Larry Riley over the summer made some bold moves. Moves that no doubt that were for the better for our overall talent level. Maybe. Adding David Lee - a rare, skilled, yet defensively inept big man- can definitely change our team's fortunes when he's not unhealthy, misused, and lacking a jumpshot that was once so good.
Dorell Wright, a great complementary player but anytime you try to rely on him to create offense for himself, you are taking a big risk. Good defender, but not someone who can change a team's attitude and effectiveness on that side of the ball alone.
The trade for David Lee rid us of our depth. Trading depth for top level talent isn't a bad thing-ever. However, the bench's strengths helped compensate for a poorly constructed starting lineup. Now we have a group of good players but none play defense well besides Wright and Biedrins (in Ellis and Lee's cases, they can't defend at all), and they all foul-except Lee, he doesn't even try- but none draw fouls well enough to compensate for their ineptitude in this regard.
I really thought this team's talent level had increased substantially. The top 5 this year >> last couple of year's top 5, in terms of talent. But this is why you can't build a team based completely off WP. It will tell you how well someone's played, but it won't account for the situation or the role that got them there. Larry Riley succeeded at acquiring talent but did he retain the talent we already had? That's debatable.
I now realize he eliminated this team’s strengths from years past which included guys who could get steals + blocks without fouling, and guys who could draw lots of fouls and hit 3’s. While all the guys mentioned are flawed (Maggette, Morrow, CJ, Turiaf) their strength’s meshed well and helped us overachieve even with an overall bad roster talent wise (and coaching wise).
This years team has many good players in the starting 5, but as of now they are poor fits. I think this could change with a trade of Monta, which i think is more necessary than ever, he doesn’t help this team. However, I doubt Riley has the balls to do it. Almost any trade of Monta will look bad in the media with their knowledge of PPG and highlight reel plays. Oh by the way, he's trying to keep his job. Not a good combination.
To specify, Monta's adjusted +/- in the past 3 years (post Baron-era) in comparison to teammates:
2008-2009: -.8 (8th out of 13)
2009-2010: -11.52 worse than everyone other than Vlad and Mikki
2010-2011: +.8 (9th out of 15...however SSS)
Without getting into the advanced metrics that back this up, I don't see a successful future in the backcourt of Steph and Monta. Mainly because neither defend their position well. Specifically Monta because he will never have the size to guard his position while Steph does. Younger players tend to get better on defense as they age and understand team defensive concepts better. There is still hope for Curry to become a decent defender, and if those foul rates go down, it seems likely he will. But will Ellis ever be able to guard 2's? He's 25 and even with the effort he's given this season, it's clear he really can't guard them on a nightly basis. Maybe for one night but not consistently. Size kills.
The Warriors need to put Lee back in the pick and roll and run. Why did we acquire someone like David Lee to only stray away from his strengths? We need to maximize his strengths because it’s very rare to find a player who is a very good scorer, rebounder, and passer from the big man position. He does suck on defense so that’s why you find defensive role players to surround him and Curry because it is harder to find Stephen Curry’s and David Lee’s than it is to find Ronny Turiafs or Micheal Pietrus’s.
Keith Smart's been a huge problem but roster configuration was as well. Riley may have helped us down the road but for now, until these problems are addressed it will be hard for this Warrior's team to meet the expectations of those who like this team's overall, but not collective talent.