I. DRAFT HISTORY
|For a time in the late 80s and early 90s, the Warriors
were one of the most intriguing teams of the draft ever since Don Nelson grabbed Mitch
Richmond in 1988, adding more backcourt scoring to a team that already had a young Chris
No matter. Richmond became one of
the league's top players over the next decade, proving Nelson right.
The next several year saw Nelson pick All-Star after
All-Star -- Tim Hardaway (1989), Tyrone Hill (1990), Chris Gatling (1991), Latrell
Sprewell (1992) and Chris Webber (1993) -- all in successive years. Add Richmond to that
bunch, and you might have the best streak of good drafting in recent history.
(If you don't think so, think of those six players
playing together as a unit -- not that they ever did.)
The Webber season took a lot out of Nelson.
Coincidentally or not, his streak of great draft choices ended the next season with
Clifford Rozier (1994).
The Twardzik and Adelman regime that took over in 1995
and 1996 did nothing to help the team. In the wake of the Webber crisis, the pair went for
"safe" draft choices like Joe Smith (1995) and Todd Fuller (1996).
Smith's regression in his three years after being drafted
can't be blamed as a draft mistake, but the selection of Fuller was a gaffe from the
beginning. The fact that Twardzik spent most of draft day talking about Fuller's
cumulative GPA, rather than pure basketball talent could not have been good.
The Twardzik and Adelman years were a total wash. While
P.J. Carlesimo has had a stormy tenure, his draft picks are starting to show some promise,
and Carlesimo has a chance to leave a decent legacy. Adonal Foyle (1997) has not made a
great impact, but to be fair, he really hasn't has a chance to contribute. When given
playing time, Foyle has shown glimmers of hope. I believe he could still be an
above-average power forward, but he needs to get more playing time this year or else risk
being shoved onto the scrap heap.
Antawn Jamison (1998) will suffer from comparisons to
Vince Carter, and he was not immediately successful, though he looked much better as the
season progressed. As his career evolves, he has a chance to be an exceptional player.
Even now, he looks like a young, healthy LaPhonso Ellis, with the ability to switch
between small forward and power forward and play both positions well.
The early returns say that Carlesimo's drafting ability
falls somewhere between Nelson (high) and Twardzik (low).
The one trend that seems to be emerging is since the
Foyle pick, Carlesimo has been careful to make moves with a short-term payoff. Both the
Sprewell and Smith trades were moves made with the short-term in mind. Jimmy Jackson and
Clarence Weatherspoon weren't going to help the team into the future, and John Starks,
Chris Mills and Terry Cummings are not building blocks, but useful role players.
II. TEAM NEEDS
|*** The team's biggest need is NOT a point guard right
now, believe it or not. The team's biggest need, flat out, is a player to build the team
Is that player going to be Antawn Jamison? If it is, well, fine then.
But if not, the Warriors need to make a move that will
get them that player, since he probably will not be available at No. 10. Rumors (I cannot
speak for the accuracy of them) have the team talking about trading for Gary Payton or Damon
Stoudamire. If there's anything to that, then the team must
act on them, since there's precious little else on the team to build around. *** But
assuming that player won't be traded to the GSWs, and assuming the Warriors will not draft
him at No. 10, the biggest need is, in fact, a point guard.
The Warriors have not had an above-average PG, really,
since Hardaway. The players they have tried to insert into that role -- Bimbo Coles, Tony Delk, Muggsey Bogues -- are
best suited to come off the bench.
*** Shooting guard could also be upgraded with an eye
toward the future.
John Starks was a nice
addition, but the Warriors don't have any player they can groom to be a shooting guard of
the future. *** Also, if the Warriors lose Erick Dampier to free agency, that will be another area of concern. The common thinking
is that he'll stay, but the Warriors would have little to replace him with in the middle
should he leave. Foyle would be a possibility, but the Warriors would like to avoid that
for the moment, I believe. *** Lastly, the Warriors just need players. They are hardly in
a position to pick and choose and they can't afford to do much of that here. Apart from a
logjam at small forward, the GSWs aren't deep enough at any position to pick according to
position. So they may end up just selecting the dreaded best player available.
III. ROSTER ANALYSIS
|Of the team's free agents, Bogues, Duane Ferrell and
Felton Spencer won't be re-signed, and nor should they. None of them have anything to
offer a rebuilding team, and this is the last time they'll be mentioned here.
Terry Cummings, whose veteran leadership and solid all-around play
made him the team's MVP last year, will be re-upped.
That leaves Dampier, who is the team's pivotal free
agent. The team's makeup for next season depends -- A LOT -- on whether or not Dampier
He's not a free agent, but don't expect Delk to return
*** POINT GUARD --
|With Bogues probably gone and Coles the only point left,
this is obviously an area of concern, leading most to speculate that the GSWs will take
one in the draft.
Coles is a fine
defensive point guard, but he isn't a classic playmaking poing and may not be best suited
for starting (indeed, the Warriors would like to bring him off the bench). He may even
have trade value to a contending team, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he were shopped
The Warriors need to make some improvements at this
position, if not through the draft, then through a trade or free agent signing.
