Good on ya, Joe Lacob

I just listened to the entirety of Joe Lacob’s interview with Gary Radnich, and I have to say I was very impressed by him.  I came away very willing to concede that I have been too hard on him, and that he understands far more about what he has on this team, and how to build on it, than he had indicated with his prior personnel moves and statements.  He knows he has something special in both Curry and Ellis, and will be loathe to break them up. He stated very clearly that the Warriors need to get a big defensive shooting guard to protect the Curry and Ellis backcourt. Bravo!                                                        

And of course, he stated that the Warriors need a big improvement in the middle. But he hinted that free agency and the development of Ekpe Udoh — not a trade — was his most likely route to finding that.

He also loves David Lee, as I do. I got the very strong impression that Lacob will not entertain the notion of breaking up the core of this team unless and until he gets a look at them performing with those additional defensive pieces surrounding them, and it is proven to him that they cannot make a title run.  That’s more than good enough for me.

He also all but called Tim Kawakami a liar (although he stated that he couldn’t remember the “reporter’s” name).  This brouhaha surrounding Curry and the Curry-Ellis backcourt appears to be yet another complete invention of the worst sportswriter in the Bay Area, made for publicity. Anyone surprised by that?

Others will be impressed by Lacob’s openness and accountability.  He just announced that he and Peter Guber will make themselves accessible by email to season ticket holders.  I like Lacob’s openness, but that is secondary to me.  I also greatly enjoyed the way Don Nelson absolutely tortured sportswriters (and opposing GMs) with stonewalling and misdirection.

What matters to me is that Lacob gets the basketball right.  What matters to me is that Lacob understands what he has in Curry, Ellis and Lee. And that he understands how to build around them.

This interview told me that maybe Lacob does actually get it. Maybe he does actually realize there is more than one way to win a championship in the NBA.

That’s my cue to lay off the Amundson and Lin mistakes — about which I’ve been strident – and look forward with optimism to Lacob’s next moves.

73 Responses to Good on ya, Joe Lacob

  1. Feltbot is sucking up to Lacob. Traitor!

  2. Here’s a writer who is not too timid to change his mind. Thanks, FB.

    The thing that tripped me and a lot of us off is that Lacob used TK (as I recall) to announce the firing of Nelson, which did catch a lot of us by surprise. (But he did look into Carmelo, right?)

    The thing that slow a lot of us down with this team is that they don’t have much experience together and don’t have enough good pieces to work with. Compare both with the Hornets last night.

  3. Their email accessibility isn’t limited to season ticket holders. http://www.nba.com/warriors/fanzone/owners_box.html It’s too bad the interview wasn’t handled by someone like Ted Robinson or Greg Papa. Gary Radnich can’t shut up for more than 30 seconds at a time, constantly interrupting callers and even Lacob. Radnich even showed how little he follows the Warriors by having no clue that Chris Hunter actually played for GSW last season.

    It was somewhat comforting to hear Lacob’s proclamations concerning Ellis and Curry, but it still remains to be seen how smart/knowledgeable these guys are when it comes to putting together an NBA team. Lacob has been involved with some early signings, and as it pertains to the Warriors bench, the results have not been good. The Warriors have the worst bench in the league, hands down. Hopefully that’s not an indicator of the quality of future moves by management.

    I also thought Lacob’s response to the very first caller’s question concerning Brandon Wright’s lack of playing time really weak to the point of basically avoiding the question. He stated the obvious that Wright lacked confidence from not playing much but then didn’t give a reason as to why he remains glued to the bench. Last night’s 4th quarter was 12 minutes of garbage time yet no BW. Curry, Lee and company are out there playing halfway through the period with the Warriors down by 20. Ridiculous.

    Lacob and crew obviously want to get on the good side of every media type on the planet, and good for them. Lord knows the Warriors can use all the positive PR as possible given their gloom and doom past. But I’m still uneasy on the ratio of glitz and glamour vs basketball acumen that makes up new ownership.

  4. Steve, I’m not all of a sudden going to agree with everything Lacob says going forward. I’m not at all certain that he wouldn’t fall into the Carmelo Anthony trap if it was offered, for instance.

    But I do think he answered the Brandan Wright question to the best of his ability. I’m paraphrasing, but he said they were looking for more “activity” from Wright when he was on the court, more of a spark. This is coach and GM-speak for: Brandan Wright has no heart. Which is something that I, and Don Nelson, and Rony Turiaf, and Stephen Jackson, and Keith Smart himself have been saying from day 1.

    I’m sorry, I know you and Frank are still fans of his potential or whatever, but it is what it is. Wright is finished here, and if you’re a fan of his, you’re going to have to root for him in Europe, or China, or wherever it is he winds up.

  5. Steve–

    I’m guessing, but we have plenty of evidence. If there’s anything Smart has done (and then some), it’s give everyone a chance. I suspect if Brandon doesn’t play more, it’s because hasn’t proven himself in practice. (I think I heard reports to that effect.) If he’s giving Biedrins so much time, it’s because he’s a huge investment with a contract, who once showed potential, and he’s trying to make the investment pay off.

    And he’s the best center we’ve got, unless they move Lee to center.

    Here I want to cut Smart some slack. He just doesn’t have much to work with. If he wants to put any size next to Lee, until Udoh develops, his best option is Rad, and I wouldn’t be surprised Smart has done much to bring him out as well. Rad didn’t look so hot last night though–didn’t finish well at all.

    Fitz and Barnett surmised that the reason the starters played the last 20 minutes was so that Udoh could have more playing time with starters. I like this idea.

    Barnett is a treasure–I learn something every game.

