Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Best and worst of the Warriors for the last five years

I already covered Mike Malone so the news cycle is looking pretty slow until he gets his head coaching job and the ping pong balls drop.  I decided to take a quick look a back before we can start looking forward again in the coming weeks.  The following are my best and worst awards for the last five seasons.  Going back any further would have been a 10,000 word column so here are my picks.  Don’t hesitate to put your own below.

Draft picks:

Best: Stephen Curry (2009)

This one is a no brainer right?  It might have been Greg Monroe had he done for us what he’s done in Detroit.   At that point we’d still have Monta and a big man but we could play the “what if” game for most Warrior drafts.

Worst: Anthony Randolph (2008)

This was an all too common expression during his time here

Our worst pick in the last five years came on a high upside guy at number 14.  That tells me that we’ve done ok for ourselves in this department.  We just never knew how to really bottom out and now we’ve got the 7th pick in a two star draft.  Randolph gets the nod here for his low basketball IQ and high tears shed rate.  It’s pretty surprising to look back and be reminded that there were some pretty serviceable big men taken in the bottom half of the 1st round that year. (Robin Lopez, Marreese Speights, Roy Hibbert, JaVale McGee, JJ Hickson, Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee, Serge Ibaka, Nicholas Batum, George Hill, Darrell Aurthur, DeAndre Jordan and Luc MBah a Moute)

At the time I gave Mullin props for getting the right guy but four years later Randolph still seems to have his head in the clouds while 14 guys selected after him are regular contributors.   It was just more karma coming back on us for taking the “safe” guys  (Joe Smith, Todd Fuller, Adonal Foyle, Antawn Jamison) instead of the “upside guys (Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter.)  Ok, sorry, no more of the stupid “what ifs!”

Honorable Mention:

Klay Thompson (2011)

Thompson could be seen as a steal at number 11 real soon even though only a few guys ahead of him look like busts to this point.  If nothing else he’ll have a long career based solely on his shooting stroke.  Last time I checked guys like Kyle Korver, Mike Miller, Jason Kapono and Matt Bonner routinely end up on contenders.  I think we can safely say that those names serve as a baseline for his potential while Ray Allen provides a good looking ceiling.


Best: Monta Ellis (2008) 5/$66 million

Even when we call it what it was, a 4 year $55 million dollar contract, (when you pretend the moped season never happened) the Monta Ellis contract was always a good deal.  Even as a low percentage volume shooter who was below average defensively he was never overpaid.  Across the NBA landscape you will not find another 20 point per game scorer for under $15 million per year regardless of how those points come.  You will also not find a guy who sold as many tickets as Monta did over the last few years at that price point.

It’s just too bad we could never get equal value in a trade or get him the help he deserved.  Had Tyson Chandler signed here in the offseason, won the DPOY award and had Ekpe Udoh backing him up I’m positive that we’d be watching the Warriors compete with the Spurs instead of seeing the Jazz get swept. The 8th seed would have been a low water mark.

Worst: Corey Maggette (2008) 5/$50 million

Maggette looks like a better player then he is

Is there any competition on this one?  The dollar amount was bad, the timing was bad and the player wasn’t terrible but Corey Maggette was born to play on bad teams.  Few positives are born out of panic and that describes the motivation behind this deal to a T.  Maggette is a one dimensional player who parlayed a high free throw rate and some Warriors desperation into a $50 million contract when no one else was prepared to pay him $40 million.

Honorable Mention:

Kelenna Azubuike (2007)

For a guy making the league minimum he was invaluable in our one shining moment during that decade.  His and Stephen Jackson’s defense against Dirk Nowitzki were probably the biggest reasons the We Believe run happened.  Injuries have derailed his career but he’ll always have a place in the hearts of Warrior fans his role in that 2007 run.

Dominic McGuire (2011)

His 2011-12 contract was a bargain without a doubt and it may lead someone in the league (maybe us) to significantly overpay him this offseason.  The guy is a top notch defender and can rebound his position as well as any small forward in the league.  Since you’re pretty much playing four on five on the other end of the floor his value has it’s limits.  I am crossing my fingers we lock him up for a reasonable number for the next few years because he is a solid piece of a winning team.

Andris Biedrins (2008)

This one barely gets beat out by Maggette  because it wasn't out of panic and it wasn't a bad deal when he signed it.  At the time we laughed because Chris Kaman was making more.  After shooting 55% and averaging a solid 11/11 in year one he got injured sometime thereafter and has never been the same.  Like Monta, we watched this guy grow up and have been extremely patient with him.  Now our patience has run out and we can't wait for his contract to run out too.

