I’m back! What do the Warriors do?

I’m back at it covering the Golden State Warriors and what an exciting time for all Warrior fans. With the possibility of bringing in big time names like Dwight Howard or Andre Igoudala, the rumors and buzz is ramping up.

Here are my thoughts on what can happen for the Warriors:

Best Outcome:
The Warriors dump the contracts of RJ (11.046 mil), Bogut (14.2mil), Biedrins (9mil) and sign Dwight Howard outright.

In this scenario, GSW would obtain 1 or 2 pick in future drafts, as well as trade exceptions in exchange for the large expiring deals. Any way that the Warriors could gain assets and clear cap space to sign D12 is a huge win.

Salty Outcome:
The Lakers sign-and-trade Dwight Howard to the Warriors in exchange for Bogut, Klay/Barnes, and a 1st Round Pick.

This is the “salty” outcome because even though the Warriors would be acquiring Howard, they would have to give up either Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes, who are extremely young and talented, with lots of potential and low salaries. The Lakers will most likely not be able get this kind of package from Golden State because of the Warriors ability to clear the cap space to sign Dwight outright, but the trade above is just the scenario on the rumor mill now.

Plan B Outcome:
Warriors clear up the cap space to sign Andre Igoudala.

I am not a fan of this scenario because doing this means giving up Bogut to get AI and the Warriors would still have Harrison Barnes. I think this move would leave the Warriors with a huge hole at the center position and clutter at small forward. I don’t like the idea of trying to hurt a good thing, and that is the result of this outcome.

Please let me know about your opinions and scenarios! I’ll update soon.

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Predicting the Western Conference Standings for 2012-13

Today I am predicting how I believe things will shakedown in the West. There are a lot of very good teams in the West and there are easily 10 to 11 teams that have a shot at the postseason. Here are my predictions starting at #15 seed and going up to the #1 seed.

#15- Houston Rockets

Someone needs to tell me what the heck the Rockets are doing. They currently have 19 players on their active roster a log jam at 3 positions, especially small forward. They gave 25 million dollars to both Jeremy Lin and Omar Asik, who are both unproven and may be busts. They also gave away Kyle Lowry, Samuel Dalembert, Marcus Camby, and let Luis Scola walk for nothing. Their front office seems to think they are rebuilding, but they confuse me by signing Carlos Delfino and not trading Kevin Martin, who is getting paid 12 million and taking away minutes from Jeremy Lamb. This team needs to find a clear direction and sort through the obscene amount of players on their roster before they can move forward. They will struggle this year for sure.

#14- New Orleans Hornets

New Orleans will be good in 2 or 3 years, but Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, and their young core players need to develop and grow together. I love what they did this offseason because they solidified most of the starting lineup through the draft and brought in solid complementary players like Darius Miller, Brook Lopez, and Ryan Anderson. They will have great cap space for the next 4 years and will be able to afford better players in the next few free agent periods. The core lineup of A.Rivers/E.Gordon/A.Aminu/R.Anderson/A.Davis with B.Lopez/D.Miller/X.Henry/J.Smith coming off the bench, this team will improve quickly and may be a consistent playoff team sooner than many think. But not this year.

#13- Portland Trailblazers

Head coach Terry Stotts said that he thinks Portland is a playoff team…. ha. I love Damian Lillard, but he is going to take a couple years to develop as a legit PG. Portland is starting 2 rookies and don’t have much maturity on their roster outside of Aldridge and Batum. This could be a great team in 2 or 3 seasons, but they are going to struggle this year while they give Damian Lillard and Meyers Leonard time to develop in the NBA.

#12- Phoenix Suns

I think that the Phoenix Suns should have gone into a rebuilding faze after Steve Nash’s departure, but they want to try to stay competitive. They figured the way to do that would be by signing a career long backup point guard Goran Dragic, a ball hog Michael Beasley, and trade for a lottery bust Wes Johnson. They did however bring in Luis Scola for cheap after he was amnestied by Houston which was a great move. But they will be starting Dragic/Johnson/Beasley/Scola/Gortat and backing them up with K.Marshall/S.Brown/J.Dudley/M.Morris/C.Frye. None of those players play very solid defense and that will be a huge issue for this team. They may score 102 to 107 points per game, but they will likely give up 105 to 110. As a Warriors fan, I know that just trying to score as many points as you can isn’t a good formula for winning if you can’t stop your opponents from scoring all the points they can get too.

#11- Sacramento Kings

The Kings are going to surprise people this season and emerge as a legit playoff contender. They definitely will not sniff the playoffs this year, but may contend for the 8th spot for a good chunk of the year. I like their lineup apart from Tyreke Evans, who needs to be traded, but they have great big men and can outscore most teams in the league. Their big problem is similar to Phoenix because they will not play a lot of defense. They do have Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins to hold the paint down, which makes them better than the Suns, but they will still need to improve defensively and upgrade at the small forward position before they will be a playoff team.