  6. Felt, I’m not a fan of Brandon Wright, I’m a fan of any player who can possibly make the Warriors a better team. Maybe this guy is a total stiff who’ll wind up working at Wal-Mart by the time he turns 25. And for your sake, I’m glad you’ve already determined he’s heartless and incapable of productive minutes with the Warriors. But personally, I don’t get it.

    This kid was drafted as a teenager and in 3 years had played fewer than one NBA’s regular season full of games coming into this season. Along with being only 23 yrs old he actually has some shooting skills (unlike Biedrins, Amundson, and Gadzuric), along with shot blocking and rebound capabilities that usually go hand and hand with anyone 6′ 10″ and 220 lbs.

    The last time Don Nelson watched BW run up and down a basketball court he raved that Wright was his best player in camp. Yes, he could have been trying to motivate others (Randolph?) by saying that, but he also could have been telling the truth at that time. Afterall, the Warriors haven’t exactly been flush with extremely talented players in recent years. Regardless, Wright then proceeds to blow out his shoulder and end his season before it ever began.

    Now, he’s finally good-to-go from a health standpoint and Warriors fans can’t even watch the guy play the 4th quarter of a blowout to see what he’s got to show. This would be slightly understandable if the Warriors had any good players outside of their starters, but with their bench best described as putrid on their best day this situation is all the more frustrating to yours truly. And since I’ve seen enough of Keith Smart to be of the opinion that he’s in over his head as a head coach, his decision to not give many, if any, minutes to BW gives me zero clue as to Wright’s actual capabilities.

    Hey, you’re right. The writing is on the wall and the letters don’t spell Warriors when it comes to Wright’s future in the NBA. But given the current state of this roster I think the whole situation wreaks with stupidity.

  7. rggblog, as Warriors fans, let’s hope everything turns out for the best. I’m just tired of watching this bench contribute next-to-nothing game after game. I do know that Brandon has some talent because I’ve seen flashes of it, but he’s so young and has played so little I hate the thought of him going elsewhere and eventually developing into a good player. What do they say about big men being slower to develop? And to top it all he’s the type of player when you’re talking potential that the Warriors desperately need (inside scorer, shot blocker, rebounder). Whatever. I’m blogged out for tonight. Go Warriors! :)

  8. I agree with Steve about Radnich and Lacob answering a call about why ‘dont we have Chris Hunter’ on the team. Remember the Laker game two weeks ago? Well, one year ago, Hunter held down Odom and Bynum while he scored 24 points. A Warrior center with 24 points? Against the Lakers?
    Radnich didnt know who he was, making several jokes to the unfortunately, knowledgeable caller, and he distracted Lacob. What Warrior fan wouldnt have wanted Hunter around this year? Dont even get me started about Tolliver and CJ!
    Just for everyone to know though, because Hunter was down in the NBDL last month playing for the FT Wayne Mad Ants, he ruptured an achilles and is out for the season!
    Chris, we hardly knew yee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. FSK–

    Chris Hunter was a Warrior. Let us all remember him.

  10. Felty: Lacob’s backing away from trading Curry and mentioning that Udoh should be developed as center is pointing the Warriors in the right direction. We should now judge Lacob based on the decisions he makes going forward. The signing of both Amundson and Lin are only small bumps in the road to what we all hope will be a bright Warrior future.

    I know you think B.Wright is a stiff. Your view runs contrary to Don Nelson’s view who said he was the best player in camp last year.He seemed very sincere. And while I agree with you he does not appear to have a future with the Warriors, I do wish he was playing over Amundson and even Radman in spots, and his getting at least 15 minutes of playing time to showcase what he can or cannot do.

    Clearly, he’s in Smart’s dog house. This is surprising to me, for it was Smart ,who last year, scolded B.Wright for passing instead of shooting and driving to the hoop. As a result, B.Wright changed his game.

  11. felt: Kudo’s to you on altering your stance on Lacob. I listened to the entire interview, also. Like you, I was extremely impressed by the guy. I think he made a rookie mistake a few weeks ago when he talked to TK and didn’t realize how the media is likely to twist something an owner says about a player or coach beyond what the owner intended. Lacob will learn from that. I think that’s why he was more careful yesterday when talking about players like BWright.

    I found it very interesting that he talks to Smart in his office all the time. I am certain that is why we are finally seeing some more minutes for Udoh. I don’t think Lacob is thrilled at all with the job that Smart is doing. I think he has a lot of questions he is asking him in these office chats and is not getting satisfactory answers.

    Speaking of which–did you see the recent Steinmetz article in which Smart called-out Curry’s substandard start to this season and then admitted (apparently without realizing it) that Curry’s slow offensive first-half starts this year in which he’s trying too hard to get others involved and not asserting themselves were at Smart’s behest? Look at Smart’s quote (in my post today on Adam’s site) in which he says part of the problem is that Curry’s doing what the coaches have been telling him–get others involved, don’t look for your shot as much.

    Can you believe this? Smart telling Curry to back off on creating for himself–just the opposite of what Nellie told Curry last year, and which got Curry out of his short early-season funk last year! Just the opposite of what Nellie told Nash–and what helped Nash develop into such an effective point guard. Nash and Curry need to create offense for themselves to be able to optimize what they can create for others and do for their teams. Once again, Smart proves what a lightweight he is at the head coach’s table.

    And then, after he helps screw up Curry this year, so nice of him to carp at him in the media like the Steinmetz piece. Classy. No wonder Curry has started the past two games like he’d rather be someplace else.

  12. OT: I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I have been noticing that Smart’s comments to the press frequently appear contradictory and self-serving. Particularly post-game. He has given several mixed messages regarding Curry, and they all seem to say that when Curry does well, it’s because he’s following Smart’s instruction, and when he doesn’t, it’s because he’s not. As an example, when Curry took (and made) two walk-up threes against the Clippers, for about the first time in 10 games, Smart insinuated post-game that it was because he asked him to. What?

