Thursday, September 22, 2005

30 Reasons to Get Fired Up For the 2005-06 NBA Season - #20

Welcome to The Arena in Oakland, the home of this year's sleeper...err...wake-up team.

#20 - The Golden State Warriors

Searching for the 2005-06 version of the Phoenix Suns? Look no further than The Arena in Oakland, home of the Golden State Warriors. Say what? Didn't the Warriors lose 48 games last season? Haven't they missed the Playoffs in each of the last 11 seasons? Aren't they the team that let perennial All-Stars Chris Webber, Vince Carter, and Gilbert Arenas slip through their fingers? Yes, yes, and yes. Yet as we wait patiently for the start of the 2005-06 NBA season, if you listen very closely, you can hear an unusual sound charging from a distance. Those are the wheels turning on the Golden State Warriors bandwagon for the upcoming season, building up momentum as each day passes. If you're smart enough, you'll jump onboard as quickly as you can, for it's going to be one HELL of a ride.

Okay, so perhaps it's a bit much to bestow such grand expectations on a team that has encountered as much misfortune in the last decade as (gulp!) the Los Angeles Clippers. But there's no denying that the Warriors will go into the season as one of the league's hottest up-and-comers. After Chris Mullin acquired Baron Davis for a bag of pretzels and a ginger ale right before last season's trade deadline, Golden State pulled a complete 180 and turned its season around (albeit too late). The combination of B-Diddy's talent and leadership (22.7 PPG, 9.7 APG, 2.4 SPG in April) were apparently the perfect recipe for the team to succeed (see 15-5 record over last 20 games). Now as training camp rapidly approaches, the Warriors have a bounty of depth at each position and the golden child in Baron to take them back to the Playoffs for the first time since 1994.

Depth Chart

  • PG - Baron Davis/Derek Fisher/Monta Ellis
  • SG - Jason Richardson/Mickael Pietrus
  • SF - Mike Dunleavy/Zarko Cabarkapa/Calbert Cheaney
  • PF - Troy Murphy/Ike Diogu/Chris Taft
  • C - Adonal Foyle/Andris Biedrins

So what is else is exciting about this bunch other than their quest to shut the door on an era of futility? Remember that reference I made to the Phoenix Suns to open this piece? Well, that wasn't made just to compare this year's potentially surprising team to last year's. No, this Warriors team can flat out score-- just ask the Suns, a team that they outscored twice during the final weeks of last season. Mike Montgomery's bunch dropped 100+ in each of the team's last 14 games, averaging 112.9 PPG during that span. With arguably the most explosive backcourt in the league in Davis and Jason Richardson, and a core of players that excel in a full court game, don't expect Montgomery to slow this team down one bit. Part of the reason why Chris Mullin has nary lifted a finger this summer is that he didn't want to tinker with a squad that flowed so well together during the final two months. Each guy knew their role going out, and each will know their role going in-- that's a major reason why this Warriors team should have no trouble picking up where they left off. And oh yeah, Mullin also picked up some dude named Ike Diogu during the Draft in June. The last we heard from him, he posted an absurd 37 and 12 during a VSL game. Rumor has it, Mullin and Monty are contemplating a small-ball starting lineup with Diogu at the 4 and Troy Murphy at the 5. Why? Because Diogu is just too fucking good not to start.

It's going to be a fun season in Oakland. Ask any Warriors fan out there, they'll tell you. Or turn on any Warriors game you have the luxury of watching. If it's at The Arena, just prepared to turn the volume down because it gets pretty loud in there. This isn't your quiet Phillips Arena with invisible fans, your laid back Staples Center chock full of celebrities making 'appearaces', or your fairweather New Jersey crowd only showing up to Continental during the Playoffs. The Arena is BUMPING every single game-- win or lose, and if you're still struggling for a reason to hop on board the Warriors wagon, there is your reason. It's tough not to feel sorry for fans that have been subject to one of sports' worst-run franchises for the last decade, but they don't want your sympathy-- they just want to win.


At 1:15 AM, Blogger atma brother #1 said...

Yo Paul- Thanks for the shout out!

We're big fans of The NBA Source of at the
Golden State Warriors BLOG.

Stay up!

At 7:33 AM, Blogger EZ Snappin said...

I agree they are definitely a team on the rise. And factor in Dunleavy will only start a month or two - if Pietrus is half as good as he's shown in the Euroleague games, he'll have to start just like Ike.

My only question is - how many do they give up, especially with Murphy at center?

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Joe said...

I think Dunleavy played his best basketball when Baron arrived. Actually, at they have Davis and Dunleavy as the Warriors' best pair. Look here . Pietrus (MP2) hasn't been any special at the european championship. Fact is Boris Diaw, former Hawk, currently a Suns has been the France teams main player and has been much much better than Parker and Pietrus. And Diaw hasn't been expected to do anything with the Suns. Anyways, I dont think MP2 is a better fit at the SF than Dunleavy at all. J-Rich can do anything MP2 can do easily but Dunleavy excels on some aspects of the game.

Evryone talks about how great Baron Davis was in april. Dunleavy had 15, 6 and 3,5 apg and 60% fg. Now, thats pretty good.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Why MP2? Who's just plain MP? Mo Pete? Mark Price? Maury Povich? I'm confused...

Nice work Paulio, I just question how healthy this team can stay seeing that Baron, J-Rich, and Murph have spent quite some time on the IL over the past two years. I'm with you on the GS bandwagon though.

