Milwaukee and Golden State are similar teams in a lot of ways. Both lack a true superstar and both have promising, yet flawed young point guards. Milwaukee’s Jennings is an explosive scorer and a good defender albeit very streaky – Golden State’s Curry is a marksman shooter but a defensive liability who has had some injury problems. More importantly both teams are in NBA purgatory – not good enough to contend, not bad enough to win the lottery and not a big enough market (in terms of clout) to lure a major free agent.
How it affects Golden State:
It is no secret that Golden State has needed a center since before Don Nelson tried to force Chris Webber to play there in the early 90’s. Andrew Bogut is a vastly under-rated player who, like Curry, has been injured more often than you’d like. This deal is not a bad one for Golden State, it’s just better for Milwaukee. To get a franchise center (franchise because he is one of the top 3 or 4 centers in the league when healthy) the Warriors had to give up last year’s lottery pick (#6 overall) and take on the huge contract of locker room issue Stephen Jackson. Jackson had some success in Golden State in the past but has the reputation of not being the type of influence that I would want around young players. However, the backcourt of Steph Curry and Monta Ellis was too small to be effective. This move should un-block 2011 1st round pick SG Klay Thompson, but the major factor for the Warriors is that if their 1st rd pick falls outside of the top-7 picks they lose it to Utah via New Jersey in a trade they made for former UConn guard Marcus Williams. Ouch. Golden State was right to make this deal.
A healthy Warriors squad should look like this: Curry, Thompson, Jackson, David Lee, and Bogut. However, look for Curry and Bogut to sit most of the rest of the year as the Warriors try to keep their 1st rd pick.
How it affects Milwaukee:
Milwaukee is the perfect example of a small market team. Former Pistons exec. John Hammond has done as good of a job as possible being pro-active despite the inability to land a superstar via free agency. He has drafted well and not spent frivolously. Milwaukee has a nearly identical record as Golden State but being in eastern conference (and watching the Knicks self-destruct) the Bucks have some playoff hopes. Bogut was injured and wasn’t helping the underrated Scott Skiles’ team make a push. While it will be interesting to see how the high flying Ellis meshes with the equally uncontrolled Brandon Jennings will be fun. The team was able to jettison the unhappy Jackson and his over-market contract. The team still has good talent up front with Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden, Tobias Harris, Larry Sanders, Luc Mbah a Moute, and now Udoh and Brown. Going forward the team has enough cap room to re-sign Ilyasova and extend Jennings or the flexibility to move either of them or sign an impact free agent, if one will come to Milwaukee. The key to running a small market team is to never spend yourself into a corner or become bereft of talent. Hammond has done well on both counts thus far.