    It should be obvious to anyone who’s closely following the Warriors that Smart has altered his offensive approach and tactics radically during the course of the season. And it has been obvious that Curry’s role early in the season has been far different than it was under Nellie. So I found Smart’s recent comments regarding Curry needing to be more aggressive to be very confusing and shocking. Has it really been Curry’s fault? It would be interesting to know Curry’s true feelings about how he’s been handled this year.

    Smart also was quoted recently saying that Reggie Williams has the “ultimate of green lights” to do anything he wants on the floor. Well, that may be the case now, but it certainly wasn’t the case to start the season, no matter what Smart says.

    Smart has been extremely accessible to the media. He appears to want everyone to like him, players, media, ownership and fans. I wonder if he isn’t being too open. It may wind up biting him in the ass, because he’s increasingly coming across as confused.

  13. Off for some Friday night poker, I won’t be recapping the Charlotte game.

  14. I’ve always wanted to say this. Radnich is the worse sports commentator in the bay area. He spends half his time talking about fluff, “What kind of care are you driving?”, and the other half continually saying ” Do you agree with me? Do you understand what I am trying to say? Am I wrong? ”

    He really loves our local teams and sports in general. When asked about watching Giants games, he once said, ” I only like to watch Bonds at bat.” “The bay area deserves better. Evidently, he has a big following. I have never understood that.

    I’ll take Greg Papa over him, anytime.

  15. I agree Lacob came across a lot better hearing him live (in spite of the Radnich verbosity), than he did in the print interviews. The nuances came through, his ego seemed in check, and I liked his sense of humor, especially the ribbing of Radnich: “The question you should be asking, Gary….”

    I was relieved to hear him say that Ellis and Curry would “in all likelihood…be Warriors for a long time.” I was glad to hear his recognition of Ellis for his high level of performance.

    The comment about Smart was revealing: “I talk to Keith all the time. I walk into his office, shut the door, we talk.” Sounds like Lacob does more talking than listening. Not sure I would want the owner-coach relationship to work that way under normal circumstances, but in this case, it might be preferable. (Funny to imagine how that would transpire with Nellie.)

    I’m a little unclear on the concept that he’s impatient to improve the team, yet intends to be careful about moves he makes. I was concerned initially that he might do something rash, but it appears he’s striving for a balance. All in all, it was heartening. So’s the idea that he’ll respond to emails. Next test: send him one and see what happens.

  16. Hey Steve – In response to your post above, I can’t believe you are still holding out hope for BW.. I have the zeal of a recent convert. Did you happen to watch the games when Lee was injured. Wright played and did NOTHING.. and i do mean NOTHING. The guy has some talent but there is no fight in him. Remember that famous Michael Vick quote – it is not the size of the dog in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the dog. And there is no fight in that dog…

  17. What a ridiculous loss. I’ll refrain from stronger language, and just note that in Lacob’s end of the year review, this game will not look good on Keith Smart’s resume.

    I am also beyond fed up with Keith Smart’s pet excuse of “this is a young team.” Don Nelson went 7-5 to close last season with nothing but Curry, Ellis and first year D-leaguers. This loss was on Keith Smart from beginning to end. I’ll let you guys provide the reasons.

    And one other thing. I just got done saying that Joe Lacob went a long way towards easing my concerns about his long term vision for this team, and that I was moving on from the Amundson and Lin signings. I’ll try to stick to that. But there is one thing that I will never be able to forget. As things stand right now, there is one reason and one reason only why the Warriors won’t be going to the playoffs this season: Joe Lacob’s firing of Don Nelson.

    For Warriors fans, there are few things more precious than playoff seasons. And Don Nelson playoff seasons were among the most precious of all playoff seasons. Because they carried with them the promise of genuine magic.

    Joe Lacob took that away from us. Forever.

  18. Watch the last minutes of quarters 2, 3, and 4, if you haven’t yet, especially 4. Some of the mistakes were just incomprehensible, and no one can be singled out. Rad was dribbling up court with the lead (why?) and not much time left, and threw the ball away backcourt — but neither Ellis nor Curry were coming for the ball at a critical time (and Rad brought the ball up court himself next time and made a brilliant pass for a score). Ellis fouled SJax at the end taking a very difficult three, etc. And all those touch fouls on drives that led to three points for Charlotte. There were more. Coaching maybe, but these are things they should have figured out themselves.

    But the ball and leadership should have gone to Curry tonight, and I’m not sure this is all on Smart. Ellis was off, Curry was hot–and only took one shot 3rd. qtr. when they had a substantial lead but were starting to lose it, and only a dozen or so for the whole game. When he finally started shooting 4th. q, he was on fire. I wonder if they have the Curry/Ellis relationship figured out, if they are playing to full potential. (And no, I don’t want to trade either one.)

  19. OT: After that disaster it’s Brian Wilson to the rescue.

  20. OK, I give up. Why do I think this loss was all on Keith Smart?

    Why did the Warriors win the rebounding battle but lose the war? Why did David Lee get only 8 shots? Why were the Bobcats able to stifle every one of Monta’s drives? Why did David Lee get in foul trouble?

    Because Keith Smart had the wrong lineups on the floor. The wrong matchups. All game long.

    The Warriors could have run this Bobcats team right out of the gym with the right lineup. David Lee could have pick and rolled Kwame Brown and Nazzi Mohammed to death with the right lineup. Monta would have had driving lanes to his hearts content with the right lineup. David Lee would not have had to guard Boris Diaw at the three point line, and be always late to help, with the right lineup.

    The Warriors could have stopped obsessing about out-defending the Bobcats, which they can never do given current personnel, and started working on out-scoring the Bobcats, which they CAN do with blindfolds on

    with the right lineup.