Chris Webber (2008)

His first contract sunk the franchise in 1994 and his second one here sunk our playoff hopes in 2008.  I firmly believe that if Don Nelson wasn’t infatuated with the idea of a reunion with Webber we would have won that one extra game we needed to send us to the playoffs.


Best:  Louis Amundson for Brandon Rush

This was a no brainer the day it happened and only looked better with each passing game.  I’m not sure if Amundson even played a game for Indiana this season but I’m sure he hasn’t contributed anything to their playoff run.  Like McGuire, his value has its limits and selfishly I hope no one matches the qualifying offer he gets from us this offseason.  You have to love a guy who plays within himself at all times and contributes on both ends of the floor.

Worst: Jason Richardson and Jamareo Davidson for Brandan Wright (and a $9.9 million trade exception)

This trade came on the heels of our high water mark for the 15 previous years.  It felt like the Billy Owens-Mitch Richmond trade at the time and looks even more like it in hindsight.  The only glimmers of hope in this trade were Wright’s down the road potential and the trade exception that never got used.  I must have refreshed a million times that season hoping one time a trade would pop up.  There were plenty of guys in league playing for shitty teams looking to dump salary that would have helped us get over the 48 win mark that season.  Management stood pat, signed Chris Webber, let the exception expire and the rest is Golden State Warriors history.

Honorable Mention:

Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh for Andrew Bogut and Richard Jefferson and a First round pick (#30)

I know it was Stephen Jackson with Bogut but the end result after 48 hours was Jefferson and a late first rounder.  Right now this trade is honorable mention only because it isn't clear if it is the best or worst trade on this list until Bogut suits up and plays.  If he plays 70-80 games next season it is hands down the best trade.  If he spends half the season on the Injured List it isn't quite as clear.  We may not be able to proper nail it down till the following year.

One other bonus of this trade (if the ping pong balls fall the way we hope they will) is that the trade allowed us to tank just hard enough to secure our 7th spot in the lottery.  With Monta we probably would have ended up between 10-14 somewhere.  We will definitely be revisiting this topic in depth next season when we actually know what we got in return.  It could be the best trade the team has ever made or just a pretty bad one.  We all know the team has done much worse for themselves in the past.  (Thank you commenter A'sRaidersWarriors for pointing this obvious omission out.)

Al Harrington for Jamal Crawford (2009)

We got rid of a malcontent power forward who didn’t want to come inside the three point line for a guy who was fun to watch at least.  As you can see there really wasn't much competition for best trade of the last five seasons.

Protected 1st round pick and a 2011 2nd round pick for Marcus Williams (2008)

Considering all the fanfare surrounding this trade all season it’s hard to imagine there were worse trades than this.  If we scrape by and keep the pick this season it looks like we’ll finally pay up on that first rounder next season, there’s no way we tank into the bottom three next year.  Right?

Marco Belinelli for Devan George and cash (2009)

I hated this trade.  It was a pure salary dump of a guy that didn’t make much and could actually contribute a little for a washed up vet.  Dumping that contract made about as much sense as using the amnesty clause on Charlie Bell this season.

Most Loved Former Warrior:

Monta Ellis

The guy has our logo on his back! The love appears to be mutual...

It’s a little early to give him the nod over J-Rich but I see Monta getting nothing but love in Oakland for the rest of his career.  We literally watched him grow up and no matter how much he wanted out I’d say he made a pretty graceful exit.

Honorable Mention: Jason Richardson

I love being there to give Richardson a standing O pregame whenever he returns to Oracle. 

Most Hater Former Warrior:

Al Harrington

My distaste for this guy grows every time he comes back to town.  He has no self -awareness whatsoever.  Does he not realize that he whined his way out of town and forced us to trade him for a rental because he didn’t want to rebound?

Honorable Mention: Stephen Jackson

I’m glad the trade happened to move him after the Bogut deal.  It messed with our cap for an extra year but Stack Jack would have messed with my head.  Harrington got the nod because at least Jackson acts professional when he comes back to town.  It’s not his fault Robert Rowell fell for the okie doke.


  1. Andris counts as better signing than corey? i mean, its 1 million dollar more a year but... c'mon. its andris.

    1. A definite omission on my part...I'm giving him Honorable mention because his contract was more than reasonable for the double double guy they gave it to. Update is made...

    2. understandable. i too like to remember him as little as possible... pretty hard to when i see him everytime i watch a warriors game.

      ahhh, andris... i rue the day you found out you STILL make 9,000,000 no matter how well you actually play...

  2. Justin, what is your opinion on the Monta Ellis trade?

    1. It could go one of two ways. If Bogut stays healthy and anchors the team on the way to a playoff berth it becomes the best trade on this list. If he isn't it becomes the worst. I love Monta as much as anyone because even though the team sucked I did enjoy watching him and his grow up in front of us over the last 6 years or so.

