Before we roll into the upcoming season, let's take a look back at this current roster with a recap of their previous season (except for the rookies) and a prediction of what's coming up. We'll do this alphabetically starting with Azubuike and ending with Wright.
The new $54 million (possibly $62 million) man is up.
Hit the jump for the recap and prediction. Leave your thoughts, grades, and predictions in the comments.
2007-2008 Season Recap
This past year, we really saw how important Biedrins was to the team. He was the only big man who could provide some sort of a presence in the paint. Even though he's not a shot blocker and doesn't scare anyone in the lane, he still manages to make an impact by using his feet to out-quick rather than out-muscle other big men to collect rebounds. He averaged 9.8 boards per game in just 27 minutes.
Offensively, he has an excellent understanding of space to go with hands that seem to catch everything. When guards drive, he's rarely in the way as many big men seem to be. He's always moving to get into a spot that will either allow the guard to dump the ball off to him or he's in position for an offensive rebound. His ridiculous field goal percentage is evidence of this. He gets in a good position to receive the ball from the guards for easy buckets and is able to use his soft hands to lay the ball up nice and easy. He's been working hard on his free throws. He's gone from sub-50% from the line to 62%. I'm willing to bet this is the last year his free throw percentage is lower than his shooting percentage.
For whatever reason, Nellie doesn't play him more than 27 minutes. I'm inclined to think it's because he can't create his own shot nor be relied upon to be a consistent offensive weapon. Since Nellie likes 5 guys on the floor who can score, it's a testament to how good Biedrins' play is. But it also means he needs to keep working.
Last year, Biedrins shot a very high percentage thanks to BD, Jax and Monta getting him a ton of easy buckets in an assortment of ways. On their drives he just knows where to move to for them to dish him the ball. He's got soft hands so he catches most anything thrown his way. He uses the pick and roll well as a secondary scoring option. But with BD gone and Monta out for the first couple months, is Jax's playmaking going to be enough to keep his points in double digits and the field goal percentage high? That's my biggest question for Biedrins this year, can he continue his scoring without Baron setting him up? I don't see anyone else outside of those 3 being able to consistently get him the ball where he can just go up and score. Neither Kaz nor Maggette are playmakers while CJ Watson and Marcus Williams are too unproven to be counted upon. He'll have to either collect more offensive putbacks, develop a post game, or he'll lose time to Ronny Turiaf.
Which now begs the question, is his post-up game improving? If he's not going to be able to get fed the ball off of drives, is he capable of creating offense for himself. In the few years he's been in the league, rarely do you see Andris in a traditional post up position with his back to the basket. Usually he's finding an open space or creating space for the driving ballhandler to find him for an easy bucket. I'm sure he'll stay within his limitations, so he'll need to develop a post game where he catches the ball and makes one quick move. If the shot isn't there he's a good enough passer to find an open man. He can't be holding the ball too long because he can't dribble in traffic and you won't see him face up and shoot the ball. As long as he stays within himself, I think you'll see a lower field goal percentage and a post game that improves as the season goes along.
But even if his post up game improved, is Nellie going to use him? Only Nellie can answer that, but I can speculate. If Biedrins improves his post game I really don't think his minutes will ever break the 30 minute average. One of the reasons they brought Turiaf in was to back up Biedrins and play enough minutes so that Biedrins isn't relied upon for 30+ minutes. He's just not ready yet.
Defensively, I'd like to see him either get stronger and not get pushed around as much or change and possibly block more shots. Opposing guards and forwards don't have to worry about getting their shots blocked because nobody on the Warriors is a shot blocker. Biedrins will be the last line of defense so I'd love to see him change more shots - not necessarily block them.
He's a hard worker so I expect him to keep improving. I'm just not sure if his ceiling is all that high.