There are two things wrong with the Warriors. Two very simple things without which they cannot be competitive in the NBA.
1) They have no frontline. Turiaf is out indefinitely. Biedrins gamely tried to play this game, but was at half speed at best. And then he reinjured himself in the third quarter. Looking at how he started this season, one wonders if this back problem hasn’t been bothering him since the pre-season. Randolph also hurt his back in the pre-season, and whether because of that or because of his inexperience and immaturity has been a losing player so far. It took him 13 minutes to get a rebound in this game. Mikki Moore is Mikki Moore.
Biedrins and Turiaf are the defensive anchors of this Warriors team. They have no replacements on the bench. Unless and until they return at full speed, the Warriors will continue to lose, and lose badly.
2) Monta Ellis is not a star. I cannot emphasize this enough. He is not quick. He is so not quick that Beno Udrih was quicker than he was this game. He is running straight into the chests of big men in the lane. When he does manage to get free on a drive, he has no elevation. And his jumper is no longer falling.
What is falling is his confidence. He no longer feels he can take his man. He no longer feels he can take over a game. He is no longer the player he used to be.
And, of course, the new Monta Ellis is a lousy point guard. Before I got a good look at his physical limitations, I didn’t think Monta’s poor point guard skills would be a problem. Tony Parker has poor point guard skills. So does Devin Harris. So did Allen Iverson and Gilbert Arenas in their primes. But because those players are (were) so dominant offensively, they are (were) among the top point guards in the league.
That is the type of player Monta Ellis looked like he was about to become two years ago. He is not that type of player now.
The truth of it is, he’s not a good player at all right now. He is a losing player. If what we are seeing now is all he’s got left after his ankle injury, this Warriors team will not be good even after the return of their big men.
This is as far as you need to go to understand what’s going on with the Warriors right now. But if you want one more reason for the Warriors’ struggles I will come back to this: starting Stephen Curry in the backcourt with Ellis. The defensive problems are obvious. Tyreke Evans got 20 points in the first half going against Ellis and Morrow. And because of the offensive inefficiency of Monta Ellis, Curry’s offensive abilities are getting completely wasted. When he was pulled 7 minutes into this game, Curry had attempted no shots, and had no assists.
In the third quarter, Maggette replaced Curry in the starting lineup. And briefly, until Monta fell apart and Biedrins reinjured himself, the Warriors looked like they might make a run. Nellie switched Stephen Jackson onto Evans, and the effect was obvious. Evans got 20 in the first half, 3 in the second half. The Warriors closed to 6.
And then Monta Ellis started getting outplayed by Beno Udrih.