10

It’s Randolph…

For once, the draft gods smile on the Warriors: Anthony Randolph, expected by many to be gone by the time Golden State drafted at 14, slipped through to the team with the worst lottery luck in NBA history.
It’s a pick that’s may not make much impact for next season — at 6-10 and 197 pounds, Randolph is in many ways a clone of Brandan Wright, and Wright earned only 376 minutes out of Don Nelson as a rookie last year — but adds another athletically gifted piece to the Warriors’ long-term plan.
Best line of the night so far comes from ESPN’s Jay Bilas: “(Randolph) makes Brandan Wright look like Mr. America.”

– Geoff

4

From the media room

(Well, OK, the hallway outside the Warriors’ practice facility…)

A series of “ooooooooohs!” went through the room when the Kings took Rider forward Jason Thompson. Somewhere, I think Nellie is laughing through his cigar smoke.

Now, the question is whether LSU’s Anthony Randolph will fall to the Warriors at 14 or be snatched away at the last possible moment.

– Geoff

7

Draft Prospects: PG Derrick Rose

Comparison: A young, health Baron Davis … Better yet, Monta Ellis with strength and true point guard skills

Strengths: Physically, this dude is amazing. at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, he’s got good size for a one, but his athleticism makes him even bigger. He is strong, quick, fast and can jump. He’s going to be pound-for-pound among the best athletes in the league from the moment he’s drafted. Perhaps nearly as impressive as his physicality is his offensive intangibles. Stuff like body control, ability to shift gears on a dime, instincts to create, timely aggressiveness, competitive drive, ability to finish, willingness to pass, handles with both hands, can improvise with ball in his hands. He does the things you can’t teach. Most players with his build and level of talent have the shooting guard skills down, but need to learn how to play the point guard position. But Rose is a true point guard. He has vision, leadership, basketball IQ, the gamer mentality, the perfect temperment, sacrificial disposition, clutch, team-oriented.

Weakness: His outside shot needs work. He can stroke it some, but not with the consistency and fluidity that will force defenses to play up on him. If he ever gets that, he’ll be unstoppable. As it is now, he’s streaky. His mid-range game is hardly to the level of a Monta Ellis, and his range from NBA 3 is questionable.
He’s coachable, by all accounts, but he is raw. Only one year of college under his belt, he’s going to have growing pains. This is especially evident in a half-court setting. He’s pretty much feasting off of his natural ability, which works wonders in the open court. But the halfcourt game has a cerebral element that he doesn’t have the wisdom for yet. Running stuff like the pick and roll requires quick, smart decisions to be made. He’s no Chris Paul in that department yet. He is somewhat turnover prone because he gets out of control quite a bit. Also, he’s fairly quiet, which is not the best disposition for a point guard.

Fit with the Warriors: In short, he would be perfect. He is superb in transition, can create, physically imposing, and has a very strong skillset. Nellie, or whoever coaches the Warriors, would love a talent like this on the court. He could walk right into the Warriors current system and be effective. Best of all, he can defend. He is described by scouts as a “relentless defender” who takes advantage of his physical attributes on that end of the court. At the college level, he was somewhat of a lock down defender. Most important, he has been known to play hard on that end. And he has the size to defend shooting guards, which is also a prerequisite for playing PG with the Warriors. Plus, because of his size, he is a good rebounder. Guards must rebound in the Warriors’ system.

Chances of ending up a Warrior: No chance. His value is way too high. He’ll likely go No. 1, which means the Warriors would have to give up the farm to Chicago. Bye, bye Monta, Andris, the No. 14 pick and maybe Pietrus. Actually, the Bulls may not want either of those two players anyway, considering they have Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon, and Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas. Adding Monta and/or Andris would be redundant.
Now, if Chicago decides to take Michael Beasley. The Warriors, in the dreamiest of scenarios, could maybe put a deal together to send Baron to Miami. The Heat have to do something to make sure Wade stays with Miami when his opt-out clause comes up in two seasons. The best remedy for that is to win now. Maybe Wade might be convinced that a trio of Baron, Wade and Marion is the trio they need to compete with Boston’s big three, and that waiting for Rose to develop takes too long. Owner Mickey Arison can afford to pay the tax, so maybe he signs off on taking in another big salary.
But that’s just a dream.

Check out some of Derrick’s raw athleticism:

4

Inside: The End

Emptying out the notebook at the sooner-than-expected conclusion to the Warriors’ season:

** Just as Don Nelson is unrepentant regarding l’affaire Baron, Chris Mullin is equally OK with the waste of time, money, energy and resources that was Chris Webber’s Warriors comeback. Before they signed him, I said on KNBR that “the guy can’t run,” and I saw no evidence to dispute that theory while he was with the Warriors.

The recognition of the need to add another rotation player to a rapidly tiring team was good; settling for a guy that clearly gummed up the works in his season debut – which just happened to be the Chicago loss on Feb. 7, a game where the visiting Bulls were missing their top three players – was not.

Nevertheless, Mullin gave an immediate “no” when asked if he thought the Webber fixation cost his team any games.

“I think we may have won that Boston game (because of Webber), actually,” Mullin said. “I thought he did a good job in that game (on Feb. 20). I thought he played well. Baron made that incredible shot, but I thought defensively, (Webber) helped us that night.”

** Mullin was in pretty good form, humor-wise, during his season-ending chat with print reporters on Wednesday. Among the highlights was his response to a reporter noting that Baron might want “17, 17, 17 and 17,” referring to a three-year extension on top of his $17.8 million salary for the upcoming season.

“That’s a good number,” Mullin said. “I like the number 17, especially if it wasn’t just my (uniform) number. If that was the going salary (when Mullin played), that’d be pretty sweet.”

As for who will represent the Warriors at the draft lottery on May 20, Mullin knows one thing – if past history with the event counts for anything, he won’t be the one in the chair in Secaucus, N.J.

“From that standpoint, I shouldn’t do it, because the first year they had it, it was the worst (outcome), the booby prize,” Mullin said, referring to the initial lottery of 1985, when the Warriors were denied a shot at No. 1 pick Patrick Ewing despite a league-worst 22-60 record and ended up with a certain lefty out of St. John’s. “They could have got (No.) 1 through 7, and they got 7. So I’m a bad candidate.”

** Nelson said last week that he made the determination as early as training camp that he’d have to ride the Baron/Jack/Monta triumvirate into the ground in order to compete for a playoff spot. What about guys like Austin Croshere and Troy Hudson, the veterans brought in to firm up the Nos. 9 and 10 spots on the roster? Couldn’t they have been some sort of stopgap measure?

“Do you have any idea who you’re talking about?” Nelson said. “Were you hoping that those guys rise up? They’re at the end of their careers, they were never great players anyway, and now you’re going to ask them to rise up and all of a sudden be something special? At best, they’re a good veteran.”

** The trade-Al-Harrington door swings both ways. While the team mulls over its future with Al – and decides whether his $9.2 million price tag might be better spent on other roster priorities – he will ponder if he wants to endure another season of Nelson’s pointed needling or wants to demand a change of address instead.

That’s not to say Harrington is undeserving of blame, but he certainly bore a disproportionate share of Nellie’s insults. And though Al is too much of a pro to ever admit it, it was clear from watching him that he’s frustrated at being the team’s designated whipping boy.

** Stephen Jackson gets the last word. Asked about the urgency to win during what Nelson says will be his last year (assuming he comes back), Jackson couldn’t help for laughing: “I love Nellie. I hear something different from y’all every week with Coach.”

– Geoff