The 2014-2015 NBA season is approaching, and it’s time to lay out predictions for how the Warriors will fare under a new head coach and increased expectations.
The following is a discussion by the staff at Blue Man Hoop on where the Dubs will finish in the standings next season:
Eric He, Editor:
The Warriors will finish fourth in the West. I have the Spurs, Thunder, or Clippers locking down the top three spots, and I think the battle for the fourth seed will come down to the Warriors, Rockets, and Trail Blazers. Neither team improved dramatically this offseason, and the Rockets lost a couple key contributors in Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin. If the Warriors have everyone healthy and Steve Kerr draws up even a slightly better offensive scheme than they had last season, they should be able to grab home-court advantage in the first round.
Jordan Lee, Staff Writer:
I tend to be overly optimistic in my predictions. Steve Kerr has convinced me that he can run a better offense than Mark Jackson, and I expect both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to have career years due to their contracts ending. David Lee has been working on his jumper and Marreese Speights is determined to earn a bigger role this year. I’m going to put the Warriors third in the West.
Kevin Wang, Staff Writer:
Optimistically, the Warriors will lock up the final home court in round one , but I see them falling as far as the sixth seed again this year. It’s hard to bet against the incumbent division champs and the rest of the conference seeding will again be decided in the final month. I’m looking for Houston and Memphis to recede in the ranks but I’m buying the hype on Phoenix and Dallas to improve from last season. With the core still intact, another 50+ win campaign seems probable for the Warriors; however, the competition makes it hard to bet on them making the leap into the top three.
Rahil Mathur, Staff Writer
As a Warriors fan, I want to say the third seed, behind just the Spurs and the Thunder in some order. However, the realist in me predicts the fifth seed, behind some combination of the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, and Grizzlies. The Grizzlies had several injuries last year which hindered their regular season performance, so a top seed is certainly feasible. The additions of Kerr and his coaching staff as well as a stronger bench should propel the Warriors forward in the standings, but the competition in the West makes it hard to make a significant leap.
Jack Hoang, Staff Writer
The Warriors filled in some key holes in the offseason regarding their bench. The addition of Shaun Livingston and Brandon Rush and the return of Festus Ezeli will greatly improve the team’s overall performance. I predict the Warriors will beat out Rockets in the standings and compete with the Portland Trail Blazers for the fourth seed. It is going to come close, but the Warriors have a slight upper hand if the team can remain healthy.
Kapil Kashyap, Staff Writer
In a world where the Warriors are instantly able to buy into Kerr’s new offensive schemes, Harrison Barnes returns to his 2013 playoffs form, and Bogut and Ezeli are able to remain consistently healthy, the Warriors can conceivably finish third in the West next season. In reality, taking into consideration the landscape of the Western Conference, I think the Warriors will finish fifth. The Clippers, Spurs, and Thunder look poised to retain their spots in the top three and with a healthy Marc Gasol, I believe the Grizzlies can win close to 55 games to earn a top-four seed. After a fairly disastrous offseason, the Rockets will slide into a fringe playoff team and I don’t see the Trail Blazers being able to achieve the same early-season magic we witnessed last year.
Matt Packer, Staff Writer
Kerr and his new coaching staff will have an enormous influence in how successful Golden State is in the regular season. If the Warriors can stay healthy (and that’s always a big if), I can see the Warriors landing the fourth seed. The addition of Rush and Livingston will provide much needed depth to the Warriors’ backcourt, but they didn’t make any drastic changes to last year’s roster that finished sixth. The incumbent powers of the Thunder and Spurs should stay at the top of the Western Conference. I also believe the Clippers adding Spencer Hawes to their already talented frontcourt slightly nudges them ahead of the Warriors in the standings. If Kerr’s principles take a while to stick or any key player gets banged up, I could see the Mavericks or Grizzlies jumping the Warriors for the fourth seed. The Suns, Pelicans, and Blazers are also legitimate threats to keep an eye on.
