The 16th pick belongs to perhaps the unluckest team this last year, 
the Golden State Warriors.  They are represented by:

   Mike Moore

The Wariors select: Eric Montross, C, 7-0. UNC ================================================================ Team Needs: ----------- In last year's analysis we said: "The Warriors have immediate needs in the following areas: - Shot Blocking - Low Post Offense - Interior Defense - Rebounding - Good Luck Charms for Good Health The Warriors are one of the easiest teams in the NBA to analyze because they have a glaring need at one position -- need we say it, center. They are at least adequate if not in excellent shape at all other positions, and they have plenty of depth." It's deja-vu all over again in 1994. Despite Don Nelson's imaginative draft day deal to obtain Chris Webber and keep the core team together, the Warriors still lack an intimidating paint player. The 1993-4 Warriors were the NBA's most improved team jumping up 16 wins to wind up 50-32. They accomplished it in spite of losing an All-Star, Tim Hardaway, and the NBA's second best sixth man, Sarunas Marciulonis, for the entire year. Don Nelson, the GM was brilliant in obtaining, for an exorbitant cost, Chris Webber and Avery Johnson. Tyrone Hill was the only significant reduction from last year's roster, going to Cleveland in exchange for their 1st round draft choice, 16th overall. Had the Cavs not finished so strong, this could have been a real steal for the Warriors. Nelson's deal to obtain Webber was the biggest news in the offseason. He traded the rights to Anfernee Hardaway, and 3 1st round picks in '96, '98, and 2000 for the rights to Webber. He also negotiated a tremendous deal to sign Webber even though the Warriors were already a capped team. By doing so, Nelson underscored the fact that the future is now for the Warriors. Recognizing the fact that one more piece of the puzzle is necessary to become an NBA champion, the Warriors are in good shape to be division champion contender for years to come. Once again, the Warriors demonstrated a potent offense, 2nd best in the league. The addition of Chris Webber and more playing time for Latrell Sprewell improved the team defense, which is still below average. Phoenix illustrated these weaknesses well in a first round playoff sweep. Despite their young age, the team was very poised as their league leading record in 5 point games showed. The future is very bright for the Warriors as they are amongst the youngest teams in the NBA. Chris Mullin remains the "old man" at a ripe age of 31. Most of the remaining starters and backups are under 26. The biggest and most pleasant surprise was the development of Latrell Sprewell into an NBA All Star guard, 1st Team All-NBA and 2nd team All-Defensive player in only his second season. F-C Chris Webber was Rookie of the Year and showed the ability to dominate games from time to time. All of this adds up to a team which could win 55 games next year unless injuries decimate the roster once again. Despite the positive outlook, the Warriors still need to improve the team defense with a shot blocking center who can rebound well. Having a shot blocking center can help overcome the defensive deficiencies that happen with a Chris Mullin on the floor. Neither Webber nor Chris Gatling were the answer defensively at center. The Warriors also need to obtain a better witch doctor to improve team health. Anterior cruciate ligament injuries sidelined Hardaway and Marciulonis for the entire year. Mullin missed 20 games and struggled in the first half due to hand and leg injuries. Another significant issue to be addressed in the offseason are related to team chemistry and minutes. The return of Marciulonis and Hardaway will take away Nelson's remaining flexibility at the SG/SF positions. This was at the root of Billy Owens' mid- season blowup and will be worse next year. Unless star quality players are willing to accept fewer minutes, a deal will need to be made. This year's most vexing problem was the continued decline of their free throw shooting percentage. Nelson brought in several consultants with minimal results. Toward the end of the year, the team showed some improvement but must continue the trend if they are to be taken seriously in next year's playoffs. Center ------ Again from last year: "The Warriors would be tremendously improved if they could even acquire an average player at this spot. As it stands, they have nobody who can block shots, who can defend the other team's center, or who can post up." Webber and Gatling played the most significant minutes at this position during the year. Webber did a fair job but is far more effective at the power forward position. Gatling did a fine job offensively but is not an effective defender or rebounder. Had he taken more shots, he would have been amongst the league leaders in FG%. He is on his way, however, to winning the Laimbeer Memorial Flopping award. 