February 22, 2011

Wright To Remain Silenced

The Dubs' slaughter at the cold, unfeeling hands of the Green Machine was not actually the worst news coming out of Oakland today: the Warriors stand poised to trade Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric to the Nets for Troy Murphy and a second-round draft pick. The deal may be announced as-is on Wednesday, or may get incorporated into a larger deal that lands Devin Harris in Dallas or Portland. The Warriors are expected to buy Murphy out shortly thereafter, so at least Dubs fans will be spared a second act of one of the league's droopiest and least effective players. But whatever happens with Murphy, and even if the trade fails to happen, the message is clear: the Warriors' front office has shit in its collective head.

Imagine that your team drafted a power forward after his senior year of college, and that in the first 35 games of his career, he posted the following averages:

15.3 points on 11.6 points (.578 TS%), 8.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.3 turnovers, 2.0 blocks, 0.9 steals, 3.7 fouls, in 36.0 minutes

Moderately frequent and extremely efficient scoring, adequate rebounding, high block-shot rate, low turnover rate. This guy isn't perfect -- he's a bit of a black hole, and his defense is spotty -- but at 23, he's already playing effective, winning basketball overall. You're probably feeling pretty damn good about your new power forward, right?

Well, news flash, motherfucker: your new power forward is Brandan Wright. He's played 35 games' worth of minutes at 36 per, and has compiled those exact numbers. He is 23 years old.

The Golden State Warriors think that guy's worth less than a second-round pick. Which is to say that they think Brandan Wright's worth less than two million dollars in cash. Because, make no mistake, second-round picks are purchasable commodities (five have been sold in the last two drafts alone), and the prices rarely even get that high. If Joe Lacob loves draft picks as much as he claims, he can offer cash for some any time he likes. He's chosen not to do that. Instead, he's chosen to trade an above-average NBA power forward for a commodity that has a greater than 50% chance of being completely worthless.

Any franchise that thinks that David Lee is worth eighty million dollars but that Brandan Wright isn't worth a second-round pick has absolutely no idea what it's doing. If this is life under Joe Lacob, then life stinks. At least Cohan had the decency to drop out of sight when he started managing the team into the gutter.

A year ago, the Warriors had nine promising players who were 25 or younger. That number is now down to four.

A new day is not dawning in Alameda County. God help us all.

February 18, 2011

At The Break: An Overview

Whoops! Looks like we tuned out for 37 games. Don't fret, Worrier Nation -- reputable blogs do this kind of thing all the time.

When last we spoke, the Warriors were 8-10 and flailing. They lost eight of their next nine, but have since gone 17-11, a modest achievement that nevertheless demolishes anything they've done since the Beard disappeared. The Dubs have already matched their '09-'10 win total, something only two other teams (dem Nets and dem Sixers) can claim. Here at the dawn of All-Star weekend, they stand above an honest-to-God NBA team (dem Rockets) in the standings. The 9-18 start and the monstrosity that was 1/28/11 have faded in the thrill of six straight wins over plus-.500 teams. The Warriors are starting to rise, and the fanbase is starting to buzz. Is there reason for all the excitement in Oakland? Let's take a closer look.

When you analyze the season to date, the first impression you get is a sadly familiar one:

1) The Warriors Have Been Bad At Basketball
Any clear-eyed analysis has to start here... while the Warriors haven't been a terrible NBA team, they've been a solidly poor one. They have the 18th-best record in the league but just the 21st-best point differential. And the team's recent competitiveness has come during a part of the schedule that has been heavy on home games and -- something that hasn't gotten enough attention -- very light on back-to-backs. When a team gets a string of rested games in its building, it should win some games.

After a road-heavy start to the season, the Dubs have now played as many home games as any team in basketball. The Dubs have actually been healthier than the average outfit... the Curry/Monta/Wright/Lee/Biedrins lineup has started 33 games, tied for fifth-highest among NBA quintets. And for all that, the team is still decidedly below average. At their pre-Christmas nadir, the Warriors placed 22nd in Basketball Reference's adjusted rankings. The recent flurry has skyrocketed them all the way to, well, 21st. This has not been a good basketball team. And why not? The two-pronged answer is also sadly familiar.