Liotta: Warriors took shot too early

Why is it in the NBA every shot must be fired within 24 seconds? Is there a shot clock on free agency?

Handed the golden ticket of Baron Davis opting out of a $17.8 million contract, the Warriors react as if their good fortune is going to be whistled for delay of game and must force up the first shot that comes along.

That’s what the signings of Corey Maggette and Ronny Turiaf — to an offer sheet that can be matched by the Los Angeles Lakers — feel like. Bad shots early in the shot clock.

Flush in cap space and with any and all possibilities out on the table, this is the best they can do? If a single media outlet had floated the idea of trading Baron Davis for Corey Maggette and Ronny Turiaf, Chris Mullin and the Warriors’ front office would have been roasted. Call it one step forward, two steps back.

Davis leaving the Warriors — the way last season ended — is a good thing. Monta Ellis remains the best player on a roster filled with possibilities. Give Don Nelson another No. 1 option and Stephen Jackson, Al Harringon and Andris Biedrins all become potent weapons.

Signing two more players of that trio’s caliber, which is what Maggette and Turiaf are, does not move the Warriors any closer to the playoffs.

I’m not telling Mullin how to do it. That’s his job, and he’s been great at it up until this point. He was brilliant when he rid the Warriors of the albatross contracts of Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy. Drafting Ellis and Biedrins added enough to Mullin’s reputation to allow us to forgive a few misses.

It seems the toughest thing for NBA executives to do is differentiate scoring points from scoring points that matter. There are hundreds of guys who can score 20 points for bad teams playing in Vancouver, er, Memphis on a Tuesday night in November. Scoring the deciding basket in a do-or-die playoff game is an entirely different matter.

That’s why the departure of Davis shouldn’t bother Warriors fans. He was unable to score the points that mattered down the stretch last season. Blame it on fatigue or whatever else you want, but that’s why the Warriors missed the playoffs.

Unfortunately, adding the leading scorer from a team that won 23 games last year is not what the Warriors need. They need to figure out a way to do what the Boston Celtics did a year ago and add an impact player like Kevin Garnett.

Mullin rushed his shot to replace Davis and it’s going to cost the Warriors dearly.

Random thoughts:

— Every time I see Jonathan Sanchez pitch, I become more of a believer. 

— A scan of NFL previews less than two weeks before the beginning of training camp makes it look like the 49ers are light-years from threatening anybody.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner.

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