Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Warriors Get Their Center, But it Costs Them Ellis

Well, news is just now surfacing across the web and sports shows that the Warriors and Bucks have agreed to a deal that sends Monta Ellis, Epke Udoh and Kwame Brown to Milwaukee for Stephen Jackson and center Andrew Bogut.

The main piece of this deal for the Warriors is obviously Andrew Bogut, as it finally gives them a legit, premiere center, but it came at the ultimate price. I had a bad feeling all season long that the Warriors were eventually destined to deal Monta Ellis, and with Steph Curry's bad ankle, it made Monta the only realistic target for interested teams. I never really considered Andrew Bogut though, as he's a young center who's under contract and, when healthy, is easily one of the top-5 centers in the game today. The problem for Bogut though, with this season being no exception, is that he's always seeming to get injured, and the Warriors need to figure out a way to get their new 27 year-old 7-footer in form over the offseason. At first, I was a little startled by the deal, because of my hesitancy to deal Monta, but the more I'm evaluating everything, the more I'm seeing the logic in this one. I mean, Bogut is out for pretty much the rest of the year, and won't be of help to this team at all really this year. To make a long story short, this enhances the Warriors chances at losing more games in these final 6 weeks of the season. If they somehow could sneak into the top-7 in this years draft, then this deal really may pay off, as this years draft is deep with talent. However, if they fail to make that top-7 and enter next year with Jackson and Bogut with no other additions, than this deal isn't looking as hot.

Anyway, it sucks to see Monta go. He was my favorite Warrior over the past 5-6 seasons and I was hoping he'd be here when the Warriors turned into perennial powerhouses. Another thing I don't like about this deal is the fact that Golden State had to part with Epke Udoh, who's really burst onto the scene finally. He made for a perfect 3rd big man to rotate between Bogut and Lee, but out he goes. That said, it's a term in basketball that guards are much easier to come by than game-changing centers, but Bogut's only a game-changer when he's on the court. This deal will really come down to the health of two people going into next season, and those two people are Bogut and Curry. If Curry can get his ankle issues behind him, than it makes losing Monta much easier to swallow. The Warriors have no shortage of off-guards to fill in for Ellis, as my guess is that either Klay Thompson or Stephen Jackson slide into that role, but Brandon Rush and Nate Robinson still seeing plenty of time in reserve. The way I see this deal, to sum it up in a few sentences is this: If Steph and Bogut are 100% healthy heading into the 2012 season with all their injury woes behind them, and the Warriors end up with a first rounder, then this draft will be deemed a success. If any of the following don't happen, this draft has to be looked at in a questionable light. Should be interesting to see how things go over the next 6-8 weeks with Golden State.

People who support the deal, including Yahoo Sports' Marcus Spears, say the Warriors haven't gone anywhere with Monta as their centerpiece and needed a change. Then, like Ralph Barberi with KNBR, who hates the deal, thought it would be wiser to keep Monta and try for the big man in free agency. As I said above, I'm still on the fence, check back with me after the season!

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