The Warriors weren't the least bit shy about making blockbuster moves during this past Thursday's NBA Draft. With the 18th pick in the first round they drafted Marco Belinelli which wasn't exactly expected. Here's my initial reaction that I gave ESPN's True Hoop after the pick:
Will Belinelli make the Nellbelly come out in his rookie season?
Lasme will protect this house!
But the biggest draft day shocker for the Warriors was of course the trade with the Charlotte Bobcats. In exchange for Jason Richardson and Jermareo Davison (haha, was this trade dependant on the Bobcats' getting this 2nd round pick?) the Warriors got UNC power forward Brandan Wright.
Wright was a BETcat for about the length of a commercial break.
The day for the Warriors can be summed as the following: No one expected the unexpected. (By the way wasn't that 8Ball, MJD, Puffy, and Mase track classic?) Here's 23 thoughts about the day:
1. Poker face Mully and Nellie
First of all I have to give Chris Mullin and Don Nelson major props for that poker face. NO ONE predicted that they'd add a trio of Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli, and Stephane Lasme to the NBA's most entertaining team. They simply shocked the NBA world with their moves on Thursday.
2. Next year?
My biggest worry with the trade the Warriors made on draft day is that they actually took a step back for next year. I'm assuming that Brandan Wright's rail-thin body isn't ready to go up against the Carlos Boozers, Tim Duncans, and Amare Stoudemires of the world yet and the Warriors lost their starting 2-guard who is just one season removed from dropping 23 points and grabbing nearly 6 rebounds a night. Behind Al Harrington, Jason was their most reliable 3-point shooter and the 3-ball is what powered this team in shocking the Mavs and going on that ridiculous finish to the 2006-2007 regular season. It's a head scratcher why the Warriors would take a step back for next season when Nellie's here on a year-to-year plan. Shoot, I'm on a year-to-year plan as well. It's all about next year.
3. Alley-Oooops for Breaking up BoomRich
You've seen countless crazy, high-flying, death-defying dunks from Jason Richardson over the years and they're not misleading. One of the most underrated aspects of JR's game is he's a very crafty finisher around the bucket- layups, tip-in dunks, alley-oops, reverse-layups, you name it. It's a valuable skill which Jason has mastered.
Who's going to finish those stylish alley-oops from Baron Davis in traffic? Who's going to come out of nowhere backdoor (a very high hoops IQ move) and get the easy deuce? These two guys had chemistry and style. The BoomRich backcourt was the identity of this team for the past 2.5 years. Every time another team was about to face the Warriors they knew they were about to go up against one the league's best backcourts with two uberathletic, high-flying, entertaining, big, and strong guards with so much heart and energy. BoomRich was just looking for an excuse to embarrass you.
By loyal GSoM community member FiveTenEnt
Unfortunately, the BoomRich backcourt is over. It was well worth the price of admission and I hope they're reunited again someday.
4. "Saving" $50 million
I keep hearing and reading Warrior fans saying they're happy to be "saving" $50 million. I've said it almost as many times as I've said you can't play Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy on the court at the same time because of their atrocious defensive and low percentage offensive output, but I'll say it one last time: You don't clear cap space by getting rid of guys like JRich. You use your cap space to get guys like JRich.
By the way, I was just peering into my wallet. It's still empty and I'm still a broke mofo. Where's the 50 million big ones? It cracks me up how the NBA and NFL have bamboozled its fans into caring about obnoxiously-rich guys saving money. Are you really happy that 1 for 13 Chris Cohan doesn't have to pay Jason Richardson? Didn't think so.
* Disclaimer: See thought #17.
5. Cap space isn't for contenders
Cap space is for losers (ahem, Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks). In this modern day era no team aside from the LA Lakers with Shaq (although I'm admittedly a little hazy on their cap status back in 1996 and they have that LA factor and Laker cred on their side) has ever leveraged cap space to bring on a free agent that led them to a championship. Hopefully the Warriors reverse the trend, but championships are won through drafting well, ripping off other teams in trades, and in house development. Again, you can argue that the Warriors might have done that by trading for Brandan Wright and drafting Nelibelli and Lasme, but cap space itself isn't a win. It's what you do with it and that often means overpaying players to entice them to leave cozy situations (see Wallace, Ben).
6. "A dime a dozen"
I keep hearing and seeing people knock Jason Richardson by saying that 2-guards in this league are a dime a dozen. That's entirely true and he's not an elite swingman in this league, but it's a big mistake to think that swingmen of JR's stature are a dime a dozen. Find me a dozen 2-guards currently in the league with JR's skillset or better. Even the ones you list will have their own flaws just like Jason- Richard Hamilton can't dribble, Many Ginobili is a flopper and is injured 40% of the time, Michael Redd doesn't do anything but score, etc. 2-guards are easily irreplaceable, but those of JR's status aren't.
