[Remember when Nyjer Morgan, former Washington National and current Milwaukee Brewer, showed up at a Wizards game, in the tickets the team provided him, while wearing Warriors gear? We do. Photo: A. McGinnis]
The Golden State Warriors come to Washington this evening. And no, Andray Blatche, Kwame Brown is not playing to soak up boos from the D.C. crowd that might be otherwise directed toward you… because he is hurt. The Warriors announced in mid-January that Brown would miss around three-months of action due to surgery needed to repiar a torn pectoral muscle. Otherwise, between John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, there should be plenty of action and excitement to put the “U-N” back in ”F Street,” at least for this night. For today’s 3-on-3 we have J.M. Poulard (@ShyneIV) of ESPN TrueHoop blog WarriorsWorld.net, along with TAI’s Sam Permutt (@SammyVert) and Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) The Golden State Warriors are rumored to be heavy suitors for JaVale McGee, with the San Francisco Chronicle reporting that they are more likely to pursue McGee in restricted free-agency this summer rather than through a trade this season. Golden State has David Lee tied up for 4-years, $57 million after this season; Monta Ellis for 2-years, $22 million (ETO for 2013-14); and Andris Biedrins for 2-years, $18 million (ETO for 2013-14) [salary info via Sham Sports]. Knowing they might have to give money to other young players in the near future, such as Stephen Curry, how much can the Warriors afford to offer McGee so that the Wizards don’t match?
KYLE WEIDIE: If Ted Leonsis is willing, this summer, to drastically re-think how his franchise has been developing players (and Leonsis has likely taken significant steps regarding such anyway), then McGee can’t be seen as a lost cause. He has the ability to defend the rim like no other, just imagine what he could do if beating on McGee’s rock in a Sisyphus-like manner finally cracked his hard-headed ways, opening intelligent results. That being said, the effort has its price… as in how much are the Wizards willing to pay McGee for a chance at developing him better? If we’re getting close to the $10-million per year mark, say 4-years, $40 million, then the Wizards should think long and hard about matching, but then pull the trigger. If the contact offer starts to average crazy numbers past that, figure something else out… sign-and-trade or flat-out refusal to match. It’s worth it, for Washington, to let someone else set McGee’s market and then make a decision. However, this doesn’t mean McGee is currently off the trade block.
SAM PERMUTT: If they want to be competitive in the future, they won’t offer McGee an unmatchable amount. Unless JaVale’s team defense improves immensely, the Lee-McGee backcourt is not a contender-worthy defensive tandem (although it does rhyme, so there’s that). The Warriors most important player, if he can stay healthy, is Steph Curry. He will be heavily recruited by many teams when he becomes a free agent, and with the losing and trade rumors he’s experienced in Golden State, he may be eager to look around if the Warriors money isn’t right.
J.M. POULARD: Prior to the season, the Warriors had tried to sign away DeAndre Jordan from the Clippers with an offer sheet—he was a restricted free agent—of $40 million over four years that the Clips matched. Given that McGee offers the same type of production but is also relatively more polished on the offensive end, a contract within the range of $46 million could possibly get it done. It’s important that the Dubs stay away from overpaying just for the sake of getting a player otherwise they could get stuck with another Biedrins situation.
#2) If both of these teams were for sale, and you had enough money to purchase either one as-is in this season (with WAS currently set to have the third most lottery chances and GSW sixth), which franchise would you throw your money at? Considering conference, which team sees to post-season first?
WEIDIE: As desirable as Washington’s situation might look soon, the Warriors would have the advantage. [Note: in the "future" NBA power rankings by Chad Ford and John Hollinger on ESPN.com, published in February 2012, the Warriors are ranked 21st and the Wizards are ranked 22nd.] Golden State has the better basketball market and fan support, by far. The Warriors don’t have an unnecessarily dire salary cap situation on the horizon either, and they have more basketball pieces which could be traded for future picks and parts in return that, given the right management, could really boost the building efforts in Oakland. I’m also assuming that in said situation, my ownership aspirations are not connected to my hometown of D.C., so I would choose to buy the Warriors. Although, I think Washington makes the playoffs sooner.
