Sunday, December 8, 2013

Warriors championship aspirations are not a joke anymore


By Justin Taylor
  
It’s been WAY too long since I’ve done what got me such a great following in the first place. When I hear “You need to write a damn blog piece already” all I can do is shake my head and agree with the statement. I’m still offering my opinions on a daily basis in the form of tweets, Facebook posts or, when I’m lucky, through appearances on the Warriors Huddle podcast. Problem is, as anybody who has read my blog posts in the past can tell you, my opinions run a hell of a lot longer than 140 characters or a few minutes of talk time. I’ve been yelling at my TV for too many years to just sum it up and get out.



All I can say to everyone who follows me on social media and especially those who have been bitching at me for “abandoning my roots” is thank you! With that, let’s talk 2013-14 Warriors basketball.

This year's Trapped in Golden State logo update is inspired by the Warriors 1975 championship team for a reason.
My 52 win guess for the Warriors season is going to be difficult to reach but who the hell makes a Golden State predictions without accounting for and baking in a couple of nasty injuries (or more)? It was easily the most optimistic outlook I’ve had during a lifetime filled with huge letdowns and three or four pleasant surprises sprinkled in every decade or two. This year was/is different. The injuries and lack of a reliable bench may derail my season forecast but it won't change my tune when I say this is the best Warriors team since the championship season of 1975.

Even with the lack of a solid bench this team has shown enough flashes and looks so good on paper that it will be big a disappointment to many fans and observers if they don’t go to the Western Conference Finals in June. When I say this is the best team since ’75 it’s not because I expect a ring or even a conference finals appearance. My stance is that this team has the best building blocks since the days of Rick Barry and Clifford Ray, season win totals and worthless power rankings be damned. Nobody can laugh laugh when we say that a championship caliber team is being built in Oakland these days and that says everything you need to know.

Had Chris Webber stuck around long enough for Tim Hardaway to come back from his knee injury this would be a different conversation but this isn’t supposed to be a depressing exercise in Warriors what-ifs. The 2013-14 Warriors are not built for this year, they’re built for the long haul. With Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and Andre Igoudala in place, the potential is there for this team to be greater than the sum of its already really good parts. 

Even with their flaws, Don Nelson would have killed for a frontcourt anchored by David Lee and Andrew Bogut. Nellie got one year out of Webber to go along with a bunch of Tom Tolbert wannabes and a couple of Manute Bol style gimmicks. Draymond Green will never be an All Star but he does have what it takes to be a role player on a contender. Bob Myers still has work to do but the days of me trying to tell the Warriors front office what they need to do are over. 

Igoudala is such a great fit in Oakland the only two players I'd take over him are Lebron and Paul George. That's high praise if I've ever heard it!
Finding players six through nine is a hell of a lot easier than securing one through five just like it's easier to jump from 20 wins to 40 than it is to go from 45 to 55. The Igoudala signing was huge because his willingness to take less to play here may be all it takes for another key piece to coming knocking on our door this offseason. 

Teams like Miami recently or Boston, LA and San Antonio in the past have never had a problem finding top notch complimentary players because their core attracted winners willing to sacrifice for the greater good. The Warriors are on that track finally but can the core get better and attract even better role players on the cheap?  We all know this core is going to get better with time but are Myers and Jerry West looking to bump up that timeline?

I took a lot of heat during the offseason for suggesting I’d trade a guy who CAN be a superstar and a guy who will NEVER be a superstar for a guy who IS a superstar and a backup point guard. In case you missed it, I said that if Harrison Barnes and David Lee for Kevin Love and a backup point guard were on the table that I wouldn’t hesitate. With Love in the fold even Lebron James has to take a second look at Golden State when he's a free agent.

Love Harrison Barnes but Love is already a superstar who leads the league in rebounds every year at 25 years old
To me, adding a 25 year old superstar power forward who just happens to lead the league in rebounding by a wide margin and makes the Warriors the best shooting team in the history of the NBA is a long term upgrade over Lee and Barnes’ potential. Also, if Kevin Love were in the fold the line of all star free agent swingmen who just want to win a championship would be around the block for the chance to play with him, Curry, Igoudala, Klay, Bogut, and the born winner Draymond. Go ahead and kill the comment section but I haven’t wavered since I got torn apart the first time.

Again, it’s not about this season, it’s about the next five. With or without a trade I believe the Warriors are accumulating the pieces to win it all. For the first time in my lifetime they are dealing from a position of strength instead of weakness or worse, desperation. The ball is finally in our court and we have a solid front office that knows what the hell they’re doing and a wealth of young talent that will only get better. The small portion of the pie we’re missing is finally within reach and I could care less if this is the year we fulfill all of our collective dreams. Rome wasn’t built overnight but its construction is progressing nicely.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bazemoring isn't just for Kent Bazemore anymore because Stephen Curry does it all the time

Kent Bazemore started it, Dub Nation embraced it and now Stephen Curry is it's biggest supporter!

The Trapped in Golden State Bazemoring design made an appearance on NBATV this summer
Stephen Curry got the key to the city and started Bazemoring!
Chris Mullin was the only one on the Vegas strip that recognized our boy. 
The pose that started the movement! 
Stephen Curry represents!
The first Bazemoring shirt ever printed and it got signed!
Kent Bazemore on Channel 7 telling them about Bazemoring
Autographed Bazemoring shirts!