7. "No handles"
A lot of Richardson's critics in Warriors Nation like to point to his poor handles. This is no doubt a legit stance, but you're kidding yourself if you think his current replacement at the offguard spot Monta Ellis has any better handles. Jason could at least hide his below average handles with his outside shooting and post up game (which he seemed to have lost this season for some reason). Monta simply cannot go not left right now and when teams shade him to that side and nullify his quickness with a Tony Parker or Devin Harris, he winds up getting benched. Neither Richardson or Ellis have the best handles, but Monta's lead to many more careless turnovers.
8. D-League demoter Nellie
Don't think for a second that Brandan Wright's life is going to be easy next year as a rookie playing for Coach Don Nelson. Nellie is notoriously tough on rookies and even tougher on first year big men (see Webber, Chris and O'Bryant, Patrick). Wright is a fabulous prospect, but do you really think Nellie has all that much patience right now to spend developing a power forward?
9. Damaged goods?
One aspect of this trade that few people are talking about is the injury plagued season that JR is coming off. If JR can't rebound to where he was in the 2005-2006 season from his knee problems, the Warriors just ripped off the Bobcats like they did the Pacers (minus the jokes of course). Hopefully though Jason will be fine. I want to see him do well in the Leastern Conference.
10. Resigning Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis
If the sole goal by getting rid of JR's big money contract from the books to resign Biedrins and Ellis the Warriors made a big mistake. These guys have blatant flaws in their game that I doubt they'll ever overcome. I know I'm going to get called out for this, but hey- I thought the same thing about Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy, and Mike Dunleavy before Mullin inked to them those expensive contracts because he projected them to be worth the big dollars. At the time I wouldn't have handed out any of those deals including Richardson's. Neither Biedrins or Ellis will ever be superstars in this league. They'll be good players, but nothing great or untouchable.
11. BETcats' mistake
The ESPN crew really ripped the Bobcats for making this trade and I'd have to agree with them. JR is a fine player and when healthy one of the league's most underrated stars. However, he's not a franchise player by any stretch which is what the Bobcats were looking to obtain in this trade. But let me be clear- all 2 of those Bobcats fans out there should be happy that JR's on their team because they got someone who's easy to root for, but this was a very curious move at best and pretty expensive.
12. No complaints
One of the things I appreciated the most about Jason Richardson was that he never complained. Unlike some of his past teammates, he never complained about how inept his coaches and supporting cast often were. You need guys like that on your squad. Let's hope Belinelli, Wright, and Lasme have that in them.
13. 5 years down the line
Provided Brandan Wright isn't a flat out bust, the Warriors set themselves up for a sparkling bright future 5 years from now. If Wright and Biedrins can both eat right and put on some weight, they could be a nice 4/5 tandem in the league for a decade. That's a big deal in a league that prizes good big men.
But again I don't care about 5 years from now. I care about now. The Warriors were "rebuilding" for 12 straight years. Nellie doesn't have much more time here and honestly I don't have much more time blogging this team.
14. Looting a loaded draft
The fact remains that the Warriors were able to net a lottery pick and a sleeper late first rounder in a very loaded NBA Draft.
Ready locked and loaded.
That's both commendable and very impressive, not to mention extremely creative. Who knows how these 2 players will pan out in the end, but it does speak volumes about their talent level to be picked in those spots in this particular draft with Nellie's input.
Brandan Wright: "Yo Kenny- tell Chuck it's all about the Bay Area!"
15. Breaking up the fam
My main man Fantasy Junkie said this best in the opening for his piece Draft Day Reflection, but I'll add to it. JRich was fam. JRich was a true Warrior. JRich was Bay. No doubt. 1 Dub. 1 Luv.
Nuthin but luv.
For those of you who couldn't care the least bit about moving Jason or think we're just being silly for feeling for the man in this "business decision" (dont forget there would be no business if it weren't for loyal fans like us), then you probably haven't been with us since NBA Draft day 2001. You probably weren't there when the Warriors took this hyperathletic kid who was a winner in the NCAA tourney, but extremely raw. You probably weren't there when JR won back to back slam dunk titles putting the Warriors on the map on those All Star weekends. You probably weren't there for those two Rookie-Sophomore games where he made us incredibly proud. You probably weren't here for JR's stunning 5 straight years when he improved his overall game and scoring average, while guys like Mike Dunleavy and Erick Dampier were lazily and idly sitting by collecting undeserved paychecks. Hell, you probably weren't there for those cold and dark nights in the Arena in Oakland earlier this decade when the Warriors were getting blown out by 20 or 30, but this kid was still playing his heart out. You probably weren't there when his teammates and even his coaches quit, but he still kept giving the fans something to root for and a reason to watch. You probably weren't even there for this:
There's not much I can say to you guys.
Jason Richardson: Remember the name.
