10 Golden State Warriors With two good players in place, there's a sense of direction at last. And it's upward

October 30, 2000

It's only fitting, in light of their Bay Area location, that the
Warriors are beginning to resemble one of those Silicon Valley
start-up companies. They have hired some young, energetic
employees, brought in a CEO who has experienced success and, in
talking about making the playoffs, they are clearly thinking
outside the box. Like many of those fledgling firms, the
Warriors, who haven't finished higher than sixth in the Pacific
since 1993-94, could take off or, once again, go nowhere. But
fans should now be more willing to invest their hard-earned
capital in tickets than in years past, because Golden State
finally appears to have a sound business plan.

The Warriors have placed most of their hopes on a pair of dynamic
third-year players: shooting guard Larry Hughes and small forward
Antawn Jamison. By the time they acquired Hughes from the 76ers
in a three-team deal last February, Jamison's season had already
been ended by a left knee injury, but each player was impressive
enough to give new coach Dave Cowens hope that they'll be even
more successful in tandem. Hughes averaged 22.9 points and 4.1
assists in his 32 games with Golden State (though he shot just
38.9%), while Jamison averaged 22.7 points and 9.3 rebounds after
coach P.J. Carlesimo was fired in December. "Antawn is a hard
worker who uses his strength well, and Larry is very explosive,"
says Cowens. "They both have the ability to make a lot of
All-Star teams."

Cowens, 52, made six All-Star teams himself as an undersized
center, but what made him especially attractive to the Warriors
is his experience with winning teams. He earned two titles
playing for the Celtics, and in both 1996-97 and '97-98 he
coached the Hornets to more than 50 wins. "You can tell that he's
used to success," says Jamison. "He just expects it, and that's
an attitude we need."

The Warriors need more than just Cowens's attitude; they also
need his expertise. That's particularly true of 26-year-old
center Erick Dampier. After signing a seven-year, $48 million
contract, Dampier has had two lackluster seasons, including last
year's, in which knee and wrist operations allowed him to play
only 21 games. The Warriors have to have a better return on their
investment, which is why Cowens and assistant Clifford Ray, a
center on Golden State's last championship team, in 1975, have
made Dampier a special project. He spent part of his summer under
Ray's tutelage in Los Angeles, where Ray was helping coach Golden
State's summer league team, and Dampier often showed up early in
the morning for one-on-one instruction.

Dampier is the only offensive threat among the Warriors' big men,
and they need his presence in the middle to compensate for their
vulnerability on D. Jamison will be hard-pressed to keep up with
some of the quicker small forwards he'll face, and Hughes, 21, is
still learning the intricacies of NBA coverage.

It is typical of the Warriors' luck that they are stuck in the
league's strongest division. They could be vastly improved and
not have their record reflect it, but there is still an
understandable sense of optimism around the club. The team is
more sensibly constructed than it has been in years, with
Jamison, whose game makes him something of a tweener, now the
full-time small forward. The Warriors rid themselves of the glut
at that position by trading Donyell Marshall to the Jazz in a
three-way deal that brought them power forward Danny Fortson, who
is exactly the kind of tough rebounder they needed.

The improvements won't add up to a playoff team, but if Jamison
and Hughes continue their progress and Dampier begins to show
some, the Warriors could begin the long journey from start-up
company to blue-chip stock.


COLOR PHOTO: SAM FORENCICH/NBA ENTERTAINMENT ALL POINTS BULLETIN Watch for the 21-year-old Hughes, who has warmed to the Warriors, to emerge as a scorer. COLOR PHOTO: THEARON HENDERSON/NBA ENTERTAINMENT A PLACE OF HIS OWN After bouncing between the forward spots, the active Jamison will settle in at the three.

In Fact

Antawn Jamison had the league's largest per-game scoring
increase, from 9.6 points in '98-99 to 19.6 in 1999-2000. Larry
Hughes's average made a huge jump during last season, from 10.0
in 50 games with the 76ers to 22.7 in 32 games with the Warriors.

Projected Lineup


SF Antawn Jamison 19.6 ppg 8.3 rpg 2.1 apg 0.70 spg 47.1 FG%

PF Danny Fortson[1] 7.6 ppg 6.7 rpg 0.5 apg 52.8 FG% 73.5 FT%

C Erick Dampier 8.0 ppg 6.4 rpg 0.71 bpg 40.5 FG% 52.9 FT%

SG Larry Hughes 15.0 ppg 4.3 rpg 2.5 apg 1.40 spg 40.0 FG%

PG Mookie Blaylock 11.3 ppg 6.7 apg 3.7 rpg 2.00 spg 39.1 FG%


F Bob Sura[1] 13.8 ppg 3.9 rpg 3.9 apg 1.25 spg 43.7 FG%

G Chris Mills 16.1 ppg 6.2 rpg 2.4 apg 42.1 FG% 26.7 3FG%

F Vonteego Cummings 9.4 ppg 3.3 apg 2.5 rpg 1.21 spg 40.5 FG%

C Adonal Foyle 5.5 ppg 5.6 rpg 1.79 bpg 50.8 FG% 37.8 FT%

F Chris Mullin[1] 5.1 ppg 1.6 rpg 42.8 FG% 40.9 3FG% 90.2 FT%

[1]New acquisition (R) Rookie (statistics for final college year)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 113)

an opposing team's scout sizes up the Warriors

"Instead of doing a lot of fancy stuff or running a lot of set
plays, they'll rely mostly on transition and pick-and-roll if
Dave Cowens coaches them the way he coached Charlotte....
They'll play harder. Last year they were going through the
motions before they even got to the All-Star break.... Larry
Hughes makes good, aggressive moves and attacks the basket, but
he could stand to slow down a little. He does some crazy things
because almost every decision he makes comes at full speed....
They should be a good offensive rebounding team. Danny Fortson's
tough on the boards and Antawn Jamison is very good around the
glass. Most small forwards won't have the strength or the
instincts to keep Jamison from getting putbacks. This could be a
real big year for him.... Erick Dampier is the kind of guy you
watch to see what kind of condition he's in. If he's not in top
shape, you can go at him after he's been in the game for seven
or eight minutes and get a couple of easy scores before they
substitute for him."