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With another season of Warriors basketball in the books, we look back on the year that was with Grant Hughes (Bleacher Report), Sarah Todd (SFBay.ca) and Steve Berman (Bay Area Sports Guy) while also taking a look at the NBA playoff picture now that the Dubs are no longer in it.

What lasting impression do you have of the 2013-14 Warriors?

Grant Hughes | Bleacher Report | @g30three
It's hard to avoid the word "disappointing" when talking about this year's Warriors. With a more varied offensive plan and a fully healthy Andrew Bogut, it's fair to assume they could have advanced past the Clippers in the first round. More than that, though, I think I'll remember this past season as the one in which the Warriors matured into the kind of franchise they want to be.

The Dubs finally became the defensive powerhouse fans (or this fan, anyway) had been desperate to see for decades. They worked extremely hard on that end of the floor and had a solid scheme. The result was the third-best defense in the league. And an emphasis on defense wasn't the only pivotal change in the Warriors this year. They also conducted themselves like a top-flight team that expected to win. Anyone who's been around the Bay Area for a while knows that was a new and welcome development, too.

Standards are higher now, and so are expectations. Golden State grew up in 2013-14, and that's a good thing.

Sarah Todd | SFBay.ca Sports Director/Warriors Reporter | @NBASarah
I think the overall impression is that the pieces are almost there, but slightly missing the mark (pun intended). The Warriors need to be a deeper team and had they not been missing so much of the front line late in the season, the team might be continuing their campaign right now. As far as players go—continued improvement all around is going to make the next season very interesting. Steph learning how to break out of the situations he was in with the Clippers, Klay taking control more and driving, Festus' comeback and skill level, and Draymond continuing to be a breakout star. The impression I have is that these players are going to put in a great deal of work in the offseason in order to make a deeper run in 2014-15.

Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BASportsGuy
This was a season where Stephen Curry backed up the promise we saw the season before. He's a bonafide star now, one of the top ten (five?) players in the league. For years the Warriors longed for such a player, and now they finally have one.

Unfortunately, despite growth in players like Draymond Green and Klay Thompson and the first 50-win season in 20 years, I'll remember the drama from this year as much as anything else. The expectations got a little out of control before the season started, and as a result the head coaching situation was a question mark all season. Throw in the isolation-dependent offense, strange substitution patterns, several eyebrow-raising losses at home, no public support from the owner and the loss of two assistant coaches, and Mark Jackson's future was always part of the story. Just three days after the season ended we found out the end to that saga, and now it's on the Warriors to make sure that the hard work and growth shown by key players won't go to waste next season.

Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes says that 2013-14 season saw the Warriors mature into a top-flight team that expected to win. (photo: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty)

Now that the Warriors are out, what are you most looking forward to in the 2014 NBA postseason? And what are your predictions for the NBA Finals?

Sarah Todd | SFBay.ca Sports Director/Warriors Reporter | @NBASarah
Now that the Warriors are out I'm most looking forward to enjoying the playoffs as a spectator and not as a reporter. I think all of the current series are exciting ones, but ultimately I predict a Miami v San Antonio rematch with Miami winning in 6.

Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BASportsGuy
I'm looking forward to the Finals now, because it seems inevitable that we'll get a rematch of last year's classic battle between the Spurs and the Heat. I have a feeling we'll see the same result (Heat in seven), but the Spurs are bringing a little more firepower to this postseason than they did last year. Miami's advantage: their road to the Finals is so much easier than San Antonio's. They should be much fresher than the Spurs *if* they meet again, and a healthy, energetic LeBron James is nearly impossible to stop.

Grant Hughes | Bleacher Report | @g30three
Like most fans, I'm excited to see if the Spurs can make yet another trip to the Finals on the strength of the best system in basketball (They can.) and if the Heat are ever going to shift into that extra gear we've all been hearing so much about. (They will.) I guess that makes my official Finals prediction pretty clear. Boring, huh?

Beyond that, I think my favorite storyline is the ongoing collapse of the Indiana Pacers. Maybe it's macabre, but their total implosion is fascinating. We've never seen a team reach such heights and then fall apart so completely in the span of a couple of months. Part of me wants to believe they'll rediscover what once made them so dominant on defense and so, well, half-decent on offense. But another part of me thinks whatever magic Indy had is now completely gone. Whatever happens with the Pacers from here on out will be great theater—either because of their triumphant return to form or their dramatic failure. Either way, I'll be entertained. And isn't that what the playoffs are all about: entertaining me, specifically?

 

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Golden State Warriors.

 

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