Golden State Warriors Should Avoid Collateral Damage of Signing Ray Allen

Between their 14-game winning streak and Stephen Curry‘s MVP-caliber play, the 19-2 Golden State Warriors have quickly inserted themselves into the title conversation just a month and some change into head coach Steve Kerr’s first season at the helm.

So it’s only natural to expect a coveted free agent like Ray Allen to take notice as he mulls a potential return to the NBA at age 39. 

The Warriors certainly haven’t forgotten about him.

General manager Bob Myers admitted on Thursday to 95.7 FM The Game that Golden State had expressed interest to Allen’s camp. Via CSNBayArea.com, he added that, “it’s uncertain as to what Ray wants to do.”

It’s also uncertain just how interested the Warriors are.

Here’s the problem,” Myers said. “We don’t have enough minutes as it is, so it’s just a question of chemistry.”

In addition to the heavy minutes starters Curry and Klay Thompson demand in the backcourt, Kerr also has to find playing time for Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston at those forward and guard spots. Upon power forward David Lee‘s return, Draymond Green may have to spend less time at the 4 and more time at the 3—further complicating the crowded wing rotation.

Though Allen could theoretically usurp the 13.6 minutes per game currently going to Leandro Barbosa, that’s nearly half the playing time he earned with the Miami Heat a season ago. That means he’d likely siphon at least 12 more minutes away from others—potentially more as the rotation shortens during the postseason.

There’s no getting around the temptation to add an iconic shooter who’s made more three-pointers than anyone in league history. Two-time champions with a penchant for clutch heroics are few and far between.

And there’s little doubt Allen would earn his share of playing time, which—in one sense—is precisely the problem.

What happens when guys like Iguodala and Livingston see their roles shrink? Already relegated to reserve gigs in spite of their starting pedigree, the prospect of further marginalization could ruffle feathers and disrupt an already-delicate balance.

Barring a serious injury that would create a need for Allen, it’s hard to see his addition ending well for everyone involved. Virtual players may deal with that kind of thing in video games, but damaged chemistry is a hazard in real life. When guys stop buying in, it shows on the court.

The Warriors can’t risk that, not with things going so unbelievably well at the moment. 

They’re already making 37.6 percent of their three-point attempts, which is tied for the league’s fourth-best mark according to TeamRankings.com. And with a respectable 25.1 long-range attempts per contest, it’s hard to argue this team really needs another marksman.

Even if Allen marginally improved an offense that currently ranks sixth in efficiency (with 107.3 points per 100 possessions according to Hollinger Team Stats), it’s less clear that he’d be of much value to a defense that’s been exceptional so far. Allowing just 94.5 points per 100 possessions, the Warriors lead the league in defensive efficiency, and that has a lot to do with personnel like Iguodala and Livingston—the same guys who stand to lose the most from Allen’s addition.

Per TeamRankings.com, Golden State’s opponents are only making 30.5 percent of their three-point attempts (fourth best league-wide) while scoring just 19.3 points per contest via three-pointers (fifth best league-wide). Maintaining that kind of pressure on the perimeter is a tall order for a guy in his 19th season. That three-point stroke may be immortal, but lateral quickness rarely is.

With their chemistry and defense already in championship form, the Warriors would have to think long and hard about any tinkering, even when it comes to an apparent no-brainer addition like Allen. 

The 10-time All-Star is also giving his future plenty of thought. Earlier this month, ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo tweeted that he’s “Hearing Ray Allen is telling teams ‘talk to me in January’ [and] will make a decision in February.”

In November, ESPN the Magazine‘s Chris Broussard noted the range of suitors who’ve likely made Allen’s decision such a difficult one.

While none of those teams has a desperate need for Allen, all but San Antonio could almost certainly use another shooter off the bench.

Joining former teammate and four-time MVP LeBron James in Cleveland is the safe bet. While the Cavaliers haven’t been as dominant as Golden State in the early going, they remain among two or three teams favored to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.

