So the Warriors appear to be heading into next season with the idea that Monta will run the point, Jack will man the two guard and help with distributing, Rudolph will hold down the 4, and Goose will play the 5. The biggest question mark, for me, is not whether the Monta/Jack backcourt will work out (I personally think it can and will succeed), but rather who is going to play the 3? Kazabuike is a solid player who has made great strides since coming into the league and is worth every penny he is getting from the Dubs. But is he really good enough to be a starter? He shows signs of offensive brilliance, and his ability to shoot the three or drive to the rack against closeouts is awesome. He also brings some needed toughness and physicality when it comes to rebounding. However, he can go quiet for entire games, and this lack of consistency is discouraging. Even more importantly, in two of our greatest areas of need, ball movement and defense, he remains deficient. His passing skills started to improve at the end of the season, and he is clearly making a point of taking the next step in this area. I am less concerned about this than I am about his defensive lapses. While he has shown an ability to defend superior offensive players (I recall him D-ing up Kobe particularly "well"), his lack of lateral quickness makes him a target on switches. Given that he is not particularly long, faster players seem to have no trouble getting past him on the perimeter. With all that said, I think he is ultimately a better fit for our team than Corey Maggette at the 3. While I am not one of the Maggs-haters, I freely admit that his style of play is really not conducive to what we are trying to develop with Monta/Randolph/Goose as our core (namely, a quick-hitting, up-tempo style where the ball moves from one side of the floor to the other).
So, if Buike isn't a starter, and Maggette doesn't fit, that means we need a starting small forward. Someone who brings a defensive mentality, can rebound, and shares the ball. He also needs to be able to shoot the trey, as no one else in our projected starting lineup (save Jack when he gets into Cap'n Unconcious mode) can do this with any regularity. Many names have been bandied about, and most of them are pie-in-the-sky fantasies like Lamar Odom or half-baked ideas like Ron Artest (Sidenote: I have been on the Artest bandwagon for a while now, but seeing him play every night in the playoffs has made me realize that bringing him to the Bay is a bad idea. He is simply too pig-headed offensively. We already have one Jack). Another popular name has been Gerald Wallace. While he doesn't shoot the three, he does other things that would help us. The only problem there is that he plays for a coach (Larry Brown) who values defense above all-else, and so in order to trade for him we would need to offer some good defenders in return, something we do not have the luxury of. So then who?
How about a veteran with Championship experience who can defend both bigger and quicker players, shoots the 3 at nearly 40%, passes well (both in terms of total assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, and grabs 6 boards a night? Who could I be talking about? Why, TAYSHAUN PRINCE, of course.
He is a California native, and apparently the Pistons are interested in moving him. While this makes little sense to me, they also traded one of the top-5 point guards in the league after he led them to 6 consecutive Conference Finals, so I would not put anything past them. The Pistons brass apparently think they need more offense. While I would recommend that they look to acquire a scoring big-man like Amare or Bosh for this purpose, rather than trading away another piece of their core, Prince's name is already coming up in trade rumors. So, how can we get him? Well, I think the most obvious trade, given the Pistons stated desire for more offense, is Corey Maggette. The yearly salaries are virtually identical (Prince actually makes a little more), they are the same age, and Maggette would be an upgrade in terms of scoring. So the Pistons would probably at least consider the deal. From the Warriors perspective, this would be a blockbuster deal. In fact, I would even throw Brandon Wright into the offer to sweeten the pot.
So what do you think, Dub-Nation? Maggette for Prince? Maggette and Wright for Prince? Maggette and Beli? Maggette and a #1 pick? No Tayshaun at all? Remember to VOTE!!!