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.
As the summer winds down and we get closer to the start of the season, I'll have to put out these installments in the series a little bit more frequently if I want to finish before the opener, so I'm not waiting any longer for the voting to separate. This has been our closest poll yet, with all three of our "end of bench" big men receiving a significant portion of the votes, but Jason Thompson has taken the spot as "Fourth Least Valuable" for the Warriors, despite receiving just 34% of the votes. Still, after 806 votes have been tallied, that's more than the next candidate (James Michael McAdoo at 30%).
I'm not exactly sure how this happened. The contract had to count as a negative compared to Looney and Mac's paltry paychecks, though the team can waive him next summer for a measly 2.65 million. Maybe the likelihood that his potential has been reached, while we have no idea who Kevon Looney and Mac will become. I personally believe that Thompson will make a difference for a Warriors squad trying to defend the title, especially given the injury histories of the centers in front of him. I can't say the same thing about Looney and Mac, so I would have kept JT around for a few more rounds.
Maybe it's because I'm an older "vet" in a young man's industry, regularly out-producing the young guns around me with my combination of experience, professionalism, and work ethic, but a guy who comes to work ready to do his job every single day is a highly valued asset. I've put in most of my years tattooing at just two shops, watching other artists come and go in a highly competitive, high turnover business. Guys with incredible talent, many with more talent than I think I possess. I've worked with at least 70 different artists in my career, including TV reality show celebrities... and I've outlasted them all.
I'll get off of my soapbox now. This series isn't about my opinion, and it's not about agreeing. It's about consensus, and the people have spoken. Jason Thompson, you are the weakest link. Now that we've reached that conclusion, let's take a look at what Jason Thompson does and what he brings to the table for the Warriors.
First of all, we're talking about a guy who plays. Like, he's missed 16 games in his seven year career (MacAdoo has only played 15 games in his career), averaging 26.5 minutes a night (more than Bogut or Ezeli have ever played for the Warriors). He's only missed one game in the last three seasons. When Jason Thompson's number gets called, he'll do his job. There are two abilities that are being largely ignored, and they are two of Thompson's best: dependability and availability.
Second, we're looking at some pretty solid production. Not incredible numbers, but decent. Career per 36's of 12.7 points and 9.4 points on .530 TS%. That's not too shabby and compares pretty favorably to Looney's collegiate per 31's of 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds on .532 TS%.
Defensively, he's been decent. He posted a DRPM of .27, and has consistently held opponents under their averages in the paint. His defense doesn't extend out to the three point line, and he should probably be used mostly as a low post defender against other centers and traditional power forwards. Of course, SB Nation's Tom Ziller also penned this great article highlighting Thompson's success defending the Spurs prized free agent acquisition Lamarcus Aldridge.
His single year RAPM for last season was -1.51, which is above replacement level (-2.35), despite playing for last season's Sacramento Kings. I think last season should be taken with a grain of salt for Kings players.
"This is one circus of a year as a team ... This is the first time I've had more coaches than I had different teammates in one season, so another milestone in my seven years," Thompson said.
He started the season much better under former coach Mike Malone, who he still maintains a relationship with, and played better in 2013-14 under Malone than he did under the carousel of Kings leaders last season. His RAPM was a very solid 1.31 before last season's debacle.
"How the culture was changed by coach Malone ... he's a guy that was worrying about defense, defense and it ended up paying off, especially in the beginning so it's unfortunate," said Thompson, who was happy to see Malone get hired by the Denver Nuggets. "I still keep in contact with him, he's a good dude, good coach and wish him the best."
Playing for a Warriors team that ranked first in the league in defensive rating, plays for championships, and values good character will be a bonus for Thompson, who is essentially playing in a contract year in a pretty ideal situation. I don't think it's out of the question for Thompson to have his best season defensively and have the best rate stats and efficiency numbers of his career.
In short, I think there will be a night or two when he wins us the game. Marreese Speights did that for us a few times early last season, and Festus Ezeli stepped up to be a major contributor in some key moments in the Finals against the Cav's. I completely expect Jason Thompson will have him a few big moments for the Warriors at different times throughout the season and postseason, at the very least.
Sactown Royalty also has a number of articles worth reading about JT, including this one about the myth's and realities surrounding Thompson, and this one about how much he's dealt with as the Kings player with the most games played in team history. Largely, you'll find, most of Sactown Royalty holds a special regard for Thompson, ranging from respect to love.
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, summer contract signee Jarell Eddie and the newly signed Juwan Slaten aren't included.
I used Hoopshype.com and Spotrac.com for the players' salary information, and used Basketball-reference.com, ESPN.com, and NBA.com for the statistics (except RAPM numbers, which are available on dropbox...).
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%)
14) Ian Clark (68%)
13) Jason Thompson (34%)
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.