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News » Poole: Warriors' draft pick in for rude awakening

Poole: Warriors' draft pick in for rude awakening

Poole: Warriors' draft pick in for rude awakening

THE Warriors this week rolled out their big wheels, with general manager Larry Riley taking a seat and responding to the questions of summer while coach Don Nelson declined to sit and was baffled about having to address any questions at all.

Given the general state of the Warriors , Nelson's stance, while unbecoming, actually might be more appropriate.

For today brings another NBA draft, which means another lottery pick for a franchise so accustomed to playing lotto that it treats its selections like paper cups useful, yes, but not at all enduring and entirely disposable.

Though there is plenty of hope for youngsters Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright, the team's most recent lottery gifts, it's also disturbingly evident Nelson gets a fiendish kick out of puncturing the self-esteem of both.

Which suggests the next guy will get his, too, and, like Randolph and Wright, detest the many moments spent getting pushed around by the coach.

If the Warriors use their pick, the seventh overall, on Arizona's Jordan Hill more athletic than Ronny Turiaf but hardly Chris Bosh the 6-foot-10 power forward would have a long list of references for information about his new coach. From Tyrone Hill to Chris Webber to Troy Murphy and Al Harrington to Wright, Nelson has yet to find a Warriors power forward he deemed suitable.

All but Murphy among the aforementioned were lottery picks, and all but Wright discovered only after they got away from Nelson why they were drafted so high. And don't bet against Wright being moved.

Should the Warriors turn to one of the guards with occasional point-like tendencies, such as Davidson's Stephen Curry or Memphis' Tyreke Evans or Lottomatica Virtus Roma's Brandon Jennings, he could exchange texts with the five point guards who passed through Nelson's wrath last season.

DeMarcus Nelson, impressive enough to become the first undrafted rookie to start opening night, was dumped in January. Marcus Williams, dissed by Nelson from the start, was released in March. Jamal Crawford, acquired in November for Harrington and described by Nelson as a "godsend," was told by Nellie in February that he'd be better off elsewhere, like Atlanta, where the Warriors are on the verge of sending him.

And no, we haven't forgotten Monta Ellis, whom Nelson once believed was a point guard, then insisted he wasn't and now isn't sure.

Nor would we neglect C.J. Watson, the D-League refugee Riley concedes might be no worse than any point guard the Warriors could get with the seventh overall pick.

Given all this, the young man holding up a jersey and grinning for photos on Friday must know he's in for a special kind of experience.

He'll be coming to work for a franchise that since 1990 has featured 14 lottery picks (its own or acquired as rookies), none of which has delivered the team to as much as a single .500 season.

Seven Warriors lottery picks have experienced everything from abject failure (Todd Fuller) to moderate success (Jason Richardson, Andris Biedrins).

The three best Hill, Webber and Antawn Jamison became All-Stars after leaving the Warriors . Neither Hill nor Webber could escape the dark side of Nelson that Jamison avoided only because he didn't play for him.

The last four lotteries have yielded Randolph, Wright, Patrick O'Bryant and Ike Diogu, each of whom gets the benefit of the doubt insofar as each still is considered a work in progress.

See, the lottery helps only the lucky or who have wisdom and vision at or near the top. The Warriors don't fit into either group. Nelson, crazy as he is, is smart enough to recognize that.

Who better than Nelson would know the utter pointlessness of saying anything pertinent about the direction of a franchise usually positioned to correct itself through the lottery, a franchise that consistently fails and compounds the ineptitude by changing plans every 20 minutes?

Why should he bother to answer anything?

So any excitement about what is decided today should be muted, because it could, for no particular reason, be reversed by October, if not sooner.

Remember, Nelson couldn't stand the sight of Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy, had both moved for Harrington, decided he didn't like Harrington and had him moved for Crawford, decided he didn't like Crawford and is having him moved for two empty Hawks jerseys.

That being said, welcome to Oakland, kid, whoever you are. We've seen enough to know it won't be your fault.

Contact Monte Poole at

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


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