Dipping into the D-League is fine … as long as you have Dwyane WadeFiled under: Commentary; Tagged as: Allen Iverson, Amare Stoudemire, Andris Biedrins, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Randolph, Bryan Colangelo, C.J. Watson, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Chris Quinn, Corey Maggette, Daequan Cook, Don Nelson, Dwyane Wade, Erik Spoelstra, Joel Anthony, Joey Graham, Kelenna Azubuike, Kevin Garnett, Louis Amundson, Monta Ellis, Richard Hendrix, Shaquille O'Neal, Stephen Jackson, Steve Kerr, Udonis Haslem
By Geoff Lepper
OAKLAND – With Kelenna Azubuike, C.J. Watson and Anthony Morrow all playing critical roles to this point, the Golden State Warriors are one of only two teams in the NBA this season to have three former D-League or undrafted free agents among their top eight players (in terms of minutes played).
Even though 2008 second-round pick Richard Hendrix was cut loose months ago, Warriors coach Don Nelson doesn’t think that qualifies as a sign of bad scouting. Rather, it’s an indication of the specificity that teams can shop with when cruising the D-League aisles.
“I’ve felt for a long time that the D-League is better than most second-rounders that you get,” Nelson said. “You can get a guy in the D-League (who is) a specialist because you can zero in on positions there more than the draft. The draft, you’re taking chances on talent and what you’re gonna get, not what you get (immediately). In the D-League, you pretty well can tell what you have.”
“The first round has been diluted here the last 10 years, but still, if there’s some greatness there, that’s probably where you find it.”
The only other team that has three or more D-League/undrafted free agents among its top eight players this season is the Miami Heat. Rookie coach Erik Spoelstra has ridden the likes of Udonis Haslem, Daequan Cook, Joel Anthony and Chris Quinn to a 27-24 record that’s put the Heat in a tie for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. (That figure also ranks 10 games better than the Warriors’ current 18-35 mark, if you’re scoring at home.)
The difference, of course, is Dwyane Wade, a four-time All-Star (in only his sixth season) who’s light-years ahead of any Warrior in terms of individual ability.
A team full of D-Leaguers can make the playoffs, but only with a superstar leading them. And as much as the Warriors want to talk up Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis as their young stars of the future, their pedigree would trend against their achieving that status.
Only six of this year’s 25 All-Stars (there’s one injury replacement) came from worse draft position than Biedrins. And if Ellis makes it next season, he would be the first All-Star to come from such a lowly draft-day standing since 2006, when the undrafted Ben Wallace made the last of his four appearances.
This year’s crop of 25 players breaks down thusly:
No. 1 – 6 (Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal)
No. 2 – 0
No. 3 – 2 (Chauncey Billups, Pau Gasol)
No. 4 – 2 (Chris Bosh, Chris Paul)
No. 5 – 4 (Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Devin Harris, Dwyane Wade)
No. 6 – 1 (Brandon Roy)
No. 7 – 0
No. 8 – 0
No. 9 – 2 (Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudemire)
No. 10 – 2 (Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce)
No. 11 – 0
No. 12 – 0
No. 13 – 1 (Kobe Bryant)
No. 14 – 0
No. 15 – 0
No. 16 – 0
No. 17 – 1 (Danny Granger)
No. 18 – 1 (David West)
No. 19 – 0
No. 20 – 1 (Jameer Nelson)
No. 21 – 0
No. 22 – 0
No. 23 – 0
No. 24 – 0
No. 25 – 0
No. 26 – 0
No. 27 – 0
No. 28 – 1 (Tony Parker)
No. 29 – 0
No. 30 – 0
No. 31 – 0
No. 32 – 1 (Rashard Lewis)
Maybe Ellis will recover fully and continue his meteoric rise, developing the 3-point range necessary to be the next Allen Iverson. And maybe Biedrins will spend his summers diligently honing his post-up game to the point where he’ll give the Warriors their first legitimate low-block threat since Erick Dampier’s 2003-04 contract drive.
Then again, maybe not. Ellis could be cast as a smallish ‘tweener guard for the rest of his career. And Biedrins, with his leveling off after a hot November and December, might have already plateaued.
All of this is long preamble to set up what should be obvious:
If the Warriors do wind up having a chance to get their hands either Amare Stoudemire or Chris Bosh before next week’s trade deadline, they should do so – almost without regard to the cost.
Stoudemire and Bosh are two young power forwards (26 and 24 1/2) in the prime of their careers. Usually, to get a big man of this caliber, you have to wait until they’re on the downside of 30 (Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal).
[I’m deliberately leaving out guys who switched teams via free agency, such as Carlos Boozer’s jump from the Cavaliers to the Jazz in 2004, because the Warriors have historically not been a desirable destination for players. Even if they had cap room in 2010, I don’t think Golden State would get a sniff at Bosh or Stoudemire, because those two could command the same cash from somewhere else they’d rather play.
With a player who’s under contract, however, the Warriors need merely to convince the other team, not the player themselves. Additionally, bringing in either player via a trade means the Warriors can overtop any other offer once they become free agents, a significant advantage in inking a free agent if you’re Golden State.]