92-93's center, Victor Alexander, played his way into Nelson's doghouse this year with his lack of intensity. While he kept physically fit, he does not appear to have what it takes at center. He is now in the last year of his original contract. He might be a better fit on another team at power forward where his above average offensive skills could be better utilized, such as San Antonio. Power Forward ------------- From last year: "The Warriors don't have an ideal player at this spot, but have a few players that can provide some good minutes here." Warrior fans everywhere rejoice in the long term solution to this issue. Chris Webber was everything expected of him and demonstrated why the Warriors traded 4 1st round picks (including Anfernee Hardaway) and $74 million dollars to obtain him. Webber averaged 17.5 ppg, 9 rpg, 2 bpg, and 3 apg. The amazing thing about Webber is that he did this without really having any sort of post game or understanding NBA-style rebounding. These are the areas he has pledged to work on in the offseason, along with a strenuous weight training program. He is probably amongst the best offensive rebounders in the league and best passing big man. We can probably expect 10-15% improvement of these numbers for next year. Byron Houston garnered the most time behind Webber at this position, outside of Billy Owens. Houston improved his game this year by setting truly nasty picks and becoming less foul prone. His "physical" play distracts opposing players as does his good post defense. He is probably the player others would least like to fight. He needs to improve his scoring prowess if he hopes to get more minutes. Small Forward ------------- "The Warriors have a jam-up at this position with Dream Teamer Chris Mullin and future all-star Billy Owens both best suited to play this spot." This became a problem for the Warriors this year in a well publicized mid-season blowup. This year, the Warriors were able to work around it in the latter part of the year by moving Sprewell to PG and Mullin to SG. With the return of Hardaway and Marciulonis, that option will not be available. How the Warriors deal with this issue will be the offseason's most intriguing question. After missing 20 games with injuries, Chris Mullin rejoined a team that had changed in his absence. To his credit, Mullin made the effort to fit his game in with that of Sprewell and Webber to the benefit of the team. His scoring dropped to 16.5 ppg, the lowest in several years. By the end of the year, it was clear that the Warriors needed his outside shooting and the team reconfigured to make that happen. Billy Owens reported in the best shape of his 3 year career and it showed in his game. Averaging 15 ppg, 8 rpg, and 4 apg, he came on strong after mid-season. When the spirit hits him, he dominated at times. His high/low post game with Chris Webber was an aerial weapon the Warriors have never had and with it wreaked havoc on less mobile teams. He also improved his outside shooting to the point where his FG% averaged 50.7. His free throw shooting remains his biggest liability. The Warriors must be able to resolve having these two players on the team given their depth everywhere else. If not, one of them may have to go, possibly in a trade for the ever elusive starting center, in order to keep team chemistry in order. Jeff Grayer played some minutes here and there and was a real sparkplug for the team. A very good post up scorer and tenacious defender, he performed well against certain teams. A good ball handler and cost effective, he may well remain here next year. Rookie Josh Grant made the team but did not get significant minutes. His shooting skills, which were his college strong point, seemed to desert him. The team played well with him on the floor, though, and he may have a slim chance of returning. Shooting Guard -------------- The brightest spot in a bright season was the spectacular play of Latrell Sprewell. He seemed to improve almost daily in every aspect of the game. In addition to his 180 steals, he averaged 21 ppg, 5 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1 bpg, and 141 3FGs. His highlights include making the All Star team, scoring 41 against the Knicks in NY, and beating Atlanta with a 3 at the buzzer. He also played more than 43 mpg. He drove the team bus, sang the team fight song, and solved the mid-East crisis. In many ways, the Warriors are Sprewell's team now. It was interesting to see Mullin's acknowledgement of this on court as it will be to see how it develops when Tim Hardaway returns. Once again, Sarunas Marciulonis sustained a serious injury in the offseason. He has not been fully healthy for 3 seasons now. With Sprewell's minutes plus Mullin/Owens, it is not clear how Sarunas fits in. With health problems limiting his trade value, he will probably remain with the team. Also getting garbage time here was "Pizza Man" Jud Buechler. In the games were the Warriors needed to score 120 so that fans could win a free pizza, Jud was our man. A phenomenal athlete and pro volleyball player, Jud probably won't be back next year. Fans will miss him! The Warriors retain the rights to last year's 2nd round