbacks- What one giveth, one taketh away. Barnes provides the Warriors with an offensive upgrade but Iguodala is a night-and-day better defender than Barnes.

Likelihood- 4. If this five shows growth and improvement in the preseason then coach Jackson is likely to start these five guys. He knows they can play together and have been successful in the past as a unit, which should help their cause.

Possibility 3

PG- Stephen Curry

SG- Harrison Barnes

SF- Andre Iguodala

PF- David Lee

C- Andrew Bogut

Why it makes sense- Thompson provides the Warriors with the best offensive punch off the bench and would in turn become the focal point of the Warriors second unit. Iguodala would lock down opposing small forwards and Harrison Barnes would be able to take advantage of his opposing two-guard on both ends of the floor.

Drawbacks- There would be no more Splash Brothers. With Curry and Thompson not on the floor together to start games, the Warriors game plan would be drastically different and the shot that made the Warriors so lethal all season would be hindered and limited.

Likelihood- 1. Very little chance Mark Jackson breaks up the Splash brothers.

Possibility 4

PG- Stephen Curry

SG- Klay Thompson

SF- Harrison Barnes

PF- Andre Iguodala

C- Andrew Bogut

Why it makes sense- Small-ball, my dear Watson. This allows the Warriors to be even more lethal on the perimeter and would free up even more space for shooters like Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. It would provide more room for a slasher like Andre Iguodala and would also require little movement from Andrew Bogut, which is always a positive.

Another reason why the lineup could be used is if David Lee needs more time to recover or if Coach Jackson wants to ease him into the season. If Lee isn’t 1,000 percent ready to go by opening night then look for this lineup to be heavily used.

Drawbacks- The Warriors would be overmatched defensively against bigger opponents such as the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Memphis Grizzlies. Andre Iguodala is too small to defend the likes off Blake Griffin, Omer Asik, and Zach Randolph respectively.

Likelihood- 3. This lineup would only really be used as a starting five if Lee is not ready to go by late October. If Lee is ready to go then the chance of this five starting a game together is even more diminished.

Possibility 5

PG- Stephen Curry

SG-Klay Thompson

SF- Harrison Barnes

PF- Andre Iguodala

C- David Lee

Why it makes sense- This lineup is similar to the two-time defending champion Miami Heat’s five. The Heat start Mario Chalmers, Dwayne Wade, either Shane Battier or Mike Miller, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. They move their best defensive small forward to the four, and their power forward to the center slot playing without a true center for much of the game. For the Warriors, this moves Andre Iguodala to the power forward spot and David Lee to the center spot pushing Andrew Bogut to the bench.

Drawbacks- Much like the lineup above, the Warriors would be vulnerable to bigger teams such as the Grizzlies and Clippers. Lee is one of the worst defenders in the league and this puts the Dubs at a steep disadvantage defensively.

Likelihood- 1. This puts the Warriors at too much of a defensive disadvantage. They couldn’t stop a nose bleed with this lineup.

Possibility 6

PG-Stephen Curry

SG- Klay Thompson

SF- Andre Iguodala

PF- Marreese Speights

C- Andrew Bogut

 Why it makes sense- The Warriors play two good defensive  big men to start games and have two scorers coming off the bench. They are able to hold serve against big lineups of the Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, and Los Angeles Clippers, but when the second unit comes in, they will have the best in the league.

This lineup would not play much time together, but it could very easily be one of the Warriors’ most productive fives come next season.

 Drawbacks- Both Lee and Barnes could grow tired of newcomer Marreese Speights stealing their minutes. Both would likely prefer starter minutes, and if both came off the bench then they would both be relegated to 22-28 minutes per game individually. This also allows teams to lock down on Curry and Thompson, as Iguodala and Speights are not dominant offense players like Lee or Barnes.

Likelihood- 0.5. There is very little actual chance that Jackson starts Mo Speights over David Lee. It might have been more justifiable five years ago, but Lee is too productive of a player. Lee led the league in double-doubles last season whereas Speights struggled to play more than 20 minutes per game.

Tags: Andre Iguodala Andrew Bogut Golden State Warriors Harrison Barnes Klay Thompson Mark Jackson Marreese Speights NBA Offseason Stephen Curry

  • Raj Kanani

    Hey buddy… Harrison Barnes is bigger then Iguodala…. if they’re both on the floor, Barnes would be guarding the bigger player.

    • Ben Pickman

      I appreciate the read and comment.

