|The Warriors traded away their first round pick as
part of the Chris Webber trade. In the real NBA draft they have the
55th pick. Their GM is Rob Shore who
Dalibor Bagaric, C, 7'0", Croatia
I. SEASON RECAP
Did you hear the one about the general manager who said that Mookie Blaylock would take the Warriors back to the playoffs last year?
(Pause for laugh track.)
No, of course the Warriors didn't make the playoffs - the talent just wasn't there and a rash of injuries of biblical proportions did not help. Golden State lost over 300 player-games to injury last year - second in the NBA, though it's difficult to fathom another team having worse injury problems.
They finished an astoundingly bad 19-63, in sixth place in the seven-team Pacific Division (thank God for the Clips) and without a first-round pick this year. By New Year's Day, they were so many games out of playoff spot, many of the players just gave up hope. Much of this finally contributed to P.J. Carlesimo being tossed out on his ass on Dec. 27 of last year (showing that once again, as was the case in the Webber-Nelson fiasco, that the Warriors got rid of the wrong person when they traded Latrell Sprewell).
And yet, Warriors fans should feel quite optimistic right now.
The coaching situation, in flux since the firing of Carlesimo, was resolved with the hiring of Dave Cowens in late April. Cowens brings the Warriors a coach with brand-name recognition, perhaps the first coach since Don Nelson that fans could get excited to see on the bench. Cowens should bring an intense atmosphere to the head coach's position, and he'll get instant respect among the players. That's what you get when you bring Hall of Fame credentials to the table as a coach. He'll also be a huge help to the team's big men - Dampier, Jamison, Foyle if he stays around - the part of the team that could use his help the most.
(Also, the last time the Warriors were any good, they had another former Celtic big man as their coach. Coincidence? Probably.)
Garry St. Jean is, for better or worse, back as GM. It doesn't hurt that his assistant GM, Gary Fitzsimmons, is a shrewd judge of talent. Some suspected for the last two years that St. Jean was just a puppet, a mouthpiece for P.J. Carlesimo, who was really calling the personnel shots. But Saint cut his ties by firing Carlesimo, who had lost the respect of most of the players on the roster by the time he was canned.
Saint has made a couple of interesting moves in the past year that may ultimately pay some dividends. When he dealt the 10th pick overall and Bimbo Coles for Mookie Blaylock and No. 21 last year, it was thought he did this upon realizing that the Warriors wouldn't land any of the top four point guards (Steve Francis, Baron Davis, Andre Miller, Terry). But Terry was available at No. 10.
(Golden State, led by St. Jean, tried to spin this trade at the time by saying that Blaylock would give them a chance for the playoffs that year. What utter nonsense. Jason Kidd could not have lifted the Warriors into the playoffs last year.)
The Warriors compounded this dumbness (or so we thought at the time) by drafting Jeff Foster, a big white guy of questionable talent, who looked for all the world like the second coming of Todd Fuller. But just minutes later, Golden State dealt Fuller (er, Foster) to Indiana for Vonteego Cummings and a future first-round pick. Cummings looks to be the equal of Jason Terry at this point, validating (to an extent) his selection.
St. Jean made an excellent move at the deadline, dealing away John Starks and a No. 1 pick (that would prove to be seventh overall in the lottery) in a three-way deal for second-year pro Larry Hughes, who had difficulty fitting in with Allen Iverson in Philly, and Billy Owens.
In Hughes, the Warriors landed their franchise player, a guy they could build the team around. Last year in this space, I mentioned in this space that the Warriors did not have a true franchise player, a guy who could be a building block for the future. It appears they have that now.
St. Jean said at the time of the trade that Hughes was better than anybody they would get in this draft. Well, who would be available at No. 7 (when the Warriors would have picked)? Mike Miller? Courtney Alexander? Quentin Richardson (a stretch)? Hughes appears to be better than any of them. Would any GM trade Larry Hughes for one of these players? I wouldn't.
A side benefit to Carlesimo's departure was the improved play of Antawn Jamison, who blossomed under St. Jean until undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Feb. 23. He averaged 19.6 points per game, assuaging some of the pain of trading Vince Carter. (As a side note, the Warriors never could have had Carter for themselves, but that's another story for another time.)
