Thoughts on the New Orleans Game

Don Nelson: Can we just take a moment to admire what Don Nelson did in his management of Hunter and Tolliver’s minutes?  Rather than match up conventionally, Nellie used Tolliver at center to start the game, pulling Okafor out of the lane.  If you want a reason why Tolliver scored 30 points, its because Nellie made him a focus of the offense going at Okafor, not David West.

Nellie brought Chris Hunter in to play against Darius Songaila, a matchup that he simply dominated.  Could he have dominated Okafor in the same fashion? No. Which is why Nellie, unlike 99% of other NBA coaches, found another direction.

Why did Omeka Okefor get only 18 minutes in this game?  Because Don Nelson rendered him useless and ran him off the court.

Anthony Tolliver: Earlier this season I posed the question: Is Anthony Tolliver a more NBA-ready power forward than Anthony Randolph?  This performance throws a few more coals on that fire.  What I love about Tolliver is his intelligence.  His basketball IQ appears off the charts, which is reflected in his assists and steals.  But also in the simple fact of the speed at which he has learned to play two different positions for Don Nelson.  Unfortunately, Tolliver seems light-years ahead of both Randolph and Wright in this regard.

All of those who were begging Tolliver to stop throwing up threes earlier in the season raise your hand.  Still feel the same way?  His ability to spread the floor is going to keep him in the league.

But how about those authoritative drives?  Now that teams are no longer daring him to shoot, this was a very effective addition to his arsenal.

His rebounding totals are a little low, but last night he played much of the game on an island at center.

Chris Hunter: He is big and strong in a way the Warriors have not had in a long time.  He also has an incredible jump shot and stellar free throw shooting.  And unlike 90% of NBA big men, he has a good left hand, as he demonstrated last night.  He has great hands, which enables Nellie to use him in the pick and roll.  I am scratching my head: what was it that kept Hunter out of the league?

He also has a pretty good basketball IQ.  Nellie set him the task of finishing better a couple of weeks ago, as we knew from a sly post-game dig.  What happened?  Three straight games of intense focus on finishing.  Using the pump fake.  Getting it done.

If only Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph responded so quickly to coaching.

Reggie Williams: He’s beaten Anthony Morrow out.  There it is, the cold hard truth.  How do the Warriors keep him?  Do they?

Its obvious that Nellie loves this kid, by the way he came up after the game to congratulate him, and praised him more effusively than Tolliver and Hunter in his post-game interview.  And it is obvious why.  Williams is a multi-faceted offensive player, who besides being an out-of-this-world scorer (you don’t lead the nation in scoring two straight years by accident), also has an ability to see the floor well and create for others.  Unlike Anthony Morrow, who turned the ball over twice trying to initiate offense (he was only credited with one), when Williams assumes the triple-threat position, the triple-threat is real.

In other words, Williams is the point-forward — or at least the third player who can take the point — that Nellie craves in his offense.

Is OJ Mayo a better player than Reggie Williams?

Monta Ellis: Is it fair to say that Monta Ellis dominated his matchup with Darren Collison?  I think it is.  8 TO’s to 3.  That’s the difference.  Ellis did a great job keeping Collison out of the lane, and limiting his damage.

Monta Ellis will never be a point guard?  The naysayers have to deal with performances like this one.  Monta seemed to know where all his shooters were in this game.  He even ran the pick and roll well.  Two straight double digit assist nights.  He is continuing to grow as a player under the tutelage of Don Nelson.

I would love to see Ellis and Curry play together with a dominant big man who demands attention inside.  With the Warriors three-point shooters posted outside, I think they would be absolute murder.  Murder.  This team is oh so close to being seriously nasty.  One piece.

Unfortunately, Scott Ostler’s new article throws some cold water on the idea that Monta is now willing to play with Curry.  Judge for yourselves.

Here’s a seriously subversive question:  Does Reggie Williams make Monta Ellis expendable?  What if Monta brought David Lee?

Devean George: Anyone still wish we had Marco Belinelli?

33 Responses to Thoughts on the New Orleans Game

  1. How do we keep Williams past his second extension? Does it mean dumping another contract? If nothing else, let him light up the boards the rest of the season and make himself attractive for a trade. But we’ll need a third guard next year, and I’m not clear what Watson wants to do.

    Or Ellis. . . .

  2. California Dreamin

    The Warriors are about to demonstrate just how serious they are about winning, they will have no choice but to show their hands. Clearly, the must find a way to keep Williams, but this will involve moving a guy that probably has a guaranteed contract.

    I would love to see them buy out Vlad, he seems the most logical guy to go, but I just don’t know what to think about this. Thoughts on this, feltbot, they have to keep Williams, you just cannot allow a guy with his offensive game to walk away, especially from a team that plays to his strengths.

