In September of 2014, Warriors news was running thin. The discussions here at our favorite basketball community felt like broken records, so I perused some of SB Nation's other basketball communities, looking for interesting talking points and potential trade partners. I eventually made my way over to Brew Hoop, the community for the Milwaukee Bucks, where I discovered an intriguing exercise created by mad scientist and site editor Dan Sinclair. He called the exercise Ranking the Roster: Counting down the Bucks' most valuable players.
Here's his explanation:
"Imagine the NBA was having an expansion draft, and the Bucks were able to "protect" their entire team from being taken by a new expansion organization, except for one player. Whoever is left unprotected will be selected in this hypothetical and totally unfair expansion draft. After this player is chosen, his salary comes off the Bucks' books instantly, as though he was never on the team at all. Then (and this is important) the Bucks' future plays out for some number of years, however long you care to imagine, only they no longer have the chosen player on the roster or on the cap sheet.
The question, then, is who would you leave unprotected?
That's what we're doing with this series of posts. One by one, we'll pare down the roster, eliminating the consensus "least valuable" player after each round and starting the scenario over."
We did it a little bit differently last season, by including our 2015 draft pick, since it was a trade asset. Since we don't have a 2017 first round pick, that means our 2016 pick is off limits in trade talks and will be left out of this discussion. Even without the draft pick, we have a full roster and a lot of disagreement about which players are the most valuable to the team moving forward.
Here's a summary of last season's voting (percentages of votes received when the asset was eliminated included):
15) Nemanja Nedovic (58%)
14) Ognjen Kuzmic (77%)
13) Marreese Speights (61%)
12) Leandro Barbosa (46%)
11) Festus Ezeli (40%)
10) 2015 First Round Pick (48%)
9) Harrison Barnes (51%)
8) David Lee (43%)
7) Brandon Rush (86%)
6) Shaun Livingston (91%)
5) Draymond Green (68%)
4) Andre Iguodala (56%)
3) Klay Thompson (53%)
2) Andrew Bogut (91%)
1) Stephen Curry
I've included the players' salary (rounded) to remind voters just how much each player costs against the cap this season and in the future. If players sign extensions while we are conducting this exercise, I will reflect that in future installments (it happened with Klay last season). Also, I couldn't find Ian Clark's contract information, so I slotted him in at the NBA minimum for a player with two years' service. I used Hoopshype.com and Spotrac.com for the players' salary information.
So let's get started. Remember to consider skill, age, contract, injuries, need, and anything else you find valid in your reasoning. Also keep in mind that your vote is for the LEAST valuable asset TO THE WARRIORS. Make sure to share how you voted and why in the comment thread following your vote, so that we can engage in a healthy debate. I certainly would love to read the reasoning behind the votes.
And thanks for participating.