As of 12:00am Sunday morning the 2012 NBA Free Agent period has officially begun... Well, kinda. Yeah, pen can't be put to paper until July 11th, but the phone lines are open and General Managers and agents aren't wasting any time getting the negotiations rolling. The rumors and reports have already been flying fast and furious, but if you feel like your head is still spinning from the NBA Draft, well, you aren't the only one. So, before things get away from us I think this would be a good time to take a closer look at the state of the Golden State Warriors roster, and what needs management might be looking to address in Free Agency.
PG: Steph Curry / Charles Jenkins
SG: Klay Thompson / Brandon Rush (RFA)
SF: Harrison Barnes / Dorell Wright / Richard Jefferson
PF: David Lee / Draymond Green / Jeremy Tyler
C: Andrew Bogut / Festus Ezeli / Andris Biedrins
Obviously in an ideal world you could pencil in Steph for about 36 minutes a night and feel pretty much okay with Charles Jenkins filling in the rest of the time at the point guard position. Jenkins hasn't proven to be an efficient scorer or a great distributor, but he's young, cheap, serviceable, and there is still hope for improvement. Of course, we don't live in an ideal world. We live in a world where there isn't a Warriors fan left who isn't terrified that Curry's ankle will fall off every time he steps on the court. While I remain cautiously optimistic that this could be a bounce-back year for Steph in the health department, I think I'd have to call it downright irresponsible for Warriors management to start the season without adding some depth at the point guard spot.
In the second half of last season Klay Thompson showed that he could be a reliable scorer, putting up points at a pretty high volume while maintaining about league average efficiency. Unfortunately, he still hasn't shown he can do much else, but I think it's safe to say that baring a blockbuster trade we'll see Klay getting the lion's share of the minutes at shooting guard this season. Brandon Rush is a restricted free agent, but management has been pretty adamant about their intentions to match any offers he may get on the open market. Assuming Rush is retained I'd say this position is pretty well set, though honestly I'd like to see a little more passing and ball handling at the two than we currently have. If the Warriors are looking to add help in the backcourt (which they should be) it might be wise to sign a combo guard that could play some SG and take a bit of the ballhandling/playmaking pressure off of Curry, and give coach Jackson another option when it comes to initiating the offense from a second position.
Harrison Barnes is the Warriors shiny new toy at the small forward spot, and he has a pretty good shot at taking the starting spot on opening night with a good showing in summer league and training camp. The good news is that even if young Barnes is not quite ready for prime time the Warriors have two other perfectly reliable options in Dorell Wright and Richard Jefferson. Honestly, that's probably one more than they'll actually need, which is probably why rumors are already popping up that Dorell Wright may be traded to help address some of the other needs on the roster. If there is a position that has enough depth to withstand a player being traded without bringing a similar one back it's definitely small forward.
David Lee spent most of last season being called things like a consummate professional, a workhorse, and the kind of guy that gives it his all night in and night out. In fact, the narrative was so strong that when he finally did succumb to injury late in the season (one that required surgery) it was seen as so unbelievable that it must have been a secret directive from management to help in the tank effort. Well, assuming good health we should see Lee the night-in-night-out-consummate-working-horse-hard-hat-wearing-lunch-pale-carrying-professional yet again this season. But the big question is who will back him up? I really liked Draymond Green as a second round pick-up, but as much as I love his all around game I simply can't ignore the fact that he is undersized. His game may end up translating to the NBA, but that is something that he will have to prove on the court. Until then we should see the depth at power forward as a major concern.
The Warriors have added some serious beef since then general manager Larry Riley started talking about red meat like he had an iron deficiency a couple years ago. With a healthy Bogut being the prime cut of Riley's dreams, we can hope that Bob Myers may have added enough ground chuck in Festus Ezeli that we won't have to watch Beef Jerky (aka Andris Biedrins) try to shoot free throws this season. I apologize for the complete breakdown of my beef analogy. As it turns out, I don't know nearly enough about meat to make that work, but I'm going to go ahead and let it stand anyway.
The way I see the roster at the moment our biggest needs are at the back-up spots for point guard and power forward. I would add that there are definitely some questions at center, and less so at shooting guard. Ideally I'd love to add a combo guard and a big who can play the 4/5, whether that be through free agency or a possible Dorell Wright trade. Since we are getting ready for free agency at the moment lets take a look at just some of the possible targets for the Warriors and their MLE:
Guards - Brandon Roy, Jeremy Lin (R), Lou Williams, George Hill (R), Jameer Nelson, Andre Miller, Aaron Brooks (R), Nick Young, Ramon Sessions, Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry, DJ Augustin (R), Raymond Felton, Kirk Hinrich, Delonte West.
Bigs - JJ Hickson, Antawn Jamison, Brandon Bass, Darrell Arthur (R), Jason Thompson (R), Carl Landry, Kris Humphries, Marreese Speights, Marcus Camby, Reggie Evans, Nazr Mohammed.
To stay updated on the Warriors' free agent situation, visit SB Nation Bay Area's Warriors free agent storystream. For a more complete look at the free agent class check out Tom Ziller's 2012 Free Agent Rankings, and make sure to let us know who you'd go after in the comments.