The Official Unofficial Golden State Warriors Preview 08-09
Before we can look ahead - we have to review what happened last year.
The NBA suspended Stephen Jackson for the first 8 games for an incident that occurred in 2006 and the 6th best team in the western conference did not make the playoffs. To put salt on the wound, Captain Jack was playing for the Pacers at the time of the incident. The league needs to start to understand what the point of a suspension is. To me, the point of a suspension is to discipline a player for conduct that is detrimental to the league, the team, his teammates etc. The fans and the community should never be the biggest loser when a player does something wrong. In no way am I condoning Stephen Jackson’s actions but I do think the league could get there point across while limiting how much the suspension affects the team’s ability to win. Players are human beings and when push comes to shove their pay check is more important to them than winning a championship.
(Think about it this way – Most employees at a publically held companies are not willing to give up a month’s salary so the company’s stock can go up.)
So let’s try this idea:
The league still determines the length of the suspension but the team gets to determine what games the player is suspended for. The player still learns a lesson because he gets his pay taken away but the team (fans) doesn’t have to pay the ultimate price of potentially not making the playoffs. Is this really that bad of an idea!?
I will admit a few other things happened last year – Monta became an “IT” player, Baron got screwed out of an All-Star appearance, the front-office failed to make an impact trade and Marco Bellineli was a sensation … in the Las Vegas summer league.
Let’s move on
* Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins signings: Monta is an “IT” player and I doubt his injury will hurt his explosiveness long-term. His contract will be viewed as a steal after it expires.
As for Biedrins, he is 22 years old and we have not seen anything close to his offense potential. NellieBall doesn’t exactly help his numbers and the lack of another big body down low has kept his production down over the past two years. Now that he has Turiaf to take some of the pressure off him on the defensive end, we are going to get the opportunity to see Biedrins reach new offensive heights.
(Of course, Nellie could play him along Harrington the entire season then all bets are off)
* Ronny Turiaf signing: Let me get this straight, we acquired the defensive rebounder I have been requesting for the last two seasons and we signed him away from the Lakers!! Turiaf is a steal (get it – because we stole him from the Lakers – nevermind) at $4.5 mm a year and he is exactly what we need (or needed last year). Turiaf is going to be a big time contributor over the next 4 years even if the stat sheet doesn’t say so.
* The Future: Even I have to admit that the long-term health of the Warriors looks pretty good. Here is our team for the next three years:
PG: TBD, SG: Monta Ellis, SF: Stephen Jackson (assuming he gets an extension) PF: Turiaf C: Biedrins
Bench: Azubuike, Belinelli, Wright, Randolph, Maggette
Now imagine if Wright or Randolph blossoms into an “IT” player!? Now, if the Warriors just had a point guard to run the show …
* Baron Davis situation: I could write 10 pages on the Baron Davis situation but I will leave just say this: If the Warriors would have completed an extension with Baron and not signed Maggette. In two years, the Warriors are one of the best 4 teams in the league! Of course, what would the Warriors front office be if they were not doing their best to ruin something good!?
(I hate being a Warriors fan sometimes)
* Corey Maggette signing: The next part of this article requires a designated reader (“DR”) so go find a close friend that is literate. I will wait … Ready? Ok, close your eyes (not the DR)
I have a player with the following attributes:
- a 9-year veteran
- Stats: 22.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.7 apg, 38.4 3P% and 81.2 FT%
- 6’6”, 225 lbs.
- He attempted the 6th most free-throws in the league in 2008-09 and converted the 4th most.
- He fits perfectly into Warrior offensive system and his numbers are only going to improve.
Now it is time for you to play GM. He is willing to sign with your team for a very reasonable 5 year, $50 million.
Do you sign him?
(You can open your eyes and thank the DR)
This process is exactly how the Warriors front-office decides what players to sign. Thank god they do not open their eyes because if they did - they might know that Maggette plays no defense, cares less about winning than Stephan Marbury and his nickname on workingthecorners.com is (and will always be) Corey “Garbage Time” Maggette. If the Maggette signing is not proof that the Warriors are doomed forever, I don’t know what is.
(Seriously, has this guy ever won anything? It is not a coincidence that he is going to spend his entire career playing for the Clippers and Warriors)
* Monta Ellis debacle: Did he do something stupid? Yes. Should he kick all his friends and agents to the curb for advising him to lie? Yes. Is Robert Rowell an idiot for suspending him for 30 games? Yes.
When the Warriors fearless leader was questioned by the media about the Ellis injury he gave the following answer:
“Chris Mullin made it perfectly clear to both Mr. Cohan and myself that he didn’t think this was a big deal at the beginning. And we happen to think it’s a very big deal.
