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Competition Discussion: Golden State Warriors

The season is still a few weeks away, but most of the rosters are set, barring the requisite Michael Jordan comeback rumor (just kidding, but only a little).  We have an idea where our team stands, but we can't really know unless we discuss everyone else.  In that spirit, I'm going to throw up a "competition discussion" thread for each of the other 29 teams over the next month or so.  We'll go in alphabetical order from A to Z.  Today's team: Golden State.

Last year's record: 48-34

In: Corey Maggette, Ronny Turiaf, Marcus Williams, Dan Dickau, Anthony Randolph, Richard Hendrix
Out: Baron Davis, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, Patrick O'Bryant,

Projected starting lineup: Monta Ellis*, Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette, Al Harrington, Andris Biedrins

Key themes:

  • Will it be too late to contend when Monta Ellis returns from injury?  How will he adjust to being a point guard when he comes back?
  • Was passing on re-signing Baron Davis the right move?
  • How will Corey Maggette fit in?
  • Is Stephen Jackson's whining about his contract going to lead to a major distraction?
  • How much will Don Nelson want to coach a team like this?
  • Can they get anything out of Brandan Wright or was the Jason Richardson trade a waste?
  • Where does Anthony Randolph fit in?
  • Will they shoot fewer threes to take advantage of Ellis and Maggette's strengths?

I'll be honest.  I think it'll all come crashing down this year for the Warriors, particularly after Monta Ellis' injury.

It's sad, because I actually think this team has lots of talent.  Lots of Warriors fans are writing last year off as a failure, but they won six more games than the year before even without Jason Richardson.  They just got caught in a loaded Western Conference.  I also think they made the right decision to part ways with Baron Davis, even if the manner in which it happened was sketchy.  Corey Maggette can also play and they got Ellis and Andris Biedrins re-signed to reasonable deals.

So the future looks pretty bright, especially if Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright show some things. 

This year, though, it looks like the parts just don't fit at all.  Let's start with Ellis, who is missing a big chunk of the year anyway.  Great player, but he's not a point guard.  On its own, this isn't such a big deal, but the Warriors have no other offensive initiators and they don't play a motion offense.  Stephen Jackson's the only other guy, and he's quite the gunner.  I don't see how Ellis can run a coherent half-court offense.

Then, there's Maggette.  Again, Maggette's talent is there.  He's underrated because few people understand the value of getting to the free throw line.  But where is he going to play?  Can you play Maggette with Jackson and Ellis?  Can you play him with Al Harrington?  Who is going to pass the ball among that foursome?  Plus, with free reign in Nellieball, will Maggette demonstrate proper shot selection?  I'm dubious.

Finally, there's Don Nelson, who I'm convinced may sabotage this season.  That's not because he's a bad man or a bad coach, but with all the problems with ownership and facing the prospect of a rebuilding job, why should he stick around?  This is starting to resemble a more conventional team, with Biedrins' re-signing (never a Nellie fave), Ronny Turiaf's signing and Wright and Randolph.  Nellie won't want to play that style and instead will run Ellis, Jackson and Maggette into the ground.  It's just a bad match that has me gravely concerned.

I was down on them even before the Ellis injury, but I'm especially down on them now.  They did the right things this offseason, but it'll take some time for those moves to take fruition.

Prediction: 28-54, fifth in the Pacific, 13th in the West

Previously (predictions are me/Jake/Truth)...