i Hello GSOMers!
Allow me to introduce myself. I have been an avid lifetime Warriors fan and have for the past few months frequented the GSOM site. I appreciate the active Warriors online community and I find that this site is always the place to go if I want up to date updates on anything and everything Warriors.
I share your passion. I share your love for the Warriors. I share your pain at the Cohan-led era of ineptitude and questionable moves. I also, to an extent, share your impatience and your for-the-most-part-justifiable skepticism.
However, after reading this site for the last few days, I figured it was time for me to make create an SB Nation account and chime in... (unfortunately I did not realize there was a 24 hour waiting period between creating my account and being able to post -- so I missed all of the pre-deadline fun).
I'd like to preface the rest of my post with a little perspective. As I stated above I am as rabid, as enthusiastic, and as hungry as a lot of you Warriors fans but I also want to introduce a bit of realism to the conversation.
I tend to be a little long winded in my writing, so bear with me. I hope I can offer something insightful, something to make you think, something to convince you to lay down your torches and pitchforks. Here are some of my random thoughts on some Warrior-Related topics:
When talking about the new management team of Joe Lacob and Peter Guber let's consider a few things.
1) This ownership group is not the same as not the Chris Cohan Regime. From all indications, it seems as if Lacob/Guber have a clear plan of what they would like to accomplish both on the court and in terms of the 'experience' of going to a basketball game. Their vision is in stark contrast of Cohan's often aimless direction. This ownership group does not seem to be solely focused on money. Yes, buying the team is a business venture, an investment. But from everything I have heard from both Lacob and Guber, they have their minds set on turning this franchise into a force.
2) Change requires patience. Understanding that this new ownership group did not gain control of the team until a very late date, why do I read so many GSOM comments ready to declare Lacob/Guber no better than Cohan? Are we, as fans, really condemning these owners after a few months on the job? Are we really going to equate their inaction to decades of organizational ineptitude demonstrated during the Cohan era?
As Lacob has said several times in interviews, the rejuvenation of the Warriors franchise is going to be a slow process. We, as fans, need to understand that. What does this entail? Well, it entails that we trust that these owners know what they're doing -- that they did not spend 450 million dollars to purchase the team -- only to whimsically let it further erode. As stated above, with the timing of the purchase, change was nearly impossible. This season, whether we like to believe it or not, never had a destination. It, like Nellie, was in lame-duck status. Lacob has said numerous times that this season is about evaluation. Everyone from Keith Smart to Larry Riley to Robert Rowell to ticket office employees to janitors was being evaluated. Change, as we expect, will begin and occur this summer. Lacob and Guber will have had an entire season to see how things work, and which parts of this franchise to change, to enhance, or to replace.
3) The backgrounds of both Lacob and Guber are conducive to success. Both men, Lacob in venture capitalism, and Guber in entertainment, understand that the best results in anything comes from teamwork and synergy. They've already started that process with the Warriors. From what I've read, they've put together a strong board, and have many intelligent minds to put together and come up with the best decisions for this franchise. Lacob, having been part of the Celtics ownership group, is especially primed to succeed as owner of the Warriors because he's seen the rebirth of an organization from perennial lottery team to champion.
The Job of Larry Riley
With all of the negativity I've read on this forum around Larry Riley, I actually believe he's done an admirable job considering the difficult circumstances he has had to overcome. Let me share some of my thoughts on some moves he has made:
Troy Murphy Trade: This trade has elicited many inflamed responses from the GSOM community. I believe Riley actually did alright in the trade. Let's consider that with the uncertain labor future, expiring contracts do not hold the same value as they normally would. Also let's consider that in most cases, expiring contracts are only valuable when coupled with another valuable asset such as a young player with potential or a draft pick. Now let's transfer that logic to the Warriors situation. The young players with potential that the Warriors could have couple with an expiring contract to obtain a difference maker are Stephen Curry and Ekpe Udoh. I believe that Warriors management put a very high premium on both of these players, probably to the point that they overvalue them. Therefore the chances are that Curry and Udoh would not be included in most trade offers. As for coupling expiring contracts with a valuable draft pick--that too was not feasible since we could not offer our first round pick this season in any trade. This is due to the rule, as I am sure you all know, that first round picks cannot be traded in consecutive years and NJ (now Utah) has our first round pick next season (or one of the subsequent seasons).