New Dub City Shirts Coming Before Warriors Opening Night

Be on the lookout for the new Dub City shirt coming soon!!!!

Dub Nation design updates for 2013-14

New Dub Nation t shirts will be available this season and this time they'll be throwing up the Dubs!




Jim Barnett will be missed when he retires but will Tom Tolbert replace him

Jim Barnett's last season as a Warriors announcer should be the best he's ever covered! Only question is whether Tom Tolbert will replace him?

Andrew Bogut looking better than ever

Andrew Bogut is healthy and looking very slim to start training camp. Big things are coming!

Stephen Curry Is So Money

Stephen Curry is made of money and now he has the ink to prove it!

Stephen Curry Dub City Bat Signal

Stephen Curry has a chance to become a legend in Dub City this season!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Mayor of Dub City

Stephen Curry has been everywhere this offseason. It only makes sense to pay tribute to the best player the Warriors have had since Chris Mullin!



Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cutting through 30 years of Golden State Warriors scar tissue


By Justin Taylor

It’s official; Joe Lacob and Bob Myers are the most creative Warriors executives since Franklin Mieuli! After turning the rotting corpses of Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush and a couple of late first round picks into Andre Igoudala this week I’m already preparing his Hall of Fame induction campaign (as promised). All I need from him at this point for me to go full speed ahead is to send me some headshots of him wearing a deerstalkercap.

(I’ll improvise in order to move forward)

Lacob should be wearing the Deerstalker crown but Myers is the one making his vision a reality
The Warriors didn’t get nearly the credit they deserved nationally for pulling off the ultimate salary dump and snagging the number two free agent on the market over the course of a couple hours. In the days that followed, Myers and the Golden State front office followed that coup by signing Marrese Speights, Toney Douglas and Jermaine Oneal to replace Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry for pennies on the dollar. Getting no respect from ESPN is nothing new for us Warriors fans but watching NBA players take pay cuts to come play in Oakland is uncharted territory.

Don’t get me wrong, I was ecstatic about each and every one of the events mentioned above but that isn’t what made this the greatest offseason since the Warriors won the championship back in 1975. As great as it is to be acquiring good players and nailing draft picks with regularity that is only half the story. The real victory for me is the realization that none of this is a fluke and that this front office isn’t going to screw this up.

After two years of Bob Myers batting 1000% my fears of disaster constantly looming around the corner have completely melted away. The days of having an owner so cheap that marketing strategies trumped winning are over and the decades of having GM after GM routinely outsmarted by agents are gone. At the end of the day, all it took was to see Andre Igoudala turn down multiple offers for significantly more money for the opportunity to become a Golden State Warrior.

For the 20 years preceding 2010 the Warriors brass was driven by ticket sales, fear and panic. If this were 2009 and the fans were clamoring to resign Jack, Landry or both the front office may have decided to let them both go in favor of giving that money to Corey Maggette. If this were 2006 they’d probably cave to the irrational demands of the ticket holders, overpaying each of them as if they were Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy or Adonal Foyle. In 2013? Bob Myers lets them walk and goes out and gets three younger players for less than half the cost.

Speights, Douglas & Oneal will cost less than Jack & Landry this season. Only Speights is on the books past 2013-14
The word panic is no longer in the vocabulary of the management group in Oakland. Everything they do seems to be meticulously planned and methodically executed. If things go off course there is a contingency plan prepared for the occasion. The last three weeks provided two perfect examples of this.

Everybody and their mother knew that the Warriors had their sights set on Dwight Howard. Plan A was to dump enough salary to sign him outright. Plan B was to see if a sign and trade could be worked out with the Lakers. All of the sudden Plan C came out of left field when it looked like Howard was heading to Houston. Minutes later the trigger is pulled and the Warriors have their first Olympic team member since Chris Mullin.

Looking back, all of those things were actually plans B-D because nobody can convince me that the master plan all along wasn’t to have BOTH of the top free agents playing at Oracle next season. The company line might be that Andre was their target all along and that may be true but this ownership group has wanted to bring in a superstar from day one.

I fully believe that Lacob and Myers wanted to see Howard playing alongside Curry, Klay, Igoudala and Barnes
We’ve all wondered what it would be like if one of the top stars in the league signed on the dotted line with Golden State. Now we have an ownership group that fully expects that to happen and will continue forcing their way into the conversation every time one comes on the market. With the signing of Igoudala, along with the consideration given by Howard, it’s yet another sign that players and front offices around the league are recognizing the Warriors as a first class organization instead of a perennial laughingstock.

You couldn’t blame other teams or fans for looking at the Warriors as little more than a punch line when they had to overpay a guy like Derek Fisher by millions of dollars because they need “veteran leadership” on the roster. It is abundantly clear that the tide has officially turned when the second most coveted free agent in this class and a member of Team USA agrees to take a lesser offer to join the party.

When the Charlotte Bobcats gave Al Jefferson $41 million dollars for three years last week I laughed my ass off. Deep down I was really thanking my lucky stars that we were no longer the ones that had to pay franchise player type money for a guy who would never even make an All Star team.

This is a picture of a terrible franchise. Warriors fans know this image all too well.
Now we can take pity on fans of teams like that because we know if it can get worse it will and it is a vicious cycle that can only be reversed by a competent front office. Even hitting the lottery and getting a surefire superstar won’t do that for you; just ask a Cleveland Cavaliers fan.