pick, 6-7 Predrag Danilovic. He is an intriguing player. He was the MVP of the Italian League last year and a phenomenal shooter. At 24, he could develop into an NBA caliber player, ala Sarunas or Drazen Petrovic. He was part of rookie camp last year, but opted to return to Europe. He may fit into the Warriors plans, either as a backup SG or in a trade. Point Guard ----------- The loss of Tim Hardaway to a season ending ACL injury placed the whole season in jeopardy until the Warriors picked up free agent Avery Johnson. On a mission to prove San Antonio wrong, he played very well for the first 3/4 of the season. He averaged 11ppg, 5+ apg and had 113 steals. During the last part of the year, his minutes diminished significantly as the team went with a larger lineup. He has a clause allowing him to leave the Warriors after 1 season if he chooses. With Hardaway's return, he will probably exercise this option and should. Keith "Mister" Jennings also nibbled away at AJ's minutes late in the year due to his quickness and 3 point shotting skills. He will most likely continue to improve in the second year after his ACL injury. He seems very likely to return with the Warriors next season. Finally, Warrior fans await the on court return on All Star Tim Hardaway. His off-court presence late in the year helped the team mature and, as his actions against Phoenix in the playoffs showed, he will do anything to win. His ACL was not as bad as feared, but for a player who relies so much on speed, it may be at least mid-season before he returns to his normal dominating self. We do expect his presence on the trash talk leader board. Our Selection: ------------ Eric Montross, C, North Carolina Others Considered: ---------------- The decision comes down to Montross or Jim McIlvane, C Marquette. Both players have similar senior season numbers with the exception of shot blocking, where McIlvane is clearly superior. This is a difficult decision. We chose Montross for three reasons: he has been a consistent rebounder against tougher competition than has McIlvane; he is a somewhat better post player; and his strength will help him against the larger centers. On the downside, he is slower than McIlvane, more foul prone, and not nearly the shot blocker. It really comes down to the fact that Montross was fairly consistent in 4 years playing in one of the nation's toughest conferences. McIlvane's dramatic senior season improvement makes one ask if it is a 1-time thing or the portent of things to come. The Warriors can only hope that Montross will show a post-North Carolina improvement like that of other Dean Smith grads. Montross: G MIN FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA REB PF AST TO BLK STL PTS ----------------------------------------------------------------------- TOTALS 139 3501 626 1070 0 0 375 601 941 408 86 211 169 63 1627 MIN FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG TPG BPG SPG PPG ---------------------------------------------------------------------- TOTALS 25.2 58.5 ERR 62.4 6.8 0.6 1.5 1.2 0.5 11.7 McIlvane: G MIN FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA REB PF AST TO BLK STL PTS ------------------------------------------------------------------------- TOTALS 118 2684 467 846 0 0 344 501 673 295 94 187 399 29 1278 MIN FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG TPG BPG SPG PPG ----------------------------------------------------------------- TOTALS 22.7 55.2 ERR 68.7 5.7 0.8 1.6 3.4 0.2 10.8 Who They'll Probably Take: ---------------------- Since we chose Montross, the Warriors will probably choose McIlvane. The inside game and passing skills of Bill Curley could also appeal to Nelson, if he is reminded of Dave Cowens. Other Moves: ----------- A Bay Area perennial favorite pastime returns: guessing what Don Nelson will do in the offseason. He continues to confound the "experts." His drafting of Tim Hardaway and Latrell Sprewell was brilliant. His trade of Mitch Richmond and Les Jepsen for Billy Owens demonstrated his ability to pull the trigger on a big trade. Finally, his maneuverings to obtain Webber were as creative as any draft day deal. However, Nelson has also been roundly criticized, fairly or otherwise, for missing on some good players. Shawn Kemp and Vlade Divac come immediately to mind, as does his alleged failure to pull the trigger on a deal to obtain the rights to Dikembe Mutombo. Finally, the possible demise of the salary cap would greatly affect any offseason decisions. The Warriors are in a position to win it all with the right player. With the cap's demise, the team would spend the money it took to land the right player. For the sake of this discussion, we'll assume it remains in place. Until the issue is resolved, few teams will be making deals. Here are some of the possibilities: - Get a new coach and GM. Dream on. Ain't gonna happen. Not gonna do it. - Draft a center project and stay pat. If the team drafts a young center that can play 10 mpg, why not stand pat? Play Webber, Owens, and Mullin on the front line. Sprewell and Hardaway