Roundtable: Which former NBA stars should the Warriors unretire?
Now that Kevin Durant has decided to join the Warriors, Golden State's roster is being called a super team. The belief that the Warriors have stacked the deck and should win an NBA title has brought former players out of the woodwork. Names like Ray Allen, Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal have surfaced as potential additions to the Warriors.
With those events in mind, Sports Illustrated paneled its NBA staff to find out which players should unretire in search of one final title. A few interesting names popped up, and you'll have to read below to get in on the fun.
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Ben Golliver: Anthony Randolph
The best way to utilize the last roster spot on Golden State’s superteam is to call back harder times in the not-so-distant past. Back in 2008, the Warriors selected a teenaged Anthony Randolph in the lottery. The 6’10” rail thin Randolph was a positionless big man before positionless big men were all the rage; he stuck around in Golden State for just two sub-30 win seasons under Don Nelson before he was traded to New York for David Lee. Randolph, unfortunately, is remembered primarily for his unrealized potential—he could have, should have, developed into a matchup nightmare thanks to his length, versatility and desire to handle the rock. He just never got there.
In an ideal world, the Warriors would add both Randolph and Lee to their deep bench to pay homage to Golden State’s steady progress and to the eventual rise of Draymond Green, a true positionless marvel. In case you were wondering, Randolph has been out of the NBA since 2014 and is somehow still only 26 (!) years old. Unfortunately, the realities of international basketball will intervene in this dream scenario, as Randolph signed a two-year contract with Spain’s Real Madrid earlier this month after playing in Russia last year.
DeAntae Prince: Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller, who was staunchly against Kevin Durant's move to the Warriors, would actually be a perfect addition to Golden State. Like the Warriors, Miller was ahead of his time. In an era before teams fully utilized the outside shot, Miller never saw a three-pointer he didn't like. In fact, much of what Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson do off the ball to get three-point looks is directly derived from Miller's offensive approach. No player logged more miles without the ball in his hands and somehow found open shots even when everyone in the arena knew the ball was going his way.
There's one other reason for Miller to unretire: He's not very good at his current job. Miller was an alltime shooter who set three-point records Ray Allen and Stephen Curry would later break. But he's routinely criticized in his role as a broadcaster and doesn't receive an ounce of the love he received as a player. Miller, who is still in playing shape, should leave the microphone behind and pick up the ball again.
Matt Dollinger: Darius Miles, Quentin Richardson
The Warriors lost some of their gusto this off-season with the departures of Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa and Marreese Speights. Sure, Kevin Durant is fairly decent at basketball—but what about his intangibles away from the floor? How is he going to come up with good bench celebrations when he’s playing 35 minutes per night? Can he quickly develop a dry wit and an Australian accent? Can he be the spark plug and the motor of the Warriors? I’m concerned.
That’s why, if I’m Warriors GM Bob Myers, I’m unretiring Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson. They’ll add instant chemistry, depth and bravado to the Dubs bench. Neither has played in the NBA for a couple of years, so they should also be well rested, a key requirement since the Warriors will likely win most games by 30 next season. I’m not sure if Miles or Richardson has developed an Australian accent in recent years, but Miles is a proven thespian, so I’m not ruling it out out. Let’s bring the head tap to Steph Curry and the Warriors.
Jeremy Woo: Oscar Robertson
"[Curry] has shot well because of what's going on in basketball today. In basketball today, it's almost like if you can dunk or make a three-point shot, you're the greatest thing since sliced bread...there have been some great shooters in the past...but here again, when I played...if you shot outside and hit it, the next time I'm going to be up on top of you. I'm going to pressure you with three-quarters, half-court defense. But now they don't do that. These coaches do not understand the game of basketball, as far as I'm concerned."
Based on those words, preeminent grumpster Oscar Robertson is the only man who knows how to guard Steph. He has to be at least as useful as James Michael McAdoo. They all have the same number of rings (one), anyway. The Big O might be 77 years old, but the Warriors had better keep him away from the other 29 teams while they can. He knows what’s going on in basketball today. He was born to sit on that bench, barking out motivational, passive-aggressive commands at Draymond and KD, so help me god.
Brendan Maloy: Steve Kerr
The Warriors are looking for a veteran with a championship pedigree, elite three-point shooting and the ability to come off the bench and add instant offense? What if I told you there was a man who could do all of that, and was already intimately familiar with the team’s culture as well as its offensive and defensive schemes, with a pair of steely blue eyes to match?
Joe Lacob needs to save the money on jet fuel and dinners, walk into Steve Kerr’s office and toss him a No. 25 jersey. If you are going to have likely the most dissected NBA season of all-time, you might as well throw a player-coach into the situation.