With Hughes and Jamison coming back healthy, and with Cowens coming in as coach, Warriors' fans have reason to get excited. How good can they be? Time will tell. For the moment, most Golden State loyalists would be happy for a No. 8 seed in the playoffs, and though it's still a longshot, the Warriors are closer than they've been at any time since Chris Webber was traded.
Really. TRIVIA QUESTION: Seventeen different players started for the Warriors last year. Only one of them had a winning record when he was in the starting lineup. Name him. (Answer after Roster Analysis.)
II. ROSTER ANALYSIS
ERICK DAMPIER (6-11, 265 lbs., 4th year pro) - Dampier was the big free agent the Warriors landed (or kept, rather) in the off-season, and actually was a guy the Warriors must have felt they had to sign. Dampier not only represented the Warriors' starting center, but he was by most accounts the best free agent center out there. But Dampier played only 21 games for Golden State last year, putting up numbers that don't resemble a $50 million player (8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.7 blocks per game). He's capable of much more, as his 1997-98 season showed (11.8 ppg., 8.7 rpg, 1.7 bpg) - a season in which coincidentally, he played all 82 games, the only season in his career that he's done so. Dampier has never been a great shooter (how can a guy his size be a career 41.5 percent shooter?), so his offense is limited to putbacks and garbage points. If he can repeat his 1997-98 numbers, the Warriors would be delighted (and Cowens will do everything he can to make it so). Was he worth the big bucks? Probably not. But his contract makes him untradable, so the Warriors might as well find out if he can play.
ADONAL FOYLE (6-10, 250, 3rd year pro) - Three years after being drafted, he's still a project, partially because Carlesimo was never interested in giving Foyle the minutes to improve his game. He improved last year, showing flashes of what he is capable of more often than he had. He's a truly gifted shotblocker, as he showed with his career-best 1.79 blocks per game. Foyle also set career highs in points (5.5), rebounds (5.6), and field goal percentage (50.8 percent). He's still a highly intelligent, athletic big man, but three years after he was drafted, he's still a project, and he hasn't shown the consistency that the Warriors would like. If he could show the ability to defend opposing big men straight up without fouling, that would go a long way toward establishing his credibility. It was very doubtful the Warriors would try to resign Foyle until Cowens was brought in as coach. The pair has a good relationship, and it might be enough to bring him back. Ultimately, it gets back to the minutes though. I wouldn't expect the Warriors to sign him for big dollars if he's going to be a caddy for Jamison and Caffey.
TIM YOUNG (7-2, 270, 2nd year pro) - Probably won't be brought back unless as a practice squad (injured list) type of player. He's stiff and foul-prone. As average as Foyle and Dampier are, Young is no threat to them.
JASON CAFFEY (PF, 6-8, 256, 5th year pro) - There was reason to be somewhat happy about Caffey's play last year, as he averaged career highs in scoring (12.1 points) and rebounding (6.8, I was mildly surprised it was that low). He has shown he's more than capable of putting up double-doubles (14 last year) and can be a very good rebounder when the mood strikes him. But Caffey's main problem is that he can't guard anyone without fouling, as evidenced by his 269 fouls (in 71 games) and 11 disqualifications (third in the league, only Lamar Odom and Antonio McDyess had more). He's a smallish but athletic power forward and benefits from a game that gets him up and down the court. His contract (7 years, $35 million) is brutal, but the Warriors almost found a taker in Milwaukee last year, so he could be moved yet.
TERRY CUMMINGS (PF-C, 6-9, 250, 18th year) - Cummings, whom some considered to be the team's MVP a year ago, missed 60 games this year -- 17 with a strained left groin, 41 with a strained rotator cuff. But Cummings' main impact is as a quasi-assistant coach, and he can continue to mentor the youngsters in street clothes as well. (Don't be surprised to see Golden State sign him as an assistant when he retires.) He was hospitalized briefly over the summer with an irregular heartbeat, a chronic condition he's played with over the years. It won't cause him to retire by itself, but it should give him cause to think about it a little more. As a player, he can provide depth in the 4 and 5 spots. When given the opportunity, he still has some offensive game, and he's no more than an average rebounder.
