Golden State Warriors Lose Leader, Gain Future

David WangAnalyst IJuly 24, 2008

The off-season is well underway, and people are moving.

The biggest names that were offered to the market this year include the Los Angeles Clippers big man Elton Brand; Washington Wizards Agent 0 Gilbert Arenas; Los Angeles Clipper's highflying swingman Corey Maggette; and Washington Wizards versatile forward Antawn Jamison.

But one name gave every basketball fan in the Bay Area shivers down their spines: Golden State Warriors leader and cornerstone Baron Davis.

Much analysis and reflection came from sports experts, NBA personnel, basketball fans, and perhaps Baron Davis himself, but the truth is, the deal is signed.  As Warrior fans, let's put him behind us, as part of that great playoff story of a year ago.  Let us look towards the future.

While Arenas and Jamison re-signed with the Wizards, Elton Brand left for the Philadelphia 76ers, which shook the NBA community with surprise.

Maggette, on the other hand, gladly accepted a Warriors offer, bringing offense, speed, and quickness to the already offensie-minded ball club.  In addition, energetic big man Ronny Turiaf was hauled over from the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as young point guard Marcus Williams from New Jersey Nets.

Apparently, sources have proven that three-point shooter Maurice Evans will be joining the team, too.

What a busy off-season.  Should we start the next season with the current rosters, it is filled with young talents, with a few experienced veteran stars to guide them through the arduous NBA season.  Listed below are the current players for the Warriors (in position order):

G: C.J. Watson / Marcus Williams / Monta Ellis / Marco Belinelli

F: Stephen Jackson / Al Harrington / Corey Maggette / Anthony Randolph / Brandan Wright / Ronny Turiaf

C: Andris Biedrins / Kosta Perovic

The reason why I listed the players in G/F/C format is because of versatility.  This is one of the reasons why the Warriors can run up and down the court, and beat you with big lineups and small lineups.

However, one thing is evident: the Warriors need a dominant center.  And clearly, the Warriors can spare a few forwards.

However, if the regular season started now, would the Warriors be successful?  Can they still use their same tactics that defeated Dallas Mavericks a year ago against the newly furnished NBA teams?

Maybe the success will not be immediate (as in the first couple of months or perhaps until All-Star Weekend), but this team can do some damage simply with their freestyle offense.


Youth - Speed - Quickness - Offense

But the biggest asset - versatility.

One of the most worrisome tactics that NBA teams face each day are match-ups, and Don Nelson may be the best coach when it comes to matching up various positions.  But in order to successfully gain advantage against opponents, your team needs versatile players, meaning players who can play multiple positions—the more the better.

And the Warriors have exactly that.

Let's look at how each player can contribute to the Warriors in the upcoming season:

C.J. Watson: A pickup from D-League last year.  Has shown promise to be a good back-up at the point.  Proven three-point shooter, and has proven to be a decent ball handler, defender, and assist man in the Summer League.  Should be the first PG off the bench.

Marcus Williams: A proven three-point shooter and assist-man at the point, and plays well in transition game.  His time was limited last year due to Jason Kidd and Devin Harris running the show, but he did prove hints of potential when he was given his time. Perhaps a bit rusty, but should be starting at PG.  However, if CJ Watson plays PG, and any of the other stars are in foul trouble, Marcus Williams may be pushed to SG if necessary given his shooting abilities.

Monta Ellis: Reportedly signed a six-year deal with the Warriors.  His quickness, speed, and ridiculous hang-time makes him an unstoppable force on the offensive end.  He can drive at will, shoot the unblockable jumper, and can get to the line with ease.  If anybody still remembers, he came out of high school, and is still in his early 20s.  He should be the starting SG for the Warriors, but may very well see time at PG as well if Nellie wants to play an experienced lineup.

Marco Belinelli: Last year was a bad year for Belinelli, due to limited playing time.  But this season, Nellie promised to play more younger players.  If given time, as proven in the Summer League, his offense can be lethal, most notably his three-point shots. Belinelli may be asked to play the role of Ray Allen in the Boston Celtics' transition game : to shoot the three in fast-break situation.  He is able to space out the floor for Ellis and other attackers.  Belinelli should be seeing time at SG off the bench.

Stephen Jackson: Captain of the Warriors never disappoints, and he will not next year. Without Baron Davis, he will assume a bigger role as the leader of the team.  On the floor, he continues to be a three-point threat, as well as a post-up defender.  His defense is perhaps most needed next season, even more so than his offense.  Should be starting at SF, but may play SG and PF for various reasons.

Al Harrington: He had a good season last year, and should have a better one next season due to the absence of Davis.  He can space out the floor with his 3-point shooting, and is a force down in the post.  As long as he stays out of foul trouble, he can be a threat to any team.  He is likely to start at the PF position, and will play SF and C occasionally.

Corey Maggette: Despite being a star player, he may have to begin his Warriors debut on the bench.  His three-point shooting and drives are valuable, but his inadequate defense and inconsistency will be damaging.  With Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, and Al Harrington on the floor to start, Maggette can become a very successful sixth man for the team.  He will bring energy and instant offense to the team when asked upon. Maggette should be playing SG, SF, and PF.

Anthony Randolph: This rookie has shown promise in the Summer League.  He is quick and can run the floor.  He is a good defender and can occasionally cause problems for the other team in the paint.  He should be looking at playing at the PF for the most of the time, but may slip down to SF or even up to C.

Brandan Wright: Second year star from North Carolina showed potential in limited minutes last year, but he will be called upon this year.  His strength, speed and versatility are very valuable.  Good defender as well.  May very well be the backup to Al Harrington when running small.  He should be playing SF, PF, and C.

Ronny Turiaf: He is loud, he is energetic, but brings the intangibles to the team.  He will do the dirty work every time he's out there.  Should be looking at PF and C.

Andris Biedrins: He is pretty much the Warriors' only reliable center.  Great rebounder and shot-blocker, and can work the pick and roll very efficiently.  Starting C.

Kosta Perovic: Saw very limited time last year, but may be called upon this year because of his size.  He may develop into a good backup for Biedrins when running big.

As you see, the Warriors are very versatile, especially around SG, SF, and PF.  Don Nelson will be using these as key matchups that may determine the outcome of the game.

Also, Warriors may be playing smaller lineups more next season, because of the lack of strength in the frontcourt.  With Biedrins holding up the middle, someone needs to take his place.

Predicted Starting Five: Marcus Williams / Monta Ellis / Stephen Jackson / Al Harrington / Andris Biedrins

Predicted Small Lineup: Marcus Williams / Monta Ellis / Corey Maggette / Stephen Jackson / Al Harrington

Predicted Fast Lineup: Monta Ellis / Corey Maggette / Anthony Randolph / Stephen Jackson / Brandan Wright

The Warriors may not reach the playoffs this year, but the upcoming season will boost experience for the younger players, and will be the key to the future for the Warriors basketball club.


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