5 Reasons Why Golden State Look Good for an NBA Championship

Golden State Winners

With teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs all struggling to get going this season, talk of Championship contenders has been muted throughout these first weeks of the season.

One of the teams that certainly have got off to a good start though are the Golden State Warriors, who after two weeks of NBA action have claimed a 5-1 record.

But what points turn this playoff contending team last season, into a Championship winning one this year?

The Steve Kerr Effect

Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr has already had a big influence on the Golden State style of play

One of the biggest moves in Golden State’s off-season was acquiring Steve Kerr as Head Coach to replace the sometimes tactically inept Mark Jackson.

The effect has been an immediate one, Golden State have begun moving the ball at a much faster rate, looking to get players like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson shots off the catch. Shooting off the dribble is certainly one of Curry’s strengths, but catch and shoot attempts are almost always of a higher quality which should mean a higher shooting percentage.

This brand of basketball has already been shown off by last year’s NBA Champions, with Gregg Popovich’s style clearly being imitated somewhat by Kerr, with a more dynamic approach to three point shooting.

Kerr’s roster moves have been right on the mark as well, moving Andre Iguodala onto the bench, and giving Harrison Barnes a low pressure role of offering energy to the starting five. This puts Iggy in charge of running the second unit when Curry and Thompson need a break, and can be relied upon much more than Barnes to produce offense for the second unit.

Klay Thompson: All-Star?

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson’s new deal has coincided with Western Conference player of the week honours

Klay Thompson was the talk of the town heading into this season, with Golden State stuttering over contract negotiations. They made the right decision eventually though, signing the second Splash Brother into a $70m four-year deal.

He immediately paid back Golden State by producing several emphatic performances, dropping a career high 41 points on the struggling L.A. Lakers. Winning plaudits from across the league, Thompson was even named Western Conference player of the week during the first seven days of the season.

One of the best two-way shooting guards in the league, the move to tie down Thompson looks like an inspired one. Considering there was talk of Golden State possibly trading him for Kevin Love at the end of the 2013/14 campaign, it now looks as though he could well be a lock for an All-Star spot this coming February.

Steph Curry’s Continued Shooting Streak

Curry

Steph Curry’s incredible shooting has been a key aspect of Golden State’s gameplan

Does this guy ever miss? Stephen Curry has fought off several injury hampered seasons to become the NBA’s best three point shooter by a lengthy margin. His stats speak for themselves, shooting over 40% from the three point line since joining the league, and averaging 27ppg so far this season.

He’s clearly one of the brightest offensive talents in the league, and his ability to knock down shots from all over the court is a major issue for any opposing team. His defense has plenty of room for improvement, but he’s reportedly working on this aspect of his game. Although it’s unlikely that he’ll ever be considered an elite on-ball defender, if he becomes a reliable defensive option, he’d be right in the thick of the MVP chatter.

Curry’s ankles aren’t much of a talking point anymore, he’s had two consecutive seasons playing at least 78 games, and whilst nobody is guaranteed an injury free season, he is no longer seen as an injury prone roster piece.

A Healthy Season for Andrew Bogut

Andrew Bogut Warriors

Andrew Bogut is arguably the most important part of the Warriors defense

Over the past three seasons Andrew Bogut has played only 111 games and hasn’t features in 82 games since his rookie season.  That means over his career to date, Bogut has missed over 230 games thanks to injury.

The key for Golden State is to make sure the Australian centre stays on the court for the majority of the season. Without him the Warriors lose their rim protection, and without that, their defense becomes porous.

Bogut has been incredibly unlucky with injury; just taking a look at his horrific elbow injury alone is enough for any player, but to miss so many games through different injuries as well has been a harsh blow.

Kerr has implemented Bogut effectively so far, and if he continues to play to his strengths and keeps himself off the treatment table he could be the key difference between a first round playoff exit and a Championship run.

The Return of David Lee

David Lee

David Lee’s production could be moved to the second unit, with great effect

A double-double machine, David Lee offers ready-made offense and double digit rebounds on a nightly basis. Unfortunately, Golden State have been missing out on those performances so far this season.

Having played only seven minutes of basketball this year, Lee has been restricted by hamstring issues, and isn’t looking like he’s coming back until mid to late November. Draymond Green has stood up and played terrifically in his place, but he can’t be relied upon to continue this production.

Green’s superb play has raised a serious question for Steve Kerr however, as he could arguably use Lee as a back-up power forward, further strengthening Golden State’s bench. Either way, without Lee it’s unlikely that the Warriors can push on for a realistic Championship run.

Do you think that the Golden State Warriors can make a run for the Larry O’Brien Trophy? Let us know on Twitter!

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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