Golden State Warrior fans have seen this before. Plenty of times, actually.
The Warriors churn through their ever-revolving roster, cutting ties with high potential players that can't get along with the Dubs' coach, or front office or owner. The team is then left watching that player develop into an All-Star with his new team, with merely another lottery pick as a consolation prize.
Chris Webber, Gilbert Arenas, and Antawn Jamison—just to name a few. The entire 2007-08 giant killers not named Monta Ellis or Andris Biedrins.
Now that the coach Don Nelson is gone, the owner Chris Cohan is a formality from gone and the majority of the front office—notably Robert Rowell and Larry Riley—could be gone at any time, that pattern must be gone too, right?
Well some of the Warrior fans think it has already happened this year, with the blessing of the new owners no less.
That player, Anthony Randolph, has gobs of potential that fans caught a glimpse of over his first two seasons, but a lack of consistency—in production, but also in minutes and roles—and a relationship with Nelson that nearly reached CWebb proportion, led to Randolph becoming expendable.
Randolph now finds himself in New York, the key cog to a trade that netted the Warriors David Lee.
Lee should help alleviate the concerns of Warriors fans this season, but the real key to this deal might be whether or not Brandan Wright can string some productive, but more importantly healthy, seasons together. Especially if Randolph becomes the next name to add to the above list.
For Warriors fans, Wright was the original Randolph, but a series of shoulder injuries have limited the 22-year-old to 77 games in three seasons, including a dislocated shoulder that cost him the entire 2009-10 season.
Prior to the most recent injury, Wright looked impressive in training camp, with Nelson calling him one of the best, if not the best, players at camp.
A shoulder injury—the same shoulder—or precautionary measures, limited Wright to just one and a half games in the Las Vegas summer league, but he did net 31 points in his time there, before leaving with a a bruised left shoulder.
The eighth pick out of North Carolina in the 2007 draft, the Warriors acquired Wright from the Charlotte Bobcats for fan-favorite Jason Richardson. Wright caught the national attention with his high energy and athletic play in his lone year at Chapel Hill.
The lanky lefty has shown glimpses of his potential in his brief career and a healthy season or two could move Wright ahead of Randolph in the eyes of the NBA faithful.
The players are similar in build. Wright is 6-foot-10, 227 pounds, and Randolph is 6-foot11 225 pounds—both are under 23. Randolph's legs actually carry more NBA mileage than Wright's, 96 games to 77, and Randolph has battled his own injury demons.
Wright's career numbers won't wow anyone—6.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg—but he appeared to be taking a big step in the right direction the last time we saw him.
In his last meaningful game, he managed a lackluster eight points and three rebounds on March 25, 2009 in Dallas. But this came just four games after his career-high 25 points, and five games after dropping a double-double on the vaunted Laker frontline in the Staples Center.
And if Wright looks anything like he did coming in to last training camp, look for him to keep turning heads going in to the season.
If healthy, Wright has all of the tools to develop into an All-Star. Hopefully for Warriors fans, he can do it without leaving the Bay.
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