Greg Chin, Staff Writer
The Warriors’ success next season will depend strongly on how well the team is able to pick up the Triangle offense. On paper, it seems like a perfect fit and the extra spacing afforded to our shooters will make the team all the more deadlier on offense. I believe that they can challenge the Clippers and Dallas for third as all teams are almost equal in talent, and the distinction will come in the form of coaching. The lack of a backup center is also worrisome, as if Bogut gets injured, the Warriorse would be forced to play small ball with David Lee or Draymond Green at center. Let’s hope Jermaine O’Neal re-signs. All in all, I believe the Warriors can finish third if the coaching transition is smooth.
Scott Goodell, Staff Writer
Did the Warriors do enough this offseason to give fans a reason to believe they’ll change dramatically in the standings? Livingston is a good signing and will greatly improve the bench respect and depth. However, they were not able to land the stretch four Kerr stated as a desire for his roster. Unless Lee can transform into “two seasons ago” David Lee, his roster spot will continue to be a question mark. The good thing about having young talent is team improvement can come from what you already have as oppose to having to improve in free agency or the draft. Thompson, Draymond Green, and even Stephen Curry should improve with another year under their belts as each player drifts closer to their respective prime. Harrison Barnes is this team’s wild card. At this point, he should be feeling the heat of a giant spotlight glaring on his back going into his third season. Poor circumstances aside, everyone could see major holes in Barnes’ game when he was trotted out last season. If he dedicated himself this summer and comes back a confident asset, this team could start to drift into home court advantage conversations. With all that said, this team feels like a fifth seed in the West next season. I wouldn’t be shocked by a fourth or sixth seed either.
Ben Pickman, Staff Writer
Legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully once said, “Good is not good when better is expected.” That message epitomized Joe Lacob’s mindset when firing Jackson last June. In 2014, with Kerr running the show, the Warriors will edge out the Clippers for the Pacific Division. If the Warriors do fall just short of the Clippers, I expect the Dubs to fall to at least the fifth seed as I expect a much improved, reenergized Mavericks team to be the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
Ryan Hurlow, Staff Writer
Ideally, the Warriors should surpass their previously record of 51 wins and secure at least a fourth seed next season. Hopefully, the days of isolation-heavy offense are over with Kerr and his coaching staff implementing an offense more focused on ball and player movement. Should the Warriors remain relatively healthy (especially Bogut and Ezeli), they have the personnel needed to run a flowing offense while maintaining the defensive prowess they displayed last season. Green should show even more signs of improvement and Kerr may be able to utilize Barnes more effectively. However, playing in the Western Conference is always a challenge with the Thunder and Spurs most likely keeping their seats at the top, the Clippers improving their bench depth, and hungry teams like the Blazers, Mavericks, Grizzlies, and Suns posing a constant threat. I predict another close race for playoff seeding this season.
Vernon Ratliff, Staff Writer
I can see the Warriors landing the fourth seed. Of course, we know the West will be very competitive — the Spurs will be in their usual form, then the Thunder, Clippers, and finally the Warriors. The Warriors may battle the Grizzlies for the fourth seed, and I don’t expect the Trail Blazers and Rockets to play anything like last season.
Michael Shultz, Staff Writer
The Warriors should be battling the Clippers for the Pacific Division title throughout the season. I feel the Warriors will get over the top this season thanks to their new man in charge in Kerr. Even though he has absolutely no coaching experience, he brings an offensive philosophy that Jackson did not: ball movement. Barnes and Andre Iguodala should thrive under Kerr’s proposed system instead of standing in the corner and constantly being isolated. The bench should also be much better with the additions of Rush, Livingston and possibility Lee, giving the Warriors one the best benches in the league. The Splash Brothers will continue to improve and everyone will forget about the possible acquisition of Kevin Love. The Warriors should finish third in the Western Conference behind the Thunder and the Spurs and will perform well in the playoffs.
Check back next week for another roundtable discussion from our staff writers.
Tags: Golden State Warriors