Easily one of the best blogs on SB Nation, Golden State of Mind's Nate Parham (aka WarriorsNate) and I did a little back-and-forth on the upcoming series. You can read his questions to me by clicking here and below is what he had to say about the squad he covers.
1.) Back in the 2009 playoffs, George Karl deployed an insane game plan to funnel Chris Paul into larger players and the Nuggets even trapped him to take the ball out of his hands. I see Stephen Curry as being the primary guy Denver needs to slow down in this series. With Andre Iguodala being at Karl's availability to throw at Curry - how do you see the Warriors attacking the Nuggets? Who will be the primary ball handler in these games?
Nate Parham: I don't see Mark Jackson as the type of coach to change anything he's done during the season: they're going to push the ball, they're going to look to find Curry and Klay Thompson off screens as well as run David Lee in pick-and-rolls. Jack will take a shot or five that make you wonder what he's thinking (or, in your case as an opposing fan, just laugh).
Curry will be the primary ball handler who I'm pretty sure the Nuggets will focus on slowing down. He'll play quite a bit with Jarrett Jack and in those situations the two can alternate, but for the most part Jack will handle with Curry being run off a number of screens.
Overall, what you want to do with the Warriors is actually make them a one-on-one team that falls into the trap of shooting a bunch of long twos. Curry will get his in that situation, but this team thrives when they're sharing the ball and forcing defenses to stop all those options.
Jarrett Jack, the Warriors' Andre Miller.
2.) What's going on at the center position for the Warriors? Who is starting and who is logging the big time minutes?
NP: We never really know either. Bogut obviously missed 50 games due in large part to ongoing complications from coming back from injury. But he's not going to get over 30 minutes, which means the rest of those minutes will go to a smaller lineup (with Lee and Carl Landry playing together) or Festus Ezeli.
All of those lineups bring different dynamics obviously: Ezeli is not going to be much of an offensive presence, Landry/Lee can really create some problems defensively. Honestly, I think they're still acclimating to having Bogut in the lineup but he's an asset on both ends and is reportedly ready to play. And at this point in the season, there's no longer anything to save him for so I don't expect any late scratches.
Andrew Bogut is a skilled big man.
3.) What lineup has been most effective for Mark Jackson in crunch-time?
NP: You're going to see a lot of substitutions possession-by-posssesion in crunch time. And some people will gripe that Harrison Barnes hasn't seen enough time in crunch time to prove whether that would be a good lineup. But the best this season have been Curry-Jack-Thompson-Lee and then either Bogut or Landry (depending on Bogut's availability).
As I said previously, Jack has come up big at times - and not at others - so it will probably be he or Curry with the ball in their hands with Thompson running off screens. Bogut is a great option late in games as well because he can make plays as well.
Take the time to watch the above "Elevator" play and how open it get Curry. Expect to see it quite a bit during this playoff series for the Warriors.
4.) Who is a surprise player(s) that Denver fans should be on the lookout for?
NP: I don't know that there's a "surprise" player, but the starter who hasn't played Denver this season is Bogut. So I find it difficult not to see him as a X-factor. And really it's just the way he takes up space on defense to help prevent offensive rebounds, which have really hurt the Warriors throughout this season series.
5.) How do you see this series playing out?
NP: Sadly, I see the Warriors falling in six. Bogut will make a difference in keeping the Nuggets off the o-boards a bit more than they have in the regular season, but the Nuggets' overall quickness at every position is just going to give the Warriors problems. I do see it being exciting and I expect every game to be close, but I ultimately see the Nuggets winning it.
Again, a big thanks to Nate Parham for taking the time to answer some questions and offer his take on the upcoming series.