2010-11 NBA: Question for Keith Smart: Lou Amundson Over Andris Biedrins?

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 14, 2010

Amundson has averaged 4.0 points and 3.6 rebounds in his four games with the Warriors.
Amundson has averaged 4.0 points and 3.6 rebounds in his four games with the Warriors.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With the presence of Miami's trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the Bay Area last Friday night, it may have been difficult to notice the other team sharing the court.

Just ask Bill Simmons; he still doesn't realize the Warriors played that night.

But for the ever-optimistic Golden State fan—even with a seven-game losing streak staring them in the face—a silver lining has emerged through the maze of blue and yellow.

That silver lining comes courtesy of a discount, unheralded offseason signing who just might be your new favorite Golden State Warrior, and it's not Dorell Wright.

Lou Amundson will be a difference maker on this Warriors team, even if they do not reach the 40-win plateau set as a benchmark by many fans during their most promising offseason in years.

On a club with a starting frontline making a total of $144 million combined, it's the Warriors $2.5 million man who could bring the most relief to a club with a seemingly expanding hole in the paint.

Amundson, the former UNLV Rebel, signed a quiet two-year, $4.6 million contract with the Warriors shortly before the team broke for training camp. After a tough grind to make it to the NBA, a grind that included both D-League Rookie of the Year honors and a place on the 2006-07 All-NBDL team, Amundson bounced between Philadelphia and Utah during his first two years—stints is probably the better term—of his NBA career before landing consecutive one-year contracts in Phoenix.

In the mold of a classic high-energy player, Amundson has the ability and determination to simply outwork his opponents. His first four games with his new club will not wow anyone on the stat sheet, but his two offensive rebounds in 16.5 minutes should serve a jump-shooting club well over the duration of the season.

But it's Amundson's defensive ability—again, more effort than anything—that will continue to increase his playing time, especially if coach Keith Smart happens to take a page from his predecessor's (Don Nelson) book and play small.

In that highly talked-about—any nationally televised Warriors game constitutes being highly talked-about—game against the villainous Miami Heat, the Warriors seemed to hit their stride with Amundson and Lee or Gadzuric sharing the floor.

And why would they not, considering the majority of this team was put in place to run Nelson's high-powered offense.

Amundon has shown the ability (both in his time in Phoenix and the start of his time in Oakland) to thrive in a fast-paced system.

The prospect of having multiple defense-first players who thrive in an up-tempo system—Dorell Wright, Amundson, Rodney Carney—could lead to some interesting discussions for Smart and general manager Larry Riley.

If Biedrins continues to suffer on the offensive end of the floor—6.7 points on a career-low 53.1 percent shooting—your new favorite Warrior, Amundson, could soon become your new favorite Warriors starter.