Monta FTW: Warriors 106 Suns 104

Great, gutsy short handed win in Phoenix tonight.  One thing that’s never mentioned is that it is really difficult to win on the road on the last game before the all-star break.  This Warriors team, no matter how they are struggling, always plays hard.  Always has played hard, even when they were down to 6 man rosters in Nellie’s last couple of years.  That’s a credit to Monta Ellis, first of all, and Curry and Lee now as well.

Quite a few recent themes of mine surfaced in the play of this game.  Let’s run through them, starting with Monta’s game-winner:   

Closing Time:  The Warriors have not one, but two legitimate NBA closers — assuming Curry’s feet don’t fall off.  And Mark Jackson’s final play call is exactly what you do with a closer, and the final shot of a game: A top of the key iso.  None of that nonsense that we’ve seen Jackson and Keith Smart before him run so often:  high pick and rolls that can be trapped, or giving Lee the ball 20 feet from the hoop as in the Memphis game.

Both Monta and Curry can get their own shot. Let them close.

Biedrins as the starter:  Udoh’s injury gives us a timely reminder of why it is best that Biedrins remain the Warriors’ starting center, unless he becomes completely crippled.  The NBA is a physical league, particularly on the box, and Biedrins is far more suited to absorbing the punishment of playing against starting centers than Udoh.  Preserving the bodies of Lee and Udoh, not just for the fourth quarters of key games, but for the long season ahead, is crucial.

And as limited as Beans is now, he is still a pretty great defender for short stretches, as Mark Jackson has noted. The work he did against the Nash/Gortat pick and roll in this game was exceptional. When Beans was at his best, he may have been the best pick and roll defender in the league. He’s still better than most.

Dorell Wright v. Klay Thompson:  I think that this game illustrates that when Dorell Wright puts it all together, he plays at a level that Klay Thompson currently can’t touch.  Dorell is a true small forward:  he plays against the big guys, grabs rebounds and is a shot-blocking presence.  He even took punishing minutes at the four against the 7 foot Channing Frye in this game, something I think we all can agree that Klay Thompson isn’t capable of.

Wright is also a pretty darn good offensive player.  He made sure he got it going in this game, taking the ball to the rim aggressively.  That seemed to jump start his outside shot.  And he’s a terrific ball-handler, adept at driving and dishing, as he did on Monta’s first three pointer.  And he can play point-forward, as he did at 7:30 3rd Q, hitting Monta perfectly on the curl in the lane.

That last play, though, where he drove the lane, and had his dish to David Lee picked off….  Hated that play, and by my count that’s the third time this season that Wright has choked a big play at the end of the game.  Even though Frye was guarding him and Gortat coming to help, I think Wright has to find a way to get that ball onto the rim, or get fouled.  Lee is perfectly positioned to get the offensive rebound.

For whatever reason, Mark Jackson quite clearly doesn’t believe he can play Klay Thompson at small forward.  I’m not sure why.  I’m positive that’s where Nellie would play him — he’d throw him into the fire and demand he rebounded.

Because Klay simply cannot guard two guards.  He got lit up by Shannon Brown in this game, which is why Jackson snatched him off the court. That and the fact that he missed a rotation, allowing Lopez an uncontested dunk, and failed to get back on defense after a made basket.

Some people seem to think I have it in for Klay Thompson.  I don’t, I just have a firm Don Nelson-bred belief that wing players must be good defenders.  And my own two eyes tell me that Klay Thompson is not a good defender, no matter what kind of propaganda noises are emanating from Jerry West and the Warriors staff.  If you think my eyes are defective, check out this assessment from Grantland’s NBA writer Sebastian Pruiti.  I would add to Pruiti’s analysis that Thompson’s first step is back simply because he’s not as quick as the players he’s guarding.

The Dominator: Dom was great in the Matt Barnes role in this game. Would he have even gotten into the game if we were still in the Kwame Brown Era?

You need to play small to beat this Phoenix team, unless you have a skilled big man who can punish them down low.  You need to play small because they will spread you out all over the floor, and beat you to every rebound otherwise.

The fantastic athlete and competitor that is Dom McGuire put an end to that.  If only he could shoot like Matt Barnes.

Curry’s Foot:  I’m not panicking, yet.  He’s just got a sprained foot.  And he’s not the only player struggling with these foot injuries this season.  Ty Lawson sprained his foot as well, shortly after he sprained his ankle earlier in the season. And now Lawson is out again with another sprain.  Once your wheels get dinged up this season, the compressed schedule makes them hard to get right.  Seems in fact to lead to other injuries.

I think Curry will be ready to go after skipping all-star weekend.

117 Responses to Monta FTW: Warriors 106 Suns 104

  1. Thanks Feltbot!
    Wow! A Warriors win on the road? In Phoenix? Amazing!

    Unfortunately it HAS come to this… Such a pleasant “surprise” for the Warrior’s to win AT ALL on the road, no matter how BAD is their opponent.

    And the Phoenix Coach – ripping the Suns and dropping F-bombs – to lose to the Warriors at home? Disgrace!

  2. What I liked most about the Warriors this game – was that early in the game the team worked hard on attacking the rim and driving the lane for high percentage shots MORE and LESS on settling for lower percentage open jumpers. How often do the Warriors actually shoot MORE charity shots than our opponents? And on the ROAD? I noticed – Curry, Dorell, David Lee – in particular. Perhaps driving the lane – actually got Dorell’s confidence going early. Nothing like early, high percentage baskets to get your mojo started!

