The Golden State Warriors have apparently put everybody and their house pets on the trade block. Word is surfacing that even the Warriors young stars-in-the-making are available if the right deal manifests.
This is confusing for a few reasons. In recent drafts, Golden State has gone on shear long term potential and raw abilities when making their selections. Two years ago, they took the now 20-year-old Anthony Randolph with the 14th overall pick.
Randolph is still developing his awesome talents and learning NBA discipline, but wasn’t getting the best available athlete the plan all along?
This year, we selected another youthful talent with enormous upside in now 21-year-old Stephen Curry.
Curry, who is no Rajon Rondo on the defensive end and who likely has weight-lifting on the agenda, is getting 32.0 minutes per game of playing time. 32.0 minutes! That’s third in the NBA among rookies, behind only Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans. I don’t know a more telling sign of a team that’s aiming for the future than playing a shaky defensive rookie heavy minutes.
Panicking after a 7-17 start, with the majority of the starting lineup out due to injuries, WHILE playing your rookie point guard big minutes, is counter-intuitive to say the least.
Most of the impact names that the Warriors could attain are going to be free agents at the end of the season anyway, so why not just see where the young players and emerging stars can take us without acquiring any extra help?
All that being said, excluding expiring contracts and using the dollar amounts from hoopshype, here’s my ranking of the Warriors players by highest trade value:
1) Anthony Randolph, Age 20
Randolph is owed an average of $2.24 million dollars per year over the next three years, with a $4.05 million dollar qualifying offer for the 2012-2013 season. Either his shot selection or crooked elbow-jumper need to improve, but with the odds of Golden State making the playoffs dwindling, letting Randolph learn from court time experience (like Curry is) makes sense.
Playing Randolph might even help the Warriors win a few games. The Warriors have won three of the five games in which Randolph has played 30+ minutes (including a tough loss to Orlando). In those games he’s averaged 18.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.
Maybe Randolph can even become Monta Ellis' sidekick.
He could use some of Vladimir Radmonovic’s 30.3 minutes per game. Radmonovic has been rebounding phenomenally and playing quality defense, but his shot has been nonexistent and it’s cramping the teams scoring—big time.
2) Andris Biedrins, Age 23
Biedrins is locked in for five years at $9 million dollars per year. This is a very good value for a top-ten and fringe top-five NBA center. He had 11.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game in the 08-09 season and his 57.8 field goal percentage was the third best in the NBA.
He’s had trouble staying on the court for over 30 minutes per game due to fouls, but his defense is strong and he has good ball control. His career free-throw percentage of .531 is a little scary, but he makes up for it in a lot of other ways.
The Warriors could trade Biedrins and go with a strong power forward like Amare Stoudemire, but a combination of Biedrins and such a player would pose significant match-up problems for opposing teams much like the duo of Tim Duncan and David Robinson did.
3) Monta Ellis, Age 24
Ellis’ contract of $11 million dollars per year for five years is about his value…maybe a bit below. He has shown the ability to guard taller players and he may be able to effectively team with Curry in the backcourt if the Warriors can go with a large 3-4-5, i.e. Randolph at the three, a strong four, and Biedrins at the five.
That would eliminate usage concerns and allow the Warriors to compete in rebounds. Ellis is averaging 24.0 points, 5.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and a career best six trips to the stripe per game. Ellis’ 2.40 steals per game and generally pesky defense can be contagious for Stephen Curry and the other young players.
He’s held some bigger players to mediocre stat-lines, but has been unable contain others. Trading Corey Maggette would free the cap space to sign a power forward (Bosh headlining that list by a wide margin) this off-season and then the aforementioned lineup would be a possibility.
Trading Ellis would do the same, but that would also seriously stagnate the Warriors offensive flow and could lead to more down years.
4) Stephen Curry, Age 21
Curry can do it all on the offensive end and he just penned his rookie contract. He’s got great court vision and is averaging 4.6 assists per game. Curry’s 2.7 turnovers per game is a bit high, but he has fine ball-handling skills.
Up next: Getting to the rim more and playing more aggresively.
The Warriors shouldn’t trade Curry.
5) Anthony Morrow, Age 24
Morrow’s $1.7 million dollars combined contract for this year and next is stellar for his production. He is one of the best shooters in all of the NBA. Morrow is a marksman from three point range, nailing 47.5 percent of his threes while attempting a solid 4.6 threes per game.
His .893 free-throw percentage is tops on the team, though he only gets to the line 1.3 times per game.
Morrows .632 TS percentage is second best among shooting guards. He could rebound more than his current 3.9 per game and play more tenacious defense, but we can’t complain too much considering his price tag.
6) Ronny Turiaf, Age 26
The 6—10 Turiaf is a great defensive presence. He averaged 2.13 blocks per game last season and was second in the NBA in blocks per 48 minutes with 4.75.
Ronny is owed $4.1 million dollars this year and $4 million dollars next season. This is a good value for Turiaf and it makes him an attractive trade candidate. He is currently injured, but has a strong health track record, playing over 70 games in each of the last three years.
Turiaf shot over .500 from the field last year and his rate stats are impressive. He averaged 10.0 rebounds per 48 minutes and converted a surprising 25.3 percent of his possessions into assists. His PER has been consistently around 15.00 and that doesn’t take into account his superb defense.
7) Kelenna Azubuike, Age 26
I don’t have much to say about Azubuike, other than I wish he hadn’t have gotten injured for the year. The Warriors have him signed for next year at $3.36 million dollars and he will contribute. To start the season, he was playing incredibly with a PER of 20.18.
He’s only down this low because he has one year left on his contract. There’s really no reason to trade him.
8) Brandan Wright, Age 22
Wright is under club control for two more years at $3 million dollars per year. The 6—10 rail thin forward is extremely talented and can navigate the low post with great efficiency. The only problem is his shoulder won’t stay in its socket. He is out for the season with a dislocated shoulder and has played a grand total of 29 NBA games.
In retrospect, the package for Stoudemire, which reportedly included Wright, was still too much. Stoudemire is a free agent after this year (and will still command a max contract) and two other players would have been included in the deal for Amare (likely Biedrins and Curry).
Last season, Wright averaged 8.3 points, 4.0 rebound, 0.6 turnovers, and 0.9 blocks in 17.6 minutes per game. If Wright can get healthy, he should provide high quality minutes in future seasons.
9) Corey Maggette, Age 30
Contrary to popular belief, Maggette earns his money for the most part. He has an escalating contract that will average around $10 million dollars per year over the next four years, including this one.
His low assist average of 1.9 per game is hard to swallow, but he’s pretty good at everything else. He makes a living getting to the line, averaging 6.8 free-throw attempts per game (which is down from the 9.7 and 8.1 attempts that he tabulated in previous two seasons).
His 16.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game are solid for his playing time and his PER of 18.35 is ninth best for small forwards. His true shooting percentage of .583 is eleventh best for his position. However, he should probably never shoot another three point shot while wearing a GSW uniform (maybe the fans would stop booing him).
He’s averaged 65 games played per year over his last three years due to injuries, which may be the main contention that other teams have in accepting him in a trade.