The 2010-11 season is right around the corner. No, it is like literally right around the corner. The preseason has started and we can finally stop conjecturing and start making sense of this summer of upheaval. The new season will be much different than the old. So let’s start thinking 2011 and all the hope and promise that comes with it.
Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog.com has organized the NBA Blog Preview, consisting of all the best basketball blogs across the Internet, to help everyone get ready. The Magic will be coming up sooner rather than later and the season will be around the corner. I will be trying to keep up and give a Magic-centered look at each team being previewed.
Golden State Warriors
Last Year: 26-56
Last Year vs. Magic: Won 126-118 in Golden State (12/5); Won 117-90 in Orlando (3/3)
This Year vs. Magic: Jan. 3 in Orlando (7 p.m.); March 11 in Golden State (10:30 p.m.)
Magic Connection: Assistant Coach Mark Price (Player, 1997-98)
The Previews: Atma Brother ONE/Golden State of Mind
Golden State remains one of the very tricky teams in the NBA. The team has tons of offensive talent and puts up points in a hurry. So with Don Nelson no longer the coach, the team’s “mad scientist” element dissipates greatly. Not only that, it appears Golden State — under new ownership — are preparing to go in a different direction.
The Warriors are hitching their wagon more to second-year player Stephen Curry rather than Monta Ellis. Whether that carries with it a focus on defense is another issue.
The acquisition of David Lee should theoretically help solve one of Golden State’s weaknesses. Rebounding. Andris Biedrins and Lee have two of the highest rebounding rates in the NBA, and they will both be suiting up in Oakland. That adds an interesting wrinkle to an already difficult to handle offensive teams. Now the Warriors can crash the offensive glass and extend their offensive possessions a little bit more. That is, if Lee and Biedrins can get down the floor in time to get in rebounding position.
How those two players will affect the defense, is an entirely different question altogether. Biedrins is known as a solid, if not spectacular defender, but is not scaring anyone. Lee is also a decent, but not great defender. Protecting the basket is still going to be an issue for Golden State.
Can Golden State continue to play at its break-neck speed? That is a question new coach Keith Smart is going to have to answer.
The Warriors are not exactly the deepest team in the league. Sure they bolstered their front line, but who has confidence in Dan Gadzuric? And what about rookie Ekpe Udoh’s injury? The wing players outside of Ellis and Curry are also quite a question mark. Corey Maggette is no longer coming off the bench to provide an offensive spark. These issues will be haunting Golden State all year long.
But Ellis and Curry are still explosive offensive players. They will keep Golden State in many games with their driving and shooting ability. And on a long West Coast trip, some East Coast teams may not want to run so much.
How the Warriors will beat the Magic: It is going to be tough for Golden State to defeat Orlando. The Warriors do not exactly have the depth to try and outrun a Magic team that is as potent offensively. They could try going small and force Dwight Howard out to the perimeter, but again depth is going to preclude them from doing this.
But that might be their best bet. Try and force Howard off the floor any way that they can. That could mean recklessly attacking the basket or going small — and I mean really small — to try and create a mismatch on the perimeter. Neither of these strategies are likely going to work, especially since this team is better for having David Lee in the lineup.
Likely Golden State will have to hope it can make 3-pointers or Orlando misses its attempts from long range.
How the Magic will beat the Warriors: As you can see above, I do not think the Warriors have much of a chance against the Magic. Orlando is too deep and too talented offensively that the team can not only keep up with Golden State’s offense and actually play some defense to slow it down.
Dwight Howard is, as always, the key. The Warriors have no one who can defend him, and his protection in the paint should keep the Warriors hoisting 3-pointers and out of the paint. And that is really how you beat this team.
Sure Golden State can get hot. But can the Warriors stop the Magic? Not likely.