    RE: Dorell’s late game “bailout pass” to David Lee…

    My criticism of Dorell’s game is that he does not often enough drive aggressively to the lane and finish that shot with a high percentage hook or dunk… On the late game play – Dorell had his man BEAT off the dribble in driving to the hoop. Dorell looks around for shot blockers and/or teammates. No confidence. No finish. Think an Igoudala or a Grant Hill doesn’t finish that play in the paint?

    Forget the “pump fake” at the three point line (Dorell) when the defense closes on your perimeter shot. Just put the ball on the floor – drive aggressively to the hoop in beating your man – and draw a foul, get your shot blocked (it’s okay – it’s a “numbers” game!), and/or preferably finish with a high percentage layup and/or dunk. It’s frustrating for W’s fans to watch. Nice outside shot, though!

    Really want to know why people still think David Lee is “soft”? Try comparing David Lee’s FOUR rebounds in 37 minutes to Marcin Gortat’s 15 and Channing Frye’s 9. The W’s almost lost the game on rebounds alone until McGuire entered the game. I did appreciate David Lee – earning a technical foul for complaining (and Curry in the prior game) – our team doesn’t do enough of it me thinks with our huge free throw disparity game after game… Working the refs a little is part of the game.

    • PeteyBrian,

      What have you done for me lately?

      Let’s not lose perspective, the Warriors did win the game, and both Dorrel and David had good games, as well as both are two of the most consistent players on the team. The Warriors likely lose w/o them on the court.

      Have you seen Lee’s stats the last month? If anything the Warriors stopped passing as well in the 2nd half as they did in the 1st (likley because of the injuries). Monta hit a wonderful shot at the end, but that seems like that is the first time in a long while his ‘close out’ shot went in. At least he is starting his play sooner than 3 seconds (now at 6 seconds). But credit where credit is due, they got a road win in Phoenix (last time 2005).

      • True Reg!
        A win is a win – especially on the road.

        My criticism of Dorell is out of appreciation for his game. Dorell should have MORE games like the first quarter of the Suns game. “Most improved” Dorell Wright can be so much better – in taking his game to yet another level as he’s got the talent, athleticism, and skills – just not the focus – to be the wing player the Warriors need, instead of the player the Warriors need to replace.

        Don Nelson – encouraged his players – to take the ball to the rim when a perimeter shot or two was not falling. While with the Heat, Dorell’s 2 point percentages were much higher than with the W’s. Perhaps there’s lots of reasons. But watching Heat/Warrior games in the past, I was always amazed at his size, length, athleticism, and aggressiveness to the rim – now it was against the W’s putrid defense, but Pat Riley coached Dorell Wright would continually attack the rim. Why can’t the Warriors get a player like Miami’s Wright, I’d ask myself? He’s morphed into a more of a perimeter shooter.

  3. “Golden State Warriors scorer Monta Ellis is one of this year’s snubs, just as he was last year. And while it’s not terribly shocking that he didn’t make the West team — he scores a lot, but at a relatively low shooting percentage — especially with fellow snubbed guards like Ty Lawson and Kyle Lowry standing as more logical choices. Neverthless, he’s exciting and makes plays all the time that convince certain people that he might belong in the Mid-Winter Classic some time in the future.”

    Nice backhanded compliment for Monta.

  4. PB@2 David Lee’s problems rebounding against Phoenix have nothing to do with being “soft” and everything to do with where he is forced to defend Channing Frye: out at the three point line.

    • with udoh below full capacity the match up options were limited, but it seemed that mcguire could have been matched vs. frye much more of the game.

      • Great point Feltbot – I forgot Lee did guard Frye a lot, but not the entire game. Four rebounds is what it is – and a win is a win – labels will be shed in wins. Thankfully, McGuire rebounds well and the Suns miss their 3s, or the W’s lose.

  5. felt just curious how come recently you pounded on your chest saying you don’t listen to anyone (i.e. West’s complimenting Klay’s D) you go ENTIRELY by “your eyes” in analyzing a players skills…but then you cherry pick a reference we are supposed to swallow I guess because it supports your eyes…Is that called having it both ways??

    “If you think my eyes are defective, check out this assessment from Grantland’s NBA writer Sebastian Pruiti…” Nice you don’t believe anyone else unless they agree with you…cool – gotit!

    • Because Pruiti’s analysis made an attempt at rigor? Because it was accompanied with video? Because it helps my readers see with their own eyes?

      I adduced Pruiti’s analysis, not his authority.

      • So when you said this on the 13th, you didn’t really mean it?

        “The thing about what you have read and will continue to read in this blog is that my opinions are generated from what I see with my own eyes, not from the opinions of others. I have never let anyone’s opinion sway me, let alone Jerry West”

        …anyone’s opinion doesn’t include Pruti?…again…gotit.

        • Side note…It’s interesting West was 32 years old when the NBA first started the All Defensive teams…and he still made it 4 times!

          BTW how many All NBA Defensive teams did Pruiti make?

