In the surest sign to date that Don Nelson does not intend to play small this season, the Warriors just signed the 6-9″ 240 lb. Lou Amundson to a 2-year $5 million deal. There will be no more reliance on 20-year-old matchstick men to hold off the behemoths in the paint. There will be no more courting of injury disasters such as befell the Warriors front-line last year, when both Brandon Wright and Anthony Randolph disappeared for the season. There will be no more Corey Maggette at power forward. The Warriors are going to play big this season, even when they go to the bench.
And they are going to play with veterans. High basketball IQ veterans.
As most basketball fans are aware, Amundson is known as a hustle player off the bench. You can’t say he’s great at any one thing, but he plays hard and he plays tough. He will never dog it. He will never, a la Brandan Wright, shie away from contact. He will never, ever, back down in the paint. He is the answer to the question “Who will lead the Warriors in Melted Brains, now that Anthony Randoph is gone?” As this video shows:
And while not a great shot blocker, he does have the ability to make his presence known in the middle:
What Amundson is not, in any way, shape or form, is an offensive player. He cannot shoot at all, and is a disastrous 50% from the line. I think its safe to say that Amundson can never share the floor with Andris Biedrins, and can never be on the floor at the end of games. He needs to be paired with a shooter on the front line, which will make playing alongside Brandan Wright difficult as well. He does run the floor well, though, so maybe Nellie can get away with Amundson and Wright together for short stretches. But I think we will all enjoy watching Amundson play with Udoh a lot more.
A few more quick thoughts:
- Would Tolliver have been better? From an offensive standpoint, definitely. Tolliver can do almost anything you ask him to do on the court from the four position. He is extraordinarily versatile, and a perfect fit for a Nellie team. And it appears that the Warriors would have preferred to sign him. However, I think the loss of Udoh takes some of the sting out of replacing Tolliver with Amundson. The Warriors needed more size to hold the fort until Udoh returns, and they got it.
- Why in the world would Tolliver choose the TWolves, of all teams, over the Warriors? With the Warriors he had the beautiful Bay Area, a transcendant point guard in Stephen Curry, a system made for him, and a guarantee of significant minutes. In Minnesota he has arctic blasts, frozen tundra and endless winter night, Michele Bachmann, no point guard at all, and the worst system in the NBA. What in the world could have possessed him? I have wracked my brain over this, and this is the only thing I could come up with: David Kahn must have promised the 6-7″ Tolliver that he would get minutes at small forward, which is the dream of all tweeners (think Al Harrington, Matt Barnes, Brandan Wright and yes, Anthony Randolph). Kahn is just stupid enough to have done this. Let’s watch and see.
- Brandan Wright’s quick hook just got quicker. If that’s possible.
- As the Marc Stein ESPN article makes clear, the Warriors were able to outbid the Hornets for Amundson because of the shrewd cap management of Larry Riley. Doesn’t it feel great to have real professionals in the Warriors’ front office?