  21. So, so disappointed with the loss.

    So many bonehead plays (and not all of them the fault of Radmanovic!). Monta fouling on the 3-ball was disgraceful. But the fact that he has a history of these plays makes it absolutely abominable.

    At that point Jack is 0-3 FT and 0-6 3PT. So, why? Why, why, why? Putting him on the line to sink three filled him with confidence and from then on he continually ‘made love to pressure’. Killed us at the end of regulation (admittedly flukey) and destroyed us in the extra period after we had willingly let him creep back into the game.

    I can’t destroy them for the overtime play. It was horrible, but was predictable due to the nature of our attempted closeout at the end of the 4th. This game should have been (and needed to be) won in regulation.

    Seeing the numbers for Kwame and Nazr made me sick. The number of stupid touch fouls to offer a 3 point opportunity (in clutch moments) made me sick. The knucklehead turnovers made me sick.

    I implore anyone who considered a trade of Steph as an acceptable move to watch the 4th quarter of this game. Admittedly, he was not perfect. But, sweet jesus, what would the destruction have been like if he wasn’t on the floor.

    Can’t rant any more. Too disturbing. Over to you for the shredding, Felty.

  22. Oh, and I must formally second the notion that Nellie wins these games. Absolutely.

    His firing is the biggest stain on the franchise.

  23. FB,
    The the thing that struck me most about this game and the beginning of the Hornet game is how out of synch and lost the team was. When they first started the season with Smart, they played together, with purpose, though maybe not as effectively as they could. They really screwed up last night at critical minutes.

    The temptation is to say that Smart over- (and mis-) coaches and maybe Nelson has offenses that turns them loose and lets them play independently, though within a plan. But there was no pressure on the Warriors last season second half–they were already out of it and had nothing to lose. I’m wondering if the pressure of trying to make the playoffs, win all these home games, has gotten to a team that is young and hasn’t played together, that along with so much up in the air about the coach and even, last week, the roster. And of course having question marks about subs and over half the roster doesn’t help. Maybe Lacob is doing what he has to do, but not committing to a future with this team at the outset may have taken its toll.

  24. But even in a simple bottom line assessment, firing Nelson was a major decision by Lacob and a huge mistake. Lacob may have another conception of what kind of team he wanted, but he didn’t have the players to implement it, and probably not the coach. Instead he leaves the team in limbo when they needed to develop and build confidence in themselves and each other. And note what Lacob is doing: he places the expectation of a winning season over a coach and many players he has not committed himself to.

    Nelson could have taken these players, especially Lee, Curry, and Ellis, and developed their talents further and a cohesiveness that would have paid off later, especially for the younger players. Steph’s in his second year and Ellis has only begun to play point.

    The major advantage Nelson offered, and I’ve said this before, is that all the pressure would not have affected him one bit. He’s been there so many times before.

  25. Felty: How did you do in your poker game?

    I don’t know if Nelson would or would not have taken the Warriors to the play-offs this year, but I do know he would have played the best players, and probably would have convinced the owner to resign Tolliver and not Amundson, which by itself, would have improved the bench.

    I think the Warriors lost last night ‘s game because Smart did not have D. , who was on fire from the beginning of the game take more shots, by not having Curry take the same number of shots as Ellis (he took less then half), by not resting Ellis properly and thereby allowing Ellis to take shots when he was tired ( he was 6 for 24 from the field) , by allowing the ball to come to a halt in Ellis hands in the fourth quarter, and his ensuing drives to the hoop from 20 plus feet away with Bobcat defenders laying in wait and blocking his shots, not running pick and rolls and dive plays, and leaving Bobcat players unguarded on the perimeter.

    I don’t agree with you that the Warriors rotation added to the problem other then B.Wright not getting most if not all of Radman’s playing time. I know you disagree.

    I am hopeful for the Warriors if Smart continues to play Biedrins and Udoh in tandem. Their helping to hold the Bobcats to 44 points in the first half, and 101 points for four quarters, is something to build upon. Yes, Udoh made mistakes, but I see a lot to build on. Udoh did get beat by his man once or twice, but mostly by leaving his man to guard a player who was penetrating the lane, and D. Lee not rotating his man.

  26. Even though I think it was wrong for Lac0b to fire Nelson, I could see why he had misgivings about Nelson. He knew of Nelson leaving practice early, seeming to be indifferent at games, having some minor problems with
    players, and leaving players on the court and not resting them.

    Moreover, his decision to fire Nelson was a poor one, given that he had no array of established coaches to select from

    H would have learned more about basketball if he had kept him. Regardless, if he wanted Nelson to coach or not, he definitely would have benefited by retaining Nelson in some capacity. Nelson’s firing was a loss for both Lacob and the Warriors.I suspect that Riley speaks to Nelson often about basketball, and Riley passes on this information to Lacob, whether he packages the information as his own or coming from Nelson.

  27. Kawakami did another one of his many “dive bomb” blogs on the Warriors today and all his faithful pinheaded followers quickly joined in to produce that unmistakable whining sound that so often resonates from his blog. Since I was having a completely unproductive day playing the horses I figured I’d save myself a few bucks by skipping a race and instead contribute to this nonsense by blogging myself. My blog wasn’t held up for moderation this time but it was gone at last check a few minutes ago. Hahahaha The Kawakami Bureau of Censorship strikes again. I admit my post might have been worthy of a technical, but to be thrown out? Banished to the showers? LOL

    —————————————————–

    Steve says:
    January 29th, 2011 at 6:37 pm 31..