plus Sarunas at guards. That's 30mpg for everybody and one scary, deep team to contend, though perhaps not win it all, with. - Trade for a name center ala Ewing or Olajuwon. Obviously, fans and media would most like to see the Warriors trade for a name center such as Ewing or Olajuwon. It seems very unlikely that this will happen. If you were a GM with a name center, would you trade him? Quoting the vizier Terry Wong, "You know this won't happen." - Trade for a "next-tier" center: ala Seikaly or Daugherty. This type of trade is more likely to happen. In order for it to occur, the Warriors would need to give up at least 2 stars, plus a backup big man, such as Alexander. The problem is that none of the 2nd tier centers is really worth it since they are usually lacking in one or more key areas, such as shot blocking or health. One possibility that makes sense is to obtain Olden Polynice from the Sacramento. A player who has improved since leaving the Clippers, his skills mesh nicely with the Warriors needs, though he isn't a stellar shot blocker. In return, the Warriors could help provide the Kings with needed depth at a reasonable cost. - Trade to get a better draft selection. This makes sense if you think a Montross, Dare, or McIlvane will become NBA caliber starting centers. It also makes sense if you are contemplating a "Nellie" and want to pick Jason Kidd. This year's draft is thin and full of risks. Nelson has shown an aversion to gambling in order to trade down. He once analyzed the reasons he had for not trading down 2 years ago that would apply here as well. Consider it: would you trade Billy Owens, rights to Danilovic, and the 16 pick for the rights (maybe) to Dare? Teams that might consider making this type of deal include: Lakers, Kings, Bullets, 76ers, and TimberWolves. Denver and New Jersey might be candidates as well but their picks are too close to the Warriors to be of much use. - Sign a free agent. As a capped team, the Warriors would need to move a star in order to make room to sign a name free agent of value. The annual "Owens or Mullin" plus others issue arises. Who are some of the possible acquisitions: * Robert Parish. A free agent, both he and Nelson have expressed interest. As a capped team, the Warriors will have about $1-1.5m slot to pay him. Is it enough for 1 year? * Matt Geiger. A restricted free agent, he played well against the Warriors last year. Miami is said to like him enough to keep him and he would be pricey in a trade. That being said, he did not have a good year overall. * Pervis Ellison. A restricted free agent, he could be be deemed dispensable by the Bullets if they draft a PF. While not a great center, he would be an improvement but fitting him under the cap would be difficult. * Danny Schayes, Scott Williams, Michael Cage. Maybe. Probably not. - Move other players in the offseason. In order to make cap room for a draft pick and/or free agent, Nelson needs to move some players. Here are the usual suspects: * Avery Johnson. Nelson loves him but knows he can't pay him. Johnson has an escape clause in his contract with the Warriors that he will almost certainly exercise. * Victor Alexander. I think Victor and Nelson have had enough of one another and he will find a new home. * Jud Buechler. Sad to say, I think the Pizza Man will move on again. * Josh Grant. Could stay since he is cheap. Will depend on what other moves take place. * Jeff Grayer. Ditto. His versatility and veteran leadership make him a likely candidate to stay. * Keith Jennings. May have finished the season well enough to merit another campaign. ===================================================================== Draft Summary: 1. Milwaukee Bucks GM: Bobby Davis Pick: Glenn Robinson, PF, 6-8. Purdue University. 2. Dallas Mavericks GM: Theo Wendt Pick: Jason Kidd, PG, 6-4. Cal. 3. Detroit Pistons GM: Eric Iverson Pick: Grant Hill, SF, 6-8. Duke. 4. Minnesota Timberwolves GM's: Kevin Hansen Toni Morgan Pick: Donyell Marshall, SF, 6-9. Connecticut 5. Washington Bullets GM's: Jim Nagle The Crossjammer Pick: Juwan Howard, PF, 6-10. Michigan 6. Philadelphia 76ers GM's: Brent Halliburton Pick: Yinka Dare, C, 7-0. George Washington 7. Los Angeles Clippers GM: Paul Osmond Pick: Carlos Rogers, PF, 6-11. Tennessee State 8. Sacramento Kings GM's: Don Hearth Daniel W. Huang Pick: Clifford Rozier, PF, 6-9. Louisville 9. Boston Celtics GM: Ellie Cutler Pick: Lamond Murray, SF, 6-7. Cal 10. Los Angeles Lakers GM: Kosh Pick: Jalen Rose, SG, 6-8. Michigan 11. Seattle Sonics GM: Aaron Gill Pick: Wesley Person, SG, 6-6. Auburn 12. Miami Heat GM: Rob Clough Pick: Sharone Wright, C, 6-11. Clemson 13. Denver Nuggets GM's: Rick Grubin John Exby Pick: B.J. Tyler, PG, 6-1. Texas 14. New Jersey Nets GM: Matthew Mitchell Pick: Dontonio Wingfield, PF, 6-9. Cincinnati 15. Indiana Pacers GM: Richard Burton Pick: Charlie Ward, PG, 6-0. FSU 16. Golden State Warriors GM: Mike Moore Pick: Eric Montross, C, 7-0. UNC Next up: 17. Portland Trail Blazers GM: Jason Drisko

Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner