Despite being one of the most discussed topics on GSoM for a while now, the last article in this series stirred up a ton of great conversation about Monta Ellis and his place on the team. Now it's time to turn our attention to the Small Forward position where we've seen a lot of turnover this offseason.
We've said goodbye to a player that many Warriors fans loved to hate, thanks in no small part to his ugly (but effective) style of play on offense and ugly (yeah, just ugly) style of play on defense, in Corey Maggette.We've said hello to a player who could end up being one of the best value signings of the entire offseason in Dorell Wright. The only holdover who looks to get significant minutes at Small Forward is a guy who has logged more D-League minutes than NBA minutes so far in his career in Reggie Williams. What we are left with is a Small Forward spot without a single proven starter on the roster... So why am I so excited about it?
I don't think the kids with the sweat mops will miss cleaning up after 'The Human Bowling Ball'
(that's with 1 R and 2 Ls folks)
Show us what you've got! No, no that's not what I meant!
Dorell Wright has managed to fly under the radar down in Miami for the past six seasons. It's actually kind of hard to believe that he's been around that many years. He came into the league as a raw, athletic, long, 19 year old who's biggest asset was his potential. He spent most of his rookie year watching the games in a suit having missed 76 games due to injury. His second season didn't get much better as he played very few minutes, appearing in only 20 games, and spending some time on assignment in the D-League. That's not all that bad considering that the team won a title that season, and didn't have the luxury of letting him develop on the court. It ended up taking him two full seasons before he found his way onto the court for any significant amount of time, and even then the playing time was unpredictable. From NBA.com:
missed a total of 145 games due to injury, 56 games as a healthy scratch on the inactive list, 53 games as a DNP-CD and seven games while on assignment to the NBA Development League…
That's a total of 261 games missed. Compare those numbers with the fact that after six seasons in the NBA he's only appeared in 211 games and it's easy to see that it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Dorell so far. When he missed basically the entire '08-'09 struggling to recover from knee surgery he had to be doubting his future in the league. He was able to come back strong last season though, playing in 72 games and racking up 1496 minutes. I guess the silver lining for Warriors fans is that all the time he's spent off the floor is what allowed us to snag a promising young player for $11 million over three years.
Skill-set? Well, it looks like he has a pretty good Spinning Back-Fist... Or is that a Judo Chop?
So what do we know about Dorell Wright? Even though many sites still have him listed at 6-7, reports out of Miami (and casual observation) have him at around 6-9 or 6-10. He has a long and lean build, but looks to have filed out nicely during the course of his career so far.
He's shown that he can be a very solid rebounder at the SF spot when he averaged 7.6 and 7.2 reb/36min in '06-'07 and '07-'08 respectively. There is some cause for concern in that area though, as his rebounding suffered a significant drop off last season, down to 5.7 reb/36min. This could be a sign that he's lost something from his knee injury, or it could just be indicative of a shift in role that also had him focusing more on his perimeter game.
Speaking of his perimeter game, he added an effective three point shot last season that he converted at 38.9%. The addition of that outside shot helped to make last year his most efficient season where he saw regular minutes, ending up with a .567 TS%.
Last season his blocks were also down from his career high 1.3 blk/36min (achieved in two seasons) to 0.8 blks/36. Again, you could attribute this to injury or a change in role. I honestly haven't seen enough of him to make that determination. If anyone caught more than a couple of his games last season please toss in your scouting report in the comments.
So what he have is a guy who has shown that he can rebound the ball at a high level, protect the rim, hit from outside, score efficiently overall, take good care of the ball, and use his length to make a positive impact on defense. What he hasn't shown is whether or not he can do all those things in the same season. If he can, this will be a breakout year for Dorell Wright.
We've already discussed Reggie WIlliams and what he brings to the table in the last "Questions Abound", so I'll try not to repeat any of that. The real question I want to get to is whether or not Reggie Williams has a shot at being our starting SF. It makes so much sense on paper to have the more well rounded Wright start and play a complementary style alongside Curry, Monta, and Lee, and then to have Reggie come off the bench with some scoring punch. But, if I'm Reggie Williams, heading into training camp I'm looking to earn that starting Small Forward spot. He certainly has a shot to do so. If Nelson is still coaching this team (with every day that passes that is looking more and more likely) you'd have to think he would feel pretty comfortable running a guy who he leaned on heavily at the end of last season out there as a starter.
Go get it Reggie!
Yes, I know he's not on the team anymore...
During his time here Corey Maggette played the role of the scape goat. He replaced Baron (kind of). He didn't play defense. His style of play was ugly. His contract was large and long. He had a history of injuries. He was the major move in the offseason that saw the Warriors slide from a 48 win team to a 29 win team. And all of that was held against him.
What Corey Maggette did was show up with a professional attitude night in and night out, and do his thing. His thing, of course, was attacking the basket and getting to the line. He quietly put up the one of the best seasons of his career last year, scoring at the highest rate (24 pts/36min) with the highest efficiency (.615 TS%) that he ever has. Whether it was as a starter or coming off the bench, receiving boos or cheers, Corey was consistently a positive contributor on offense and a class act.
Ahhhh... No wonder he could get to the line at will. It looks like he and D Wade have been trying out a new prototype of the Iron Man armor. Thank you Tony Stark!
Having sung his praises, I feel like I should add that I absolutely would have made that trade to dump him and his contract in a heartbeat. There was absolutely no place for an aging player like Maggette and his contract on this squad moving forward. This is a team of hope and new beginnings, and having a broken down 31 year old Maggette hanging around could have really hindered our ability to get better. Hopefully moving forward the Warriors can make up for whatever they lost on offense with superior ball movement and chemistry. As constructed now we have the opportunity to get away from all the iso plays, and get back to a free flowing offense with ball movement. That is definitely something I'd like to see.