The Golden State Warriors were terrible last year, and as the roster stands now, the Golden State Warriors will likely be terrible next year. For Warriors fans, that is a depressing yet all too familiar reality.
The Warriors have endured over a decade's worth of turmoil but with the team's pending sale, the Bay Area is ready to usher in a new era of basketball. The group of potential new owners have been narrowed down to four, none of which are more interesting than Larry Ellison and a group that currently owns the 20 percent minority of the team now. Ellison, being one of the richest men in history, brings a considerable amount of... well... anything money can buy, and is rumored to already have the interest of NBA legend, Jerry West as the next General Manager.
This has understandably created a sense of optimism in Golden State, even with an unexpected draft pick in Ekpe Udoh, another long and lanky power forward. Followers are getting tired of an organization with no direction and are hoping a new owner will ride in on a white stallion and forcibly take over to restore greatness in their beloved Warriors.
I beg you, temper your enthusiasm. It's going to get worse before it gets better.
First, we don't even know who the new owner will be, let alone when he/she/they will take over. And because of that, we have no idea what the Front Office or coaching staff will look like. And, yes, because of that, we cannot guess how the future Front Office will want to reshape the roster.
On a less direct note, but still plenty worth considering, we are in the midst of a serious power shift in the NBA. With all the Free Agent frenzy going on, Lebron James could conceivably end up with one, maybe two of the other stars up for grabs this year. Guys like Dwayne Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson and Carlos Boozer all could change uniforms next year creating a whole new landscape throughout the league.
If none of that happens, however, there still isn't much hope as the Warriors are still in the West. The West is really, really good. Are the Warriors going to risk trading their young pieces just so they can get to the playoffs and get bumped in the first round every year?... if that?
So what should Golden State do? I say very little, at least not yet.
There is no quick fix for this team; the Warriors will not be able to trade for a dominant low post player and all of the sudden be prepared to make a deep run in the playoffs. Furthermore, they have no salary cap flexibility to go out and get involved in the Free Agency madness.
What the Warriors really need to do is take inventory of what they have on their roster and clear some cap space.
This team was hit with such a barrage of injuries last year, it makes it impossible to evaluate how the talent on the roster fits. There is no doubt that there is value whether from playing or via trade, in guys like Brandon Wright, Anthony Randolph or Andris Biedrins but they'd be selling low on previously productive players. Even Monta Ellis, who had a huge scoring season, really didn't do so very efficiently.
So throw them all out there again for at least half of a season, I say. See how the pieces fit, and be prepared to trade the pieces that don't. Obviously there will not be enough playing time down the road for all of Ekpe Udoh, Randolph, and Wright, as they all have similar skills and body types. But for now it shouldn't be that much of a problem, and hopefully they all play well and earn their spots on a team or build up some trade value.
The same can be said for the Warrior back court which consists of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, both of whom are small, skinny guards who prefer to play the point. Curry has the edge here; he was the runner up in the Rookie of the Year award last year and is the future face of the franchise. He's the man. In fact he's the only player on the Warriors not available in trade talks.
But while both players are very good, they didn't exactly succeed as a tandem last year. Again, this is not a problem that needs to be solved right away. Especially when you know someone will be calling at the trade deadline begging for Ellis' scoring.
Like I said, there is no quick fix. If new ownership does it right, they will rebuild this team through the draft around Stephen Curry. They will clear some money off the books to have flexibility to make future moves. And they will make the necessary trades in a year or so, that can change this franchise around. And if they take their time to do it correctly, it will be worth the wait. What's one or two more years of misery in the grand scheme of things?