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News » Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2008-06-30

Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2008-06-30

Golden State Warriors Getting Inside 2008-06-30
Chris Mullin is so sure he made the right move trading Jason Richardson for Brandan Wright in June 2007, he drafted a mirror image this year.

The Warriors made LSU forward Anthony Randolph the 14th overall pick of the draft, electing to go for long-term potential over immediate needs.

They did the same thing last year when they dealt the high-scoring Richardson for the unproven Wright, and the results were predictable. A team that had reached the second round of the playoffs in 2007 failed to earn a trip to the postseason last season as Wright played very little.

Now the future looks even ... bigger.

Randolph is a lot like Wright -- a young, slender, left-handed collegiate power forward who likely will get pushed around under the hoop in the NBA. That's why Wright never earned coach Don Nelson's trust as a rookie, and why Randolph -- who is an inch taller than Wright (6-10) but eight pounds lighter (197) -- already is being projected as a future small forward.

If that comes to fruition, and the Warriors are able to re-sign center Andris Biedrins this summer, that could give Golden State a rarity in future years -- an all-left-handed front line. For now, they're likely to have two left-handers on the bench.

"We feel he has star quality," Mullin said of Randolph, who averaged 15.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game in his one and only season at LSU. "We were sitting there kind of amazed he was still there (at 14)."

While Mullin envisions Randolph being a matchup nightmare for other small forwards in the NBA down the line, it's not the type of mismatch Nelson has utilized in his successful career. The second-winningest coach in NBA history likes to run circles around bigger men with smaller players.

Suffice it to say, he'd love to see an opponent trot Wright and Randolph out there as its starting forwards.

Alas, Nelson has no choice. In what figures to be his final season with the Warriors, he's already been told to play Wright more next year.

Chances are the new guy will be given the same instructions regarding Randolph next summer.

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: If any game typified the Warriors' season, it was their 115-111 win at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against the Lakers on March 23. When the Warriors were hot, which they were in the first half en route to 72 points and a 26-point lead, they were unstoppable. But when they shot bricks, which they did for 19 minutes of the second half as L.A. rallied to take a two-point lead, they were terrible. Unfazed, Golden State bounced back to record the much-needed win as Stephen Jackson, Monta Ellis and Baron Davis -- the trio that carried the club all season -- all made big plays down the stretch. It was the team's 20th of 21 road wins during the season, nine more than they'd totaled the year before.

TURNING POINT: Some would say it was when, in the wake of one of the most exciting playoff runs in franchise history, the Warriors broke up their nucleus by trading Jason Richardson for a draft pick. The club had depth problems all season. But the Warriors undoubtedly would have been at least a 50-win team even without Richardson and would have made the playoffs had the NBA not announced on July 15 that Stephen Jackson was being suspended for the first seven games of the season as punishment for having pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness in a gun-shooting incident in Indianapolis in 2006. The Warriors opened the season 1-6 in Jackson's absence, losing their first six games. If Jackson had received a slap on the wrist and the Warriors won even just two more of those games with him in the lineup, they would have gone into the final night of the season needing just to beat a bad Seattle team to make a second consecutive trip to the playoffs.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 30, 2008


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