Friday, January 3, 2014

#FullSquad


Friday, July 26, 2013

REMAINING TEAM NEEDS


I was a little disappointed that Ian Clark chose to sign with the Jazz, but he when you think about it, it was the best situation for him considering he would be competing with fellow rookie, Trey Burke, for the starting PG job. He'll get thrown directly into the fire instead of getting a gradual education on how to become a NBA quality PG with staying power. The Jazz were under the cap, so they probably offered a little more money than the Warriors could. It's a shame that such a talented shooter and willing defender slipped through our hands. I hope he fails. Kidding.

Let's take a look at our current roster after the official waiving of Scott Machado, Kevin Murphy, and Dwayne Jones.

PG: Stephen Curry / Toney Douglas / Nemanja Nedovic
SG: Andre Iguodala / Klay Thompson / Kent Bazemore
SF: Harrison Barnes / Draymond Green
PF: David Lee / Marreese Speights
C: Andrew Bogut / Jermaine O'Neal / Festus Ezeli

Green is versatile enough to play back up minutes at either forward spot, but since he's slimmed down and gained quickness, it's not hard to imagine him getting more of his minutes at SF.

Andre Iguodala's extreme versatility allows him to cover 3 positions (4 if you feel bold on select nights). Initially, I was thinking he would start at SF alongside Thompson and Curry, but if Barnes' improved shooting can continue, it might be better for the team to have Thompson coming off the bench to spark instant offense. Iguodala can provide lockdown defense alongside the less than capable defender, Curry. Last year, according to 82games.com, Iguodala logged in 59% of the total team minutes at the SG position and 9% at SF. Starting Iguodala at SG gives the Warriors an immediate size and defensive advantage most nights.

Toney Douglas is an underrated addition who's lock-down defense will prove invaluable vs. the toughest guards in the league. He's PG-sized, but SG-strong, so he has the ability to play alongside Curry and guard the 2 spot while running the point on offense to allow Curry to work off the ball. In addition to his defense, he can shoot the 3 very well.

Marreese Speights is another versatile player acquired this offseason. His natural position is PF, but he can easily slide over to C because of his size. He plays with toughness, can block some shots, and rebounds well. Speights' best trait, however, is his shooting. His offensive game may duplicate Lee's, but he provides a little more resistance on the defensive side of the ball.

The entire team with the exception of the three centers, Bogut, O'Neal, and Ezeli, could easily play multiple positions. This makes it easier for Mark Jackson to shuffle lineups to adjust to opponents' strengths and weaknesses or provide different looks to force the opponents to play a style they are not used to. I love the overall make-up of the team but there are only a few missing pieces I see.

In order of importance:

  1. Athletic, shot blocking, defensive-minded PF
  2. Reliable stretch PF
  3. True PG

Athletic, Shot Blocking, Defensive-minded Power Forward
Level of Need: 6 (scale of 1 to 10)

The Warriors are loaded at center with defensive players, but they are missing a PF who can be called on to lock down mobile bigs and provide good help defense and shot blocking. Lee and Speights are terrific offensive players, but their defense leaves much to be desired. Speights is a more physical version of Lee and can block some shots, but Warriors need someone with more athleticism. Barnes can step in as a small ball 4, but will have trouble handling the larger PF. Green is capable as a backup PF, but with his lack of size and mobility, he will struggle to stop bigs as well. It would be nice to have a rim protector who can guard the pick and roll effectively as well as close out on stretch 4's.

  1. Ekpe Udoh (Bucks)
  2. Malcom Thomas
  3. Jackie Carmichael
  4. Tyrus Thomas
  5. Alexi Ajinca (?)


Reliable Stretch Power Forward
Level of Need: 5

Green is the closest thing the Warriors have to a Stretch 4 and that's not saying much. He showed up big time in the playoffs after struggling mightily during the regular season, but as we saw in the Las Vegas Summer League, his perimeter shooting, as of now, is too unreliable. Lee has talked about extending his range. If he can do that, the Warriors would be vastly improved and extremely dangerous. Lee shot very well from the left-corner 3, but he needs to become a reliable threat from other areas in order to prevent teams from packing the paint. Until Lee does that, it would be nice if the Warriors can add a Stretch 4 who can space the floor for drivers like Iguodala, Bazemore, Nedovic, and Barnes.

