Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Warrior Options in the Summer of 2009

Allow me to make something crystal clear; the Warriors will not make the NBA Finals in the next three years. There is no reason to think the Warriors are going to be better than the Lakers over that span of time (not to mention the Spurs, Nuggets and Hornets). As a result, before any moves are made the Warriors’ front office must ask themselves the following question, “Will this move make us the best we can be in 2012/2013?” With this thought in mind, let’s look at the three potential moves the Warriors could possibly make to maximize their ability to win the NBA Championship in 2013.

Move #1 – Do not do anything

The fact of the matter is that this team has a really good (not great) young nucleus. If they don’t make any other changes over the off-season, I promise you they win at least 5 more games next season if not 10. Why is everyone in such a hurry to make a trade? The Warriors have the unique opportunity to grow organically by building team chemistry through years of experience on the court. Besides a true IT player, the team has all the pieces to become a tough team to beat by the 2010/2011 season. They have veteran leadership in Stephan Jackson, length down low in Biedrins and Wright, solid bench players in Maggette and Turiaf and, most importantly, two potential IT players in Monta and Randolph. All of these guys are locked up through the 2010/2011 season which means the current team could develop together for three full seasons. There is no reason to think this group of players cannot develop into a formidable unit in two or three seasons. If Randolph or Monta become IT players the Warriors are a contender as early as the 2011/2012 season.

(Did I mention Stephen Curry is the ultimate wild card? I would argue the Warriors don’t even need him to turn into anything more that a sharp shooter to become legitimate playoff team by 2010/2011.)

Move #2 – Sign ZaZa Pachulia

The Warriors need to give Turiaf and Biedrins some help down low and the answer is to find a discount power forward that can play defense and rebound. ZaZa Pachulia is their guy. He is only 25 years old and he does not need the ball on offense to remain happy. Last year, he gave the Hawks 6.2 ppg and 5.7 rpg in 19 minutes a game! The only guy that average more rebounds than 5.7 per game last season on the Warriors was Biedrins. Throw him into the rotation with Turiaf, Wright and Biedrins and the front line could be set for at least the next three seasons.

(You also have to love that this guy looks like a bar room brawler)

Move #3 – Trade Brandan Wright for Marc Gasol

Everyone wins with this trade. The Grizzles get the long athletic power forward that is a perfect compliment for Hasheem Thabeet (who they actually think is good) and the Warriors get a 7’1” banger down low. Even though I like Wright’s game, he does not have the handles to play the three and we already have a long skinny left hander playing the 4 or 5 so Wright is redundant. Similar to Pachulia, Gasol is tough and is a great rebounder. Both teams win in this trade.

(The more I think about this trade, the more I love it. Not only does Gasol give the Warriors much needed toughness, but he also is the perfect foil for his brother, Pau. Who is going to guard Pau Gasol better than his younger brother?)

Questions I want answered by you the reader

* Who would you rather have – Kevin Love or Marc Gasol?

* With 6 seconds left and you are down by 1, do you trust Amare to win the game for

* What rookie is more marketable than Stephan Curry?

* If you are going to trade one of your young players, doesn’t it make more sense to trade Monta?

* When is Cohan going to give Warriors season ticket holders the $3 mm he promised them last fall?

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