Is it dramatic irony? I feel like I know what will happen to GSW even if they do not.
In order to prove a new culture, Mark Jackson will strive to win every game. The Warriors will win just enough to lose their top-seven protected pick, thus maintaining the old high lottery culture. And the Sisyphus ball keeps rolling.
Per Hollinger odds, the Warriors have a better shot of winning the NBA lotto (4.5%) than they do of making the playoffs (2.9%). After a 5-11 start in a short season, it is not too soon to think, “lottery.”
Let’s cut to the chase: The Dubs should tank. This is a deviant recommendation, not to be openly suggested in polite society. Tanking also goes against all that the principles–competitive coaches and players–are geared to do. But I think that after David Stern tacitly endorsed a tanking strategy with his revised Chris Paul trade, the unspoken option should be more socially acceptable.
The NBA rewards the utmost failure while punishing lukewarm mediocrity. The worst teams get franchise-making picks. The merely bad teams stay stuck in purgatory. This is the system, don’t blame me for its non-sensical nature.
The Warriors have more incentive to tank than any other squad. For all the talk about changing the GSW culture, it’s the talent that begs an upgrade. The Dubs have no superstar and their pieces are ill-fitting. If the Warriors fall out of the top seven picks this year, Utah gets their selection. It’s a choice between “potential superstar” versus “nothing.” Of course, getting a top-seven pick punts the sacrifice to next season, but the current draft is decent. Also, there is a chance that if everything goes “right,” the Warriors will win a top-six pick in 2013. This would mean that GSW would never have to give up a first rounder.
Today, there is much hand-wringing over the Washington Wizards, but the Cavs were similarly bemoaned last year. What happened to Cleveland? They won the lottery, and perhaps have an embryonic superstar in Kyrie Irving. It is hard for me to mourn Washington when John Wall could be throwing lobs to Anthony Davis next year.
Since I doubt that you could sell Mark Jackson on intentionally throwing games, and since such a dictated policy is against the rules, perhaps there is another way around this: Strip the team down to the bolts, trade Curry for a draft pick if necessary, provided the price is right.
The time for half measures is over, or at least should be. Deigning to amnesty Biedrins while refusing to address his calamitous free throw issue is a half measure. It’s one or the other. If the Warriors do not plan on fixing his fatal flaw, they should trade him for financial room (Oh, to have that amnesty back).
David Lee is owed 15 million in 2016. Power forward is the NBA’s deepest position, so there won’t be a market for Lee’s services. His presence redeemable if the Warriors can pair him with a defensive big (the just missed Tyson Chandler option), or a play maker who optimizes Lee’s pick-and-pop game in the way Chris Paul did for David West. For now, they’re stuck with him, and can only hope to improve his game.
There should be a market for Monta Ellis, as his contract is reasonable and his talent is striking. GSW’s relationship with him has been one long, protracted half measure, though. When he crashed his mo-ped, the move was to fine Ellis just enough to harm that relationship. The two preferable full measures would have been full forgiveness or parting ways.
Since then, the Warriors have uneasily alternated between holding up Monta as a golden calf and casting his name into every trade rumor. He does not fit here, and won’t unless the Warriors can add a slashing point guard to feed Monta on the wing. The trade rumor route is viable, so long as the rumors finally become an actual trade.
There is a glass ceiling hovering above this roster, and it’s short enough to make a toddler crouch. The only solution is to bottom out, to stop gunning for an elusive eighth seed. If the new owners want to prove a new mentality, then an actual rebuilding process would accomplish that. Swinging and missing for a .500 record would not.