Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saltzman Says...Warriors have key pieces missing

The Warriors have a closer.  Do they have any other pieces?
In my previous post, I established my 5 criteria for a championship:
1. A center who can defend the paint
2. A great defender on the perimeter
3. A point guard who can facilitate
4. Perimeter scoring
5. A Closer

So, to keep this local, how far are the Golden State Warriors from a championship?  On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being Todd Fuller and 10 being Bill Russell) how far away is Golden State from a title?

1. Andris Biedrins (4)
2. Dorell Wright (6)
3. Stephen Curry (6)
4. Reggie Williams (9)
5. Monta Ellis (9)

6. David Lee (7): it might sound redundant, and it is almost always the case, but a rebounding PF would rank next.
7. Acie Law (2): Backup facilitator is almost as important as the starter, because you always need a point who can run the offense.
8. Ekpe Udoh (6): you need another defender of the rim.  Most big men can't play anywhere near 48 minutes a game, so you can't have big stretches without a strong defender in the paint.
9. Charlie Bell (2): Another perimeter defender who can sub in and help keep the other team from going on a run.
10. Vladimir Radmanovic (5): Another perimeter scorer who can sub in and help keep the other team from shutting down the offense.
11.  Lou Amundson (5): Energy guy off the bench, who can help the frontcourt through an 82 game season and four rounds of the playoffs.
12. Jeremy Lin (2): Energy guy off the bench, who can help the backcourt through an 82 game season and four rounds of the playoffs.

The biggest problem the Warriors face going forward is Andris Biedrins.  He is nowhere near the center who seemed to not only deserve $9 million a year to be our defender in the paint, but was only going to get better.  Instead, he has only gotten worse.  He has become a shell of himself on the offensive end, mainly because of a fear of the free throw line.  He has become so passive, it is not worth the minimal effort he does give on the defensive end to warrant the money he is making.

The Warriors have only six players who are above average for their role on any championship caliber team.  1. Monta Ellis is clearly one of the elite closers in the NBA.
2. Reggie Williams has clearly established himself as an outside scoring threat.  If the Warriors are to become a championship team, they need to allow Williams to flourish in this role.
3. David Lee has a lot of areas he can improve on, but this ability on the glass is essential to any team looking to play into May and June.
4. Stephen Curry will rise up this list soon enough, but his role as the team's facilitator is only slightly above average at this point.  He is a much better shooter than most point guards in the league, but as a passer, leader and defender, he has work to do.
5. Dorell Wright has been given the role of perimeter defender, and has shown to be adequate against the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James.  He is not where he needs to be in this role, but he is also been asked to be much more.  If the Warriors can find a defensive first swingman who can play SF, Wright can be a more valuable asset to the Warriors long term.
6. Ekpe Udoh could unseat Biedrins as soon as this year, but his play at the rim has shown the potential to be a part of something special.  He may never be the starting center on a championship team, but he could already be a contributor.

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