I’ve had fun writing these team previews, so I’m sad that this will be the final one for this season. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the journey with me. Not all is poo poo, though, because it means the season starts tomorrow night! Yaaaaaassssssss! Any of you remember Voltron, Defender of the Universe? Five robot lions, that each had specialized skills and roles, would come together and form a super robot to protect the universe from evil? That’s what the Warriors are. Five players that can do damage individually, but go to a completely different level when playing with a collective consciousness. What if the response by the aliens to one of the SETI signals beamed out to outer space is: Game on, bitches! Putting all hate aside, the Warriors would be the squad we’d send, right? They are the NBA’s Voltron.
2016 record: 67-15
- Jordan Bell via 211
- Nick Young via free agency
- Omri Casspi via free agency
- James McAdoo via free agency
- Ian Clark via free agency
- Matt Barnes via free agency
Since Steve Kerr became coach, the Warriors have made the NBA Finals three times (2-1 record) and have rolled up 67, 73, and 67 wins in the regular season. In NBA history, there have been 44 other teams to win at least 60 regular season games in a season. Crazy. Barring any injury setbacks, this squad should expand that list to 48. Now, I know I’m in the minority with this, but I do believe that the Warriors keep gunning for history. They realize that the window is closing for this group because the contracts of Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant are up after the 2018 season with Draymond Green’s after 2019. I find it hard to imagine they can keep all three. Anyways, the Warriors were fourth in pace and first in offensive efficiency. It’s an environment ripe for fantasy goodness.
PG – Stephen Curry. The usage and ppg both fell with the KD addition, but he still put up 25.3 points and had a 30% usage rate. Elite in threes, free throw percentage, and will pull down 4.5 boards, dish out close to seven assists, and pilfer close to two a game. Yeah, he’s good. Shaun Livingston is the backup, who is valuable in real life, but not fantasy relevant.
SG – Klay Thompson has never shot below 40% from three-land in his career. He will chip in three boards and dish a couple dimes a game, but it’s all about the points and threes for Klay. He’s a very good real-life defender, but not elite for fantasy. Able to drop a 50 burger any night. Patrick McCaw and Nick Young will backup Klay. Neither will be relevant, as they will cannibalize each other. Young is the better shooter (40% from three-land last season), but McCaw is the better all-around player. Young will provide some instant offense, but McCaw will always get some run, as he’s still only 21 years old and could be the possible replacement for Klay.
SF – Kevin Durant has/could be the #1 player in fantasy. He’s done it in the past on a per minute basis and is in one of the best environments. One of five players in the 1/1/1 club last season, he should be a member once again. Andre Iguodala will back up KD. He’s going to get around 26 mpg and score seven points, grab four boards, dish out three dimes, and pilfer one a game. Omri Casspi was signed in the offseason to provide depth. He’s a career 37% shooter from three-land and will basically be a guy to soak up minutes when the Warriors are up by 30.
PF – Draymond Green is the starter. Another member of the 1/1/1 club. What would the Warriors be without Green? Is he the MVP of this squad? I think the argument could be made that he is. Anyways, he won’t score a ton, but he’ll provide some threes, grab eight boards, dish out seven dimes, pilfer around two a game, and get his block on. He truly does it all. David West is the backup and along for the ride. The local Y games were too easy, so…..Jordan Bell could backup both at power forward and center. As I mentioned in the “key acquisitions,” the Warriors performed straight robbery in acquiring Bell in the draft. His athleticism and motor are very impressive and he looks to be a perfect fit for this Warriors squad. Bell could be a boards, steals, and blocks monster. He probably won’t crack the rotation early on, but he should get run in garbage time, which could be plenty, and possibly make an impact later in the season.
C – Zaza Pachulia is the starter. He won’t get more than 20 mpg and really isn’t fantasy relevant. He will grab some boards, but he’s mostly in there for toughness and setting good screens. JaVale McGee is the backup and probably won’t get many minutes as well. An athletic freak, his IQ on defense prohibits him from truly being a difference maker. It looks like Bell could get some serious run later in the season.