Over the years, many people have perfected the art of ignoring something that they have no control over. I have successfully ignored Fast Food, Lady Gaga, Eddy Curry, and Planking. This lockout is a tough one to ignore. Out of habit, I, along with millions of other NBA fans, started my search for sports news this morning.
I couldn’t coerce myself to go beyond the breaking headlines that read, “Lebron loses knockout” or “Brad Miller forms racing team”, and I nearly lost it when I read “Korver helps save turtle”. This is not a jab at Yahoo Sports’ integrity or Korver’s ability to show compassion because what else are NBA writers supposed to do besides justify their jobs with the aforementioned headlines?
If you want a lockout article that is thoroughly enjoyable, take a look at David Aldridge’s lengthy article.
I’d like to give Aldridge a high five, a chest bump, or a series of secret society handshakes for being creative and interesting in light of the current paradox of millionaires fighting billionaires. As for me, I can’t watch paint dry and make it seem interesting to readers. With the owners and players moving slower than molasses, I need to keep the summer moving in my head. So, for kicks, let’s consider what the lineup will look like if the Warriors don’t make a cannonball splash in free agency.
Stephen Curry Charles Jenkins, Jeremy Lin
Monta Ellis Klay Thompson
Dorell Wright Reggie Williams
David Lee Jeremy Tyler, Louis Amundson
Andris Biedrins Epke Udoh
Jeremy Lin’s ineffective play correlates with Monta averaging 40 min/gm last year. Jenkins is a sure shot to pass fan favorite, Lin, on the depth chart. Lin was a draft day loser when Charles Jenkins (Hofstra) was drafted. Must I even mention that Curry is obviously the guard of the Warriors future although he may serve well as an off guard at times due to his offensive prowess.
Mark Jackson is bold to call the Warriors a playoff team with three rookies all looking to get some serious burn this season. You’ll hear me say this a dozen more times this summer. Klay Thompson is not a Monta replacement! Just because Thompson was the No. 11 pick, does not guarantee success. Over the past ten years, the only notable No. 11 picks are (ironically) Andris Biedrins (2004), along with J.J. Redick (2006) and Jerryd Bayless (2008).
Dorell Wright is not a playoff caliber starter. Wright jacking up over 6 threes per game and hitting 37% of them is not the typical path to playoff wins. A reader recently pointed out that 37% isn’t bad. I agree, I’d just like to see Wright get some closer shots and move more off the ball. I expect Jackson to reel that in a bit and stress defense despite Wright’s sluggish lateral speed. Reggie Williams is a great D-League story with decent per 36 numbers and I actually like him in this spot more than Wright. They both leave this spot wide open as a place that the Warriors could make an upgrade.
I like to keep David Lee at the 4 spot due to his ability to face up and draw defenders out of the paint. He’s not exactly what the Warriors were looking for when they acquired him as he couldn’t duplicate the numbers he produced in the Knicks system. In his defense, former teammate, Wilson Chandler, set up a road block by taking a bite out of his elbow last year. Lee is there to be a veteran leader and could be the stable mast to sail this ship to a fairly successful season.
Jeremy Tyler is a wild card as his performance in Japan was much better than his stint in Israel, which I’ll touch on in a couple of days. I’ll take an in-depth look at his circumstances and numbers while touring the world. Tyler is very athletic, especially for his size and can provide some energy off the bench while being capable of sliding to the 5 spot if needed. He’ll need to get a handle on his fouls and turnovers if he wants to play meaningful minutes.
Biedrins has been riddled with lingering injuries, receding confidence, and atrocious foul shooting over the last couple of years. Biedrins once was a productive center in the NBA and is reportedly on a strict training program this summer in order to regain his form. And I don’t mean his shooting form.
In the 2008-2009 season, Biedrins averaged 11.9 pts, 11.2 rebs, and 1.5 blks per game while shooting 55% from the foul line.
The foul shooting resembles that of Shaq (58% career FT shooter) and many other NBA centers that will go down in history as great defenders and rebounders, not foul shooters. My advice is to accept the deficiency, work with it, don’t shame it, and take the risk while the reward could eventually be nightly dub-dubs and a couple of blocks per game. He can always shoot the free throws underhand.
Call me crazy but I think Biedrins has it in him and the Warriors can spend their money on a much needed upgrade to their bench, or trade for a better small forward, but they shouldn’t bring in a big guy and replace him after two lackluster seasons.
I haven’t much to say about Udoh except that he is still new to the league, is defensive-minded and limited offensively. He needs to get in there, get offensive boards, and play defense.
Mark Jackson knows that the team doesn’t lack offense in guys like Ellis, Curry, and Wright. He has the interior defense he needs in Udoh and Biedrins. This lineup is a team that can make it to the playoffs but may just meddle in mediocrity while Ellis, Wright, and Biedrins slip out of their prime. They need a more capable bench, a defensive minded small forward, and a summer to spend with their new coach in order to get on the same page.
I had trouble making sense of last season with Keith Smart making unintelligible moves such as having Curry take a seat after struggling defensively. They have to claw out of that hole and demeanor that was created by the former coach. They need to play to the specific strengths of their roster. Don’t call plays for Biedrins, don’t ask Curry to cover guards with post moves, and please give the rookies some burn which will help strengthen the second unit.
The crash and burn technique in order to move up in the 2012 draft is not the answer. With so many new pieces to the Warriors franchise, and a lockout in effect, this technique may be the inevitable answer.
About the Author
Written by Chris Mosca
Basketball lover for years. I blog for the Golden State Warriors. I am happy to serve the fans with my reports and insights. Follow me on twitter, @cwmosca