    What a bunch of whiney clueless pinwheels. And all worshiping at the throne of Tim “Lincecum-for-Rios-Monta-will-never-play-for-GSW-again” Kawakami. LOL OMG, Robert Rowell is still in the building, the Warriors are dooooooomed! LOL Yeah, Rowell is still in the building alright. He’s sitting at some backroom desk shuffling through stacks of paperwork while someone is making a blindfolded 3-point bankshot at the buzzer to beat the Warriors. Damn that Rowell! LOL

    Even a clueless ignoramous moron (which explains why no one on this blog gets it) knows why the Warriors are currently struggling below .500…….their bench is the worst in the league. THAT’S what you fix. If you can unload Biedrins, fine, otherwise focus on strengthening the bench. If the Warriors had had solid backups to the starters from Day 1 they’d be over .500 and in the top 8 of the West right now. Repeat after me all you Kawakami lemmings, the…bench….the….bench….fix….the….bench. No, you don’t fix Curry, you don’t fix Ellis, you don’t fix Lee or DW, you FIX THE BENCH. In the offseason there’s the draft and free agency but first you FIX THE BENCH. There, see how easy and painless that was?

    If Lacob spends any time reading this blog it’s probably to see if he can pick up any good ideas for comedic halftime entertainment at Warriors games given all the Three Stooges-like bloggers who hang out here. Unfortunately, even the idiots are below par here. LOL

  28. Steve–

    Your highlight clip above (thanks) shows the Rad turnover, 3:38 in, at a critical moment in the last minute. But for me it just shows how out of sync the team can be. The guards should have been coming to Rad to get the ball to bring it up. Rad wasn’t looking, but I put this one on Monta, I guess, as he was the closest guard. Rad assumed he would get some help, and it was a good assumption. But really I see it as another example of miscommunication, and we see a lot of that. The guys just aren’t together. Sometimes I wonder if they are too conscious about team play and don’t always follow their better instincts. There have been moments, too, when Monta and Steph get mixed up over who is control of the play.

    But note how Rad handles the next play, a really impressive sequence for a big.

    I also wonder if the team doesn’t suffer an identity crisis. There have been strong messages from fandom and ownership not to be a “Nellieball” team. They need to show they care about defense and rebounds, which, so goes legend, Nelson ignored. FB noted Smart’s contradictions, and as I recall, Smart said at the outset the team would rely less on running and 3 point shots. And Smart probably buys into the mandate for “defense” and the rest, but he may be under pressure to show he is transforming the team according to these desires, both on the court and in his press conferences. Yet it has been running and shooting that have given them their greatest wins.

    Impressions always kill us.

  29. I am astonished that TK is censoring posts with basketball content from his blog, and even more astonished that no one seems to care.

  30. I would care if I went to that blog anymore, but don’t because it’s overloaded with pinheads. Pinheads like playing ping-pong with other pinheads. The TK blog is perfect for them. The only thing that astonishes me, Felty, is that you keep going back, thinking you can insert knowledge into a pin, and thereby wasting time you could spend on your blog, which, as we all know, is home of the cognoscenti.

  31. In reality, Lacob and Riley could improve the Ws overnight if Lacob were willing to use Carney’s open roster spot to fill one of the team’s most serious personnel holes. And since Charlie Bell is unplayable and untradeable, Lacob could buy out Bell’s contract to fill TWO of the team’s critical needs. If he actually did prioritize winning.

    Running Ellis, Curry and D Wright for excessive minutes per game, then asking them to take over in crunch time, is pretty unrealistic. The Warriors could immediately improve that picture by bringing in another serviceable backup guard or small forward. Even an average player would contribute more to the team than Carney’s empty chair.

    With Bell’s spot, the team could get another forward, but one who’s not a liability. If Reggie’s OK as a backup SF, how about a designated banger? An active attitudinous widebody like Jeff Adrien was useful tool for Smart. Besides, Adrien was far more popular with fans than his results warranted. Watching a Warrior box out bigs halfway across the court was a pure joy to people here in Warriors Wimpville. A real novelty. Joking aside, sometimes brute force really is the best answer.

    (Nasty aside: Amundsen ain’t any sort of answer. As a fulltime bystander on the court, he could be replaced by lint. Make the trade.)

    Warriors fans have heard nothing but “someday” for an awful long time. If Lacob were 100% focused on winning, the dubs wouldn’t even have their deadly personnel holes today. And if he leaves Carney’s spot empty for much longer he’ll have to quit pretending he’s not just another P&L guy.

    Note to Joe Lacob: Prove stuff. Start now.

  32. Very nice discussion. My two cents:

    About firing Nelson. It was necessary. For no other reason than the contentious Relationship he had with Monta and Biedrins. Monta himself stated he wouldn’t be having the season he’s having if it were not for Smart being the head coach. Since Smart has shown to be no great strategist, this would speak more to the fact that Nelson is gone. Let’s also not forget that without a doubt, if Nelson was still the couch, the Warriors would be playing primarily small ball with D.Wright at the 4 and Lee at 5. Effectively glueing Udoh to the bench without opportunity to develop. There would also be no emphasis on any kind of defense what so ever. I agree Nelson is a far superior strategist and the Dubs would probably have a few of the loses I blame on Smart as wins. To me however, those pros do not out way the cons.

    Secondly, Smart is driving me crazy. Besides the obvious lack of feel when making his substitution patterns. Like siting Biedrins down the stretch when they couldn’t secure a rebound, .or pulling Biedrins 6 minutes into the 1st when he was playing well and the team was rolling, or sitting Curry at the end of the 3rd when we couldn’t buy a bucket. To me the two most glaring coaching decisions that tell me Smart is over his head are trying to yell instructions to Radman and the team when they need to get the ball over half court and the most egregious one of calling timeout after Jackson’s free throws instead of pulling Curry aside during the throws and telling him to make sure he gets the inbounds pass. Instead he allows the Bobcats to set there defense and deny Curry the ball. Instead of a 93% shooter on the line we have a 72% shooter. He misses one which opens the door for Jackson’s heroics. I don’t know any other coach in the NBA, or college for that matter who would have called a timeout in that situation. Why post game reporters don’t ask Smart tough questions like this is beyond me. Instead he continues to get served softballs during his post game interview.

