Saturday, July 17, 2010


I was thrilled when the top player on my free agent wish list, Dorell Wright, was signed to a good deal. I envision that he would be a perfect fit to play in Don Nelson's system of skilled, versatile, athletic, multi-dimensional players who can do two or more of the following well: score, pass, rebound, and defend. Wright does all four, with passing being his weaker attribute and defending his strongest.

Current Depth Chart
PG: Curry / Watson
SG: Ellis / Bell
SF: Wright / Williams
PF: Lee / Wright / Radmanovic
C: Biedrins / Gadzuric / Udoh

If Biedrins can get healthy, the starting 5 looks pretty good, especially at PG with Stephen Curry and at PF with David Lee.

Ellis is one of the top scorers in the league, but it is imperative that he evolve into a more well-rounded player that contributes in other ways other than just scoring. Monta has shown flashes of good defense, but the desire is not there consistently. Steals come naturally, but all to often, his man gets past him and the bigs are forced to over-compensate for his poor defensive effort, leading to easy baskets or offensive rebounds. Although Monta is not quite a natural PG or willing passer, he adds value to his team by being a good rebounder for his position. As his game matures, I look forward to seeing all four aspects of his game to improve. He has the incredible physical gifts, he needs to take it to the next level with mental toughness and determination.

The SF position is still up for grabs, but my early leader is Dorell Wright. Reggie Williams may be more talented offensively, but as a role player, I believe Wright would be better served as one of the starting 5. His defense and rebounding at the SF position compensate for the lack of length in the backcourt and the suspect defense at PF. Williams would be the ideal 6th man because of his versatility and multi-faceted game. He'll be instant offense for the Warriors bench and has some ability to help initiate the offense and get the ball to others.

Being comfortable with the starting 5 and 6th man, it's time to address the depth that once was a particular strong suit just weeks ago before the Lee for Randolph, Turiaf, and Azubuike trade and the subsequent decision to not match the Nets' offer to Anthony Morrow.

Barring an outrageous offer for C.J. Watson, I think the Warriors should match when the time comes. He's an underrated playmaker one of our best stealers because of his knack to play the passing lanes. Watson will be able to backup both guard positions. If we lose him I would love to go after a true PG to take his place.

The bench of the front court consists of Brandan Wright, Radmanovic, Gadzuric, and Udoh. It would be unwise to think that Wright can be counted on to provide big, productive minutes for the PF spot off the bench due to his durability issues. Udoh is out until at least January, so that leaves the Warriors in bind at the PF/C position. The priority for GM Larry Riley should be to fill this void with free agents that fit the system. We need more defense and rebounding plus a big that can shoot from outside in order to open up the lanes for the guards.

With new ownership, the fans may be clamoring for a quick fix, big signing, or a big salary commitment that would do away with our salary cap flexibility for the next two offseasons, but I'm hoping that our new owner, Joseph Lacob, will exercise patience and not go after a mid-level talent that we will regret signing later. There are bigger fishes to be had in the offseason (especially in 2012) if we aim towards having cap space to sign a max salary player.

There are a few players I'd like to trade for, like Andre Iguodala, but if the Warriors can't get a player of his caliber and versatility, they should hang on to their expirings (Radmanovic and Gadzuric) and try to trade Charlie Bell and his overpriced 2 year deal in a package for cap relief. If Brandan Wright doesn't pan out and Bell is off the books, the Warriors will have immediate cap space to sign a max salary player next offseason.

For now, the Warriors should go after smaller fish on shorter, cheaper deals in order to keep their options open. There are 3 more roster spots available, but I expect the Warriors to fill two and leave the third for a mid to late season pick-up when the depth chart is revised due to injuries. First priority should be to add another big. Second would be to add another long, wing player capable of defending SG's and SF's.

Here is an updated list of targets for free agents that best fit the system, team need, and could be had at a reasonable price on a short contract. It's important to have veterans to teach the young ones the ropes, so even though they might not be as talented as the other available free agents, they trump them with their experience, character, and veteran savvy on the court.

01. Louis Amundson - PF/C (toughness, rebounding, defense, agility)
02. Kyrylo Fesenko - C (rebounding, defense, upside, has jump shot)
03. Damien Wilkins - SG/SF (point forward skills, defense, scorer, toughness)
04. Anthony Tolliver - PF (scoring, 3 pt range, rebounding)
05. Matt Barnes - SF/PF (toughness, 3 pt range, rebounding, defense)
06. James Singleton - SF/PF (toughness, defense, rebounding)
07. Chris Hunter - C (jump shot, size, rebounding, cheap)
08. Oleksiy Pecherov - PF/C (good shooting range, blocks, rebounding, skilled, cheap)
09. Ime Udoka - SF (defense, 3 pt range, toughness)
10. Rasual Butler - SF/SG (scorer, 3 pt range, long, athletic)
11. Keith Bogans - SG (defense, 3 pt range, toughness)
12. Devean George - SF (3 pt range, chemistry, defense)
13. Shavlik Randolph - PF (shooting, rebounding, cheap)

Land best available big man and best available wing player. Leave the 15th spot open to audition the next D-Leaguer find after the season starts.

Potential Depth Chart
PG: Curry / Watson
SG: Ellis / Bell / Wilkins
SF: D. Wright / Williams / Radmanovic
PF: Lee / B. Wright / Udoh
C: Biedrins / Amundson / Gadzuric

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