Pre-Game Jitters: Mavs

In their last game, horrible as it was, the Warriors showed a few positive developments.  Morrow came off the injured list.  Curry came off the respirator. Tolliver got an NBA contract and responded by looking like an NBA power forward.  Biedrins had his best game of the season.

Now, if the Warriors can just get Monta Ellis back for the ride, they might be in business.  Fortunately for Monta, the Warriors are facing the Mavericks, whose backcourt is about as weak defensively as the Thunder backcourt is strong. The Mavs are hopeless against scoring point guards.  Monta has torched them for 37 and 46 so far this season.  Deron Williams recently dropped 50 on them.

After his Thunder disaster, I think we can expect Monta to come out breathing fire in this game. It certainly doesn’t hurt the cause that Monta is back in play as a possible All-Star replacement for injured Brandon Roy.  Hopefully Stern delays the announcement of his choice until after the game.

The Warriors are +4.5 home dogs in this game.  Hmmm.  Certainly the Warriors don’t inspire confidence at the moment.  After an inspiring stretch in which they were 13-3 against the spread, competing hard against the odds every night, the Warriors have had a big let-down. They are 2-4 ATS in their last six, with very spotty effort.

But this is a great time to be playing the Mavs.  They are 0-5 ATS themselves in their last five. They have been playing horribly, and Mark Cuban has been emitting “We Suck!” noises.  Player discontent has been heard in the locker room, and major trade speculation has been rumbling through the press. And the Mavs are on the road in the week before the all-star getaway, which is a notorious stumbling block for NBA teams.

If the Warriors bring the heat in this game, I like their chances.  Lets hope they heed the words of Corey Maggette:

Hopefully, the next couple of games we can still play with some effort and come back from the All-Star break and try to give a fight. We need to fight, man. That’s it. We’re way backed in the corner, man, getting beat up right now. We’ve got to find a way to get out of the corner and fight back. Stay competitive.

Spoken like a man who in the last game had a finger ripped off, slapped a little tape on it and put up 24 and 6. Maggette wants a win.

Who else?

UPDATE: Maggette is out until after the All-Star break with his injured finger. Don Nelson’s comment: “What else is new?” Feltbot’s comment: “Looking for a win? Never mind.”

And Stern picked Chris Kaman over Monta for the All-Star game.  Monta goes for 60 tonight?

17 Responses to Pre-Game Jitters: Mavs

  1. Kaman over Monta Ellis as Roy’s replacement? Wow. OK, thinking this is an intentional snub is completely justified now. There is no rational explanation.

    So the question is, Why? Two possible explanations come to mind. One, Stern hates Cohan, and is pressuring him to sell. (But why select Curry to the three-point shooting contest, then?) Or two, Stern is annoyed with Ellis over the team turmoil that led to Jackson departing.

  2. Reading Tim Kawakami is like watching Sara Palin interpret healthcare reform. You hear her complaints but everything is unsubstantiated. In the end some of it is even made up. But Tim Kawakami keeps voting Republican and he keeps voting for Sarah Palin. Don’t believe the hyperbole. While his articles are poorly written and his journalistic ethics are questionable, it’s his talent evaluations that completely miss the mark. Some of the worst NBA basketball analysis in the last 15 years has come from Tim Kawakami. He has been, and this is hard to believe, an even worse evaluator of talent than the Golden State Warriors. There’s a lot of evidence from the archives but the following are some of my favorites. To date, this is the worst basketball analysis I’ve ever read. It spanned 2 articles following the 2001 NBA draft. The Warriors were terrible. Absolutely pathetic. You all know the history. St Jean had just drafted Richardson, Arenas, and Murphy. Still, Kawakami’s wasn’t having it and he felt safe ripping every move they made but he didn’t stop there, he even had a few suggestions on how to rebuild. It’s the kind of hard-hitting journalistic critique that provides laughter for years. A few highlights if you don’t want to read the entire article:

    Strike 1: He insists they should have drafted Eddie griffin (drafted at # 7 behind Richardson).

    Strike 2: He plants the suggestion that maybe DeSagana Diop (drafted at #8) was a better choice than Richardson.

    Strike 3: He laments that the Warriors couldn’t draft Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, or Eddie Curry (drafted ahead of Richardson). In case, you don’t get it he drives the point home complaining that they drafted three well-known collegians in the “greatest high school draft ever.”

    Strike 4: He praises the Suns trading away Jason Kidd to the Nets for Stefan Marbury.
    Strike 5: He rips the Nets for trading Eddie Griffin for Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins, and Brandon Armstrong.

