Trading young athletic forward Carlos Rogers, Anthony Randolph along with Kelena Azabuike, and fan favorite Ronny Turiaf to New York for all-star power forward David Lee, sent Warriors fans into a tail spin. This is a trade that angers fans because of ‘potential.’ Many feel that Randolph has more upside than David Lee. This is a subjective and hopeful feeling that is fostered by the Warriors every time they draft a player and he has any kind of success. As fans of a team that has made the playoffs once in the last 16 years, you have to allow yourself to hope. Hope can turn into tickets, jerseys, and unrealistic player expectations.
Hope in the face of suffering is why I have 4 autographed Larry Hughes jerseys, why the arena was packed on draft night, and why the Warriors continue to draw some of the best attendance in the league. If you scramble your roster every single year, you can always talk about how things are different. There is always hope when there is change….if you market it correctly. Change allows the Warriors sell tickets every year based on hope and potential. When a player they hyped as having amazing franchise turnaround capabilities gets traded for anyone short of a top 10 player, the fans have a violent reaction.
Face it, the Anthony Randolph trade is actually good for the Warriors. Yes, it leaves me with yet another outdated autographed player jersey, but maybe the Warriors will let me trade it for a David Lee jersey. AR had potential, but it is a crap shoot if he ever realizes it. His first year he wasn’t motivated, and needed a fire lit under him to get it together. He bounced back with a great summer league, and a decent start to the season, but he was still a tweener without any solid back to the basket moves, an inconsistent jump shot and no real position. AR is a project that may or may not pay off and a lot of that is dependent on his desire to work, improve, get better.
David Lee is an all star power forward who plays in an up-tempo system and can be expected to put up similar numbers here in Golden State. He works on his game, and tries hard every night. He has character, maturity, and a high basketball IQ. Warriors fans would have loved to have AR aspire to be a more athletic version of David Lee.
Lee has 40 lbs on AR, plays closer to the basket, generated a higher FG% in his first 2 years, is a better foul shooter, rebounder, and has shown improvement every year. Lee plays a position that we haven’t had a solid starter in for decades. The Warriors now have a pairing with Curry / Lee that could rival the Nash / Stoudemire combo that ran up and down courts in the west for years. 1 all star and 1 future all-star playing their actual positions, under Don Nelson, amazing.
Instead of rolling the dice on hope, we made a solid basketball move. It hurts, but it’s for the best.