B Wright Stuffed: Warriors 90 Bulls 120

No sense in recapping this game, so I’m just going to use this space to exorcise a couple pet peeves.  Beginning with the biggest pet among my peeves, who goes by the name of Brandan Wright.

Brandan Wright: Keith Smart said in his postgame interview that this game was over after the first eight minutes.  That coincides exactly with the length of Brandan Wright’s first stint on the court. I’m not saying that the Warriors could have won this game had David Lee played, or even prevented a blowout. They were indeed playing their fourth road game in 5 nights, already had 2 wins in their pocket, and had a good ready-made excuse not to show up. But I will say this: the Warriors were guaranteed to be blown out in this game the second Brandan Wright’s name was penciled in for Lee’s.

Brandan Wright is not an NBA player.  I’m not saying this to be mean, which a lot of people have accused me of with regards to him. I am simply saying what I see with my two eyes every single time he takes the court. There is no way around it. He just isn’t an NBA player.

I’m not even going to bother talking about Wright’s offensive game, which is wretchedly limited to spoon-fed bunny hooks and tip-ins.  His biggest failure is on the defensive end, and in particular on the defensive boards. Brandan Wright cannot get defensive rebounds against NBA players.  He let Taj Gibson box him off his own board literally on every possession, without a fight. Wright got 3 rebounds total in his 16 minutes on the court. 2 were offensive tip-ins. One of those was a tip-in of his own miss, which is something of a specialty of his. His lone defensive rebound was a long one.

To realize how spectacularly bad Wright is without subjecting yourself to rewatching his minutes, take a look at Andris Biedrins’ rebounding line in this game.  He got 5 rebounds, all offensive.  Not one single defensive rebound.  The reason is that Wright gave him absolutely no protection: The Bulls collapsed the box on every miss and Biedrins was swarmed. You want to know why Biedrins is so out-of-his-mind ecstatic about the presence of David Lee on his team? Make the first quarter of this game your Exhibit A.

This should have been one of the biggest games of Wright’s career.  A chance to show that he belongs in the league, after 2 long years of struggle. Could you tell from his play that this was an important opportunity for him?  Jim Barnett sure couldn’t.  He stressed pre-game what a big opportunity this was for Wright, but by halftime was already registering disappointment: “He’s got to become more active and go after everything.”

It didn’t happen.  Three minutes into the third quarter, when Wright lost Taj Gibson under the basket for an easy dunk, Smart had reached the end of his rope. Jeff Adrien was brought in, and immediately pushed Taj Gibson out of the lane, forcing him into a turnaround jumper that hit the top of the backboard, to Jim Barnett’s great delight.

The media have taken great pleasure lately in repeating the canard that unlike Don Nelson, Keith Smart doesn’t have a doghouse.  Well, what would you call giving Brandan Wright all of 16 minutes in a 40 point blowout? When Lou Amundsen and Ekpe Udoh return to action, Brandan Wright may never again see a meaningful minute in a Warriors uniform.

It’s a mystery. A mystery of the human heart.

Reggie Williams and the Identity of the Warriors: 1) When you are limited to a choice between Rodney Carney and Reggie Williams as the first wing off the bench, you simply must choose Reggie Williams. Rodney Carney is not a good player, in any system.  Reggie Williams, as Don Nelson showed, can be a very good player in the right system.

2) There is simply no reason to put Reggie Williams on the court unless you are going to call his number, every trip down the court. Reggie Williams is a scorer, and if his 50% shooting under Don Nelson is any guide, he has the potential to be one of the great scorers in the league. He could be the Warriors “microwave” — a role that many championship teams have found useful for their 6th men — if only Keith Smart would embrace the concept.

Keith Smart is mis-using Williams, because he has a reluctance to 1) Push the tempo; and 2) Use Williams as his point forward and let him isolate.  Riley and Smart are going to have to come to a decision: either embrace this Warriors roster and stop trying to pound square pegs into round holes, or get themselves a new roster.

This Warriors team is an offensive juggernaut. And although they can improve defensively, they can never be much better than average on that end.  Unless you play to their strengths, and let them go. The Warriors best defenders, Biedrins, DWright and Ellis, are at their best when playing uptempo. And the entire team is at its best offensively when in the open court. That is the path to point differential for this team.

