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2010-11 NBA Preview: Golden State Warriors

You probably already know, but Golden State set a record this summer. The Warriors were sold for $450 million dollars. And while the amount of the deal was in every headline, I think what’s more important to Warriors fans (and to fantasy owners) is that the new owners seem to actually care about the Warriors. Joe Lacob has been a season ticket holder and has already stated that he wants to make the Warriors into a winning team. I’m sure that Warriors fans feel like a grizzly bear who just discovered a tent full of bacon. Covered in honey.

Now, if the Clippers could just find someone like that to buy them the NBA would probably start giving away unicorns in addition to having players read to kids.

The Warriors haven’t turned themselves into contenders over night – or over two nights – like some teams did, but they hopefully made Bay Area hoops heads happy simply by getting David Lee. A lot of players on the fantasy basketball scene will name check David Lee like it’s going to get them into a club, but the reality is, he’s still one of the more anonymous players in the league. I bet Warriors fans are already tired of explaining to their casual basketball fan friends who this double-double machine is. Lucky for them, and Lee too, I suppose, baseball season will be over before the NBA seasons starts, and the Warriors look at least as promising as the 49ers. Let me show you why using a depth chart I made.

PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Monta Ellis, Charlie Bell
SF: Reggie Williams, Dorell Wright, Devean George
PF: David Lee, Brandan Wright, Vladimir Radmanovic
C: Anthony Tolliver, Andris Biedrins, Dan Gadzuric, Chris Hunter

The question marks abound. Can Curry Monster and Monta play together and both be fantasy studs? Is David Lee too tall to be a Power Forward on this team? Will he actually play Center? Can Anthony Tolliver continue his basically unfathomable run of double-digit scoring?

If the same players were occupying equivalent spots on different teams, the chances that those questions can be answered in the affirmative drops dramatically. But this is the Golden Ticket we’re talking about. This is where every contract year player in the league should want to play. This is the land of Nellieball and 100 (!) possessions per game. (For comparison’s sake – the D’Antoni Knicks only had 94, while the formerly D’Antoni Suns had 95. That’s a lot of extra chances for buckets, rebounds, steals, and blocks)

All five of the Warriors starters will be what we in the industry call “fantasy relevant.” With Curry, Monta, and R-Dub tossing up threes and Lee and Tolliver manning the boards, there’s actually a good chance that they all end up close to where they were last year. How close? Let me tell you using these numbers of rounds that I stole from MMA Ring Girls.

There was a time when I said that Stephen Curry would be a first round pick. That was before another potential first rounder came to the promised land. In case I’m being too cryptic, Lee was #7 and Curry was #9 on the Player Rater last year. Still, Curry has talent and he has a fantasy-friendly system. Round 2.

David Lee could have been a first rounder on another team, and with the aforementioned system, he still could be, but solving the unknown in the equation with the constants we have now gives us nothing better than Round 2.

Curry and Lee’s slightly less productive counter (and spare) parts are not too far back. Let me say it again: 100 possessions per game.

Monta Ellis was #18 last year, playing 41 minutes a game. With those kind of minutes, you’re almost guaranteed to end up at the top of the rankings. If you don’t, you don’t deserve those kinds of minutes. I have him slipping a bit, but keep in mind Curry and Ellis played a lot of minutes together last year according to, so even with Lee in there now, he should still be able to get his. Let’s say early Round 3, though I won’t be surprised if people are taking him at the end of the second.

Reggie Williams managed to be a Top 50 player last season by getting himself up (that’s what she said) to #49 on the Player Rater. He only played 24 games, but he showed that he can put the ball in the hole nearly one out of every two times, and that’s good enough to get an undrafted player 32 minutes (that’s not what she said). Since the Warriors traded away pretty much everyone else who could claim to be able to play the Small Forward position, R-Dub is the man now, dog. Let’s go with a nice late 4th rounder.

(And speaking of 4th round, I guess that no MMA events ever go past the 2nd round because there aren’t any pictures of Ring Girls holding numbers higher then 2)

The man I can only guess will be the starting C or PF for the Dubs, Anthony Tolliver, cracked the Top 100 last season by putting together an impressive two-month run to close out the season. Like any good Golden State Warrior, he was bombing from downtown (1.1 threes on the season), but also managed to grab as many as 21 boards in a game (and averaged 7.3). His FG% was only 43%, but his FT% was up at almost 77%. Threes and free throw percentage? Seems like a pretty awesome candidate for a Small Ball Center if I’ve ever seen one. (And I’ve actually seen more than I probably should have) In 8 games in April, he was up to 46.9% from the field. I’m only giving you these facts since I did not know them myself. (And I actually know more than I probably should) So, I’m going to say that even with an actual basketball player at the other big position, Tolliver improves enough to go from early 9th round to somewhere in the 7th.

And finally, Mr. Biedrins. Perhaps the only other player outside of the starting 5 who will play enough to matter. Plus, he’s tall. And you can’t teach height. And evidently you can’t teach guys with height to shoot free throws. Nevertheless, this semi-injury prone 7-footer was technically a “draftable” player last year and he can certainly sit under the hoop and absorb rebounds. Big Ballers can pick him up as a last round insurance policy.

In summary, the official GMTR Guidance:
Stephen Curry – 2nd round
David Lee – 2nd round
Monta Ellis – 3rd round
Reggie Williams – Late 4th round
Anthony Tolliver – 7th round
Andris Biedrins – Last round

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