TONY FARMER (PF, 6-9, 245, 3rd year pro) - Probably the nicest surprise on the Warriors this year. European and CBA veteran Farmer (6.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 16.2 minutes, all NBA career highs) saw significant playing time when injuries claimed Mills and Jamison for parts of the season. The guy simply made plays when given the opportunity, but there's no reason to believe he could find a permanent home with Golden State (I have him as the 13th player on the roster). That said, if the Warriors were given the choice between Farmer and Billy Owens, they'd take Farmer. He did lead the team in scoring four times last year. He is a ghastly shooter, however, hitting only 40.7 percent of his shots from the floor, a figure that perplexes me, considering Farmer's size.
ANTAWN JAMISON (SF-PF, 6-9 - that's what he's listed at anyway, 233, 2nd year pro) - He came into the season as the main piece the Warriors were building around. By the time the season ended, he no longer was the franchise player, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. He had a nice year, averaging 19.6 points and 8.3 rebounds a game, one of only 11 players in the NBA who boasted numbers that good. Normally plays small forward, but he slid over to the 4 when Caffey took a breather (usually foul-induced) last year. In fact, Cowens has hinted that Jamsion will move to power forward full time this year. Bigger power forwards may overpower him, but Cowens believes Jamison can counter that with his quickness. He struggled to guard opposing small forwards; he simply wasn't used to defending out on the perimeter. Jamison's shooting range extends out to about 18 feet. He's a terrific rebounder, mainly due to his quickness. The only question that remains is whether he can co-exist with Hughes, since they never played together last season.
DONYELL MARSHALL (SF, 6-9, 230, 6th year pro) - Continues to improve, and was one of a handful of players to average a double-double last season with 14.2 points and 10 rebounds per game. Averaged a dreadfully low 38.4 percent from the floor, kept down in part dues to his reliance on the 3-pointer (though he is getting better from outside). Like Jamison, a defensive liability, but has the ability, when beaten, to block a shot from behind. He's a very good shotblocker. He'll never live up to the expectations that were thrust upon him when he came out of UConn, but he improved dramatically last year, especially when St. Jean just let him play in the second half of the year. His contract (8 years, $42 million, up in 2002) has detracted from his trade value in the past, but with only two years left on it, that might not be the case as much now. If the Warriors got a good offer for Marshall, they'll let him go, but they won't give him away at this point.
CHRIS MILLS (SF, 6-6, 215, 7th year pro) - Meet the new Donyell Marshall, that is a player of some value to the team, whose contract prohibits him from being traded. In all honesty, Mills isn't a bad player - he does a little of everything pretty well and has enough versatility to move to shooting guard when needed. He's not outstanding in any facet of the game. When he played last season, he was pretty good - 16.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, above or near his career bests - but he missed the last 54 games of the season after having bone spurs removed from his ankle. His 3-point shooting shows a downward trend though (39 percent in 1997, steadily downward to 26 percent last season), a bad sign on this team. At his best, Mills is a complementary player, but a pretty good one at that.
BILLY OWENS (SF, 6-9, 225, 9th year pro) - First of all, he has an out in his contract if he wants it, and you have to believe the Warriors would like him to take it. There is no place for him to play here, if everybody comes back healthy. If he does come back, he'll be stuck behind Jamison, Marshall and Mills, which I doubt he wants. Owens has never fulfilled the promise he flashed when he came out of Syracuse in 1991. Too bad - he was a consistent 17-foot jump shot away from being pretty special. At this stage of his career, he's an average small forward, whose best attributes are rebounding and passing.
OTHERS - Mark Davis and Billy Curley each saw some time with Golden State last year, but it would be a shock if either came back to the team. Both are, at this stage of their careers, marginal players.
MOOKIE BLAYLOCK (PF, 6-1, 185, 12th year pro) - Garry St. Jean set himself up for ridicule by suggesting that there were not 10 better point guards in the NBA than Blaylock, after last year's trade with Atlanta. No? Let's see...Kidd, Payton, Stoudamire, Francis, Bibby, Van Exel, Brandon, Stockton...that's eight, and I haven't left the Western Conference, Saint, you sure you still wanna play?
In all fairness, though he's past his prime, he can still contribute. His numbers last year (11.3 points, 6.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds) showed that. When the Hawks traded him here last summer, the word out of Atlanta was the guy flat couldn't play anymore. Well, his numbers continued to slide a little bit, but he was mostly a very steady player and a perfect mentor for Vonteego Cummings (whose game sort of resembles a young Mookie). He is the Warriors' best defender on the perimeter. His shooting is a reason for concern, as he shot only 39 percent from the floor, 34 percent on 3s, and he's never been a great pure shooter. His free throws (or lack of them) would seem to indicate that he's comfortable popping from the perimeter instead of driving to the hoop, a bad trend. A threat to be traded, but probably won't be.
