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Lucky #9: Revisiting the Warriors' Draft 9 Years Ago

Warning: This bit of Warriors history is not safe for work, hanging out with friends, studying at the library, etc. It will make you cry... out loud... like Adam Morrison in the clutch.

No matter how you look at it, it's incredibly tough being a fan of the Golden State Warriors. 12 years of losing with the worst owner in all of sports. But this year I can promise you that there is indeed reason for optimism. Why? Because the Warriors are picking 9th, not 8th.

How does that make any sense?

Well think of it like this:
#8 = Adonal Foyle
#9 = Tracy McGrady

We had to dig back into the San Francisco Chronicle archives to bring you this one: Warriors Take Shot-Blocker: Colgate's 6-9 Foyle goes 8th

Here's a look back at what has to be the most embarrassing interview that former Warriors Coach P.J. Carlesimo ever gave in his entire life. This is pretty shameful. How else can I put it? When it came to the 1997 NBA Draft, P.J. CHOKED.

This could have been TMac and P.J.!

Also, let me preface this by saying that I am a big Adonal Foyle fan. Adonal is a community man and the world needs more people like him. The point of this piece isn't to criticize Foyle, it's to seriously question some of the drafting decisions and projections of the Warriors (mis)management back in 1997.

Let's pick apart the Warriors and P.J. Carlesimo's post draft hype in 1997:

But he believed all along that he would have a choice between Colgate center Adonal Foyle and forward Tracy McGrady, the high school star from Durham, N.C. Given that choice, Carlesimo passed on the raw, talented youth in favor of the player that would fill the greatest of the Warriors' many needs. He went for Foyle, a 250-pounder who's either 6-foot-9 or 6-10, depending on who's measuring him -- and a big-time shot- blocker and rebounder.
9 years later Foyle is [drumroll, please]... raw and untalented. Adonal has not filled the Warriors' greatest need, but instead (along with the One Minute Man) helped create the Warriors' biggest need.
And if there's one thing above all else the Warriors lacked last season, it was any type of physical defensive presence inside.
9 years later the Warriors lack [drumroll, please]... a physical defensive presence inside.
McGrady, who at age 18 has drawn comparisons to Scottie Pippen, went one pick later to Toronto, and few doubt that he will be a star -- some day. That isn't what this team coming off a 30-52 season needs, Carlesimo said, even as he acknowledged that former general manager Dave Twardzik passed last year on high schooler Kobe Bryant in favor of the safer big man Todd Fuller."
9 years later few doubt that passing up Kobe Bryant for Todd Fuller and passing up Tracy McGrady for Adonal Foyle in back-to-back lottery appearances is the most embarrassing 2-year draft run in NBA history. Instead of the second coming of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the Warriors had two F's. And that doesn't refer to just the beginning letters of Fuller and Foyle's last names.

TMac and Kobe should be throwing up and bringing in W's for the Warriors as Jordan and Pippen 2.0.
``There's a chance that Tracy's going to be a fabulous player,'' Carlesimo said last night. ``But there's a chance Adonal's going to be terrific for us.''
9 years later there's still a chance that George W Bush will convert to Buddhism and stop the violence, but we all know that's not going to happen. On a side note I'd like to add that at least Adonal is terrific for democracy!
And they would like for him to be terrific as soon as possible. But considering Foyle rang up huge numbers in a very small-time league (the Patriot) against underwhelming competition, there is lots of room for skepticism about Carlesimo's inaugural pick with the Warriors.
9 years later we're still waiting for Adonal to be terrific. 9 years later there's skepticism that Carlesimo's inaugural pick could put up big numbers in the WNBA.
Foyle probably will be a power forward at some point in his career (``I think I'll just leave that up to Coach,'' he said of his preference for center or forward), but even that will be an improvement, because Joe Smith, at 6-10, moved his game more and more to the perimeter last season. Spencer and Fuller, last year's first-round pick, were hardly the answer in the middle, and the Warriors became known as one of the NBA's soft touches, allowing opponents to score 104.4 points a game and shoot 47.5 percent, both among the worst marks in the league.
9 years later the Warriors are even softer in the middle. Adonal does have quite a nice soft touch for airballs though!
Foyle, meanwhile, averaged 12.7 rebounds and 5.66 blocks a game in his three-year career (he left Colgate after his junior year). His 492 career blocks are an NCAA record, 11 more than the first overall pick, Tim Duncan, and 39 more than Alonzo Mourning, both of whom played four years.''
9 years later saying Foyle in same sentence with Duncan or Zo is usually preceded by "Duncan dunked on..." or "Zo dunked on...". Actually, I take that back. Tim Duncan doesn't dunk, so it would be "Duncan hit a boring shot over..."
But, said Carlesimo, ``The key to the draft was Adonal being there. He had recruited Foyle while a coach at Seton Hall three years ago. Foyle's workout in Oakland impressed him, too, as he exhibited the wingspan of a man 7- foot-6 and showed good hands and footwork -- two areas that other scouts had downgraded.
9 years later the key to the Warriors winning is having Adonal on the bench with his "good hands and footwork". Seriously was P.J. blind?
If nothing else, Foyle will bring to the Bay Area one of the more charming personalities of this year's crop. Foyle grew up in the Caribbean island of the Grenadines, and offered this geography lesson to the curious media: ``You remember when you guys invaded Grenada?'' Foyle was brought to the United States during high school, to upstate Hamilton, N.Y. by a sponsor family.
9 years later Foyle is the most charming personality on the Bay Area sports scene. He's a Golden State of Mind favorite! At least P.J. got this one right.
He did not start playing basketball until 10th grade; before that, he said, ``I played -- or tried, I won't say I played -- cricket, and I was pretty bad at it. And when I played soccer, they stuck me at goalie. If I hadn't found basketball, I don't know what I would have done.''
9 years later Warriors fans wish Adonal found out that Democracy Matters back then instead of finding basketball.

Conclusion #1: P.J. Carlesimo should never be allowed within 90 feet of the NBA Draft Green Room. It's just not safe for the future of an NBA franchise.

Conclusion #2: Lucky #9! The Warriors cannot possibly screw up tomorrow's draft.

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