The Returning Core
The Warriors’ regular starting lineup last season (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut) went 30-13. Forwards Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green were drafted in 2012, Barnes in the first round, Green in the second. Here’s a look at the team’s top-seven players, in terms of minutes played, returning from last season:
Stephen Curry: The 6-foot-3 point guard is coming off a season in which he averaged 24 points (seventh in the NBA) and 8.5 assists (fifth) per game. He became the first Warrior since Latrell Sprewell in 1995 to start in the All-Star Game.
Curry, whose shooting range extends to somewhere near the midcourt line, led the league in three-pointers (261) for the second consecutive season; he hit a record 272 treys in 2012-13. He and Thompson combined for a record 484 threes last season. They had set the mark of 483 the previous season.
Three times last season, Curry scored at least 43 points in a game. He had six games with 15 or more assists. And, the son of former NBA guard Dell Curry put together a franchise-record four games in which he had at least 30 points and 15 assists.
Klay Thompson: As the 6-7 guard enters his fourth NBA season, he’s looking to expand his game. Thompson is one of the league’s top outside shooters; he finished second in the league behind Curry in three-pointers last season with 223.
Thompson and the team believe he can become a better all-around player by getting into the lane more often.
“I know my jumper is always going to be the staple of my game,” Thompson said, “but you can use that to your advantage. Pump fake or two, and you can get to the rim easy.”
Said Kerr: “I think Klay has the ability to get to the line a little bit more. He’s got a big, strong body. The way he shoots it, guys have to close out on him hard. So, I think there’s an opportunity for him to develop his dribble-penetration, pull-up game.”
In addition to his offensive capabilities, Thompson is a stellar perimeter defender who has shown the ability to guard multiple positions during his first three years in the NBA, taking turns guarding point guards, shooting guards and small forwards depending on what the situation calls for.
Andre Iguodala: The man the Warriors acquired from Denver in a three-team deal in July 2013 enjoyed two signature moments last season: He hit game-winning buzzer beaters against Oklahoma City on Nov. 14 and Atlanta (a three-pointer) on Jan. 3.
A 10-year veteran, Iguodala was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. The only other Warriors player in history to make the All-Defensive first team? Hall of Fame center Nate Thurmond.
David Lee: The 6-9 power forward enters his 10th season in the league and fifth with the Warriors. He averaged nearly a double-double last season (18.2 ppg and 9.3 rpg) and had double digits in points and rebounds in 34 of the 69 games he played.
Lee has shot better than 50 percent from the field in each of his nine NBA seasons. Sometime in November, Lee figures to reach a significant career milestone: He needs 159 points to get 10,000.
Andrew Bogut: A rib fracture in April prevented the Warriors’ defensive anchor from playing in their final two regular-season games and their seven-game playoff series against the Clippers. The 7-foot Australian is ready to go for this season.
Bogut averaged 7.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game last season. He enjoyed the defensive equivalent of a buzzer-beating shot Dec. 1 at Sacramento: Bogut blocked Isaiah Thomas’ layup attempt just before time expired to preserve the Warriors’ 115-113 victory
Harrison Barnes: The 6-8 University of North Carolina product had a breakout postseason as a rookie in 2013, averaging 16.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. The numbers for his second NBA season: 9.5 ppg and 4.0 rpg. He started in 24 of the 78 games he played.
Barnes ended the 2013-14 regular season on a high note, scoring a career-high 30 points in a 116-112 win at Denver on April 16.
Draymond Green: High energy and a high basketball IQ distinguish this 6-7 Michigan State product. He was the only Golden State player to appear in all 82 regular-season games in 2013-14, averaging 6.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals.
With Bogut sidelined, Green took a more significant role in the playoff series against the Clippers. He started four times and left his mark all over the Warriors’ 100-99 win in Game 6 with 14 points, 14 rebounds and five steals. He contributed 24 points, going 5-for-8 from beyond the arc, in Game 7.
The New Guys
Three new faces joined the club this off-season and figure to see significant action throughout the season off the Warriors bench:
Leandro Barbosa: Kerr is certainly familiar with the 6-3 guard from Brazil who signed with the Warriors on Sept. 10. Kerr was the Suns’ general manager for three seasons (2007-10), Barbosa’s final three seasons in his first stint with Phoenix. Barbosa spent time last season with the Suns and in the Brazilian league.
Shaun Livingston: Warriors Executive Board Member Jerry West raved about this 6-7 guard who spent last season with Brooklyn, averaging 8.3 points and 3.2 assists per game. The Nets went 35-19 in games Livingston started, 9-19 in games he did not. Livingston signed with the Warriors on July 11. He endured a devastating knee injury in February 2007 that cost him all of the 2007-08 season and most of the 2008-09 one as well.
Brandon Rush: The 6-6 swingman re-signed with the Warriors on July 22. The previous July, Golden State sent him to Utah in the three-team deal that brought Andre Iguodala to the Warriors. He hit 45.2 percent from beyond the arc in his first season (2011-12) with the Warriors. His second season with Golden State ended after two games because of a serious knee injury.
Justin Holiday: After leading the Warriors’ Summer League squad with 14.8 points per game, the 6-6 guard outlasted several other training camp invites to solidify his position on the roster. He joins the Warriors with previous NBA experience with the 76ers in 2012-13, where he played with his brother and current Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday. The Washington alum led the NBA D-League in steals that same season and was named to the All-NBA D-League Third Team and All-NBA D-League Defensive Second Team with the Idaho Stampede. Last season, he played professionally in Hungary.
Four more returning players from last year round out the Warriors roster to begin the 2014-15 campaign:
Festus Ezeli: The 6-11 center missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery June 12, 2013. He started half the games of his rookie season in 2012-13. If he’s healthy, Ezeli can provide both defense and rebounding.
Marreese Speights: The 6-10 forward/center set a career high with 32 points against the team that drafted him, Philadelphia, in the Warriors’ 123-80 romp Feb. 10. He’s entering his seventh season in the league and his second with the Warriors. .
Ognjen Kuzmic: A 7-0 center from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kuzmic saw limited action with Golden State during his rookie year last season, but thrived in 28 games with Santa Cruz in the NBA Development League, leading the D-League in rebounding with 11.7 boards per game. .
Nemanja Nedovic: Entering his second NBA season, the 6-3 guard from Serbia also split time between Golden State and Santa Cruz during a rookie campaign that was hampered by injuries. In 15 D-League games, he averaged 14.9 points and 4.2 assists.
Steve Kroner is a longtime Bay Area sports media member who currently works for the San Francisco Chronicle. Follow him on Twitter at @SteveKronerSF
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
Breaking Down the Warriors Roster
A Three-Tiered Look at the 2014-15 Dubs
by Steve Kroner