By the time Allen’s ready to make a decision, the Cavaliers will have likely developed more of a rhythm with one another. They may not be better than the Warriors, but they may well be the more attractive destination—and a better fit.

“Until he signs, that’s going to be a target for everybody,” Cavs general manager David Griffin told reporters in September. “Ray is someone who fits us as a shooter. His championship pedigree fits us at a really high level. With James [Jones], Mike [Miller] and LeBron here, I think he’d feel comfortable with our group.”

It might not be a fairy-tale ending, but it probably makes more sense than trying to make things work on the West Coast.

No one will fault the Warriors for doing their due diligence. In a world where injuries strike without warning, it would be irresponsible not to.

But sometimes the best moves are the ones that aren’t made—especially when your team holds the league’s best record and shows no sign of slowing down.

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Minnesota Timberwolves: Jeff Adrien signing provides much needed post depth

The Minnesota Timberwolves already have a roster full of injured players early on the season, and it is so bad that the NBA granted the Timberwolves a roster exception to add a sixteenth player to their roster. This is a result of the NBA recognizing that the Timberwolves have a lot of players with injuries that can’t be designated for the Injured Reserve, but are still significant enough to where they won’t be playing for a few weeks.
Jeff Adrien on Charlotte
After being granted this exception, the Timberwolves immediately signed Jeff Adrien, a 6’11’’ post player that the Timberwolves desperately needed with injuries to both the starting center in Nikola Pekovic and the third string center Ronny Turiaf.
While it may not seem like that important of a signing, before this move the Timberwolves could barely compete against opposing teams with the all the injured post players on their roster. I mean for the last two weeks the Timberwolves back-up center was Robbie Hummel, a 6’9’’ natural small

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Carmelo thought he was signing with Bulls at one point

Carmelo Anthony could have signed with either the Chicago Bulls or the Houston Rockets, but he chose to remain in New York. Meanwhile, the Rockets are 12-3, the Bulls are 9-6 and the Knicks are 4-12. You have to wonder if Anthony regrets his decision. In a new documentary that details his free agency tour,…Read More

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Re-Ranking the Top 20 CBB Recruiting Classes After Early Signing Period

College basketball’s early signing period for the 2015 class is in the books, and surprise, surprise, Kentucky was a big winner.

John Calipari landed two top-10 players for his 2015 class and has the Wildcats primed to take home another potential championship-winning group. Kentucky isn’t the only team in an ideal position well before national signing day, though.

With that in mind, here is a look at the top 20 recruiting classes for the 2015 cycle. These classes are strictly looked at and compared against each other in a vacuum, so current rosters were not considered part of the rankings.

Star ratings and recruit information is courtesy of 247Sports‘ composite rankings.

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College Basketball Recruiting: Biggest Winners, Losers from Early Signing Period

As college basketball teams are just getting started on playing this season, work off the court continues to get next year’s roster bolstered with future talent. But not everyone had as good a week in the recruiting department as others.

The early signing period for college hoops began November 12 and ended Wednesday, with dozens of the nation’s top players in the Class of 2015 either signing with schools or announcing their commitments for next season. These decisions made for much movement on 247Sports’ composite recruiting rankings, with schools moving up and down after each high school senior made his choice.

Who won and who lost? We take a look at the teams that had the best and worst early signing periods, detailing what went well (or didn’t).

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Early Signing Period Live: Stars choose schools

Welcome one and all to the USA Today High School Sports Fall Signing Period Live Blog.

      
 

 

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Biggest winners of early signing period (so far)

Four relatively unlikely schools have made great strides that are showing up in signings.

      
 

 

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Bold Predictions for the College Basketball Early Signing Period in 2014

The new college basketball season kicks off this Friday, Nov. 14. But for hardcore hoop heads, there’s a new season (of sorts) starting Wednesday.

