Golden State Warriors: Shelden Williams Could Fill Frontcourt Void
The Golden State Warriors entered the offseason with a pair of weaknesses they hoped to address through free agency or the trade market. They lacked a dependable backup point guard, and they needed some frontcourt help behind Andrew Bogut and David Lee.
With the acquisition of Jarrett Jack, the Warriors addressed their first need in spades. Jack's defense, basketball IQ and unselfish play will provide a major boost to the backcourt—not to mention a viable insurance option if Stephen Curry succumbs to his creaky ankles again this year.
Having addressed the guard situation, the Warriors must now turn their attention to filling their second need. But because Golden State is only about $8 million under the luxury tax threshold of $70 million, they'll have to be judicious in their spending.
In all likelihood, at least half of that $8 million is going to be necessary to retain restricted free agent Brandon Rush, whom the front office has spotlighted as a definite priority. So there won't be much money left to sign a backup big man.
If the Warriors really plan to address their frontcourt needs on a budget, they ought to take a look at free agent big man Shelden Williams.
While it goes without saying that Williams wouldn't be a blockbuster signing, he would actually help provide rebounding, toughness and defense—three qualities the Warriors lacked in a big way last year.
The former No. 5 pick played limited minutes last season, as he has for most of his career, but still had a higher rebound rate than guys like Serge Ibaka, Pau Gasol and Kevin Garnett. In addition, Williams can block a few shots and has a reputation as a solid, intelligent defender.
What's more, he'd come cheap. He made under $1 million last season for the New Jersey Nets. Given the lack of suitors this offseason, bringing Williams in wouldn't break the Warriors' bank. If they acquired him for what he made last year, Golden State would have enough money left over to match just about any offer sheet Brandon Rush might sign with another team.
And finally, Warriors GM Bob Myers might have an "in" with Williams—he used to be his agent.
So, the Warriors are halfway to addressing their two most pressing offseason needs. Bringing in Williams at a bargain price and hoping he can provide 15 minutes of decent frontcourt support per game would complete the other half of the to-do list.
Call it unexciting, but signing Shelden Williams is the right move for the Warriors.
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