    Strike 6: He’s got a new name for the nets too. The “Garden” State Warriors. Ha ha get it? (This Nets team later makes a finals appearance largely based on the strength of these 2 trades.)

    Strike 7: He loves the Houston Rockets all of a sudden. They have Eddie Griffin AND Steve Francis. (The Rockets went on to finish 28-54 the next season and ended up winning the draft lottery to draft Yao Ming. Within a short time they cut Eddie Griffin. Just cut him without trying to get anything in return. )

    Strike 8: He informs his readers that an inside source, an “NBA draft analyst” has passed along some shrewd wisdom telling him that if the Warriors draft a project then St Jean and Cowens feels safe. But if they go for the quickest immediate help they are under pressure from management to improve. He concludes, “They aren’t being far sighted,” and “they are trying to remain in place.”

    Strike 9: He claims the Atlanta hawks have “maximized their position” in the draft in Trading away the drafts rights to Pau Gasol for Shareef Abdur Rahim. (confusing because the one correct call he has made so far has been Gasol. Yet he likes the trade for Abdur-Rahim and he’s not afraid to tell anyone.)

    Strike 10: He also has praise for the Bulls “maximizing their draft position (They traded Elton Brand to draft Tyson Chandler).

    Strike 11: Even 1 1/2 years later when it was becoming clear Kawakami might have missed a little, he stuck to his guns. He proposes a trade of Jason Richardson and Eric Dampier to anyone just to get rid of Dampier’s contract. His justification – The Warriors never had a real reason to draft Richardson. You have to admire his consistency in the face contrary evidence.

    Anyways, I nominate these articles for the sports hall of shame. Hope everybody enjoys it. I guess it’s true what they say: Hind sight is 20-20.

    Article: Warriors play it safe this time. | June 28, 2001 | Byline: Tim Kawakami OAKLAND_
    I know what the Warriors were doing during Wednesday’s draft, and under almost any other circumstance, I agree with it. Not now, though. At a moment when they needed (for once!) to display guts and semi-genius, when they had to shock us all back awake with something at least moderately mind-blowing, in a draft that begged for wild-hare imagination, the Warriors played it safe and sane with their three selections. And safe-and-sane logic isn’t going to get this wrecked train back rolling again. Nothing short of taking a flamethrower to most of the roster, I’m afraid, is going to mean much. The Warriors, sitting with the fifth, 14th and 30th picks, could have tried to light the flame. Instead, they basically kept the status quo: Larry Hughes to point guard, blah-blah-blah, Danny Fortson and Antawn Jamison as a great young forward duo, blah-blah-blah, Mookie Blaylock, Bobby Sura, blah-blah-blah-bleah-yawn. Jason Richardson (who should be very good) plus Troy Murphy (who probably will be fine) plus Gilbert Arenas….added to Jamison, Fortson, Hughes, Erick Dampier, et al…Gets you what? From 17 to 25 victories? If everything breaks right, which it never does for the Warriors possibly to .500 by 2002-03_Then what? Still get squashed by a team with bigger, badder and younger players? Sorry, but that does not stir the soul. Seven years out of the playoffs and back-to-back desolate campaigns kind of scream for crazy risk-taking, doesn’t it? They obviously were scared off by 6-foot-9 Seton Hall forward Eddie Griffin, whose temperament and talent both stretch toward the highest levels. They wouldn’t take a flier on gigantic high school center DeSagana Diop, who, admittedly, could be a flop. They didn’t try a daring move up, or a smart move down, unlike the Bulls, Clippers, Hawks, Nets and Rockets, who all found a way to try to maximize their positions. The Warriors just kept being the Warriors.
    The old college try.
    The Warriors braintrust took three well-known collegians in the greatest high school draft ever. They took two guards and a shooting forward in a talent crop crackling with huge and athletic power forwards. They were unfortunate, yes, that the Vancouver Grizzlies jumped ahead of them to take the hottest boom stock in the draft, draft, Pau Gasol of Spain. They were unlucky, sure, that they drew the worst-possible slot in the lottery, and which meant that Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, Gasol and Kwame Brown were selected before their turn. With this draft trio, the Warriors definitely upgraded their team shooting, which was horrid last season. But, when you’re as bad as they are, you can’t just sit there and wait for franchise-changing talent to find you. You have to go out and get it, and that’s something the Warriors do not seem to be able to do. “You’ve got the Big East player of the year,” General Manager Garry St. Jean said of Murphy, ”who has put up significant numbers in one of the best conferences in the country and the people there are very high on him….The other two guys, heck,I don’t have to speak about those two programs, you’re talking about young guys that have been at the forefront in college basketball and are very highly thought of in all circles.”
    A pattern forms
    Wasn’t that kind of what the Warriors said when they acquired Sura last year? Or Blaylock and Vonteego Cummings the year before that? Even if Richardson _ the only pure guard taken in the top 20 _ becomes a superstar, he’ll be a6-4} superstar, which, unless he’s Jordan reincarnated, means he’s not as good as Kobe Bryant or Tracy McGrady. Even if Murphy enters the NBA shooting the lights out, you’re not going to want to see him defend Rasheed Wallace or Kevin Garnett. Ever. At some point, somewhere down the road, the Warriors are going to have to get a couple of very good very large players. This might have been their last chance for a while. Next season is going to be one of the great point guard drafts. All the big men came out this draft. Are the Warriors worried that they didn’t get a big man when they had their chance? “Why?” St. Jean said. “You take a look at our starting forwards, and I think they’re pretty darn good. If Fortson’s healthy, and Antawn’s looking terrific, I think that’s a pretty darn good starting forward combination.”
    A telling draft
    A very sharp draft analyst told me a few days ago that the Warriors moves in this draft would tell you everything about the future of St.Jean and Co.: If they go with a project, they feel safe. If they go for the quickest immediate help, they are under the gun to at least make some decent strides this season. So even though owner Chris Cohan is the biggest problem here, it’s official: St. Jean and Coach Dave Cowens aren’t planning for a big playoff run in 2003 or 2004; they’re planning for a couple more victories, here and there. They aren’t trying to be creative; they aren’t trying to be far-sighted; they’re trying to remain in place. I can’t blame them for that. But eventually, somebody else probably will. I know what the Warriors were doing during Wednesday’s draft, and under almost any other circumstance, I would agree with it.