Perception is reality and the reality is that the Warriors management group is smarter than a majority of the competition as well as the fans that live to second guess every decision or non decision. That is no long the case for me. I’m retiring my Monday Morning Executive title (until given a good reason, any reason, to come out of retirement). Why should I bother playing with the trade machine looking for blockbuster deals when the guys in charge are thinking bigger than my tortured mind is capable of?

Had these guys been running the team back in 1994 we would have seen Chris Webber play his prime years here instead of just his first and last games in the league. NBA players will always come and go but having leadership that knows how to organize, scout, recruit, negotiate and spend is the one thing you can count on to keep you relevant.

For the first time in my life the road map to a championship is coming into focus. What’s even more exciting than that is I no longer fear that the people steering the ship will head straight for the first iceberg that pops up on our radar. There was a time when I saw black ice on every road ahead. Now I see multiple routes to the promised land and I’d be willing to bet that Joe Lacob, Bob Myers and Jerry West many more than I do.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kevin Love to the Warriors: Wouldn’t it be nice


By Justin Taylor

Earlier this week I asked Warriors fans, if presented with a shot at a superstar, whether they would prefer to trade Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson? On one hand I got exactly what I expected, a great deal of hate mail accusing me of “trying to break up a potential championship contender.” My stance is that if Joe Lacob has instructed Bob Myers to look for that swing-for-the-fences move then so should I.

I understand the want and the need to see this young team reach its apex together but there are a maximum of ten superstars in this league. When you get your pitch you better swing at it, end of story. Today I’m following up on that hypothetical questionnaire with a very real hypothetical trade proposal. I’m taking my cuts, backlash be damned.

Kevin Love would look good in a Warriors jersey but he won't come cheap

Proposal:

Right now I’m submitting a fake proposal to an imaginary league office that will send the Warriors' David Lee and Harrison Barnes along with a purchased 2013 first round draft pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love and Alexy Shved. If David Kahn were still the Wolves GM I’d tack on Derrick Williams but I’m pretty sure Flip Saunders is a smarter than him and the league might veto that version. I also want to keep this fake trade as realistic as possible.

Golden State fans hate the thought of dealing Barnes because we’ve been down this road before. Team drafts good player; team develops good player; team hits its stride with good player; team trades good player for unproven rookie. The difference here is that we’re not looking at Billy Owens or Brandan Wright and Nellie isn’t the one pulling the trigger. We’re talking about the best power forward in the league and he hasn’t even hit his prime yet.

(Quick Question: Would Lebron James consider signing with a team with the best shooting backcourt in the NBA, the best rebounding and passing power forward in the league and a legit seven foot defensive center in 2014? It would easily be the best, most well rounded squad he’s ever played on and that might include Team USA!)

Fans won't care if David Lee is traded but Harrison Barnes is different

Why the Warriors do it:

Kevin Love is a bona fide star that averaged 20 points and 15 boards as a 21 year old, 26/13 as a 22 year old and he is still only 24. He also happens to be a better shooter, low post scorer, rebounder, passer and defender than David Lee. On top of all that, they will be making damn near the same amount of money in the 2015-16 season when Lee is 33 and Love is just hitting his prime at 28.

The Warriors salary cap situation in 2014 remains unchanged. Do you know how many free agents would kill for the chance to play with Kevin Love and Steph Curry? Throw Klay Thompson into the mix and no team in NBA will be spacing the floor like the Warriors. Just imagine you are a slashing small forward for a second; I'll use Lebron James as a random example. What three running mates in the league are going to open the middle of the floor and keep defenses honest night in night out like these guys? That fact that Curry and Love are both extremely good, ridiculously unselfish passers would just be icing on the cake.

Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Brandon Rush, Kevin Love would make up the best 3 point shooting starting lineup in the history of the NBA. I don’t even need to research that statement, call my bluff.

A front line of Andrew Bogut and Kevin Love would be the best passing and one of the best rebounding frontcourts in the entire NBA.

The team defense would improve because Love is a better defensive rebounder than David Lee and is a less terrible defender.  Brandon Rush is also a better defender than Harrison Barnes but that is besides the point. Lee is a hard worker and is good at getting boards but Love is the best rebounder in the NBA. Again, he’s only 24.

Alexy Shved as a throw in just might have a shot as the long term back up point guard for the Warriors whether Jarrett Jack resigns or they bring in another option in free agency.

Last but certainly least; I could make a super cheesy I LOVE CURRY © design the minute the deal gets league approval.

You've got to risk something if you want one of the best players in the league

Why the Timberwolves do it:

First and foremost, nobody around the league thinks Kevin Love will resign in Minnesota when his current deal expires so they better do something before they get a bunch of lowball offers.

No trade proposal that they get for Love will give them a two time All Star and a potentially perennial All Star.

If the trade doesn’t happen before the draft then the Warriors would be able to offer a pick in next seasons “loaded” draft as opposed to this year’s terrible draft.

Pairing Barnes with Ricky Rubio will put them on the SportsCenter Top 10 a few times a week even if it doesn’t put them in the playoffs.

No matter which way you slice it Minnesota fans wouldn’t be happy (I don’t think) but they would have one of the more entertaining teams in the league and their main guys would all be under contract for the foreseeable future. That is saying something for a small market team like them.

