If the Warriors don’t make another significant move (free agent signing, trade, etc.) before the 2010-11 season begins, what will be the weakest position on the team?
I think we can exclude three positions from this conversation. Even without a true backup right now, point guard, with sophomore sensation Stephen Curry, is the strongest position on the team. The next strongest positions are shooting guard and power forward. Both positions have talent in the starting lineup (Monta Ellis, David Lee) and depth (Reggie Williams at SG and Brandan Wright and first-round pick Ekpe Udoh at PF). Which leaves two positions to debate: small forward and center. The arguments for both:
The Warriors have only one true small forward on the roster right now, recent free-agent acquisition Dorell Wright. Wright has upside, youth and defensive potential on his side, but he’s also unproven, especially as a starter. Wright has never averaged more than 25.1 minutes in a season and has never topped 7.9 points or 5.0 rebounds per game durng his career. As a Warriors fan, you have to hope that there is a better plan than inserting Wright into the starting lineup and bringing back Devean George as a backup. It would be ideal for the Warriors to pursue one other free agent at the position who could compete with Wright for the starter’s spot. Barring a trade involving Ellis to bring in an established starter at small forward, realistic options are limited. The Warriors still have about $2 million of the mid-level exception that they can spend on a free agent. There aren’t a lot of good options in that price range (you’re looking at a player at the level of Antoine Wright).
This position could be one of strength, but it’s dependent on Andris Biedrins. Biedrins had three good seasons in a row, from 2006-09, averaging 10.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 28.8 minutes per game over that three-year stretch. Last season, slowed by fatigue, injuries and an ever-worsening relationship with Coach Don Nelson, Biedrins regressed considerably, averaging 5.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. If Biedrins returns to the form he showed from 2006-09, this becomes a position of strength because there would be enough talent at the starting spot to make up for the lack of depth. If he stays at the same level as last season, center becomes a major question mark for the Warrors. As far as depth goes, it’s not good. It’s not clear if Udoh can play center in the NBA and Dan Gadzuric is well past his prime (and his prime wasn’t impressive in the first place). The Warriors could pursue another backup with the $2 million they have left to spend on a free agent, but there aren’t many good players who will be available at that price.
So, which position concerns you most? Do you have more trust in Wright to reach his potential and become a trusted starter at small forward, or in Biedrins to rebound from a dismal 2009-10 season?