      Since no free agent centers would sign here a chance had to be taken and this trade was it. I give the front office credit for trying to go the route of spending money to add talent without giving anything up and when that didn't work they took a gamble by moving their biggest box office attraction for a guy that was hurt but one that would have commanded a larger haul if he weren't.

  3. Monta Ellis is an amazing athlete who matured into an unstoppable force offensively, exponentially increasing the entertainment value of the games he played in with his will and sacrifice to get the rock in the hole no matter what stood in his way. He continued to dare to believe long after 2007, for years he brought light to the darkness when no one else could display the heart or match the courage and dedication our fan base displays unconditionally. He will always be loved in oracle, but after seeing the Bucks miss the playoffs and play 500 ball with the addition of Ellis and Udoh, when every sports journalist in the world believed the Bucks had to be vastly improved, but getting a 20 point scorer and a good back up big with out losing an active player in trade and not showing improvement, hello!! sound alarm!! The Warriors just fleeced a #1 overall pick for a 2nd rounder(Ellis), we got a top 3 Center for and undersized combo guard!This isn't just "the best trade on here" J, it could be remembered as one the best trades in recent years league wide. The standard fare product we have been given since Jrich and Webber were traded in back to back years is about to finally change and its quite possible we tarde Curry next. To the Hornets for the tenth pick in the draft and take Kmarshall. Then picking up Kidd would make more sense. Just a rumor I'm hearing...

    Also would like to add that Curry is not a 2 regardless of how well he shoots and Klay will never come off the bench again in his career until he is in his mid to late 30's. Curry is too short to play effective D at SG just as Ellis was. You can not say its "just" a height or size thing, when those things matter! If you got 4 inches on someone its easy to get a shot off, end of story, Curry has star potential in this league at the 1, make no mistake, he is the next Nash if he stays healthy. But perhaps the Warriors just cant take that risk, our excuses for losing have run out and the FO are painfully aware of that. Its also clear that the Hornets need stars. Wouldn't be surprised to see us trade Curry now rather then later and put Jerry West's talents to test with two lottery selections this year. (if we retain our pick at 7)

    1. No doubt Curry cannot D up a two guard but he really can't D up and point guards either. I'd be more then happy to put Curry's fate in West's hands and let him go to work. His value has taken a hit for sure but he's definitely worth more then the number 10 pick in this draft (and if he's not then he is worth more on the roster then in a trade). I'd be more inclined to either just take Marshall outright at #7 or package the pick to get someone who can make an impact immediately. The difference between the 4th pick and the tenth pick just doesn't seem to be a huge gap in this year's draft. I'll be spending more time on that subject after the lottery because right now we're treading water till the balls stop bouncing.

      As for the Ellis trade, like you mentioned, he was the only thing entertaining about the team over the last few years but we're all ready for more then "a great time out." You just made me realize that somehow a major part of the trade section got edited out...My take is that it will either be the best trade we've ever made or it will be easily the worst on this list, all depending on Bogut's health. If he's healthy from day 1 and plays 75 games it's exactly as you put it, a fleecing. If not it is bad but no where near the worst trade we've ever made.

      Thanks for reading and calling out that obvious omission, I'm embarrassed that my breakdown of that trade wasn't included. I am going to update the article and put it in the "yet to be realized best or worst" section. It's just too early to claim victory or defeat on that one but either way it's not crippling.

  4. Why is everyone all of a sudden losing faith in Steph? He has pretty decent assist numbers and his only problems are the turnovers and the defense, which can both be fixed. If we do get a conventional point guard, he will have to be big and a good defender to COMPLEMENT, not replace, Curry.

    1. Kendall Marshall would be that perfect compliment I think. Expecting to find a starter in the draft at number 7 is wishful thinking in my mind.

  5. Where would you rank the Kwame Brown signing? I know he was overpaid, but he contributed well before he was injured.

    1. He could have made a real impact and was a perfect back up at the 4 and 5 spots. It was odd to have legitimate size coming off the bench. I'm not opposed to pursuing him for the same role next year and he might come a little cheaper this time around.

  6. I'm not sure , but on the Amundson trade, I think Amundson scored 20 points in a game with the Pacers

    1. Believe me, we got the better of that one by a mile. I wasn't playing to close attention but he didn't play much this year. I'm not sure if he's hurt but he definitely hasn't cracked their post season rotation.

    2. I know that the Amundson-Rush deal was great, I was just throwing out a random fact ( why couldnt he score 20 as a Warrior?!?!?)

    3. I was just never a fan of the white samurai...he didn't get much time here and was hurt for a lot of it anyway so that probably explains it.