VONTEEGO CUMMINGS (G, 6-3, 190, 2nd year pro) - When I saw the Warriors drafted him, I thought, "Well, this guy could develop into another Mookie Blaylock." The numbers seems to bear that out as Cummings compares favorably to a first-year Blaylock. The first numbers in the following series are Cummings, the second are Blaylock's in 1989:
Minutes - 23.9 to 25.3. Points - 9.4 to 10.1. Assists - 3.3 to 4.2. Steals - 1.21 to 1.64. FG Pct. - 40.5% to 37.1%
There is a valid comparison here. Blaylock a little more polished, Cummings the better shooter (33 percent on 3s , while Blaylock shot a woeful 23 percent). Cummings brings an energy to the floor, and the Warriors did seem to play better with him in the lineup during some stretches. He has a tendency to play out of control, a dangerous trait considering he sometimes plays with Larry Hughes, who does the same. Even though he's still learning the point position, many Warriors fans would like to seem him start, which would be ill-advised right now. A good defensive player. His best role may be to be a third guard off the bench, as he can be capable of backing up both guard positions. But it remains to be seen what role he'll evolve into.
LARRY HUGHES (SG, 6-5, 184, 3rd year pro) - Meet the new franchise. After being traded from the 76ers in February, Hughes took off as a player, averaging 22.7 points, 4.1 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.91 steals, numbers that make opposing GMs drool (or wince). Admittedly, when Hughes came over to Golden State, Jamison was injured, so he didn't have to share the ball, and there's no way to know how they'll co- exist as players this year.
He's extremely athletic, obviously, and has a very quick first step. He is NOT a great shooter - if he improved that part of his game, he could be nearly unstoppable. He gets most of his points by driving to the basket and either finishing or drawing a foul (his 235 attempted were second-most on the team in less than half a season). Hughes was only a 23 percent 3-point shooter last year, and he'll have to improve his outside shot to keep teams from sluffing off him. His interest in defense comes and goes - he can be a good straight up defender and has been in the past. Cowens is hoping for a more consistent defensive effort this year. He's a very underrated passer, but it's not his forte.
For what it's worth, Hughes proved to have a marquee quality at Golden State right away. He dumped 41 points on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on March 9 and tossed in another 44 on Utah on April 7. He can be streaky as hell though, as likely to go 2-for-16 from the floor as 11-for-18. Even when he's scoring, he is capable of dreadful nights shooting the basketball, and he's got to be careful to not shoot the team out of games. But if Hughes and Jamison can co-exist after all, they could be a truly special combination, as good as any tandem in the league, and certainly as exciting. Hard to believe Hughes and Allen Iverson couldn't get along in Philly - not really. I don't think either has much of an idea of what to do when he doesn't have the ball.
SAM JACOBSON (6-6, 219, 3rd year pro) - Of all the guys who the Warriors picked up on 15-day contracts last year, Jacobson is the one that might stick with the team. I'd love to see him stick. He has a lot of athleticism (so much so, St. Jean experimented with him at point guard), and he brings a ton of intangibles to the floor. He seems to shoot the 3-pointer well - he hit 38 percent of his shots behind the arc last year. I'd like to see Jacobson kept around. He could be a guy like Vince Askew or Mario Elie, whom the Warriors rescued from the CBA during the Nellie Era.
(TRIVIA ANSWER: Sam Jacobson. The Warriors were 3-2 with him in the starting lineup.)
III. PROJECTED ROSTER AND ROLES (not including draft pick)
IV. DRAFTING HISTORY
Following are the first rounders taken by the Warriors since Don Nelson took over the team in 1988. Everything before that is ancient history, I figure:
Latrell Sprewell at 23, without question. This was Don Nelson at his absolute best. Nobody knew who this guy was on draft day, and within two years, he was first team All-NBA. The fact that the Warriors got a bag of magic beans when they traded him to the Knicks is irrelevant.
