This Ranking the Assets series started back in September 2014. During a slow offseason our very own Basketball Jonez started a "Survivor" style game where the GSoM community would vote for the least valuable players on the Warriors roster, eliminating players one by one until we are left with the Warriors true MVP. We refer to the players as assets because we are hoping the community will vote for them based on their true value to this Warriors team, taking into account their contract, age, injury history and how they fit with the team as well as their individual production.
Anderson Varejao gained the nickname "Wild Thing" due to his untamed hair and the energy he plays with on an almost nightly basis, but this "Wild Thing" doesn't make your hearts sing, despite what The Troggs led us to believe in their famous song. The GSoM community has spoken and Varejao has been voted the Warriors least valuable asset.
The 6'11" Brazilian center signed with the Warriors back in February and then re-signed this offseason for the veteran minimum of $1,555,659.
Initially Varejao looked like a nice addition, a solid end-of-the-bench player who could bring some energy onto the floor, crashing the boards for rebounds and distributing the ball well when needed. However, it became quickly apparent that although fans viewed him as the 12th, 13th or even 14th man, Coach Kerr didn't -- Kerr stuck by his philosophy of "Strength in Numbers."
During the regular season Varejao averaged less than 10 minutes per game, but he was given key minutes during the playoffs. It was especially jarring to see Varejao on the court in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. When he was subbed in during the third quarter of Game 7, the Warriors and Cavaliers were tied 54-54. When he subbed out the Warriors were down 65-59. In the four minutes that Varejao played in the third quarter he contributed 2 fouls, 0 rebounds, 0 points and had his shot blocked by Kyrie Irving (less than three feet from the basket). Not the most impressive game 7 performance.
So naturally, he was the player who the Golden State Mind community voted as the Warriors' least valuable player.
At first glance, fans of other teams might question this result. There were two rookies and a perennial bench player in Elliot Williams on the same poll. But It's easy to see why Varejao might be viewed as the Warriors' least valuable player heading into the season, especially if you watched him down the stretch last year. His defense is questionable at the best of times and his fondness for flopping endears him to no one; although it does have comedic value.
Ultimately, it's also not so difficult to see why Steve Kerr likes Varejao given the Warriors' needs. He is a capable passer and whether you like the flopping or not, his ability to draw fouls does have some value to a Warriors team that was struggling in that area. Varejao has also had some success during his career: he has a Euroleague championship, a gold medal from the Pan American games, and an appearance on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team back in 2010. On top of all this, Varejao knows his role, he understands what teams want from him, and he embraces it fully. He displays an unwavering loyalty to this team despite his short time as a Warrior, playing with a "ride or die" type mentality.
Perhaps Varejao will be able to find his place with the team this season, returning to being an effective high energy big man off the bench. He has proven to be effective before so it's not impossible that we might see a return to form. But for now, the fans have made their decision and it's on to the next one.
The next selection!
One done and fifteen to go. Who's next? If you had to lose one of the remaining players forever, who would it be? Cast your vote and give your reasoning in the comments below.