Monta Ellis SG
C.J. Watson PG
Vladamir Radmanovic SF
These are the players that I will evaluate as being part of a “healthy” Golden State Warriors team. I am excluding Tolliver, George, and Bell. I understand Bell may be with the team next year, but it would be very difficult to evaluate his ability since he has not played very much this year and I am unsure what his role will be if he stays in Oakland. George was really only acquired as an expiring contract. Tolliver has had some impressive games this year but I am hard pressed to see him getting any minutes on a healthy Warriors squad.
Note: This is not an end all projection and I understand it is flawed but it is the most sound logic that I can back up with some semblance of numerical analysis.
I am evaluating the offense based on the idea that the Warriors will average approximately 85 to 86 shots taken per game. This is based off of this year's team average for the season, and a historic team average when playing under Don Nelson. I distribute 241 based on this years average for total minutes played per game for the team. The minutes distributed will be “perfect world” minutes based on the team being completely healthy for one entire year. I understand that through the course of any basketball season players will miss a few games and this will inflate the minutes of certain players that come off the bench, as well as starters that have good stamina.
Biedrins 27 MPG at Center
Turiaf 18 MPG at Center 3 MPG at Power Forward
Hunter 3 MPG at Center 2 MPG at Power Forward
Randolph 25 MPG at Power Forward
Wright 16 MPG at Power Forward
Maggette 25 MPG at Shooting Forward 3 MPG at Power Forward
Azubuike 20 MPG at Shooting Forward 3 MPG at Shooting Guard
Vladimir Radmonovic 1 MPG at Shooting Forward
Ellis 30 MPG at Shooting Guard 7 MPG at Point Guard
Morrow 12 MPG at Shooting Guard 2 MPG at Shooting Forward
Curry 32 MPG at Point Guard
C.J. Watson 9 MPG at Point Guard 3 MPG at Shooting Guard
Now based on these minutes I will calculate how many shots each player will take on average per game using basketball reference.
Biedrins 6.6 FGA per game (based on career averages)
Randolph 9.86 (based on career averages)
Maggette 11.41 (based on career average)
Ellis 19.7 (based on this year's average)
Curry 11.37 (based on this year's average)
Azubuike 7.98 (based on career average)
Turiaf 4.2 (based on career average)
Wright 5.3 (based on career average)
Morrow 4.7 (based on career average)
C.J. Watson 3.4 (based on career average)
Hunter 1.3 (based on this year)
Radmonovic .32 (based on career average)
All of this adds up to 86.14 which is close to the amount of shots taken per game this year, and almost identical to the 2008-2009 average of 86.03
Biedrins 9.15 PPG
Randolph 11.7 PPG
Maggette 16.91 PPG (would be 18.26 based on this year's level of efficiency, but I highly doubt Maggette could keep that number up.)
Ellis 23.0 PPG
Curry 13.68 PPG
Azibuike 9.96 PPG
Turiaf 6.475 PPG
Wright 7.11 PPG
Morrow 6.06 PPG
Watson 4.46 PPG
Hunter 1.57 PPG
Radmanovic .37 PPG
When I add up the total points per game the total average number of points scored per game would be 110.45. The current Warriors team has given up an average of 110.8 points per game. The 2008-2009 team gave up 112.3 points per game. If I were to average the last two seasons together then the warriors would give up 111.55.
If the Warriors this year scored at the same efficiency that would theoretically give them 110.45 PPG on 86.15 field goals attempted per game on the same amount of shots (85.37) they have taken this year their per game average of points per game would be 109.45.
Note: If Maggette did keep this year's efficiency up the total points scored by the Warriors would be 111.8. (( Prorated to the amount of shots the Warriors have attempted this year the total would be 110.78))
This means that if the Warriors were completely healthy they would probably only be slightly below .500. If a healthy Warriors team were to play there is a considerably good chance that they would be able to hold opponents to less than 110.45 points per game. For instance the 48-34 Warriors team from 2007-2008 held opponents to 108.8 points per game.
The offensive production could also be improved on a healthy Warriors team if current trends continue, with the young core of Curry and Randolph becoming more efficient scorers as they become more experienced.
One glaring deficiency with the Warriors offense is Ellis's inefficiency. Clearly there this could be because of a lack of talent surrounding Ellis on the current Warrior roster. It could be true that if it were others that were taking Ellis's excess shots they would be just as inefficient or even more inefficient than Monta. With a fully healthy team filled with scorers like Azubuike and Randolph Ellis would probably not take as many bad shots and therefore improve his efficiency.
Also as Curry continues to be comfortable in the PG role, it is possible that Ellis will play off the ball more often. If one looks at the 2007-2008 Warriors team Monta was a much more efficient scorer. Also if one watches the Warriors it is clear that every bit of Monta'a athleticism has returned after his major injury. If Monta were to return to his 2007-2008 playing style adding his new and improved 3 point accuracy Monta would score 22.03 points on 16.7 shots in 37 minutes played. He would give up 3 shots but only lose 1 PPG. Monta very well could put up these numbers given as he has been over played this season and fatigue may very well be playing into his lack of efficiency. If these three shots were given to Curry and Curry maintained 75% of his efficiency on those shots the team would increase their total points averaged per game to 112.18. I understand 112.18 points per game is a perfect world projection, but it isn't much of a stretch if you consider all the young players on the team
With Curry's emergence as a NBA point guard with excellent court vision it wouldn't be a stretch to say that in the future the Warrior bigs like Turiaf, Biedrins, Randolph and Wright might get more easy buckets due to assists. It is not unreasonable in my opinion for the current Warriors team to score 113-114 points per game if they stay completely healthy.
So the current group of Warriors has potential to be a playoff team as long as they stay healthy. Without an efficient low post scorer, and a defensive presence down low I don't see the Warriors becoming a Championship type team. To complicate matters with the Warriors current style of play they need to get an efficient low post scorer with good low post defense that can also run the floor extremely well. These players are generally extremely hard to find and extremely expensive to sign or acquire.
The Warriors need to develop a winning culture with what they have in order to attract the type of player they need, or they need to continue to play badly and wait to get lucky in the draft. A big name player with an expiring contract or a big time free agent needs to know that the Warriors are stable and competitive before they will sign with the team.
The other option is as many on this site has suggested is to get rid of Nelson and his small ball, trade Maggette and Ellis and start from scratch centering the team around Curry. In my opinion the Warriors need to build on what they have and not throw their players away simply to dump their contracts. Trading away talent has been a major problem for many years for this organization.
Now is not the time to panic the Warriors already have a high level of talent and will only improve due to the 2010 draft. The Warriors have had 8 players available most of the year even if the warriors were healthy this year they probably would have still been slightly below .500, and they would not have been in good draft position. Curry is currently getting tons of playing time, and is developing nicely. It is possible that without this losing season Curry would have not been able to show the team and the fans what he is truly capable of.
For my final example I am going to project Anthony Randolph's offense at only 15% increased efficiency. The Warriors would score a total of 3.67 more points per game on the same amount of shots(assuming he plays only 27 minutes per night.) I believe Randolph is completely capable of reaching this mark as well as also improving other aspects of his game given as if he is only 20 years old at the moment.
So the future actually could be very bright for the Warriors. This depends entirely on the front office. Not necessarily who the front office trades or does not trade, but on the restraint the front office shows in not trading away the most important parts of what could be a very good Warriors team.