It's a toss up between the two picks of the Dave Twardzik regime. Joe Smith at No. 1 instead of, well virtually anyone that came after him - (in order) Antonio McDyess (2), Jerry Stackhouse (3), Rasheed Wallace (4), Kevin Garnett (5) or Damon Stoudamire (7) - was atrocious, but Todd Fuller was worse. The Warriors picked this big stiff before Kobe Bryant believe it or not, and hyped him up on draft by praising his collegiate grade point average. But he had no chance as a pro.
Kind of unnerving when the only draft pick since 1988 that you still have on your roster has been Adonal Foyle, huh? (And he's a free agent.)
That's not quite fair, though. The Warriors never really had Carter, never really had Foster (though that may be a good thing). If you look at St. Jean's drafting history (since 1997), you get Foyle, Jamison and Cummings. Jamison looks like a future star, or at least a top shelf complementary player, a la James Worthy (whom he's often compared to).
Cummings, for the moment, is a third guard, but he could develop into a starting point. And Adonal Foyle is, well, Adonal Foyle. That is, a player who can be decent defensively and on the boards, but has yet to develop any real consistency.
You can make an excellent argument that Jamison was the best the Warriors could have done when they picked/traded for him. The only two players that might have a case are Paul Pierce, which is roughly a push, and Larry Hughes, whom they eventually traded for.
Also, Cummings appears to be was the best player the Warriors might have drafted at No. 26 (where they eventually traded down to). It's way too early to judge such things, but it looks promising.
Foyle doesn't fare so well on this scale. Tracy McGrady. Derek Anderson. Maurice Taylor. Any of them could have been Warriors. And any of them would have had more impact than Foyle. (As a side note, all are expected to leave their teams via free agency this summer.) But to be fair, the Warriors knew at the time they were drafting a project, so their expectations must have been lowered.
Overall, a good grade for the St. Jean regime. Give him a B.
(NOTE: I picked Corey Maggette at the No. 10 spot for the Warriors in this draft last year, a pick that I stand by. I couldn't have foreseen the Blaylock deal, and Maggette, though still raw, would have been a nice building block. Ironically, the only player taken after Maggette in the Usenet draft that I would have taken instead is Vonteego Cummings, maybe Ron Artest.)
V. TEAM NEEDS
* GET HUGHES AND JAMISON SIGNED. This can't be addressed through the draft, but it is, by far, their biggest need. Golden State needs to get Jamison and Hughes signed to long term as soon as possible.
The Warriors have admittedly not fared well recently when signing their own free agents. The biggest moves they've made have been to lock up Jason Caffey (seven years, $35 million - ouch) and Erick Dampier (seven years, $50 million - ouch again).
But Jamison and Hughes appear to be special cases. I've said over the last two years that Jamison could resemble a young, healthy LaPhonso Ellis (who never has stayed healthy). It looks now like I guessed on the low end of Jamison's potential.
And Hughes - who knows how high his upside is? He dropped 41 points on Kobe Bryant, what does that tell you?
Tells me enough. The deals that Jamison and Hughes will command as free agents are the Warriors' dirty little secret. Both will get the max the cap will allow (or should anyway, the Warriors should not even try to lowball them). No one is talking about this yet. In time, they will.
* THE PAINT. Dampier and Foyle have been decent at center; Dampier is capable of more than he's produced over the last two years. The jury is still out on Foyle, but barely. If he's going to play (provided he stays with the team - he's a free agent, remember), it better be soon, or the Warriors will have to look for other options elsewhere.
* BACKCOURT DEPTH and OUTSIDE SHOOTING. It would help if the Warriors could take care of these two problems with one pick. Hughes is not a pure shooter. Neither is Blaylock, Vonteego Cummings or Mills. Jacobson can shoot a little bit, but it remains to be seen if he'll make the roster.
* ANYONE THAT CAN PLAY. Golden State needs live bodies. They won only 19 games last year, so they need more help than just an improved third-string center. And picking as low in the draft as they are (55th overall), they'll take the best player available, possibly a guy who could help them down the road - it wouldn't surprise me to see whoever is picked here to play in Europe for a year or more. But the preference is to get a guy who can help this year. If I had one position to pinpoint, I'd take a long look at center.
Whatever the Warriors decide they need, they won't do it through the draft. Any substantial help that comes the Warriors' way will do so via free agency or trades.
