Why the Warriors are such a scary team

USA TODAY Sports

Guest columnist Phil Naessens looks at Golden State to see why they will be even tougher to beat than they were last year.

It’s me again; your friendly radio host, and I would like to offer some additional thoughts regarding something that came up on a recent program I did with J.R. Wilco was a part of. The statement that caught the attention of some was this;

Always be careful of teams with nothing to lose…..or at least something to that affect. Here’s why I said what I said and what I meant when I said it.

First, please consider the context in which the statement was made. We were talking about the Western Conference finals, and the last time I checked it’s been a LONG time since the Warriors have gotten that far. To be perfectly honest with you it would take a major miracle akin to parting the Red Sea for them to get there in 2014.

That said:

Reasons the 2013-2014 Warriors scare the life out of me

Mark Jackson

If there were ever a good enough reason to fear the Warriors it would be him. Those young players have bought into his system -- hook, line and sinker -- and it showed during that dramatic series win over Denver in the first round of last year's playoffs. He’s not only a great motivator but he’s also proven he’s pretty decent with the X and O’s as well. It was so impressive, the way he got a group of guys who I can only describe as a perennial pushover on defense to not only exert themselves in their own end, but actually work together in a team concept. That is not something that's easily done, folks.

Steph Curry and Klay Thompson

These young fellas are killers from downtown. Curry averaged 39% from behind the arc, Thompson 42%. That’s just deadly. When they get hot they can turn out your lights faster than a Mike Tyson right hook. On any given night, Curry is good for 50, plus the kid is also a gifted an unselfish passer. This backcourt is going to give a lot of teams fits.

Andre Igoudala

Probably the best acquisition of the summer. This guy gives the Warriors an able and willing defender who can also good shooter. In Mark Jackson’s fling-it-from-the-rafters offense and hard aggressive defense, Igoudala is going to thrive and Jackson has the missing link to his small ball dream roster.

Andrew Bogut

When healthy he gives the Warriors a solid defensive presence in the middle who can score the ball as well as clean off the glass. He’s definitely the perfect big for Golden State's small ball scheme. If he can stay healthy all season, then the Warriors won't just be scary, they'll be terrifying.

*   *   *

While those points are enough to put a good bit of fear into any team, but there are also some:

Question marks for next year's Warriors

The Bench

Last season Jarrett Jack and Draymond Green had solid seasons coming off the bench, especially Jack. But he's moved on to Cleveland and it remains to be seen if newly acquired PG Toney Douglas will be a suitable replacement. And speaking of newcomers, I’m extremely curious as to how Marreese Speights will contribute to a bench that isn't quite what it was a year ago. Speights' 17.30 PER, along with his ability in the pick and roll, adds a dimension they didn’t have last season. But will the bombs-away boys recognize and utilize Speights to his full potential? Only time will tell.

David Lee

His third season with the Warriors was his most complete but his $13 million salary makes him expendable. The two things that make me wonder about him is how he will fit into the offensive scheme of things and just how long he remains with the club. The former will go a long way to determine where the Warriors are at offensively, and the latter will decide whether the W's can find themselves another shooter.

Harrison Barnes

He had an incredible rookie season and it looks like the sky's the limit for this kid. The big question for me is whether he can duplicate what he did last season. If he can, Warriors opponents will be in big trouble, but if he can’t then who will step up and take his place?

*   *   *

So there are the the pluses and minuses for the 2013-2014 Golden State Warriors. The Spurs eliminated the them in six games in the semi-final round of last years playoffs, but I have two questions for you Pounders:

1). What would it take for the Spurs to defeat the Warriors in next year's playoffs?

and

2). Does this team scare you as much as it does me?

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