16. Chris Mullin's full of it
When asked if Monty was going to get canned after the disaster that was the 2005-2006 Warrior season Mullin said NO. When asked if Jason Richardson was going to be traded numerous times this season Mullin said NO.
This is fantastic. Mullin has become a master of setting up smoke screens and manipulating the media to leave everyone confused. Again, excellent poker face. You gotta love a front office man who's ready to take a gamble and shock the world. I was worried that he was going to be another complacent GM a la Gary St. Jean when he didn't pull the trigger for a much-needed shakeup in that terrible 2005-2006 campaign, but things have completely turned around for the better with regard to his style of front office moves.
17. There could be $10 million reasons why the trade was great
If Mullin actually uses the exception to bring in a stud, then please excuse my thought #4 from above. But if he lets it go to waste like he did with the league's largest in season trade exception two season's ago (which he let expire) with some silly move, then oh my. That's unstoppable baby like Marc Jackson.
18. It's coming...?
I honestly don't think Mullin and Nellie are done dealing yet. If these moves were simply a precursor to a net a bigger fish- like some masala fried fish for our man KG- then count me in as a huge proponent of the Warriors' moves on draft day. The Warriors traded away their heart and soul this past Thursday and there's nobody better to fill that void than Kevin Garnett. Anything within reason that brings KG to the Bay I'm in favor of. Again, every move for the Warriors this offseason should be towards winning NOW.
19. The youth movement?
Was Danny Ainge masquerading as Chris Mullin last night? Old people win in this league, not young people (unless you're an uber-all-world-talent like Lebron James or Dwyane Wade which I can guarantee you these 3 new Warriors are not). Why would a young team want to get even younger?
I'll bore you once more- I'm not ready to sit through another youth movement or rebuilding process. I want to win now. You don't play to build up a roster that you project will be good years down the line. Borrowing a line from then New York Jets coach Herman Edwards- "You play to win the game."
I'm with Herm.
Look, Fantasy Junkie, DJ Fuzzylogic, Hash, and I are first time season ticket holders for next year. (Yes, we finally raised enough dough from this crazy hobby we call GSoM- more on this later of course.) We didn't buy season tickets to watch a team play for the future. We bought these tickets from the blood, sweat, and tears we pour into this community to watch the Warriors win- NOW. We've seen over a decade of suck and made a decade's worth of jokes about the "good times". The rebuilding has gotten old, but winning never gets old.
20. Friends in high places
I don't think this isn't the last deal between the Charlotte Bobcats and Golden State Warriors that we'll see over the course of the next few years. The ties and bonds between ex-Warrior GM and new Bobcats GM Rod Higgins has with the Warriors are strong. Yo Higgy- we're happy to take that undersized center Emeka Okafor off your hands for the current longest tenured Warrior and "all time great" Adonal Foyle. I kid, I kid.
21. Improving dollars and sense
A lot of NBA players work hard just to get more zeroes on their next contract, but the interesting thing about Jason's tenure with the Dubs is that he actually worked hard to get better and win every night out. After he got paid he didn't lose the fire like Erick Dampier, Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, or Adonal Foyle and stop improving his game. Haha, okay well I guess Damp and Dun never had that fire in the first place.
Don't discount this big Jason Richardson accomplishment in the midst of the losing culture that pervaded this organization for over a decade under the incompetent Chris Cohan. It's a big deal.
22. Backloading the money
A lot of NBA hoops analysts bring up the remaining 50 mill on Jason Richardson's contract. The money on Richardson's contract is backloaded (which is actually fairly common), meaning that the Bobcats are paying the brunt of the 70 million dollar contract Mullin inked JR to back in 2004, not the Warriors. I have to give props to Mullin here- he managed to hook his favs JR, Murph, and Dun to big money deals, but didn't actually have to pay that much of it.
23. Bad Karma
I was listening to Rod Brooks on KNBR 680 who was strongly in favor of the trade, but made the point that JRich was absolutely beloved here. He was beloved by the fans, his teammates (I don't think it's a good time to poll them for their thoughts on this trade right now), and the organization. Jason loved playing here as well. JRich was with us during all the bad times- and believe me there were some awful times for Warriors Nation between 2001-2006. We Believe and finally see the light and then BOOM- he's gone. Sorry, but I don't think the trade with the BETcats won the Warriors any points with the hoops gods.
Sport that #23 with pride.
The now throwback Jason Richardson #23 Warriors jersey: Blue | Orange | The City | Tagline | Youth | Girls Tee -- and yes, I hate the fact that the JR jersey sale profits are all going to the Warriors.
Give us 23 thoughts about draft day 2007 for the Warriors in the comments section.
- JRich or Die Flying
- Draft Day Reflection
- Live Blog of the 2007 NBA Draft
- Warriors 2007 Draft Central [Warriors.com]
Photos: Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty, Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images