Tank Thread Number One

I watched two thirds of the Warriors – Rockets game last night before turning the channel. There was a Milwaukee Bucks game on.    

I did have a couple of thoughts during the Rockets game, though. Persistent, disturbing thoughts involving a couple of the Rockets’ players.

The presence of Samuel Dalembert in the middle — a real, live, shot-blocking, NBA defensive center — completely shut down Mark Jackson’s walk-it-up offense. Sam Dalembert is clearly no Chris Kaman. He can play. Does his name ring a bell? He was the last free-agent center off the board this past summer.  Signed by the Rockets for $7 million per AFTER the Warriors plunked down $7 million on the The Kwame Brown Era.

Why am I the only Warriors writer who has been asking whether the Warriors really needed to trade Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh — and tank this season — in order to land a defensive center?

Goran Dragic also disturbed me, as I watched him surgically dismember Nate Robinson, and eat him alive. Dragic is something you might not be familiar with, since he’s something the Warriors have not had for two long seasons, ever since Joe Lacob assumed his position as GM.

A veteran backup point guard. You know, the kind of player some GMs like to put on their roster before the season starts, to indicate their intention to win basketball games.

That’s all I’ve got on Warriors basketball. I’m not going to be recapping any more Warriors games for awhile. It puts a real sour taste in my mouth to write about a team whose management has actively tanked their season. And I just don’t have the heart for it any more. Been there, done that.

Anyway, my writing around this time of year has a tendency to deteriorate into rants involving knives and backs, which you can verify if you like by reading my posts about Joe Lacob’s Tanked Season Number One in last year’s archives. So consider yourselves lucky. You’re welcome.

You also may have noticed that I’ve removed the TiqIQ widget from my sidebar. I don’t want to be in the business of selling Warriors tickets right now. It’s a lousy business. Doesn’t feel right.

I’m not going away, though.  There’s a lot more exciting basketball to watch this season.  I’ll be tuning in to the Denver Nuggets, the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs, the OKC Thunder and the Miami Heat. To watch some beautiful, uptempo, spread-floor, creative basketball, directed by coaches of great intelligence and accomplishment. Winning basketball, that has fully integrated the advances to the game that Don Nelson made during his brilliant career. Playoff basketball.

Yes, I’ll be wallowing in “the sins of the past.”

I will of course continue to share my thoughts on the Warriors — such as they are — in the comments section. I greatly enjoy the basketball discussion that has (mysteriously to me) built itself up on my eccentric and crabby little site. A big thank you to all my readers for that.

I’ll be back recapping Warriors games next season.

At least for the first part of the season.

You know, maybe Joe Lacob was right after all….

Maybe I’m not a real fan.

79 Responses to Tank Thread Number One

  1. Warriorsablaze

    It’s certainly not an enjoyable time for Warriors fans in terms of watching basketball. The only things to root for right now are the development of our youngins and the perverse hope of losing games to save our pick.

    Watching some of the Bucks/Celtics game last night, I didn’t see much beautiful, spread floor basketball. I saw the same ol’ Monta throw up a 6-18 line that I’ve seen too many times. Udoh continues to impact the game immensely… he’s the one I’m going to miss the most.

  2. FB
    Sorry to hear we are losing the crutch of sophisticated analysis at least for 2011-2012 . I have know for years, the NBA League Pass is a wonderful buy because it gives the fan options to their disloyal players, and owners. If they are not wed to the fan, and their home team, I too can switch off the dismemberment of the Warriors by the Houston Rockets last night. Coach Mchale never even had to stand up. Now Houston has proactive management! Adding Camby when you already have Dalembert. We only want one! They got two! KMart was’nt even needed for his normal 24 points. And did you notice how the offense ran through Luis Scola the Rockets 4?
    I too watched the Bucks game, but Sacramento and Utah had a wondeful endng as well as Portland over Memphis. BTW, your list of teams omitted Memphis and the wonderful Coach Hollins. Zach Randolph is back and hopefully of great benefit to the Grizzlies. After all Memphis doesnt need to tank, do they?


