Golden State Warriors: Ranking the Most Important Players on the Team
The Golden State Warriors are truly like a box of chocolates: on any given night you never know who you're going to get.
There have already been so many injuries and the starting lineup has changed so many times that it seems necessary to take a bit of inventory to decide who is worth the minutes they have been getting or will be getting.
Here is an attempt to rank the 10 most important Warriors on the team, injured and healthy, to get an idea of who needs to step up their game or keep doing what they're doing to give the team a shot at the postseason.
10.) Dominic McGuire
Dominic McGuire, the 6'9" forward out of Fresno State, is the Warriors utility man. He can play multiple positions and he can do a bit of everything.
In a hard loss to the Phoenix Suns, McGuire, playing on the block, scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
But what he does best rarely shows up in the stat sheet.
He is an energy guy who can be relied upon to commit on defense and give effort for as long as he is on the court.
On a team that is so plagued by injuries, a guy like McGuire coming off the bench is invaluable.
9.) Klay Thompson
Rookie Klay Thompson has been a source of headaches for Warriors fans because of his inability to hit open jump shots and the consistent look of fear in his eyes when he catches the ball.
But be patient. Thompson is an important part of this team now, and will be in the future.
At 6'7'' Thompson has an NBA body and a guard's skill set to go with it. His jump shot has good mechanics. He has an overall solid base.
The Golden State Warriors organization needs to focus on Oklahoma City "Thundering" their lineup. That means draft well and develop the talent, always keeping an eye on the future.
They really need Thompson to get over this rookie hump to get the process on the right track, but he will be an important component none the less.
8.) Andris Biedrins
But, before the Warriors can develop their future, they must first wrestle with the past.
Enter Andris Biedrins.
With eight seasons under his belt, it is time Biedrins assumes the role as team elder and starts setting an example for the younger big men like Ekpe Udoh and Jeremy Tyler.
And that doesn't mean he has to start averaging 20 and 10, though that would be nice.
It is, however, important that he set an example defensively for the young guys and teach them some tricks to playing on the block with a guard like Monta Ellis.
7.) Brandon Rush
As one of a small group of players on the Warriors who can manufacture their own shots, Brandon Rush has an important role coming off the bench for this team.
It falls on him to keep the points coming. He is one of the team's best athletes and has one of the team's best jump shots. For the injured Warriors, a streaky team at their best, bench scoring is essential.
So far this season, his first with the Warriors, he has been shooting the ball at a decent clip, around 45 percent, as well as playing solid defense.
As the season roles on though, Rush will have to increase the point production and get to the foul line a bit more often.
6.) Nate Robinson
Nate Robinson is another Warriors player who can create his own shot, and boy does he know it.
I wrote something recently about Robinson on this website that a few readers did not like; namely, that he takes bad shots too often and makes terrible decisions with the basketball.
I still believe those things, despite the win over the Miami Heat.
But I did underestimate just how tough he is.
Robinson brings an attitude and intensity to the team not seen since Latrell Sprewell. A welcome change to a traditionally soft lineup.
5.) Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is the most talented player in the Warriors lineup. For that reason alone he is important.
So why is he not higher on this list? Simple. He is always injured.
Curry has never played a full NBA season, meaning at some point, every year, the Warriors have had to learn to play without him.
When Curry is healthy however, he makes plays few guards in the NBA can make. He has a bright future. He just needs to find some way to stay on the court.
4.) Kwame Brown
Now before you jump to the comments section, let me explain why I put an injured Kwame Brown ahead of an injured Stephen Curry on a list of the team's most important players.
Kwame Brown was added to the roster in order to come off the bench and do two things: defend the paint and rebound.
Up until Brown suffered a chest injury, he was the most reliable big man on the team doing just those two things.
His scoring was not spectacular, just around six points per game, but he rebounded well, and in each of the Warriors three victories with Brown in the lineup, the former number one pick made major contributions in some way.
Examples: four steals against the Chicago Bulls, 10 rebounds against the New York Knicks, and eight points off three of five shooting against the Miami Heat.
He will be missed.
3.) David Lee
What more can be said about David Lee's importance to this team?
He is the second leading scorer with 19.1 points per game and leads the team in rebounds with 10.5 per game.
He ranks fifth in the league in double-doubles with seven, ahead of players like Andrew Bynum, Blake Griffin and Marc Gasol.
Lee is the team's work horse. Without a doubt, he is their best big man.
2.) Monta Ellis
He plays hard, he scores the ball, he comes through in the clutch, and in this, his seventh season, Monta Ellis is maybe playing the best basketball of his career.
Ellis is the league's sixth leading scorer with 23.7 points per game and ranks ninth in the NBA in assists per game with 7.6.
The only other player to rank among the top 10 in both points and assists is last year's MVP Derrick Rose.
1.) Dorell Wright
In this current version of the Warriors lineup Dorell Wright is their most important player.
He is the missing piece to the puzzle and if they want to start winning games, Wright needs to play better.
Coming off the season of his career, Wright has been struggling to score consistently, and with Stephen Curry listed as day to day with an ankle injury, the role as number two perimeter scorer falls on him.
He needs to start scoring more, getting to the foul line more and connecting on more of his three pointers. Wright shot around 38 percent from behind the arc last year. He is currently shooting around 27 percent.
There is still a lot of basketball left this season, but whether or not the Warriors are able to make a run at the playoffs depends on if Wright can start contributing more on the offensive side of the court.
He is the key to their success.