Why the Golden State Warriors Won’t Peak Until The 2014-15 Season


Apr 20, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Richard Jefferson (44) before game one of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors have an interesting offseason ahead of them. They have a promising starting five that, if healthy, will be one of the most talented in the league. Unfortunately, a talented starting lineup can only take a team so far. To make deep playoff runs, a team must have a bench with talented, consistent role players.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, two disastrous contracts are keeping them from making moves this offseason to come back stronger next year. Andris Biedrins will be making $9 million and Richard Jefferson will be making $11 million next year. As two of the five highest paid players on the team, their contribution to the Warriors’ efforts are not just negligible, but completely detrimental.

Both Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, who were the anchors of the bench in 2012-13, will likely seek bigger roles and more money elsewhere. Jack, who is a free agent, has expressed his desire to stay with Golden State. Even if the Warriors are able to keep either Jack or Landry, Golden State will undoubtedly struggle off the bench without the both of them to provide an offensive punch.

Biedrins has not been relevant in the NBA since the 2010-11 season, and even that is a bit generous. He averaged half a point and less than three rebounds per game this season. Quite possibly the only thing most Warriors fans will remember about Biedrins will come from this highlight from November 10 against Denver.

Biedrins, who was 4-of-13 from the stripe all season, made two in a row, prompting a standing ovation. As the fourth highest paid Warrior, Biedrins is one of the most overpaid players in the league and will hurt the Warriors’ offseason aspirations.

Jefferson, who will be the third highest Warrior next season, averaged three points and one assist this past season.To put that into perspective, he was made nearly $58,000 per point, while Stephen Curry made a little over $2,000 per point.

It looks like it’s not even just the Warriors that have a problem with Jefferson’s contract.

I could be looking too deep into this shove, but Tim Duncan looks like he has some real hatred towards Jefferson. The San Antonio Spurs, who paid Jefferson way too much money, suffered the same fate the Warriors are now. Unfortunately, it cost the Spurs’ title aspirations.

The Warriors will be a very good team next season. A healthy Bogut, David Lee and Curry are a scary trio to deal with. The maturation of budding stars like Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes give the Warriors years of success to look forward to. Still, the $20 million on the payroll essentially being paid for warming the bench will prevent the Warriors from peaking.

Look forward to the 2014-15 season when the Warriors can make big acquisitions. Once the Warriors have the money to pay for solid role players to support their talented starting five, they will be a force to be reckoned with for many seasons to come.