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News » Kawakami: Warriors draft choice seems obvious

Kawakami: Warriors draft choice seems obvious

Kawakami: Warriors draft choice seems obvious
If the Warriors had a clear-thinking front office, uncluttered by insecurity and frequent controversy, today's NBA draft would be pretty easy to ace.

Select Arizona power forward Jordan Hill, stepping into the Warriors' rebounding void with the potential to provide low-post offense.

Or UCLA guard Jrue Holiday, adding athletic perimeter defense and possibly offensive direction.

The way the top of the draft is coming together, the Warriors , with the No. 7 selection, might even have their choice between Hill and Holiday.

I would take the tough, 6-foot-3 Holiday. He's a potential standout either in the Don Nelson-coached present a passer alongside Monta Ellis or the post-Nelson near future, when defense might matter more.

It's likely that Warriors General Manager Larry Riley, with the approval of Nelson and Robert Rowell, will take Hill, 6-10 and 235 pounds.

Solid, justifiable, practically protest-proof choices either way, all things being equal.

But there is no equilibrium in this Warriors franchise.

Personnel moves are never easy when a franchise has an invisible owner (Chris Cohan), a meddling team president (Rowell), a finicky coach (Nelson), a sensitive high-scorer (Ellis) and 14 failed seasons out of the past 15.

For instance, even if Hill is their consensus choice among the players likely to be available, Nelson's distaste for non-passing, erratic-shooting big men would create instant playing-time tension.

Hill, who has hit 15-footers in college but is iffy beyond that, immediately would be fighting for minutes with Anthony Randolph, Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf and Brandan Wright.

Could Nelson team the turnover-prone Hill with Biedrins for long stretches? Or Hill with Randolph? Hard to see.

The Warriors' rebounding numbers would go up, but their offensive movement might disappear. And Nelson almost always will sacrifice rebounding to increase offensive spacing and fluidity.

And while Holiday is the perimeter player who makes the most sense playing alongside Ellis or leading the team if Ellis is moved, Holiday is represented by Dan Fegan, a loud critic of the Warriors' recent dysfunction.

One NBA source indicated that Holiday could be the Warriors' pick, but he has declined to work out for the team.

In his case, missing out on the up-close look is significant, because Holiday is a natural point guard who moved to off guard his freshman year at UCLA because of the presence of Darren Collison.

Does he have NBA point-guard instincts? The Warriors brass might not know.

Plus, drafting Holiday could raise the hackles of Ellis, who apparently wants no threat to his status as the team's offensive initiator.

Trip wires everywhere.

Wednesday, the Warriors had pinned down a deal that would send Nelson-panned guard Jamal Crawford to Atlanta for point guards Acie Law (a Nelson favorite from the 2007 draft) and the injured Speedy Claxton.

The deal would save the Warriors $10.1 million in 2010-11 salary and also give them a one-year look at Law, who is the same size and has the same general strengths and weaknesses as Holiday. Does that rule out drafting Holiday or anybody like him?

We can go on and on, pointing out the reasons the Warriors might avoid certain players.

Point guard Brandon Jennings: Electric threat, but might be the player most likely to upset Ellis, and Jennings might be too immature to play for Nelson.

Guards Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry: Great talents, but both might annoy Ellis, both declined to work out for the Warriors and are likely to be gone by No. 7, anyway.

Guard DeMar DeRozan: Tremendous wing athleticism, but that duplicates Stephen Jackson, Ellis, Anthony Morrow, Kelenna Azubuike and Corey Maggette.

You go through it deeply enough, you can come up with reasons the Warriors can't draft anybody.

That, of course, is not the way it's supposed to be for a 29-53 team, sitting with what would seem to be an easy choice.

If they're thinking straight, it still is easy: Forget the politics, deal with the natural issues and select Jrue Holiday or Jordan Hill.

That's what a normal, secure front office would do.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at . Contact him at or 408-920-5442.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 25, 2009


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