|Warriors hoping for more playoff success, but know teams will be ready for them|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 03 October 2007 02:59|
``Everybody's going to be gunning for us, so we're going to be in a different position than we were last year,'' Baron Davis said. ``People are not going to expect the unexpected from us. They're going to know this is a good ballclub and they're going to get up for us, especially the way we finished last year.''
The Warriors are coming off their most successful season in years, snapping a 12-year playoff drought. Golden State clinched a playoff spot on the final day of the regular season, then upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round, beating the NBA's best regular-season team in six games.
That was Golden State's first playoff series win since 1991 and just the third time an eighth seed had won an opening-round series. The Warriors lost their second-round series in five games to Utah, although most of the losses were close.
Coach Don Nelson said he expects to build on the team's playoff success.
``We're able to step right where we left off last year,'' said Nelson, who went 42-40 in his first season back with Golden State, where he also coached from 1988-95.
Davis, however, said it will be just as challenging to make the postseason this time.
``It's a whole new season. Teams have gotten better in the offseason. We're a new ballclub with new people in different positions,'' said Davis, who became a Bay Area star with his four 30-point games during the playoff run.
The biggest loss was Richardson, traded to Charlotte in a draft-day deal for No. 8 overall pick Brandan Wright. Richardson averaged 16 points and 6.7 rebounds in 51 regular-season games, then scored 19.1 per game in 11 playoff games.
Nelson said he wants to ``stay big'' at the 2-guard spot and will use Kelenna Azubuike, Italian rookie Marco Belinelli or Mickael Pietrus.
``I have a lot of 2s and they'll have to step up,'' he said.
Davis noted that the Warriors learned to adjust last season when Richardson was sidelined with knee injuries.
``He was hurt for a good portion of last season and we had some guys fill in,'' he said. ``We're going to rely on those same guys and a lot of our new guys to fill that void.''
The Warriors are young, with 11 of their 15 players under contract 27 or younger. The youngest is 19-year-old Wright, brought in to help the Warriors on the glass. The ACC's rookie of the year and tournament MVP as a freshman at North Carolina, averaged 14.7 points and 6.2 rebounds, while making nearly 65 percent of his shots.
The athletic, 6-foot-9 Wright, the only player with a mouth full of braces, said he's eager to learn and play in the Warriors' up-tempo offense. Being traded for a fan favorite like Richardson definitely adds pressure to do well, he said.
``But being in the position I'm in and always being in the spotlight, you always have the pressure on you,'' he said. ``It's not a big deal. You just got to go out and do what you do best.''
The Warriors are holding camp on the serene campus of BYU-Hawaii. They'll play two exhibition games next week against the Los Angeles Lakers, who are holding practices across the island in Honolulu.