Monday, May 21, 2012

Warriors Headed to SF in 2017?

In Part One of our Warriors Season review last week, we touched on most of the positives to come out of the 2011/2012 NBA season for Golden State. Today, before we presented the 2nd part of the season review, there's some pretty big news on the Warriors front to discuss.

 The NBA declared Monday that the Warriors would likely be moving back across the bay in time for the 2017 season. The Warriors recently brought back their "The City" jerseys, the ones they originally wore when they were in San Francisco, which started the pondering as to whether the Warriors will move our not. This is good news for Warriors fans, even if your an Oakland resident, as at least they're staying in the Bay Area, and won't be moving down south to San Jose or any other Silicon Valley destination. Just wanted to spread that piece of news as it hit wires Monday, now back to the on-court happenings of the recent season.

Biedrins Struggled
Things started out roughly for Golden State before the season even got going, as they were spurned by every free agent big man they were interested in, only managing to sign Kwame Brown. Their first choice was Tyson Chandler, but he choose to sign with a contender in New York and join Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. They couldn't even manage to get their backup plan to jump ship from the LA Clippers after offering DeAndre Jordan a massive deal only to be spurned, but that's now looking more like a blessing in disguise than anything else. The big problem for the Warriors, and one I think they'll regret until the day he leaves, is not amestying Andris Biedrins and his large remaining contract when they could have gotten that deal off their books and freed up some real cash heading into this summer. Instead though, they played it cautiously, knowing they were short of big men, and they decided to hand on to Biedrins. After that decision, they should have saved their amnesty. Instead, they used it to release Charlie Bell, a guard who had just a year remaining on his deal and wasn't very expensive. I never got that move, and after the deal for Andrew Bogut, the Warriors will have nearly $20M/year committed to these two centers over the next few seasons. So before the lockout-shortened 2011/12 season even got going for Golden State, they had a lot of fans scratching their heads in the Bay Area with their suspect use of the brief free agency period. The best move they made before opening their season on Christmas, was trading for Brandon Rush but they needed more than that.

Curry's Glass Ankles
Now, after the season got going, the team ran into another problem. They couldn't, for the life of them, keep everyone on the floor and healthy. They lost Curry early in January, and he was never really much of a factor after that, only returning for a few brief stints before being shut down for the year around mid-season. Monta Ellis played well in the first half and was the team's first half MVP before the trade, then David Lee picked up slack in absence of Ellis, Udoh, Curry and their new addition, Andrew Bogut. However, one guy who they were counting on mightily to carry the load offensively, Dorrell Wright, fell off badly from his breakout '10-'11 campaign and that caused another big hole in a starting lineup already missing their star point guard and center. As I said in the first part of the review, Klay Thompson stepped up huge in wake of dealing Ellis, and he was acknowledged last week ranking 6th in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting. Had it not been for the emergence of Thompson, this year could have been much worse. At the very least, the Warriors appear to be pretty set at the 2 guard, especially if they retain Brandon Rush this summer. The real problem for Golden State in 2012 were injuries, plain and simple. That said though, even if Curry stayed healthy, this team still lacked that solid man in the middle most playoff teams have and I doubt they would have done much better than they did. The Warriors got decent play from their point guard spot, especially after Nate Robinson came aboard, it was the lack of presence in the middle that kept them from competing with the big dogs, and that's why they felt it so necessary to deal the face of their organization in Monta in order to land a potential all-star center in Bogut. As long as both Curry and Bogut are healthy come October, and stay that way throughout the season, things should take a 180 for Golden State next season, especially if they play it smart in the draft.

All in all, with the way things were at mid-season, Warrior fans have to be pretty stoked that the Dubs appear to have a stronghold on their number 7 pick. At mid-season, it was looking like a lost cause, as they clearly weren't a playoff team, but not bad enough to make the top-7. But by the end of the season, the Warriors had more guys in suits on the bench they they did in actual uniform, and they were starting 3-4 rookies per night at many points in April. That both played well into their draft strategy as well as giving young players like Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler some much needed experience.

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