3-1 in the preseason? Break up the Warriors!
With about 3 minutes left in the third quarter and the Warriors down by four or five, Don Nelson went small, with Biedrins at center and Anthony Morrow at power forward(!). The rest is history. The Warriors outscored the Suns by 8 in the final period, and cruised to victory. (That’s for the haters like Adam Lauridsen and Geoff Lepper. Just couldn’t resist.)
Obviously, this was once again a meaningless preseason game, but it was notable for the effort of the young fellas.
If Don Nelson, as has been rumored, sacrificed the Biedrins for Stoudemire trade — and if he sacrificed the continued committment to the Warriors of Stephen Jackson — and if he risked the disgruntlement of Monta Ellis — in order to draft Stephen Curry…
IT WAS STILL WORTH IT.
I am willing to say that after having watched this kid play in three preseason games. He’s that good. His court vision is as good as anyone I’ve ever seen in their rookie year, and that includes Magic, Bird and Kidd. He already knows who his teammates are, where they’re going to be, and where they like the ball. If someone is open, he simply doesn’t miss it. Ever. Fast break, Maggette on the opposite wing, hits him in stride. Maggette on the back cut under the basket: a laser on his hands. Morrow on the step back: soft shovel in rhythm. Morrow slipping free under the basket: laser. Randolph on the pick and roll, high and soft. It is simply incredible. This stuff can’t be taught. I now know what Bobby Knight was talking about when he said: “Stephen Curry is as good a passer as has ever played college basketball.” The kid is a natural point guard.
He’s got a great handle with BOTH hands. In fact, he has the ball in his left hand so often I’m tempted to say its his strongest dribbling hand. Reggie Miller said he was going to have to work on going RIGHT. And he’s going to be a great scorer as well. He had his jumper going a little better, hitting not only a couple of threes but also some midrange pull-ups. And he hit an unbelievable running left-handed banker while absorbing a hit. I now know what Nellie meant when he said Curry could be the best basketball player he’s had since Steve Nash. This kid has Steve Nash written all over him, at a much younger age than Steve Nash was when he had Steve Nash written all over him.
He had some silly passing turnovers tonight, but that’s to be expected. He’s so good, he doesn’t know what he can and can’t do in the NBA yet. Nellie had him in down the stretch, and he delivered:
2:22 4th quarter: Curry driving layup, nifty right hand reverse.
1:58 Curry hits a slashing Biedrins for a layup.
1:43 Curry laser to an open Morrow under the basket for a foul and free throws. Suns timeout.
Blake Griffin is going to have to be pretty special in order to wind up a better draft pick than Stephen Curry. As far as the rest of the GMs who drafted ahead of us this year are concerned, I fear for their careers. Don Nelson stole this draft.
Chocolate Rain gave us another shooting clinic, pouring in 30 pts. on 11-21. And after the game, he got off one more shot: he challenged Reggie Miller to a three pt. shooting contest in the post-game interview. Reggie, of course, immediately accepted. I love AM’s stroke, but if he hasn’t shot for big money before, I’d have to bet on Reggie. Money has a way of changing things.
AM’s weaknesses were also on display tonight. When his defender pressed up on him, he had trouble creating off the dribble. And his defense is his defense. Which is why it was interesting to see Nellie play him at power forward tonight. A sign of the future? Nellie frequently hid Chris Mullin, another slow-footed marksman, at power forward. But Mullie was 6’7″, and Morrow is only 6’5″. Hmmm… I can see my next “Crazy Nellie” post already.
Mr. Anthony Randolph
Randolph and Biedrins did a nice job on the mobile front line of Stoudemire and Frye. Frye hit his jumpers, but he also basically fouled out in one half of play. And Beans and AR dominated the boards. Randolph is a natural defensive rebounder. He is simply everything that Brandan Wright was not. He naturally gravitates to the perfect position for the rebound, and he FIGHTS for it. He wants the ball. It is very, very nice to see.
He shot a lot of jumpers, which will make the ignorati groan, but he also showed a nice dream-shake and fade on the left box. And he faced up against Stoudemire, and then beat him to the hoop. No matter how much Lepper and Lauridsen bleat about Randolph belonging on the low box, he belongs on the wings, where he’s a triple threat player. The same place that Garnett, and Aldridge, and Durant, and Bosh play, and for good reason. Get used to it.
Nellie is really working Randolph at the point forward. With his speed and handle he has no problem beating defenders down court. Its what happens when he gets there that’s the issue. He forced a couple of bad passes, that had Nellie shaking his head. It will be a process, but when it finally starts clicking it will be something to behold.
Every day we see something new from this kid. He’s like a box of chocolates.
One of the TNT commentators mentioned that Nellie was disappointed in Randolph’s conditioning coming into camp. Which may explain how much run he’s been getting. Or maybe he just needs the experience.
Curry is out of shape too. Huffing and puffing.
Reggie Miller mentioned that he played on Nellie’s USA basketball team that won the World Championship, and that he loved Nellie’s basketball philosophy and knowledge of the game.
KA looked a little slow on his sprained ankle. He sure does get them a lot.
Monta looked OK, but was better with the ball in his hands than he was when Curry was running point. Natch. I keep waiting to see Monta run pick and roll with Biedrins, but it didn’t happen this game. Hmm.
Speedy Claxton will not make this team.