Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Saltzman Says...two sides to every Warrior

Warriors are entering a new season with a new owner, new asst. general manager, new head coach, and some new players.  Optimism is in the air like the smell of old converse sneakers in the old run down gym used to shoot the movie Hoosiers.

As a season ticket holder since 2005, I cannot share the optimism.  However, here is the best case scenario and worst case scenario for each player this season.

PG Stephen Curry
Positive:  He is entering his third season, and usually that is when a young point guard can really blossom.  He has improved several parts of his game, and as the unquestioned leader of the team, he can elevate even further with a more disciplined approach to defense.  Becomes one of the best PG's in the game.

Negative: He is undersized for PG on both ends of the floor, and he is never able to defend his position.  He regresses as a passer and struggles to run the offense.  Ends up a 2nd unit 2 guard like Jason Terry or Ben Gordon or J.J. Redick, instead of an elite PG.

SG Monta Ellis
Positive: He doesn't care about anything but winning.  He becomes the NBA steals leader without sacrificing the lane again and again.  He becomes a solid defender, and continues to be deadly from 18'.  His three point shot improves, and he gets to the free throw line more with his takes to the basket.

Negatives: The trade rumors continue, the turmoil with management never heals, he is sent packing and never lives up to his full potential in Oakland.  Worse, he stays here, but stays a shoot first, shoot second 2 guard with no defense to be proud of and never goes to the line.

SF Dorell Wright
Positives: He continues to be one of the best 3 point shooters in the game, but his defense is the centerpiece of Mark Jackson's team.  He is able to stabilize Kobe, LeBron, and Dirk at different times during the year, and his defense makes him one of the best all around players in the league.

Negatives: He becomes nothing more than an outside shooter.  His defense falters and he becomes a liability as the starting 3.

PF David Lee
Positives: His grit and toughness evolves into production on the defensive end, and his hustle and hard work allows him to lead the league in offensive rebounds.  His double double's help lead the team on both ends of the floor.

Negatives: His offense becomes nothing more than an occasional elbow jumper.  He becomes a stat collector for rebounds and never grabs a hustle rebound or gets a key put back.  His money becomes a strain on the team's finances and they can't bring in an impact player for several years.

C Andris Biedrins
Positives: His double double's come back, as he gets back to using his quickness to get to the glass without fear of the free throw line.  His defense gets even better as he solidifies the back end of the defense.  His free throw shot improves with dedication.

Negatives: His game is shot, his toughness is permanently gone, and he becomes a $9 million lump on the end of the bench.


PG Charles Jenkins
Positives: He gets added to the long list of New York City PG's who flourish in the NBA.  He gets points in the paint and makes great passes on the offensive end, and holds his own on defense.

Negatives: He can't get accustomed to the NBA, and struggles with turnovers and his defense at the next level.

SG/SF Klay Thompson
Positives: Becomes a seamless transition to the NBA, much like Stephen Curry, with his NBA lineage.  His shot keeps him earning minutes, and his points per game helps lead a young bench to a much improved season.

Negatives: Can't hang on the defensive end with his size and lack of elite quickness and he can't get his own shot at the NBA level.

PF Ekpe Udoh
Positives: His defense anchors the 2nd unit and he becomes a relentless rebounder and shot blocker.  He starts to learn the offensive side of the game a little and can put up points with open jumpers.

Negatives: Is a complete non factor on the offensive end, and spends too much time on the bench in foul trouble.  He gets handled by bigger and stronger 4's and can't keep good 4's out of the paint for easy points.

C Kwame Brown
Positives: His defense keeps the rim off limits to the 2nd unit and he earns some starts with his defensive play.  He actually provides 6-8 PPG with put backs and hustle plays and contributes on both ends.

Negatives: He becomes a trade piece at the trade deadline on his one year deal and he has no impact on the offensive end at all.  He becomes a 6 foul defender who can't help at the 5, and leaves Biedrins on the floor way too many minutes a game.  Even worse, Lou Amundson and Biedrins are stuck playing key center minutes because of his inability to play.

PF Lou Amundson
Positives: Great energy guy off the bench who helps the 2nd unit keep the best teams out of the paint and away from 2nd chance points.

Negatives: Becomes a liability on both ends with an inability to score and a inability to defend.

C Jeremy Tyler
Positives: Becomes a force in the middle by the end of the year with his ability on both ends.  Is the steal of the draft with his size and ability.  Can score in the low post and can defend the rim.  No need for Kwame Brown next year because of his growth.

Negatives: Permanent D-League player who never makes it to Oakland.

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