A new season of Warriors basketball is about to begin and we’re sure that all of #DubNation can agree it’s about time! With that in mind, we bring back the Bloggers Roundtable in which independent Warriors bloggers offer their opinions on questions issued by the warriors.com staff. This time, we’re previewing the season ahead in a three-part series with Adam Lauridsen (Fast Break), Grant Hughes (Bleacher Report), Steve Berman (Bay Area Sports Guy), Rich Twu (Let’s Go Warriors) and Ben Cruz (Bleacher Report). Let the three-part season preview begin …
Adam Lauridsen | Fast Break | @GSWFastBreak
Making it back to the second round of the playoffs. The Western Conference Finals would be a very successful year, but given all the tough teams in the West, that seems like too high a bar to set for a team that was in the lottery 2 years ago. On paper, the Warriors are clearly better than last year's team, but it remains to be seen whether they'll have the same chemistry and veteran leadership. The goal for this year should be to gain some seasoning, develop some chemistry and work on all the finer parts of the game that distinguish the true contenders.
Grant Hughes | Bleacher Report | @g30three
The easy answer would be something like "advancing further than last season's second-round playoff exit." But I get the feeling that people within the organization are dreaming bigger. During training camp, a few players threw out win totals in the 50s, but coach Mark Jackson put a quick stop to that, which leads me to believe that this is an organization that won't be satisfied by anything less than a championship.
Is that a realistic way to approach this season? That's harder to say. But I think the ambition is a pretty clear indicator of the kind of sea change the franchise has undergone over the past two years. Personally, I'd call the 2013-14 season a success if the Dubs win at least 50 games, rank among the league's 10 best defensive teams and stay healthy at key positions. If those things happen, the bigger dreams will take care of themselves.
Steve Berman | Bay Area Sports Guy | @BAAportsGuy
There's been a lot of chatter about 50 wins, but it's more important to make it further than they did last year in the playoffs. In that case, the label of "success" rides on whether or not the Warriors make it to the Western Conference Finals.
Rich Twu | Let's Go Warriors | @poormanscommish
Well, as always, that's in the eye of the beholder. Stephen Curry said in Beijing that his goal is for the Warriors to always be "in the conversation every year to win the championship." I think that sums it up. Whether it's being eliminated in the Western Conference Finals, as Jim Barnett has benchmarked, or making The Finals, or even getting bounced in the Western Conference Semifinals, if the Warriors are considered an "elite team" by the end of the year, then that to me is success. However, Jermaine O'Neal told me that, this being his last year, his goal is for the team to make The Finals, so even among the players, you have subtleties in what defines success.
Ben Cruz | Bleacher Report | @cruzkontrol
A successful season for the Warriors will simply be returning to the playoffs. Yes, the expectations seem to be a lot higher than that from fans and various NBA circles around the country, but for a team that hasn’t had back-to-back playoff appearances since the early ‘90s (1990-91, 1991-92), getting back to the postseason is a step in the right direction and therefore should be considered a good season.
Winning an NBA championship doesn’t happen overnight (or in this case over the course of one season). It requires a few seasons of returning to the playoffs, learning from those experiences and then eventually finding a way to put it all together.
The added experience of another playoff run will absolutely benefit Golden State in the long-run but they first have to figure out a way to make these trips to the playoffs more consistent and less sporadic.
More from the season preview edition of the Bloggers Roundtable: