Off-Season Grade: B+
With little cap flexibility heading into the offseason, the Warriors did an exceptional job of wheeling and dealing. Swinging a sign-and-trade for David Lee was a no-brainer as Lee brings his scoring and rebounding to the post, two things the Warriors lacked last season. He will be a vital piece of the future alongside Stephen Curry, and all it cost Golden State was two role players and a young player in Anthony Randolph who could not consistently find himself in the rotation.
The Warriors also made a wise move by dealing the overpaid Corey Maggette and saving the franchise about $17 million in cap space over the next two seasons. Drafting Ekpe Udoh with the sixth pick was a solid value although the former Baylor Bear could possibly be out until at least January stemming from a wrist injury he suffered during the summer. Dorrell Wright and Louis Amundson were added at rather cheap rates and should be solid role players.
In a move that was long overdue, the Don Nelson Era came to an end in Golden State when the team decided to replace him with assistant Keith Smart. Nellie Ball will still live on in the Bay as the Warriors will try to maintain their up-tempo offensive pace of years past, but Smart hopes to bring something to the team that has been missing for several years - defense.
The Warriors were second in the league in scoring but also allowed more points than any other team in the league. Lee should help in that department as he is one of the better rebounders around though not much of a shot-blocker. That is where Udoh will come into play once he is healthy. His length and athleticism allowed him to be one of the better shot blockers in college basketball and he should provide an immediate boost in terms of interior defense. Getting Andris Biedrins healthy again will also help out on the glass.
We saw that Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis can not only co-exist in the same backcourt, but also light up the scoreboard. Who can they defend though? Both are 6-3 and lack any real physicality making them vulnerable against bigger, tougher opponents. Dorrell Wright and Reggie Williams also fit that M.O. on the wing of being talented scorers but not much on defense.
If the Warriors fully embrace Smart's new defensive attitude, Golden State should be better than they were a year ago. They don't figure to be in the playoff picture but are at least taking the right steps for the future.
Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2011:
With Dan Gadzuric and Vladimir Radmanovic coming off the books, the Warriors should have more cap space to work with next offseason. Monta Ellis' name also seems to be linked to a lot of trade rumors and Golden State could try to move him in hopes of landing a bigger two guard to run alongside Curry. If management can avoid taking on some of the terrible contracts like have in recent years (i.e. Maggette, Biedrins) they should set themselves up for a promising future.