Well, as bad as the Warriors looked there for much of January, they managed to turn things around a bit in February, and are surprisingly withing striking distance of the 8th seed in the Western Conference playoff tree.
The latest big win came on a Monta Ellis game-winner over Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns, who themselves had been finding their groove, to give the Dubs the victory, 106-104. Ellis has had a few up and down games during February, but all-in-all, he's shown up every single game, whether it's as a creator, a scorer or just providing energy when the team needs it the most, the guy continues to show why he is the true leader of this squad. Perhaps the most intriguing breakthrough in these last few games though has been the play of Ekpe Udoh, who is finally looking like a top-10 pick. Udoh got his first career start vs. the Clippers and Lob-City, and helped keep them at bay as the W's pulled out that win. All Udoh did in the game was score a career high 19 points, add 8 boards, 2 blocks and an assist on 9-14 shooting. It's an element that nobody knew Udoh really had, as his peak had previously been in the 8-10 point range and he wasn't a dominant scorer in college. However, he did follow up Monday's performance with a forgettable affair in the Suns game, but he too has now been bitten by the injury bug. He's got a banged up wrist and knee which he hurt Monday but really aggravated Wednesday, so hopefully this all-star break gives the kid enough rest to heal that up.
Another aspect that Udoh's semi-breakout has provided is a major increase in his trade value. I also found it kind of funny that he completely outplayed a guy the W's were about to break the bank on in DeAndre Jordan. If teams see he's got the ability to score double digits with that defense and rebounding, he's going to be a sought after asset. Which brings me back to my originally wanted big-man, JaVale McGee. Washington is in one of the worst situations in the NBA right now, and seem to have 5 players on 5 different pages out there on the floor. They have this pure shooter in Nick Young, who knows nothing but catch and shoot the ball. They drafted Chris Singleton, who I do like but I'm surprised that, in a lost season, they aren't starting him at SF. But other than that, they are paper thin and need to be broken up to get some new blood in there. McGee continues to clash with Washington coaches, which has the big man playing roughly 25 minutes per night, despite him being one of the best young centers in the NBA and needing all the PT he can handle. It's becoming quite obvious the W's aren't going to finish in that bottom-7, especially if they keep winning, or even if they have a 2nd half like their first, they'd end up more towards the middle of the pack than the bottom. There's a way to go for it this year while still helping the future of your team and that's committing to McGee. He's going to be a restricted FA after the season, but it's hard to believe Washington will want him back after all this drama. However, as I said, 7-footers who score, defend and rebound at elite levels don't grow on trees, so they won't just let him go for free.
Now is the time the Warriors should make the move. Give them Klay Thompson and Epke Udoh and take back McGee. This works for a number of reasons. A) The Warriors look like they have their guard situation locked up, especially with Rush and Robinson in rotation now (unless they figure Curry is too fragile to count on and may want to deal him eventually). B) If the W's got McGee, they could offer him 10% more than any other team this summer under the new CBA, urging star free agents to stay in town. C) Give the W's a useful center with Steph, Monta and Lee and it's a legit team! I mean, I like Thompson, and I think he's going to be a good player, better than I thought after they drafted him, and I'm growing on Udoh, but this deal is a no-brainer for both teams if you ask me! Washington could immediately insert Udoh into their center spot until Blatche comes back, at which they could move him to his more comfortable PF spot. Also, Washington would be getting a shooter who actually makes his shots, unlike their current SG, or they could play Thompson at SF with Singleton for the offense/defense combo! Will it happen, no way, but it sure does make some sense on the surface of things as McGee makes the W's a playoff team and Udoh and Thompson give the Wiz their two top-10 picks of the last two drafts.