    • And DLee is beaten up. I am surprised at how tired he looked last night. I think M Jack is truthful when he says he wants to win every game. With Steph out, and some of bench getting major minutes. Wow.
      And to think we are losing at least two out of three between Rush, Robinson, and Mcguire. Hopefully no jersey retirement ceremonies next year. But hey maybe we get that good Kentucky Player next year after all.

      • I can’t even express the joy I’d feel if we landed Anthony Davis. I’d be happy with Perry Jones III or Austin Rivers as well.

  3. Andrew Bogut in the 95.7FM studio this afternoon, interviewed by Michael Urban. Each part runs about 10 mins:

    Part 1) http://www.957thegame.com/topic/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=5758839

    Part 2) http://www.957thegame.com/topic/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=5758844

    • Thanks! I love Bogut. Just hoping he can get back to full health and stay there for the duration. BTW, you said your son works at the new sports station. On air?

      • Pushes buttons = board operator. Electronically orchestrated the Bogut interview. Posted the links on the web site. Next stop, general manager. :)

  4. An aside–and asides are all we’ll be able to give from here on out:

    I wish they’d rest Lee some the rest of the season or at least cut his minutes. It’s disheartening to see him have to hold the bulk of front court duties, and, of course, he will do it.

    Another loss for the season–there’s no real PF or C to back him up or help him up front, who might develop for next year.

    It could be a time to be inventive and work on other strategies. Necessarily, they will have to play “small ball.” Nelson’s last season, the team was .500 the last 18 games, 9 and 9. And the team did it without a real PF or C. Maggette at PF when he was healthy, same for Turiaff and Hunter at C, all of whose minutes were limited greatly by injury. It was also a time we saw the potential of some unknowns.

    This season, really we have only Klay to look at, and I wonder if giving him such a large load on offense is healthy.

    • I think with Charles Jenkins, what you see is what you get. But I do think Jeremy Tyler has the potential to be good. Wouldn’t mind seeing more of him while we rest David Lee.

  5. Diaw to the Spurs–and Azubuike to Dallas!

    • I’m really happy for Azubuike. Word is that his first knee surgery was messed up and he had to have a second one. A really good guy. Glad he’s back after two years of hard rehab.

  6. From Steinmetz:

    After the Celtics-Bucks game on Thursday night, Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles had this to say: “The only really good defensive minutes we had was when Ekpe was in the game. He was plugging everything up, doing what he does. Other than that, we really struggled.”

    Read more: Warriors may come to regret trading Udoh
    Tune to SportsNet Central at 6, 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area for more on this story

  7. Fibbee,

    Feel the same way. Sickening to watch the miles-long train wreck unfolding. Forget about going to games, unplug the TV. I don’t want to see David Lee pounded to scrap for no purpose whatsoever.

    Let’s hope Lacob wises up sometime.

  8. “Sacramento coach Keith Smart mentored Biedrins from 2004-11 with Golden State and spent a couple of summers working with the big man in Latvia. Smart said Biedrins has lost the looseness in his hips, which gave him the quickness to get separation on pick and rolls.”

    Rusty Simmons: “Struggling Biedrins could be on way out.”


  9. Music Time Out: I’m out of links. How about Travis Tritt and Adele instead?

  10. My favorite player on Run TMC? “Rooney”! “Tough” doesn’t begin to describe Sarunas, for many reasons.


  11. Weekend Dime (Marc Stein). Good reading which includes a Q&A with Stephen Jackson (right hand column).


  12. The Mavs recently signed Kelenna Azubuike. This was from the Dallas Morning News: “The day that Golden State signed Kelenna Azubuike in 2006, Don Nelson was asked what he thought of Azubuike. “Love it,” he said. “One of my favorite drinks.” LOL

  13. Blast from the past:

    OK, we need something to lift our spirits, if only in memory. This one’s multimedia. Turn the sound down on the highlight youtube and play the music youtube at the same time:

      • Play the music video twice and you can catch the team dancing with Nelson to the sounds of Bo Diddley. Seriously. Do this.

