Golden State averaged 95.2 points and shot 42.4% before acquiring Baron Davis last February, and 105.4 points on 44.3% shooting afterward.
Record: 34-48 (T11 in West) Points scored: 98.7 (13th in NBA) Points allowed: 100.9 (24th) Coach: Mike Montgomery (second season with the Warriors)
They finally have some real selling points, but a playoff berth? Not yet
It's been 11 seasons since the Warriors made the playoffs, but really, who's counting? Throughout, Bay Area fans have remained remarkably loyal, buying both season tickets and whatever sales pitch the franchise made for its resurgence. Todd Fuller is the future! Tom Gugliotta to the rescue! The Bimbo Coles Era starts now!
This year's promise comes courtesy of point guard Baron Davis, who asserts that Golden State will make the playoffs. Not next season. This season. He doesn't stop there. "We'll be one of the top 10 teams in the league," Davis says.
That's a stretch, but the franchise is headed in the right direction. After coming over from the Hornets in a steal of a trade last February, Baron led the Warriors to an 18-8 finish despite playing through a balky left knee. During the preseason a slimmed-down, healthier Davis showed that he has regained much of his quickness and jumping ability, which should allow him to get to the rim rather than continue his habit of early-in-the-shot-clock three-point bombing. "I look at Baron as our Steve Nash," says guard Jason Richardson, a near All-Star last year who has happily ceded the spotlight to Davis. "Phoenix had all those stars, and they weren't winning. Then Steve came along."
Of course it would be easy to dwell on the negatives -- Davis's history of injuries and the team's shaky defense -- but where's the fun in that? As the 20% bump in ticket sales testifies, Baron is winning people over. "I spent my first five years trying to convince fans that we are a good team, and they looked at me like I was on drugs," says center Adonal Foyle, the longest-tenured Warrior. "Now they come up to me and tell me how good we're going to be." -- Chris Ballard