          • Thompson is not an elite defender. these days, those are more rare than good shooter, scorers, two second highlight youtube creators. most of the very good defenders take some seasoning and experience, simply because the n.b.a. has so much on the offense side they’ve only seen on tape. they need to face off against players to gain a ‘book’ on their quirks and patterns. the rookie coach doesn’t trust rookie players ; he’s talked up Thompson to maintain the trust of his owner and the Logo, but he’s not really going to let the rookie play through mistakes or miss five or six shots before finding his stroke.

  6. Jackson might not be playing Thompson as SF because SF’s shoot 56%, against him and SG’s only 39%. See 82 games.

    Still think that Udoh, when healthy, should start. The Warriors have been outscored to many games with Biedrins starting the first and third quarters. Biedrins would probably have better success against opponent’s subs coming off the bench.

    • Very interesting site Frank. Some stats confirm what my thoughts and bias’ are – some don’t. I wish basketball were as simple as these stats – like swapping Udoh for Biedrins at C/PF and Rush for D. Wright – and wham! All the W’s problems are solved! Haha!

  7. Chris Bosh “far superior” to Blake Griffin.

  8. The B.S. Report……Bill Simmons talks to DNowitzki and Ric Bucher. Most entertaining was his back-and-forth with Bucher (starts 20 min in) on the league at the AS break.

  9. The Three Stooges minus 2 (Steinmetz) gives out midseason player grades. Don’t like the “Kwame Brown Era”? Well take THIS (KB higher grade than Monta)!!—-player-grades?blockID=656904&feedID=2799

  10. Bruce Jenkins: Warriors might as well shoot for playoffs.

  11. OT: All Star break entertainment……..

  12. Huge reason for Jeremy Lin’s recent success = Bay Area trainers…..and Lin’s willingness to work his butt off. Good read!

  13. Courtesy of one of Steve’s links…

    “Wright has emerged as key component of the Mavs’ humongous front-line combinations.”

    ~Let’s hear it for the ‘Ragdoll’~

    • It looks like BWright has finally gotten past his early-career injuries, averaging 18+ minutes for Dallas this month, and that’s nice to see. Still, no one can blame the Ws for giving up on him when they did. During his years here he barely played, due to injury after injury.

      Nowadays Wright is still a twig, at 6’10” and 210. Charles Jenkins weighs more, and so do 95+% of the bigs in the league. It’s still questionable whether Wright can survive a whole NBA season even as a bench player.

      Wish him all the best, but yeah, Wright is still a rag doll.

      • Brandan Wright’s main injury issues with the Warriors involved his shoulder, which was partially dislocated in a game vs LAL. Instead of surgery GSW’s “medical team” advised rest, which eventually led to the shoulder dislocating again in training camp the following season. The surgery that was finally performed to correct the problem ended that season before it even began.

        In this recent highlight he actually looks like he’s put on some weight since his GSW days, but that would only figure given continued workouts along with getting older. The kid is still only 24. I don’t believe his build (weight) will hold him back, but will his talent level suffice? I always thought he could play given the time to grow and develop, so my answer would be yes.

        Between his shoulder, age and dysfunctional state of the Warriors when he was here, his “career” with Golden State played out pretty much as to be expected. Wright’s realistic chance to impress is still pending.

    • Yahoo has him growing an inch and weighing 245! Can’t be right, right?

  14. Don Nelson Named 2012 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Finalist Bernard King, Ralph Sampson And Jamaal Wilkes Also Honored Among 12 Finalists To Be Placed On Official 2012 Ballot For Election

  15. Felt I’m trying to help you not embarrass yourself on this Thompson evaluate the way you did on the Lin evaluate, but you just won’t listen…

    Good luck wid’ dat

  16. @22 I’m not at all embarrassed by either evaluation, and I stick by my evaluation of Lin today. I was the first Warriors writer to note that Lin had terrible mechanics on his shot, had virtually no mid-range game, had a terrible handle, and couldn’t go left. All of those things remain true today — although he worked very hard in the offseason to improve them, with some results.

    I was also the first Warriors writer to note that Lin was a great athlete and a good defender. Also true.

    What I missed about Lin was that he could be good in Mike D’Antoni’s system, pushing the tempo and running pick and roll. Why did I miss that? Because I never got to see it. Lin played for Keith Smart, not Mike D’Antoni when I made my evaluation.

    As mentioned before, I make my evaluations with my own two eyes. And I can only see players when they are in games (except for the time I watched Lin brick floaters for half an hour in an empty gym), and I can only evaluate them in the systems that are being run.

    I didn’t miss on Lin. Keith Smart and Mark Jackson — who had him in practice — missed on Lin. Or did they? He was and would continue to be utter crap in their systems, walking the ball up the court, making simple entry passes and waiting for a return swing pass to find him at the three point line, like poor Stephen Curry.

    And one other thing, something all the currently hand-wringing Warriors fans have not mentioned about Linsanity. I find it extremely amusing that the Knicks success with Lin has come with him averaging 6+ TO’s a game. If he were playing for either Keith Smart or Mark Jackson instead of D’Antoni, he would be spending fourth quarters parked on the bench instead of hitting game-winners, and would be hearing his name being spoken in mournful tones in post-game press conferences — as has happened so many times in the last 2 years with Stephen Curry, a far superior player — instead of being the toast of the Big Apple. And all these hand-wringing Warriors fans would be killing him for those turnovers — and the inevitable losses produced by Smart and Jackson’s systems — just like they’ve been killing Curry.

    Evaluate that.