  3. I like Tolliver, Hunter and Williams and would like to see them all on the roster for next year, they won’t be expensive and clearly can help the team. I’d also like to see Raja, Azabuke (if he can pick up where he left off). It doesn’t look good for Morrow or CJ in that case. And I don’t see room for both Randolph and Wright.

    I agree, one piece away and this team could be seriously good. But can Lee play the pick and roll and can he run?

  4. Ape, have you already suppressed the memory of Lee and Duhon running the pick and roll against us for a bazillion million points in MSG last year? Lee can not only roll, but pick and pop.

    We have a fascinating roster right now, in which everyone 1-15 can play for Nellie. Quite a puzzle. We could make another team quite good with a 5 for 1 trade :>

  5. Situational amnesia. This year’s losses are a blur, to say nothing of last year.

    If we don’t get the 1 or 2 lottery pick we package the draft pick with one or more players to acquire a dominant, relatively young, big man. It’s a short list, but Lee is definitely on it.

    I wish it could our trade pieces could be Vlad and Biedrins, but I think we’re stuck with them.

  6. without significant roster moves, Williams would have Watson, Morrow, Azubuike, M’gette to compete against in training camp for a rotation spot, plus Bell if he’s re-signed as hoped. Don’t expect Azubuike nor Radmanovic to take their options and leave.

    Williams becomes a free agent in a week or so, and he would be better served to get a spot on a playoff candidate as a bench scorer. If the team is really committed to keeping him, Watson and Morrow should be made expendable trade bait, or a buy-out of Radmanovic considered, but that would go counter to the conservative style so far imposed on Riley’s moves–the key position of third center was filled last summer by Moore. M’gette impedes the development of the team on several levels, but it would take a near-miracle or serious sweetening of the package with him to deal him off.

  7. I found myself thinking last night, if the Warriors could only keep 1 Dleague callup player next year who would you choose. Id prob have to roll wit Tolliver. He just adds a lot more versatility.

  8. Regarding Nelson. I was certain he was done, tired and burnt out even as recent as late January. What ever the reason, he’s back to top form and has done amazing job with the roster we have with only a few blemishes. Maybe he can’t take all the credit, it is the players who execute, but they do follow his game plan.

  9. It’s unrealistic to think they would waive Radman at this point. Look at the flak Riley got for waving Speedy. Radman will be the key expiring contract this summer who could be bundled with someone else (Randolph, Turiaf or Biedrins, etc) who holds some actual trade value.

    The only possible move to keep Williams would be George. As much as George turned the tide in the Hornets game, if it’s Williams or George, I gotta go with Williams.

  10. Assuming Ellis wants to leave — I wouldn’t criticize him — and has a say as to where he goes, what are his options?

    1. Be traded to a top contending playoff team, attractive to any major player.

    But wouldn’t these more traditional teams not take him seriously as a 2 guard, because of his size?

    Would they take him seriously as a point guard? The doubt is out there. And is this why he’s working on his pg skills this year with the Warriors?

    Or would they take him as an all purpose player, to fill in spots and offer options, serve as backup? But this would not be attractive to Ellis? Also with his contract, this option would be too expensive.

    2. Or would he accept being traded to a lesser team with playoff potential, like Charlotte?
    But all the questions above remain, to a lesser extent, and his contract would loom larger.

    3. Be traded to a lesser team without much playoff potential but where he could lead, have his big 2 guard, etc. be the main man without having to share leadership, such as Memphis?

    Would this be attractive at all to him, or better than what he has here?

    In all cases, there apparently weren’t many offers for him last trade deadline, which has to have him thinking.

    From the FO’s point of view, I’m with this blog. Trading Ellis and building the team around Curry would be a huge mistake. Both Ellis and Curry, despite their size, offer so many special skills and talents that they need to keep them — and find a way to get them to play together. And if I’m right above about his trade options, maybe Ellis’s best choice is to do just that.

    So maybe the FO will have to promise Ellis an ambitious acquisition of a big to keep his interest –

    – which is where we were last summer.

  11. Excellent discussion, guys.

    Is there no possibility the Warriors could get an injury exception to sign Williams now that Biedrins is out? Or if they declared Turiaf out for the season?

    I am of the belief that Monta is verging on becoming a superstar. I championed Monta’s ability to become an elite point guard in the pre-season, and altho my belief has waxed and waned with the vicissitudes of the season, I still believe he has what it takes. I don’t think Tony Parker – to name another scoring point, with a title – is nearly as good as what Monta can be in the next year or two. On either side of the ball. If Monta got paired with Lebron under D’Antoni next year, oh my god. I shudder at the thought of the Warriors having to face Monta coming back at them.

