Wednesday , Nov , 30 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Golden State is no joke

By Warren Blatt, Sports Network NBA Editor

(Sports Network) – The Golden State Warriors are a team that is going to make
some serious noise in the 2005-06 season. The have already shown that they are
the real deal.

The Warriors are off to a great start and look primed to earn a playoff berth
in the Western Conference for the first time since 1993-94, when the club won
50 games and was led by current executive vice president of basketball
operations Chris Mullin, Latrell Sprewell and Chris Webber.

Golden State won 10 of its first 16 games to start the season. The Warriors
are off to their best start since the 1991-92 campaign, when they captured 12
of their first 17 contests.

This addition of the Warriors are led by high-flying guard Jason
Richardson. The 24-year-old Richardson had the best season of his career in
the 2004-05 campaign, as he averaged a team-best 21.7 points to
go along with 5.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. The Michigan State
product, who is playing in his fifth season in the NBA, also shot a career-
best 44.6 percent from the floor last year.

Richardson has started this season where he left off in 2004-05. He has scored
in double-figures in all of the Warriors first 16 games of the campaign. The
6-6 guard has registered 20 or more points in 11 of those contests.

Two-time All-Star Baron Davis, who was acquired from the Hornets at last
year’s trade deadline, teams with Richardson to give the Warriors one of the
most exciting and talented backcourt tandems in the league. Davis runs the
point, while Richardson runs alongside him on the wing to help make Golden
State very dangerous in transition.

Davis does not have to score as much for the Warriors as he needed to with the
Hornets. He has become more of a pass first type of guard with Golden State.
The 26-year-old guard has registered double-digits in six of the first 16
contests. Davis is the perfect complement to the athletic Richardson.

Yes, Golden State is in great shape in its backcourt. But the Warriors aren’t
just winning because of their dynamic duo.

Forwards Ike Diogu, who is in his rookie season, Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy
have done their job, while reserve guards Derek Fisher and Mickael Pietrus
have been very productive. Starting center Adonal Foyle is not a scorer, but
he has been a presence in the middle by blocking shots and collecting
rebounds.

Murphy, who has already posted seven double-doubles, is scoring in the low
post and has been solid off the boards, while the 25-year-old Dunleavy
has been inconsistent but has still been able to knock down timely shots. The
25-year-old Murphy and Dunleavy are young and are still getting better, which
will eventually add up to more wins for Golden State.

The rookie Diogu, who missed Golden State’s first 12 games with a hand injury,
is going to help the Warriors out even more as he gains more experience on the
court. Like Richardson and Davis, Diogu is athletic. He can hold his own on
both ends of the floor, and will continue to be a big part of the nucleus as
this team keeps moving forward into the future.

Mullin has given head coach Mike Montgomery an athletic, talented and youthful
roster to work with. Davis and Richardson makeup an excellent backcourt, while
Foyle, Dunleavy and Murphy are solid up front. Add Diogu, Fisher and Pietrus
to the mix, and the Warriors are a team with some depth.

Don’t be shocked if Golden State wins 45-48 games during the regular season
and puts a scare into one of the elite teams in the first round of the
playoffs. The Warriors have the enthusiasm and the talent to win some tough
games.

The Warriors are not in the same category as San Antonio or Dallas, but they
are an exciting squad that can play a fast-paced tempo or a half-court game.
This is a team that cannot be taken lightly any more.

Golden State is no joke!