2. Golden State will address two major issues but not a third
Looking back to last season, the Warriors regular season was plagued by three major issues — their defense, the production of their bench unit, and horrific form on the road. None of the three were mutually exclusive, with the combination limiting the reigning champion Warriors to just a 44-38 record and sixth-place in the Western Conference. All three will evidently be areas of focus for Steve Kerr this season.
Firstly, Golden State are good enough to suggest that their woeful 11-30 road record (ranked 27th) last season is simply a one-off outlier rather than something that will become a regular issue.
The chemistry issues were evident, particularly on the road where the motivation levels couldn’t be raised by the emotion of a home crowd. Based on preseason, the ‘good vibes’ appear to have returned and that should lead to an improved road record.
Bench production should provide the greatest contrast from last season where the Warriors ranked 17th. With one of the greatest point-guards of all-time in Chris Paul running their second unit, increased output from Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, and the savvy free ageny acquisition of Dario Saric, Golden State could well push into a top 10 bench unit.
However, while the road record and bench should be addressed, the defensive issues may not be a thing of the past. After falling from second in 2021-22 to 14th last season, the Warriors ranked 22nd in preseason despite their 4-1 record.
The absence of Draymond Green means that should be taken with a grain of salt, but it doesn’t change the fact Golden State are small, not overly athletic, and are now even older. The Warriors will be relying on their veteran IQ and smarts on both ends of the floor, but that may not be enough to improve defensively.