    • Why isn’t there more discussion of D’Antoni and his system during that 10 game stretch? Lin is not a superstar who can score at will, regardless. His performance has to be (or should be) put in context. Plug Lin into many other systems, including ours, and what are the results?

      How would Thompson have performed during those games, maybe in place of Novak?

      But here’s the experiment I wish could be run: Could they still have won those games if Melo had played? Melo was 9-20 against Miami, and Lin only had 3 assists.

    • “If he were playing for either Keith Smart or Mark Jackson instead of D’Antoni…he would be parked on the bench”

      Or even if D’Antoni had had ANY other choice for PG. D’Antoni wouldn’t have had a long and successful coaching career if he weren’t very good at evaluating talent, and he has gone on record as saying that Lin was his last option at PG.

      Credit Lin for getting results. D’Antoni does, and so do Lin’s teammates. Seeing anyone become successful the hard way, through intense focus and damn hard work, is really inspirational. He’s like Matt Barnes that way:

      However, there is such a thing as talent, it makes a huge difference in performance, and no amount of work will raise someone’s talent level, it only lets them better capitalize on what they have. Barnes will always be a better or worse Barnes, never a Barkley. In the opinion of some of the best minds in the business, including Nellie AND D’Antoni, Curry’s talent is off the scale. Lin’s is not. While ya gotta love what Lin has accomplished and, even better, how he did it, he’s no Stephen Curry. Not even close.

      It is fair to bring team results into a comparison between individual players. It’s true that some players help teams win and some don’t, regardless of their personal stats. So it helps to look at the question from both sides, to imagine swapping teams both ways. Feltbot brought up the what-if of Lin on the Warriors (with a coach on training wheels and a total of 4 starting players). Looking at it the other way around, imagine what Curry could do with Melo, Stoudamire, Chandler and a real coach. Yikes.

      Let it go, OT. Feltie’s not the only one who’s noticed weaknesses in Lin’s game. Just a couple of days ago the Heat demonstrated that they did too. If Baron Davis returns to form (big if), Lin is unlikely to even be a starter by season’s end.

  17. Great article in NYT’s today on Jeremy Lin and how he became a good shooter and became stronger. Can’t understand why the Warriors were not following what he was doing, and why the Warrior’s received reports from theD-League last year that said that Lin was shooting 47% from the field, and 37% on three-pointers, and did not know that something good was taking place, and maybe take a closer look before cutting him. Oh, that’s right, we needed his money to sign a free agent center.

  18. Steinmetz: Jackson and his promises, promises.


    I personally (and probably most fans other than the whiney group of thumb-suckers who regularly post on AL and TK’s blogs) took Jackson’s words as an inner illustration of his confidence in being a part of an organization that was about to embark on a new era, as opposed to a playoffs-or-bust mentality.

    IMO, Mark Jackson was showing his enthusiasm for his new job, and for what he believed would sooner than later take place in the minds of those suiting up for GSW in the future, that being a belief that good things and good times (winning, playoffs, championships) were here, and here to stay. A winning mentality, something that’s been missing from the Bay Area’s NBA landscape for many-a-moon. There’s a starting point for everything, and if you don’t believe you’re a good team (capable of winning each time you take the court) than you won’t be. Jackson’s “speech” was simply that, a starting point, not some one season guarantee that exemplified organizational failure if certain events didn’t come to fruition.

    I like where the Warriors are headed…….long term. I’m optimistic that the necessary pieces are in place off the court to bring about what needs to happen on the court, in due time.

    My money says one year from now the Warriors will be a much different team (define “different team” as maybe faces, maybe record, maybe both) that will be bringing lots more smiles than frowns from fans of GSW. And if indeed true, would make MJ’s preseason proclamation simply a harbinger for what lies ahead.

    • My money says one year from now the Warriors will be a much different team…

      Agreed. However, I still have not given up on this year. We Believe Part 2?


  19. Just guessing, but I wonder if B Wright was damaged by the high expectations placed on him. He was expected to be a difference maker right off the bat and was playing a position he was too light physically to handle. He didn’t get a chance to develop to his potential–probably a versatile forward off the bench.

    I felt the same about Dunleavy. He was vastly overrated and expected to make a difference as well, when instead he might have become a very competent sixth man.

    On the other hand, some players never get a chance to show what they can do. Baron Davis, asked about Lin, made the general comment that many players don’t have the opportunity. And if Davis had been healthy, Lin wouldn’t have had a shot.

    I’m curious to see what happens with the Knicks, especially how Melo works out. I can’t see this team beating the top tier teams or going far into the playoffs. It’s not hard seeing management tearing the team apart, Lin, included, to try to become one of those teams–and probably creating a weaker team.

    • I like the state of the NY Knicks. I don’t worry so much about Carmelo Anthony fitting in as I do about J.R. Smith – he’s a bigger ball stopper than Melo/Amare combined. There should be a touch/shot ratio – J.R. would lead the league. They’re talented, deep, and with Baron on the way – soon to be fully healthy. Let’s see how really good a coach Mike D’Antoni really is…

  20. Adrian Wojnarowski: Golden State plans to send rookie Jeremy Tyler down to Dakota of D-League after All-Star break, league sources tell Y! Sports.

  21. Are the Warriors any different from last year? I looked it up:

    Note that all the stats are rankings, relative to other teams. This should help account for the fact that this season is different for everyone – across the league scoring is down, injuries are up, shooting % is down and so on.

