To tell you the truth I didn't want to have to blog about the Golden State Warriors counting lotto balls again after We Believe '07, but I guess that's too much to ask from an organization that has missed the playoffs 13 of the past 14 years in a league where half the teams qualify for post-season action. It really makes you wonder why there's so many passionate fans shelling out their hard earned dollars and precious time for a such a historically losing organization and clueless front office led by a owner who almost single handedly killed pro hoops in the Bay Area. But since we're on the eve of the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery, I thought it would be a great time to review the Warriors' hits and misses in the draft under front office man Chris Mullin.
Jump like the lotto balls!
For some reason a lot of people seem to think Mullin was officially at the reigns when the Dubs selected Mickael Pietrus with the 11th pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. In actuality that was Gary St. Jean's last draft class at a time when the Warriors were in serious limbo with the Gilbert Arenas free agency and months before they sold Antawn Jamison off the golden island for Nick Van Exel and Dale Davis' contract (+ Speedy Claxton = Baron Davis). That means Mullin has been steering the ship for just the last 4 Warrior drafts- 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007.
If previous draft success or lack thereoff is any indicator of the future (the 2008 NBA Draft), Warriors fans should be terrified. Let's take a closer look at who the Warriors took in those 4 drafts and in the Jordan and Pippen 2.0 tradition who they passed on regardless of position since that's a good metric of their drafting ability. (You ALWAYS, ALWAYS draft the best player available regardless of position in the NBA. This isn't the NFL Draft.)
After 2 lackluster seasons in the association that earned him the nickname the One Minute Man, Biedrins has morphed into a very solid, albeit limited starting center in the league. He is the Warriors' best and most consistent rebounder by far. Biedrins cuts to the hole extremely well without the ball as well as catches and finishes in ways that Warriors fans couldn't dream of when watching the man Shaq called Erica manning the middle for the Dubs in the earlier part of this decade. Biedrins' upside doesn't appear to be that great with his complete lack of a jumpshot or any offensive moves coupled with his smallish frame, but he's still only 22. There's plenty of time for him to hopefully keep taking big steps forward.
Andris doesn't drop trophies like CWebb.
By the way, what's up with that evil looking guy in the background?
- #15 Al Jefferson- Just a superior big man who came off a 21-11 campaign. Something Biedrins will never do.
- #17 Josh Smith- An athletic freak with the potential to be a superstar who's still only 22.
- #26 Kevin Martin- 23.7ppg ain't no joke.
- #31 Anderson Varejão- I can't say I enjoy watching him flop/ play, but his motor, defensive hustle, and rebounding are exactly what the Dubs need
Overall grade for 2004 NBA Draft:
The names the Warriors passed on in this draft are a bit alarming, but you can't argue with getting a starting center with the #11 pick. Any way you look at it that's impressive... A-
2005 NBA Draft
Ike Diogu (#9), Monta Ellis (#40), Chris Taft (#42)
Ike Diogu: It's laughable that not too long ago Chris Mullin boldly proclaimed Ike as untouchable and wouldn't move him as part of a package for Ron Artest. Man, I still have dreams of the Warriors trotting out Boom Dizzle, J-Rich, and Ron-Ron. I don't care who you throw at the 4 and the 5. That's deadly.
Through 3 years in the league Ike has put up 6.5 ppg and 3.3 rpg. It really says something when an NBA player can't beat out Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy for minutes on not one, but two teams. I hated the pick when they made it, briefly fell in love with Ike's arsenal of low post moves and soft touch extending to about 18 feet, and then quickly realized the NBA game is just too fast for him to be anything more than a 9th or 10th man in this league at best.
His low post moves are so nice they even make Dun and Murph look like "assets" worth trading for.
- #10 Andrew Bynum- Excuse while I jump off the Bay Bridge.
- #17 Danny Granger- If Mullin and the Warriors front office weren't so busy making excuses for Dun back then, I bet they wouldn't have overlooked Granger.
- #19 Hakim Warrick- Give this guy 30mpg consistently and he'll get you 15ppg and 8rpg.
- #21 Nate Robinson- The Warriors would have DOMINATED the All-Star Slam Dunk tourney in the 2000's.
- #24 Luther Head- Okay, he's not that great but it would have saved us from several painful Warrior Killer moments.
- #27 Linas Kleiza- If the Nuggets didn't pull off the Ron Artest trade as rumored because they wanted to hold onto Linas and his blanket, they've got some serious issues. Still he's a pretty solid player when compared to Ike.
- #26 Jason Maxiell- Seems like the nasty PF the Warriors have been searching for.
- #30 David Lee- The Warriors wouldn't get killed on the glass nightly if they had Lee playing alongside Biedrins. Props to Isiah for this pick.
- #37 Ronny Turiaf- He looks like a superstar every time he plays the Dubs. I know he's not as good as he looks matched up against the Warriors, but he'd give them some nice size and depth down low.