Who says no:

Even though it would be tough for the Twolves to find a better offer anywhere around the league I do think they would be the ones to turn this deal down.

How could the Warriors say no to adding the top power forward in the league while still maintaining their ability to make a splash in the 2014 free agent pool? There are some injury concerns but I’m way less worried about Kevin Love’s hand than I am about the ankles of Steph Curry and Andrew Bogut. Did I mention he’s still only 24?

Get on the phone Bob!

Please leave your hate mail comments below, on Facebook or Twitter!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Harrison Barnes versus Klay Thompson: Winner gets traded

By Justin Taylor

Draft day and the all the potential player movement that comes with it is this Thursday. Don’t let the headline fool you, I wouldn’t trade either of the Warriors young wings for the number one pick in this draft. Discussing a trade involving Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes for anybody not named Lebron James or Kevin Durant is going to inspire a lot of negative reactions so it had better be for a a bonafide All Star. Bob Myers and Jerry West have already had this conversation so it’s time for us to play catch up.

You can’t be caught flat-footed when the phone rings and it’s a team trying to make a deal for a superstar. Determining who has the most potential, who has the most value to the Warriors and who is worth the most on the open market is a critical exercise for a GM, especially one with more assets than money or draft picks. No major deal is going down for the Warriors unless they’re willing to sacrifice something valuable and you know Steph Curry isn’t going anywhere. The obvious next step is to determine which of these two young, cheap, potential stars come in second on the trade value depth chart.

As a fan of both players I think I can speak to who is more valuable to the Warriors without my bias taking over. Everyone knows us Golden State fans love our homegrown guys to a fault so I’ll start with Bill Simmons’ Annual Trade Value column to get a prominent outsiders’ objective opinion for the league wide opinion. His process values things like age, money and potential over name value or past performance, which is exactly what I’m looking for.

On this years list Klay comes in at #47 and his explanation was more of an insult than anything else. Harrison Barnes doesn’t even crack the honorable mention that precedes the top 50. How can I take this shit seriously? I can’t do it. You know what? Fuck Bill Simmons and disregard that last paragraph!

Klay Thompson


Klaymetheus is a better nickname than the Black Falcon is that counts for anything 
(Credit: @Jesse_Garnier from SFBay.ca for the design)

Halfway through the season I said Klay would have the better career of the two and damn near got laughed out of the room. This was right after he personally coughed up a couple of games in a row but my logic then is the same as it is now. His career arc is just easier to project. I’m not breaking any news here but Klay Thompson is 23 years old and has a top ten, if not a top five, shot in the league. That alone guarantees him a 12-14 year career barring injury.

Klay’s biggest deficiencies (other than his personality) are actually part of reason why he’s more likely to be the better pro. The aspects of his game that need to improve are things that come with experience. The game just needs to slow down for him. He made a ton of bonehead plays this season that mostly boiled down to him rushing everything from his shot, to his drives to his pouting. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the light bulb doesn’t go on with him.

Reggie Miller comes to mind when thinking about what his ceiling as a player may be even if it doesn’t feel like a good match. He’s already a better defender and rebounder than Reggie so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Finding his basement is an easy one though. The names Dale Ellis and Dell Curry come to mind immediately and both of those guys were effective role players until the day they retired. Worst case scenario, the Warriors will have two Currys if all he ever does is improve is shot selection. It may not be the highest reward but it’s definitely the lowest risk.

Harrison Barnes


This picture will never get old 

I may or may not have talked shit about Barnes before last year’s draft for underachieving in college. It was mostly because I wanted Damian Lillard to back up Steph Curry but the realization is that his problem at North Carolina wasn’t his poor play, it was unrealistic expectations. The kid was named a preseason All American as a freshman for god sake. By the time the playoffs arrived he was flying under the radar. When David Lee went down, he blew up and now he’s trying out for Team USA.

That’s quite a swing from overrated to underrated and possibly back to overrated. I say that because that the loss of our only All Star didn’t just free up more shots for Barnes, it gave him better matchups. It was no coincidence that his confidence skyrocketed against slower power forwards in Denver and smaller guards in San Antonio. His consistency issues, outside of being a rookie and the coach was yanking him all the time, for those other 82 games had to do with all of those athletic small forwards in the NBA.

Moments like that posterization of Anthony Randolph are either building blocks of a great legacy or reminders of how good things could have been. He’s not on that level but it can be similar the reason why people get so frustrated by Lebron. When you see the potential to be the greatest ever, just being top ten of all time becomes unacceptable somehow. Barnes has All Star potential and it’ll be a disappointment if he’s “just” a quality starter for the next ten years; even if I said I’d be happy with exactly that on draft day.

The Black Falcon could soar as high as James Worthy when it is all said and done but there is some serious downside potential to his game too. I'd say the safe middle ground might just be his current teammate and mentor Richard Jefferson.

The Verdict


If Klay just learns to be patient and then attacks when he gets overplayed 
he'll never lose his allowance again

When I said Klay Thompson would have a better career I wasn’t saying that he was more important to the Warriors future. That is exactly what I’m saying now. At this moment there are hardly any two guards in the league that can actually shoot and defend on Klay’s level. On the flip side, there are a number of guys who can give you what Harrison is only projected to do.

