NBA Off-Season Preview: Golden State Warriors
Record (73-9) After a disappointing finish to the 2015-16 season, the Golden State Warriors will use the coming offseason to fine-tune their lineup in preparation for another run at an NBA championship. Unlike many teams, Golden State can move forward knowing they have an elite core returning. Unanimous MVP Stephen Curry, All-NBA Second Team member Draymond Green, All-NBA Third Team member Klay Thompson and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala are among those still signed to a Warriors contract and are expected to play in the Bay next year. Center Andrew Bogut, who was injured in Game 5 of this year’s NBA Finals, and sixth-man Shaun Livingston are also signed to team contracts through 2016-17. The Warriors have a number of unrestricted free agents, however. Swingman Harrison Barnes, who disappointed in the NBA Finals, is on the market along with back-up center Festus Ezeli, who started Game 7 of the Finals due to Bogut’s absence. There is also Leandro Barbosa, Marreese Speights and Brandon Rush, all of whom provided meaningful minutes off the bench this year for Golden State. If the recent rumors surrounding Kevin Durant and the Warriors prove to be true, then don’t expect Golden State to hang on to Barnes. Durant will come with a large price tag, and although the cap space is expanding, the Warriors would not be able afford both forwards. But it still remains uncertain if Durant even wants to leave Oklahoma City, which pushed Golden State to the brink in the Western Conference Finals before falling in seven games. If Durant chooses to stay with Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, the Warriors may potentially target veteran star Dirk Nowitzki to fill that hole. Beyond free agency, Golden State does have the 30th overall pick, the last selection of the first round, at its disposal in tomorrow’s NBA Draft. The Utah Jazz acquired Golden State’s second round and 60th overall pick, the last selection in the draft, as part of a three-team 2013 trade that most notably sent Iguodala to the Warriors. Golden State lacks a formidable back up for Klay Thompson at shooting guard, especially if the team chooses not to re-sign Barbosa. Deandre Bembry, an appealing hybrid guard/forward from St. Joseph’s, may be worth selecting late in the first round. Wade Baldwin IV (Vanderbilt) and Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia) are two other suitable guards that may be on the board when Golden State is on the clock. The Warriors could also be in the hunt for a small forward to replace Barnes and/or Brandon Rush. Daniel Hamilton (UConn) and Taurean Prince (Baylor) could be enticing options there. Whether it’s even possible to improve upon a team that went 73-9 last regular season, Steve Kerr and the rest of the Warriors organization will certainly intend to try.
NBA Off-Season Previews
Atlantic Division: Boston Celtics – Brooklyn Nets – New York Knicks – Philadelphia 76ers – Toronto Raptors Central Division: Chicago Bulls – Cleveland Cavaliers – Detroit Pistons – Indiana Pacers – Milwaukee Bucks Southeast Division: Atlanta Hawks – Charlotte Hornets – Miami Heat – Orlando Magic – Washington Wizards Southwest Division: Dallas Mavericks – Houston Rockets – Memphis Grizzlies – New Orleans Pelicans – San Antonio Spurs Northwest Division: Denver Nuggets – Minnesota Timberwolves – Oklahoma City Thunder – Portland Trail Blazers – Utah Jazz Pacific Division: Golden State Warriors – Los Angeles Clippers – Los Angeles Lakers – Phoenix Suns – Sacramento Kings