    • Devean George… Damn he was a great Warrior! LOL!

      • George was finally healthy enough to play and did, in fact, contribute nicely. Ellis was out that night, so there was only he, Curry, Morrow, Reggie, Tolliver, Hunter, Maggette, and Turiaf suited up to play, and Turiaf and Maggette were limping and played limited minutes.

        The joy here is watching what Curry can do with an open court and a mobile team–and centers who want to catch the ball and go to the hoop. Watch him especially with Hunter and Turiaf. 27 points, 8 boards, 14 assists, 7 steals.

        When people start screaming trade Curry next season, come back to this video to see what he was designed to do.


        I’m a road runner honey,
        And you can’t keep up with me,
        I’m a road runner honey,
        And you can’t keep up with me,
        Come on, let’s race,
        Baby baby, you will see,

        (Blogmaster: every time I try post with a link to the box score at Yahoo, it doesn’t go through. Or is it held in moderation? But I don’t see any indication of that.)

      • Devean George was great when given chances to play, whatever happened to him?

    • Then again – that was against the Timberwolves of old. They were REALLY bad back then! LOL!

  14. Warriors in a must lose game tonight versus the Sacramento Kings. The Warriors can pick up a full game with a pathetic effort tonight.

    19-26 .422 Golden State 12
    17-28 .378 Cleveland 10
    17-30 .362 Sacramento 9
    16-31 .340 Detroit 8
    16-32 .333 Toronto 7.5
    15-34 .306 New Jersey 6
    12-35 .255 New Orleans 4
    11-35 .239 Washington 3.5
    7-38 .156 Charlotte –

  15. Will Curry play again this season? After reading this I’d say 50-50. If this latest exam is positive we could well see Steph play again before this season is mercifully put to bed.


  16. “But as if the Fredette fallout weren’t enough to deal with for Smart, he now has the unwelcome distinction of being the coach who missed on Jeremy Lin. Before Lin, born and bred in the Bay Area, emerged in New York, the undrafted Harvard product played just 29 games as a Golden State rookie under Smart last year while making two trips to the NBA Development League. Fans would call for him to play late in games, then go wild in the rare times when he actually did. (Lin, it should be noted, struggled on many occasions.) Smart also was criticized for his handling of Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, a factor in his firing, according to owner Joe Lacob.”

    Jimmer is Dimmer in Sactown.


    • Shame that it’s too late in the season for him to win it now, but I’m really beginning to wonder how we grabbed him with the 11th pick.

    • Feltie, not to entice you to come out of your retirement from analyzing the games each night, but you pointed out earlier this year about Klay’s single dimension where he does not rebound, or pass consistently.

      In 42 minutes against Sacramento last night, Thompson scored 31 points on 10-20, and 4-9 from three land. That’s the good news. In 42 minutes, two assists and one (yes one!) rebound, and he played almost the entire game!

      He replaces Ellis who often times would be a decoy for offense (taking opposing team’s best defender to the corner away from the play), and would get (numerous) assists and rebounds. And of course, he would guard an offensive player, not the slowest guard on the opposing team. Even Jeremy Lin gets more than just points!

      When will we hear Matt, or Adam talk about the 1-dimensional play Klay? Will his stats translate to wins? I am hopeful he will develop his defense, rebounding, and assists, but will the Logo and Lacob acknowledge this or continue to propagandize? As those who don’t like Monta Ellis will be sure to watch the box scores, I am mindful (thanks to you) of Klay’s stats as well.

  17. @23 “The owner is ready to spend and we have some cap space coming.”

    What does Bogut know that we don’t?

    @20 “the Warriors believe there is still a market for the 25-year-old 7-footer.”

    BS. This is simply propaganda. No GM in his right mind will take Biedrins in a trade with two years left on his contract. So it’s buyout or nothing.

    Here it is from the horse’s mouth:
    “I think there will be value for him. It might be a year away, if he’s still not playing well and he’s still not part of our plans,” Lacob said. “He’ll be an expiring contract, and there will be value. He’s a 7-footer who is agile and healthy.”