  1. Austin Daye
  2. Charlie Villanueva (Wizards)
  3. Antawn Jamison
  4. James Southerland (?)

True Point Guard
Level of Need: 3

Curry has improved his point guard skills considerably since entering the league, but the Warriors might want to add a natural, pass-first guard who can handle presses and extreme pressure and get to any spot on the floor while keeping his dribble alive. Toney Douglas was added to the roster as Curry's primary backup, but he is more of a defensive specialist than a distributor who can command the offense and dictate tempo. With Curry's injury history, it would be wise to add that true PG and not have to rely on Douglas, Iguodala, Bazemore, or Nedovic as your guy to keep the offensive rolling.

  1. Peyton Siva
  2. Nick Calathes
  3. Stefhon Hannah (?)
  4. Jerome Randle (?)

Warriors have two spots open. It would be nice to address two of the three remaining holes in the roster, but it may be more prudent to sign someone with upside to a non-guaranteed contract and keep the other slot open unless there is a player the Warriors just have to have. There is no sense of urgency to address any of these needs yet, but as the season plays out, injuries take place, and a clearer picture of what's lacking in the roster develops, the Warriors can hang back, enjoy what they have, and let the cards fall where the may.





Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ROUNDING OUT THE WARRIORS ROSTER



Thanks to Bob Myers and his team, it's been an amazing offseason highlighted by the unlikely signing of Iguodala, the savvy acquisitions of Speights, Douglas, and O'Neal, the drafting of the 'Euro Derrick Rose,' Nemanja Nedovic, and culminating in the crowning of the Warriors as Las Vegas Summer League Champions.

The Warriors are a likely to cut three of the four non-guaranteed contracts: Scott Machado, Kevin Murphy, and Dwayne Jones. Bazemore was considered a keeper going into the offseason, but his MVP worthy performance in Las Vegas elevated his stock to rotation player, securing him a spot on the team. That leaves two open roster spots. What should the Warriors do with them?

Normally, I would suggest signing a free agent to a non-guaranteed contract and leaving the last slot open for an emergency add later down the road, but there were two undrafted rookies that thoroughly impressed me in the month of July - Ian Clark and Jackie Carmichael. It will probably take a guaranteed contract to get both of them to sign with the Warriors.

Ian Clark

After a stellar start in Orlando, the Miami Heat urged Ian Clark to stay with their Summer League squad as they transitioned to Las Vegas. Fortunately, Clark honored his commitment and decided to team up with Bazemore, Green, and the Golden State Warriors. Clark proved to be one of the deadliest 3-point threats in the entire 2013 Draft Class and showed hints of why he was named Atlantic Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He capped off a great start to his professional career by scoring 33 points on 7-10 shooting from 3 to clinch the Inaugural Las Vegas Summer League Championship Title.

After his MVP winning performance, Clark is in demand around the league. Shooting is a coveted skill in the NBA and GM's have taken notice of his game. It may seem that there is no room for Clark, but if you consider that drafted rookie, Nemanja Nedovic is more of a combo guard than a pure point guard, you can easily make room on the roster to develop a prospect like Clark. One can never have too many shooters on the team - especially ones with a great work ethic, high skill level, impressive floater, and high character. His Christian background will mesh well with the current group of guys and he would benefit greatly from joining a great organization that has proven to be able to develop raw, young talent (Bazemore, Green, Ezeli) through quality coaching (Darren Erman, Pete Myers, Jerry DeGregorio, and Brian Scalabrine.)

Jackie Carmichael

With the 15th and final roster spot, I would tap one of my favorite prospects of the 2013 Draft Class, Jackie Carmichael. I was shocked that a player of his size, athletic ability, toughness, and post presence went undrafted. Perhaps teams were put off by his age (23 y.o., born 1/02/1990) or were weary of his accomplishments coming from a small school. Nevertheless, he silenced critics with his strong summer league showing.

