If you’re a Warriors fan, this offseason should concern you.
What happens between now and the start of training camp will likely determine whether or not the Warriors can get back into the playoffs. There is a school of thought suggesting everything is OK and that the Warriors’ offseason should take care of itself.
Baron Davis probably won’t get a contract extension — and won’t opt out, either — meaning he’ll be in the last year of his deal with a lot to play for (a new contract).
Their core young players — Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins — will likely sign long-term contract extensions. Among Mickael Pietrus, Matt Barnes and Kelenna Azubuike, it seems apparent at least two won’t be back. Not a big deal considering Pietrus and Barnes had subpar years.
The Warriors have a $10 million trade exception, but using it is going to be problematic. And if they don’t use it by draft night, it goes away.
It’s all good, right? The 48-win Warriors are young and improving, and poised to continue to climb the victory ladder after a 42-win year in 2006-07.
Unless executive vice president of basketball operations Chris Mullin has stuff up his sleeve, it says here the Warriors won’t make the playoffs next season.
It might be difficult to comprehend considering the Warriors failed to make the playoffs, but they had a fantastic season. It was so good, in fact, that it will be virtually impossible for the Warriors to match it next season.
After all, is it realistic to think Davis is going to have a better year than this past season when he played all 82 games for the first time since 2001-02? Doubtful.
What about Stephen Jackson, coming off a career year? He averaged more than 20 points per game for the first time in his career, but he wore down at the end of the season (like Davis). Expecting as big of a year from Jackson in 2008-09 isn’t wise.
Ellis and Biedrins should continue to get better. But both players’ games have taken such monster leaps the past two years that next season’s improvements figure to be more subtle.
Al Harrington, the team’s second-highest-paid player, hasn’t proven he can be consistent, let alone thrive, with Nelson as coach.
The wild cards are Wright and Belinelli, but let’s not get carried away. Fans criticized Nelson for not playing them, but the flip side is that even on a team lacking depth, Nelson didn’t think either was good enough to play a consistent role. Even the best-case scenario has Wright and Belinelli only as role players.
The good news is that next season, 48 wins in all likelihood is going to get you into the playoffs. The bad news is that the Warriors — as is — won’t get back to 48 wins.