With the Warriors’ first game of the season (at home against the Houston Rockets, 7:30 p.m., CSN-BA) only two days away (!), most of the season previews I have read and most of the commentary about the Warriors in general out there has been negative. Most have the Warriors pegged to finish between 10th and 12th in the West. I don’t disagree with that, but most of those same prognosticators are predicting the Warriors to finish with 25-30 wins. I disagree with that. I think the Warriors will be better than last season if they stay healthy.
I think the Warriors have a lot of young players who will most likely show improvement from last season, and I don’t think the “chemistry” issues so many media pundits are writing about will have much of an effect on this team. The biggest story line about the Warriors heading into the season has been Stephen Jackson’s trade requests, leading so many of the media to talk about how chemistry could kill the Warriors this year. But I don’t think Jackson will be a cancer in the Warriors’ locker room this season. He didn’t demand a trade because he doesn’t like his teammates or because he wants more playing time. He demanded a trade because he wants to play for a team that wins. I don’t blame him, and I think now that the season is starting, he can channel that energy toward trying to help the Warriors win. He’s going to play hard (like he always has), which will go a long way towards patching up whatever issues exist between he and Don Nelson, and I’ve never gotten the impression that he’s a difficult teammate. So, the chemistry issues, in my opinion, are overrated. This team is young, they all want to win and they get along. I think the chemistry will be fine.
Here’s a few links for you to read:
A great article by Mark Emmons of the San Jose Mercury News about Jackson. Jackson says that he’s done talking about his trade demands, and he’s going to be a “good soldier” (Don Nelson’s words) now that the season is set to tip off. The tone of the article is positive, but Jackson certainly backs up his reputation as a speak-first, think-second kind of guy. Here’s my favorite quote from the article: “If (Warriors fans) look at me as a guy who just wants to win, why would they think any differently about me? They should respect me for wanting to win and not just wanting to get a paycheck.” Up to this point, this is a great quote from Jackson. I agree with him. But then he adds this: “But, hey, they threw stones at Jesus, so they can say whatever they want about me.” Really, Stephen? Comparing yourself to Jesus? Anyway … here’s a link to the complete article: http://www.mercurynews.com/sports-headlines/ci_13637170
Here are a few other links I enjoyed reading the past couple days:
ESPN’s Marc Stein explains why he thinks Stephen Jackson will be traded first this season, even before Jazz forward Carlos Boozer: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/9938/stephen-jacksons-slight-edge-over-boozer-explained
The Bleacher Report argues in their Warriors season preview that success depends on the development of Golden State’s young talent: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/275077-warriors-preview-development-of-youngsters-will-make-or-break-season
As always, there is a TON of great content over at Golden State of Mind. That’s a great blog, so check it out: http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/
I’ll be putting my Warriors season preview up here later today or tomorrow morning, so keep checking back.