Golden State Warriors Can’t Hit Their Stride: Key players need to perform better if the Warriors intend to contend in the West

Sherry LaVars/Contra Costa Times/MCT Campus, David Joles/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT Campus, Doug Duran/Contra Costa Times/MCT Campus, Jane Tyska/Oakland Tribune/MCT Campus, Jose Carlos Fajardo/Contra Costa Times/MCT Campus. Graphic: M. Freeman

Trevor Rechnitz

Trying to bounce back from a 26-56 2009-2010 season, the Golden State Warriors pulled a blockbuster trade, switched head coaches and switched owners.  In order to pick up Knicks superstar David Lee, the Warriors  had to sacrifice to say the least.  Giving up players like Corey Maggette, Anthony Randolph and Kelena Azubuike- the Warriors are making a statement about their place in the NBA.

With newly acquired big men, David Lee and Ekpe Udoh, the Warriors’ style of play may also head in a new direction. Expect to see an abundance of pick and rolls, utilizing not only their centers, but the star, Stephen Curry.

Another newly-found component of Warriors’basketball is rebounding. Yes, rebounding. When David Lee and Andris Biedrins hit the boards and Monta Ellis gets back to his earlier rebounding rates, this team could be a threat down low.

Newly found size can help this struggling team; however, turnovers will be the kryptonite in Golden State-like always.

Anytime Ellis is on the court, there’s always a risk of silly turnovers; basketball I.Q. is not his strongpoint. Although showing significant improvement from last year, Ellis still has to take significant strides in reducing turnovers.

In addition to Ellis, Curry is also prone to careless turnovers on flashy passes. In order to take care of business this year, the Warriors first need to take care of the rock- Ellis and Curry need to step up big here.

Although Ellis is sometimes the cause of a useless turnover, his performance so far this season has catapulted him to be compared with some of the NBA’s best players.  Averaging 24.5 points per game along with a solid five assists per game, Ellis has established himself as a team leader.  Ellis also provides the needed spark to get the rest of his team going.

Lee and Dorrell Wright rely on good passing to establish their inside presence on offense. If the team has any chance of succeeding this year, expect Ellis to play an essential role.

A new head coach could be looked at with two, opposite viewpoints. There are a few reasons to be happy Keith Smart got the job.

He’s a genuinely nice guy, the players seem to like him, and as a long time assistant, he’s been running practices for a while.

However, there are some obvious drawbacks.

His head coaching track record is nothing to be proud of; he was the Warriors’ defensive coordinator the past season, and defense (along with turnovers) was the ultimate downfall of the team.

As of now, the Warriors are 8-14, with a 3-10 record on the road. Sitting in third place in the Pacific Division (behind the Suns and the Lakers) the Warriors are going to need a spark of energy and a team that can play on the road if they want a chance at the playoffs.