    Obviously, Lacob is not buying him out. He’ll have to wait another full year for him to become an expiring and have some trade value.

    As for “agile and healthy,” well, lies seem to come easy to this man. There’s no other way to put it.

    Here’s Keith Smart telling the truth: “Biedrins has lost the looseness in his hips which gave him the quickness…. He has had all this time off with injuries where he couldn’t do a lot of core work, and I think that took a lot out of him…. There’s way more to it than [Biedrins] lets on.”

    Yes there is: OSTEITIS PUBIS.

    One final note: I recently messaged all of the Bay Area journalists, asking them why they weren’t giving us the truth about Biedrins. Rusty Simmons is so far the only one to respond in print. He’s not writing the whole truth either, but apparently no one gave it to him. At least he took the trouble to contact Keith Smart.

    @15 I loved Rooney too. He had a way of going to the hoop leading with his right elbow that I loved. Talk about tough. No one messed with him. Not even “Mr. Mean.”

    I’ll never forget one time when he went to the hole against San Antonio, and caught Mr. Mean right in the throat with his forearm. MM made a movement to come after him, and Rooney turned and took a look at him. That was it. Fight over.

    @17 Great to see Azubuike back in the league. Hope he gets back all the way. Was on his way to being a great player.

    @25 Fredette just went into a complete nightmare situation. First of all, that team is already completely jealous of each others’ shots, 1 thru 12. As Smart points out, the team gave Jimmer the cold shoulder, froze him out.

    And then when Westphal, who would have played Jimmer a little more, got dumped for Smart, that was a second disaster.

    Which is not to say he’s a great player. I forecast him as a JJ Redick type, and it took Redick several years to become even a passable player.

    • You mean:

      ‘What does Bogut know that we (bloggers) stubornly refuse to acknowledge?’

      Bogut knows that ownership/management has the desire, drive, and means to make things better for the Warriors. So, of course there are more rabbits-out-of-hats coming.

      Good to see Lacob in the front row again last night. He’s not backing down. Good.

      33-33 (Okay, wishful thinking at this point.)

    • “What does Bogut know that we don’t?”

      He KNOWs who signs his paycheck!

  18. Heat vs. Thunder tonight in OKC 5 pm PST.

  19. It was sad watching McGuire play last night. I love the guy, but once again Jackson had him playing the point! Result:

    in 16 minutes the Ws best defender and 2nd best rebounder gets 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 fouls and the lowest plus/minus on the team (-5)

  20. I know what the Warriors need next year: an offensive coordinator.

  21. From b/r:

    “Golden State Warriors…..5 Offseason Steps The Warriors Need To Take.”

    Wait until next year. In sports, it’s a saying that means: a) this season is over, b) there are reasons that this season is already over AND the organization has taken steps to make sure those reasons do not appear next season and c) renew your season tickets (or NBA league pass subscriptions) now, because next year will not be anything like this one.

    At least, that’s how most front offices hope that fans take that statement.

    There’s not always a lot to make them confident in making the statement (or to make fans confident in receiving the message), but when a team is eliminated with a third of the season left to play, there’s not much else for an organization to say.

    For the Golden State Warriors (and their loyal fanbase, who have heard those four words more times than they can count), though, these words do not appear as hollow and unfounded as usual.

    There’s a (rare) reason for optimism around this team, thanks in part to some roster moves to complement their move toward playing “winning basketball.”

    If the club makes the following tweaks over this summer, there should be more than just optimism at the end of the 2012-13 regular season.

    5. Get Results in Vegas.

    For those who loved the Goodman/Drew league exhibitions of last summer, you’re in luck.

    The flashy, no-defense world that is basketball exhibitions returns to the desert after a one-year hiatus thanks to the NBA lockout.

    The NBA Summer League from Las Vegas gives teams their first glance of their young players against NBA-caliber players as well as undrafted players a chance to impress any prospective employers.

    Taking away anything from summer league is a delicate science—the record for points scored in a game is a three-way tie between Von Wafer, Marcus Banks and former Warrior Anthony Randolph—but for a team as young as the Warriors are, it could be a way for them to find some contributors for next season.