*** SHOOTING GUARD
|-- Starks heads up the Warriors at this position, and if Delk is traded, he may be
the only SG returning. He's a bit above average offensively and defensively, but he's not
a long-term solution, and like Coles, is better suited to come off the bench for a good
Delk is a spot-up shooter, and
really has no business starting in the NBA. As mentioned before, he's expected to be
traded in the off-season, and the Warriors should not expect to receive much in return.
The Warriors' off-guard of the future is currently not on
their roster, and could conceivably come through the draft. Stay tuned.
*** SMALL FORWARD --
|Antawn Jamison showed signs
of turning into a fine player toward the end of the season, by which time, he was one of
the league's top five rookies.
outside shot, as expected, was a weakness, but it got better as the season progressed.
Defense will be another area of adjustment for Jamison, and he'll need to get better at
defending on the perimeter.
But he does have a knack for scoring, and his rebounding
was excellent for a small forward. Jamison is the future, but then so was Webber and so
was Smith. Get the hint?
Which brings us to Donyell
Marshall, who five years after being the poster child for the
NBA rookie salary cap, has turned into a very good player. When motivated, Marshall can
have an offensive presence with a solid outside shot and is a good shotblocker and
rebounder inside. His man defense is a weakness, and will never be outstanding.
Marshall could start for many NBA teams, and would be a
valuable contributor (probably off the bench) for a lot of good teams. He's the best
single piece of trade bait the Warriors own, and with Jamison's presence, is a good bet to
be moved -- and will bring a decent player in return.
Chris Mills is a solid
player at small forward. He has no exceptional skills, but isn't dreadful in any facet of
the game either. Mills could be traded if Marshall somehow stays with the team.
Take this to the bank, the Warriors will NOT take a small
forward in the draft -- if they select a Ron Artest or Shawn Marion, it will be with an
eye toward making them guards. They are well-stocked at this position.
*** POWER FORWARD --
|After a very good half-season for the GSW in 1998, the
Warriors re-signed Jason Caffey
to a very rich contract last summer. Caffey proceeded to come into camp out of shape and
have the worst season of any regular NBA power forward.
Well, with his new contract, the Warriors are stuck with Caffey.
And if he's actually in shape and playing to his ability level, the Warriors wouldn't mind
that scenario. Though a little on the short side at 6-8, Caffey is a very athletic power
forward and is a strong rebounder. He's not an All-Star but should be an aobe-average
Foyle could develop into a
Tyrone Hill-type power forward- center, except be a better shotblocker. But his
developmental curve has been slow, and he needs to show he can perform at a high level
day-in and day-out. I think he can.
*** CENTER --
|The Warriors would like to see Dampier become a clone of Dale Davis or
Antonio Davis, and that's something that he should be capable of. He should be an
excellent rebounder, good shotblocker and solid defender.
But he also came into camp out of shape this year and never
reached any level of consistency. Maybe a full training camp will get Dampier back to
form, but it will cost the Warriors (maybe seven years, $45 million) to find out.
Cummings is a smoothie with a nice offensive touch around
the basket. He'll grab a few rebounds here and there, but is not a monster in the paint.
Then again, the Warriors are an excellent rebounding team as is, so that might not matter.
What does matter is his leadership, and if he can give
15-20 good minutes per game as a role player, the Warriors should be pleased with that.
IV. THE PICK --
|COREY MAGGETTE (6-6,
SG, Duke): My strategy for this pick was ultimately to
see who shook down from the "Great Eight" -- Odom, Francis,
Davis, Szczerbiak, Brand, Miller, Hamilton and Maggette -- then, when no one did, pick Jason Terry (if available)
or Ron Artest. (I am not a William
me also say that this is a scenario that will never happen in a million years. I spent the
better part of this morning fantasizing about Maggette in a GSW uniform -- pretty much
time wasted, if you ask me.
Damn you all.
But since it did play out this way this time, Maggette
fills a nice need with Golden State, that is, the "shooting guard of the future"
I mentioned earlier. His skills sort of resemble Kobe Bryant's, and he could ultimately be
that type of player -- not quite to that caliber, perhaps.
It helps also that the Warriors have a John Starks on the
roster who can be a mentor to Meggette, help him climatize to the pro game. Also, it gives
the GSW the option of not starting Maggette right away. No, Maggette will be -- this sound
familiar, Corey? -- a sixth man. And if he can add athleticism and spark to this team,
perhaps getting it to the No. 8 playoff spot in the West next year, so much the better.
Now that you know where Maggette will fit in, here's why
I made the pick:
- THE BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE. Maggette is one of the top
three or four players in this draft. When he gets to 10, you do not ask questions, you
pick that player. (On draft day, ESPN's Mike Sullivan had him No. 3 overall, while
Monter's list on the Usenet NBA site had him at No. 6.) Maggette just might even be a
franchise-type player to build the whole team around.
- FILLS A NEED. The Warriors do not, at this hour have their
shooting guard of the future on their roster. Maggette could be that guy.
Lastly, I'd like to mention that I received about a half-dozen
E-mails, stumping various players -- Langdon, Marion, Avery, etc. (No one told me to pick
Jason Terry, strangely enough.) I am here to tell you that if any of these people had
known that Corey Maggette would be available, they would have either shut up, or told me
to pick Maggette in unison.
