So it has come to this. The Warriors are getting ready for a two-month stretch that has everything to do with the future of their franchise — and by all accounts the June 25 NBA Draft looks to be a weak one.
Weak drafts aren’t much fun, unless you get lucky. In the 2006 Draft (where Andrea Bargnani went first, and the two best players — LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy — both got traded to the Blazers that night), Chris Mullin selected Patrick O’Bryant, otherwise known as “the last nail in the coffin” with the No. 9 pick (can we just change the Notorious P.O.B.’s nickname to “The Last Nail”?).
Hard to blame Mullin too much for the reach however, since the only player chosen after him in the first round who has amounted to much since was Rajon Rondo at No. 21 to the Suns, who promptly traded him to the Boston Celtics. Phoenix, thanks for coming!
Now, I think the Rondo in this year’s draft is Patrick Mills, since he impressed Coach K and Kobe Bryant with his defense and moxie during the Olympics and is extremely fast. But we all know the Warriors won’t pick Mills, not just because he’s projected to go much later but because they don’t want to upset Monta Ellis.
That is, if you believe the Reigning King of Inflammatory Warrior-related Rumors, Tim Kawakami. Guess what kids, he has a source! I know, tough to believe. This time his source says that when Larry Riley and Don Nelson went to go visit Monta recently, it wasn’t to congratulate him on his recent foray into fatherhood, but to … well … let’s just let Kawakami frame this in his own words:
* Over the last weeks of the regular season, Ellis, once again, expressed general dis-satisfaction with the direction of the franchise.
(Stephen Jackson, a key Ellis ally, apparently also voiced many of the same concerns about what the Warriors need to do to get back into contention.)
Shocking, I know. Just shocking.
(BASG note: Was there a member of the Warriors team, coaching staff or front office who wasn’t generally dissatisfied with the direction of the franchise? And if there were, shouldn’t those persons have immediately been fired or released?)
* Also, leading up to the June 25 draft, Ellis apparently has not been thrilled to hear that the Warriors are eyeing the selection of one of the many point guards with their No. 7 overall selection, since Ellis wants to be the Warriors primary playmaker.
So, Nelson and Riley flew to see Ellis. And…
One source indicates that Ellis came out of the Nelson/Riley meeting with the understanding that they would not draft a play-making guard to usurp Ellis’ standing.
(BASG note: Well, I have a source (me) who believes that TK’s source is Monta’s agent. You could take that with a grain of salt — just like I do with all of Kawakami’s unnamed sources — and I wouldn’t blame you.)
So here Kawakami goes again, playing the same three chords about Monta wanting out. He’s like the Green Day of Warriors blogging. Listen, I agree that Monta would probably rather be on pretty much any team in the league right now, but if anybody thinks the Warriors are going to draft DeJuan Blair with the seventh pick just to pacify Monta, I have some really awesome Bob Fitzgerald bobblehead dolls for sale. And yes, they’re lifesize! Ba-dum-bum.
So what do the Warriors do? Try to package the No. 7 pick in a deal for that elusive superstar (good luck, since that pick in this year’s draft holds about as much trade value as Jonathan Sanchez if he walks 8 tonight in 4 innings)? Draft the best 6’2″ combo guard available and promise Monta that Nellie won’t play the rookie (which he won’t, anyway)? Just pass on the pick altogether?
Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be Larry Riley right now. He has to change this team’s makeup drastically in order to have any chance at even becoming a .500 team next year, and his best trading pieces are:
Monta: An undersized shooting guard who the Warriors are trying to turn into a PG who may or may not be fully recovered from a shredded ankle. Oh, and his agent may or may not be an unnamed source for Kawakami.
Ant Randolph: The one guy every team will seek in trade talks with the Warriors. If he gets traded, that would lead to every Warriors season ticket holder immediately setting their tickets on fire.
Andris Biedrins: Just came off a year where he came off as slightly less effective than Ronny Turiaf (think: Troy Murphy without a jumper). Possibly the Warriors’ Aaron Rowand in terms of production and contract. Still, he could be trade-able if the Warriors are dealing with a GM who really loves Euros (like Toronto’s Bryan Colangelo, if Kawakami’s Bosh rumors hold any water at all).
Brandan Wright: Who?
Marco Belinelli: Can the Warriors trade directly with European leagues?
Anthony Morrow: He’ll be asked for in every Warriors trade after Randolph is taken off the table, but the Warriors won’t want to get rid of him. CHEAP THREES!!!
Corey Maggette/Jamal Crawford/Stephen Jackson: Just kidding, in this economy all three of these guys are absolutely unmovable, except perhaps for Jackson if the Warriors take back a horrible contract in return.
The No. 7 pick: C’mon, do you think any other GM is getting all worked up over Brandon Jennings or Jrue Holliday? The Knicks might try to move up for a chance to get Stephen Curry, which would probably lead to the Warriors getting Nate Robinson in return…uh oh.
No, the only real chance the Warriors have is to package the pick and any group of their non-Randolph playersÂ for a superstar, someone like Amare Stoudemire (like I mentioned before in another “let’s all point at Kawakami and laugh” post similar to this one). Will they do it? Probably not. They’ll probably pick Curry or Terrence Williams, Kawakami will make up another rumor about how Monta is demanding to be traded and I’ll write another post making fun of Kawakami’s unnamed sources. Aren’t the Warriors fun?