Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hypothetical Trade: Watson, Collison, 2008 #32 Overall Pick

New Sonics ownership is in rebuilding mode and is looking to dump unnecessary salary. With a core of Durant and Green they should be willing to shed the salaries of duplicate talent on multiple year contracts. They have a total of six picks this year (2 in the 1st round, 4 in the 2nd) so they will need to make room on the roster for new talent to be signed. I could see them accepting this trade especially if they land a top 2 pick and select Derrick Rose.

Golden State Warriors

Incoming Players:

Earl Watson
Salary: $6,200,000 Years Remaining: 2
PTS: 10.7 REB: 2.9 AST: 6.8 PER: 14.56

Nick Collison
Salary: $6,250,000 Years Remaining: 3
PTS: 9.8 REB: 9.4 AST: 1.4 PER: 15.03

2008 #32 Overall Pick

Outgoing Players: Al Harrington, Kosta Perovic

Seattle Super Sonics

Incoming Players:

Al Harrington
Salary: $8,425,625 Years Remaining: 2
PTS: 13.6 REB: 5.4 AST: 1.6 PER: 15.70

Kosta Perovic
Salary: $1,800,000 Years Remaining: 1
PTS: 1.4 REB: 1.9 AST: 0.1 PER: 10.36

Outgoing Players: Earl Watson, Nick Collison, 2008 #32 Overall Pick

Sonics get arguably the best player in the deal while shedding $32,050,000 and taking back only $21,053,125, a total savings of $10,996,875 over the life of the deals. Ownership will love that and from a GM's standpoint, the early cap flexibility gained without losing key players is tremendous.

If they get a top 2 pick, they select Derrick Rose at #2, possibly Jason Thompson at #24, and best available SG's or PF's with the remaining three 2nd round picks. There roster looks like this:

Super Sonics Lineup 2008/2009

PG: Rose/Ridnour/2nd Rounder
SG: Durant/Wilkins/2nd Rounder
SF: Green/Gelabale/2nd Rounder
PF: Wilcox/Harrington/Thompson
C: Swift/Petro/Sene/Perovic

Warriors get 4 positives out of this deal.

1. Turn Harrington into two useful players - we need bodies and we get them in two areas of need

2. Add a very good backup PG in Watson - a near perfect choice for Baron's backup; he attacks and finishes well; can continue to push the tempo when Baron rests; will make Monta's transition into PG easier when Baron is gone; active on the defensive end; he put up very respectable numbers this year: .453% fg, .371% 3pt, .766 ft%, .516 TS%, 6.8 apg, 10.7 ppg

Earl Watson : 2007-2008 Game Log

From ESPN:

2007 Scouting report:
Watson is an athletic point guard who can get to the rim, but he's a little out of control and tends to make bad decisions. He reined those mistakes in a bit last season, but he got a little too 3-point happy -- many of those misses were contested -- and his finishing skills at the rim also could use some work.

His lack of refinement doesn't extend to the defensive end, where he's been one of the best point guards in the game over the past few years, but it appeared he might have lost a step last season. For starters, his impact on the scoreboard wasn't as profound as it's been in past seasons. The Sonics actually gave up one more point per 48 minutes when he was on the court; the past few seasons had seen dramatic defensive advantages for Watson's club when he plays.

Watson did rank fifth among point guards in steals per minute and 13th in blocks per minute, and he did it with a low rate of fouls. However, opponents ripped him for an 18.0 player efficiency rating when he played, so perhaps he was gambling too much.

3. Add a tough rebounder, defender, and hustler off the bench in Collison - .502 fg%, .737 ft%, .8 bpg, 9.4 rpg, 9.8 ppg, .933 A/T, .537 TS%; finally we have another rebounder besides Beidrins; at 27 years old, he has steadily improved each year.

Nick Collison : 2007-2008 Game Log

From ESPN:

2007 Scouting report: Seattle called Collison's number in the post last season more often than in the past, but I'm not sure this was a great idea. He liked to use a right hook from the left block but he was methodical and didn't seem to have much in his arsenal besides the hook.

Collison's real skill is rebounding. He's active and a quick leaper, and he gets a lot of his points on second-shot opportunities. He'd get even more if he was a better finisher but, despite a good left hand around the rim, he's only average in this respect. While his overall assist ratio wasn't great, he is good at making the pass after he catches it on a screen-and-roll -- with the thought process being that this is a much better idea than having him launch from 17.

Defensively, Collison does a decent job at power forward but was overmatched a bit physically at center. Though a good rebounder, he's not a widebody, and his activity on the boards doesn't translate into shot blocking. On a positive note, Collison spent his first two seasons in constant foul trouble but cut his rate substantially last season.