Where is there a bigger shortage? Klay Thompson’s charisma or NBA shooting guards? Actually, don’t answer that. The point is that even with the lack of twos in the league I think Harrison Barnes will get a bigger second contract due to his size, athleticism and marketability. The ability to pay Klay less actually makes him more valuable to the salary structure of the team.

Barnes big time performance against San Antonio means he may be the bigger trade chip as well. Considering that this conversation is only relevant if a major deal for a superstar is on the table that is important to know. It’s also important to keep in mind who the guy we’re trading for would rather play with. Klay is creating space for a big man or a slasher when he’s standing 30 feet from the basket and he doesn’t even need the ball to pull the defense away from the paint. He may be prickly at times and pouty at others but when it’s all said and done, he will be keeping defenses honest for a minimum of the next ten years.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Golden State Warriors front office moves in 2013 and beyond


By Justin Taylor

This isn't happening so lets talk about some things that can happen

I’m proud to say that I’ve been following every move the Warriors have made for almost three decades even if they’ve sucked more often than not. My philosophy is and always has been that all of the losing will make winning so much sweeter. I truly believe that unless you’ve experienced the despair of a humiliating defeat you will never be able to fully appreciate the thrill of winning it all. Nobody knows when that day will come but you can actually see their window of opportunity off in the distance for the first time since the 70's. Some people are already feeling a draft it seems.

Now that the Warriors are relevant for more than just their loyal fan base again the term “wait till next year” isn’t just something for the eternal optimists. I’ve always been one of those kool aid drinkers myself but now there is a whole new generation of fans, young and old, spiking the punch bowl. I must be addicted to going against the grain because I was a Golden State evangelist back in the days where your credibility as a basketball fan suffered because of it. Now that it isn’t a crazy notion I’m going the other way and telling a much larger audience that they had better temper their expectations.

You have my word that I’m not doing this on purpose just to stir the pot. I just see a team that has exceeded expectations and is now expected to build on it a year before it is ready to. None of this is to say it won’t happen. My personal opinion is that if this team hit fourth gear sooner than anyone anticipated, next season will be clutch getting pushed in so fifth gear can be realized in 2014. It’s not hard to see the developing youth, the massive amount of dead weight coming off the books and the opportunity to add a true difference maker that comes with it next summer.

I find it unfortunate that today’s sports world almost requires instant reactions that rule out the ability to fully flesh out thoughts and ideas. That kept occurring to me as I spent the time to find out just how good 2014 could be for the Golden State. The more I looked forward the more I started thinking that our opportunity to hit the home run that pushes us to the next level might just come in 2013. In the end, things will probably just unfold in a way that makes me wrong more than once.

2014 seems like it should be a boon for the Warriors with it’s anticipated war chest of cap space and the anticipation of a Lebron James headlined free agent class. The problem with that line of thought is three fold. The chances of Lebron coming to Oakland are slim to none; the rest of the big names on the unrestricted list don’t fit the Warriors plans; even though there are some intriguing names on the restricted free agent list, you’ll need to overpay them (limiting flexibility from 2014-who the fuck knows) like crazy to scare away their current teams. 

For now I'll prove my point against my original point with the list of 2014 big name unrestricted free agents.

Top 2014 Free Agents:

Dwayne Wade: I’ll take Klay Thompson for $15 million a year less and about 10x less risk of a huge drop in production or worse, the length of a contract plagued by injuries.

Kobe Bryant: No chance and no thank you.

Luol Dang: I’m sticking with Harrison Barnes who should be the guy we’re all hoping he’ll be by the 2014-15 season and at one third of the price.

Lebron James: If there is a real chance to get him you do whatever it takes but I don’t think we’ll have to waste too much time thinking about those scenarios.

Danny Granger: He might be an interesting option IF…he recovers from his injury problems, becomes a more efficient scorer and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. The chances of all three things happening are about as likely as a Richard Jefferson resurgence.

Carmelo Anthony: Yet another guy who wouldn’t consider the Warriors and yet another sigh of relief from me. When you have a team with great chemistry he’s not the player that builds on that. Steph Curry is a more efficient scored and he even knows how to pass the ball.

Dirk Nowitzki: Does anyone expect him to be much more than a spot up shooter who makes $15+ million a year by the time the 2014-15 season rolls around? Maybe I better rethink that though. He is from Germany after all. If they’re giving world-class treatment to Americans like Kobe and Jermaine O’neal what do you think they would do for the local hero Nowitzki? They may have a whole facility dedicated to extending Dirk’s career through the 2016 or even the 2020 Olympics.

Pau Gasol: If he’s already a shell of himself what will remain after next year?

Amare Stoudemire: This car already has a salvage title on it. I’m pretty sure that legally, his contract must come with a Lemon Law Disclaimer and good luck getting that thing insured.

Chris Bosh: It is infinitely more fun to make fun of Chris Bosh and the team that overpays him than it is to root for him.


Another scene like this after next season may mean that everything is going the Warriors way


Andrew Bogut: The more you look at this list the more you hope Bogut gets healthy and resigns with the Warriors. His size is a need, his game fits and his personality fits. Everybody else is old, falling apart and overpaid to say the least.

