The team will have unmatched All-Star talent but will probably have concerns with its depth
With Kevin Durant taking his talents to Oakland, it seems like a lot of people are expecting the Golden State Warriors to have an easy road back to the Finals to try and win another championship for the Bay Area. However, getting to the biggest stage of professional basketball is never easy, even with four All-Stars on your team.
The first concern for this team is how they will assign roles to their star players. Will it still be Steph Curry’s team? Will it be Kevin Durant’s team? Will Durant or Curry be willing to sacrifice for the sake of the other? Will that sacrifice still be beneficial to the team? And how will Klay Thompson and Draymond Green adjust to their new roles of being the third and fourth options on the team? Can Klay get away with playing the same way and still be effective even though he’ll take fewer shots? How can Draymond be effective on the offensive end without having the ball in his hands most of the time? It will be curious to see how Steve Kerr handles the shot distribution in the Warriors offense so that the egos and the effectiveness of his four All-Stars remain intact.
The other larger concern this team will probably face is its lack of depth. Yes, the Warriors looked like the biggest winners in free agency for grabbing the most coveted player in the market but with that came a lot of moves to unload players and their contracts to get below the salary cap. Obtaining Durant meant letting go of starters like Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes along with other significant role players like Mo Speights, Brandon Rush, Leandro Barbosa, and Festus Ezeli. With six rotation players out, the Warriors had to obtain players under cheap contracts to complete the team. While they were able to get Zaza Pachulia as their starting center on an affordable contract in today’s market, the team has had to rely on rookies with rookie scale contracts and veterans on minimum contracts to fill all the needed spots without having to overspend. Outside of proven veterans like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, the Warriors will have to rely on unproven talents only on their first or second year in the league and David West who has probably passed his prime to provide significant minutes off the bench.
This may not be that much of a concern when you look at it right now because one could say that Coach Kerr could try and put in one or two of his All-Star starters along with some bench players out on the floor to balance them out. Will that be sustainable throughout the whole season? Who knows. One thing I’m sure about is that, even with all the All-Star talent it has, it will be tough for this Warriors team to be fresh and healthy for the grind of an 82-game season and another deep playoff run if it relies too much on their All-Stars without much help from their bench.
Originally published at averydayy.com on August 28, 2016.