    Klay Thompson has shown that he belongs in the NBA and the Warriors have rewarded him with the starting shooting guard role for at least next season.

    But the rest of the Warriors rookies (Charles Jenkins, Jeremy Tyler and Chris Wright) have yet to prove whether or not they can be relied on on a nightly basis. Throw Mickell Gladness (recipient of a 10-day contract from Golden State on Thursday) and whichever players they add in this year’s draft (the team holds at least three picks in the upcoming draft) in the mix, and the Warriors’ Vegas scouts will have their hands full.

    At the least, it should be a way for the current rookies to find some confidence after less-than-stellar rookie campaigns. And that, in itself, could be a big boost to next season’s Dubs.

    4. Re-Sign Brandon Rush.

    With $55 million already committed to next season’s payroll, the Warriors will be about as active on the free-agent market as Andris Biedrins is on the offensive end of the floor.

    The Warriors stole Rush from the Pacers just days before the season began. He’s actually out-rebounded the forward, Lou Amundson, that he was traded for (3.7 to 3.2) while also chipping in with 8.5 points, 44.8 percent three-point shooting and some of the best perimeter defending that the Warriors have seen in years.

    The Warriors hold a qualifying offer of $4 million on Rush for next season, meaning that they’ll need to extend that offer to keep the former Jayhawk from becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer.

    Given his ability to back up the shooting guard or small forward position (something that neither Richard Jefferson nor Dominic McGuire can offer), even this front office should see the importance of keeping Rush with the club.

    The Warriors have seen the importance of bench production firsthand this season, and Rush has been the most consistent Dubstitute.

    3. Find a Productive Big Man.

    The recently failed signing of now Portland Trailblazer J.J. Hickson highlighted two things about these Warriors.

    First, they’re two years away from being players on the free-agent market. With the aforementioned $55 million on next year’s payroll and $48 million for 2013-14, the Warriors will struggle to find discounted, quality free agents.

    Second, it showed that despite all of the productive moves the Warriors made at the deadline, they need an impact big for the bench in a bad way.

    Before his promotion to the starting five, Ekpe Udoh anchored the front line of the Dubstitutes. He changed shots, he cleaned the glass and he even showed an ability to score in the post.

    Of course, that played a large role in his promotion and subsequent significance in the Bogut trade.

    As it stands now, the only big men on the Warriors bench are: Biedrins (who hasn’t produced in a few years), Tyler (who hasn’t found the minutes to showcase much of anything), Chris Wright (same situation as Tyler), McGuire (who wouldn’t play power forward on any other NBA team), Gladness (who’s possibly eight days away from not being a Warrior) and Kwame Brown (who’s likely out of the Warriors price range).

    Tyler or Wright could be the answer down the road, but both will enter next season largely as question marks. Look for the Warriors to address the position in the draft, but if the player is a late first or early second-round pick, they’ll probably have as many question marks as Tyler and Wright.

    2. Find a Starting Small Forward.

    After acquiring Andrew Bogut from the Milwaukee Bucks days before the trade deadline, the Warriors set four of their starting five for the next few seasons (Bogut, Thompson, Stephen Curry and David Lee).

    The small forward position, however, remains very much in the air.

    The incumbent, Dorell Wright, has been almost as unimpressive this season as he was impressive last year.

    His scoring (10.2) and rebounding (4.8) are down from last year (16.4 and 5.3, respectively) and he’s struggled to impact the game when his perimeter shot doesn’t fall.

    The NBA seems to have figured out Dorell Wright (make him put the ball on the floor) and his best value to the team next season may come from his expiring contract.

    With Jefferson added to the fray that will likely include at least one, if not both, of Rush and McGuire, coach Mark Jackson will have options at the position.

    The best-case scenario is that Jefferson instantly becomes 10 years younger. Assuming that doesn’t happen, the next best case is that the Warriors tank themselves back in to the lottery and add a potential star in either UNC’s Harrison Barnes or Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

    If neither of the above happen, look for Jackson to give serious consideration to Rush (for his outside shot and defense) or McGuire (the best perimeter defender in a Warriors uniform in years) as his starting three.

