With still an hour or so to go in Golden State Warriors Media Day, word came down that the Clippers matched on DeAndre Jordan. It was a move that was strange only in terms of the Clippers’ timing. The quicker Los Angeles made a decision on Jordan, the earlier the Warriors could get their house in order, sign their draft picks and move on to new targets — like Kwame Brown.
Which wasn’t exactly a great signing for the Warriors … but it was a good signing.
Sure, Brown’s the butt of an infinite number of jokes. His hands are pretty awful, and he and Michael Jordan are forever linked as the overarching symbol of Jordan’s foray into the world of front office buffoonery. But the Warriors had the available money, they badly needed another body over 6-10 with NBA experience that can defend NBA centers, and — here’s the key — they signed Brown for only one year.
The Warriors had the money available, so if they didn’t spend it this season it would be a sign of excess frugality. Jordan’s offer was an exercise in excess everything. Money, years, expectations — and Jordan’s little more than a mediocre center who serves well as the opening act in Blake Griffin’s dunk parade.
Brown will either have a standard Kwame Brown year and leave, or he’ll have a good year and possibly stay. But the Warriors aren’t earmarking $10 million every year for a guy who isn’t an above-average player at his position until 2014-15. Aren’t contracts like that the reason why the NBA had that stupid lockout in the first place?
As long as they (attempt to) play defense…
I feel a little silly saying this, and I’ll look rather stupid if they start out 2-10, but there’s something about the Warriors that I like going into this season. Gone are some of the older guys, like Charlie Bell, Dan Gadzuric and Vladimir Radmanovic. The most ancient guy on the current roster is Lou Amundson, and he just turned 29. While it’s easy to miss Reggie Williams for his range and personality, the Warriors won’t miss Al Thornton or Jeremy Lin, two players who could stand to pass a little more often.
It would have been nice to see the Warriors be a little more careful with their amnesty and not use it so quickly on Bell — especially before at least exploring the option of terminating the last year of Bell’s deal after all those alcohol-related brushes with the law, as one person suggested yesterday afternoon at the Warriors’ practice facility.
But at least the roster is young, the bitterness from the last chapter of Nellie’s reign is gone and the Warriors are attempting to remake their team (even if they won’t give up Stephen Curry for 66 games of Chris Paul).
With a lot of teams in the Western Conference in flux (Jazz, T-Wolves, Suns, Kings) and a short season and condensed schedule throwing off everyone’s routines, the Warriors might make a play for the 8th seed. Chances are they won’t quite get there, but it’ll take a playoff appearance at a berserk Oracle to convince any player that Oakland’s a cool place to play, besides players forced to take any old offer. As long as long-term flexibility isn’t compromised for the wrong reasons this season, I can’t fault the Warriors for trying to make the playoffs to make good on Joe Lacob’s promise to the fans, give the players some postseason experience and built momentum as they work on their eventual move to San Francisco.
The last impression Warriors Media Day gave was an air of hopefulness that was lacking last season. Perhaps it was because everyone’s just relieved that the lockout actually ended in 2011. Or because of the “social media hub” the Warriors set up, where more than a couple of players spent significant time checking out their Twitter pages and updating the Warriors’ Facebook page. Even though the Warriors didn’t get Paul … or Jordan … or Tyson Chandler, I came away feeling like I’d be shocked if they didn’t surpass their .439 winning percentage from last year. In a 66-game season, .439 equates to 28.974 games. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they win at least 30.