Personally, I don’t see how either the Suns or Raptors are much interested in what the Warriors have to offer, especially in light of their bevy of lengthy, expensive contracts and Phoenix’s avowed aversion to same.
I also don’t see the point of including Biedrins in any such trade, because doing so really defeats the purpose of adding another big man.
But if the Warriors package Ellis, Stephen Jackson and Anthony Randolph for Stoudemire plus Louis Amundson (salary-cap ballast) or Bosh and Joey Graham, they should pique the interest of Steve Kerr and Bryan Colangelo.
Would that constitute overpaying for Stoudemire or Bosh?
But overpaying for an All-Star power forward is a high-stakes gamble that carries equally high potential rewards.
Overpaying for mid-level free agents such as Corey Maggette just nets you mediocrity. That much has already been proven.
21 Responses to “Dipping into the D-League is fine … as long as you have Dwyane Wade”
THIZZ YA BOY February 12th, 2009 at 1:07 pm
Morrow wasnt a D-leaguer was he? I thought we summer leagued that kid
Geoff Lepper February 12th, 2009 at 1:23 pm
That’s why it says “D-League or undrafted free agents” in the lead.
“Then again, maybe not. Ellis could be cast as a smallish ‘tweener guard for the rest of his career. And Biedrins, with his leveling off after a hot November and December, might have already plateaued.”
Guys develop their game in the off-season, not during the season. Andris was barely 18 when he was drafted. It takes big men with 4 years of college a few years to mature so Andris is still on a steep learning curve.
Stoudemire and Bosh are probably not going to stay with their current teams and could leave with little in return so while they are under contract, their teams can get the best value. The 19th is a significant deadline.
I’d “over pay” for one of those two, like we over paid for Maggette only this time we’ll have a difference maker in the post.
I’d trade ANYONE or any Combination to land one of these guys but caution the GSW to not undervalue Andris who will continue to improve.
I hate this take… anything to get Amare? If we’re just getting people who put up #s and who need more stars around them to be winners, we should have just kept the WE BELIEVE team… Amare’s an average at best rebounder and a poor defender… instead of these patchwork trades we should be doing what every other team is doing - developing and establishing value for our young players… Nellie does it completely back asswards…
Any deal that includes Biedrins for Bosh and Amare is a lateral move unless the Warriors were smart enough to acquire quality frontcourt depth on a follow up move (they’re not)
Amare + Shaq and Bosh + JON/Bargs haven’t worked, but Amare/Bosh + Turiaf is going to be what? First round exit at best?
Only by pairing Amare WITH a young quality big like Biedrins do to all the dirty work along side, defense, rebounding, hustling can the Warriors hope to dig themselves out from mediocrity.
I’d think for a second before including Ellis, but ultimately you always trade small for big when you get the chance, so I would trade him.
Amare and Bosh are far, far superior offensively to what we’ve had since Webber, but Amare is allergic to defense and is an inferior rebounder. I have more faith in Bosh given the accolades he received for his commitment to D over the summer in Beijinn, and he might be even more versatile offensively . . . but he isn’t a force in the paint and would also need a buddy in the paint.
And if it weren’t obvious, outside of Biedrins, everyone else is tradeable. I’d highly regret seeing Azubuike and Turiaf go, since they’re such great values and good guys.
Twinkie defense February 12th, 2009 at 1:48 pm
I question how much success has come from “developing and establishing value” and how much has been happenstance and luck. Could the Warriors have made Ike Diogu an Amare Stoudemire? No. Would the Spurs be so good if they hadn’t lucked into Tim Duncan? No. If you can’t luck into good fortune, you’ve got to try to make your own, like the Warriors did in acquiring Baron Davis. It seems like an outside chance, but dealing a collection of lesser players to obtain an Amare or Bosh could be just the kind of luck the Warriors need.
Better see where the Spurs drafted Ginobili and Parker, etc.
Not a cogent case there. Learn the game.
M.Squared February 12th, 2009 at 3:49 pm
Absolutley no way do we swap AB for Amare. It is more of a step down. On top of all of the other reasons that were already stated, Amare complained when he had to play center and lobbied for a big man, and now he is whining that he can’t play in the post with Shaq. I don’t remember Duncan and Robinson having any issues, or Barkley and Hakeem, Ewing and Oakley etc…. Also- your looking at a guy who’s best days may already be behind him. Anywhere else he goes he won’t be paired with Steve Nash (or anyone comparable) and Nash absolutley gets some credit for his #s. Finally- he’s already had microfracture and is looking for a $17-20M per year deal in 2010. No way unless Phoenix wants Maggette and some young’s. The dude is talented- but not at that price and not along with his baggage. If Portland swaps Alderidge for him, Pritchard will top his Darius Miles Threat with the stupidest move of the NBA season.
Sarver and Kerr are probably the leagues worst owner GM tandem right next to Cohan and Rowell.