    The W-L % is almost identical for this point of the season. The dubs moved from 7th to 5th in total offense, and 27th to 26th in total defense – almost no change in either ranking overall. But how they got there is different.

    The offensive efficiency is improved. They’re taking fewer shots than last year (again, relative to other teams) but turnovers are way down (24th to 12th) and total field goal percentage is much better, relative, from 14th to 6th. The improved efficiency is probably NOT due to a higher percentage of assisted shots. Team assists moved from 7th to 5th this year, but assists are down league-wide. The team’s traditional FT disparity is improving somewhat (30th to 24th). This all looks good but it’s offset by a big drop in both FG attempts (1st to 8th) and in rebounding. This year’s offense is much slower than Smart’s. That’s odd because his was slower than Nelson’s the year before.

    Warriors rebounding stinks. We moved from 10th in offensive rebounds to 20th. Part of the drop is simply from taking, and missing, fewer shots (fewer FG attempts with improved FG %). But it’s a cold hard fact that Udoh gets terrible RB numbers for a “center.” He’s playing more, Biedrins is playing less, and with VladRad gone we don’t have any other regular big.

    Defensive rebounding moved from 27th to 26th but overall the Warriors rebounding dropped from 19th to 28th. This year the dubs get only 25% of the available RBs on offense, and 31% on D. Last year the figures were 28% and 32%. In other words, our rebounding percentages to date are almost identically terrible to last year, but our ranking dropped by a ton. Many “someones” improved. A lot. That suggests that the teams with the biggest rebounding improvements this year are the teams we haven’t faced yet. Oh my. I hope that’s not true.

    The defense looks a little different but the net results aren’t. Last year the team was 2nd in steals, this year they’re 6th. That suggests that players are gambling less on D, “staying home” more, and it does look like that to my eyeballs. One nice thing from having Udoh on the floor: blocks are way up, from 12th to 7th.

    In summary, we can’t say the team is better but it is clear where to focus to improve – more boards, especially defensive. It’s Dom time, people. That is, IF the team sticks with Plan L (Lacob), in which we play a conventional game. But of course there is a Plan N (Nellie), where we don’t bet the remainder of the season on improving D and RBs but instead focus on pushing our O back to its former heights.

    In choosing between the two, I think the only relevant question for Mark Jackson is: which plan is more feasible with our current roster? Hint: this roster has ALWAYS SUCKED on D. It has ALWAYS SUCKED in rebounding. It SUCKS EVEN WORSE NOW in both, relative to the league as a whole. But a faster, higher-scoring offense? Hey man, we’ve been there. With this roster.

    The choice isn’t “win now or win later.” It’s “win now or lose now.” Later for later.

    This year Last Season
    5th   1st in Field-goals made
    8th   1st in Field-goals attempts
    2nd   2nd in 3-point percentage
    6th   2nd in Steals
    3rd   5th in 3-point made
    6th   6th in 3-point attempts
    2nd   7th in Fouls
    5th   7th in Offense
    3rd   7th in Assists
    6th   10th in Efficiency recap
    20th   10th in Offensive Rebounds
    7th   12nd in Blocks
    6th   14th in Field-goals percentage
    14th   17th in Free-throws percentage
    28th   19th in Rebounds
    12th   24th in Turnovers
    27th   26th in Defensive Rebounds
    26th   27th in Defense
    24th   30th in Free-throws attempts
    23rd   30th in Free-throws made

    • white hat, don’t get me wrong, you absolutely aced your AS break homework assignment on the Warriors. Pretty impressive. BUT……after reading and trying to comprehend the meaning of ALL THOSE STATS the only thing I know for sure is you’ve just given me Excedrin headache #25. :)

    • The choice isn’t “win now or win later.” It’s “win now or lose now.”

      I couldn’t agree more with this. I despise tanking as a way to build teams. Don Nelson built four playoff franchises from scratch with incremental improvement, always playing to win. And each time found a way to launch his already-good teams into championship contention, even if it didn’t stick (Webber).

    • Fascinating stuff, White Hat. There are variables between years, such as injuries and bench strength, but left unsaid is the impact of the new coaching staff in the won-loss column. It appears to be next to nil. So much for all the hot air. Oh, wait. We’re close. Very close.

      • MWLX, easy with that sarcasm now. :)

        At the risk of continuing to be a Lacob and Co apologist I do believe a few facts need to be revisited in regards to new management.

        First, they took over control of the team literally within days of the start of the 2010-11 season. This really limited their ability to “fingerprint” that particular season. It was pretty much sit back, watch and evaluate everyone and everything related to the Golden State Warriors.

        Secondly, and maybe even more important, the lockout couldn’t have come at a worse time for any franchise, given both the new owners, new coaching staff, and new front office hires. No opportunity whatsoever to contact free agents, work with your current players or evaluate strengths and weaknesses via workouts. In other words, the best should be yet to come, assuming all is now finally competent in Warriorsland.

        As I posted on MT’s blog the Warriors were indeed very close to being that playoff team MJ talked about. If TChandler hadn’t chosen Melo, AS and the bright lights of Broadway over GSW, the Warriors would be top 8 in the West right now, in all likelihood. Yes, I know about “if ifs and buts were candy and nuts….”, but still it does make the argument of the Warriors playoff potential more relevant than not if you’re indeed talking about a one player differential determining your postseason participation.