Push the tempo. Undo the loco motion.

Free Reggie Williams.

22 Responses to B Wright Stuffed: Warriors 90 Bulls 120

  1. For example. Go here:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/boxscore;_ylt=AnHPBtOIXt99fPtvTCWaykCkvLYF?gid=2010032209

    and look at the numbers Reggie put up against a larger, superior team in an uptempo game. (Only Chris Hunter was available at center.)

    Against Phoenix. Warriors lost by 2.

  2. We saw just how important David Lee is to this team. In terms of rebounding, scoring and, most importantly, energy. However, this exposes a deeper issue. We do not have an offensive threat at C or PF other than Lee. We do need one. Passing on Tolliver is hurting more and more. There’s a reason Smart hasn’t settled into an eight man rotation, he only has six good players.
    Riley’s Shopping List:
    Large back up PG with a defensive mindset
    Offensive minded PF.

  3. this was the game where i officially lost any remaining little love or hope for brandon wright. and it’s hard to do, because i’m very very forgiving person.
    he simply could not grab any ball, not even a pass, or lossing it in his missed dunk attempt. granted all warriors had hands of stone today, but most of them were totally tired, so one can excuse that.
    i don’t know if this team could have run in this game, they had no legs. but the lack of fast break and easier offense is becoming a problem. anyway, i don’t want to judge nothing (no one) by this game, except brandon wright.

  4. I was very dissapointed with B. Wright’s defensive play as it seemed that he plays defense first with his hands and then his feet, when it should be the other way around. It also appeared he did not know where he should be on the court. Yes, he should have been pushing his opponent away from the box.

    With regard to his lack of offense and your assertion this should have been one of biggest games on offense, it should be noted that in prior games he has been playing C, not PF. With the decision made that day not to play D.Lee, clearly he had just that day to prepare for the game. No wonder he looked lost on offense. Smart ran no plays for him. I do believe that he can be an effective offensive player if plays are run for him. He has always shot 55% from the field which should not be ignored. He also runs the court well in transition and is a good offensive rebounder. It’s early in the season and therefore I will delay a conclusion whether he is or is not an NBA player.

    Even if D. Lee played, both Deng and Gibson would have abused him inside as other teams having been doing so all year. Simply put, both Biedrens and and D. Lee are inadequate interior defenders. Defensive rebounders, yes, interior defenders, no.

    With regard to R. Williams I totally agree with you that he should be shooting more. But, unlike,last year, plays aren’t be called for him to receive open looks on the perimeter. His turnover rate has also increased not only because he has played PG, but also because he has made some bad decision taking it to the hoop when in traffic. He did not do this last year.

  5. Ape, I think you might be pleasantly surprised by the offensive abilities of Udoh. And Vlad Rad, fwiw, is playing power forward on this team. I don’t think PF is on Riley’s radar.

    It’s pretty clear that we need a backup PG though, given Smart’s attitude towards using Williams.

  6. Feltbot, hope your right about Udoh, but generally rookie big men get schooled. I did hear the he has a decent mid range jump shot but I’d rather see him score on the boards. By the way, MTII and Steinmetz are reporting the sale is complete. Let’s see if Lacob makes the bold move he’s talked about. Just to bounce this out hear, what about trading Gilbert for our expiring contracts? 3 guard rotation of Ells, Curry and Arenas?

  7. Lacob, please do not trade Monta.

  8. MT2: Lee flying back to bay area for surgery. His arm is infected, swelled and he can’t straighten it up. He could be out two weeks! First order of business is for Lacob we need to exorcise the injury demon.

  9. Feltbot: Although you have questioned B.Wright’s play for a long time, I question the time of the post after B. Wright had his worst game and wish you wrote this post after he went 5-6 from the field against the Lakers. Also, while you make fun of his jump hook it’s very effective and his jump shot is getting better.

  10. Let’s hope the best for our players, all of them, while we have them. Who knows, maybe good thoughts will have effect.

