With the NBA Trade Deadline less than 60 minutes away, we asked our Warriors World staff about potential moves the Dubs could make in this latest installment of 3-on-3.
1. Josh Smith, Andrea Bargani, Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans to name a few are on the block. Which player would best fit the Warriors ?
Jesse Taylor: Nothing causes a heated debate between the multiple voices in my head like the NBA Trade Deadline.
Jordan Ramirez will not like my response here, but I do not want Josh Smith on my team. Ever played with one of those guys that just makes you shake your head in frustration because of his lack of understanding of playing basketball and the impact it has on the flow of your team? That’s Josh Smith. Jarrett Jack would end up fighting Josh Smith if he got traded to the Warriors.
On the flip, Smith and Bogut defending the rim would be pretty awesome. But is Smith just a shot blocker or can he also defend the post? David Lee destroyed him this season and rendered his shot blocking meaningless. David Lee has major issues with good defenders, so that was a red flag for me.
So I guess I am not interested in any of these players. Maybe Bargnani would intrigue me the most if I had to pick one because of what a 4 can do when he spreads the floor. It would also be entertaining to pair him down low defensively with David Lee.
What the Warriors need to do is just play defense again. The roster is fine for now – just get back to what got them playing so well to start the season.
Getting a game changing type of player is not likely to happen until the Biedrins and Jefferson contracts expire.
Jack Winter: Of the players available, none are an especially good fit with the Warriors. Golden State is hardly the best team in the league and is certainly not without its flaws, but boasts a balanced roster with quality depth at every spot. That’s why Josh Smith makes the most hypothetical sense; his unique versatility on both ends of the floor is a trait the Warriors lack, as evidenced by Draymond Green overextending himself playing the role as a swing forward. It’s not going to happen, but J-Smoove in blue and gold would be a sight to behold.
Jordan Ramirez: In my hypothetical world where owner/player friendships didn’t exist, I would trade David Lee for Josh Smith. Smith is an athletic freak and very good on the defensive end. Offensively, he takes too many shots and is shooting way too many threes. But on this team, where the Warriors won’t ask for Smith to do much on the offensive end he will flourish. On the Hawks, Smith is asked to be the primary scorer, which is forcing him to take all these shots. On a team with so many scorers, Smith will be a perfect fit as the third or fourth scoring option. Also, Josh Smith and Andrew Bogut would be one of the scariest defensive frontcourts in the league (with David Lee, they’re most certainly not). He’s an unrestricted free agent after this season, so there’s risk of losing him for nothing this offseason, but that’s where new ownership, a player’s coach, a winning attitude and a new arena come in handy.
2. Our own Jesse Taylor asked the question and now we ask it again: Eric Gordon for Klay Thompson, yay or nay?
Jesse Taylor: Speaking of Beans and RJ, can we include both of them in this Gordon trade? If so, then maybe I do it. Gordon’s contract is awful and doesn’t expire until the end of the 2015-16 season. But he’s a very skilled all-around player. He can shoot, create his own shot, has good handles, gets to the free throw line and is a solid defender. Klay has a great shot but is very one dimensional at the moment. Will he improve on his dribbling and driving? We don’t know the answer to that. Also, for every game that he goes off offensively, there is another game that he looks completely lost.
Defensively, Klay guards the opponent’s best backcourt player and that has been a huge asset for Steph Curry and the Warriors. Maybe Gordon can do the same.
Jack Winter: Nay. In 2010-2011 Gordon was one of the game’s brightest young players, averaging 22.3 points per game with a stellar true shooting percentage of 56.6. Even early last summer he was held in incredibly high regard; there was major debate on whether or not he or James Harden was more worthy of a spot on the Olympic Team. But, to put it simply, Gordon just hasn’t seen the court enough in the last two seasons to justify his still lofty perception in some league circles. Combine that with his middling play when he has been healthy and a growing laundry list of off-court malfeasance, and he’s not worth his max contract.
