The Warriors are getting the band back together. Well, most of it anyway.
Save for a few slight modifications, Golden State will enter the 2017-18 NBA season with a roster largely intact from their most recent league championship, won less than two short months ago.
Today’s announcement of the re-signing of JaVale McGee checks off the lone remaining big question mark as to how the ’17-’18 roster would be constructed going into training camp. Golden State entered the offseason with more than half their roster headed towards free agency, and in addition to McGee, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and David West have all re-upped with the Dubs in pursuit of a title defense.
With the return of that large contingent, Golden State retains the vast majority of their on-court production from last season. Of the 11,531 points (regular season and playoffs combined) the Warriors scored on their way to the championship last season, all but 960 of them were scored by players that will return for the upcoming 2017-18 campaign. That’s 91.7 percent of the scoring output of the top offense in the league from a year ago. They also return 93.7 percent of their assists, 91.4 percent of their rebounds, 90.9 percent of their steals and 92.1 percent of their team blocks from their championship journey.
Most of the missing portions of those stat categories came in the form of contributions from Ian Clark, Matt Barnes and James Michael McAdoo, who will not return for another season in the Bay. To replace that production, Bob Myers went out and acquired three players that he hopes will not only fill those voids, but also expand upon them.
The Warriors didn’t have a first round pick in the NBA Draft, but for the second-straight year, they acquired the 38th overall pick in a draft day trade, and this time used it to select forward Jordan Bell out of the University of Oregon. You might recall that almost exactly one year prior, Golden State acquired Patrick McCaw with the same 38th overall pick, and it’s safe to say the Dubs would be thrilled if Bell is able to have anything close to the same kind of immediate impact McCaw provided in his rookie campaign. Bell is an athletic presence and is the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and he may be called upon to occupy all or part of the role McAdoo served last season.
Following the Draft, Myers set his sights on the league’s free agent crop, and identified two more NBA veterans to add to Golden State’s coffers in guard Nick Young and forward Omri Casspi. Young, a 10-year NBA veteran, averaged 13.2 points per game for the Lakers last season, hitting a career-high 170 three-pointers on 40.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Casspi, 29, split the 2016-17 season between the Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves and has been a 36.7 percent three-point shooter over the course of his eight-year career.
With the additions of Bell, Young and Casspi and another year for the returning crop of Warriors to continue to build chemistry, Steve Kerr is of the mindset that Golden State should be an improved team from last season.
“We’re going to be better, for sure,” Kerr recently told NBCSportsBayArea.com.
The Warriors ranked 29th in the NBA last season in three-pointers made off the bench, and that’s one area in particular where Kerr believes the Dubs have addressed a need:
“If you look at last year’s roster, the one thing that was lacking was [three-point] shooting off the bench,” Kerr continued. “Ian [Clark] did a great job…But in terms of having designated shooters, we were able to add two really, really high-quality guys. Both are 6-7, 6-8, so they can switch and guard multiple positions. They’re both really good fits.”
Factor in Finals MVP Kevin Durant’s second season with the blue and gold, as well as continued growth from Summer League standouts McCaw, Bell and Damian Jones, and it’s easy to see why Kerr is optimistic about Golden State’s outlook for the season ahead. Heck, that’s even without mentioning the likes of All-Stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson!
The Dubs have accomplished quite a lot in the three years since Kerr took over as Head Coach, but they won’t be satisfied to rest on their laurels now. How the 2017-18 NBA season shakes out remains to be seen, but we at least now have a better understanding of the group that will take the floor for the squad come Opening Night.