Losing Baron Davis left the Warriors without a true point guard on the roster, a cause to fret considering the expected starter, Monta Ellis, is inexperienced at the position.
But the Warriors allayed that concern Monday, trading for another Los Angeles-bred dazzling playmaker with conditioning concerns: Marcus Williams.
Golden State sent a conditional first-round pick to the New Jersey Nets for Williams, who became expendable when the Nets acquired Devin Harris from Dallas in February and Keyon Dooling from Orlando on Monday.
"It's a lot better feeling now that I have a new opportunity, a fresh start," Williams said in a phone interview. "It wasn't about being (back in California). It was about getting an opportunity to play."
The Warriors have a team option for next season on Williams, who will make $1.2 million this season. If they like him, they can pick him up for the final year of his rookie deal.
Williams — not to be confused with swingman Marcus Williams out of Arizona, the Los Angeles Clippers' restricted free agent — is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound lefty with crafty handles who can penetrate and shoot from the outside. He isn't a supreme athlete, but he boasts above average vision and passing ability.
However, Williams hasn't gotten a chance to show much of it. In his third year out of Connecticut, where he is the all-time leader in assists per game, Williams saw a decline in production and minutes last season. He fractured his right foot just before training camp and missed 29 games, then averaged 5.9 points and 2.6 assists in 16.1 minutes, all slightly down from the previous season.
The writing on the wall came when the Nets acquired Harris in the Jason Kidd trade. Williams was expected to succeed an aging Kidd as the franchise's point guard, but Harris took that torch.
The Warriors keep their first-round pick for the next two years. According to the Nets' Web site, New Jersey could get the Warriors pick in 2011 if it is not a lottery pick. If it is, the Nets would get the Warriors' pick in 2012, provided it's not a top-11 pick. If it is, the Nets' would then get the Warriors' pick in 2013 as long as it's not a top-10 selection.
Should the Nets not get any of those picks, they would receive the Warriors' second round picks in 2013 and 2015.
Williams figures to be a backup with the Warriors, though there is a chance for significant minutes. He will play behind Ellis but, based on coach Don Nelson's style, could end up playing alongside Ellis for significant stretches. If the Ellis-at-point-guard experiment doesn't work out, Williams could end up starting with Ellis in the backcourt.
Williams is expected to arrive in California in the next couple days. He said the focus of his offseason would be conditioning, which was one of the knocks that caused him to fall to No. 22 in the 2006 NBA draft.
"I've just got to go play my game," Williams said. "In New Jersey, I was playing not to make mistakes, trying to stay on the court. ...
"(The Warriors' style) will work to my advantage because I can create plays, knock down shots, pass, penetrate. "... I would say with any NBA team, it's going to be a fight. I see they have C.J. Watson on the roster. He's going to fight to show he deserves to play. So am I."
Note: The Warriors improved to 2-0 in the Rocky Mountain Revue with Tuesday's 90-73 over the Dallas Mavericks. Anthony Morrow led the Warriors with 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Anthony Randolph and Jamont Gordon added 20 points apiece. Randolph, the Warriors' first-round pick, was 14-for-17 from the free-throw line and had six rebounds, five assists and two steals in 32 minutes. Second-round pick Richard Hendrix pulled down 11 rebounds in 26 minutes.
Contact Marcus Thompson II at email@example.com.
G Min. FG Reb. Ast. Pts.
53 16.2 .379 1.9 2.6 5.9
Career (two seasons)
132 16.4 .390 2.0 3.0 6.4