Friday, February 10, 2012

A Way to Strategically Tank the Season

Ok, the Warriors are in a rut, there's no question about that. They finally got Stephen Curry healthy but seem to be getting more and more exposed as the season wears on and it's become quite obvious that, based on a pure talent standpoint, there's no mystery as to why this team is 8th worst in the league.
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The big issue with the Warriors, as we've picked apart at length here at WRD, is whether or not they should tank and try to get a 7 pick or lower in the lottery, or make a push to try and actually make the playoffs, or at the very least show a winning second half in order to help lure free agents. As much as I wish they were in a position to do so, this team ain't making the playoffs. They're not getting Dwight Howard and they're not going to add any big time talent before the trade deadline. What they should do though, is turn into sellers. Deal away every single player on that roster, not named Ellis or Curry and maybe even them if they're blown away with an offer. As we've harped here at The WRD, the Warriors need changes in a bad way and if they aren't going to get a draft pick this April, they have to free up as much cash as possible to throw at some of the premium talent this summer (another area where not amnestying Biedrins destroys them). The strength of their team, with Steph back, is supposed to be the backcourt offense and play-making ability, but it's just not happening for them right now. It's like the second unit gets in a better rhythm than the first does a lot of the time. So what I'd do in order to better my chances at tanking while not coming out and blatantly saying "We're going to lose for the rest of the season", would be to deal away some of these guys who could help a contender. Brandon Rush should be a hot commodity. Nate Robinson should be able to fetch a decent return and even Dorrell Wright should be dangled in order to garner what his return value may be, especially if they have plans on using Klay Thompson at the 3 spot down the road as early as next season (most likely, unless Monta gets dealt and a guard spot opens). David Lee's contract is one that may force the Warriors to hang onto him, and I'm not opposed to that cause at least he produces, they just need to get someone in the center to help Lee down low, and allow Lee to play PF and not Center all the time. It's something that would not only make Lee better and more versatile especially defensively, not needing to guard someone 4 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than him on a nightly basis.

So, the strategy I'd implore in attempt to loose as many games as possible while still developing players and giving the fans a good show, is try and deal away as many guys on the roster as possible before the trade deadline. Get young players in return, get draft picks, try like heck to get a first rounder for 2012 because this draft is stocked! I mean, shoot, I'd even consider dealing Curry for a draft pick if it were in the top-5. One team I look at that could use Steph to start their post-CP3 era is the New Orleans Hornets. Jarrett Jack is their current starter at PG, and has done a fine job, but I think they'd like to have him coming off the bench as the 6th man if they had their way (used much like the Warriors use Rush and Thompson). Since loosing Paul then David West, New Orleans has gone from one of the best teams in the West to a laughing stock, and Steph Curry would be a huge get for that team. I'd send Curry, Biedrins and either McGuire or Charles Jenkins to the Hornets for Okeafor and their 2012 first rounder (likely to be a top-3 pick) without blinking twice. Biedrins has become useless, a waste of space on the floor a waste of a roster spot thus far and looks like he badly needs a change of scenery. Okeafor would give the Warriors some sort of stability in the middle and a center who isn't afraid to go to the basket while playing some pretty good defense. It's a deal that I think could benefit both teams in the long run, especially considering the type of talent they could land with a top-2 or 3 pick. I think Anthony Davis is the guy to target, as he's got the size (6'10") and ridiculous athletic ability. Plus coming out of Kentucky, his game mirrors that of a mature version of DeMarcus Cousins, who's game is outstanding. He just needs to add about 25-35 pounds of bulk and muscle, which will come with a little more time at just 19 years old. Just look at this brief footage from a game last month vs. St. Johns and you see the uncanny athletic ability Davis' possesses. He's just a freshman though so he may stick another year, but if he's guaranteed to go top-3 which is looking to be the case, It's tough to see him turning that down.

This draft certainly certainly has no shortage of top-notch talent, including big men as UNC's John Henson (6'10"/215), Ohio States Jared Sullinger (6'10"/280) and UConn's Andre Drummond (7'0''/275) are all expected to go in the lottery. Any of which would help the Warriors immensely, but I really like the Davis kid if they could only find a way to get into that top-3. Also, as far as a pure talent standpoint/best player in the draft vote, I'd lean towards UNC's small forward Harrison Barnes, who some see as the consensus top pick in the draft, yet some pundits see him dropping as low as 7. He reminds me a bit of a mix between Rudy Gay and LeBron James, who are two of the better small forwards in the NBA. He's got James' body-type, size and strength with a lot of the same skill-sets, but also has speed, range and quickness and finesse and control that Rudy possesses and should thrive in one-on-one situations. I think he'll be a guy who comes into the league a starter and provides instant impact to whatever team grabs him (see: Kyrie Irving).

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