  33. Excellent analysis, J-Walk.

    But for Curry’s rediscovered virtuosity, this Utah game one of the ugliest basketball games I’ve ever watched cover to cover. Which is OK in a win.

    Not going to recap this mess, and not sure I’d know how if I did. A lot of weird stuff going on. I was certain the last two games that Monta was fighting thru injury. This game didn’t dispel that, but there was also a whiff of a patented Kobe funk, wasn’t there? The Warriors were clearly in Curry’s hands on this night.

    Vlad Rad was obviously in Smart’s doghouse for this game — but wait, didn’t Marcus Thompson tell us early on that Smart doesn’t have a doghouse? Maybe this move to play Amundson at the 4 ahead of Vlad is permanent. Smart’s big man rotations are obviously in flux.

    Udoh got some nice pressure-free minutes, and my newly informed opinions of him are coalescing… but not yet ready to hatch.

    Meanwhile, Andre Iguodala rumors are swirling in Philly, and beginning to worry me. I know Curry is close to him, and I know he’s the type of player that Lacob covets… I hope I don’t have to crank up a Don’t Trade Monta Ellis piece. But I’m beginning to get faint tingly messages from a far away outpost that has been known to be prescient: my spidey sense.

    Themes, subplots are stirring… it’s time for me to bide my time. And watch.

  34. Clearly something is going on with Monta and it’s not his ankle. He may just be burned out mentally by all the minutes and need a break.

    J Walk nice post.

  35. Monta was pouting last night for some reason. Did he have to sleep on the couch Saturday night. Hope is not a Curry jealous thing again. Raja Bell even noticed it commentiong that it was not his defense. Monta sometimes gets in a funk. Have not seen it lately. Maybe Smart exposed him in the film room.

  36. Barnett quote of the night: Turnovers will go down as the team gets better.

    The context was a pass Curry forced inside that resulted in a turnover, and Fitz whined once more about his one-handed passes (which Barnett has defended).

    Focusing on TOs is looking at the symptoms instead of underlying causes. And I suspect telling players to quit turning the ball over only tightens them up and causes more. Besides, there are so many ways a possession can fail that don’t appear in the stats. I’d rather see a TO that tries to get something going–this effort will pay off later–than see an offense stall and not get off a good shot.

  37. I don’t know. I was never a Nellie fan just because I felt he deferred to Small lineups way too much, didn’t have a good defensive assistant coach, and lost some of his vigor the past few years (eg, missing or leaving practices). And I agree with JWalk that it was the right time to retire Nellie to the beach in Maui. However, I also believe that he could really have coached this group of players and gotten more out of them than Smart. Nellie was such a better strategist than Smart. And I don’t think it would have been just a few games. I’m guessing 10 more wins by the end of the season, the way the first half has gone.

  38. Wow, immediate confirmation of my spidey sense:
    http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_17239364?source=rss&nclick_check=1
    Iguodala and Granger are the only potential targets that make sense to me, as they’re the only players who can play the two.

    And I’m surprised by the Warriors insider’s position that DWright off the bench would help the team. At this point, I think DWright might become disgruntled coming off the bench. No doubt he’s going to command a big contract in a couple of years from someone as a starter.

    As for Jeff Green, no way he should be a three. Devastating weapon at the four, mediocre in all phases at the three. But maybe that’s just me, the Nellie acolyte.

  39. There is one guy out there who is available, and only one guy, who if he comes back strong from his recent scoping would automatically vault the Warriors into the playoffs.

    Marcus Camby. A perfect fit for the Warriors.

    http://www.blazersedge.com/2011/1/30/1965342/bill-simmons-and-marc-stein-talk-portland-trail-blazers-trade-rumors

  40. WheresMyChippy

    Did anyone else think that Keith Smart’s podium interview on post-game live was the most incomprehensible of the year so far?

  41. Good point, WMC. To my eyes and ears, Smart doesn’t engage the gears between his brain and his mouth when he does these interviews. Just spouts stuff that may or may not make sense. (Why did Monta have a bad night? “…sometimes it’s just that way, you know? It rained today. Why did it rain? Blame it on the rain. I don’t know why.”) Maybe we should blame the Charlotte loss on the rain, you think?

    Smart’s interviews are indicative of how he overcoaches the team — yelling too much, getting into the weeds too much, revealing his insecurity too much. It’s hard for an athlete to let it flow when the coach is constantly in his ear. I suspect that’s why Curry has had so many ups and downs this season.

    I don’t know what happened with Monta. Not sure if it’s related to Smart’s coaching style, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was related to Smart playing him such heavy minutes. Let’s hope he just needs a couple of days off.

  42. rggblog: “Fitz whined….”

    I watched the ESPN telecast so I could take a break from the truly tiresome Fitz whining. “The Warriors inability to get a rebound…!,” spoken in the voice of a 12-year-old. Or an example from last night: Curry wove through the lane and made a spectacular layup. ESPN’s play-by-play guy gave it the proper voice. Fitzgerald whined that Curry was fouled and there was no call.

    Felty, you said awhile back that you were planning a Fitzgerald skewering. Are we there yet?

  43. Didn’t I already do that? I don’t really want to keep piling on the guy (does anyone anywhere have a favorable opinion?), but he’s really driving me nuts. He has shown radical improvement on the issue of three point shooting, but the overall approach is the same…

    Doesn’t he realize that no other play by play men nag and scold their teams the way he does? That no other play by play men drown out their color men the way he does?