PERMUTT: I’m taking the Wizards. Golden State is caught in between rebuilding and fighting for a playoff spot, which is not good for long-term championship contention. The Wizards aren’t good, but at least they are clearly committed to rebuilding. They have salary cap space, some young pieces (John Wall & Trevor Booker, not ‘Dray & Co.), and better uniforms. I’ll take the Wizards to make the playoffs first; the Warriors just aren’t good enough to crack the top eight in the West.
POULARD: The Golden State Warriors would be my pick. Although they play in the bruising Western Conference where there are multiple great teams as well as some good ball clubs vying for playoff spots, fans always come out to support the Warriors regardless of the opponent. The fan base has proven to be loyal and willing to sit through rebuilding efforts. As far as the playoffs go, I currently trust the Dubs to make an appearance first by virtue of their better record but also because they have shown a little more discipline and cohesiveness than the Wizards. Granted, they are not that far apart in terms of talent, but these intangibles give the Warriors a slight edge in my opinion.
#3) The Warriors are in Washington to play the last of a six-game road trip — @ Phoenix – W; @ Indiana – L; @ Atlanta – W; @ Philadelphia – L; and @ Toronto – L — having lost on Sunday in Toronto. The Wizards are in the third game of a five-game homestand, having beaten the Cavaliers on Saturday and getting their fill of partying later that evening. The game currently has no betting line. [UPDATE: Wizards favored by 1.5 points.] Who wins and why? (Provide a score prediction.)
WEIDIE: Both of these teams are pretty bad at keeping opponents off the offensive boards—Washington has a 0.690 defensive rebounding percentage (DRB%), ranked last in the NBA, and Golden State has a DRB% of 0.694, which is tied with the New Jersey Nets for the second worst. The difference, perhaps, being that the Wizards average 4.7 more attempts at the rim per game than the Warriors (26.8 to 22.1). If John Wall is able to get deep penetration into the paint, and there’s no reason to think Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry will be able to stop him, and JaVale McGee and Trevor Booker are putting in work running and crashing hard, then Andris Biedrins, David Lee and Dominic McGuire might have a very hard time competing with Washington’s frontline athleticism. Could be a crazy game with D.C. taking the 111-109 victory.
PERMUTT: The Warriors just want to go home. John Wall comes out with a monster game, leading the troops effectively thanks to some sage advice from Trey Songz (YUPPP). In all seriousness, the Wizards are on the verge of playing decent basketball—Jordan Crawford has been lighting it up, John Wall is dishing well, and the bigs are being held more accountable for their effort. The Warriors are struggling, tired, and coming off a loss to Toronto. The Wizards had a couple days to recover from the club and should come out excited about the rare possibility of a winning streak. Wizards 103 – Warriors 95.
POULARD: The Wizards have had trouble holding onto the ball this season and thus allow the second most fast break points in the league, which should greatly benefit a Warriors team that has been heavily dependent on Monta Ellis as of late to create for himself and his teammates. With the Warriors getting out on the break and also getting a multitude of open 3-point looks from snipers such as Brandon Rush and Klay Thompson as a result of the porous Wizards pick-and-roll defense, I would except the Dubs to close out the road trip with a 99-96 victory.
BONUS: @warriorsworld once threw out the trade idea of Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins for JaVale McGee and Rashard Lewis… Do you pull the trigger?
WEIDIE: Eh… this seemed more intriguing at first, but the Wizards lose too much potential and cap flexibility to pull the trigger. Plus, I’d rather continue the JaVale McGee experiment with plenty of lobs from John Wall being part of the equation, rather than see Ellis hijack Wall’s basketball team with his lack of basketball intelligence.
PERMUTT: No. Can you imagine Nick Young, Jordan Crawford and Monta Ellis fighting over the shooting guard position? Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots, shots….
POULARD: The Warriors’ best bet to acquire talent at this point would be to trade Monta Ellis to do so; and Javale McGee is an intriguing player that would provide the Warriors with an above average starting center with tantalizing potential. I would be tempted to pull the trigger, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t see how or why Washington agrees to this deal with Nick Young on the roster and Biedrins essentially starring in the role of a corpse on CSI: Oakland.