Sunday, June 26, 2011

Golden State Warriors 2011 Post Draft Analysis

The Second Coming of RUN TMC?
In the 1990-91 NBA season, the Golden State Warriors reached the Western Conference Semifinals.  They did it, with an unconventional, three guard lineup.  Here’s a history lesson for those who weren’t paying attention at that time.  Bear in mind, I was an 8th grader at Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School, that year.  And a die hard W’s fan, to boot. 
As mentioned, the W’s made their way to the Western Conference Semi’s.  We lost to the eventual Western Conference Champions, the LA Lakers.  That Laker team’s starting five consisted of Magic Johnson, Byron Scott, James Worthy, Sean Perkins and Vladi Divac.  The W’s boasted a lineup consisting of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Chris Mullin, Tom Tolbert and Alton Lister.  Basically, RUN TMC (Tim, Mitch and Chris), one future sports talk radio guy, and a “where are they now” guy.
Okay, Okay.  What am I getting at here?  It’s a bit premature, but I think Mark Jackson, Larry Riley and Jerry West, are conducting a séance to channel the spirit of the 90’/91’ Golden State Warriors.  They’re looking to compete with their backcourt, and hope for consistent frontcourt play. 
Also, there was depth on that team.  Marciulonis and Mario Ellie were key backcourt guys, off the bench.  Rod Higgins and Tyrone Hill offered quality frontcourt minutes, off the bench.  And as the Dallas Mavericks proved this year, depth is the key to success. 
With that said, I’d like to analyze the Warriors by position, post draft.
Point Guard
The incumbent at this position is Stephan Curry.  He’s good at the position, but needs to be held to a higher standard, after JJ Barea’s performance in the NBA Finals.  He’s proven himself as a great perimeter shooter.  He did well in the 3-pt contest, Allstar Weekend.  All good, but he didn’t prove himself as a PG who can create shots for others, play the penetrate and dish game, and show the toughness shown by Barea in this years Finals.  After all, when he suffered through his ankle problems, Monta, Reggie Williams and Acie Law, filled in without a loss of stride.
It’s funny that the media thinks that Monta is more expendable than Curry.  This is actually good for the W’s.  Why not ride the favor the press gives Curry, and get depth at power forward.  After all, they had Reggie Williams sign a tender to stay with the team.  Then, in the second round, they picked up a PG from Hofstra.  And, by the way, pull up some youtube clips on this Jenkins kid, and see how his size and play are favorable over Curry.
Best case scenario, the W’s keep Curry, and run the 2011 version of TMC.  I do believe that Curry, Ellis and their 1st round pick, Klay Thompson can do it.  With that said, I believe Charlie Bell, Acie Law and Jeremy Lin are in danger of losing their jobs.  Especially since Reggie Williams and 2nd round pick Jenkins, can run the PG position.
Shooting Guard
The incumbent is obviously the best player to not make an All Star squad.  The W’s brass should know that the reason behind their profits are ME8.  After all, there are marquee type NBA players, who admit they are enamered by Monta.  And the highly analytical Bay Area Basketball Fan, are equally enamered.  There are elite NBA playoff teams who don’t have the attendance that the W’s do.  Best believe, they aren’t there to watch Biedrens, David Lee, Dorrell Wright and even Steph Curry.  They are there to see Monta Ellis do something special.  In fact, I have a Facebook friend who said he’d stop being a W’s fan, if they traded Monta.
Pre Draft, Larry Riley and Mark Jackson stated that Monta is not up for trade.  Then, the W’s take Klay Thompson, a Shooting Guard at Washington State, as their first pick in the 2011 draft.  All of a sudden, wannabe soothsayer analyst, on TV and print, say that Monta is gone.
Really?  Like Larry Riley asked, what NBA Shooting Guards are as good as Monta Ellis?  Statistically, Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant.  Not to mention, Monta was the 8th leading scorer in the NBA this year.  He scored more than Dirk, last season.
Best case scenario,  Monta stays at SG, while the new kid Thompson earns his way to a Small Forward position.  After all, Thompson is 6’8”.
Small Forward
The incumbent is Dorrell Wright.  But, to tell you the truth, I believe the position as a whole, might be irrelevant this year, for the W’s.  I believe that the new kid, Klay Thompson, will have to compete with Dorrell Wright for the SF spot.  The W’s are desperate for youth at the SF position.  But since Klay Thompson is used to a SG position, Mark Jackson has a teaching project ahead of him.  After all, the alternatives are Vlad Radmonovic and Al Thornton, for the SF position.
Vlad Rad has a 6.8 Million Dollar salary.  They have to find a way to deal him, and perhaps, keep Al Thornton’s 600K salary.  I’m not sure Vlad is marketable, but if the W’s can equal him to a Turkoglu, they might have a chance.
Best case scenario, the W’s develop Klay Thompson into a viable Small Forward.  This way, he can compete with Dorrell Wright, and add depth to the SF position. 
Power Forward
The incumbent is the highly paid, David Lee.  David Lee might be the reason the Warriors make it to the NBA Playoffs in 2012, despite his high price.  The question is, who will be able to back him up.  The next best thing, would probably be Udoh.
Best case scenario, the W’s snatch up a free agent.  There are a ton on PF’s on the free agent market, however, I’m honing in on a hometown guy, named Leon Powe. He comes at a sub million pricetag.  His health is an issue, but I believe the gamble would be worth it.  This move would give the W’s two Pac-10 players of the year.
It’s hard to tell who’s the incumbent here, since Andres Biedrens started the year, with Udoh finishing it off.  The question is, will Biedrens be a Warrior next year.  Even if he does, he needs competition at that position.  Defensively, he can be backed up by Udoh.  Offensively, Udoh can’t cut it.  The W’s need a consistent double/double out of the Center position, to compete. 
The Warriors made a gutsy draft day trade with the Charlotte Bobcats, to acquire a gent named Jeremy Tyler.  To give some background, Tyler was a highly touted prep star in his Junior year of High School.  In fact, upon completing his junior year in High School, he was pursued by, and in principal committed to, Louisville University.  However, he decided to forgo his Senior year of High School, to play professional basketball, overseas.  After stints in Europe and Asia, he was finally able to declare for the NBA Draft in 2011.  In a trade for cash, the W’s were able to nab him from the Bobcats.
Regardless of your ideas of whether his path to the NBA was stupid, or not, please keep in mind that this kid has NBA talent.  I’ve mulled over his youtube videos, and although his opponents were of sub par talent, he seemed to have combination of skills that are NBA ready.  The cool thing is, he thought he was going to get paid by pulling his leave before graduating High School.  But little does he know, since he was picked so low, the W’s don’t have to pay him as much as a 1st rounder.
Also, there are a ton of veteran Centers available in Free Agency.  Most notably, Mark Gasol and Greg Oden.  Knowing that Biedrens is iffy about continuing on with the W’s, it’s smart for the W’s to look at free agency.  And to hedge their gamble, they drafted a past prospect, who made dumb decisions.
Best case scenario, the Warriors pick up Mark Gasol.  After all, Zach Randolph proved to be the man during the playoffs.  This way, Biedrens is expendable.  The W’s then can send Tyler through a GED program, and perhaps enroll him in Junior College courses.  All the while, learning NBA experience behind a proven NBA Center.
Projected Warriors Depth Chart
PGs: Stephan Curry, Charles Jenkins, Acie Law
SGs: Monta Ellis, Reggie Williams; Charlie Bell
SFs: Dorrell Wright, Klay Thompson, Al Thornton
PFs: David Lee, Epke Udoh, Leon Powe
Cs: Mark Gasol, Jeremy Tyler

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