December 31, 2009

Lost Decade, Part 4: The Aughtie Awards

Best Player Of The Decade: Baron Davis
There is no other defensible answer. He was only around for three years and change, and missed more than half a season's worth of games due to injuries. His work wasn't MVP-level or All-NBA level; even at his very peak, he was probably never one of the best dozen players in the league. But when healthy, he played at a much higher level than any other Warrior even approached. The Aughts Warriors were a .551 team with Baron Davis on the floor, and a .331 team without him. Our few bright moments of the decade came about mostly of one man's basketball genius, and that man is not Don Nelson. Thanks, Baron... it was fun.

Worst Player Of The Decade: Adonal Foyle
I love this man, I truly do. And he did some things very, very well... in his prime, he'd have made a splendid backup for a playoff team. But we gave him too many minutes, too much money, and too many chances; his defense, while brilliant, couldn't make up for his bottom-tier offensive skills and horrible rebounding. He can write a poem, he can heal a village, he can light up a room with his smile, but Adonal Foyle can not help you very much on the basketball court. We spent a decade pretending otherwise. Our futility in that decade was not coincidental.

Most Underrated Player Of The Decade: Andris Biedrins
He may have contributed more in the decade than any Warrior except Baron, he single-handedly kept us viable on the glass in our only two competitive seasons, and he remains on pace to hold the NBA career record for field-goal percentage... there are few records that are more significant from a winning standpoint than that one. And yet even now, when people talk about who the best player on the Warriors is, Andris Biedrins's name rarely gets mentioned. Wake up, people: this cat is the best thing we've got going.

Most Overrated Player Of The Decade: Jason Richardson
J-Rich was a decent shooting guard, but no better... his defensive weakness negated most of his offensive value. Most years he was not even an above-average player at his position, the least important position on the floor. There is no worse type of player to give star-level money to than a middling shooting guard. We traded J-Rich to the Bobcats; we got better, they got worse. The Bobcats traded J-Rich to the Suns; 'Cats got better, Suns got worse. Jason Richardson is simply not a winning player. And while he was a charming and proud Warrior, I'm really, really, really not sure he's a great guy... it's time to stop mourning his loss. (Stephen Jackson was in the conversation for this award, but we didn't delude ourselves into thinking he was a star for as long as we did with J-Rich.)

Best Coach Of The Decade: Don Nelson
Two years of strong coaching, a year and change of dreadful coaching... on a decent team, his performance wouldn't merit this award. If not for the Dallas series, in fact, I'd probably give this to Eric Musselman, who managed a similar winning percentage with less talented teams. But Nellie's flummoxing of Avery Johnson was downright fabulous, and gets him the nod.

Worst Coach Of The Decade: Garry St. Jean
Three other guys could make a case here, but none of them was as depressingly incompetent as the Saint. There is something both appalling and hilarious about the fact that Warriors broadcasts once again include his enormous, mooning face.

Best GM Of The Decade: Chris Mullin, '06-'08
Maneuvering Nellie back aboard, dumping J-Rich for an actual player, dumping Dunleavy and Murphy for actual players, drafting Randolph, discovering Azubuike and CJ... one horrible draft pick in the bunch, but a masterful pair of seasons. We came dangerously close to having an actual direction in the spring and summer of 2008; thank God Rowell et al averted that.

Worst GM Of The Decade: Chris Mullin, '04-'06
Massive contracts for every Warrior who could walk, plus Derek Fisher, and the Diogu flub to boot. Two great draft picks in the bunch, but a horrible, fireable couple of seasons. Of course, the Warriors kept him around until he learned the ropes, then fired him. Go Dubs!

Best Draft Pick Of The Decade: Monta Ellis
It's obviously either Monta or Arenas, and we retained control over Monta. Five years into his career, he has still only had one very good season, and it ain't this one. But he's young, talented and passionate... his story is not yet written.

Worst Draft Pick Of The Decade: Ike Diogu
Patrick O'Bryant was a much worse player, and Dunleavy was a higher pick, but Diogu represented the biggest missed opportunity. We scouted Danny Granger, we liked Danny Granger, we had a shot at Danny Granger... and then we shrugged and took a warty power forward instead. Bad Warriors. Bad.

Best Trade Of The Decade: The DunMurphy Dump
Grabbing Baron did more for us than this one, but this was the more inspired trade. It helped our play, our books, our likeability and our chemistry... there are not many trades in league history where a team has come out ahead by all of those factors.

Worst Trade Of The Decade: Al Harrington For Jamal Crawford
Just about the diametric opposite: we got a much worse player, at a position of much less need, with a much worse contract. Yes, Jamal was less cranky than Al. I'm still going to go ahead and say that wasn't worth it.

Best Free Agency Offer Of The Decade: Ronny Turiaf, 2008
Frontweighted, perfectly calibrated to be affordable to us and unaffordable (given luxury tax doubling) to the Lakers, well-timed and well-conceived. Ronny is not a great player, but he's an appealing piece for a team that's looking to compete; whether we keep him or look to deal him, he's a big asset at his price. Good stuff.

Worst Free Agency Offer Of The Decade: Gilbert Arenas, 2008
The franchise got a lot of grief for signing Maggette for five years and $50 million. Just before that, we'd offered twice that much to a guy who's since played 32 listless games. We dodged an enormous bullet there; in a decade of dumb moves, that was, by far, our dumbest. Warriors fans should be thanking their lucky stars every day for Corey Maggette.

And they should be thanking their lucky stars every day, starting tomorrow, for the end of the Aughts: the worst decade in the history of an also-ran franchise.


Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch Golden State Warriors, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.

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