PS-these words are getting harder and harder to type in. like those j's that look like l's...I don't have time for this shit

At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm with ant on this one. lots of injury-prone guys, still stuck with foyle at the c, not a lot of frontcourt depth that i can see. they're young and could be exciting, but they don't have any body like amare and marion to render teams completely helpless. at best, they look like a 7 seed in a fairly weak conference, and i wouldn't put a lot of money on them making the playoffs. baron davis would have to have a year like ray allen did last year, and i just have a hard time believing he'll be there for 70+ games.

ps: mp2 is a play on "mp3". pietrus' uni number is 2.


At 12:16 PM, Blogger EZ Snappin said...

Joe - I was thinking about the Bosnia game where Pietrus had 22 and 7. Otherwise, you're right, he's been mediocre.

I just don't buy Dunleavy - and I sure don't see what aspects he "excels" at v. Pietrus or Cabarkapa, who at least try to play defense. Sighting stats like on 82games is only part of the story. Everyone on the Warriors played better when paired with Baron Davis - but Calbert Cheaney improved the most. Should they play him more? Foyle blocked more shots when Richardson and/or Dunleavy was on the floor - was it them funneling the drive to him or more opportunities because they can't guard a chair? All that said, Dunleavy's April wasn't much better than his season average of 13/5.5/2.6 (admitting his April brought those averages up a bit).

I just think having some perimeter defense would be beneficial. The Warriors will have no problem scoring with or without Dunleavy, but are going to have problems on D, especially if they play small ball w/Murphy at the 5.

And please, please can we stop with MP2 or KB8 or KB54 or K911?

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Paul Benedict said...

I'm glad to see all of the very thoughtful and intelligent comments we've been getting lately. That's really all Ant and I are looking for.

Anyways, I want to make it clear that this article wasn't a season preview for the Warriors, just a piece reasoning why we should be excited for them this season. I'm not making any predictions just yet, but I absolutely agree (and Ant and I have been saying this all summer) that health is EXTREMELY important to this team. They are a far cry from a Playoff team if Baron goes down, and any injury to their frontline, including even Foyle, would absolutely kill this team. Their defense, while suspect, isn't how they're going to win the majority of their games. Monty will look to run people off the floor and if you notice in the final two months of last season, that's exactly what they did in a number of their victories. That said, you're not going to win close games if you can't defend and you can't rebound. Take Baron out for awhile, they won't be running up and down on anybody. Take Foyle or Murphy away, they'll have to shoot 55% a night because they're going to get hammered on the glass and have no interior defense. There's been talk that Eddy Curry may appeal to Chris Mullin's interest, but I'm not sure he would be a good fit for this team. They really don't need another scoring option, so long as Diogu proves to be the post player they were missing last season. What they need is another big body that they can throw in there for defensive purposes. Remember last year with Seattle, their big men (James, Fortson, Collison, Potapenko, Evans) didn't lay the smack down on the box score, but they each gave them an extra 6 fouls, never allowed any easy baskets, and each gave McMillan a different look. Problem is, there's literally nobody out there besides Curry. Hey, the guy is young and he's a talent. If they can tailor him to actually rebound and to be a presence on the defensive end, he's worth their mid-level. I'm just not sure he's the missing piece.

At 4:12 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

I think MP2 is a nice nickname for Pietrus. I also think Ak47 is a nice nickname for Kirilenko. Both these names aren't easy to pronounce or write so its convenient.

Its obvious that health is important for the Warriors. Especially Baron Davis. He has been working out a lot this summer, trying to loose some weight and that could lead to some stress injuries but he's training with some really good coaches so that wont be a problem I think. Loosing some weight is always good especially in reducing back pains and knee pains. He's listed as 6'3" but is probably near 6'1" or 6'2" and he's 223 pounds. For example thats same weight as the 6'11" Zarko Caparkapa. The season is 82+ games and Baron needs to be healthy from start. I dont think Baron will be as injury prone as he was. Now he's really motivated as a Warrior, something he wasn't as a Hornet, especially the last two seasons or so.

The Warriors have to rebound better than they did at times last season. With Dunleavy as a SF and Murphy as a PF they have maybe the tallest starting forwards in the league. Altough both like to shoot from the perimeter they are both good rebounders. Dunleavy is much better roubounder than MP2.

I think Dunleavy is one helluva passer, with a really high basketball IQ, good frame and he's also arguably the best shooter on this team along with Troy. His ballhandling is also very solid. I just think he's much better suited in the Warriors starting lineup than MP2 who adds almost nothing to their starting lineup. Dunleavy is bigger, better rebounder, better passer, better shooter and MP2 is better suited as their 6th man coming from the bench with extra power and he could replace J-Rich and Dunleavy.

I do not agree that the Warriors lack frontcourt depth. Actually, I dont much agree with anything you guys are saying here. It might be my overly opptimism to cause. They have quite a lot big guys, I dont think that will be any problem. They may lack experience at the frontcourt though.

That Calbert Cheaney comparision was a really bad one. You know how many minutes Cheaney played last season since the arrival of Baron Davis? I counted them, all 36 of them! So I think that was a lame comparision.

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous rom said...

Sometime stats don't tell the all truth, I think you are wrong on what pietrus did bring to france at this euro. Because against lituania and serbia he was more focused on defense and his role was decisive.
Now on the last game (for the bronze medal) he posted 23 pts with a 5/7 from 3 and 5 rbs in just 21 minutes.
anyway I think that the warriors can be good this year if they continue playing like they finished last season, but I do hope that pietrus get more minutes and from what I heard he is quite good friend with baron and their relation on the court is getting better and better.


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