The chatter from Team R/R (Riley and Rowell) during their press conferences and conference call was that anything less than making the playoffs would be a disappointment and that with a healthy team and an addition or 2 would be a playoff team. While we can all understand why Team R/R would want to go all out and make a desperate grab for the 8th seed (seeing how the fan base reacted after our last brief playoff appearance and the debacle that was the 08-09 season both on and off the court) is that the best plan for the franchise?
-Problem, we won 29 games last year. What can we expect from the youngsters? A healthy Monta Ellis will obviously help the most. A healthy prepared combination of Wright/Randolph can solidify the 4 position. We also have a stable of under 25 players (Biedrins, Turiaf, Morrow, Belinelli, Azibuike and possibly Kurz, Davidson, and Watson if they are brought back) but can we really expect giant improvement from any of those guys. Not sure that even with a trade where we give up some youngsters and try to upgrade with a proven veteran would make us a team that can compete for the playoffs.
If that’s the plan where do we go? The obvious move would be trying to move Belinelli and Wright along with either Maggette or Crawford for an upgrade at some position. What can we get for that, in this economy and the possible mega 2010 free agent class, teams might be wary on taking back a contract like Maggette or Crawford. But there are a lot of possibilities, with a plethora of young players and the 7th pick of the draft there are several possibilities.
When you’re a 29 win team you should obviously be blowing up the phones seeing what type of options are out there, maybe the best plan is just to wait it out. We have a couple of really good looking young players (Ellis and Biedrins) and a bunch of other young players that can possibly be really good players (Azibuike, Wright, Morrow, Belinelli, and definitely Randolph). Quick fixes don’t work very often; maybe it’s time to accept the fact that we are not a playoff team. Let the young players develop, find out who can really be an impact player in the NBA, and look to shop either Maggette or Crawford (with some young players) for some expiring contracts. Taking a step back for the next year or 2, might actually make us a really good young team 3 years from now with a decent amount of cap space (see Portland and New Orleans; soon Minnesota and Oklahoma City). It probably won’t be the most popular idea, but it might be the best idea if we want to become a franchise that can compete deep in the playoffs one day.