Now I as everybody else was devastated when I heard Baron chose the Clips rather than stay in the Bay but for some reason, it wasn't as bad as when J-Rich was traded away, I guess it was because I always assumed Baron's days with the Warriors were ending and perhaps I was ready for the day to come.
With Baron gone, now the Warriors have two main positions to worry about, the PF spot and the PG spot as well. With Gilbert Arenas taking the Wizards contract offer, it leaves no other PGs in the league worth offering a contract to, nope not Kirk Hinrich nor Luke Ridnour, they would make our perimeter defense even worse and signing or trading for Billups just doesn't seem like a right fit, plus hes past his prime and we'd have to search for another PG.
The two main PF's out there are Emeka Okafor and Josh Smith and the latter of the two just jumps at me. We saw Josh Smith running and gunning with Atlanta during their homes games against the Boston in the playoffs, imagine Josh Smith running and gunning with a much better fast break team ALL THE TIME. I like Atlanta, but they merely play up-tempo when it suits them and so not all the time. The Dubs on the other hand, PREFER to run and I don't see any other free agent better than Josh Smith to play our PF spot. He's pretty much a younger, more athletic version of Al Harrington only not capable of hitting 3's at a consistent rate. He rebounds WAY better than Al, blocks shots and has 3 point range. Sure he'd have to work on his corner 3's and I see him taking Mickael Pietrus type shots, such as only in the corner or only when wide open.
Many of you will argue for pursuing Okafor and I agree he is a very good player at his position (poor-mans Elton Brand), but he lacks the speed and range that make Warrior PFs so dreaded to play against. NBA teams hate to play us because of our unorthodox, mismatching approach to the game. With Al Harrington and Austin Croshere playing the 4 and 5 spots, it made opposing PFs and C's hate to play us (See Yao Ming). Bringing in Okafor, who would be inserted into the starting lineup obviously would make turn us merely into a conventional team making us easier to guard. Heck, Nelson might even make Okafor the C moving Biedrins to the bench and we'd still have problems at the PF and PG spots.
Unless the Warriors plan on saving their cap space till 2010 to make a run for LeBron or Dwayne Wade, they need to solve at least one of their two positional problems. Josh Smith is an ideal point forward whose numbers would only grow because he'd play in a faster paced game with more possessions. He could play alongside Biedrins and we've seen what he's capable of with the right crowd such as in the playoffs where he made several 3's to seal the game at home against Boston.
Keep all in mind that this is under Nelson's style to the game, should he decide to get "sick" half way through the season and leave early or just finish this one year as he said he would, our next coach might have a completely different approach to basketball. (Yes even Keith Smart might want to switch stuff up). Unless a difference maker can be brought in before the beginning of the season, next season appears more as a chance to develop the young core than integrate them into what we already had because with Baron gone, Monta cannot replicate what Baron can do both offensively and running the team. Too much will be asked of Monta, and he needs to stay in his natural position, a tweener at the 2 spot.
I also don't expect Nelson to retire so abruptly just because one of his better players decided to screw up the whole direction of the team, maybe he will be back again since he stated that Larry Brown is coaching and he is older than Nelson, and hopefuly hopefully HOPEFULLY, he doesn't decide to leave half way through the season.
The Warriors and Josh Smith would be a good fit because I believe finding a PF who can rebound, block shots and shoot 3's plus play a point forward role is much harder than simply finding a pass first PG who can play D.