Robert Rowell was considered the last (and most offensive) remnant of the Chris Cohan regime. Now that he's gone, can the Golden State Warriors get to improving their roster?
You would have thought the guy was an evil dictator who'd didn't allow his citizens access to food or cable television by the way the fans reacted. The wicked team President of the West is dead! Or free to pursue other opportunities, anyway. It's true, Robert Rowell is no longer employed by the Golden State Warriors. Once Chris Cohan sold the team, fans bitter over the years of losing, the dismantling of a perfectly good -- well, exciting at least -- "We Believe" team and the perception that the Warriors cared far more about the bottom line and something called the "fan experience" (which is sports business parlance for "make the casual people happy even during Wednesday evening losses to the Suns") clung to Rowell's existence as proof that Joe Lacob was just a friend of Cohan's who blocked Larry Ellison from becoming the Mark Cuban of the Bay Area. Now, finally, the Warriors are the property of Lacob and Peter #TellToWin Guber.
Now that Rowell's gone, and Tim Kawakami no longer has any punching bags to throw jabs at besides David Lee, the Warriors only have one thing left to do: make over a roster that's short on depth, size, defense, rebounding and toughness. But how? Regardless of what Larry Riley and crew say, everyone knows they want to trade Monta Ellis (which is why everyone from Mark Jackson to Joe Lacob is frantically telling everyone who'll listen that Ellis won't be traded), and they have the No. 11 pick in what is considered by most to be an extremely weak draft.
I told Tim Roye that if the draft went the way his previous guests mocked it, I'd prefer the Warriors take Chris Singleton. Singleton's coming off two consecutive seasons as the Defensive Player of the Year in the ACC, and his size (6-9 in shoes) and 7-1 wingspan would make him the team's go-to defender when facing the best small forwards in the NBA. However, he's a terrible ball handler and a mediocre shooter -- the type of flaws commonly found in the middle of the first round in a draft like this.
Word recently is the Warriors are all about Jonas Valanciunas, but most of the mock drafts don't have him dropping that far (which makes trading up a possibility). Klay Thompson has become a pretty popular prediction for Golden State at their assigned slot, but do the Warriors really want a skinny, relatively unathletic 2-guard just because he's the best long-range shooter? The Warriors already made a qualifying offer to Reggie Williams, and Williams, Stephen Curry, Dorell Wright and Ellis led one of the best 3-point-shooting teams in the NBA last year. On a team that has this many weaknesses, you better have a trade in your back pocket before making that kind of draft pick.
But that's why Warriors fans hope all these coaching and front office moves are just appetizers before a flurry of masterful moves that remake this team into the contender -- or at least a team that isn't so obviously flawed in every area championship teams are traditionally strong. I could go on about how I'd rather the Warriors try to find a way to get Kawhi Leonard or Alec Burks (anyone but Jimmer, let's be honest), but the fun thing about tomorrow evening is the Warriors probably won't even make the 11th pick. The chances of a meaningful, team-changing trade are extremely great, and the Warriors' first round pick is seen more as an asset at this point than a building block. After hiring Bob Myers, Jerry West and Mark Jackson, Lacob has already proven he wants to shake things up. Now that the guy who famously went above Chris Mullin to sign Stephen Jackson to an unnecessary extension is no longer in the building, every potential personnel move the Warriors could make seems all the more intriguing.
For Now, Gold > Orange
-- Giants fans may not agree, but as Ray Ratto wrote (before the series even started), "Two good teams in one area is a gift, not a burden."