Steinmetz: Improved? Not on paper

Everything the Warriors have done this offseason makes pretty good sense.

Whether it was acquiring rookie Brandan Wright from Charlotte for Jason Richardson or buying out the contract of Adonal Foyle, it’s hard to argue with what the Warriors have done since their surprising playoff run.

There’s only one problem.

It’s hard to maintain they’re any better now than they were a year ago.

The Warriors gained salary-cap flexibility with the Richardson and Foyle moves; they’ve acquired a couple of intriguing players in Wright and Marco Belinelli; they re-signed Matt Barnes, who was an important role player last season; and they have a wild card with center Kosta Perovic.

Down the line, the Warriors look solid. In 2007-08 … we’ll see.

A quick assessment of the offseason:

» Although Richardson was not as well-rounded as many wanted him to be, his departure will be felt. He was a scorer, a leader and a big part of the team’s late-season run.

Wright may very well turn out to be the frontcourt player the Warriors need, but expecting him to be more than a rotation player this season is probably asking too much.

» Belinelli’s play in the Las Vegas summer league was impressive and he’ll surely get some minutes at shooting guard this season. He might lend a hand in some games for the Warriors, but his streakiness shooting the ball and defensive shortcomings will prevent him from being a day-in, day-out contributor. Then again, what rookie is?

» The Warriors re-signed Matt Barnes at a good price and for only one year. Barnes really helped last season, knocking down 3s, scrapping on defense and fitting in perfectly chemistry-wise.

But is it realistic to think Barnes is going to be more effective this season than last? Is he really going to get better?

» Perovic is said to be a skilled passer and very good perimeter shooter, which gives him a shot under coach Don Nelson. But whether he can play at the Warriors’ pace remains to be seen.

» Signing Austin Croshere would seem to provide the Warriors with another 3-point threat. But he shot only 35 percent from the floor last season, including 28 percent from beyond the arc.

» Losing the seldom-used Foyle won’t be felt on the floor. But let’s see a less disruptive 12th man in the NBA.

As it stands right now, the Warriors have six players younger than 23 years old. Five will be asked to contribute, which, as they say, is a lot to ask.

Maybe the young Warriors will be able to come together on the court with veterans such as Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington and improve upon last season’s 42-40 season.

But on paper, it’s a hard sell.

Matt Steinmetz is the NBA insider for Warriors telecasts on Fox Sports Net.


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