    I don’t think its going to happen. Something tells me that Nellie will be very, very reluctant to part with Monta. Nellie ran a two-point guard backcourt with Dallas that came within a hair — a Nowitzki knee injury in the conference championships — of winning a title. It might sound crazy, but I think Monta and Curry might be better next year than Nash and van Exel in 2003. Dominant, in fact.

  12. IQofaWarrior

    I think Larry Riley and the Warriors tried to ask the NBA to bend the rules and allow a 16th permanent man on the roster right around the trade deadline, but they couldn’t get it. I remember Larry Riley saying something like how other teams might see it as being unfair if they lost to a team with a 16th man, and that loss affected the playoff standings.

    So the Warriors are stuck at the15-man limit right now, and they’re stuck with the 2 10-day contract rule. So Reggie Williams is gone unless the Warriors make room.

  13. Ellis has a near franchise player salary, and my point is not whether he’s that good or not, but whether other teams see him as that good. I suspect he may not have all the options he’d like for a trade.

    But I don’t like the concept of super-stars, franchise players. It puts too much focus on a single player, leading to inflexible roles and coaching problems, and can breed the type of behavior we’ve seen elsewhere (Iverson, Wade, etc.). The Warriors need a lot of good, flexible parts working together.

    And it’s not that easy to build around a franchise player — look at the Lakers when they had Shaq and Kobe. And Cleveland has had to spend a ton to build around Lebron.

  14. We should keep Monta and move Randolf, Magette and the draft pick (assuming 3rd +) for a solid PF. I think that’s a package a should be enough to get what we need. If we do get Wall or Turner, then maybe we should consider moving Monta.

    And if we have to waive Devon George to keep Reggie, I’d do it in a flash. We should building for next year.

  15. The more I think about it, credit to Riley for not doing anything rash or stupid trade deadline. Maybe these guys are trying to put together something?

    I thought George was on his way out regardless? But if we waive him, who will play center the next few weeks? I saw Hunter hobbling around.

    I thought Vlad showed some stuff when he first came and let’s assume injuries have bothered him for some time, but it’s hard to see him in any picture. Looks like we got stuck again? He doesn’t offer much that AR doesn’t have.

    Brandon Wright is a sharper dresser and smoother talker when he joins Jim and Fitz at the broadcast table. Man, Vlad was just grim last night.

    I also wonder if AR has the muscle, the grit, can/wants to play down low, as will be needed — or play backup center, as Nelson will want. Am reminded of Ralph Sampson the few years we had him? Also seems to be a slow, recalcitrant learner?

    Turiaf has been out most of the season with this knee, yet I haven’t heard a diagnosis or treatment plan. Any reason to think he can play next year?

    And there’s some doubt about Biedrin’s recovery?

    Too many questions. . . .

    Bigs, bigs, bigs. . . .

  16. from what the beat writers have indicated, Turiaf has something like torn knee cartilage which should have seen surgery back in Nov. Of course, Biedrins was already gone for an extended stretch then, and Moore was the center thanks to the foresight of the bosses, so Turiaf probably opted for the rest & rehab short term solution. we’ll hear about him getting the knife in the next 4-6 weeks, my prediction.

    third string center (unless Biedrins or Turiaf are dealt away–then it’s simply, center) has become a key spot on this roster, so it’s really no slight to Randolph to get nominated by the coach to fill it. it’s another good reason not to accept Thabeet in the Ellis deal, because the lottery position could leave the best choice resting on a 4/5 with better-rounded skills.

    if the league let teams exceed the 15 limit, the door would be open for more abuses by rich franchises, who could designate their dog house guys as injured/deactivated and stockpile players and contracts. limiting 10-day contracts is another deterrent for possible abuse, because the teams wouldn’t mind creating an underclass of temporary labour, retaining workers indefinitely at the lowest scale and minimum benefits.

  17. “The more I think about it, credit to Riley for not doing anything rash or stupid trade deadline. Maybe these guys are trying to put together something?”

    Exactly. The same people who complained about no trades being made would have gone berserk if a questionable trade was made.

    Waiting until we know how the lottery turns out and draft night is a good idea.

  18. The bottom line is Riley hasn’t made a move to define himself as a good GM. Unless you call getting Vlad and Raja for Jax something special, which it wasn’t. If doning nothing at the deadline was the correct call, it was still doing nothing. This offseason will be his greatest challenge and the opportunity to prove himself.

  19. Feltbot,
    the problem with your comparison to van Exel and Nash is that the warriors don’t have Nowitzki. Even if Monta and Curry are better than the Dallas duo, they aren’t Nowitzki better.