    1. Answer Questions Early in Jackson’s First Training Camp.

    No matter what grade one assigns to Jackson’s first season at the helm, it’s hard to argue that he faced an uphill battle since his hiring.

    Between inheriting a roster seemingly built to not play his brand of basketball to starting his coaching career with no summer league, a shortened training camp and a hectic, condensed schedule thanks to the NBA lockout, his chances at even relative success were slim.

    So having his first true offseason (which is also the first full offseason for the new ownership), it’s imperative that Jackson enters training camp with a game plan. Position battles and filling rotations cannot linger, because Jackson (or assistant Michael Malone) has so much coaching to do to implement his style of basketball.

    On the court, it’s possible that only two of this year’s game one starters (Curry and Lee) will start next season’s opener. The offense will transition from guard isolations to playing inside-out. Defense will continue to be the emphasis, but this roster should have guys who actually reflect that.

    Off the court, the team leadership has changed as well. The veteran leadership of Lee will be bolstered by the presence of Bogut and Jefferson. There should be a new confidence as well in knowing that these players and this type of basketball has the full support of the front office—a stark contrast from the uneasiness around the endless Ellis/Curry debates.

    Next year’s Warriors will look nothing like this year’s Warriors. And that could prove to be a very good thing.

    • How about:

      1. An actual coach.

      2. Trade Jefferson. An OK player, but Rush and DWright both have more upside at this point. Trading Jefferson for multiple bodies permits the dubs to fill their bench. Not trading him means the team will either run short-handed or go over the cap to keep a player who wouldn’t start on average-to-good teams, or even, probably, on the Warriors.

      3. A reliable veteran backup PG. Curry has chronic problems, not occasional bad luck. While Jenkins could possibly be an excellent clutch player someday, he’s no Curry (or Monta) in that regard now. Either acquire a veteran or give Jenkins the PT he would need to become one. Better yet, do both.

      4. A reliable backup 2 guard. Planning for 40ish minutes/game from Thompson is silly.

      5. Nate is too small for the 2, and he’s not a reliable PG. He’s a wild card. If the Ws can afford to keep a wild card on the bench (I don’t see it, but who knows?), then fine, Nate is great. But if you have to rely on him to be a regular part of your rotation, you’re going to lose some games that a mistake-free vet wouldn’t have lost.

      6. If the philosophy is to play big, get the bigs. The team currently has no backup for D Lee and only rookies behind Bogut, an often-injured player. Bogut’s extensive history of DNPs does emphasize the need for a high-level stand-in, whether or not you think he is chronically prone to major injury.

  22. You could call this piece a gem of overexuberance from the keyboard of a Spurs fan(atic), or just a great heads-up on this years NBA champions-to-be.


  23. “Andrew Bogut: Injury-prone or unlucky?” (From 1-27-12)


  24. From the Milwaukee blogosphere after the Bucks loss in NYC:

    “That’s right I ACTUALLY THINK, I DO BLAME SKILES! He does not play I realize that, but his ability to draw up plays is pathetic, his offensive philosophy is non-existent! Also is there something wrong with Harris, Leuer, or Sanders? I mean Sanders is their best defender and has been playing well as of late. If you watched this performance in regards to rebounding it was a joke. Skiles rotations are idiotic and you’re damn right I blame the coach, he inspires very little and is as motivational as a bag of cement. GUARANTEED YOU GET A NAME WHO KNOWS BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL AND COULD CRACK A SMILE, I believe the Bucks will knock off this up and down play. IT IS COACHING!!!!!!!!!!!”

    “Just when you think they can’t play any worse……………they outdo themselves. Thanks for only 17 more games with this pathetic looking bunch. If they should by some quirk of fate make the playoffs, they will be fortunate to win one game. 28 points in the second half is just plain horrible. The Fat Lady is beginning to warm up for her finale.”