Monta Ellis: Ellis to the Rim is one of the best 2nd round picks of all time and Mullin and company's best draft selection by far. He has become virtually unguardable on the fast break because of his uncanny finishing ability and amazing speed. His defense was absolutely atrocious this past year after a promising second season, but his offensive game is where 53.1% FG happens. My biggest fear is that he's leveled off and will follow the same trajectory as Tony Parker, but hopefully that proves to be a bad comparison.
I don't think I need to tell you much more about his game. If I do, then you've really been missing out.
Future Dream Teamer?
- No one- thank you very much!
Chris Taft: Can you believe there were so many mock drafts that had Chris Taft in the lottery back then? There were a few that even had the Warriors taking Taft at #9. Thank god that didn't happen. Not that their #9 pick Ike Diogu turned out that hot.
The not-so-quite lottery pick at #42.
- #45 Louis Williams- From afar seems like another quick combo guard in the mold of Tony Parker and Monta Ellis.
- #49 Andray Blatche- Very intriguing young player that could be a great option off the bench for Nellie.
- #50 Ryan Gomes- Looks to be a pretty steady forward that could deepen the Warriors thin bench.
- #56 Amir Johnson- Don't be surprised if in a few years Amir's playing big minutes on the Pistons. Joe Dumars knows his big men. Mullin just does not.
Overall grade for 2005 NBA Draft:
I was talking to my man Fantasy Junkie about this the other week- it's time to admit that Ike's a bust. Taft was cut pretty early into his second season with the Warriors and is currently out of the league. Can't say I really mind taking a shot on him in the second round though. Monta's rise to stardom saved this draft for being a dud... C
2006 NBA Draft
Patrick O'Bryant (#9), Kosta Perovic (#38)
Patrick O'Bryant: The Notorious P.O.B. has the dubious distinction of being one of the first lottery picks to be demoted to the NBDL. Throw in the even more dubious honor of playing more minutes in the D-League than the NBA and you have yourselves Patrick O'Bust. Don't be surprised if he's not in the NBA in a few years a la Taft.
- #11 JJ Redick- Just seeing if you're paying attention.
- #14 Ronnie Brewer- The Warriors could have used the depth.
- #16 Rodney Carney- I thought the Warriors should have taken him at the time. He hasn't made a major impact, but I'm still willing to bet he has a better NBA career than Project O'Bryant.
- #20 Renaldo Balkman- A potential future NBA All-Defensive team member.
- #21 Rajon Rondo- How nice would it be having Rondo back up BD?
- #23 Josh Boone- Pretty nice rebounder with some good size.
- #24 Kyle Lowry- He hasn't done much yet, but he's a reportedly an up and coming defender. Probably an upgrade over CJ Watson at the backup 1 spot.
- #26 Jordan Farmar- See #21 Rondo, Rajon
- #36 Craig Smith- The Warriors need size/ bulk and Smith might have given them a few good minutes here and there.
Kosta Perovic: The Kosta drafting and signing was just curious all around. During the 2006 NBA Draft times were extremely dark for this organization and its fans. Monty was still around after a horrid season and the team was saturated with big men prospects who had yet to produce in a big way- Zarko Cabarkapa, Ike Diogu, Andris Biedrins, and Chris Taft. So what did they do in this draft? Draft not 1, but 2 more project big men.
We keep hearing how the team is all about being fiscally responsible after handing out the rephrensible contracts to Derek Fisher, Adonal Foyle, Troy Murphy, and Mike Dunleavy, which makes complete sense. What doesn't make sense is signing Perovic to the midlevel exception for two years at $3.5 million (plus an Adonal Foyle-like contract team option for the third season) to play in the DLeague and be cemented to Nellie's bench.
The Zero Threat Position made famous on GSoM!
Kosta Perovic Report Card: 2007-2008 Midterm
- #42 Daniel Gibon- Who doesn't love them some Boobie?
- #47 Paul Milsap- Exactly what the Warriors need.
- #49 Leon Powe- PR-wise and hoops-wise it would have made so much sense to bring in this local fav, but the Warriors front office and ownership isn't interested in making sense, just cents.
Overall grade for 2006 NBA Draft:
It's completely inexcusable for the front office of an NBA team to have such a poor draft outing... F-
Brandan Wright: Wright looks to be a very talented young prospect with a ton of potential. The problem is he has done next to nothing at the NBA level and Nellie's complete lack of faith in him when the Warriors desperately needed depth at the forward spots this season makes you wonder. It also makes you wonder what the Warriors are thinking by investing in a 6'9 power forward who weighs 20 pounds less than the 6'6 shooting guard they moved for him.
Before we get into the BWright passed on list I should add this disclaimer. Unlike the Diogu and O'Bryant picks where I went on record saying I'd take a different player (Hakim Warrick and Rodney Carney respectively), I can't say I would've done anything differently with the #8 pick. I was surprised on Draft Day 2008 to see Brandan Wright fall down to this slot and if I had that #8 pick you can be sure I would've swooped him up as well. The problem is right now, that pick isn't looking so hot.