  20. I couldn’t agree more with you Bleep. We will never truly know the upside of Monta+Curry until they are partnered with a dangerous big man.

  21. Aperacer –

    Obviously Riley’s defining moment is coming up this summer (again), as you say. I think I read in a Marcus Thompson piece that Riley said at the trade deadline that there just wasn’t anything out there, which might have been true.

    But last summer was a chance as well, and all they could come up with was Stoudemire, who would have been great for a year, but I worry about his injuries — and is he near the end of his career? As it was, he didn’t want to come here anyway.

    Anybody know the odds of landing a really good big (odds determined by players’ possible desire to come here and how much we can/will spend)? Would we have to give up too much personnel to get him (Monta, for example, or too many of our good pieces) — and thus not have as good a team as we’d like? Or would such a move leave us with a weak bench?

    I’m wondering if our best, but least crowd pleasing option, wouldn’t be to get more good, but not great players, less expensive, mostly bigs. This way we keep the system going.

    After this season, my first priority is to see a dozen healthy bodies at the beginning of the next.

  22. Nivrag-I think if we could get a great big, ANY player but Curry should be on the table. A dominating 4/5 is the elusive Warrior’s holy grail. Hopefully there’s a good player who values a long term partnership with a great passing PG and a loyal, loud, fan base. Per Riley, we would have to give up a fan favorite to make it work and we should.

  23. You’re right that Williams has beaten out Morrow. Williams has nailed clutch threes, while Morrow seems to miss the ones we need the most. Reggie is a much better passer. And on defense, we had this discussion. Williams is okay, Morrow is simply awful. We have to keep Williams, so something has to give. If based on (lack of) heart rather than contracts/abilities, it’s bad Vlad.

  24. Not that it would have made any difference, but I’ve been sitting on this one all season:

    Refs don’t call fouls; they call games, where they must use judgment. I’m sure they could call 50 more fouls a game if they if they followed the rule strictly. And they should really decide that their calls, if possible, should not influence the outcome of the game.

    When they see a team with only two guards, as was the case a few weeks ago, or, as tonight, a team with no bigs and no bench, they should restrict their calls to obvious cases where contact influences an outcome — a missed shot, a lost ball. Tolliver and Hunter had to stand around the second half and watch players whiz by.

  25. Nivrag: Are you saying the refs do it that way, or they should do it that way? Regardless, the officiating in tonight’s Spurs game was ridiculous. The refs called ticky-tack fouls early, knowing full well the Warriors had a short bench. I’ll wager Nelson got tossed because he pointed it out in no uncertain terms.

  26. Nelson had to make a point and probably found more satisfaction with a steak and scotch than sitting through rest of that game.

  27. mwlx

    I didn’t explain. Refs always use judgment (sometimes bad); refs never call all the fouls they see. If they did call every foul, it would slow the game horribly and refs know this. And as much as possible, their refereeing should never determine the outcome of the game. (In baseball, you seldom see a called third strike the last out of a game, unless it’s really obvious.)

    So when they see an undermanned, outsized team, they should use their judgment and not call light, inconsequential fouls. If they do, they in effect render that team powerless defensively, as happened tonight and has happened other times. This isn’t asking for an unfair advantage, nor will doing so risk rough play or letting a game out of control.

    Tonight, and really all season, I’ve seen our players just stand on defense or be afraid to drive just because of foul trouble — and there was no one on the bench to replace them. I didn’t watch the game closely, but this is what happened to Hunter and Tolliver, isn’t it?

    We do tempt fate with hand play, reach ins, and body checks, but this play should be expected and to an extent tolerated. Aggressiveness is the only way we can compensate for size differences. So many of the fouls we make — or get called for — really don’t influence play. And a lot of what we do is only visual — it looks like a foul because a hand is close, etc.

  28. I missed this game, and just watched the first quarter, if only to see what got Nellie tossed. The telecast was so poor, I could not even tell which foul calls were deserved and which weren’t. They didn’t even show Nellie whispering the magic words! Not going to bother watching the rest…

  29. Question of interest:

    How does the recent (possibly season-ending) injury to Tyreke Evens play into the Rookie of the Year race?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/recap;_ylt=Ao30e0rgdUNqjLhDpvpSFEu8vLYF?gid=2010031923

  30. I hate to see a player go down, especially Tyreke. Curry would have to finish with flying colors to bump him out of the top spot.

  31. Ape, I believe if SC scored 30 points per game for the rest of the season, his overall PPG would still be under 20. So, I guess you are correct.

  32. Is ROY purely on PPG or do other factors count. I believe sports writers make the vote so I’m pretty sure it’s selective.