    “Jennings and Ellis are garbage. You don’t build a blue-collar, defensive-minded team around two undersized, me-first scoring guards. We need more guys like Dunleavy, Leuer, Ersan, and Udrih.”

    “Jennings and Ellis go 8-38 and 0-9 from beyond the arc and [fbr] blames the coach.”

    “Bad game by both teams, but with the Knicks playing short handed, this was a must win for the Bucks. It didn’t happen, like so many times before.”

    “Two fast small guards are going to help us beat the bad teams, not help at all against the Landry Fields of the world? The Stealth Tank?”


  25. You know, Utah has some above average college teams. He can go watch BYU play LOL.

    He likely doesnt go to Marquette games either…or Buck games.

  26. SI.com Power Rankings:

    Golden State Warriors (20-27)

    “With Monta Ellis gone and Stephen Curry hurt, the Warriors are going only as far as forward David Lee takes them. In Golden State’s two wins since the trade deadline, Lee had 25 points and 11 rebounds against New Orleans and a near triple-double (22 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists) against Sacramento on Saturday. Yes, even without Ellis and Curry, the Warriors have a plethora of talented scorers on the wing, including rookie Klay Thompson, new acquisition Richard Jefferson and last year’s leader in three-pointers attempted and made, Dorell Wright. But with Ekpe Udoh’s departure and Andris Biedrins’ absence with a groin injury, the big man beside Lee is apt to be a fringe rookie like Jeremy Tyler, Mickell Gladness or Keith Benson — unless the Warriors go small and Lee himself is the center. None of these alignments make for a tenable defense, meaning Golden State must outscore opponents with Lee’s producing enough down low to open up space for the outside shooters. With winnable home games this week against New Orleans and New Jersey, we’ll see how much the Warriors want to keep their 2012 first-round pick, which goes to Utah unless Golden State finishes among the NBA’s bottom seven.”


  27. From The Bleacher Report

    Grading Every Player 3/4 Way Through the Season (Eric He):

    To say the least, it has been a very disappointing season for the Golden State Warriors. Thirteenth place in the Western Conference , injuries to key players and trading Monta Ellis are just some of the reasons why the 2011-2012 campaign is all but lost.

    However, this team does have a bright side. Their oldest player is Richard Jefferson, who is 31 years old. This is a very young, energetic team that can only go up from here. It is safe to say that better days definitely lie ahead.

    But, for now, let’s stay in the present. Read on as we grade every Golden State Warrior three-quarters of the way through the season.

    Stephen Curry, Guard: D

    With Monta Ellis gone, Warriors head coach Mark Jackson has made it clear that this is Stephen Curry’s team now. However, Curry has been injured and has not played since March 11, when he re-injured his ankle against the Clippers.

    The team could possibly make him sit out the rest of this season. He averaged 14.7 points in 26 games this season. When healthy, Curry is one of the best point guards in the league—the key word being healthy.

    Curry gets a “D” because, obviously, he has been sitting out most of the season. From the very first preseason game against Sacramento, when he tweaked his ankle, Curry has been on and off, occasionally taking a day off because of injuries.

    As the team leader, he needs to get healthy. It has been disappointing to watch him thus far this season.

    Nate Robinson, Guard: A-

    Nate Robinson has been quite a nice find for the Warriors, who picked him up mid-way through the season. He has done a nice job filling in for the injured Curry, and an even finer job as the starting point guard after Monta Ellis was traded.

    Considering his short temper and alleged team chemistry issues, it seems as if Nate enjoys playing in Golden State—despite the losing record.

    The pesky point guard is averaging 10 points a game so far, and really does deserve an A-.

    Charles Jenkins, Guard: C+

    The potential is unlimited for Charles Jenkins, who just scored a career-high 27 points against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. He was the 44th pick of the 2011 NBA draft, and has been a nice find for the Warriors.

    What’s even more impressive about Jenkins is how humble he is. Just a day later, he commented to Matt Stiemetz of CSN that his career night “doesn’t matter.”

    If this kid keeps his head down and keeps working, there is no doubt that he will be a very successful player in the NBA.