This list shot my original theory regarding 2014 straight to hell. Now I’ve got to rethink the whole “stand pat, let the dead money fall off the payroll and be a top player on next season’s free agent market” theory. In fact, I probably should have moved on from that notion as soon as Joe Lacob stated that “the thought of standing pat repulses me” for the second time in two weeks, first on KNBR two weeks and then on 95.7 The Game last week.

Now that ten seconds have passed here’s the new theory that will lose relevance sometime between draft day and July 1st. For what the Warriors need there are better fits in the looming free agent period but there obviously isn’t any money to capitalize at this time.

Instead of wondering whether Bob Myers is looking to make a big trade or not we should probably think about what would need to preface such a deal. There are two things I’m looking for over the next few weeks that might shed light on future moves.

Joe Lacob has already referenced buying a draft pick. That would be one asset that could help the Warriors get into another major deal that goes down somewhere else around the league (think Igoudala, Howard or Granger). The point of being a third wheel in such a deal would be to give the pick to one team and use Richard Jefferson’s expiring deal to match up money for the team looking to cut cost.

If and when none of that happens prior to the draft I’ll still believe that Bob Myers is cooking something up for this year. I wish the trade deadline weren’t so far away because it’s going to be a busy one unlike last year. The new collective bargaining agreement tightens up after next season so luxury tax paying teams are going to begging for Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson. Never thought you’d hear that again did ya?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

No draft pick is no problem for the 2013 Golden State Warriors

By Justin Taylor

Draft talk in the Bay Area has been non-existent this year and it feels spectacular! When the ping pong balls got pulled at the lottery I didn’t even realize it till later that day. It is such a foreign concept not to feel like I need some sort of lucky charm in hand before they open those stupid envelopes on lottery night. I don’t know why I do that, it only works when a scrub like Joe Smith is the consensus number one pick anyways.

Point A on the “Reasons I’m glad we don’t have a draft pick” list is that this particular draft class is super weak. If you were rating it on a scale of 1-10, with one equaling dog shit, lets just say someone stepped in that dog shit, rubbed it into the carpet and tracked it all over the house. What I’m trying to say is that this isn’t the type of draft you give up anything of value to get into.

The one and only scenario that gets the Warriors a draft pick and still makes total sense is the one in which Joe Lacob pays cash for it. It wouldn’t be the first time Lacob shelled out for a pick and he is the guy that threw the possibility out there. As soon as I heard him say that I spent at least 20 minutes pouring over ESPN’s draft coverage, which led to a minimum of an additional 5 minutes looking at other ridiculous mock drafts around the internet.

After 26 minutes of hardcore research and I finally found an inconsistency that can be used taken advantage of. The strategy involves buying a late first round pick that a number of teams would be happy to sell, using it to bring in a player who attacks the basket like nobody on the Warriors outside of Harrison Barnes. He would also be Golden State royalty from the moment David Stern calls his name.

In case that last line didn’t say it all, the kid I’m speaking of is Tim Hardaway Jr. and he is the only youngster in this draft that I’d actually be excited to see put on a Warriors cap come draft day. There is much more to my Little Timmy love than just his name even if he’ll never be able to do the UTEP Two-Step. Seeing his Dad attending games is just another small bonus for a man who once had a Tim Hardaway Die Hard poster hanging in his room from approximately 1989-1997.

They don't make posters quite like they used to

There is a hole on this roster Timmy is capable of filling. We know this team needs a point guard whether it is Jarrett Jack or another free agent. No rookie is going to come in and fill that crucial role. We also need another big man or two to account for Carl Landry’s spot and Andrew Bogut’s inevitable trips to the doctors’ office. Again, no rookie (especially not one late in this draft) would make you feel good when either of those guys is missing. The one missing component on this roster is the one that Junior was born for. The role is for a guy that can, handle a little, pass a little and fearlessly attack the basket.


This isn’t a “by any means necessary” proposition, it is mostly a value proposition. The reason I spent that extra five minutes flipping through countless mock drafts was due to Hardaway being projected to go as high as 20th in only one of them. Most had him going somewhere between picks 24- 29 and a couple even had him slipping to the second round. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. In a draft full of mediocre role players at best, how is a kid with NBA size, skills, athleticism and pedigree not a lottery pick? If he were slotted where I think he should be I wouldn’t even be bringing this up.

I don’t pay much attention to college basketball but I watch the NCAA tournament to see the best teams and most of the draft prospects with my own eyes at least once. During March Madness this year it became painfully obvious what a piece of shit draft this was going to be. In case I haven’t mentioned it yet, this draft is going to be a real, hot, steaming pile of shit. In the midst of all the crappy players on all of the crappy teams Hardaway caught my eye as one of the few NBA caliber players in the bunch.

As with most draft picks, Hardaway would require the right fit to succeed in the league. The Warriors would be that perfect situation. There would be no unrealistic expectations that come with being a top ten pick, our needs fit his strengths and we are also very strong in the areas where he is deficient; mainly his outside shot. As long as he proves himself to be a hard worker who wants to get better he has absolutely nothing to worry about but his game in Oakland.

The only thing he could do or say to make us like his draft day acquisition anymore is if he were to proclaim, “I got Skeeellz” during his introductory press conference.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Joe Lacob saved basketball in Northern California and made a killing in the process

By Justin Taylor

I don’t feel like I should be the first one to connect the dots on this topic but Joe Lacob hasn’t gotten nearly enough credit for saving the Sacramento Kings and making $100 million in the process. Not a single publication that I’ve seen has acknowledged the fact that if he hadn’t pushed one of his partners in the Warriors ownership group, Vivek Ranadive, to get into the Sacramento bidding war the Seattle Supersonics may be coming back to life already. It has nothing to do with his love of Sacramento and not nearly as much as he has stated it does with helping a friend.

