Big trades usually bring mixed emotions. A quick look at the comments in Atma's earlier post will give you an idea of the wide range of reactions among GSoMers. So before I try to break down the trade and what we have coming our way in David Lee, I want to take a minute to look at the good (what they can do), the bad (what they can't do), and the beautiful (what made me love these guys) of three Warriors we've all spent a ton of time watching over the last few seasons.
It's okay AR, you aren't the only one who wants to cry.
There are plenty of GSoMers who will miss you.
The man can rebound the basketball. On a team that rebounded like the Warriors I think that counts for double so... The man can rebound the basketball. He didn't get consistent playing time but he managed to pull down 11.1 reb/36min during his time with the Warriors.
Though often misguided and out of control, AR was an explosive defender. You could never be sure whether he was going to land on someone or get the nasty block, but the effort was there and he has the tools necessary to become a very good defender someday. You expect a 19 or 20 year old to look lost at times playing defense in the NBA, and Randolph was definitely in need of a search party from time to time, but I think he showed promise on the defensive side of the court.
Some of you might be surprised not to see me mention AR's sweet handles or mid-range game in the "good" section. Well don't worry, they will make an appearance in this section. Does Randolph have good looking handles for a man his size? Yes. The problem was that he more often used them to get himself into trouble than to put the defense at a disadvantage. His stroke was inconsistent from anywhere outside the paint with the exception of a nicely developing elbow jumper. The problem here is the same as his ball handling in that he lacked the judgment necessary to take advantage of his skills on the court.
Thanks to this his scoring efficiency was well below average and he had more than his fair share of turnovers. He was not a safe option on offense. His maturity was also called into question on more than one occasion. I don't like to speculate about stuff like this, but he didn't seem like the most emotionally stable player on the court and it wouldn't seem so far fetched to think it may have been an issue at practice or in the locker room. Could he put it all together someday? Maybe, and that brings me to...
Puh, puh, puh, potential. The guy is dripping with it. He has the kind of athleticism that just doesn't come around that often. He has enough skills to pair with that athleticism that you almost have to ignore the actual on-court results and replace them with what we wanted to see. He did average 20 & 11 with 5 blocks this year right?
This guy was a great find out of the D-League that came along during a great time for W's basketball. He was an efficient scorer with a deadly three point shot, a decent mid-range game, and the ability to finish strong at the basket when presented with an opportunity. He was a well rounded role player that did everything reasonably well. Well, almost everything.
Despite putting in a consistent effort, Buiike struggled defending out on the perimeter. He was hampered by repeated knee injuries during his time with the Dubs and it really hurt his lateral movement. I saw waaaayy too many blow-bys when Kaz was on the court. If he guessed wrong on a play he had no chance to recover. To his credit though he was a much better interior defender as he showed against Kobe (and others but that game sticks out in my mind) when he tried to isolate against Buike on the high post and at the elbow extended. Kelenna was good at using his strength and reach to disrupt his rhythm and challenge his shot while staying down on fakes. He was also a very good weakside shot blocker for a SG, and earned quite a few highlights that way. Hey, how did the "bad" column get so good?
The smile, the consistency, the fact that we got him dirt cheap out of the minors. What's not to love? He had his limitations but he worked hard on his game, had a good attitude, and won the hearts of many a Warrior fan. It's really a shame that his most recent injury was so severe. I really hope to see him make a full recovery and play in the league for a long time to come.
Turiaf was a great shot-blocker for us. He played defense with intensity and challenged every shot within ten feet of him. He played solid post defense using his body well to keep good position. He was a great passer for a big, and it was no rare occurrence to see him set up a teammate and immediately run down the court howling and pumping his fist ready to play some D.
For all of his charm and enthusiasm Ronny just couldn't pull down rebounds at an acceptable rate for a big man. It was to the point of being a liability, especially on a team where he was often the only true big man on the court. His defensive intensity also led to a lot of fouls which limited his minutes and helped to get the opposing team into the bonus sooner than they should have. On the offensive end of the ball his great passing came at a price. He was so passive that he would regularly pass out of scoring opportunities, and seemed more comfortable pulling up from 15 feet than he did converting near the rim.
Maybe it was the reality of a heart condition that nearly stole his career (or more importantly his life) early on that helped to put things in perspective for him that whatever the score, whatever his stat-line, whatever the team's record, he was playing a game and he was going to enjoy the heck out of it. He always seemed to be the ultimate teammate and was a pure joy to watch, whether he was on the court or cheering from the bench. His passion was contagious and I'm sure his presence on the team will be missed.
Good Luck in NY
All in all we are losing three fan favorites, but we are gaining the best player in the trade. Usually when you can get the best player in the deal in the NBA you 'won'. There is always the chance that Randolph will live up to his potential and become something really special, but the likely reality here is that we gave up three complementary players. At this point these are the kind of guys that round out a team's rotation. I'm sure the folks in New York will drool over AR's potential, eat up Ronny's antics, and hopefully get a chance to appreciate Kelenna's rock steady game, but I think the sting of what we lost today is more sentimental than detrimental to the team. Not to say I don't have concerns about the trade, I do, but we'll save the other end of the deal for another day. Tonight, I just want say thanks for the good times and best of luck to three of my favorite Warriors.