It's preview time! But first I'd like to give a special shout out to loyal GSoM community member Captain Jack for winning the YouPreview contest with this piece:
We Believe 2.0 starts now…
There were a ton of great entries, so definitely head on over there and check them out when you get a chance.
My Unstoppable Baby 2k8-2k9 GSW Season Preview coming up... after the jump!
Rewinding back to suck
- The biggest offseason news is of course Baron Davis leaving for brighter lights and greener paper in La-La land. Don't underestimate how much this impacts the Warriors franchise for the next few years if not longer. I don't fully buy that's a PG league like many pundits keep saying (neither the Celtics or Lakers got to the Finals because of a super star PG), but I do see a ton of validity in their mindset. If the reported Mullin 3 year- $13 million per offer was agreed upon with BD and Rowell vetoed it, well the Warriors are just a terribly run franchise. But you probably already knew that.
- By the way I wrote this Baron Davis (shockingly) Opts Out piece at the end of this past June:
I could be proven completely wrong when it's all said and done, but it doesn't seem like Baron's agent is giving his client good advice at all. Leaving $17.8 million of guaranteed money on the table in this day and age of NBA caponomics doesn't seem smart at all. This ain't your parent's board game of RISK.
Todd Ramasar (BD's agent)- I am the fool and you are the man my friend. I will always Fear the Beard.
- In a panic move Mullin or Rowell (whoever's calling the shots?) threw millions at Gilbert Arenas and Elton Brand (fresh off major injuries might I add) and got dissed big time. I keep hearing about people fearing Mullin's rumored departure citing that no top free agents will want to come here anymore. Um, say what? If Mullin "attracts" guys like Derek Fisher and Ronny Turiaf, I'll pass. I am excited to watch Xzibit- I mean Corey Maggette play this season, but let's be honest. Maggette probably didn't come here because he wanted to play for Mullin. He came here because no one else was offering him that kind of dough. Money talks. What a concept.
- I really don't understand the Andris Biedrins signing. Don't get me wrong I like the guy and think they had to keep him if they weren't going to get a different upgrade at that position. That contract could end up being fair when it's all said and done. BUT what were the Warriors thinking during those negotiations? Their seemed to be no interest in him across the league as a restricted free agent. His agent had to rely on rumors of interest in him in the B-rate Euro leagues to get the Warriors moving on the contract. I would've called the bluff that Biedrins was going to pull a Josh Childress. Let's not forget that Biedrins was only a restricted agent. They did NOT need to extend him this past offseason. Who knows? Let's say he duplicates his previous season, plays worse, or miraculously gets outplayed by Brandan Wright or Anthony Randolph. The Warriors are in the driver's seat and they didn't commit themselves to a bad contract for a limited, but nice young big man who doesn't have all that much upside. They played hardball with Baron Davis, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, and dumped Jason Richardson to the BETcats, but broke out the kiddie gloves when dealing with Biedrins' agent when no other offers or even rumored interest from other teams were coming up- why? Especially when they had all the cards.
- At the time the Monta Ellis signing for $67 million over 6 years looked like a very fair deal. In retrospect it looks foolish. Did the Warriors not do a background check on this guy? Obviously the guy is either incredibly immature and not so bright or he's getting advice from the wrong people. Probably somewhere in between is where you'll find truth. He just cost the team millions in season ticket sales and wins.
The Warriors ran Baron Davis and Jason Richardson out of town so they could hand the keys to this franchise to this guy. He turns around and violates his contract, lies about it, and now is rumored to appeal the very justifiable penalty (I'd rate it as being too soft and truth be told I would have torn up the contract and refunded season ticket holders a substantial amount- I wouldn't want to build my franchise around this guy and I wouldn't want to cheat my loyalists) that Rowell handed down. (What does it tell you when a Warriors mismanagement critic and players apologist is siding with Rowell here?)
I hear some Monta Moped homers cry "He's just a kid! Kids make mistakes." Kids do indeed make mistakes, but he's not a kid. He's a 23 year old adult who needs to take responsibility for his actions, not lie about it, and not drag it out publicly when he's in the wrong. Also this adult might want to hire better people to ghost write his recent letter to his "community, friends, and fans". Note these 7 missing words: "I'm sorry. It will never happen again." I'm all for giving folks second chances (Stephen Jackson is making us all look good), but they've got to be a little more humble than that and not open up with a defensive "While management and I do not agree on their actions".
Monta- you're in a tremendous position to be a role model for millions of young folk. Don't waste this opportunity- especially by riding a moped.
- Remember that Adonal Foyle guy we all love? It's funny how people don't bring this up, but his contract is still on the books this season for about $6.8 million (this number doesn't reflect the buy out percentage cut). Unlike the Fisher, Dunleavy, and Murphy signings that mistake was never corrected. In fact I will contend that the buyout was possibly the worst they could do from a basketball standpoint. That extra opened up roster spot does not for Nellie and Foyle's expiring contract would have been incredibly valuable this season in trade talks. But alas, that just makes too much sense, but not cents for Cohan and company.
- Matt Barnes and Mickael Pietrus were understandably not given undeserved extensions. Hate to see them go, but it's not like their performance last season was extension worthy. I hope to see them ballin' We Believe style in Phoenix and Orlando. Best of luck fellas. I'll be rooting for you both.
- The fairly inept Chris Mullin era as a Golden State VP/ GM is probably only a year away from being over. Sounds good, before you realize that it probably means the equally incompetent and not as nice of a guy Robert Rowell will be calling even more shots. Sometimes you just can't win.
