ANDRIS BIEDRINS GONE FOR GOOD?
Andris Biedrins came into the league as an exceptionally young and relatively unknown basketball talent. His unfamiliarity with the hype culture that comes along with college stardom, as fans struggled to pronounce his name correctly, allowed Biedrins a somewhat innocent existence in his young career. There was only the competition, the game. His ascension to crowd favorite was predicated on his grit under the boards and his ability to make Baron Davis look good on the distributing end.
Then he got paid, and everything changed. Being the conscientious kind of guy he appears to be, after the first 9 million dollar deposit, Andris had to look at himself and say, "Can I really be earning this kind of money? No. I need to do more. I need to become a complete player."
This is how Andris Biedrins was killed as an up-and-coming building block of the franchise. We remember the quotes two seasons ago after his off-season play in Europe, where he supposedly played aggressively on the offensive end: "This will be a breakout year, watch out", and "You will see a new Andris Biedrins." Is it a coincidence that these grand predictions came after his salary took an assuring, yet demanding 6 million dollar leap?
Dissimilar from the organization's wishes, It appears Andris couldn't go on living being a kicking one-trick pony with golden gloves. Call it guilt, conviction, whatever - He wasn't fulfilled being the player that he is, and the money changed him.
But hey, it's not his fault his abdomen got torn up and Nelson limped him through the 09-10 season. Excuses? The confidence he gained overseas, the bold predictions - They all prepared an abysmal nose dive into a momentous nightmare of a season. It followed; Nelson waltzed into lame duck territory, Monta wildly mocked the search for a team identity, Corey Maggette seemed to be an untradable one-way ticket into a reeking hell-hole of basketball poverty, and we had just traded Stephen Jackson for nothing.
Truth is, the fans were pillaging every town, searching under every rock and leaf for some poor soul waiting to be falsely accused for a catamite, that we could rip open and eat alive. We ate Andris Biedrins, and Don Nelson was more than happy to serve him up in every local newspaper and sports website available.
AB's misconception of his mortal duties as a ball player, the contract he was rewarded and is currently failing to earn, his unprotected injury that led to league-wide humiliation, and his crucial misfire of broken promises after seemingly becoming the most reliable producer on the team, completely dispelled Andris Biedrins overboard from our grace, into the water, and crashing against the waves. He may be too conscientious to ever recover and return on board. Our Bonnie lies over the bay, and he ain't coming back. How do you trade him? Should you now? Knowing that every passing gamed drops his stock? Or do you wait for his game to pick up and get an equal value?
Why we can't win consistently
It is said that inside scoring decides most games on the offensive end. Why is this? Isn't basketball a game of conversions and attempts all the same? What is the difference if you're shooting a good percentage?
Perimeter scoring is the quickest way to win or lose a game. It speeds up the game to breakneck speed, for better or worse. This step away from normalcy is what Don Nelson viewed as an advantage in the pace of the game, as most squads are not accustomed to keeping up with it. Defensively, it is a certain way to invite a quick death, especially if you're not a good defensive team that can make up for poor shot selections and the mistakes that are birthed with an enhanced offense.
Long shots turn into long misses that spur the break. Perimeter shooting is contagious either way, and it provokes unruly selections early on the clock. A "bad shot" can also be translated as an "unexpected shot". If the 4 teammates are expecting the ball to be shot in a situation, it is likely because it is a good one. If a bad shot is both unexpected from teammates and in essence of a low percentage, not only is there a good chance that it results in a long rebound to spur a fast break, but also a good chance that the 4 teammates are out of position, and unfit to recover to transition D.
This is why the Warriors so easily look like a beautiful team one quarter, and losers the next.
Without an inside game, we can only play at one speed. Even if you have one player on the team who can score inside, you can then control the pace of the game. Why? When you clear out the lane for a scorer on the block, that means that your teammates are now on the perimeter. This means that you will either convert the basket or not. If the shot is missed, there will be a short rebound, instead of a long one, and a chance the shooter can get a paw on it, delaying the transition fluidity, and your teammates are already near half-court, prepared to defend when the ball is collected.
Short rebounds that are collected by the defense leave the rebounder likened to that of a stationary quarterback. For a big man, it's a low percentage play to transform a short rebound into a successful scoring pass. However, the trajectory of the long rebound covers a lot of ground and the rebounder is now more likened to a wide receiver instead of a stationary passer, and in this scenario is usually a 1-3, a player easily capable of making an accurate, short scoring pass on the run.
As long as the Warriors continue this masquerade of reveling in their marksmanship, we will never win. It is folly.
ADDING CHRIS KAMAN TO AID DAVID LEE
There are few centers in the league who can score from mid-range like Chris Kaman. The same can be said of David Lee now, from his respected position. Both are also capable on the block, perhaps more so, Kaman.
