Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Irish Warriors 2007-2008 Report Card: Andris Biedrins

Since it appears that the Warriors and Andris' reps are in the midst of hashing out a contract extension and given the "excitement" I seem to have stirred up with my take on the contract extension decision, I thought it would be a great time to drop the man's 2k6-2k7 Irish Warriors Report Card.

Here's 5 things that made Biedrins' 07-08 campaign absolutely golden and 5 things that hopefully he can work hard on and improve upon for We Believe 3.0.

Healthy- The man just shows up nightly. He played in all 82 regular season games plus all 11 playoff games.

Near Doublicious: Andris pulled down 9.3rpg and scored 9.6ppg. Guys with those numbers don't grow on trees.

Low Volume, High % Scorer- It sounds kind of funny, but that's exactly what he is. He's far from a big time scorer or threat, but he's effective when he does take shots.

Hand it to Him- This guy has amazing hands for a big man. He's the polar opposite of Erick "hands of stone" Dampier in that regard.

Run 'Dris, Run!- Very few big men can run with the likes of Boom Dizzle, Monta, Jax, Barnes, MP2, and Harrington. Luckily one of them rocks #15 for the Dubs.


Stop the Fouling- With 304 fouls (3.7 per game) Biedrins was tops in the league in whistles. (Interestingly enough Al Harrington led the league in fouls the previous season-

Change that Shooting form- I don't know if he'll ever be able to completely correct that hideous shooting stroke, but he'll never be a prime time player without some type of jumpshot or hookshot a la Shaq. No one's asking for Ray Allen here, but if Biedrins is going to be a high impact player on both sides of the ball he needs to add a lot to his offensive repertoire.

Improve Dribbling- For as much as he's billed as an athletic basketball player, Biedrins has virtually no handle. That highlight dunk against the Suns where Biedrins drives to the hole for a thunderous dunk pretty much came out of nowhere (the dribbling part). If he can add some type of handles to his game he'll be a much more dangerous offensive weapon as that highlight emphatically illustrates.

Avoid Fatigue- Their were stretches last season where Biedrins looked worn out. He was pretty much the Warriors' only big man and it had to be tough to have to face the bigs of the Western Conference, but let's see if he can improve on this. Much of the Warriors success' is tied to Biedrins becoming a more consistent rebounding force this season.

Coming up Big Against Big Players- If the Warriors are going to make the jump from 8th seed darlings and him from exciting young player to legit star or All Star, Biedrins is going to need to come up against the likes of Carlos Boozer, Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol, Elton Brand (probably 2 seasons from now though- very sad to see), the big and brutal Nuggets' frontline, Tyson Chandler (he can't be getting 14, 11, 9, and 15rebounds when he faces the Warriors like he did last year) and even Al Jefferson who will be putting up big numbers in the West for at least the next 5 years or so. When the Warriors needed him most to give Boozer some trouble in the 2nd round he came up with some pretty dismal performances (Game 1: 4 points, 5 boards; Game 2: 4 points, 6 boards; Game 5: 2 points, 5 boards). I'll spare you Boozer's lines since those are utterly painful for us We Believers to look back at.

It’s safe to call 07-08 Andris’ breakout season given that (1) he put up fantastic numbers while largely exhausted from two years of non-stop basketball and (2) the performance will earn him a ton of money with his new contract. Still, during my most blindly optimistic moments, I get the sense there could be even better things to come.

The biggest question surrounding Andris as he moves into the prime years of his career is simply “what else can he do?” Given his physical gifts — soft hands, quick lateral movement, tremendous body control — there is little reason why he can’t develop a diverse offensive repertoire

Overall Grade A-

Irish Warriors 2007-2008 Report Card archive

Chris Mullin C+

Kelenna Azubuike

Matt Barnes D-

Marco Bellinelli D+

Andris Biedrins A-

Austin Croshere C-

Baron Davis B-

Monta Ellis A+

Al Harrington C-

Stephen Jackson B+

Patrick O Bryant F

Kosta Perovic Incomplete

Don Nelson B+

Mickael Pietrus D+

Chris Webber Incomplete

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