4. Add an early 2nd round pick in a deep draft - the chances of landing a very good player this late in the draft are still good considering the depth of talent coming out this year; some names that could be available: J.J. Hickson, R. Hendrix, T. Smith, A. Ajinca, D.J. White, Nikola Pekovic, Serge Ibaka, Jason Thompson, Billy Walker, Robin Lopez, Ryan Anderson

Warriors could select versatile winger Nicolas Batum or Donte Greene at #14, freshman J.J. Hickson at #32, and athletic C DeVon Hardin at #44. Resign Matt Barnes to a low contract. Sign 3-point shooting PF Walter Herrmann.

Warriors Lineup 2008/2009

PG: Davis/E. Watson
SG: Ellis/Azubuike/Belinelli
SF: Jackson/Barnes/Batum
PF: Wright/Herrmann/Hickson
C: Biedrins/Collison/Hardin

Nelson has a legit backup PG he can trust in Earl Watson and Ellis can act as the 3rd PG. Our SG's and SF's are all able to play multiple positions. We get bigger and bulkier in the middle. Wright steps into the starting lineup or can be eased in with Collison starting initially. If we can sign Herrmann for $2.5m or less, we will fall under the Luxury Tax. Sign the best big-man coach money can buy.

Although we get significantly younger with three draft picks, we get veteran help in areas of need and are able to clear space for Wright to take on a bigger role. Our future looks bright with a young core of Ellis, Bierdrins, Wright, Belinelli, Batum, Hickson, and Hardin.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Remember when the Golden State Warriors were the new bad boys of the NBA? No one wanted to play them the last month of the 2007 season because they had quickly evolved into a dangerous team with supreme chemistry and volatile pieces that could go off any second. They were a collection of tough SOB's that didn't back down from anyone no matter how much size they gave up on the floor. The Warriors were a mismatch nightmare that ran up and down the court like mad men on a mission to shoot the ball before the 24 second shot clock hit 12 and to run the opposing bigs off the floor. Virtually everyone in the rotation could handle, pass, shoot, and defend multiple positions. Left for dead at 26-35 with a few months to go, they stormed back winning 16 of the last 21 games to clinch the 8th spot. The seed planted by Paul Wong's 'We Believe Playoff' sign grew and grew until it spilled into the first round of the playoffs and engulfed the Oracle in a sea of Gold. It was pure magic that gave the Warriors that SWAGGER that made them feel like they could beat anyone, anywhere. They became America's Team.

[H4L] Golden State Warriors - Playoffs Live 07
by renhigotrare

This year, however, it seems as if the Warriors have lost some of that swagger. They weren't blowing out teams as they did in their 2007 chase for the playoffs, but rather they were squeaking out wins routinely, even against clearly inferior teams. They played down to the competition and it seemed like every game was in question, that the team had lost it's killer instinct, its fire, and its passion to play all out for 4 quarters with maniacal defensive scrappiness. They managed to win 48 games, but the finish compared to last year was apparent as night and day. Even if they had made the playoffs, the team had a different vibe about it - one that didn't strike fear, one of vulnerability.

The Warriors need to bring that swagger back. But before they can do that, they need to understand the reasons why it disappeared.

1. The loss of Jason Richardson's exciting play, heart, and determination to win - The heart and soul of the 2007 Warriors was Richardson. His spectacular dunks sent the crowd into a frenzy and his teammates fed off his energy and adrenaline pumped through everyone's veins. Without an electrifying play maker approaching J-Rich's stature this season, energy seemed to be flat many nights, especially in the 4th quarter where no one was able to step up when needed the most.

2. The disappearance of Matt Barnes and Michael Pietrus - Barnes was the enforcer of the group who thrived off Small-ball with his defense, 3/4 court outlet passes, 3 pt shooting, and aggressiveness to the rim. His play had been so bad all season that he could never put together a good stretch of games that would allow him to get back the consistent minutes he needed to get out of his rut. With J-Rich gone, Pietrus became the most athletic player the Warriors had. We didn't get to see much of him because of contract distractions and injuries that hampered his effectiveness. We saw glimpses of what was supposed to be with big time blocks, alley-oop dunks, and corner 3's, but not near enough to support an overall up-tick in the team's swagger meter.

3. Exhausted Stars - Fatigue brought about by playing nearly 40 minutes per night at a run-n-gun pace lead to lazy play, loss of focus, and loss of will to play Small-Ball the way it was meant to be played. Instead of a harassing defense that took advantage of turnovers, they became a less than ordinary defensive team that hardly resembled the 2007 squad.

4. In your face attitudes of Baron, Jackson, and Barnes gone. - The volatile group of emotional balls of fire were castrated. The old Warriors fed off emotion, reveled in drawing technicals, and took pride in intimidating the foe with their fearless play and relentless defense. This year they have been more disciplined and have drawn far fewer technicals, but with it, the swagger waned and contributed to a more subdued group of guys. They became ordinary. The win totals were there, but the flame burnt less bright, and in the end was extinguished far too soon.

Baron Davis & Stephen Jackson - The Dark Side
by PFortyy

Matt Barnes Mix by Patrys15
by BigPatrys15

What do the Warriors have to do to bring back that swagger? Baron and Jackson have it in them but they need help to sustain the high level of play for 82 games and into the playoffs.

