As always, thank you for participating.
At the risk of being redundant, bear with me while I explain the exercise to any of our newer members or folks that may have missed the previous installments. Imagine the NBA was having an expansion draft, and the Warriors 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 team's books instantly, as though he was never on the team at all. Then (and this is important) the Dubs' 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.
The overt purpose of this series is twofold: to see how the community values the players on the Warriors roster and to promote some healthy discussion among ourselves about our favorite basketball team. I say "overt", because I also have an ulterior motive for writing these pieces, which is to give me an excuse to take a long look at each and every player on the team's roster.
Last week, I wrote a 1,211 word article on Chris Babb. I'm pretty sure it's the longest article ever written about him, and it's certainly the longest piece on him by a Warriors writer. The funny thing about that is I've never actually seen him play. Still, I think I know his game much better as a result of having written that installment, and I'm a more knowledgeable fan now than I was when I started it.
Included in the article was a poll, asking our readers who the LEAST valuable remaining roster asset is, and 584 of you responded. An overwhelming 400 voters (68%) agreed that Brandon Rush is the next player off the island, with Ian Clark coming in a distant second (127 votes) at just 22%.
That comes as no surprise; over 1,000 GSoM voters graded Rush's season last year as an "F" on the poll for the article I penned last month reviewing the former Jayhawk's 2014-15 campaign.
Today's installment is going to be much shorter than last week's Chris Babb piece. Not because I don't care to talk about Brandon; I actually think he's one of the more interesting stories going into this season. The reason is really because the piece I wrote about Rush last month was pretty comprehensive. I'd be hard pressed to find more information about him... nothing has happened in the last 33 days of his career (as far as I know). Here's another link to the article if you'd care to review it.
Instead, I'll just summarize some of the key points.
First of all, Rush was terrible on offense last season, though his defense seemed pretty solid. In particular, his biggest career strength, long distance shooting, completely abandoned him last year. Like .255 TS% abandoned (even if he was twice as good, it still would have been bad). Like 59 ORtg abandoned. Like #474 out of 474 in RPM abandoned. It even extended to his free throw shooting, where he shot 47% (worse than Shaq's career 53%).
Second, he appears to be physically recovered from his injury, and his shooting actually declined last year from how he performed for Utah in his first season back from the blown ligament. His rebounding and block rates were actually career highs last season, suggesting that his legs are performing fine and that his shooting woes might have been psychological or maybe he just needed more reps.
Unfortunately for him, he's unlikely to get more reps playing for a Warriors squad that already features Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Leandro Barbosa as wings ahead of him on the depth chart. Further, the Warriors have signed Ian Clark, and have nonguaranteed deals in place for DLeague shooters Chris Babb and Jarell Eddie.
He only played 271 minutes last year, totaling 54 shots in the regular season. Basically, if Brandon Rush wants another NBA contract, he's going to have to prove he still belongs in the league. And he's going to have to do it in the preseason.
Besides Rush's dismal season, his $1.27 million guaranteed is a likely contributor to his ranking as 15th out of 16 included assets, along with the fact that he was disappointing for the Warriors last season after voters chose him as the 7th most valuable asset in the roster. Those are the only explanations I can offer for him to run away with the voting in this round... It's not like his former Utah Jazz teammate Ian Clark has shown anything on the court to be leading Rush by such a large margin, but I imagine we'll take a longer look at Clark soon enough.
One thing I think worth noting is that we're doing this exercise with 16 players for a 15 man roster, so at least one of the players we are discussing will not be with the team when the season begins. 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.
Here's a review of the players that have been voted off, along with the percentage of votes they received when eliminated:
16) Chris Babb (41%)
15) Brandon Rush (68%)
That brings us to our next selection. 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.