It is the early signing period, and it sets the wheels in motion for the influx of new commitments for the class of 2015. Not unlike the early admission option colleges offer to all students who wish to apply early, college basketball’s early signing period—running from Wednesday through Nov. 19—allows players to make their decisions sooner rather than later. 

So who’s going to land where? Any surprises in the offing? There always are. Here are some bold predictions for the recruiting cycle, which all begins now, ready or not.

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Duke Basketball: Latest Buzz on Blue Devils’ Targets in Early Signing Period

Always a major player on the recruiting trail, Duke has already landed commitments from two top-tier players in the 2015 class. But as the official early signing period arrives Wednesday, the Blue Devils continue to pursue several other targets to add to their roster for next season.

Duke landed a commitment in August from Las Vegas power forward Chase Jeter, the No. 8 overall player in the country, and back in March, it landed No. 22 prospect Luke Kennard, a guard from Ohio. Kennard plans to sign his letter on Wednesday night, according to Clint Jackson of Rivals.com, while Jeter hasn’t indicated his signing plans.

High school and junior college players can sign between Wednesday and Nov. 19, but not all of the most notable names will do so. Others will wait for the spring signing period, which begins April 15.

Here’s a look at the other players Duke is most eager to land and what’s going on in their recruiting circles:

 

Brandon Ingram

Duke’s roster only has one current player originally from the state of North Carolina, senior guard Sean Kelly. But Kelly is a walk-on, having joined the team over the summer after serving as a manager.

The Blue Devils’ last scholarship player from the home state was Ryan Kelly, who played from 2009-2013. But that could change if they’re able to get a commitment from the state’s top prospect, 6’8″ small forward Brandon Ingram. The Kinston native, rated No. 18 in the country, has Duke as one of his final six along with fellow in-state schools North Carolina and North Carolina State as well as Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA.

So far, he’s only visited the out-of-state schools, but Blue Devil Nation tweeted last week that Ingram plans on being at Duke’s game Nov. 15 against Fairfield. According to 247Sports, Duke has a 55 percent shot of getting Ingram’s commitment.

 

Caleb Swanigan

One of the most physically imposing big men in the 2015 class, 6’8″, 265-pound power forward Caleb Swanigan is taking his time lining up official visits with a likely eye toward signing during the spring. But The 12th-best prospect has taken several unofficial visits, including this past weekend to Duke.

Though Swanigan isn’t considered a front-runner to end up in Durham—247Sports has Michigan State as an overwhelming 86 percent favorite—the fact that he was in town just recently is noteworthy, according to Jackson Korman of The (Duke) Chronicle:

Although this may not mean anything in the long term, it is interesting to note that Swanigan left East Lansing on the eve of the Ohio State game this weekend, to fly to Durham to watch Duke play an exhibition game.

This could simply be a result of Swanigan‘s busy schedule, but one would think if Swanigan was leaning heavily to Michigan State, he would stick around to see the school’s biggest football game in years. Instead, the big man paid for himself to fly to watch an exhibition game against Central Missouri. With Swanigan being an top recruit and almost ideal fit in the post alongside Jeter, this is certainly a recruitment we will follow closely and continue to update with more details.

Swanigan has also made unofficial visits to Arizona and Kentucky.

 

All recruiting info courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

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The Top 10 Storylines Ahead of College Basketball’s Early Signing Period

Imagine for a second what it must be like to be 16 or 17 years old and have Rivals, 247Sports.com, ESPN and Scout following your every move. These young men—boys, really—are prodigies, physically gifted athletes, and coaches from on high are trying to get a piece of the action.

It’s early signing time and some have committed, but others are wavering, choosing to keep their cards close to the chest. Some are considering package deals, while others are content to take their talents to an already established team.

Coaches rack up frequent flier miles by the thousands in an effort to squeeze 30 games (more if they’re lucky) out of these young talents. That’s what charges this time of year with a static electricity looking to pop on contact. 

Read on to see some of the storylines ahead of college basketball’s early signing period.

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