Golden State Warriors: 5 Critical Moves That Need to Be Made
The Golden State Warriors’ future looks promising for the first time in decades. The team finally has a nucleus of young players to build around, but they are still missing one piece: the small forward position.
The Warriors have four draft picks this year (Nos. 7, 30, 35 and 52) and need to make the best of them. This is also the deepest NBA Draft in years.
The biggest problem for the Warriors is they are very cap-heavy and they have Andris Biedrins' contract for another two years on the books at $18 million in total.
Ideally, that position will be filled via the draft or via a trade for a proven player like Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, or Nicholas Batum. There is no doubt in my mind that Warriors’ brass will secure an upgrade for that position.
5) Trade the Number 7 Pick and a Contract for a Proven Small Forward
Instead of waiting for a draft pick to develop— with the Warriors draft luck they wouldn’t—the Warriors can trade for either Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, or Rudy Gay. Nicholas Batum probably won’t be in play because the Trailblazers already own the sixth and 11th picks in the NBA Draft and Danny Granger will cost too much to pry from the developing Pacers.
Andre Iguodala would be the perfect fit for the Warriors at the small forward position. The Warriors know his game and he is the player that they have flirted with for years. The problem that they are facing is that his price is on the rise with the Lakers dangling Pau Gasol his way.
The Sixers would probably want a Wright/Jefferson/No. 7 pick for Iguodala. The Warriors will try as hard as they can to unload Biedrins in that trade, but probably to no avail.
Josh Smith is another target but will the ownership in Atlanta finally unload him? The Warriors could trade Dorell Wright along with the 7th and 30th picks for Josh Smith. Smith would then have to go down to the small forward position and play next to David Lee.
Rudy Gay is another option, but as Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com wrote that the Warriors are one of four teams in the running for Gay, the Grizzles, who need a backup center, aren’t inclined to take on Andris Biedrins.
The Warriors have one caveat; they cannot trade either Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson unless they get their doors blown off.
4) If the Warriors Can’t Agree on a Trade for a Proven Small Forward, Trade Up
The Warriors need a small forward and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the best player at that position in the draft. By holding on to the seventh pick in the draft, the Warriors do not need to jump that far up in the draft to get MKG.
The Warriors will have to pay a steep price is MKG is going to go at the number two position and a little bit less for three. The Warriors will need to package Wright and all of their draft choices to get the rights of the second pick. They will probably have to include three picks (keep No. 52) to move up to the third slot.
The worse-case scenario in this process is for the Warriors to keep the seventh pick and pick a big man. There are a lot of athletic big men that could grow to replace David Lee and be instant depth on the bench.
3) Learn How to Play Defense Under Mark Jackson
The NBA season was truncated last year because of the strike and that really damaged the development under second-year head coach, Mark Jackson. Jackson will have a chance to instill and implement his style of play, including teaching his team how to play fundamental defense.
Jackson was a very successful point guard during his 17 years in the NBA and knows how to run a team. He has a very high basketball IQ and hopes to translate that on to the court.
His effort has proved fruitful during his first year as the number of points allowed per game decreased from 105.7 in 2010-11 to 101.2 in 2011-12. Having a standard lineup with a true center should help even more next year.
It also didn’t help the defensive statistics with the Warriors playing out the season with key injuries and the goal of losing enough games to secure the seventh pick. They got the pick and that should help the defense next season.
2) Sign Brandon Rush and Dominic McGuire
Brandon Rush is a restricted free agent that is an elite spot-up shooter who provides instant depth to the guard position. Including his 45 percent shooting behind the arc, he also brings a defensive presence to the court by getting steals and even blocks.
Rush started on the bench in every game except one, but averaged 26.6 MPG and was consistently Mark Jackson’s sixth man. The Warriors own Rush’s Bird Rights, so I expect them to keep Rush unless some team feels it is necessary to grossly overpay for Rush.
Dominic McGuire is an unrestricted free agent who also studies at the Mark Jackson school of defense. He was very comfortable off the bench and showed he could fill in the rotation at small forward.
McGuire knows the system and would be a great choice to back up a newly acquired small forward or teach a draft pick the ropes.
1) Get Rid of Andris Biedrins
Andris Biedrins used to be a productive member of society. After signing a six-year deal in 2008 that was similar in cash to what they had given recently departed Monta Ellis, Biedrins has rapidly disappeared on the court and should have gone away via amnesty instead of Charlie Bell.
Biedrins improved for one season after signing the major deal by raising his scoring average to 11.9 points per game. That was also the last year he knew where the rim was during his free throw attempts.
His free throw percentage dropped from 55 percent in 2008-09 to 16 percent in 2009-10. After an increase back to 32 percent during the 2010-11 season, he sank even lower to a pathetic 11 percent last year.
His key statistics (rebounds and blocks) have also declined in the past three seasons. He needs to go now and the Warriors can hopefully find a trade partner (as long as it is not one of the Warriors' core four).
The worst case scenario is for the Warriors to just eat the contract and move on. There are a lot more low-cost alternatives that would be highly productive in comparison to fill the bench in case of an injury to starting center Andrew Bogut.
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