Team Preview #12: Golden St. Warriors
by Eric Wong AKA Roto EvilAugust 20th, 2008
LAST SEASONThe Warriors were an impressive 48-34 (their best record since '93-94), but they failed to make the playoffs in the ultra-tough Western Conference.
Fantasy-wise, they were one of the top teams, as their 98.8 pace factor (2nd) helped them to finish 1st in points, 1st in field goal attempts, 1st in three point attempts, 2nd in steals, and 6th in total rebounds.
OFFSEASON MOVESKey Additions: Corey Maggette, Marcus Williams, Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Randolph, Richard Hendrix
Key Losses: Baron Davis, Mickael Pietrus, Matt Barnes, Austin Croshere, Patrick O'Bryant
It was a VERY busy offseason for Chris Mullin & company. After Baron Davis exercised his opt-out clause at the last minute to bolt for L.A., they were left scrambling to try and replace the man who revitalized their franchise. Step 1: sign Corey Maggette to replace Baron's scoring punch. I think $50 million for 5 years is way too much money (3 years, $20 million sounds right to me), but there's no denying his ability to put the ball in the hole. Step 2: add the high-energy Ronny Turiaf for interior defense and frontcourt depth. The Warriors have been missing an athletic banger for years, and for $17 million over 4 years, I like this move a lot. Step 3: bring in a talented point guard (Marcus Williams) with the potential to blossom. Step 4: bring back Azubuike to lessen the blow of losing both Pietrus & Barnes. Step 5: re-sign Monta Ellis & Andris Biedrins to long-term deals. At just 22 years old and improving every year, both guys are franchise cornerstones.
Not to be forgotten are the Warriors' rookies. Randolph is a super-skinny forward with versatile skills and a promising future. He proved to be very adept at getting to the free throw line in Summer League action, but it remains to be seen how much he'll contribute as a rookie. I was hoping the Warriors would draft Richard Hendrix in Round 2, and they did just that. He's a coach's son who graduated college in THREE years, and has been compared to fellow 2nd rounders Paul Millsap & Carl Landry. And last but not least is the undrafted Anthony Morrow. In 7 Summer League games, Morrow averaged 18.1 points and made 17-of-23 threes, and was so impressive that the Warriors inked him to a 2-year deal.
ROTATION / PLAYING TIMELet's start at center, where Biedrins started 59 games and played 29 mpg in those, but then came off the bench for 17 games and played just 21.9 mpg, resulting in a 27.4 average. Al Harrington also started 59 games and averaged 27.0 minutes of action. For '08-09, I'm projecting 30 minutes for Biedrins, 24-26 minutes for Harrington, and 20-22 minutes for the newcomer Turiaf. Brandan Wright played just 9.9 minutes per in 38 games as a rookie, but he should get at least 12 minutes per in 60+ games as a sophomore. Kosta Perovic & Hendrix will battle for the remaining big man minutes.
At the swingman spots, Stephen Jackson (39.1 mpg) and Maggette (35.7 mpg) will likely start and play big minutes once again. I'm currently projecting 36-38 minutes for S-Jack, 34-36 minutes for Maggette, and 18-20 minutes for Azubuike off the bench. Monta Ellis (38.0 mpg) is currently slated to start at PG for the Warriors. I'm projecting him to play 38 minutes once again while he splits his time evenly at both guard spots. Marcus Williams could potentially start at point (which makes him worth a last round gamble), but right now I'm projecting him to come off the bench and play 16-18 minutes per game. This means there won't be many minutes left for Marco Belinelli and the Anthony rookies (Randolph & Morrow) unless someone gets hurt.
DON'T SLEEP ON: Andris BiedrinsLast season, Biedrins was just a few rebounds shy of averaging a double-double, a feat that only 9 players accomplished. Of course, this didn't stop him from pulling down an NBA season-high 26 boards against the Knicks, and if you throw out the 17 games in which he didn't start, Biedrins averaged 10.5 rebounds per game (would have ranked 8th instead of 11th). He also led the league in FG% at 62.6%, a year after finishing 3rd at 59.9% FG.
Not to be forgotten is Biedrins' steadily improving FT%. After shooting an embarassing 30.6% FT in '05-06, he improved to 52.1% FT in '06-07, and then finally a semi-decent 62.0% FT in '07-08. However, the main reason I'm high on Andris is because his blocks are sure to go up. He swatted just 1.24 shots per game last season, which was well below his career-high of 1.66 from the season prior. With more minutes and some help from Ronny Turiaf (5th in blocks per 48 minutes), AB should have no problem increasing his blocks in '08-09. Some people might be afraid that Andris will take it easy now that he has a fat contract, but I know my Warrior centers, and Biedrins is no Erick Dampier.
BE CAREFUL OF: Al HarringtonFrom a fantasy hoops perspective, here's what to like about Harrington: he's a center-eligible player who made 1.9 threes per game last year. Now here's what NOT to like: he's a horrible rebounder & shot-blocker, he's shot over 78% FT just once in his career, he shoots a poor FG% because of the threes, and he's likely going to play less in '08-09 because of Turiaf, Wright, and Hendrix. Some people are going to use a Top 100 pick on Harrington because of the treys, but I suggest waiting until Round 11 at the earliest.
ROUND BY ROUND TARGETS(Where you should draft these guys in an 8-cat Roto league with 12 teams and 14 man rosters)
Ellis: 3rd - 4th