Still Believe? Warriors Back in Action After Rough Off-Season

Nelson will have some new faces on the roster in guards Corey Maggette, Maurice Williams, and foward Ronny Turiaf.

The Golden State Warriors open the 2008-2009 season tonight at Oracle Arena against the New Orleans Hornets.

The Warriors look to get back to the playoffs after a disappointing end to last season, and a tumultuous off-season in which the team's premier player signed with another team, and the team's up-and-coming franchise player injured himself in a moped accident.

The Warriors, whose 48 wins a year ago was the most since the 1993-94 season, led the NBA by scoring 111.0 points per game last season with their fast-paced style of basketball under Head Coach Don Nelson.

Nelson is reportedly near signing a contract extension that would keep him with the Warriors through the 2010-2011 season.

Nelson will have some new faces on the roster in guards Corey Maggette and Maurice Williams, and forward Ronny Turiaf.

Maggette opted out of the final year of his contract on July 1 and was the longest-tenured Clipper. He averaged 22.1 points per game last season and was due $7 million for the final year of his deal.

But filling the void of Baron Davis, the team's former unquestioned leader who signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, will be the main task.

Monta Ellis has been handed the reigns of the team. Ellis averaged a career-high 20.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 81 games last year with the Warriors. That led to a six-year, $66 million contract.

But Ellis injured his ankle in a moped accident, something he initially lied about to the team. Ellis is expected to miss the first three months of the season, leaving the Warriors thin at the guard position.

Second-year forward Brandan Wright and rookie Anthony Randolph are expected to play a larger role in the offense this season. Along with proven big man Andris Biedrins, the Warriors should have plenty of options in the paint.

One player that may make an impact is Kelenna Azubuike, who averaged 8.5 points per game and 4 boards last season. The guard is known for his gritty play and clutch shots.

Guard C.J. Watson (elbow) is questionable for Wednesday's game while forward Brandan Wright (ankle) is listed as probable against the Hornets.

New Orleans won two of three meetings with Golden State last year, but the Warriors are 4-2 in the past six encounters. The Hornets have dropped five of their last seven trips to Oakland.

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