It’s not a typical occurrence to we hear the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics in the same sentence. You couldn’t get two teams that are more different. One plays a slow, grind-it-out tempo with an emphasis on defense and the other likes to run and score over 100 points in every game they play. The owner of the Warriors, however, wants to take a similar approach to the one that the Celtics took in putting together a championship team in 2008.
As part of the owners panel at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference last month, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and Warriors owner Joe Lacob discussed how plans to rebuild a franchise can take five years. Grousbeck mentioned how he examined all of the past championship teams in the NBA and saw that each team, aside from the 2004 Detroit Pistons, had an all-time NBA Top-50 on their team. He put a target on Kevin Garnett and ended up landing him.
This is interesting, especially when you look at the current Warriors situation. They just landed David Lee this past summer, who is obviously not a Top-50 player of all-time, and have many young players around him. If the Warriors are truly trying to use the Celtics’ model for building a franchise, then who are they building around? The answer is Monta Ellis.
It seems to make sense. Ellis’ situation right now is eerily similar to that of Paul Pierce in his early years. Pierce got to see the playoffs with a veteran team when he was a young gun. Now Monta is surrounded by young talent and things are not going too well, despite the fact that he is putting up big numbers.
That means that the next step is close for the Warriors. They have many intriguing young trade pieces in Stephen Curry, Dorell Wright, Ekpe Udoh, Al Thornton, Reggie Williams and Andris Biendrins. When looking at the Celtics core back in 2007, they are similar. Some could argue that the Warriors have an even better young core than did that Boston team.
So what top-50 players are available in the near future for Golden State? Two players that come to mind are Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Still, those two are unrealistic options, considering we don’t know what’s going on in their heads and Oakland is not a big market. But we might have thought the same about Kevin Garnett in 2007.
Even if they could land a guy like Chris Paul, could he coexist with Ellis? Ellis’ combo guard characteristics pose issues from a compatibility standpoint. And this raises the ultimate question…
Who should the Golden State Warriors build around if they were to start their own Big Three? Who should they go after in the future?
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