The Warriors saw first hand the potential this man has off the bench. He's a high energy, defensive big who gives it his all every second on the court. Carmichael recorded 7 blocks against the Warriors and had several other good games in Las Vegas and in Orlando. As with Clark, Carmichael's stock has risen and he has shown he is worthy of a camp invitation. Ideally, you would like to offer him a non-guaranteed contract, but the Warriors may have to offer him the same kind of deal it will take to land Clark if suitors are plenty. Dallas will probably offer him a guaranteed deal to jump from their summer league team to their NBA roster. It's going to take a sweet offer from the Warriors to lure him away.

Currently, the Power Forward position is void of a defensive-minded player. That is where Carmichael would fit in perfectly. He needs to develop more offense in the post, but he is ready to contribute in other ways with his smart play, defense, and blue collar hustle.

Playing time may be hard to come by for all of the rookies, including Nedovic, but rest assured, they will be able to build a solid foundation, be a part of a class organization, pay their dues with the Santa Cruz Warriors D-League team, gradually improve their games the right way, and develop into the best players they can be.

Starters: Curry / Thompson / Iguodala / Lee / Bogut
2nd Team: Douglas / Bazemore / Barnes / Speights / O'Neal
3rd Team: Clark / Nedovic / Green / Carmichael / Ezeli


Go get'em Myers!!!






Monday, July 8, 2013

TRADE TARGET: EKPE UDOH


Well it looks like the Warriors ended up working out a Sign-and-Trade with Denver afterall. They now have an $11M trade exception a $3.2M trade exception, and the $5.2M Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception. This gives the them loads of flexibility to strengthen the bench and build towards contender status. Even though they have the means to spend more money, they should remained disciplined with the contracts they pursue or hand out in order to keep the cap flexibility in 2014. That means the Warriors should (1) pursue quality players with expiring contracts using the exceptions, (2) target young, cheap, and movable pieces, or (3) sign a player to a deal which allows the Warriors to opt out in 2014.

With Landry gone and Ezeli on the mend until at least the rest of the year, their number one priority should be a backup big man who can play both PF and C.

Ekpe Udoh was a fan favorite when he was a Warrior and is a terrific defender who can play PF and C. He is not particularly good at much else, but has proven that when he's on the court, the team is almost always on the plus side because of the hustle and little things he does that don't show up in the box score. His help defense is impeccable, he alters many shots, is mobile, and he times blocks well. I suspect we can get him for almost nothing since Bucks are stacked at PF/C with Sanders, Ilyasova, Ayon, Gooden, Henson, and now Pachulia (recently signed).

Udoh makes
$4.5M 2013-14
$6.0M 2014-15  Qualifying Offer which we would decline to maintain cap flexibility

ESPN Scouting Report
Scouting report
+ Lean, athletic shot-blocker who moves well defensively and can protect rim.
+ Has 15-foot range but very poor offensive instincts. No moves or handle.
+ Very poor rebounder for size. Needs to reduce fouls. Makes free throws.
Analysis
Udoh can't rebound or score, but man, can he play defense. Synergy again rated him as one of the best defenders in the league, and his teams once again had a major defensive improvement with him on the court. Golden State gave up 10.7 points per 100 possessions less with him on the court, while in Milwaukee the change was 5.2 points.
Opposing centers racked up a decent player efficiency rating against Udoh, but that's because he was busy playing sheriff. He ranked fifth in blocks per minute among centers and in the top third in steals. He's both a capable pick-and-roll defender and a very strong rim protector, and despite his inexperience his defensive instincts are all on key. He's a bit undersized for a center and at age 25 he may not improve much from here, but defensive value alone makes him a very good backup. Fouls, however, remain a problem, as he had one every 7.4 minutes.
Udoh would be a starter if he could play offense, but he's pretty bad at this end. He can make open jumpers and hit 38.4 percent of his shots beyond 10 feet, but he just doesn't have the instincts or ball skills to get himself easy chances near the basket. He's a low-mistake player, at least, cutting his turnover rate sharply last season, and his 75.4 percent from the line was very good for a center.
Surprisingly, he's also a terrible rebounder. Udoh was the league's third-worst center in both defensive rebound rate and overall rebound rate. This is partly because of how often he's going for blocks, but regardless he'll have to do better.
Udoh fills a need without adding salary that could jeopardize their 2014 cap flexibility.