      But Barnes is only an inch taller.And Iggy is stronger and a far better defender. Iggy plays like a stronger player, he is a slasher. He attacks the rim. Barnes is a more finesse player. He likes the perimeter more than the rim.

      • Nicholas Mcilroy

        According to Draft Express (I have no idea if they update veterans pages) Iguodala weighs 217 pounds, is 6’6.75″ in shoes with a 6’11″ wing span compared to Barnes is 6’8″ in shoes (that’s a little more than an inch), but Harrison is 228 pounds and it’s been observed that he’s added 15 pounds of muscle. On top of that he has a 6’11.25″ wingspan and is eight years younger. From a purely physical standpoint, Harrison is the superior athlete at this juncture.

        In your article you note the superior defender should take the four spot, and we both know that Iguodala is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Yet that one inch you give to Speights to justify him being a better post player over Lee seems like a contradiction when you bring that same logic to Barnes vs Iguodala. Barnes is only 21, and rookies don’t normally play solid defense their first year. Yet he added 15 pounds specifically to out muscle smaller players and stand his ground better against power forwards.

        My tip of the hat goes to Raj on this one

        • Ben Pickman

          Nicholas, your comment about Barnes vs Iggy is a fair and valid one. Iggy’s wingspan is almost identical as Barnes and there height and weight are comparable enough. Those factors are not all that go into matchups though. I think that barnes will improve but because his offensive game is also better and his possible offensive production will be necessary, coach Jackson would not want him to battle in the post for 4 quarters, whereas Iggy can and might also because he does not need as much added energy on offense.

          Lee is notorious around the league to be one of the worst paint defenders. Speights role in the NBA is defense and rebounding. Height and weight are not the factors I used to decide defensive matchups. Lee statistically is very poor in post defense. Lee allowed a basket when defending a post-up 44% of the time, whereas Speights on the Grizzlies allowed an opposing player to score on post-ups only 33% of the time (via Synergy Sports).

          • Raj Kanani
          • Ben Pickman

            You both make good points about Barnes and Iggy. Maybe Barnes will play more than him at the four. I would not be surprised if either will play 8-12 minutes per game there depending on matchup. Defending someone like Carmelo Anthony when he plays the four is very different then defending Z-Bo. I bet Iggy would defend Melo in that scenario as Melo himself is a small-ball four.

            I’m not sure what you arguing about Lee/Speights. But that seems fair

          • Nicholas Mcilroy

            For arguments sake, let’s incorporate those 15 pounds into Barnes’ weight, which would bring him up to 243 pounds, that’s 26 pounds heavier than Iguodala.

            Neither player is going to play 30 minutes at the 4, but really either could play 8-12 minutes pretty effectively. Of course neither would be very effective against most of the PFs out there, so it would have to be against other small ball line ups. In Denver, I thought Danillo Galinari played the stretch four, but I’m going off of memory on that one.

            Unfortunately, Lee is a worse defender than Speights, but I’d wager that if he were an inch of height he’d be able to bother shots easier and play better defense against the Pau Gasols and the Zach Randolphs.

            Speaking of wagers, I’d put money down that Speights averages 1.2 blocks per game this coming season.

  • RJS77

    Who plays the most minutes, especially in the 4th quarter is more important than who starts. Check out these combinations that could be used throughout the game:

    primary unit
    1a and 2c- Steph
    2a and 3d – Klay
    3a, 2b, 1c, 4d – Iguodala
    4a and 5d – David
    5a – Andrew

    second unit, defense
    1b and 2d – Toney
    3a, 2b, 1c, 4d – Iguodala
    3b, 4c and 1f – Harrison
    4b, 5c – Mareese
    4e and 5b – Jermaine

    small ball with Steph as shooting guard
    3a, 2b, 1c, 4d – Iguodala
    1a and 2c- Steph
    3c and 3e – Draymond
    3b, 4c and 1f – Harrison
    4b, 5c – Mareese

    more small ball with permitter d
    1d and 2e – Kent
    1b and 2d – Toney
    2a and 3d – Klay
    3a, 2b, 1c, 4d – Iguodala
    4a and 5d – David

    off the bench, when Festus is healthy, otherwise use Speights
    1e and 2f – Nemanja
    1d and 2e – Kent
    3c and 3e – Draymond
    4e and 5b – Jermaine
    4f and 5e – Festus

    inactives to be developed
    1f and 2 g – Seth
    5f – Ognjen
    5g – Dewayne