VI. THE PICK
DALIBOR BAGARIC (C, 7-1, 220, Croatia)
As this pick is some 24 selections higher than Golden State's actual choice, I have to project a little here. Bagaric doesn't figure to be available when the Warriors select, but he represents the sort of player Golden State might be attracted to - a skilled big man who might take a little time to develop. Since he's not listed on the site, two scouting reports follow:
"Bagaric is a member of the Croatian National Team, and some European scouts rank him ahead of Tsakalidis. Bagaric has good size and strength. He is a good shooter but still needs to work on his offense in the post. Bagaric can rebound and block shots. He needs to work on his defensive footwork. Bagaric is a major talent who needs a few years to hone his skills. He should be drafted in the 15-25 range." - Chris Monter
"A large dominant force in Euro-ball, Bagaric is not the typical European center. He's rough, tough and seems to enjoy contact. He attacks the ball, blocks shots, and crashes the boards. Besides all that, he has outstanding range on his jumper, all the way to 3-point range. To succeed in the NBA, Bagaric needs to gain some strength. To be drafted, he simply needs to come to Chicago and play well." - George Rodecker, CBS Sportsline
Monter had him as the 28th best overall player in the draft. Bagaric was the best available center left when I picked, and he definitely fills a need. He'll take time to develop, but the Warriors have got time.
I like how he blossomed last year as a 19-year-old (born 2/7/80), playing for Benston Zagreb in Croatia, averaging 18.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and he's reportedly a good shotblocker. He's never shot worse than 57.6 percent from the floor in three years in Croatia (another good sign) and his shooting range extends out to 3-point range. Though he likes playing a physical game, he badly needs to put on weight to play the same game in the NBA.
I chose him over Soumaila Samake, a nightmarish defender, ultimately because he's a more rounded player, especially offensively, and his upside is much higher.
Bagaric wouldn't see many minutes this year, mostly sitting behind Dampier. I shudder to think of the consequences of an injury to Dampier, because I doubt he's NBA-ready. But given time, he could be very good.
VII. OTHERS I CONSIDERED (in alphabetical order)
At some point or other, I thought seriously about taking all of these players...
MARKO JARIC (G, 6-7, 198, Italy) - An intriguing player who can play point and cause some matchup problems for opposing defenders. He's a solid 3-point shooter, which the Warriors could obviously use. He shot 36 percent over two seasons in Italy - from the international 3-point line. Second-round picks are for chances, why not take one on this guy? On a side note, has any European guard had any success in the NBA since Sarunas Marciulionis retired?
MARK MADSEN (PF, 6-8, 235, Stanford) - Power forward isn't an area of particular need for Golden State, and I'd be surprised if they took a power forward, who would struggle for playing time behind Jamison and Caffey (though I suspect the Warriors would make room for Madsen). But Madsen's got two things going for him - he's a Bay Area native, and he could play right away. It tore my heart out to leave him on the board.
DAN McCLINTOCK (C, 7-0, 250, No. Arizona) - He's very athletic center and a bit of a project, but more ready than the other centers who were available. He impressed the hell out of the scouts at Portsmouth and Phoenix, and he's a legit 6-11 1/2. His upside is a bit fo a question, but if he was actually available at No. 55, the Warriors would snap him up quickly.
BRAD MILLARD (C, 7-3, 345, St. Mary's) - I thought about it for a second (and this is a guy who the Warriors might actually get), but in this draft, picking at No. 31, there are simply better centers out there. But the Warriors might figure he could help them, and he's a local guy and when he's healthy, he's a guy who changes games with his size - remember him shutting down Tim Duncan in the NCAAs? That said, he's had injury after injury at St. Mary's, and there's no reason to think that will stop anytime soon. There is a very real chance the Warriors could end up with Big Continent.
LAVOR POSTALL (SG, 6-5, 205, St. John's ) - Really showed up on the radar after impressive performances at Portsmouth and Phoenix. Excellent defender, and a good rebounder. The Warriors need more depth in the backcourt - if he had a better outside shot, he'd be the pick, no question.
MICHAEL REDD (SG, 6-5, 200, Ohio St.) - Again, he's not as good of an outside shooter as I'd like, but seems to have the other intangibles, though. Good rebounder. He has a scorer's mentality, which might be out of place with Hughes and Jamison on the roster.