    Critique of Warriors unearths fanfare. (Knight Ridder Newspapers)
Article from: Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Article date:July 2, 2001 Author: Kawakami, Tim
    _For the record, here’s who I would have selected at No. 5 instead of Richardson: Eddie Griffin, the 6-foot-9 jumping jack (and yes, potential head case) from Seton Hall. I think he’s a nice shot-blocking complement forward to Antawn Jamison _ though the Warriors brass disagrees _ because he’s big enough to guard power players and athletic enough to take it outside when Jamison wants to work the post. I’ll take a supremely talented big man over a supremely talented middle-size man almost every time. The Houston Rockets gobbled Griffin up (in a trade with the New Jersey Nets, whom I now think of as the Garden State Warriors), which means they can back away from a costly run at Chris Webber and build around Griffin and Steve Francis._Even if Webber leaves the Sacramento Kings, their trading of Jason Williams and Nick Anderson to the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies for Mike Bibby and Brent Price maintains their status as a dangerous playoff team. If Webber stays, the Kings could be the only team standing between the Lakers and five or six NBA titles. _While the Warriors pretty much keep things at status quo after back-to-back sub-20-victory seasons, the Phoenix Suns, after playoff fizzles, took the drastic measure of trading Jason Kidd for Stephon Marbury. Kidd’s an incredible player, but the Suns weren’t going anywhere special with him, and if they find a way to land a good power player in the next few months, at least Phoenix is making the attempt to be great or will flame out trying.

    Warriors should trade Richardson while they can. Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service | December 17, 2002 | Kawakami, TimByline: Tim Kawakami. There never was a compelling reason for the Warriors to draft Jason Richardson 18 months and 77 losses ago, and there’s even less reason for them to keep him now. Or maybe management is dead-set on prolonging the glorious Warriors continuum of acquiring, wasting and discarding talent, from Chris Webber to Tom Gugliotta to Latrell Sprewell to Joe Smith to Larry Hughes to . . .No, the wash-out cycle should stop now. The Warriors need to do something very un-Warrior: They need to be pro-active and a little bit brave. They need to trade a popular player before he becomes unpopular and untradeable. To make any sense of their cluttered roster, the Warriors have to shop their most tradeable asset _ Richardson _ in the next few weeks, with their sights set on a tall, multi-dimensional forward. Tall, multi-dimensional forwards do things that win NBA games and give franchises hope, though the Warriors seem averse to the species, having bypassed a flock of them in the past two drafts. (My recommendation: Offer Richardson to Chicago for little-played 7-footer Tyson Chandler, selected three slots ahead of Richardson in the 2001 draft. (My last-ditch recommendation: Give Richardson to anybody who would also agree to take Erick Dampier and his monster long-term salary. Top candidates: Portland and Dallas.) The Warriors never had a real reason to draft Richardson, other than being scared to take a flier on a big guy, but I’ll give you 10 why they should try to trade him now.