#10- Utah Jazz

I love the great depth that Utah has in the Center and Power Forward positions, but everything else worries me about this team. I think that Utah has great chance at a 7th or 8th playoff spot, but my knock on them is their talent and depth and the 1, 2, and 3 spots. I don’t have much confidence in Mo Williams at the 1, Randy Foye at the 2, or Marvin Williams at the 3. Utah is going to be a magnificent defensive team in the post as usual, but they will struggle to guards elite guards and star small forwards. They will be a .500 team or may be a couple games over that.

#9- Minnesota Timberwolves

I am really on the fence about leaving Minnesota out of the playoffs because they do look very good, but I think that Ricky Rubio being out is going to hurt this team just enough in the beginning of the season to keep them out of a 8th spot. Ricky Rubio was the key to their sucess last year and without him they are left with Luke Ridnour and JJ Barea, who are both just solid NBA backups. Their additions of Brandon Roy, Alexey Shved, Andrei Kirilenko, and Greg Stiesma were very smart, but are high-risk/ high-reward signings. Roy’s knees have to be heatlhy, Shved’s game needs to translate to the league, Kirilenko needs to prove that he is as good as he was in the Olympics, and Stiesma needs to show that last season wasn’t a fluke. Too many things need to go right for Minnesota to be a lock in my eyes, so I am giving them the spot of last team out.

#8- Dallas Mavericks

Dallas is an iffy team to me this season. They are going to rely heavily on a group of new players in the Mavericks franchise. Darren Collison, OJ Mayo, Shawn Marion, Dirk, and Chris Kaman is a solid starting unit, but this season hinges on the bench for the Mavs. There is no more Jason Terry to be the 6th man, so who will step up for them? I think the Mavs are about 9 men deep with Elton Brand, Dahanty Jones, Roddy Beaubois, and Delonte West being the main players off the bench and Jae Crowder, the rookie forward from Marquette, could be a big contributor as well. I think the Mavs will continue their consistent trend of making the playoffs.

#7- Golden State Warriors

Finally, my beloved Warriors. They obviously have big injury concerns, but so do the T’Wolves, Lakers, and Clippers. I think that this Warriors team can with stand some injuries because of their ridiculous depth. The Warriors have a top 5 bench with Jarrett Jack, Brandon Rush, Richard Jefferson, Carl Landry, Draymond Green, Charles Jenkins, and Festus Ezeli coming in for the starters. The Warriors are a better defensive and rebounding team and they increased their toughness as well as added players that are hungry to win. This will a dangerous team all season and look for them to possibly come up with another jaw dropping upset in the playoffs like they had in 2007.

#6- Memphis Grizzles

The Grizzles are a title contender, you heard it here first. They are a dangerous playoff team and they will put any team they face in the playoffs to the test. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph form one of the best big man duos in the league and the Grizzles also have a great small forward in Rudy Gay. The only question for the Grizz come playoff time will be the inexperience of their bench, but I don’t see it being much of a problem for them. This will be a sleeper team for sure.

#5- Los Angeles Clippers

Clippers fans must be very happy to hear that Blake Griffin is ready to go for the season and will not be hampered by the knee he injured playing with team USA prior to the Olympics. Chris Paul’s finger is the only other large red flag for this team right now. They brought great bench depth this offseason by adding Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, and Ronny Turiaf. This is a great regular season team, but am just not sold on them performing in the playoffs. They most likely face Memphis, San Antonio, or Denver and I don’t like their chances in a 7 game series against any of those teams.

#4- Denver Nuggets

Andre Igoudala has come to town and now Denver should get ready to see their Nuggets contend for a spot in the Western Conference Finals. I love this roster because they are tough, play defense, score, and have the best depth in the league. Many can make an argument for San Antonio, but just like the talent up and down Denver’s roster a little bit better. I am interested to see how JaVale McGee will grow this season, but even if he falters, there is Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos to back him up. Kenneith Faried is going to continue his rise to becoming a household name this year by continuing to dominate and play at a high level.

#3- San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are old and crusty, but they still manage to contend every year. I have learned my lesson about betting against the Spurs, so I have them in the mix in the West again this season. I think the Spurs keep sticking around because of Greg Poppavich, who in my opinion is the 2nd best coaching NBA history behind Phil Jackson. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker will continue to lead this team to wins for a couple more years before the flame dies out in San Antonio.

#2- Los Angeles Lakers

LA is stacked, but we will see how all the pieces will fit together. Kobe needs to take a step back to allow Nash and Howard to play at their full potential. I think Kobe Bryant may be the biggest obstacle in the way of the Lakers pursuit for a title.