SOUMAILA SAMAKE (C, 7-2, 230, IBL) - This West African import is already a big time shotblocker - he averaged 2.7 per game and was the IBL's Defensive Player of the Year last season. The rest of his game is a bit of a question mark. He's very raw offensively, but that may come in time. What does he have that Adonal Foyle (another project) didn't have? Size, or rather, the height to play center. This guy's a legit seven feet and then some. And he'll change games on defense.
VIII. WHO THE WARRIORS WILL TAKE
It's hard to correctly project the top five picks in the draft. It's extremely difficult to project a pick twenty spots in. It's damned impossible to predict a selection at No. 55 overall. Unless something unforeseen happens, the Warriors will probably go with either a foreign player (Nelson, St. Jean's mentor, had great success with Sarunas Marciulionis and Predrag Danilovic) or a Bay Area product that might make the team (the Warriors threw away a pick on Stanford's Tim Young last year).
In keeping with those thoughts, Brad Millard might be a possibility. So would Mark Madsen, if he wasn't long gone. The two foreign guys I mentioned above, Jaric and Bagaric, figure to be off the board by the time Golden State picks, but other imports with similar skills might be available. Other possibilities include:
ERIC COLEY (SG, 6-5, 210, Tulsa) - If the Warriors don't go big with their pick, I'd like to see them grab Coley, who should be available at No. 55. He's mostly known for being a big time defender, and he has athleticism to burn (think Tariq Abdul-Wahad). He is not a big offensive threat, but with Hughes and Jamison on the roster, that's not a bad thing.
EDDIE HOUSE (G, 6-1, 180, Arizona State) - Originally from Oakland, here's another local product that might end up in the East Bay. The Warriors would love it if House were a legitimate point guard, but that remains to be seen. He's a shooter in a point guard's body. Still, he might be worth taking a flier on at 55.
KENYON JONES (C-PF, 6-10, 250, San Francisco) - Another Bay Area guy. Had a good season after transferring to USF, but the idea that he struggled in (and ultimately transferred out of) the Pac-10 has me less than excited. It wouldn't hurt if he went to Europe.
IX. POSSIBLE TRADES OR FREE AGENTS
The Warriors might get rid of Jason Caffey and, less likely, Mookie Blaylock, as both have long contracts they'd like to get out from under. Donyell Marshall could be dealt as well, but that seems less likely with Golden State ready to move Jamison over to the power forward position. If they could get a legitimate player for Marshall, they'd probably move him.
As of this hour, here are the rumored trades I've seen in published reports:
DONYELL MARSHALL to Boston for their No. 11 pick overall - According to the S.F. Chronicle's David Steele, the Celtics have inquired about Donyell and he offered the 11th pick as possible bait. This seems terribly unlikely, if only because the Warriors have tried to unload Donyell several times in the past and could get no takers. That the Celtics would offer their first-round draft pick seems unlikely. If the Warriors were to pull this off, they'd be looking at ... dunno, DeShawn Stevenson?
JASON CAFFEY to Milwaukee for ROBERT TRAYLOR and a No. 1 draft pick - Not a terribly exciting deal, I assure you. But the two teams talked about a deal like this back at the deadline, and could well again. The main benefit for the Warriors is it gets them out from under Caffey's contract. The pick would be in the middle of the first round, and Traylor, who hasn't produced in two years in Milwaukee, is just gravy.
As far as free agents are concerned, the biggest hurdle would be to convince any free agent to play for this team. But with a core of players that includes Jamison and Hughes, and along with the idea that said free agent would be a significant part of the team, that could lure a player to the Bay Area. Two players the Warriors covet are:
* DEREK ANDERSON (SG-PG, CLIPPERS) - The Warriors like the Clips' shooting guard, but do they have enough cap room to fit him in? (The fact that they won't have to worry about signing any draft picks may help. ) The other question is where would Anderson fit into the Warriors' current personnel? Hughes is entrenched at shooting guard. If they're looking at Anderson at the point, they'd need to move Blaylock certainly (maybe a sign-and-trade with the Clippers, sending Blaylock south?). There's no easy way to get Anderson, but he'd certainly help the team.
* DANNY FORTSON (PF-C CELTICS) - The more likely acquisition is Fortson, who would provide a solid inside presence to the Warriors. If the Warriors go hard after the Cincinnati product, that would be a clear signal that Foyle is history. But even if Fortson is available, the Warriors' brass must keep themselves from throwing a Caffey- or Dampier-type contract after him. He's just not worth it.
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