So in essence, all we had to offer in trades were expiring contracts and expiring contracts, on their own are not worth much at all. So what did Larry Riley do? I'm sure he scoured the NBA landscape for better trades that would add talent to this team without bloating our payroll and hindering our financial flexibility in a cloudy future NBA environment. He ended up getting what he could for his expiring contracts. Instead of letting them expire at the end of the season and getting nothing in return, he took the proactive road and obtained a 2nd round pick. Modest? Yes. Useless? No.
Other Riley Moves: Riley has done a masterful job of getting our salary cap situation under control. When he inherited the job of GM, I believe he was saddled with several bloated and horrible contracts (namely Corey Maggette, Jamal Crawford, and Stephen Jackson). Keep in mind that mediocre players that make huge money are not valued in the NBA. In many cases it is incredibly hard to even give these players away, much less get anything of value back in return. Without going into specifics, Riley managed to get something of value (mainly expiring contracts) and successfully got rid of those really bad contracts. This sets the Warriors up very nicely for the future.
Riley is not a perfect GM, but he is certainly not as horrible as some GSOM comments have made him out to be. He is doing a very nice job of working with what he is given and turning bad decisions into positive outcomes.
The Value of Our Players
This is something that I've been noticing on these forums that initially prompted me to create a GSOM account:
With few exceptions, our players are not very valuable.
So when I see posts along the lines of "NJ traded for Deron Williams so the Warriors are idiotic for not trading for him" or "Portland got Gerald Wallace for nothing yet the Warriors didn't trade for him", it is a little befuddling.
To the first thought, what we could have offered for Deron Williams does not come close to what New Jersey gave up. Just because a trade works in the ESPN trade machine or in NBA 2K11 does not mean it is plausible in reality. There is always another team on the other end of a trade, and they would have to be willing to take what you are proposing to give. To get Deron Williams, it absolutely would have required both Stephen Curry, Ekpe Udoh, and multiple first round picks. Obviously we could not offer anything near that caliber.
To the second example, I think it was more an issue of the Warriors not wanting Gerald Wallace very badly rather than them not having the assets to acquire him. Couple reasons: The Warriors small forward and power forward positions (which Wallace plays) are currently filled by David Lee and Dorrell Wright. Where would Wallace play? A trade certainly would not make sense considering those factors. Another factor is that I am fairly convinced the Warriors did not want to add any long term salary to their payroll for the above-mentioned reason of wanting to maintain financial flexibility for whenever a new CBA is reached. Additionally, perhaps the Warriors are trying to position themselves for the summer of 2012 where many prominent free agents will be available. Adding money at the trade deadline would not have made any sense unless that move would have pushed us not only into the playoffs, but also deep into the playoffs. Gerald Wallace would not have done that.
There are many other examples of GSOM community members crucifying Larry Riley and Warriors management for not going after "Player X" or "Player Y" but can we please bring the conversation back to reality? The reality is that our assets, aside from Curry and Udoh, are mediocre at best.
Keith Smart: Have I been puzzled at some of the decisions Keith Smart has made this season? Yes. Am I just as upset as the rest of you that Smart plays Vlad Rad so many minutes? Yes. Am I ready to throw Keith Smart under the bus and declare him a horrible coach? Absolutely not.
Smart, just like our young team, is learning on the job. And I think it is pretty undeniable that he has made some nice strides from the beginning of the season to now. Smart, similar to the Riley example above, is trying to make the best of a flawed roster:
- No dependable center
- No dependable backup point guard
- A thin bench severely lacking in talent
- A starting back court that is at a defensive disadvantage the moment they step on the court.
Considering these circumstances, are any of you honestly surprised that the Warriors are not a playoff team? The coach is doing the best he can with the pieces he is given. He is trying to be creative in how he utilizes these pieces but the hand that has been dealt to him is deficient from the start. Give the man a break and let's stop with the apocalyptic doomsday comments about Smart.
The Wrap Up
Well GSOM, this concludes my first post. I hope you have enjoyed the thoughts and musings that I've been honored to share with this community and I hope it is the first of many.
Thanks for reading and GO WARRIORS!