To both casual NBA fans and die-hard Golden State Warriors fans alike, two glaring issues for the Warriors became more and more apparent as the 2013-2014 season progressed and the postseason came to an end.
The front office’s release of Mark Jackson and subsequent hiring of new head coach Steve Kerr addressed the first issue: the lack of strategic coaching and in-game management. The other issue was the lack of frontcourt depth for the Warriors, which was greatly compromised by the injuries to Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli. Although Draymond Green fought tooth and nail with Blake Griffin and Jermaine O’Neal turned back the clock during his extended playing time in their playoff opener, this is clearly not a long-term solution for the Dubs.
As the Spurs continue to bask in the Finals limelight, it is only fitting the Warriors attempt to take a few pages out of their book. Some key takeaways from the Finals are that taking high-percentage shots offensively and protecting the rim defensively are paramount to winning ball games. The Spurs free-flowing offense led to a laughable amount of good open looks, but having elite finishers at the rim such as Tony Parker and Tim Duncan didn’t hurt either. As currently constructed, the Warriors can hope to emulate this type of fluid offensive philosophy with the Splash Brothers on the receiving end of catch and shoot opportunities from selfless players and skilled passers such as Green, Andre Iguodala, and even Steve Blake.
Although landing Kevin Love would be the biggest move in recent Warriors history, the Timberwolves may be asking for too many assets. And while the possibility of watching Curry and Love pick and pop all season is tantalizing, Love doesn’t alleviate some of the Warriors’ biggest concerns. The Warriors need rim protection and guys who can finish at the rim. It’s safe to say Love didn’t become a top 10 player in the league for his defense.
Andrew Bogut being injured is nothing new and is something the Dubs need a contingency plan for. With Ezeli recovering from a season-long injury and still far from a finished product, it would make sense for the Warriors to target the productive Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons. Only 20 years old, he’s already become a monster two-way player with the numbers to back it up. Perhaps most importantly, Drummond is extremely durable as he only missed one game and played significant minutes through the year.
Trailing only DeAndre Jordan, Drummond made 62.3% of his field goal attempts last season. He scores in similar ways as Jordan too with put-backs and tip dunks, fueled by his high motor.
On the other end, he ferociously defends the rim with 1.62 blocks a game, putting him at 10th in the league.
To pull this off, the front office would have to continue their brilliance, which would likely mean sending off David Lee and either Harrison Barnes or their 2015 first round draft pick to Detroit. What it would take remains unclear but Kerr’s recent trip to visit Bogut in Melbourne is a strong show of confidence that Lacob and Myers won’t move Bogut anytime soon. Rather, the Warriors could go big pairing Bogut and Drummond together on the court. While this lineup could limit them somewhat offensively, Drummond shows tremendous upside with his athleticism. Worst case scenario, he is a superb replacement when Bogut when he inevitably gets banged up.