    Has he never listened to other play by play men around the league and tried to learn? Or can he just not help himself?

    I know it would be awful hard to change your broadcast personality overnight, but I get the feeling Fitz may have to to survive. Surely Lacob is taking the temperature of the fan base on him. If I were Fitz, I would be taking advice, and trying very hard to change. The clock is ticking.

  44. I like Fitz. When I watch a Warriors game, I want to be entertained and excited. He provides that. You think an ESPN guy is gonna be as thrilled about a big 3-pointer the way Fitz calls it?

    Keep up the good work, Bob. There is no clock ticking.

  45. Hey, OK, we got a Fitz supporter to speak up!

    Here’s a piece about a rookie out of Stanford I like alot:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703833204576114344139523616.html?KEYWORDS=pearlman

  46. Brytex: You’re comparing apples and oranges — hometown guy versus network. Having said that, the ESPN guy last night, Dave Pasch, got more excited than Fitzgerald a number of times.

    What we’re asking for is a hometown guy who doesn’t whine when the team is playing poorly (which is semi-often), who doesn’t interrupt one of the best color men ever, and who doesn’t try to act smart by saying stuff we heard Barnett say a month ago.

    Fitzgerald has gone downhill since he started the talk-show gig with Rod Brooks, because they bring out the worst in each other. Brooks is an interrupter of the first order, which forces Fitzgerald to be hyper in order to get a word in. That carries over to his play-by-play of Warriors games. They both stammer, repeat words, says “I mean” a hundred times just so they can keep the mouth going. Really, is there another announcer around who comes anywhere near his level of amateurism when it comes to speaking a grammatical sentence?

    I haven’t even mentioned the whiny voice, which has become intolerable. If it weren’t for Barnett, I’d turn the sound off. I used to like him. No more.

    Earlier, someone called for the return of Greg Papa. Well, listen to his call of the Cal-Oregon game last Saturday. With 3 minutes left in a tight game, he was prodding his color guys to talk about something totally different from the game we were watching. Just nauseating. At least he doesn’t stammer and whine like Fitzgerald, but he’s just another motor mouth.

  47. I’m with the “Fitzg has got to go” crowd. It can be tough broadcasting for a losing team year after year. I’ll give credit to Fitz for loving this team and having an intrinsic desire or auto immune response to be protective of the team. However it’s gotten to the point of nauseam. I’m tired of hearing about the foul disparity as if there is a conspiracy being formulated by all the referees who ever call a Warriors game. I would rather hear that the Warriors need to stop reaching and move their feet and get into proper position. Or that because the Warriors rely on steels and deflections it’s natural for them to
    get more reaching fouls due to them trying to create those steels or
    deflections. I’m also tired of hearing the phrase “that’s unfortunate” uttered
    every time a Warrior doesn’t get a call or get’s a bad call against them. I’m
    tired of hearing “missed corner 3′s result in a lay-up or dunk every time”. I’m
    tired of being quoted the “book of Barnett chapter 6″. I’m tired of constantly
    being taught the game while doing play by play by a guy who’s never played or
    couched the game. I’m tired of much more, but I digress.

    Fitz isn’t complete garbage. He can play by play well and raises his voice and exudes The proper level of excitement when a good play happens. If he could just reform the other stuff. I don’t know that he can. I kind of equate it to the Jeff Fisher situation with the Titans. A good coach who has just been with the same team for to long. After a while you lose your effectiveness no matter how talented you are.

  48. MW, I like this apple. You don’t so you and felty take the orange.

    What we’re asking for is a hometown guy who doesn’t whine when the team is playing poorly (which is semi-often),

    He whines? Really? Whines? C’mon now guys. If he wants to gripe about something every now and then, that’s fine. SC’s passing. The horrible loss to Charlette. Some have said they don’t like him cuz he’s just a homer, that he’s too much of a Warriors cheerleader. Which is it?

    who doesn’t interrupt one of the best color men ever,

    There’s gonna be some of that anywhere, don’t you think?

    and who doesn’t try to act smart by saying stuff we heard Barnett say a month ago.

    Fitz IS smart. But he always gives JB credit and praise for what he has learned. Fitz clearly knows his place. And I doubt he’s doing anything Lacob disapproves of.

  49. Well add me to the list of banned commenters on TK’s blog. I took him to task over his last piece and in particular this sentence :

    “If anything, this season should be a referendum on Riley, who added an $80 million non-difference-maker in David Lee, drafted Udoh sixth overall and sold off the Warriors’ second-round pick, which could have been used on Landry Fields, currently playing very well in New York.”

    Strangely my comments appear to have been misplaced. The Landry Fields comment was particularly ludicrous amongst a collection of particularly ludicrous statements.

  50. The Curry/Ellis debate is just dumb, though entertaining for some. The basis for all these arguments is that the Warriors will never run deep into the playoffs with this backcourt. The reality is that there are many more reasons they aren’t a top playoff team, not factored in. They are short a major player or two, and maybe two more good pieces on the bench. And the likelihood of getting those pieces now or in the near future is not good–it’s what the team has discovered the past two years (and more). Then, of course, there are the issues of experience and coaching, still unsettled.

    But say someone goes with this argument and trades Ellis or Curry. What will happen is they get a player short of what they need–centers and franchise players are in short supply–and come up with a team that is not substantially better. Or they gamble on a promising prospect who does not pan out, and the team is worse. And if the guard they keep goes down, the season is a disaster.

    You can’t go far without a deep team. The Lakers are dominating in part because they have a supply of bigs. Our strength is our guards–build on that.

    Coaching, experience, a few more good players, and this is a playoff team. This isn’t a stretch at all.

