Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Warriors Entering Key Stretch for Lottery

The Warriors have played better than I believe management was expecting since the Monta Ellis trade, as it really culminated with their whopping of the Nuggets over Denver a few nights ago.

After that win, the Warriors moved to 13th on he list of potentially 14 lottery teams, and the lower they get, obviously, the lower their chances of landing in the top-7 are. At least, if they finished in the bottom-10, there would be at least a decent shot of getting a top-7 pick. It's going to come down to these last crucial weeks, in which the Warriors have a brutal schedule. Jackson played David Lee just 22 minutes in Monday nights game, and it may have been to ensure that the Warriors lost the game, I'm not sure, but Lee, basically single-handely has been keeping them from being one of the worst teams in the league. It's like you can't turn that guy off as Tom Tolbert says on the team's flagship station, KNBR. Before Lee's decrease in PT Monday, he averaged 26 points and 9 boards in the W's last two victories. He's been the one rock in the lineup since the Ellis trade. Klay Thompson has been solid as well, and has shown his ability as a scorer, but he's still got a ways to go with his all-around game before he can be considered a top-tier shooting guard. I think he has the skill-set to do it though, as he can put up points in a hurry and is big enough to defend bigger back courts. He's just got to work on his ball-handeling, going to the hoop instead of catch and shooting every time, and he's still got work to do on the defensive end.

One of the brighter occurrences for Golden State over the last few games though has been the slight emergence of Jeremy Tyler. He had a 14 point, 5 rebound night followed up with a 10 point, 8 rebound, 2 block night in the W's win over Denver. I don't know why it took so long for Jackson to start using him as the starting center, but he appears to finally have that slot, and should have it locked down the rest of the season. Like most rookies, he needs to cut down on turnovers and foul trouble, but he looks like he could make a decent backup to Bogut. The thing the Warriors really need to be figuring out right now is who they're going to keep, who they're going to let go and what roles each player will be playing come next year. They also need to be eying the draft, which is the outlet where the Warriors will make most of their offseason additions this summer. They could ink a free agent or two, but they won't be playing with much cap space with the huge contracts of Biedrins, Bogut, Jefferson and Lee. Right now, they're likely to finish up with San Antonio's first rounder, which would pit them around pick 27. In most mock-drafts I've seen, they've been mostly linked to 3 players. Vanderbilt small forward Jeff Taylor and two of Kentucky's talented starting-5 that cruised to a National tittle; their PG, Marquis Taylor, and SF Terrence Jones (pictured to right). I see Jones as the most unlikely to last that long, as he's a defensive wizard who showed he can score when he has to (didn't really need to much on that team). He's got that LeBron body type and can impose you on the defensive end while, but had an off year shooting the ball (12.5 ppg after 16+ last season).

If Jones is off the board, like many suggest, the guy I'm taking a shine too and hoping falls to them is Vandy's Jeff Taylor, as he reminds me a bit of Tim Duncan in a way that he stayed all 4 years and kept getting better, shooting 42% from beyond the arc and averaging 16 ppg and 6 rpg in his senior season. I don't really get the Taylor proposition, as he's a point guard and the last thing the W's need is another backup point behind Robinson and Jenkins, though he did have a few nice games in the tourney but I'd rather have his teammate, 6'5" SG Doron Lamb (22 pts, 2 assists, 3 rebounds in National Championship and 2-year starting sophomore in an NBA D-League level team, or better).

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