Unfortunately this pick hasn't panned out yet.
Passed on (it's way too early to tell obviously, but just to throw some darts in the dark):
- #9 Joakim Noah- After the first month of the season his rebounding numbers were actually pretty impressive. The Warriors could have used his 7.9 rpg (March) and 6.8 rpg (April) down the stretch. I'm not sold Noah has much upside, but GSoM friend Jonathan Givony from DraftExpress was singing him praise before the season started.
- #12 Thaddeus Young- The 76ers got a steal here.
- #13 Julian Wright- Was Julian the right Wright to take at #8?
- #14 Al Thornton- By the way if this really is the reason why KG to the Bay didn't go down, Chris Mullin should be fired.
- #15 Rodney Stuckey- I'm impressed at how he stepped up big in Chauncey Billups' absence in the Magical knock-out game.
- #16 Nick Young- It would have been nice to have a shooter and scorer of Young's caliber this past year coming off the bench.
- #17 Sean Williams- He seemed to hit the rookie wall hard this season, but he has the makings of a big time shot blocker, nice rebounder, and thunderous dunker.
Marco Belinelli: Jiri Welsch- oops, I mean Marco Bellinelli didn't exactly set the hoops world on fire this past year. So far he's been nothing but pointless hype. You know it's bad when Nellie asks a rookie to go down to the DLeague and they straight up refuse. After all that offseason hype from the media and the Warriors organization, you'd expect more than a 2-guard with terrible defensive instincts and horrendous shot selection.
Can you believe some people had Belinelli penciled in the starter at the 2-guard spot over Monta this season? Can you believe some people actually thought he was going to be better than Jason Richardson this year?
Another off-balance jumper? Good god.
Passed on (this pick really ain't looking so hot right now, but the jury's still out):
- #19 Javaris Crittenton- What's not to like about a young point guard with size who could back up BD this season?
- #21 Daequan Cook- An up and coming athletic scorer.
- #31 Carl Landry- There's a reason this guy made the All-Rookie team this season. I doubt the Rockets would have the success they had this past year without him.
- #35 Glen Davis- He's probably the next Michael Sweetney and Nellie would never play him till he slimmed down, but it's a thought.
Stephane Lasme: NCAA swat machine Stephane Lasme didn't even last 1 full month with the Warriors. Props to Lasme though for working his way back to the NBA for some major minutes with the tank-job 2007-2008 Miami Heat. He actually wound up averaging 5.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.9 steals, and 1.5 blocks with the Heat which betters both Wright (4.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.2 steals, and 0.6 blocks) and Belinelli's (2.9 ppg, 0.5 apg, 0.2 steals, and 0.0 blocks) lines for the seasons. I'll be the first one to tell you that that's completely meaningless, but seriously who would've thought?
Pat Riley approved.
Passed on (seems pretty inconsequential, but so far):
- #48 Marc Gasol- Hey the Grizz seemed to want a Gasol in return for Pau.
- #49 Aaron Gray- Here's a darkhorse backup center for the next 4-7 years in the association.
- #52 Taurean Green- Worth a look, but maybe not.
Overall grade for 2007 NBA Draft:
There's always the temptation to give this young draft class an incomplete, since it's too early to really say. But that's just a cop out plus very boring. This Warriors draft class has already produced 1 cut (Lasme), another DLeague level player in that not-so-fine Kosta and POB tradition, and one huge question mark in a skinny forward who doesn't have the bulk to play the 4 or 5 nor the jumper or footspeed to play the 3 in the NBA. We won't even get into that cheap and questionable 2007 Draft Day Jason Richardson and Brandan Wright swap here. Let's check back next year, but as of right now... D-
That's a lot of high draft picks from Mullin that haven't panned out and a lot of nice names they passed on. If it weren't for the solid Biedrins pick and the money Monta find, it would be a complete disaster as of now. It's way too early to judge that 2007 class or even Kosta Perovic, but it's pretty fair to make some strong assessments about the rest.
Overall Grade for 2004-2007 Golden State Warriors Drafts: C-
All eyes are focused on who the Warriors should hire to follow the legendary Don Nelson after this season, but few seem to be closely monitoring the status of Chris Mullin's current GM deal which expires in 2009. If I were the one deciding whether or not to extend Mullin's tenure in the front office, I'd put a lot of weight into the progress and performance of Kosta Perovic, Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli, and the 2008 Warrior Draft picks this upcoming season. Coupled with his embarrassing contract negotiation history (Adonal Foyle, Derek Fisher, Mike Dunleavy, and Troy Murphy) I can't say I'm all that sold on Mullin being in the driver's seat of the Warriors' front office, especially if his drafting record doesn't take a huge turn for the better. As of right now it really looks like it's time to not only plan for a critical head coaching search in the summer of 2009, but possibly also a search for a new GM.
Check out: Don't Forget Your Warriors' Draft History
What's your grade for the 2004-2007 Golden State Warriors drafts (rock the vote in the poll)? Any early predictions for their 2008 performance?