Like we are currently seeing in the NFL, the 2011 NBA off-season is up in the air with a lockout looming. Free agency could be delayed and completely restructured depending on the new agreement reached by the owners and players. Still, The Sports Bank continues to break down all thirty NBA teams to see what areas they need to address in the off-season. The Golden State Warriors have some nice young firepower as their foundation but need to get defensive and deeper this summer.
By: David Kay
Golden State Warriors (36-46 last season)
’10-’11 Season in Review:
I will tell you this; I had three Warriors on my fantasy basketball team this past season and they all were huge assets. Unfortunately, compiling that sort of talent on an actual NBA team does not always equate to winning basketball as Golden State learned.
The Warriors entered the year making a huge splash in the off-season, acquiring David Lee from the Knicks. He provided a legit low post scoring option that the team lacked the past several seasons. Lee’s acquisition was huge for Golden State as was Dorell Wright’s who put up career numbers in pretty much every statistical category and appears to be an absolute a steal at the three-year, $11.4 million deal he signed last summer.
Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry were once again very productive in the Warriors’ up-tempo offense. They were the highest scoring backcourt in the league but a liability on the defensive end due to their lack of height and strength. Ellis’ name popped up in trade rumors throughout the year as Golden State was reportedly looking to add a bigger guard to play alongside Curry. Don’t be surprised if those rumors pop up again this summer.
Depth was a major weakness for the Warriors as Ellis, Curry, Lee, and Wright combined to average more than 73% of the team’s offensive production. Andris Biedrins, Ekpe Udoh, and Louis Amundson provided some rebounding when they were healthy but are very limited on the offensive end. Reggie Williams was a serviceable sixth man but after that Golden State relied on underachieving journeymen like Acie Law, Vladimir Radmanovic, Al Thornton, and Rodney Carney while officially giving up on 2007 first round Brandan Wright by trading him to New Jersey for pretty much nothing.
Even with a ten win improvement, head coach Keith Smart was fired after taking over the reins for Don Nelson who chose to retire prior to the season. With a new ownership at the helm, management now has high expectations and an encouraging foundation to build around.
2011-12 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Ekpe Udoh or Andris Biedrins
PF: David Lee/#Louis Amundson
SF: Dorrell Wright
SG: Monta Ellis/Charlie Bell
PG: Stephen Curry/Jeremy Lin
#C-Louis Amundson (PO)
F-Vladimir Radmanovic (UFA)
SF-Reggie Williams (UFA)
SF-Al Thornton (UFA)
PG-Acie Law (UFA)
PF-Jeff Adrien (UFA)
’11-’12 Team Salary: Approximately $49.1 million
1. Guard Depth:
The only guards on the depth chart behind Ellis and Curry are Charlie Bell and Jeremy Lin who combined to play in 48 games last year and average a whopping total of 4.3 points per game. Reggie Williams gave the Warriors some backcourt flexibility as he could play either wing position but he is a free agent. That leaves Golden State thin at guard and they will likely consider a few players who should be available with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. If they decide to go in a different direction with their first round selection, they need to find a free agent who will be an upgrade from Bell and Lin.
2. True Center:
The frontcourt of Lee, Biedrins, Udoh, and Amundson brings some diversity to the frontcourt but none of those guys are suited for banging against true centers in the league. The Warriors will not find a true big man in the NBA Draft due to the thin crop available, but should look to add a veteran center with their mid-level exception.
3. Wing Defender:
I feel like I write this every year about the Warriors but I guess that is what happens when you play an up-tempo style of ball. Golden State gave up the third most points in the NBA last season, allowing almost 106 points per game which is shockingly a major improvement from the 112-plus ppg they allowed in 2009-10. They did address their need for a defensive-minded big man in last year’s draft when they selected Ekpe Udoh. This off-season, the Warriors need to find a defensive specialist on the perimeter since the under-sized backcourt of Curry and Ellis are often abused by bigger, stronger guards.
4. Back-up Small Forward:
With Reggie Williams, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Al Thornton all free agents, the Warriors need to find a back-up for Dorrell Wright. If they can find a back-up for Wright who is a solid defender, it would help Golden State kill two birds with one stone.
5. Head Coach:
A slew of names have popped up to replace Smart as head coach; Mark Jackson, Chuck Person, Brian Shaw, Kevin McHale, Lawrence Frank to name a few. While the Warriors would love to make a splash hire, they need to make sure they find the right coach who call bring this young nucleus together and get them to play with more effort on the defensive end.
OTHER NBA TEAM NEEDS PAGES:
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
NEW JERSEY NETS
CHECK OUT MY NBA FREE AGENT POINT GUARD RANKINGS
CHECK OUT MY NBA FREE AGENT SHOOTING GUARD RANKINGS
CHECK OUT MY NBA FREE AGENT SMALL FORWARD RANKINGS
CHECK OUT MY NBA FREE AGENT POWER FORWARD RANKINGS
CHECK OUT MY NBA FREE AGENT CENTER RANKINGS
CHECK OUT THE SPORTS BANK’S 2011 NBA MOCK DRAFT
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.