Golden State Warriors: 5 Players Who Could Help Them Recover from Last Season

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 17, 2012

Golden State Warriors: 5 Players Who Could Help Them Recover from Last Season

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    Here's the understatement of the 2012 NBA offseason: New Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers will have his work cut out for him finding players that can help the team recover from last season's debacle.

    Between inheriting a roster whose greatest accomplishment this past season was losing enough games to salvage a desperately needed lottery pick to working on a limited budget, Myers will have a hard time
    finding quality additions.

    But there are possibilities out there.

    Myers will undoubtedly need to work the trade market to find that coveted starting small forward, which is something the team is reportedly trying to accomplish (via Contra Costa Times).

    But teams don't often improve on the basis of one home run trade (although it's possible; see: 2011-12 Los Angeles Clippers). So Myers will need to bolster his current roster with quality, bargain free agents much in the same way his predecessor, Larry Riley, was able to find lockdown defender Dominic McGuire last offseason.

    Here are five players that Myers should already be pursuing to end the team's now five-year playoff drought.

5. Ian Mahinmi (Dallas Mavericks)

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    Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

    Notable Numbers: 5.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, 18.1 minutes

    Mahinmi enjoyed career highs in nearly every major statistical category this season, thanks in no small part to nearly averaging more minutes this year (18.7) than he did in his first three seasons combined (18.8).

    Most of his points came inside the restricted area, but he showed glimpses of possessing a midrange jumper when he needed to.

    His 230-lb frame could use some bulk if he’s going to see the majority of his minutes at center, which is highly likely considering he hasn’t shown the lateral quickness to guard today’s power forwards.

    While he’ll certainly see an upgrade in pay this summer (he made $900,000 last year), his numbers should keep him within the Warriors price range. Still, he’ll need to convince Myers and company that he’s enough of an upgrade over rookie Jeremy Tyler that he’d be worth halting Tyler’s development.

4. Louis Williams (Philadelphia 76ers)

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    Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

    Notable Numbers: 14.9 points, 3.5 assists, 26,3 minutes

    Williams' standing among this year's free agents remains to be seen, as he was not guaranteed to be a part of this crop. But with reports from philly.com stating that he will opt out of this contract, expect him to leap up the lists of available free agents.

    On the surface, Williams looks like the type of player who would fit former coach Don Nelson’s Warriors much better than current coach Mark Jackson’s Warriors.

    He’s a point guard by label, but a scoring guard by performance. Despite coming off the bench all season, he led the 76ers in scoring (the only bench player to do so). David Lee (20.3) was the only Warrior to average more points than Williams.

    Williams does not play the type of defense that Jackson would like, but his offensive potency may be enough for Myers to overlook that part of his game. His shooting range extends well beyond the three-point line and he could provide consistent scoring off the bench and scoring down the stretch, two areas that the team needs to address.

    His numbers would suggest that he’s already out of the team’s price range, but he doesn’t have great size (6’1”) and, again, is not a natural point guard. But the Warriors have shown interest in Williams in the past and there’s no question that he’d be an instant upgrade for their second unit (via ESPN).

3. Marreese Speights (Memphis Grizzlies)

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    Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent

    Notable Numbers: 8.8 points, 6.2 rebounds in 22.4 minutes

    Memphis may actually be in worse financial shape than the Warriors: three players (Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol) are set to make over $13 million for at least the next two seasons and Mike Conley is just two seasons into his five-year, $45 million deal.

    Now, Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace must find a way to either clear up cap space or let his three restricted free agents (Speights, O.J. Mayo and Darrell Arthur) walk.

    While Speights enjoyed his best rebounding season this year, his scoring stayed relatively close to his career average (7.6) despite averaging six more minutes than he had in any of his first three seasons.

    He has good size for the power forward position (6’10”, 255 lbs.) and has developed a nearly automatic midrange jumper. The Warriors need to find some consistency in their second team’s frontcourt, and Speights is one of the better options in this largely forgettable free-agent class.

    Of course, his standing among his free-agent peers might drive his price tag out of the Warriors’ budget.

2. Andre Miller (Denver Nuggets)

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    Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

    Notable Numbers: 9.7 points, 6.7 assists in 27.4 minutes

    Outside of the starting small forward position, finding a quality backup point guard is the most important task for Myers this offseason.

    After all, there’s so little certainty with Stephen Curry’s ankle heading into next season and his future with the team beyond that (he’ll be a restricted free agent after next year).

    The Warriors have been rumored to be interested in a number of point guards this offseason, be it veteran free agents (via the San Francisco Chronicle) or potential draft picks (via Contra Costa Times).

    The 36-year-old Miller will be at or above the Warriors’ spending threshold, but Myers needs to give this his best effort.

    Not only does Miller continue to play at a high level, but he could be a great teacher for Curry. Like Miller, Curry is far from a great athlete. But unlike Miller, Curry has often let that lack of athleticism hinder his ability to get easy baskets.

    There’s a chance Miller signs with Golden State and logs significant minutes with Curry again battling ankle injuries. There’s also a good chance he signs here and averages in the 15-20 minute range playing behind a healthy Curry. He’s a great fit either way and would impact the franchise in a major way under both scenarios.

1. Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies)

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    Contract Status: Three years, $53 million remaining

    Notable Numbers: 19.0 points, 6.4 rebounds in 37.3 minutes

    As mentioned before, the Grizzlies are in a world of financial hurt. And moving Gay has long been rumored as the first important step toward solving some of their money issues.

    The question becomes how low has Gay’s value fallen around the league. Would a package centered around the No. 7 pick, Dorell Wright and one of the team’s two second-round picks be enough to interest Memphis? Golden State would have to find a way to include one of their bad contracts (Andris Biedrins or Richard Jefferson) to make this work.

    Gay has never been the type of player to build a franchise around, but he’s still better than anything the Warriors currently have on their roster. His size and athleticism help his underrated defense, but it’s his desire to take big shots and his ability to knock them down that the Warriors desperately need.