27 Jun 2003 09:11:17
Warriors' pick of Pietrus may signal J-Rich trade


OAKLAND -- The Warriors, steeped in the tradition of puzzling
decisions, made another questionable choice on Thursday.
One week after general manager Garry St. Jean said it was highly
unlikely the Warriors would draft a shooting guard or small forward,
positions of considerable depth on the current roster, guess what they

They drafted a shooting guard.

With the 11th overall selection in the NBA Draft, the Warriors took
Mickael Pietrus, a 6-foot-6 wing from France.

Asked to compare Pietrus to starting big guard Jason Richardson, St.
Jean acknowledged that the two are "pretty darn close."

"Let me get this out of the way first: Jason Richardson is our
starting shooting guard," St. Jean said.

So why draft Pietrus?

Because between the lines, the move makes sense. Wait a few weeks, it
might make a lot of sense.

For this decision is as much about what Richardson may not be able to
give the Warriors as it is about what Pietrus projects to give them.

Richardson, at about 6-5, is a good offensive player who occasionally
is spectacular. He's a one-man highlight reel, having won the
Slam-Dunk championship during his rookie season.

"J-Rich," if his first two seasons are any indication, also happens to
be a defensive liability.

He also has been involved in disturbing personal matters in each of
his first two NBA off-seasons, issues which can lead an organization
to question an employee's judgment.

In short, Richardson is many things, most of which make him a prime
candidate to be traded sometime before the 2003-04 season starts in