- Nellie's still here and he'll be here for a few more years. That means that at least someone at the top will have a clue.
- I can't remember a time when the Warriors had a player who could get to the basket with such ease and then knock down his tries from the charity strip like an NBA player should. Maybe Gilbert Arenas back in '03, but nothing like this. We're in for a treat watching Corey Maggette play this season at least on offense. The next best thing to a high percentage scorer in the post is a swingman who attacks the rim and gets to the line. If they had only teamed him up with that We Believe team. Man. Oh man.
- Keeping Kaz. Kelenna Azubuike is a fairly replaceable NBA player- good, but definitely not worth breaking the bank for. $3.1 million a season for a solid, but not spectacular backup swingman who can fill in admirably as a starter when called upon every now and then is a good deal. Nice job matching the Clips offer Mullin or Rowell (whoever is calling the shots). Give credit where credit's due.
Strengths for the 08-09 Dubs Squad
- Getting to the free throw line. This isn't something we've really seen from this Warriors squad in awhile. Credit Maggette.
- Point Guard. (just kidding)
- Best fans in the entire association. Seriously why are we even here anymore? We care more about this team than its incompetent tax-evading owner and unqualified presidential hire (but I guess that happened for the past 8 years in the White House too, so it can't be that uncommon). By the way- where's your signatures fellas? We're still waiting.
- Boom Dizzle + Monta + J-Rich + Jack + Al might be the fastest starting 5 ever assembled. With Barnes and MP2 coming off the bench they're a wildly athletic and entertaining bunch that NO ONE wants to face. Anything can happen with these guys especially with Nellie running things. Impossible is believable. -- Oh wait. It's 2k8.
- Coaching. With Nellie calling the shots and devising the master plans every night anything can still happen. This isn't your Monty brand of Warriors basketball. The Warriors will rarely get outcoached and on the majority of nights have a far better hoops tactician on the sidelines. On a related note I thought the team wildly overachieving last year. That ensemble just wasn't that good as their final win total indicated. Baron and Stephen Jackson were asked to do way too much with Jason Richardson gone and guys like Brandan Wright, Marco Belinelli, Patrick O'Bryant, and Kosta Perovic either weren't ready to play or weren't good enough to hang in this league. I give Nellie an A+ for his 2008-2009 campaign. How he managed to rack up 48 wins with that cast is beyond me.
Weaknesses for the 08-09 Dubs Squad
- Point Guard. Point Guard. Point Guard. I don't care how many D-League delights you throw at the problem or how fast you can ride your moped, the Warriors have a gaping hole here.
- No passers. The three-headed monster the Warriors have at PG till Mr. Moped comes back really scares the crap out of me. Do you realize we went from having the edge on the PG matchup on almost every night (except against Chris Paul) to getting abused here nightly? (So yes- Point Guard. Point Guard. Point Guard.)
- No legit Power Forward. This has to be the single biggest failure of the Chris Mullin era. We keep saying this year after year and nothing changes. It's frustrating and it's a joke.
- Weak handles all around. Boom Dizzle was a godsend to longtime Warriors fans who went years watching Cohan's hand picked "talent" evaluators put together player after player who simply did not have good ball handling skills. With BD gone we're back to the era. Jack dribbles the ball way too high and sometimes off his foot. Monta's left is pretty weak and he can get sloppy with a high dribble too. Biedrins, Wright, Turiaf- um, no. I think the best ball handler the Warriors have right now for his position is Al Harrington. (Disclaimer: Rookie Anthony Randolph could be that guy, but I need to see him play against real NBA competition.) Call me crazy, but that's why you keep reading my stuff.
- No real deal shot-blockers. Look no one is scared driving on the Warriors' big money center Andris Biedrins. He's soft on D, easily gets pushed around by other big men (admittedly he doesn't get much help), and guards go right at him without any hesitation. Will Ronny Turiaf be any different? I have no idea, but at least the guy's h-y-p-h-y.
- No big man who can... well you know the rest.
- Lack of class from the top. It's completely unprofessional how the team has treated their season ticket holders and fanbase. It's approaching levels of consumer fraud if it's not already there now. For 2 straight seasons they've required their loyal fans to sign up for season tickets well in advance of the end of the current season and beginning of the next season. Both times season ticket holders thought they were getting something that the franchise did not deliver. In the Spring of 2k7 we were lead to believe we were all paying for an upcoming full season of We Believe, but instead the team cut costs by trading Jason Richardson and didn't pass any of the "savings" to the people who keep this sorry organization in business. In the Spring of 2k8 we thought we were paying for more of BD and Monta, but the team went cheap on Boom and Monta went joy riding on his moped (not the team's fault). Cohan and Rowell aren't brightest guys in the business, but what can I say- they're making us all look like the real fools. I'm telling you- owning an NBA squad in the Bay Area is a gold mine. Imagine how good business would be for these guys if they had a clue. Don't let any of the brown nosing media folk tell you otherwise or throw out distorted operating loss figures at you. This corporation is making millions marketing suck.
Projected Record (W-L): 30-52
We Got Suck is baaaaaaaaaaaaaack!
I guess We Got Suck is baaaaaaaaaaaaaack is true at another level. I will (most likely) be back in some capacity this season as a semi-regular writer for GSoM. You can thank (or complain to) FJ, SBN CEO/ Athletics Nation founder Tyler Bleszinski, and SBN Chariman
Think my preview is We Believe quality? Think it's at the We Got Suck level? Drop your thoughts in the comments.