    For now, I will have to give him a C+ because he has not played much this season, but has shown spurts of terrific play in his limited action.

    Klay Thompson, Guard: A-

    Speaking of potential, this guy probably has the most out of anyone on the team. Klay Thompson is just a rookie, but he could develop into the next Reggie Miller.

    Thompson can just flat out shoot the ball, as he did in his career night—31 points Saturday against the Sacramento Kings.

    He will start every game now that Monta Ellis has been traded, and perhaps that is a sign that the organization trusts him. There will be occasional “bad” games, with him being a rookie, but in my opinion, Thompson is right behind Kyrie Irving for the Rookie of the Year award.

    Dorell Wright, Forward: C

    Wright averaged 16 points a game last year as a starter, and was one of the best three-point shooters in the league. This year, he has just been in a funk. Dorell got off to a very slow start, where he scored no points in several games.

    He has played better as of late, but the Warriors need his production in order to be successful.

    Dominic McGuire, Forward: B+

    Dominic McGuire was a very underrated pickup by the Warriors in the offseason. He is now a vital part of the rotation, with his specialty being defense. You can see why this team really needs him.

    Although he averages just three points a game, he more than makes up for it with his superb lock-down defense.

    Richard Jefferson, Forward: C

    There was once a time when Richard Jefferson was an excellent player and scorer. He could shoot, pass and dunk at ease.

    Now, Jefferson is a role player at best. However, he still thinks that he is that prolific scorer of ten years ago. Most of his three-point shots are bricks; unfortunately, he shoots a lot of them.

    Brandon Rush, Forward: B

    Rush was a straight-up steal for the Warriors, coming from Indiana in a trade that cost the Warriors Lou Amundson (remember him? I don’t). He is sixth in the NBA in three-point shooting, and fits in nicely with this team, contributing off the bench.

    David Lee, Forward: A+

    You have to feel bad for David Lee. Never in his seven-year NBA career has he been in the playoffs, and it certainly doesn’t look like it will come this year. He has done everything that has been asked of him, carrying the Warriors on his shoulders.

    Lee is a walking double-double: 19 points and 10 rebounds a game. This is even more impressive given the fact that most opponents single him out as the only offensive threat, so Lee often times has to deal with a ton of defensive pressure.

    Hopefully, the Warriors will improve and help David Lee make the postseason.

    By the way, he more than deserves that A+.

    Andris Biedrins, Center: F

    There used to be a time when Andris Biedrins was decent. I mean, decent enough to earn a monster contract of six years, $63 million. Biedrins averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds a game during the 2008-2009 season. As far-fetched as it may seem now, Andris Biedrins was a walking double-double.

    Andris Biedrins, a walking double-double. Say that to a Warrior fan today and you might get laughed at.

    Biedrins is having the worst season of his career, averaging just two points per game. He has not scored in the double digits since the season opener, and has definitely not lived up to expectations.

    It seems as if, at times, he is simply lost out there on the court. His only asset, if you can even call it that, is that he is seven feet tall and grabs rebounds. But he does not want any part of this team offensively.

    His free-throwing, which is his main Achilles’ heel, has plummeted. He is one-for-five this season from the charity stripe (that’s 20 percent). Why has he only shot five free throws in 25 games played?

    Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett has referenced several times on broadcasts and radio shows that Biedrins is “scared to shoot because is afraid that he will get fouled and have to shoot free throws.” (If you have not seen him shoot a free-throw, it isn’t pretty.)

    In fact, there was a time that Biedrins actually led the NBA in field-goal percentage, at 62 percent, during the 2007-2008 campaign. Oh, the Warriors can only wish to have the Andris of old back again. Now, all they have is a no-use, $10.5 million dollar center who contributes nothing and is afraid to shoot the basketball.

    Tyler, Benson, CWright, Gladness, Centers: TBD

    All of the above players have yet to receive enough playing time to grade them fairly. All of them are centers, as the Warriors desperately need big men who can help them out.

    In the meantime, let’s just pray that one of them turns out to be the next Hakeem Olajuwon.