On paper, there’s no question that the Warriors are an improved team from a year ago. The team is deeper than it has ever been in recent memory and there is now an All-NBA caliber center manning the middle. Whether or not these improvements translate into more wins remains to be seen – the season starts Wednesday – but for now we can just discuss a few issues facing the team, and that’s exactly what this Bloggers Roundtable has done in recent days. And today, Steve Berman (Bay Area Sports Guy), Adam Lauridsen (Fast Break), Ben Cruz (Warriors World), Ethan Sherwood Strauss (Bleacher Report) and Rich Twu (Golden State of Mind) offer their thoughts on the question below:
Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BASportsGuy
Klay Thompson comes in as the unquestioned starter at shooting guard, and could make a huge leap in his sophomore season. We know he can shoot, but how has he improved as a defender, ball-handler and rebounder? What subtle tricks has he learned to get to the foul line more often and get free with intelligent footwork off the ball? It will be interesting to see Thompson's progression this year in all of those areas.
Adam Lauridsen | Fast Break | @GSWFastBreak
Klay Thompson, although he was already making the leap at the end of last season. I expect him to round out his game even more so he's not simply a jump-shooter. If he consistently attacks the rim and makes use of his excellent size, he's going to be one of the toughest assignments in the league. And while not exactly "most improved," I'd make a pitch for Charles Jenkins as a sleeper. He was rapidly improving at the end of last season and – while buried in the depth chart – should continue to develop his game this year.
Ben Cruz | Warriors World | @cruzkontrol
The most improved player will be second-year guard Klay Thompson. He's taken great strides from day one as a Warrior and took even bigger strides once he was handed the starting 2-guard job with the departure of Monta Ellis. He has proven that he is a more than capable scorer and has also improved his ability to put the ball on the floor as well as find open teammates to score. He seemed like a one-dimensional scorer when he was drafted last year at number 11 but slowly he has started to expand his game and become a more complete basketball player.
Ethan Sherwood Strauss | Bleacher Report | @SherwoodStrauss
Charles Jenkins, because there's plenty of room for improvement. He's mastered the long two pointer, and could really benefit from stepping back a few paces and drilling shots that count for "three."
Rich Twu | Golden State of Mind | @poormanscommish
Again, in the Warriors best interests, and if you're talking within a season, you're hoping that Harrison Barnes will be the most improved. But from season to season, with Monta gone, NBA observers from outside the Bay Area may see a spike in Steph Curry's production as a point guard, notably with assists and perhaps more "efficient" shooting numbers. Here in the Bay, we'll all say that we knew Steph could do that even when he had to play alongside Monta, but NBA pundits will probably have wider eyes open for Steph.
Klay Thompson might also be the most improved, but he's already being talked about in many NBA circles, so the "wow" factor for Klay isn't quite there right now, that moment has already passed. Often times, the "most improved player" label just happens from intangible circumstances like that.
We'll wrap up the Bloggers Roundtable on Monday with a look at which Warriors player should take the big shot when the game is on the line. You can share your thoughts on that matter in the comments below and read up on the rest of the bloggers’ discussion at the following links.
Who do you think will be the most improved player on the Warriors roster this season? Would you like to share those thoughts on warriors.com? The warriors.com staff is seeking writers/bloggers who can capture the “fan voice” on The Blog Squad. Send your Warriors-themed writing samples to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and your work could be featured right here on warriors.com.