Most of the smoke has cleared and the eager and wishful summer dreams will soon turn into our reality. From self-indulgent drama to Yao’s possible retirement, this 2010 off-season has seen it all.
Finally, the fortune-deprived Warriors franchise garnered some attention with salary dumping intentions and an All-Star signing.
Warriors GM Larry Riley is multi-tasking. To keep his job he must win games now. To win over the bay area it’ll take nothing less than a playoff berth.
This will come in time.
Most agree that trading the promising 21-year-old Anthony Randolph was a very questionable move. Despite his limitless ceiling, Riley couldn’t wait for the young point-forward to mature. Instead, he chose to build and go forth with the trio of Curry, Lee and Ellis.
Curry and Ellis will now have a 6’9 target either popping or rolling to the basket… If only we could pry the ball from Ellis's grip.
Either way, the Warriors feel that this core will be able to compete as contenders in the coming years with a few more successful acquisitions.
What do the Warriors need most?
A defensive-minded coach.
The Charlotte Bobcats held their opponents to the fewest PPG last season. How? Larry Brown. It’s no coincidence that Brown also won a title in 2004. Defense wins championships. If he could bring an incompetent Bobcats team to the playoffs, imagine where a little defensive guidance could get the offensively gifted Warriors.
Wait, shouldn’t we trade Ellis?
Monta Ellis is an Iverson clone and right or wrong; he leaves it all on the floor. Ellis can carry the team offensively and puts pressure on teams with his quick hands and feet. Although he is an undersized SG, his production usually performs to or outweighs his mismatches on defense.
So what other position should we look to fill?
Beyond the Golden State version of “The Big Three”, the remaining roster is filled with expendable players in trades or upcoming free-agent periods.
Outside of Reggie Williams, Brandan Wright and Biedrins many of players haven’t proven themselves worth holding onto or established their worth in the League.
Ekpe Udoh was the correct pick for the Warriors. He is a strong interior presence that will block and alter many shots. Udoh has drawn early comparisons to Emeka Okafor, which will only ease the post-Nelson defensive transition.
The bottom line is the Warriors won’t find success until they get Defensive.
The playoffs are a distant fantasy at this point.
Team defense is a mentality that starts from the head coach. From there, it’s a responsibility, commitment and effort for the team leaders to exhibit and sustain each possession.
Don Nelson wins games, not championships.
So what are we playing for?
That’s a freighting question when you think about it. Nevertheless, Nellie has had an exciting run. Let’s let him finish out his contract so we can take the next step towards our playoff push.
More Warriors posts are on the way at www.sportshaze.com, where I serve as a Golden State Warrior analyst.