 Despite the Maloofs best efforts this arena in Sacramento may finally become a reality

The fact is that the Warriors ownership group paid $450 million for the team in 2010. Now, a team that plays in a market nowhere near as lucrative and just happens to be 90 miles away has been sold for over $500 million. There is no scenario in which the Warriors aren’t 15-20% more valuable than the Kings and that is just one more feather in the cap of Mr. Lacob.

The Warriors ownership group had more to gain in this deal than any other team in the league. If you haven’t connected those dots yet let me help you out. Based on the size of the market there is a scenario in which the Seattle Sonics are equal in value to the Warriors. If the Kings sell to the Seattle group for $500 million it doesn’t do much to increase the valuation of the Warriors. If they sell for $500 million and stay in Sacramento the value of the Warriors instantly jumps $100 million dollars give or take a few million.

Vivek probably already knew this but I’m sure Joe finished connecting the dots for him the way I’m doing for some of you now. You see, by overpaying for the Kings, Vivek immediately boosted the value of both of their stakes in the Warriors. When the sale of the Kings was announced, anybody with an ownership stake in the Warriors must have been dancing in the streets because every dollar they spent back in 2010 is now worth a minimum of a $1.20 and they haven’t even broken ground in San Francisco yet.

 Something tells me this building will be worth more than the one being built in Sacramento

Think about it like this. Let’s say you bought a beautiful four bedroom three bath house somewhere in the East Bay for $450,000 just to throw out a number. One week later, another house on your street sells for $550,000. Great news right? Hold that thought cause it gets better. The house that just sold for an extra hundred grand is only three bedrooms, has less square footage, it sits on a smaller plot of land and still needs quite a bit of work. Now you’re ecstatic because you just guaranteed yourself a ton of extra cash if you decide to sell or refinance. It’s all about the comps in real estate deals and NBA franchise purchases.

While we’re talking about franchise values and comps; picture these two brand new arenas that sit just over an hour apart. One sits perched out on the water down the street from AT&T Park, in the shadows of the Bay Bridge and downtown San Francisco depending on the hour of the day. The other rises above the Sacramento River, Raley Field (a beautiful minor league ballpark) and downtown Sacramento. You tell me which owner is sitting on a bigger gold mine.

I don’t know what Vivek’s share of the Warriors was or what his share of the Kings is but I do know one thing. He parlayed his Golden State minority investment into a majority share of his own NBA team quicker than anybody since Joe Lacob went from minority Celtics owner to a majority share of the Warriors. I’ll be interested to see how much Vivek gets for his share of the Warriors in the coming days or months. That will be the clearest indicator of just how much the value of the team has gone up since Joe’s group bought it in 2010.

Love him or hate him for working his ass off to move the Warriors to San Francisco there is no disputing that Lacob knows exactly what he’s doing. Anybody that says they wouldn’t move their team 15 minutes down the road, picking up millions of dollars on the way is either lying or delusional. Lacob didn’t just see the valuation of his franchise get a huge boost with the sale of the Kings, he gained another ally in the power structure of the NBA.

 Whether it is in this building or in Oracle Arena I just want to see a championship banner

When the dust settles I only care about one thing; that the Warriors go from being an NBA doormat to one of the dominant franchises in the league. I never thought I’d see that day but the path to joining the NBA elite keeps getting clearer and clearer. For me, it’s not about money or power; it’s about seeing my team raise a championship banner at least one time before I die. Everything I’ve seen since 2010 tells me that it’s only a matter of time for the Warriors. For Sacramento, I’m not so sure. They would be playing catch up with us whether they stayed in the state capitol, moved to Seattle or back to Rochester.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013 Golden State Warriors Free Agency Recipe

By Justin Taylor

The Warriors have no draft picks and no cap space but they do have some big time issues to address this offseason. It may sound impossible to retain or replace Jarrett Jack AND Carl Landry under those circumstances but I’m confident Bob Myers and Joe Lacob will get the job done. I’m convinced the Warriors will either buy a draft pick, pay the luxury tax this season or do both. That’s because they know as well as I do that the luxury tax bill will be a one time fee. After next season the ghosts of Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson will stop haunting the books and everyone will be able to breathe easier.

Nobody would complain about some more home cooking as long as it doesn't cost too much

The recipe to replacing Jack and/or Landry without putting a dent in that cap space earmarked for a stud in 2014 is easy, right? You just do exactly what you did to get those two in the first place. You let all of the big free agent names come off the market and get yourself a couple of solid veterans on cheap one year deals. There is nothing better than a professional athlete in a contract year because you know you will get maximum effort every single night.

Here is my free agent target list which includes what yearly salary I'd pay and for how long; since it's not my money of course. I feel like we need another big man for when Bogut misses games, a power forward and a point guard so those are the only positions I'm looking at.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Last year I was all about Jason Kidd coming back to the Bay, providing veteran leadership and a pass first point guard that this roster lacked and still does. Boy was I wrong on that call. Hopefully I can learn from my mistakes and give Bob Myers a better road map this season.