M.Squared February 12th, 2009 at 3:50 pm
The NY media is turning against Harrington already:
M.Squared February 12th, 2009 at 3:54 pm
Whats really disappointing in all of this is that if the W’s had held on to Al and not extended Jackson, we would be in the mix for just about ANY trade due to short term/expiring deals and young players. 2 young guys and a boat of cap room would have kept a lot of teams talking to the Dubs…..
THIZZ YA BOY February 12th, 2009 at 4:31 pm
dang geoff lepp, i miss read. no need to get david spade tough guy
Any GM in the league would swap Biedrins for Amare straight up. Why? Because Amare’s a better player. Andris will never be a star, that’s not his personality. He can be a very solid, reliable, dirty-work, glue guy, but he’ll never be they type of player that can put a team on his back. Amare can get his numbers with or without Nash. He can create his own shot off dribble, hit mid-range jumpers and bully his way in the post. He doesn’t need to be given the ball in a position to score, he can create that position on his own. And the knock that he’s a terrible defender is a bit unfounded. He’s no defensive stalwart, but he’s also no slouch. He’s averaged 9rpg for his career (which is no insignificant number) and is a better shot blocker than Andris. He’s also averaged more steals per game in his career than Biedrins as well. Ideally, if the dubs could keep AB and get a superstar big that’d be great, but realistically, the only way they’d even be allowed in the room for negotiations is if their best trade asset was involved, and that’s Andris. Plus, considering the bigs who will be available for the MLE, the loss of AB could be nullified.
kay tweez February 12th, 2009 at 5:56 pm
amare for don nelson straight up.
tough call, AB looks to be real nice guy. i wonder if he has much more improvement in him. Does he ever develop more of an offensive game or is he like Camby and just evens out early but is always pretty effective?
on the other hand, Amare can bring that excitement that JRich and Spree use to when they would hammer everything at the rim. He also has a pretty consistent jump shot and when playing as the featured big man, he can score on almost anybody. defense? what if amare was paired with turiaf? of course that probably wouldn’t happen with Nelson, but that would be a pretty big front court.
Amare’s a guy that can “put a team on his back?” Nope. Doesn’t rebound enough, doesn’t play defense, and doesn’t have a post game. He is a ridiculously effective finisher thanks to his mobility, size, and athleticism . . . but creating his own shot? He can get some shots, but his shot creating ability is not nearly good enough to be a guy that you throw the ball to on t he wing in isolation and let go one-on-one for 30 possessions a game. He’s thrived in the perfect system, but he’s not a one-man franchise builder.
That tag is reserved for Shaq and Duncan in their respective primes.
Amare’s more of a star than anyone on the warriors roster. There’s not a big man in the league that anyone would put in isolation on the wing 30 possessions a game, but that’s not the only way to create shots. Using your size, mobility and athleticism to get to rim and be a ridiculously effective finisher is definitely a way create your own shot. Being able to hit mid-range jumpers consistently, setting up the drive is a way to create your own shot. These are all attributes that everyone agrees Amare has, yet he’s no good at creating his own shot? Amare is the prototypical PF for Don Nelson’s offense, meaning he’ll be able to thrive once again in the perfect system. Averaging 5 rpg as a PF like Al Harrington is not rebounding enough. Averaging 9 rpg for your career is a pretty solid number for someone who “doesn’t rebound”. The only reason everyone thinks he doesn’t rebound is because he has the tools to be a 12-13 rpg guy, but it’s not like 9 boards is a paltry number. He may not be a franchise builder, but he’s definitely a firm foundation to build upon. Especially considering the other talent already on this roster, his addition is far more likely to put this team over hump than Andris’ potential ever could.
Blog to blog with this one. Andris is all of 22. Consider this his first year out of college (after not playing in high school). You’re comparison of he and Stoudimire is archaic, to say the least. A few years ago I’d have agreed. But up until last season Amare was just a dunker. And he was great at it. He finished with an authority few others possessed. But that’s all he did. To pretend otherwise does your argument a disservice. Over the past year and a half, he’s developed an average jump-shot, but now relies on it too heavily. This has made him less effective. Look again, he rarely creates his own shot. Nash, Nash, Nash. And ok, he probably isn’t a bad defender, but how can you tell if he doesn’t play defense?
Archaic? How so? Andris is 22 in his 5th year, not quite the same as being a rookie fresh out of college. Bad comparison. Definitely not taking into account Shaq being on the roster, accounting for Amare’s dip in numbers. I’ve seen a ton of Suns games this year, last year, past few years. He can create his own shot. His role on the warriors won’t be as a shutdown defender. His role will be as a scoring threat at the PF position. Exactly what he’s great at. Baron was thought of as disgruntled, underachieving diva before coming to the dubs. The fresh start resurrected his career. You don’t think a change of scenery will help amare?
There’s no deal. Non-issue.
The core is great, the coach and ownership has to go.
This actually answered my downside, thank you!
There are certainly a variety of particulars like that to take into consideration. That could be a great point to deliver up. I supply the ideas above as normal inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you deliver up where the most important factor will probably be working in sincere good faith. I don?t know if greatest practices have emerged around issues like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly recognized as a fair game. Both boys and girls really feel the impact of just a moment¡¯s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.
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