        Again I’ll say, if the Warriors aren’t a much better team by next year’s All Star break I’ll be both surprised and disappointed…..and joining in with your Lacob-laced sarcasm. :)

        • It’s not sarcasm, Steve, it’s hot air when the coach still asserts the Warriors will make the playoffs.

          Steinmetz yesterday: “Golden State is 13-17, but coach Mark Jackson continues to maintain the Warriors are a playoff team.”

          And all his hot air about defense: So far, the Warriors are giving up 5 points less per game than last season — but scoring is down 4-5 points per game across the NBA.

          But we’re close! Very close!

          Oops! Couldn’t help it.

          I call it hot air, along with all the stuff about defense.

  22. If there’s any credence to this rumor and I’m Orlando I make this trade in a heartbeat.,0,6901738.story?track=rss

    • Bynum’s knees are terrible and already paining him this season. I would not want to try to build a franchise around him.

  23. Rusty Simmons: Should the Warriors make Stephen Curry sit?

  24. Curry has a strained tibialis posterior tendon. For a normal human being, rest and “activity modification” are the first doctor recommendations. Not sure what it means for a pro athlete, but it’s nontrivial.

  25. “Chances of Ellis being traded: 60%”…….Lots of good reading from Sam Smith.

  26. I’d be surprised if Curry plays against Indy, especially with all these games clumped together on this road trip.

    Rusty Simmons:

  27. From Twitterdee and Twitterdum:

    Chris Tomasson: Mickell Gladness said has been given 10-day contract offer by Golden State but seeks to sign 2nd one w/Miami Expects to learn Heat fate Tues.

  28. From Peter Vecsey in today’s NY Post:

    “A strong case could be made the Warriors have the league’s worst starting center and small forward. At the very least, Andris Biedrins and Dorell Wright are in the heart of the discussion. Thankfully, Mark Jackson has Ekpe Udoh and Brandon Rush in reserve. Let us pray you know that’s a joke.

    Obviously, Golden State is in the hunt for a big man on infertile plains. Chris Kaman ($12.7 million) might be it. Yes, he can score and rebound in double figures when he’s fit and fully functioning. But it doesn’t make sense to relinquish an asset to rescue a player no other team wants and nobody likes to play with.

    At least nobody wanted Kaman until Mike Dunleavy’s group became the favorite to buy the Hornets. If you recall, the former Clippers coach/president was the one who drafted the 7-footer and re-signed him for major money. In that case, the Warriors might luck out.

    There are renewed rumblings about the Warriors possibly getting Brook Lopez from the Nets in a multi-team deal involving Howard. That would cost them big time, though; Monta Ellis would be part of the Magic’s compensation.”

    • The slowest center in the league on the Warriors? Perfect.

    • Vecsey never played HOOPS in his life. He should go back to stick ball.

      DWright had a poor game last night, but he is not the worse 3 in the league.

      Biedrins is another story…

  29. @33 MWLX,

    I think the stats suggest that Mark Jackson’s impact is negative so far, not neutral. Other factors say the same thing too.

    Smart didn’t have much to work with last year. This season we have a bigger and more helpful bench, and a fully healthy Udoh and Lee. In addition, Jackson has a far better support system than Smart did – better trainers, a super assistant coach, a hugely expanded front office (even including the Logo!), and complete backing from management.

    From the owners’ ROI viewpoint, the $$ investment in the team rose substantially this year, but the record is almost identical, O and D remain at about the same ranking and rebounding is worse. Jackson so far has accomplished less than Smart, using far more resources.

    Then there’s preparation. Smart became head coach overnight, Jackson had 7 months to get ready for his debut. Yeah, I know, Smart was Nellie’s assistant, didn’t have to familiarize himself with the players, there was the lockout, etc. But Smart didn’t play Nellieball any more than Jackson does, he put in his own systems. And we are talking 7 hours notice vs. 7 months. Smart wasn’t Nellie, but his teams were always better prepared than Jackson’s. For example, Smart beat Orlando last year. This year Jackson told his team to grab their ankles. To my experience (and I am very old) no coach has ever done worse to his own team. Absolutely shameful. Jackson has gotten better lately, but he’s still no… Keith Smart.

    Another knock on Jackson (I admit to a strong personal bias on this point): Smart got along better with people. Like Nelson, he’s a no-bull guy who treats his players like adults. He comes across as open and honest. At season end, even Stephen Curry said he wanted Smart to stay on. That personal style is paying off for Smart again in Sacramento – they are playing better. Jackson, on the other hand, is doggedly dishonest with the press, speaks condescendingly to/about his players, and explains nothing (“I’m a flow guy”). His act is already starting to wear thin among the media, and I don’t think it will work out well long term with players either. Ask any good people manager, in any business.

    If all of that leaves any doubt about Jackson’s quality as coach, put him in last year’s Keith Smart hot seat. Take away Udoh and Lee’s health for half the games. Replace his bench with Smart’s. Run Monta and DWright for 40 minutes a game. Give him zero front office support. Make all those subtractions and what’s Jackson’s record right now? Scary thought.

    It is likely that Jackson will get better over time. But give even the widely-criticized Keith Smart this year’s team and the Warriors have a better record. Maybe even 10 games better, like he delivered the year before. With the last half of the season weighted heavily toward road games, against a higher percentage of winning teams than they faced in the first half, Jackson is going to end up with a worse record than Smart.

