COACH: Don Nelson | 2007-08: 48-34
Golden State Warriors

Maggette is the face of a new era in Golden State.
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
Not since Felton Spencer, Clarence Weatherspoon, Jason Caffey, Jim Jackson and Muggsy Bogues were hitting the floor as a unit back in the late ‘90s has the team representing the Bay area looked so bleak.

Golden State bounced back from that anemic squad thanks to exciting players like J-Rich, Agent Zero and B-Diddy, but after notching nearly 50 wins in 2007-08 and becoming the rare case of an almost Ulysses S. Grant-certified team to lose out on a playoff berth, the Warriors’ summer contained more L’s than Laura Linney’s monogrammed towels closet.

First they lost Baron Davis.

Then the lost the bidding war for Gilbert Arenas when he stayed in Washington.

Then they lost Monta Ellis (for three months, at least).

And then they even lost their mascot, Thunder, who had to surrender its name to Oklahoma City.

With Davis bolting down the coast for the L.A. Clippers, Ellis was supposed to be the featured back(court player) in Nellie Ball for the 2008-09 season. The third-year combo guard was awarded for his swift progression from Mississipi high schooler to fringe All-Star with a newly minted $66 million deal in July, but what happened as the ink was drying on the contract can only be known as Monta’s Inferno.

A story initially broke that Ellis injured his ankle playing a pick-up game with his friends back home. You never want your franchise player injuring himself in a game that doesn’t count for anything, but you can live with it. Players play. You never want to discourage a guy from working on his game and even Michael Jordan had a love of the game clause that allowed him to get in a run anytime, anywhere, against anybody without having to worry about any repercussions when it came time to get paid.

Before Ellis could move on and issue a mea culpa for being just too darn attached to his craft, somebody in the Warriors front office examined the diagnosis a little closer. Cuts? Abrasions? High ankle sprain and torn deltoid ligament? Didn’t sound like this boo boo happened playing b-ball.

Turns out the freak accident occurred while Monta was riding a mo-ped.

One common saying in sports states “anything can happen.” The Warriors will roll the ball out for 82 games, which is about six dozen times that Golden State will get the opportunity to prove that the preconceived notions surrounding the team in previews like this one are wrong.

Let’s not forget that Stephen Jackson is still a capable scorer and gives the team a tough-minded leader; Andris Biedrins remains a rare case of a player who can get you 15-20 points and 10-15 rebounds without having a play called for him; Al Harrington is entering his 11th season but is only 28 years old; Kelenna Azubuike and Brandan Wright are on the rise after learning the ropes of the league; Corey Maggette, Ronny Turiaf and Marcus Williams should pad the depth of Don Nelson’s rotation; and Marco Belinelli and rookie Anthony Randolph are coming off impressive showings in the Las Vegas Summer League.

But, another saying in the athlete lexicon, “it’s not over until the fat lady sings,” is tainted for Golden State given the preexisting link between husky females and mo-peds. The chances of the Warriors making the playoffs in the tough-as-Teflon Western Conference might be over before the season even starts.

-- Dave McMenamin

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Wright
The first 13 selections of the NBA Draft are called "lottery picks" for a reason. The notion is that even though the team drafting 1-13 lost a chance to compete in the postseason, they "win" the services of a talented new player.

The Warriors didn't have a lottery pick in 2007, but decided to roll the dice and send the best dunker in franchise history, Jason Richardson, to Charlotte for their No. 8 selection, Brandan Wright. The lanky 6-10, 210-pound forward out of North Carolina couldn't fly like Richardson (although his ears did sort of resemble Dumbo's), but was considered to have a well-rounded game and at just 19-years old could have a bright future ahead of him.

Well, Brandan, the future is now.

After getting less than 10 minutes of burn per game in his rookie season, you can't really curse his meager averages of 4.0 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Then again, you have to think that if Wright was impressing Nellie in practice, he'd be seeing more court time. No?

Time to see if Golden State fans will look back at the Wright-Richardson trade and scratch their heads or think of it like they found the winning scratch-off ticket.

-- Dave McMenamin

THE STAT
807 The number of games that franchise leader Chris Mullin played for the Warriors in his career.
Nellie will still employ his run-and-gun, no-defense style but it is going to be much less effective without Baron. Their only hope is to get teams to run up and down with them and hope to wear them out.
Corey Maggette was a poor swap for Baron Davis and Monta Ellis – Due to come back in early December??? - Isn’t quite ready to be the man on any team yet.
Stephen Jackson is still a mystery, as well as a headache but Nellie likes to be the Al Davis of the NBA and seems to gravitate toward “bad boys."
While Al Harrington, although a nice player, isn’t the answer either.
Andris Biedrins has some talent but has yet to show consistency.
Ronny Turiaf is a hustle player and will fit into Nellie’s style because he’s a guy who will give up his body diving for balls and taking charges, but don’t count on him being a 10-10 guy anytime soon.
This could be a long season for Warrior fans who were teased by their success two years ago. Unless there is an infusion of new talent somewhere along the line, the team will be fun to watch but it will be back to the lottery for Golden State.
-- NBA Scout
Andris Biedrins runs the floor well and fits nicely within coach Don Nelson’s game plan. On the defensive end, Biedrins is a good rebounder and shot blocker (1.18 bpg in 22.9 mpg). You’re probably aware by now of his anemic free-throw shooting (52.4% career) so plan accordingly.

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NBA.com Fantasy Index

Record: 31-51, 11th in Western Conference
Playoffs: No postseason
Scoring Leader: C. Maggette, 21.0 PPG
Rebounding Leader: A. Biedrins, 11.5 RPG
Assist Leader: M. Ellis, 6.7 APG

Simulated Season Details
PLAYER/2007-08 STATS PPG RPG APG
PG Monta Ellis 20.2 5.0 3.9
SG Corey Maggette 22.1 5.6 2.7
SF Stephen Jackson 20.1 4.4 4.1
PF Al Harrington 13.6 5.4 1.6
C Andris Biedrins 10.5 9.8 1.0

G-F Kelenna Azubuike 8.5 4.0 0.9
G Marco Belinelli 2.9 0.4 0.5
F Anthony Randolph -- -- --
F-C Ronny Turiaf 6.6 3.9 1.6
G C.J. Watson 3.7 1.0 1.1
G Marcus Williams 5.9 1.9 2.6
F Brandan Wright 4.0 2.6 0.2
F Richard Hendrix Draft
F Corey Maggette Free agent
F Anthony Morrow Free agent
F-C Ronny Turiaf Free agent
G Marcus Williams Trade
F Matt Barnes Free agent
F Austin Croshere Free agent
G Baron Davis Free agent
G Troy Hudson Free agent
C Patrick O'Bryant Free agent
C Kosta Perovic Free agent
F Mickael Pietrus Free agent
G Chris Webber Retired
PPG Baron Davis 21.8
RPG Andris Biedrins 9.8
APG Baron Davis 7.6
SPG Baron Davis 2.3
BPG Andris Biedrins 1.2
Points Scored 111.03 (1st)
Points Allowed 108.82 (30th)
Field-Goal Percentage .459 (12th)
Opponents' FG% .468 (25th)
Rebounding Diff. -3.84 (29th)
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