Center

Andrew Bynum                   At what price: $14-$18 million        At what length: 5 years

HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! Yeah right!!!!!!!!!

Can't wait to laugh at whichever NBA team gets this case of indigestion

Chris Kaman                        At what price: $6-$7 million                        At what length: 2 years

It is slim pickings at the center spot. So much so that I think Kaman will get more than my target price in the first week or two of free agency. We need more of a rebounder anyways.

Zaza Pachulia                       At what price: $4 million      At what length: 1 year

This is a tough guy that might push Ezeli if and when Bogut goes down. I’ve got a feeling he’d look really good with a change of scenery and a one year deal.

Joel Pryzbilla                       At what price: $800k                        At what length: 1 year

Haven’t seen him in a couple years but I bet he can still rebound. Would come super cheap late in free agency which is exactly what the type of deal I’m targeting.

Jason Collins                        At what price: $800k-$900k                        At what length: 1 year

This is a last resort and it would be more like paying to have someone giving Ezeli extra coaching than it would be for anything on the court.


Power Forward:

Carl Landry              At what price: $5-$6 million                        At what length: 1 year

I’m hoping like hell he opts into his deal but if he gets more somewhere else I think there will be other highly motivated cheap options out there.

Elton Brand              At what price: $2-$3 million                        At what length: 2 years

I don’t see the downside if you can get Elton Brand in the fold to play 15 minutes a night for a couple million a year. He just seems like a perfect fit to help bring the kids along while still giving you a solid post presence in spurts.

Nothing like an experienced chef coming off the bench

JJ Hickson                 At what price: $4-$5 million                        At what length: 1 year

He was on the short list last year and would still look good playing here as long as it’s a very short contract. As in, expiring from the minute the ink dries.

Dejaun Blair             At what price: $2-$4 million                        At what length: 1 year

As long as he’s playing on a one year deal I don’t think his lack of ACL’s will come back to bite us. At this price the Spurs might want to keep him but it’s not out of the question.

Andray Blatche        At what price: $1 million                  At what length: 1 years

Stupid, crazy, head case, insanely cheap 8th man. He’s a steal at that price unless you think he can affect the team’s chemistry, which I don’t think one knucklehead can.

Jason Maxiell            At what price: $5-$6 million                        At what length: 2 years

I’ve always been a fan and if he came for cheaper I might be a bigger fan of his than I’ve been of Landrys.

David West               At what price: $6-$7 million                        At what length: 3 years

This is a pipe dream because he’ll go early in the free agency period but I’m keeping him on my list until he’s gone.

Brandan Wright      At what price: $1-$2 million                        At what length: 3 years

Remember the guy we traded Jason Richardson for? He’s much better than that guy as long as he’s playing 20 minutes or less a night. That’s exactly what we need at exactly the price we want to pay.


Point Guards:

Jarrett Jack               At what price: $5-$6 million                        At what length: 2 years

When you look at the list below you’ll see a couple names that provide a lot of what Jack does for half the price. The Warriors need a guy that can create his own shot in the lane during crunch time. Even if it costs a little extra I think he is still one of the top options on this list.

Nate Robinson         At what price: $1-$2 million                        At what length: 2 years

If you thought Jarrett Jack shot you into as many games as he shot you out of then you probably hate Lil Nate. As a last resort you can do so much worse than this guy though. He bleeds toughness and his balls might actually account for half his body weight. No player in the league will take over more games off the bench for less money.

DJ Augustine             At what price: $3-$4 million                        At what length: 3 years

I’m not a huge fan of DJ but it is a risk I might be willing to take late in the FA period. If he doesn’t get swooped up early he’ll be cheap and will be entering his prime in the next few years, just like many other Warriors.

Spanish style? Yes please.

Jose Calderon           At what price: $4-$5 million                        At what length: 2 years

I’ll be watching every Calderon rumor very closely cause he is exactly what this roster has needed the last few years; a point guard who makes the scorers on the floor better with his passing and ability to space the floor. After making $10 million per over the last handful of years the only question is how big will his impending pay cut be?  All I know is that no other potential 6th man on this list will mesh better with our mix of shooters and post players. The big drawback is that he plays even less defense than Curry and Jack if you can believe that.

Shaun Livingston     At what price: $1 million                  At what length: 1 year

This is another name you might find once every known commodity is off the table. You could do a lot worse for the money he’ll command. Just know that he won’t replace 75% of what we got from Jack but he’ll be an upgrade to the second unit defense.

Earl Watson             At what price: $2-$3 million                        At what length: 1 years

I’m not sure what Earl has left but if he’s playing on a one year deal I bet you get every last drop out of him.

Mo Williams             At what price: $4-$5 million                        At what length: 2 years

Here is a Jarrett Jack clone for you. Williams will have no problem being the man on the second unit and taking the biggest shots in any game. The biggest question here is how big of a pay cut will Mo be willing to take? He’s definitely not making the $8+ million salary he’s been clearing but it might not matter. He’ll probably be one of the guys that gets signed in the first week of the Free Agency period.

Randy Foye               At what price: $2-$3 million                        At what length: 2 years

Another Jarrett Jack lite that will be hitting his prime very shortly and won’t put too big a dent in the salary cap.

Did I miss anybody? Overpay someone? Let me know!