The benefit of Lee and Kaman on offense is their ability to prove interchangeable in a high-low offensive set. Kaman can go high with Lee low, or Lee can go high with Kaman low. You can clear out and design a play for Kaman, and he can kick it back up top to Lee. Now, you have a passer/shooter who can create angles, while Chris remains a threat on the block. This would be a great situation for us, considering our shooting prowess. I would propose:
Warriors get: Chris Kaman, Brian Cook
Why the Clippers make this trade:
Chris Kaman averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds last year. He blocks shots. He was an All-Star. However, with Baron Davis earning 13 million over the next 3 years, and DeAndre Jordan recently playing so well with Griffin, as a young and valuable center, the Clippers would do well to keep their big man depth, while dumping Kaman's big contract. Blake Griffin completely changed the complexity of this team. Kaman is effective when he gets his share of touches every game. Unfortunately for the Chris/Blake duo, Griffin proves he needs his share of touches as well, looking like a future MVP candidate.
Jordan plays so well with Griffin, because he does not need to touch the ball at all. He has a great impact on the game through his shot-blocking, rebounding, and athleticism moving without the ball and finishing, when the double-team inevitably develops around BG. If they can keep Jordan at the starting center next to Blake, and allow him to grow there, they will need cap room to re-sign him after this season. He will earn a respectable contract. It is not considered a covetous position to have two centers earning 8-13 million/yr without enough time to go around.
If the Clippers make this trade, they can resign Jordan, keep their depth and youth in their front court (Amundson, Wright) and have enough money in the off-season to possibly tempt Carmelo or another big name player to come and play with Blake Griffin in arguably the most popular city in all the world.
Why the Warriors make this trade:
Inside scoring. Rebounding. Size. Interior Defense. This trade makes the small back court more excusable on the defensive end. Kaman and Udoh are absolute road blocks on the defensive end. We retain the rebounding Andris Biedrins would give us from that position. David Lee is relieved from the block and can play the top of the key where he can oversee the court with his passing ability and his shooting, which has really come along lately. Chris Kaman is 7-0, 270. He clogs the lane on defense and blocked 3 shots a game 3 seasons ago. Kaman averaged nearly 20 ppg last season and shot 75% from the foul line.
In summation, we add a legitimate low post threat, we maintain a 3-man big rotation, developing Udoh, Radmonavic and Cook playing filler minutes. Kaman is only under contract for 2 more years at 12m. After 2 years, Curry will be up for a new contract. Kaman will be coming off the books and we can either re-negotiate, or have the flexibility to look elsewhere if necessary.
PATCHING UP THE PERIMETER DEFENSE
I've mentioned before that the Warriors would do well to add one of the very best perimeter on-ball defenders in 25-year-old Trevor Ariza. I was thrown to the dogs, but anyway, here I go again.
Warriors get: Trevor Ariza, Marcus Banks
Why Hornets make the trade:
With Chris Paul's off-season comments stirring emotion and panic in New Orleans, it's safe to say that he wants to be on a winning team. Granted, that's what the Hornets currently are, but are they a contender? Trading Trevor Ariza for expiring contract(s) would allow the team to free close to 20 million for the off-season. It would be a crucial time to consult with Paul and go after a player(s) that he would specifically want on the team. Carmelo sweepstakes? Paul and Carmelo would be much better suited than Carmelo and STAT in New York.
Ariza is slightly overpaid, and gives poor production on the offensive end. For Paul, an unselfish, pass-first point guard who revels in getting teammates involved, the Hornets should look to sign a big time scorer from the 2-3 position to get the most out of Paul's distributing talents. Ariza is not this player, and his somewhat hefty contract could be used to help the cause of obtaining a star to keep Paul in New Orleans. With Okafor earning over 10m, and West earning close to 10 mil as well, Ariza squeezes the Hornets in the free agent sweepstakes.
Why the Warriors make the trade:
Joe Lacob mentioned in recent interviews, "We need to improve our perimeter defense"...."We'd want to add a player who would be part of our future plans"...."There are a few good players we're looking at who are slightly overpaid, but could help the team win."
Trevor Ariza splits that bill. He is surely one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, and a great open court player in transition.
Curry - Offense/Defense
Ellis - Offense/Defense
Ariza - Defense/Offense
Lee - Offense/Defense
Kaman - Defense/Offense*
Wright - Offense/Defense*
Law - Defense/Offense
Udoh - Defense/Offense
* = debatable
Having Ariza in the middle of a plethora of offensive weapons, is a great line-up to kick start the 1st quarter.
I like this line-up in the 2nd quarter when the game slows down:
All three perimeter players are solid defenders at those positions, great balance of inside-outside scoring, great size and defensive presence in the post, 2 on-ball scorers in Monta and Kaman, with Dorell's spot-up shooting off the ball and his distribution from the perimeter.
The flexibility Ariza brings with his defense and the inside presence and size of Kaman would allow the Warriors to play at virtually any tempo. They can slow it up and feed Kaman down low and play Lee off of him. Or they can decoy Kaman and play their perimeter style. Ellis' passing skills are continuing to sharpen, and having a player like Kaman available under the basket after the defense is forced to react, would be effective.
If Keith Smart really has the respect of his players, and these trades were to somehow happen, I'm confident that he could sell Ariza into focusing primarily on defense, transition scoring, and rebounding. Our team is so thirsty for the abilities he has on that end and some size to counter the problems the Monta/Curry tandem presents.
Thanks for reading this post.