#1- Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City is in the last year of being Western Conference top dogs. With contract issues beginning to arise for the organization, they have to make a decision about whether to start spending the big buck or not. Hopefully they can keep Harden on and continue their run for a title, but money may force them to find a new core of bench players to help Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka get a ring.

I will be predicting the Eastern Conference on Saturday!

Do the Warriors Have a Top 5 Bench?

The Warriors have accumulated a wealth of bench talent this off-season. They have added Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry, Festus Ezeli, and Draymond Green. They also brought back last year breakout player in Brandon Rush.

The current bench set up (rotation) is:

PG: Jack/Jenkins

SG: Rush/Jack/Bazemore

SF: Jefferson/Rush/Green/Bazemore

PF: Landry/Green/Tyler

C: Biedrins/Ezeli

I believe that this bench unit, that is full of veteran talent as well as an infusion of youth, is poised to be one of the best in the Western Conference as well as the entire NBA. Jack, Rush, Jefferson, and Landry could all be starters on a lot of NBA teams, and I fell that they complement the talents of the players in the starting unit. I think that the bench will be just as important in the Warriors success this season as the starters.

Thoughts on Recents Signings

After a nice vacation, I come back to a few nice roster moves made by the Warriors. Bring Landry and Rush aboard where great signings at a great price. It seems to me the Warriors front office understands how to build a roster that has pieces the really complement one another. They are blending the youth with veterans in both the starting lineup and bench and have brought on players like Jack, Rush, Green, and Landry who bring toughness, energy, and defense. This new Warriors squad in my opinion has one of the top 5 benches in the NBA and the talented group of starters that are going to compete for not just for the 8th playoff spot, but for a higher seed in the 5-7 range.

The new roster is:

PG- Curry/Jack/Jenkins

SG- Thompson/Rush/Bazemore

SF- Jefferson/Barnes/Green

PF- Lee/Landry/Tyler

C- Bogut/Biedrins/Ezeli

I think that Barnes may not start right away, but I could easily be wrong about that. Also, I think that Biedrins will take the backup Center duties to start the year.

Young Talent

I have been thoroughly impressed with our young players in the NBA Summer League so far. It seems as though there has been a visible chemistry between Klay, Barnes, Green, Ezeli, and CJenk. This is making me very excited that the young guns on this team can contribute in a big way.

The only player that has looked out of sorts has been Jeremy Tyler, which is a bit scary because as of right now, he is the backup to David Lee. He is averaging just 3pts, 1.5rebs, and 3.5fls in 13 minutes per game.

The most surprising player so far, to me, has been Draymond Green. He is averaging 7.5pts, 7.5rebs, 2asts, 2stls, and a +\- of 23.5 a game. He has shown toughness and a high basketball IQ that I believe will translate to the league really nicely. He has also shown me that he has the skills to be an important role player for the Warriors in the future.

The team we have in right now is full of legitimate NBA guys and that is why we are, and will continue, to dominate the Summer League.

Summer League Game 1

I know that this is just Summer League but damn, we are doing work. Beat the Lakers by 40! That’s right, 40! Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and Draymond Green look really good and they are making me get really pumped for this season. I think that if healthy the Warriors will be a playoff team for sure! Especially if Harrison and Klay keep going ham!

Why Don’t Free Agents Like the Warriors?

Well we are officially 20 hours away from 12:01 am, July 11th, when players can sign their contracts or offer sheets and to my surprise the Warriors have absolutely no players to sign. The Warriors do have 12 players on their current roster, but it is strange that they have made little noise with any of the key free agents that they could have brought in. They were snubbed by BRoy, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that many of the players they could use went to other teams for deals that the Warriors could have been competitive with. I mean Andre Miller 3yr/9mil, Kirk Hinrich 2yr/6mil,  and  Chauncey Billups 1yr/4.3mil where just a few of the players that got deals that were in the Warriors range, but they Dubs couldn’t make it happen. It brings me to the key question, why don’t many guys want to come to the Warriors?

 

There is a few simple answers:

1- Losing tradition

2- A lot of question marks with the roster

3- Unestablished Head Coach

4- OAKLAND

5- Below average arena and practice facilities

 

These are big problems when trying to convince good NBA players to the Bay because many players don’t recognize our loyal and enthusiastic fan-base, or our talented core of players like Curry, Thompson, Barnes, Lee, Bogut, and Rush. But, fortunately our owners are trying to solve those problems that free agents see with the Dubs. They are trying to put together a better roster by assembling players like Andrew Bogut, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes to bring new energy to the organization. They have announced a move to San Francisco in 2017 that will include a new arena and new site for their headquarters and practice facilities. With those nice ongoing solutions to these issues, the way free agents will look at Golden State will change, but it will do this over time. In a few years. But basically… Not Now. Not this off-season. So the Warriors are going to have to do what they have been doing, which is being patient and waiting for the right player, or players, to come to us and see what the Bay Area has to offer them.