Amid a complete change in power in the Eastern Conference, the Golden State Warriors may end up making the biggest move out West.
Carlos Boozer, Joe Johnson, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire—every single one of the marquee names on this year’s uber-talented free agent list is going/staying in the Eastern Conference.
The Warriors were the worst rebounding team in basketball last season and they have less of an inside presence than displayed in a pee-wee pickup game.
They are a team completely reliant on the three-ball and the athletic brilliance of Monta Ellis in the lane.
But with Lee comes change… good and bad.
Lee’s a legitimate inside player with a knack for grabbing offensive rebounds (vital for a team that shoots as many quick threes as the Warriors do), and he can get his without running the offense through him.
He’s a big body that plays with incredible energy, and if Andris Biedrins can stay healthy the Warriors will be able to play the All-Star at his natural position: power forward.
Lee’s presence should create more open looks for the Warriors who are loaded with sharp shooters.
This will take the pressure off of Stephen Curry, ultimately allowing him to emerge as a real star in this league (as seen particularly during the second half of last season).
In addition to creating more open looks, Golden State will finally have a sure handed big man who can finish strong around the rim.
Monta’s strength as a slasher should be even more visible with Lee occupying the paint.
Lee could be the most viable inside presence that the Warriors have had since Chris Webber almost two decades ago.
Also, he’ll be in a system similar to what he played in New York last season: run, run, run!
Don’t get me wrong, David Lee is a great player who will provide an entirely new dynamic to the run and gun Warriors.
But Golden State will have to depart with an awful lot to get the hard working star forward.
The minor losses for the blue and orange are Azubuike and Turiaf.
Azubuike has provided the Warriors with an incredible jolt of energy ever since he first put his foot down on the Oracle Arena’s hardwood.
He’s a physical guard on both ends of the court and a relentless driver. However, his shot selection is questionable, and sometimes he plays at a faster pace than he is capable of.
Turiaf is also an energy guy, and he is the epitome of a true team player.
He’s never backed down from any player driving the lane and he’ll be a successful shot blocker and re-bounder wherever he goes.
The major loss for the Warriors in this trade will be Anthony Randolph.
The 20-year-old is long, energetic, relentless, and supremely athletic.
In just 22 minutes per game last season, Randolph was able to average 11.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks (he had eight in one game).
The sky is the limit for Randolph, and if he ever develops any kind of a jump shot he will be a true star in this league.
At such a young age it’s improbable to think that Randolph’s best years aren’t ahead of him, years that he will no longer be a member of the Warriors.
At this point the Golden State faithful can only hope for improvement (26-56 last season, 8-33 on the road).
No, Lee doesn’t make the Warriors an instant contender, and they probably won’t even make the playoffs, but the trade will be a success if he can help the team move in the right direction.