Warriors fans got a first-hand look at a player they missed out on during the last road trip. A player, who if they drafted, probably has this team racing for a playoff birth rather than staring down another losing season. That player is Detroit center Greg Monroe.
Now, to their credit, at that time, the Warriors had just given a huge deal to Andris Biedrins and figured they have their center of the future in tow already, but as we all know, that just hasn't been the case. While Ekpe Udoh has been stuck on the Warriors bench for much of his young career, Monroe has flourished into one of the top young centers in the league and I'm sure, already has the Warriors brass kicking themselves thinking about what they missed. Now, this is no knock on Epke Udoh, who's transcended into a very potent defensive big man, but just doesn't give you squat on the offensive end. He, to me, is the new age version of Adonal Foyle. A big man taken way higher than he probably should have who has essentially become as useless as one can be on the offensive side of the floor. On defense and crashing the boards, Foyle was a beast would never get out-hustled, but he just never lived up to his lofty draft status or crazy contract the Warriors gave him. Unfortunately for the Warriors, I see Udoh following in very much the same path. I know he's still just 21 years old and has a ton of time to grow and develop, but after watching Monroe really burst onto the scene this year after a solid rookie campaign, I can't help but think what could have been. Just imagine a starting five right now of Curry-Ellis-Wright-Lee-Monroe! That would be a lineup full of young players with huge upside that would probably have translated in a return to the playoffs for the 2012 Warriors. Instead, they're stuck with a defensive minded PF/C, who's lack of offense will likely keep him from ever becoming a starting caliber player.
Now, this isn't a post to just bad mouth Udoh. He's doing more for the team this year than he was last season, and he's improving, but the comparisons to him and Foyle are just uncanny. He's probably the best defensive player over 6'8" that this team has on the roster which is no matter to overlook for a 21 year-old. He's certainly got a place on the roster, but I don't understand how the Warriors brass looked at him and Monroe together and ended up going with Udoh? The reason I'm bring this up now, is because the Warriors are headed down a path that could very well lead them to a lost season; no playoff birth coupled with no first round draft pick. As they stand now, they'd miss out on both if the season were to end tomorrow, which means that this team isn't going to be finding it's center through the next draft. They're going to have to go out and sign someone, or trade for someone, and judging by how they struck out going after Tyson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan probably doesn't bode well for their chances at luring a big man to the Bay Area. They'll have their chance again next summer though, as the guy I really want this team to go hard after becomes a restricted free agent, and that is JaVale McGee. For some reason, McGee seems to be the one drawing most of the brunt in terms of taking heat for the Wizards horrible start, though I'd take him in "The City" uniform any day.