Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Dunleavy overpaid?

Yes. No. Maybe.

If you haven't heard, Mike Dunleavy's going to be a Warrior for a while longer. He and the team agreed on a 5-year, $44 million extension on Halloween night, which for some people, I'm sure, is a spooky thought.

Dunleavy has improved his statistics every year he's been with the club, but has had obvious holes in his game since day 1 with the Warriors. His shot has been inconsistent, and his defense has been non-existent. But he's been insistently persistent at every instance...oh, nevermind.

This year would have been a make-or-break year for Dunleavy, had the Warriors not jumped the gun and signed him. It is an interesting trend, lately, as the Warriors seem much more inclined to lock players up before free agency becomes an issue. Perhaps it's the influence of Chris Mullin, but owner Chris Cohan has opened up the wallet at every opportunity.

But is the deal good? We won't really know until after this year, but I find it interesting that as the Warriors have more options to take away minutes and shots from Dunleavy, they give him this contract. He averaged 11.5 shots per game last season, and I can't really see that total going up by much at all. One thing the Warriors need is more inside scoring, and this would lead Troy Murphy, and possibly Adonal Foyle getting another shot or two per game (hopefully not Foyle, though), and the team will need to start figuring out what they have in young hopefuls Andris Biedrins and Ike Diogu, when he comes back from injury.

Dunleavy's biggest asset and weakness is his versatility. He can play a few different positions if you need him to (off guard, small and power forward), but isn't particularly adept at any of them. He's slow for a shooting guard, having trouble separating from or guarding smaller guards on offense and defense, respectively. He's a natural small forward, but the quickness problem is still present there, too, and he's not quite a good enough ballhandler to create his own shot. He's large enough and a decent enough rebounder to be inserted at the power forward from time to time, but has strength issues there, and doesn't really have any inside scoring moves.

So, what gives? The size of this contract dictates that Dunleavy become a better player to earn the money, but the situation of the team makes that less of a possibility than it otherwise would be. He averaged about 32 minutes a game last year, but to earn that contract, I'd think he'd have to get much closer to 40 minutes a game to put up the numbers.

Does anybody see Dunleavy playing eight more minutes a game this year? They're not only going to have to find more minutes for Dunleavy, but also for Mickael Pietrus, who made a huge leap in development last season. Pietrus played 20 minutes a game, and I just can't see that not increasing by at least a few minutes a game. The odd man out would have to be Calbert Cheaney, but I'm sure they'll want him on the floor some to provide some veteran presence at times, so it's a bit difficult to see him shuffled to the end of the bench.

In any case, we won't really know how good or bad this contract is by the end of this season, but it is nice to see the Warriors spend some money.


Anonymous Pops said...

Nice site. Keep up the good work, Dan! Also, on Mike Dunleavy - Detroit just gave Tayshaun Prince a new 5 year, 47 million contract. Dunleavy's numbers in the year-end games where the Warrior's took off, were actually better than Prince's. Neither one of them is another Larry Bird, or even Chris Mullin, but that seems to be the standard deal for versatile 3's these days.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I agree as far as the contract value being in accord with the deals Prince (and there was someone else, too) signed. The one thing I don't like about it this:

The Pistons are a championship team, and won a championship with Prince. They are poised for another run, easily being one of the top 3 teams in the East.

Does any of that apply to the Warriors? Not quite.

I don't think it's the worst deal ever, and like I said, it's only speculation to talk before this year is done. It'll either be really smart or really dumb.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Pops said...

I don't see your point. How does the championship and status of the Pistons affect Dunleavy's paycheck? He deserves to be paid for the skillfull use of HIS OWN talent, regardless of of the Warrior's standings. He does not control who the management puts around him. Please connect the dots for me, oh wise and wonderful blogson...

9:03 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Well, that IS the point. The Pistons have proof that Prince works and fits with their team and what they're trying to do, as the results have been a championship and playoff appearances. He's made game-winning shots for them. He's locked up opposing players defensively for them in the playoffs.

This, to me, is simply more valuable. You could make the case that Dunleavy hasn't had a chance to do some of those things, but nevertheless, Prince has a solid playoff pedigree to back up his regular season stats, in addition to being a proven part of a title contender.

Dunleavy has none of that, and the Warriors don't know that he's the part of anything, because the Warriors haven't even made the playoffs with him on the roster.

Being tested and proven in the playoffs used to hold some value dollars-wise, but I suppose it doesn't anymore. This, to me, is why Dunleavy shouldn't be paid quite as much as Prince. The Pistons know what they have in Prince to the highest level of basketball played, and the Warriors don't.

You got it now? Huh? Huh? Just kidding.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Pops said...

No, see, my thinking is that whatever the reigning champions pay, everybody else has to pay EQUAL/MORE to acquire/retain someone that management thinks is going to be as good/better than the benchmark established by the champion. Otherwise you're only marking time as a floormat for the one's that DID pay the premium prices. Now, that assumes that management actually knows who is as good as or better than the benchmark player, and I realize that's a largish assumption. Still, NOT paying is guaranteed to leave you somewhere other- than-the-top (see Oakland A's) and open to the charge that management: 1)are trying to cheap out; 2) Doesn't care if the team wins; 3) Doesn't have a clue. Remember, there is only NUMBER ONE at the top, and everyone else is behind that.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Well, I have another theory -- the Warriors are trying mainly to shed the image of the Team That Lets Them Go.

After Chris Webber, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Antawn Jamison, Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes, Erick Dampier...

The Warriors have traded/let a lot of players go who were either stars, or had potential to be good players, and I think they've been making an effort to change that ever since Mullin has been here.

I don't think Prince's salary had as much to do with the contract as making the statment of, "We think Dunleavy has a chance to be a good player, and we won't let that happen elsewhere."

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Pops said...

Ah HA! That's the other side of MY theory! Damn, I'm so glad we reached this agreement. See ya...

9:53 AM  

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