  11. Lee out — ooooooof!

    OK, Nellie time. Look at what Nelson did with all the lineups he had to put together — and there were wins and a lot of close games.

  12. Felty,

    I think you will enjoy this piece that features new Warriors minority owner,
    Vivek Ranadime, founder of TIBCO software. The guy is a visionary and a pioneer. An original, unconventional thinker. The article will no doubt remind you of someone that you admire who smokes cigars and drinks scotch.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all

    I posted it over at Adam’s, but thought I’d drop off for your cadre of iconoclasts to enjoy.

  13. I have a copy of this article in my library, SOA :> But thanks, I appreciate it. I recommend it to everyone here.

  14. Amazing to see this again. I read it a long time ago (there were rebuttals).

    Think we’ll draft some 12 year old girls?

  15. What we gave up (from Yahoo blog):

    A few days ago, Timberwolves forward Anthony Tolliver(notes) took advantage of that time to propose to his long-term girlfriend. Wolves.com’s Jonah Ballow has the story (via TrueHoop):

    Tolliver grabbed the team photographer and videographer to stage a photo shoot with his girlfriend, Jessica Svoboda, who was in town from Houston. Jessica was under the assumption that she was going to take professional photos at Loring Park and then at the practice facility with the two posing in Wolves uniforms. All along, Tolliver planned on surprising his future fiancée while documenting the entire event. […]

    Tolliver slipped on his No. 44 jersey and grabbed a box for Jessica with her own custom uniform inside. Almost simultaneously, Jessica saw the description on the back of the jersey, labeled, “Mrs. Tolliver” and Anthony dropped to one knee for the proposal. A mixture of laughter and tears ensued and the Tolliver’s embraced directly under the basketball hoop where Anthony spends countless hours perfecting his craft.

  16. Remember a couple weeks ago when Kevin Love was benched the second half in favor of Tolliver? Must have worked: Love goes for 31 points, 31 rebounds last night. I know Love’s not your favorite guy, Feltbot, but the thing that impressed me the most about this–other than the sheer staggering numbers–was his attitude about getting EVERY rebound. Same attitude, Mr. Mean Larry Smith had and Dennis Rodman, both only 6’8″ but two of the best rebounders of all time.

  17. That’s a great story, rgg. Tolliver has a great personality. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Oregon Guy,
    You’ve probably seen Love play since his high school days, since he’s from your neck of the woods. I’ve liked Love since his days at UCLA. He was a winner in College and I think he will be in the pros once he gets on a good team. The kid has his limitations, but he does some great things out there. He furnishes some key ingredients that winning teams need. He’s going to fun to watch for years to come.

  19. Love is a rebound machine, but unlike Dennis Rodman, he can’t run the floor or defend a lick (which is why Rambus benched him). And unlike David Lee, he can’t get you buckets inside (except against the Knicks). I admire his rebounding talent and his work ethic, but he’s a problematic player.

    For those following along with The Warriors Bet, it may have ended prematurely. It will be OFF so long as Lee is out, and may be off when he gets back, depending on whether the bookies have adjusted their lines. The Warriors are +7 against Milwaukee tonight. I might feel like attacking that line if Nellie were in charge, but can’t consider it with Smart. With Lee out, the Warriors MUST play small ball in order to win. Will Smart be willing to change the identity of the team?

  20. It now looks like Nellie turned down not just Amare Stoudemire but Carmelo Anthony for Stephen Curry. Curry and David Lee are his legacy to the Warriors.

    http://www.cbssports.com/nba/story/14285910/progress-in-denver-not-likely-to-mean-melo-stays

  21. As predicted, the Kings are blowing up from within. There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that this team could add DeMarcus Cousins to Tyreke Evans and survive.

    And any sportswriter that chose Tyreke Evans for ROY over Stephen Curry (that’s you, Matt Steinmetz) should have his accreditation pulled. One of the most egregious errors in the history of ROY voting.

    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/11/12/kings-deny-growing-issues-with-demarcus-cousins-tyreke-evans/

  22. GovernorStephCurry

    I think you should stop writing about Wright. You can’t be honest with your observations so it might be best to abstain from even mentioning him.