FanPost

Return of We Believe

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 I started this post with the idea that Warriors will be making some needed roster changes in the off-season coming up. With that in mind, I began pondering what we should focus on. The ideas are very simple really, and they've also been emphasized here on GSOM for months. Four things in no particular order:


1) Some kind of production from the center spot
2) Need better depth off the bench
3) Must play better defense
4) Need another head coach (beyond scope of this post, but inconsequential in my opinion, because there are very few difference-making coaches in the NBA)

We've won 35 games up to this point. Looking at this record, our home games have been very good (25-14), and our road games have been horrendous (10-30). It seems like we have two personalities, and it's obvious that this is the main problem with the team. I believe three things win road games in the NBA: depth, defense, and experience. Improving in just these three categories might make us a playoff team. On the other hand, acquiring a difference-making center is what every team in the NBA hopes to accomplish. In other words, it's not very likely, which leads me to my next point after the jump.


Whatever players we acquire during the off-season, we are going to have to overpay. No one wants to play in Oakland, even with the change in ownership and a new outlook. We're going to have to pay more for a Zack Randolph or a Marc Gasol, that is, if they even want to come here. Same goes for any other free agent on the open market.

Would it really hurt to stay put at the center spot? David Lee's not going anywhere, and he has been productive there in the past. We are not going to get equal value back for trading Biedrins. Then, there's always the chance that he may return to form, which would be almost exactly what we need. In addition, there are a couple of interesting pieces (Amundson and Adrien), Udoh will undoubtedly improve next year (although rebounding obviously remains a big question mark), and we will also have some decent draft picks we can use to find that elusive difference-making big man. If the "right" deal comes along, of course we jump on it, but I seriously doubt that it will.

So my idea is this: why not revisit the names of some ex-Warriors that have fond memories of being here, specifically those on the "We Believe" squad of the 06-07 season? These guys would give us exactly what we need: bench depth, veteran leadership, and solid defensive effort. I'm looking at 2 players specifically, but I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and look at 3 guys: Baron Davis, Matt Barnes, and Jason Richardson. My original idea was to look at Al Harrington and Steven Jackson as well, but what's the point? They both demanded trades and don't really fit on the current team.


Baron Davis
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  Baron Davis has been playing pretty well for the Cavaliers



Current numbers, per 36 via Basketball-Reference.com:
- 8.6 ast, 3.2 tov; 16.6 pts, w/ a .508 TS%

pluses:
+he was the best player on the We Believe team, a top 5 PG in the league when motivated
+still a very productive player today, would be a fantastic back-up pt guard
+could be a very good mentor to Curry and Lin

minuses:
-will he be motivated?
-his contract is enormous
-would his ego be willing to take on reduced minutes in a back up role?

I just don't see how we could get him here without him taking a reduced salary. So while it's fun to think about (which is why I included him), it's not very likely.


Matt Barnes
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   Matt Barnes being Matt Barnes



Current numbers, per 36 via Basketball-Reference.com:
- 8.1 reb, 1.4 stl, 0.8 blk; 31.8% from 3

pluses:
+the guy gives 100% every night, and in many metrics it shows
+plays great defense, the reason he's with the Lakers this year
+has toughness, and the crazy factor going for him; every good team needs at least one crazy guy
+cheap contract

minuses:
-with the Lakers now, will he leave?

What can I say about Matt Barnes? He's been underrated almost his entire career. He's a fantastic lockdown defender and has played and even started on some contending teams. I can't think of a better player to come in and help change our defensive mindset. In fact, I would probably have him start over Dorell for his contributions on defense. He has shown in the past that he can hit the 3 (36% on We Believe and 34% in Phoenix), and it would allow Dorell to provide scoring off the bench. We could offer him 2-3 times what he's making in LA ($1.8 mil) in a multi-year deal and it would probably be worth it.


Jason Richardson
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  "Psst, Monta! I'm going to be backing you up next year buddy."



Current numbers, per 36 via Basketball-Reference.com:
- 16.5 pts, w/ a .552 TS%; 4.4 reb, 2 ast, 1.2 tov

pluses:
+has been among the best off-guards in the league
+would be great in a 6th man role off the bench
+has improved defensively since leaving GS

minuses:
-he still starts; would he be willing to come off the bench?
-currently playing for a contender; will he play for GS?

A very under-the-radar (deserved at least one all-star nod) off guard that has put up some impressive numbers in his career. Since he left before the 07-08 season in a trade for Brandan Wright, there has been endless debate about whether it was a smart move or not. Well, it wasn't. While Brandan was either injured or in the doghouse for years, J Rich has been very productive. Say what you will about B Wright's promise/potential, we would be a better team with Jason Richardson right now. With that said, why not bring him back? He'd provide Monta and Steph with much needed rest and he'd be a shoe-in for sixth man of the year.


That's it, pretty much. While I realize getting all three of these guys is near-impossible, getting one isn't. Netting Barnes and Richardson COULD happen, provided that LA or Orlando don't win the title. Assuming the that to be the case, we could have a rotation that looks something like this:

Curry/Ellis/Lin
Ellis/Richardson/Williams
Barnes/Wright/Radman
Lee/Amundson/Barnes
Biedrins/Udoh/Lee
(fielding a decent second unit for a change!)

So, 50-win contending team? I'm not ready to make any bold
 proclamations here, but I think it could be a lot more competitive on the road than our current roster. It's almost a cliche at this point, but in order to play defense, guys have to buy into the system. It doesn't matter if your coach is Keith Smart or Greg Popovich. Getting veteran players who are willing to play defense goes a long way toward fixing this problem.

This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!

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