Thompson, meanwhile, has hardly lived up to lofty expectations this season but has nonetheless flashed the major scoring skill that makes him so unique. There are only so many shooting guards these days that could eventually be capable of averaging an efficient 20 points per game, and Thompson is certainly on that short list. That he’s on his rookie contract through 2015 only makes him more valuable, too. Add it all up, and Gordon’s potential juice just isn’t worth Thompson’s squeeze even if such a swap would make the Warriors immediately better.
Jordan Ramirez: Yay. Eric Gordon is one of the best shooting guards of the league when healthy (there’s our favorite phrase again!) and would be an upgrade over Klay Thompson in nearly every facet of the game not including shooting. Some will balk at his contract (he’s making $13.6 million this season, upwards of $14 million in 13′-14′), but those numbers always look worse when the player isn’t on the floor. In other words, if he’s healthy, he’s worth the contract. Remember, Gordon never wanted to play for the Hornets/Pelicans in the first place, and I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if Gordon isn’t just taking it easy this season in hopes of preserving his career long term. Klay has trouble creating for himself and getting to the line, an area of the game where Gordon flourishes. Defensively, Thompson is bigger and probably the slightly better defender right now, but Gordon has a longer wingspan and hasn’t been 100%. The risk here is Gordon’s health and Klay Thompson’s ceiling. Gordon is not playing back-to-backs right now and is playing in limited minutes (where have we seen that before?), but his upside is worth the slight risk you’ll be taking. Also, I believe Klay Thompson is reaching his ceiling sooner rather than later.
3. If Mitch Kupchak called Jerry West now and offered Dwight Howard for Andrew Bogut. Yes or no?
Jesse Taylor: If Mitch Kupchak called Jerry West and offered D12 for Bogut, I would wonder if Kupchak smokes the huka…
Of course you do this. It was nice to have a shot blocking presence when Bogut returned, and while you can see flashes of his skills, his health has me wondering if he can even make it down the court at times. He may never be the same player he once was.
Howard has his own injuries, but those aren’t expected to last beyond this season. This would also be where having a coach like Mark Jackson is a huge benefit. I can see Howard getting along very well with Jackson while Jackson would not let him get away with all the immature crap.
Jack Winter: Yes. Make that a resounding yes, actually. Let’s call the health situations of these guys a wash (though Bogut’s is arguably worse), and assume each will return to something close to their pre-injury selves. In that case, Bogut is a great fit with the Warriors as a skilled big man capable of working from the elbows and facilitating offense from the post, and offers tons of value on the other end as a shot-blocker and back-line quarterback. All that said, he’s not Howard; nobody is.
Remember Dwight’s Orlando Magic heydays, when Stan Van Gundy surrounded him with shooters like Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, JJ Redick and company while funneling everything on defense his direction and reaping the benefits of his historic defensive talent? Golden State would offer something similar with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, and it’s easy to imagine Howard and David Lee coexisting seamlessly, too. Those recent defensive problems? They’re mostly gone with a near-healthy Howard, the game’s preeminent mistake-eraser on pick-and-rolls and in the paint.
Bogut will get better for Golden State and the team’s play will improve on both ends of the floor as a result. But the Aussie isn’t Dwight, and the immediate success Howard would enjoy upon coming aboard combined with the lure of the Bay Area and Golden State’s ability to offer him the lengthiest, most lucrative contract would make him signing elsewhere this summer unlikely, too. Please Mr. Kupchak, make the call.
Jordan Ramirez: Yes, absolutely, unequivocally, certainly, positively, now stop teasing me please. Howard’s off the court troubles are well chronicled and also overblown. His health has been in question all year, but he’s only 27 and is still putting up great numbers (16.3 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 2.3 BLKPG, 19.45 PER). Also, Howard isn’t getting nearly as many touches in the post and plays on a team with Kobe Bryant, two hindrances that won’t make you look any better on offense. When both are healthy, Bogut is good and Howard is the best. Before the Orlando mess or back questions came into play, many thought Howard was the second best building block in the NBA aside from LeBron James. I don’t think those days are behind Howard yet. The past two seasons have been an absolute mess, but Howard would be an incredible take for an Aussie that has yet to establish himself on this team and has only played 12 games in a Warriors uniform. Like my hypothetical trade for Josh Smith, you must trust the front office and the new allure that comes with this team in order to keep Howard after this season.