2011 NBA Offseason: Golden State Warriors

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Golden State Warriors (Last Year: 36-46)

2011 NBA Draft Team Grade:

This would have been the perfect situation for the Warriors to finally draft a defensive-minded player like Kawhi Leonard or Chris Singleton, but instead they actually went with another scorer. The Warriors do need depth at guard, and I will like the Klay Thompson pick a heck of a lot more if they trade Ellis. Charles Jenkins adds even more depth at guard and was a solid value, while taking a risk on Jeremy Tyler could pay off down the line. I am not sure I am buying Mark Jackson’s claim that the Warriors will be a playoff team next season, but these pieces cannot hurt them from an offensive standpoint. At some point through, they will need to find someone who can defend. (Team Grade: Meh)

Live 2011 NBA Draft Grades:

11. Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State
Another offensive player for the Warriors’ run and gun offense rather than a much needed defensive guy like Chris Singleton or Kawhi Leonard… can’t say I agree with that even though it has been known for a while that Golden State really likes him. If the Warriors end up dealing Monta Ellis, this pick will make a lot more sense. (Pick Grade: Don’t get it)

39. Jeremy Tyler, PF, USA
The Warriors bought this pick from Charlotte. Tyler looks the part but is not NBA ready and may never be. For a team in need of size though, this could be a good fit down the line. (Pick Grade: Makes sense)

44. Charles Jenkins, G, Hofstra
The Warriors needed backcourt depth and added to it with Charles Jenkins joining Klay Thompson. Jenkins is a solid value here as a scoring combo guard, but don’t expect to see much playing time from him. (Pick Grade: Makes sense)

*** 2011 NBA Offseason Needs and Free Agents listed below this comment box. ***

2010-11 Season Summary:
I will tell you this; I had three Warriors on my fantasy basketball team this past season and they all were huge assets. Unfortunately, compiling that sort of talent on an actual NBA team does not always equate to winning basketball as Golden State learned.

The Warriors entered the year making a huge splash in the offseason, acquiring David Lee from the Knicks. He provided a legit low-post scoring option that the team lacked the past several seasons. Lee’s acquisition was huge for Golden State as was Dorell Wright, who put up career numbers in pretty much every statistical category and appears to be an absolute a steal at the 3-year, $11.4 million deal he signed last summer.

Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were once again very productive in the Warriors’ up-tempo offense. They were the highest-scoring backcourt in the league but a liability on the defensive end due to their lack of height and strength. Ellis’ name popped up in trade rumors throughout the year as Golden State was reportedly looking to add a bigger guard to play alongside Curry. Don’t be surprised if those rumors pop up again this summer.

Depth was a major weakness for the Warriors as Ellis, Curry, Lee and Wright combined to average more than 73 percent of the team’s offensive production. Andris Biedrins, Ekpe Udoh and Louis Amundson provided some rebounding when they were healthy but are very limited on the offensive end. Reggie Williams was a serviceable sixth man but after that Golden State relied on underachieving journeymen like Acie Law, Vladimir Radmanovic, Al Thornton and Rodney Carney while officially giving up on 2007 first-round Brandan Wright by trading him to New Jersey for pretty much nothing.

Even with a 10-win improvement, head coach Keith Smart was fired after taking over the reins for Don Nelson who chose to retire prior to the season. With a new ownership at the helm, management now has high expectations and an encouraging foundation to build around.

2011-12 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Ekpe Udoh or Andris Biedrins/Jeremy Tyler

PF: David Lee/#Louis Amundson

SF: Dorrell Wright

SG: Monta Ellis/Klay Thompson/Charlie Bell/Charles Jenkins

PG: Stephen Curry/Jeremy Lin

NBA Free Agents:

#C-Louis Amundson (PO)

F-Vladimir Radmanovic (UFA)

SF-Reggie Williams (UFA)

SF-Al Thornton (UFA)

PG-Acie Law (UFA)

PF-Jeff Adrien (UFA)

Offseason Transactions:

Warriors acquire F/C Jeremy Tyler from Bobcats for cash considerations

2010-11 Team Salary: Approximately $49.1 million

NBA Offseason Needs:

1. Guard Depth: The only guards on the depth chart behind Ellis and Curry are Charlie Bell and Jeremy Lin, who combined to play in 48 games last year and average a whopping total of 4.3 points per game. Reggie Williams gave the Warriors some backcourt flexibility as played either wing position, but he is a free agent. That leaves Golden State thin at guard and they will likely consider a few players who should be available with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. If they decide to go in a different direction with their first-round selection, they need to find a free agent who will be an upgrade from Bell and Lin.

2. True Center: The frontcourt of Lee, Biedrins, Udoh and Amundson brings some diversity to the roster but none of those guys are suited for banging against true centers in the league. The Warriors will not find a true big man in the NBA Draft due to the thin crop available, but should look to add a veteran center with their mid-level exception.

3. Wing Defender: I feel like I write this every year about the Warriors, but I guess that is what happens when you play an up-tempo style of ball. Golden State gave up the third most points in the NBA last season, allowing almost 106 points per game which is shockingly a major improvement from the 112-plus ppg they allowed in 2009-10. They did address their need for a defensive-minded big man in last year’s draft when they selected Ekpe Udoh. This offseason, the Warriors need to find a defensive specialist on the perimeter since the undersized backcourt of Curry and Ellis is often abused by bigger, stronger guards.

4. Backup Small Forward: With Reggie Williams, Vladimir Radmanovic and Al Thornton all free agents, the Warriors need to find a backup for Dorrell Wright. If they can find a reserve for Wright who is a solid defender, it would help Golden State kill two birds with one stone.

5. Head Coach: A slew of names have popped up to replace Smart as head coach: Mark Jackson, Chuck Person, Brian Shaw, Kevin McHale and Lawrence Frank to name a few. While the Warriors would love to make a splash hire, they need to make sure they find the right coach who call bring this young nucleus together and get them to play with more effort on the defensive end.

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