Brandon Rush: We’ve been hearing a lot lately — from people on his payroll, like Larry Riley, Rick Barry and Andrew Bogut — that Joe Lacob has been spending money, and is willing to spend money, to win.
I say: Really?
I say: Show me the money. Where is it? Has Lacob ever signed a veteran to a multi-year contract? Ever gone over the cap? Ever ponied up for a veteran coach? (Mark Jackson: 3 years, $6 million; Rick Adelman: 5 years, $25 million.) Ever amnestied a chronically injured and completely washed up player?
Show me one bit of evidence that Joe Lacob is willing to spend money to win. One scrap.
Next year will be the test. Joe Lacob got his big deal. Remade the team in his image. Ramped up his PR: “The transformative deal that changes everything.” Let’s see if that finally makes him ready to open his wallet in support of his Warriors team. I have created a checklist for Joe Lacob, that if he completes it, will cause me to open my ears to the message of his paid minions. It’s a very simple checklist, containing a mere two items:
- Buyout Andris Biedrins, and his not-quite-completely-covered-up chronic case of Osteitis Pubis.
- Re-sign Brandon Rush.
Brandon Rush is quite possibly the most undervalued player in the NBA. He’s a bench player, who could be a starter for half of the teams in the league. More than half. He’s a two-way player. A guy who on offense can stick with the league leaders in three-point percentage, as well as take it to the rim and finish with authority. A guy who can drop a 9-15 on Kobe Bryant, Matt Barnes, MWP and the Lakers front line. While making you believe he could do it every night.
A guy who plays some of the most ferocious wing defense in the league. Takes the toughest player. Forces him into bad shots. Blocks shots at the rim. And rebounds in traffic like a forward.
Rush has a court presence like few other guards in the league. A Paul Pierce-like presence. At 6-6″ 210, he can get his shot off in the playoffs. And he can guard anyone. He is as potentially valuable to the Warriors as Tony Allen is to the Grizzlies. James Harden is to the Thunder. Or Stephen Jackson was to that World Championship Spurs team.
I have a feeling that the Warriors brass think that Richard Jefferson can take over for Rush. That there’s not enough room on their payroll for both of them. That would be a big mistake. Brandon Rush needs to be in a Warriors uniform next season.
He’s a restricted free-agent this summer. Lets see if the Warriors match.
Let’s see if the moths start flying out of Joe Lacob’s wallet.
Charles Jenkins: I hope you like Jenkins, because he will be the Warriors backup point guard next year. If the last two years have proven anything about Joe Lacob, it’s that he doesn’t believe in spending money on backup point guards. And backup point guards don’t come any cheaper than 2nd round pick Charles Jenkins.
Having said that, I really like this kid. In a walk it up, set up the half court offense, make the wing entry pass, head to the fridge for a Fat Tire, return to the couch, watch him swish the return pass, kind of way.
He’s the anti-Nate Robinson.
Klay Thompson: Mike Brown made quite a clever move in this game: Using his small forwards MWP and Matt Barnes to guard Thompson, and putting Kobe on Dorell Wright. Until Mark Jackson got his small unit on the floor, Thompson was really bothered by this. He couldn’t drive into the Lakers’ trees, and couldn’t comfortably shoot over the length of the Lakers’ small forwards.
And, of course, Dorell Wright was completely incapable of punishing Kobe for this switch in the low post. Or any other shooting guard for that matter.
This could be a blueprint for Warriors’ opponents going forward.
Thompson never got his shot going in the Lakers game, but did do a great job creating for others. He has a ton of composure for a rookie.
He has asserted himself twice against inferior opponents since the trade. Can he do it against the tough defenses of the contenders? In fourth quarters? It will get a lot easier if and when Curry returns.
On defense, Jackson did his best to hide Thompson with zones and Steve Blake. Just keeping it real.
Jeremy Tyler v. Mickell Gladness: Age, Size, Athleticism, Vertical Leap, Contract Amount. Tyler has Gladness out-classed in every key metric. Except the most important:
Mark Jackson: In the days since the trade, it has begun to occur to me that I may owe Mark Jackson an apology for calling for his head while he was starting Dom McGuire at shooting guard, and holding the Warriors to fewer than 5 fast-break points and 85 total points a game.
No, not because that made any sort of sense. It didn’t, and still doesn’t. It’s because it probably wasn’t in Mark Jackson’s control.
Does it make any sort of sense to you that Klay Thompson was immediately worthy of starting at shooting guard once Monta was traded, but he wasn’t worthy of starting in the games immediately preceding the trade, when Curry was out and Monta was playing the point and the Warriors were theoretically competing for a playoff spot?
No, it doesn’t make sense to me either. And it got me thinking. Ekpe Udoh starting at center, Andris Biedrins to the second unit. Monta Ellis at the point, and the only offensive player in the backcourt.
The Warriors were showcasing.
And tanking, of course. Sorry, coach.
Red Card: Did anyone else happen to notice that play where Ron Artest fell out of bounds under the basket on top of — I think it was Jefferson — and then held him down with a hand in the chest until after the play was over?
I did the same thing once when playing high school soccer (which may help explain my spiritual affinity for players like Artest and Stephen Jackson). And I got a red card for it. No yellow — straight to the red. I was pretty ticked off, because it was still early in the first half of a road game, and it was a two hour bus trip between opponents in rural Ohio.
Of course, Artest didn’t get a red card. He didn’t even get a foul, although the official was looking right at him, and he was on the road.
Because the Lakers never have a road game.
WTF: Did anyone else notice that at the end of the game, when the camera was following Kobe Bryant off the court (because the Lakers never have a road game), it caught Kobe and Violet Palmer exchanging a low five? Check the tape.
wtf. I demand an investigation.
Spring Break: I’m heading to Vegas and my fantasy baseball draft, and then points South for the next couple of weeks, so I won’t be able to watch the next several Warriors games. I will try to check in on the comments section, though, to see what’s what.
Hasta la vista. And let’s go