We happen to think that it’s a big deal for our fans, it’s a big deal for our season ticket-holders, it’s a big deal for our business partners, it’s a big deal for the Warriors organization.”
How many fans do you think he questioned? Do you think he sent out a survey to each season ticket-holder and the major sponsors? If they did ask these people and entities, I am sure they all had the following response:
“I am very upset about the Monta Ellis injury and suspending him for 30 games is a much bigger deal than not bringing Baron Davis back.. I am thrilled that the organization is going to give me a discount on my tickets this year because there is no way they are going to force me to renew my season-tickets next year in order to benefit from this $3 million windfall. As a fan/season ticket-holder/sponsor I am much more interested in punishing Monta Ellis than making the playoffs. I am excited to know that my interests remain the top priority of the organization. Keep up the good work!!”
When asked about what is going to be done with the $3 million, Rowell had this to say:
“Our season ticket-holders will benefit from the entire amount next season in their renewals”
On another note, I would like to congratulate Rowell on earning an A in his Al Davis Sports Business 101class.
Outlook for 2008-2009
The best way to approach this preview is by examining the roster and the potential starters.
(Reminder: This is my starting 5 and not what the actual starting 5 will be against the Hornets.)
Point Guard: This position is easy because the Warriors don’t have one. Let me be the first one to break the news to you … MONTA ELLIS IS NOT A POINT GUARD!!! I am not sure where this idea came from but everyone needs to open their eyes and realize that Ellis is a C+ passer at best. AI was never successful playing a point guard so why does anybody think Ellis will be any better!?
Memo to Mullin (or whoever is in charge at this point)
Please trade for a point guard that can guard a shooting guard and knows how to pass.
In the spirit of “the roster is not going to change”, I do like the idea of putting Stephen Jackson at the point. He can pass the ball, penetrate and cause crazy mismatches on the offensive end. Not to mention, he is our only viable option at this point.
Shooting Guard: Kelenna Azubuike is our best option because he can shoot and plays serviceable defense. The Azubuike signing didn’t seem to make a lot of sense in July but it looks pretty shrewd at this point.
(It should go without saying that Monta Ellis starts when he returns to the team)
Small Forward: Corey Maggette. Garbage Time should start at small forward. There I said it.
(It should be noted, I picked Garbage Time second in my fantasy draft just so I could enjoy watching him score 40 points in 30 point blowout losses.)
Power Forward: How can you not love Ronny Turiaf getting 32 minutes a night, grabbing 10 rebounds and providing energy on both ends of the court!? Tim Roy is going to love this guy.
Center: I am thinking 14.3 ppg and 11.2 rpg this season for Andris Biedrins as he takes the next step in his development. I will say it now – the most positive thing we will take away from this season will be the significant development of the Warriors front court.
* Al Harrington: If you would have told me in 2002 that the Warriors starting power forward in 08-09 would shoot 3’s with complete disregard for his ability to make them, play defense in 10 games all season and turn the ball over almost every time he tried to beat someone off the dribble – I would have said “there is no way Antawn Jamison is still on the team in 08-09”. The Warriors have really progressed at power forward position.
* Brandon Wright/Anthony Randolph/Marco Belinelli: One of these guys is going to exceed expectations this year. However, I think it will only be one of them.
* Marcus Williams: To quote Dean Wormer (from Animal House): “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to [make it as a point guard in the NBA]”.
* DeMarcus Nelson: If Coach K doesn’t think you are good enough to play point guard in college than you are not good enough to play point guard in the NBA.
The Warriors are not going to make the playoffs. They weren’t going to make the playoffs with a healthy Monta Ellis for the entire season. In the west, your team has to have one of the following attributes to make the playoffs: (1) a good point guard (Utah, New Orleans, San Antonio, Phoenix and Dallas, (2) an incredible amount of talent at other positions (Lakers) or (3) players who know how to play good team defense (Rockets). Needless to say, the Warriors do not have any of these attributes. However, there is enough talent on the roster to keep them in the playoff discussion until mid-March at which point we will get to see a newly healed Monta Ellis prove that he is not a point guard.
Finish: 40-42, 4th in the Pacific and 10th in the Western Conference.
1. Boston (1)
2. Philadelphia (3)
3. Toronto (6)
4. New Jersey
5. New York
1. Cleveland (2)
2. Detroit (4)
1. Miami (5)
2. Orlando (7)
3. Atlanta (8)
1. Utah (3)
2. Portland (7)
1. New Orleans (2)
2. San Antonio (4)
3. Houston (6)
4. Dallas (8)
1. LA Lakers (1)
2. Phoenix (5)
3. LA Clippers
4. The Warriors
LA Lakers over Philadelphia