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.
This series provides a number of benefits to the die-hard Warriors fans. First, it allows some basketball related topics to discuss during the slowest time of year. Second, it gives us a deeper look at some of our lesser known players. This week's installment will do just that. After 1,199 members weighed in, one player stands alone on the chopping block, new Warriors guard Ian Clark with 68% of the votes.
It's understandable for Clark to be the most recent choice for "Least Valuable Player". After all, he's not exactly an unknown commodity. He's already played 53 games over the last two seasons, both for lottery teams (the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets) that have looked like they could use some added firepower from behind the arc. When Utah signed the former Belmont Bruin to a two year deal following his 33 point MVP performance in the 2013 summer league title game, they thought they were getting a sharpshooter. After all, he hit seven shots from deep in that contest.
Of course, the Warriors are trying to win championships in June, not the Las Vegas summer league.
The problem is, he hasn't been the long range marksman that he's advertised as. As a matter of fact, he's only managed to shoot .344 for three so far in his career. Granted, the sample size is small (30 attempts last season), but it's likewise been small with the players already selected in our exercise (Brandon Rush had 27 attempts last season and Chris Babb had 27 the year before), so the playing field is fair at the very least.
So what can we expect from Ian Clark this year? A three point specialist who's percentage places him squarely between Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala doesn't seem like the answer for a bench that struggled to space the floor when Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes needed rest. His field goal percentage wasn't much better at .345 last season, though over half of his 55 shot attempts were from deep. Still, his .483 TS% was right in line with his career numbers, and doesn't exactly strike fear into anyone's heart.
Well, he's managed to put up 12.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.7 steals (per 36) in his career. That's not so bad. And his Ortg/Drtg last season was 99/106... bad, but certainly not disastrous. The career USG% of 19.0 is a bit high for a guy who hasn't been efficient, but his TOV% was a career best 13.2 last season.
I'll have to look closer. Last year in the D-League, Clark managed to put up per 36's of 15.8/2.6/3.1 on .529 TS%, including .450 from deep in 32 minutes a game. The rate stats are pedestrian, but that mark from behind the arc is definitely attractive. Still, I'm not seeing what inspired Warriors GM Bob Myers to add Clark to the roster.
Let's do like Rodney Dangerfield and go back to college. Clark had an excellent senior season at Belmont. He averaged 18.2/3.3/2.4 in over 33 minutes a night, and shot the lights out with a .688 TS%, including .459 from long range (third in the nation). He tied with All-American Isaiah Canaan for Ohio Valley Conference Co-Player of the Year, and also locked up the OVC Defensive Player of the Year.
Now we're talking! There's only one problem: that was in 2012-13, against Ohio Valley Conference competition... not exactly the full gauntlet of All NBA first team players that the Warriors methodically disposed of during the playoffs last season. If Ian Clark wants to stick around on the Warriors, he's going to have to prove he belongs.
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, and used Basketball-reference.com for the statistics.
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%)
Jason Thompson and Kevon Looney were second and third, respectively, among those receiving votes.
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.