    As a fan I want to be optimistic. I’d like to hear anything that suggests Jackson isn’t that bad. I just don’t see it.

    • “Hot air:” exaggerated talk having no substance.

      I’ve lately begun using this term to describe Mark Jackson’s windy declarations. I was not a fan of his hiring, and he hasn’t converted me yet. So far, he seems to be on the same blustery path as Mike Singletary and Hue Jackson.

      Having said that, I’m probably less critical than you seem in your comments, White Hat. He’s only 30 games into a short season, and I’m inclined to cut him some slack for the sake of fairness.

      However, your astute analysis makes it difficult for anyone to argue that MJackson grades out any higher than a mid-term C (not that anyone on this board is pushing for more). Jackson will need to coach up a storm for the Warriors to make the playoffs, especially given the challenging schedule that remains.

      Rex Ryan, another expert at hot air, recently said his grand pronouncements put too much pressure on his Jets team to get to the Super Bowl. Maybe MJackson could learn a thing or two from Ryan, and just tone it down. Way down.

      • mwlx, the hot air quotient and comparison to Singletary seem valid to me too, but I don’t know the guy and tried to base my critique on things we do kinda know. Numbers and facts. His well-documented relationship with the media. The all-too-public gametime screwups. And his postgame putdowns of his players.

        If all Jackson has to offer is “try harder,” he’s not making a contribution. NBA players are elite professional athletes, not the junior varsity.

  30. Outside of the obvious improvement of their bench it’s difficult to claim the Warriors are better coached and even better overall than last year’s team, especially when most of the numbers/stats heavily favor most of the comments I’ve been reading. However, I enjoy being the contrarian whenever possible so……….

    First off, I’m not a stats or numbers person, outside of a team’s won-loss record. “Scoreboard” is the only thing that matters in my book, and in that regard the Warriors “scoreboard” suggests the Warriors are “losers”, as pretty much always. But again, I say to heck with the numbers so instead I’m looking elsewhere to try and gauge this season’s version of GSW BB.

    Health: Curry’s continuing ankle/foot problems has hurt this team greatly. The Warriors strength has seemingly forever been their backcourt, from the days of Timmy Hardaway to the more recent teams led by Baron Davis, Monta and Steph. Yes, Lee was hurt last year but not this season, so maybe a wash when comparing the two years? Not for me. On a team so dependent on their backcourt the Curry issues have been far more detrimental to this year’s team.

    Defense: If Chandler, Jordan or KBrown are in the middle defending and adding much needed rebounding the Warriors would currently have a winning record, IMO. My eyeball test says this year’s team is better defensively than last year but after defending the initial 24 sec of the other team’s offense the lack of rebounding has resulted in second and third chance points, ultimately killing the Warriors in all these close games. An extra rebound here and there in key situations would have most likely resulted in more wins and fewer gut-punching losses in the first 30 games. GSW had this problem of second chance points last year as well, but players seem to be playing harder on “D” this year, although obviously a purely subjective statement. Chandler, Jordan, or yes, even Kwame Brown, would have made MJ and his coaches look much better to this point.

    Close games: Sometimes luck means more than any stat sheet you could ever dig up, and in close games decided in the last two minutes, GSW hasn’t exactly been on any magic carpet ride.

    Monta’s dribble gets kicked only the refs don’t call it and a 3-point play the other way seals the deal for the opposition. Lee gets pushed into a defender on a last second drive to the hoop resulting in a charging call with 2.5 still on the clock, and for good measure the clock keeps running and doesn’t stop until 0.5 remains, game over. Monta’s hang-in-the-air floating jumper to win the game misses only to be tipped in by Lee……a half-second after the game-ending buzzer. For the sake of my sanity I’ll stop there, but the point is obvious. The Warriors, with just a smidgen of good luck, could have a better record after 30 games.

    Most don’t want to talk about the luck factor in analyzing teams because it’s not something you can put your finger on, or grasp with any black-and-white numbers. It’s in essence viewed as an excuse-maker. But without that intangible known as good luck you’re toast, plain and simple. The NY Giants won 2 Super Bowls over the last 5 seasons despite losing a combined 13 games in their 2 SB winning years. When you consider that’s close to half of their regular season games played you can see how good luck played a HUGE part in their success. The Warriors could use a dose of that in the future.

    Toughness: Define it as you wish but it’s something that Mark Jackson demands and it’s something that needs instilling with this franchise. How do you beat the Bulls and Heat but lose to the Bobcats? How do you take OKC to the wire twice yet lose to the Nets? Along with talent, this team needs more toughness and I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen lately. After their extremely disappointing loss to OKC in the waning seconds they traveled to Denver and won. They went to Phoenix, where they never win, and gutted it out at the end. These are wins this team doesn’t pull off earlier in the season, a hopeful sign that MJ’s approach is starting to pay dividends.

    Head coach: I’m sure Keith Smart is a great guy. I’m also very happy he’s no longer coaching the Warriors. I actually was pulling for Brian Shaw to get the new gig but MJ is here, and will be for awhile, at least. As I’ve stated before this team is being coached by committee, with Jackson as the figurehead. It’s going to take a few seasons to fairly evaluate Jackson as head coaching material so I’ll pass on any outright opinion other than to say I think he’ll do OK in the long run. Will “OK” be good enough?