  3. You went back 10 years to find that? Spent, what, 2 months searching? I’ve heard that blogsites are real nerd hangouts. This about takes the cake. Who cares? Besides your glorious leader?

  4. Glorious Leader’s Warrior’s Blog?

    I like the sound of that…

  5. PJ,

    That was painful — the message, not the writing. But thanks for backing up a suspicion.

  6. Whatever…Those 2 articles speak for themselves. I find them to be pretty hilarious — he misses on everything. It would be difficult to be so wrong without knowing what would happen in the future. And not just the Warriors moves, but every team.

    Besides it’s pretty similar to what he’s writing now. I mean if you click at random on any one of his archives on his blog…his draft picks/ trade ideas/ etc. are consistently pretty bad and he has no idea.

  7. PJ,

    No seriously, that was a great job. I wish more people would put more thought and support into what they write — Kawakami, for example.

  8. Feltbot, any chance you would copy and paste my entry onto its own page so more people would see it? I Posted it here first for your enjoyment.

  9. Yeah Gnossos, It was difficult to type in “Tim Kawakami 2001 Nba draft” to Google news….

    You probably like TK draft/trade ideas…

  10. Also Gnossos, The point isn’t how great the Warriors are. I guess, it’s how could anyone possibly be a worse than them? Criticism is one thing, but it should have substance. Kawakami always refers to what he wrote in the past and how he waned people. He acts like he is writing hard-hitting journalism and everyone who disagrees is a soft homer. Still, when I clicked on a few his old articles, at random it turns out he’s not particularly knowledgeable.

  11. Gnossos, guess you won’t reply to anything. Seriously have you ever read a worse basketball article ever, than the TK one I posted above?

  12. The more time your read Kawakami the more he wins. Seriously, ignore the hack. His goal is piss people off and he has mastered the art.

  13. PJ – Nice work on TK, but I honestly didn’t think the case needed to be made, at least on this blog. Fans of Felty already realize TK is a total idiot. If they don’t, they are either: 1) not paying attention, or 2) have minimal capacity for rational thought, in which case your analysis will zoom right over their head. Thankfully, most posters to this blog have a brain.

  14. mwlx, Although mostly I posted it for laughs. I’m really hoping TK sees it or even his editor at the Mercury News. He needs to be a little bit more careful with what he writes….

  15. PJ – I fear you’re evincing the naivete of youth. As you documented, TK has been writing his stupid drivel for years. He is never going to be more careful because his main goal is to draw attention to himself. Being careful could get in the way of that.

    The Merc doesn’t care, either. It’s likely that his editor simply reads the first paragraph, writes the headline, and hits the ‘publish’ button. It’s a shoestring operation, as are the other Bay Area papers owned by the same publisher (Trib, CC Times, and 7 others). Such is the newspaper business these days.

  16. PJ, I appreciate your post, but I’ve already had my say about TK. I like to focus as much as possible on the basketball. Although this season is getting to the point where that may be next to impossible.

    If the Warriors don’t add help at the trading deadline, the wolves are going to come out in earnest.

  17. I like that you take the highroad.

    Hmm, I don’t see any plausible trades at the deadline. The kinds of deals that would help, like Baron Davis for Dale Davis, or Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown, aren’t as common as people make them out to be. The players that are available are on teams that want young talent and expiring contracts in return. I just can’t see a move involving any of their young players that makes sense for the Warriors. i.e Anthony Randolph probably isn’t getting traded.

    The draft lottery is going to determine how much future help comes to Oakland. Hoping for John Wall. would settle for Derrick Favors.Sorry, but there’s no way Baron Davis makes the All-Star team(0)

    Baron Davis and the LA Times: A torrid, unconsummated love affair
    I’m a Baron Davis Guy. You know that. He’s one of the six or seven most dominant players in the NBA, when he’s healthy, and I’ve said that from the start of his UCLA career to his time in Charlotte, New Orleans, when he was struggling here… I’ve always said that.

    For the record: Baron Davis and Mullin had a tenative $39M agreement… until Rowell vetoed it
    But for the offer to become official, it had to be approved by team president Robert Rowell, who speaks for owner Chris Cohan on all matters these days. (Rowell might as well be Cohan these days.)  And Rowell nixed it. Bye-bye Baron. Now, I must add, that I agree with Rowell on this one–Baron is too injury-prone and too moody to reward him that kind of contract; as I said at the time, the only team dumb enough to pay him huge long-term money was the Clippers, and that’s where he ended up.