V. OTHERS I CONSIDERED
|JASON TERRY (6-2, PG,
Arizona): The Warriors need a point guard, plain and
simple. And if Terry was available, he was going to be the man.
He'd a perfect fit for the GSW, adding a nice outside shot to a
team that lacks in that department. Terry is also considered to be the best defender among
this year's point guards, and in a division that has Kidd, Payton, Stoudamire and
Williams, that should not be underestimated.
As a senior, he also fits the Carlesimo philosophy of
"Help me now." And his career shows he's versatile enough to be a complementary
player (see first three years at Arizona) or a star who can carry a team (see senior
Terry, as a pro, projects to be either a poor man's Gary
Payton or a better version of Sam Cassell. The Warriors would love to have either.
WILLIAM AVERY (6-2, PG,
Duke) -- If the No. 10 picks rolls around and Steve
Francis, Baron Davis, Andre Miller and Jason Terry are all gone, Avery would be the best
available point guard. I suspect this is a scenario that keeps Carlesimo up nights. As one
of the top 15 players in the draft, he needs to be considered. But I don't believe that
Avery's game has developed enough for the Warriors' tastes, and think he'd be no better
than an average NBA point guard. This, the Warriors don't need.
RON ARTEST (6-6, SG-SF,
St. John's) -- If the Warriors really believe that Artest
can play guard, they may take him. Artest is a creative offensive player who could end up
being one of the real finds of the draft -- a sort of Mitch Richmond pick 11 years later.
But here's the hangup -- if the Warriors do not believe that Artest can play the 2, they
won't take him. The last thing the Warriors need is another small forward.
(7-3, C, Barton County CC) -- The most intriguing big man
in the draft. IF the Warriors don't believe they can re-sign Dampier, IF Terry and Miller
are gone, IF they don't believe that Ron Artest can play the 2, Radojevic could be the
man. But Carlesimo may be wary enough of "project players" in the wake of the
Foyle pick in 1997 that Radojevic is not appealing.
JONATHAN BENDER (6-11,
SF, Picayne H.S.) -- The idea of drafting Bender is
appealing -- he may be the best high-schooler to come out for the draft since Kobe Bryant.
But he projects to a small forward, at least right away. Also, the Warriors have had
opportunities to draft high schoolers in the past and did not. He may be talented, but the
Warriors will pass.
ANDRE MILLER (6-2, PG,
Utah) -- Miller might actually be available, and if he
and Terry both made it to No. 10, that would be a tough call for the GSW. Miller projects
to be a Mark Jackson- type (and after what I saw in the Pacers-Knicks series, he'd better
be better than Jackson), but Terry might be a better fit.
SHAWN MARION (6-7,
SG-SF, UNLV) -- I like Marion a lot -- more than most
probably. I also believe he could eventually be a Latrell Sprewell-type who just makes
things happen on the floor. And if he develops a shot, he could be a star. I think it's a
longshot the Warriors will take him, though.
VI. WHO THE WARRIORS WILL TAKE:
|Take it to the bank. The Warriors will select one of the
following three players -- probably in this order:
1. ANDRE MILLER (6-2, PG, Utah) -- I doubt Miller will ultimately be available, but it looks more and
more like he could be. And if he is, I think the Warriors would probably go with Miller,
who is a terrific playmaker and probably the most ready of any PG in the draft to run an
NBA offense. At the very least, the Warriors would have a tough decision to make between
him and Jason Terry at No. 10.
2. JASON TERRY (6-2, PG,
Arizona) -- Being as I don't believe that Andre Miller
will be available at No. 10, I think the odds are good that Terry (who should be
available) is the next GSW point guard. And I think's he'll be a good one.
3. RON ARTEST (6-6,
SG-SF, St. John's) -- In the event that Terry and Miller
are both gone by the tenth pick -- an unlikely but possible scenario -- I think the
Warriors eschew the point guard situation and go for Artest, who would be the foundation
of the Warriors' future backcourt.
4. WILLIAM AVERY (6-2,
PG, Duke) -- God, I hope not. --- Ultimately, however, I
think the pick will be Jason Terry.
VII. OTHER MOVES
|The Warriors need a point guard, whether it comes
through the draft, a trade or free agency. Golden State cannot make the playoffs (which
may be necessary to save P.J. Carlesimo's job) with Bimbo Coles starting at the 1.
The Warriors' options may be necessarily limited, though. Trading
for Payton is a pipe-dream, as is a sign-and-trade for Brandon. A deal for Stoudamire is a
possibility, but a thin one.
In the event that a point guard does not get to the GSWs,
look for Donyell Marshall to be traded for a point guard.
By the way, the Warriors NEED to sign Dampier. Regardless
of how bad he looked last year, he's still the team's best big man, and his absence would
leave a gaping hole on the roster.
Other than that, the Warriors are not in great shape to
go out and get a top-shelf free agent. It's rumored that Mitch Richmond might come back,
but I doubt it. Donyell Marshall won't bring Richmond back in return. (Neither will Chris