  51. I meant to add, and I said it before: a lot of good teams have turned into mediocre teams trying to be a great team.

  52. Felty: Have your views on Udoh coalesced as yet? If so, please share them.

    I don’t think you will see many opposing centers shooting 50% from the floor as long as he doesn’t leave them to help out. The same cannot be said for Biedrins no matter how much he improves.

  53. Entertaining back-and-forth exchange today on the “Fitz and Brooks Show” between Marc Spears and Bob Fitzgerald (starting at approx the 15 min mark of the podcast). And the debate rages on.

    http://www.knbr.com/portals/3/podcasts/fitzbrooks/0201spears.mp3

  54. I think I caught that live as I drove to lunch, Steve. I’ll give Fitz credit for one thing: he seems down with the Curry/Ellis backcourt (altho that may just be the company line). I do think that Fitz is willing to listen and learn about basketball as a rule, which is a good thing. It’s the when and how he regurgitates those opinions during broadcasts that tortures me.

    Frank, the next few weeks should be very interesting, as Udoh is incorporated into the rotation more and more. Some aspects of his game I find very promising. Others I’m a little disappointed in. I need to watch a couple of more games to be certain of what I’m seeing.

  55. Brytex:

    Big distinction between what Fitz says and how he says it. Much of what he says is good and some is dumb, especially when he’s trying to sound smart. He reminds me of the guy who is likable but is trying too hard. I could semi-tolerate that.

    But the way he says the things that were perfectly described by J-walk — with the whiny voice — has become grating, annoying, infuriating, fingernails-on-the-chalkboard intolerable. As Felty suggested, it may be a personality thing that Fitzgerald is unable to change. If so, and if I were Lacob, I’d be looking for his replacement.

  56. I had a discussion with a friend of mine today. Another die hard Warriors fans with years of experience. I asked him what he would do as the very next move if he controlled the Warriors. He said, trade Biedrins and C. bell to the to the Nets for Murphy. He said Biedrins doesn’t fit and should be the first to go. Dump those contracts and they will have 22 million to possibly spend next summer with some good bigs and wings on the market.

    I got to thinking. Would the nets want Biedrins? The owner is new and wants to show he’s going to improve the team. Especially since the Melo drama. Lopez is a bad rebounder and more like a finesse player than a banger. Why not play him at. 4 and Biedrins at 5. If they will take Bell’s contract would they give us that expiring? Would that be good for the Dubs? If the Warriors want to remake themselves while keeping their core 3 together. Then they need to make some bold moves. Maybe taking an initial step back will be what it takes to make that bold move forward.

  57. Anyone happen to be watching Lakers/Houston game? Houston has taken the Lakers to overtime with this crunchtime lineup: Hayes, Scola, Kmart, Lowry and Brooks.

    Yes, that’s right, a backcourt of 2 guards under 6′ tall. KMart on Kobe. And a 6-6″ center.

    How did they do it? Speed, shooting the three, running the Lakers off the floor. Forcing Artest off the floor. Forcing the Lakers to match up small with Blake and Fisher.

    How did they do it? With a great coach. Smart enough and courageous enough to DICTATE the matchups to Phil Jackson.

    Keith Smart and Joe Lacob could benefit from watching and re-watching this game. This is how coaching and style of play beats superior talent in the NBA.

  58. Link-Master Steve, keep ‘em coming. Way to go Fitz!

    MW, fair enough. I guess some folks are irritated by him, while others are not. I think if you asked Jim Barnett, he would want to keep BF around. Fitz has bailed out JB on numerous occasions.

    BTW, I also love the Fitz and Brooks show. Why? They can be very funny. Like I said before, I want to be entertained.

  59. Yes Steve, really appreciate the links.

  60. Felt, what Artest brings to the court would work wonders for the Warriors, but it’s everything else that would be a bad mix. If Artest, at this stage of his career, can’t be happy on a team as good as the Lakers, where can he be content?

    It’s like the Randy Moss situation last season with the Patriots. Did Moss really think his football life would improve leaving Belichick and Brady? And what happened after he left? New England kept winning and Moss kept changing addresses AND lost more games than he won. Can you think of any two sports personalities/athletes more alike than Moss and Artest?

    Whatever, this all seems a moot point. Given Artest’s age, contract and personal history he’s highly unlikely to be traded anywhere. And even if he were traded, the chances on him being traded to the Warriors? How about slim and none.

  61. OT: Ever heard of Billy Walters? If you missed his interview on 60 Minutes this is a must see.

  62. Steve: Yes, I saw the Billy Walters piece on TV and was intrigued by it. I’m not much of a gambler, but I’ve spent so much of my life playing and following sports that it is the one area I could see myself gambling on for a living. That guy is living a lot of die hard sports fans’ dream.

    Also, I had to laugh reading that piece on the Warriors’ new sports trainer. Get Curry shoes that fit him better to support his ankle, and let Curry’s ankle rest more between games instead of working it harder. These seem so obvious you really wonder what Tom Abdenour was doing out there.

  63. One my friends, Michael Konik, actually worked for Billy Walters as a bet runner, and wrote a darn good book about it called The Smart Money.

    I just checked it out on Amazon, and that #1 ranked review of the book you”ll find there?

    Written by yours truly, back in 2007!

  64. Quote of the game, from Garry St. Jean, 1:43 to go, as Curry made a great pass to Ellis for the layup:

    “Keith Smart is yelling slow down and they pass ahead.”

    The layup put them up 6, I believe, and I bet they don’t win without that bucket.

  65. I heard it, too, and was just shaking my head. Interesting that on the play, Curry slowed for a half-second, then saw Monta and made the pass in spite of Smart. Does Smart remember anything he learned from Don Nelson?

  66. Umm, what?