    The schedule screams more losses than wins the rest of the way, and tonight’s drubbing certainly won’t change many minds in that regard. The trade deadline is coming and my guess is that the Warriors will do something, but if this trip goes poorly the more impactful moves probably won’t come until the offseason.

    My outlook is positive. I like owners such as Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban who exude confidence to the point they’re perceived as being cocky and brash. Whatever, I like owners who eat, drink and sleep their teams and have a relentless passion for winning. Joe Lacob is similar in many ways. Whether or not his team will emulate the long term success of the Cowboys or Mavs (a combined 4 championships under Jones and Cuban) remains to be seen but I like what I’m seeing overall so far.

    When I look at all the elements already covered I see better times ahead, and personally I’m more optimistic about the Warriors future than I was at the end of the 2010-11 season, contrarian as that may be around these parts.

    A big key for this new regime will be the moves they make (and/or don’t make) in these next 12 months. In the meantime, have fun with all the numbers.

    • From Power rankings:

      Golden State Warriors (13-17)

      “The Warriors’ have the makings of a phenomenal team. Center Ekpe Udoh and guard Stephen Curry are their most fundamentally sound players. During the 217 minutes they’ve played together, Golden State is plus-20.2 points per 36 minutes. And if you add Brandon Rush, Monta Ellis and David Lee to that duo, they have thrashed opponents 111 to 64 during the nearly 44 minutes they have played together. The problem is the lack of joint playing time. Udoh is averaging only 20.1 minutes a game (although that number is steadily climbing) and Curry has been beset by injuries most of the season. By the way, the above-mentioned quintet are all signed through at least the end of next season with the exception of Rush, who can be secured for the $4.1 million qualifying offer.”

  31. Tim Kawakami: NBA source notes probably most sensible GSW trade is Ellis for Luol Deng & a few people on both teams like it. But Bulls won’t do it. Twitter

    • Scott Howard-Cooper: Warriors continuing push for Dwight Howard deal even without DH commitment to re-signing. Not backing off from risky move, source says. Twitter

      Scott Howard-Cooper: Biedrins has zero trade value, so GSW offer has to be 3-4 key pieces. Imagine moving Monta, Klay, others and DH walks. But Dubs staying in. Twitter

  32. Monte Poole: There’s no reason for the Warriors to play Stephen Curry.

  33. Curry’s ankles are going to be a continuing problem, so the Warriors need to keep Monta. He’s their only realistic alternative to Curry at point guard, and for marketing purposes he has the most star power of anyone else on the team. Monta stays.

    That means that to trade for the big-body difference-maker the Warriors say they want, they’d have to gut the team. That would be a bold move, out of character for the Warriors’ front office committee. This is the bunch who chose to “play it safe” by not amnestying Biedrins.

    A big player clearout would also end any pretense of competitiveness for the rest of this season, and that would be costly. Would the Warriors be willing to change their tune about making the playoffs this year? Before March 15? It would kill ticket sales. They’ll stand pat.

    Without a trade, the team has few options. They’re at the salary cap and Lacob is reluctant to go over it – and free agents almost universally choose against the Warriors anyway. Unless the team really stinks up the floor for the rest of the season, they’re not going to have a first round draft pick this year either. Anything above pick #7 goes to Utah.

    So here’s a thought: Like everyone else, Lacob and his excellent advisers could easily foresee all of the above at the end of last season. They need another starter to make any improvement in the team. They need a good draft pick this year. To keep their first round pick they had to lose big. So Lacob arranged it. He hired Mark Jackson. In a twisted way, it was a brilliant move. The fans can’t tell, the players can’t say, and Jackson doesn’t even know. The perfect patsy, he even bleats about playoffs. While starting Biedrins.

    That all may sound too Machiavellian, but it makes more sense than someone like Lacob hiring someone like Jackson to deliver wins. If anyone in the world can pick winners, you’d have to bet Lacob (and The Logo, and Myers et. al.) could. Half a dozen excellent coaches were available when Lacob signed Jackson. Instead of picking a proven winner, he got the coach he wanted, and that coach is delivering what he had every reason to expect. Planning ahead, Lacob even hired Jackson’s replacement at the same time.

    Hang onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen, we’re going for #1! And if Jackson needs any help delivering stinkbombs, Lee gets injured.

    It’s all so clear now.

    • Regarding the second part, I’ve been struggling to keep similar thoughts out of my head.

      Regarding the first part, is there any evidence that the Warriors consider Monta Ellis to be a point guard? I don’t see any.

      • Regarding the second part, it’s all idle speculation from a fan who’s getting disgruntleder with every blowout.

        Regarding the first part, they may not have recognized Monta’s value as a PG last year at this time, but they have more evidence now. Besides, “point guard” on the Warriors doesn’t mean what it would on a quality team. Look how they’ve used Curry for the last two years.

        Perhaps more importantly to the Warriors as a business, without Curry Ellis is the only star, and the centerpiece of the marketing effort. Lee is great, but Ellis is the most fun to watch.

  34. Tim Kawakami: NBA source reiterates that the Warriors recently told people they’re not considering trading Monta Ellis… unless it’s for Dwight Howard. Twitter

  35. Better player: David Lee or Josh Smith? (Posted before tonight’s game)