It's quite obvious now that Keith Smart has little faith in Andris Biedrins, and why should he? The man looks lost. Career-wise, he's halfway back to Latvia. He played all 12 minutes of the first quarter, to the tune of one shot and one rebound. It's also clear that Smart isn't ready to play Ekpe Udoh against a team as talented as the Lakers, and Udoh himself admitted he needs more time to adjust to the NBA game. The most intriguing lack of trust last night involved Lou Amundson. Listen, the guy's no world-beater; he has limited skills. But he had some success against the Lakers during the Western Conference finals last year, particularly in Game 4, when he gave the Phoenix Suns seven points and seven rebounds off the bench in 17 minutes. The Lakers are no mystery to him. Seemed awfully strange that he didn't even get off the bench.via The Warriors: A Matter of Trust : Bruce Jenkins' Three Dot Blog.
Biedrins has started for the Warriors since 2006-2007. Before that? Adonal Foyle. Clifford Robinson. Before That? Erick Dampier. So we're talking a long and historic range of failure at the center position.
What's sad about this is that the Warriors have run such a fast paced system, that had they simply had an above-average big to really fill in all the blanks while keeping their style, their success could have been so much greater. It's not true that a legit big man is an anathema to a system that runs and guns. That's likely why David Lee was brought in. Unfortunately, due to injury, adjustment, or just a smaller role in the offense, Lee hasn't been nearly the player he was in New York, with significant regression in points and rebounds. Meanwhile, Biedrins is also slumping, and despite being on the trade block for years, hasn't been moved by management yet. Ekpe Udoh theoretically shows that kind of promise, but it's hard to see him making that kind of jump immediately.
Amundson was brought in as a free agent at the last moment. That Amundson was available was confusing as he showed such tenacity in the playoffs with the Suns. But perhaps the scouts were right about Amundson's lack of discernible skills being problematic outside the talent basin in Phoenix.
The Warriors don't have to slow it down, play traditional ball, or grind it out. They can play up-tempo, play fast and loose with focus. But to get to the next step, they have to have a big man to fill in that role, a true big who can get big buckets and rebounds coming off those breaks. Until they find that, the Warriors are just spinning their very fast wheels.