Monta Ellis - Monta Ellis stepped up big time. His blinding speed, body contorting finishes, and deadly mid-range game needs to carry over to next season. He lets his game do the talking for him and hardly ever protests even the worst of calls gone against him. Monta needs to demand respect from the referees and become more vocal while working the officiating crew just like the veterans do. He's a star on the rise and deserves the benefit of the doubt because he's oftentimes too quick for the defender get set in time to draw charges under him. Monta walks the walk, now he needs to talk the talk.

Monta Ellis - The Next
by WorldWideBalla21

Brandan Wright - Whenever Brandan Wright got on the floor, there was a buzz and excitement that enveloped the crowd. He is capable of spectacular plays that could energize the team and send the crowd into a frenzy in one fell swoop. His freakishly long arms and athleticism made for some amazing highlights. When it comes to Wright's potential impact on this team, he's only scratched the surface. What he needs to do now is get stronger, put on more muscle mass, and work on his midrange game.

Official Give Brandan Wright More Playing Time Video!
by PFortyy

"Josh Smith, you've been YouTubed!"
by Odenized

Brandan Wright versus Kevin Durant
by xplor

Marco Belinelli
- Some knew him as the Italian that shot down Team USA in the FIBA World Games. Most didn't know who he was at all. But by the end of his first Summer League game he was the talk of the NBA. Belinelli walked off the plane, lit up the practice floor, and rifled in 37 points in his debut as an NBA player. Shot after shot fell and his demeanor never changed. It was as if there was no doubt that his off-balance 30 footer was supposed to go in - 'swish' no big deal. From the get go, it was apparent that Belinelli had the swagger and game to go with it. Sadly, Nelson couldn't get past his defensive shortcomings enough to allow Belinelli to shine in his rookie season until it was too late. Nelson could have inserted him among 4 of the best Warrior defenders for a few minutes a game, but Nelson was too focused on winning each possession (even though they might be up by 15 and his stars were losing steam) to think about developing the future for late season help.

Marco Belinelli - The Italian Warrior [P-40]
by PForty

Marco Belinelli's Summer League Highlights
by n4varone87

Marco Belinelli Activated
by xplor

2008 Draft Picks - Who can we draft to add to our core? My favorite pick right now is Marreese Speights. He's a little raw but in time he could turn into the low post presence that the Warriors sorely lack. He's strong, has an NBA body, good hands, good footwork, nice touch around the rim, can hit the mid-range shot, can rebound, and can block shots. Besto of all, he tries to dunk whenever he can. There's nothing that brings back the swagger faster than winning games. With a balanced roster and a talented group of players, wins will come easier.

Others to consider in the First Round:
Kevin Love (likely gone by #14)
Darrell Arthur
Javale McGee
Donte Greene
Nicolas Batum
Robin Lopez
Brandon Rush
Chase Budinger
Tyler Smith
Chris Douglas-Roberts
J.J. Hickson

Players to consider in the 2nd Round:
Richard Hendrix
Bill Walker
Sonny Weems
DeVon Hardin
Shaun Foster
Keith Brumbaugh
James Gist

Trade/Free Agent Acquisitions - Who are some players around the NBA that could be on the market and within our range? My dream acquisition would be Ron Artest. He's a crazy mofo that epitimizes swagger and intimidates like no other. Imagine having three of the best steals guys on one team, Artest, Davis, and Ellis. That's exciting basketball. Not only is he one of the best defenders in the league, he's also a legitimate offensive threat. Artest might be crazy, but the Warriors lacked the player of his caliber that inspired defensive effort and toughness. NO LAYUPS!!!!

Ron Artest - Still Crazy
by xunlucky17x

Others to consider:
Tyrus Thomas
Gerald Green
Josh Smith
Carl Landry
Linas Kleiza
Amir Johnson
Andray Blatche
Kyle Lowry
David Lee
Renaldo Balkman
JR Smith
Dorell Wright
Tony Allen
Ryan Gomes
Correy Maggette
Travis Outlaw
Josh Boone
Sean Williams
Hakim Warrick
Nick Collison
Joakim Noah

Adding a couple of these players to our existing group of guys will bring back the swagger in no time. We could use players that will light a fire under this team - players that play with passion and drive. We need players that will get the entire Areana jumping once again.

There are 5 big plays that get the crowd out of their seats and energize up the team: the high-flying dunk, the 3pt shot, the crafty assist, the emphatic rejection, and the ankle breaking drive to the hoop. We have young guys that are capable of these plays in Ellis, Wright, and Belinelli. Nelson should play Wright and Belinelli more next year and allow them to energize the team with their youthful play. In turn, the vets get rest and feel pressure to play their best. No one should be given a free pass, not even Baron. If he starts playing poorly by jacking up ill-advised threes, playing lazy defense, or pounding the ball incessantly without getting others involved - he should get yanked off the court and replaced by someone who will play with the intensity necessary to win. Everyone needs to be held accountable for their play. If that happens, the swagger will be back before you know it.