The Truth About Klay Thompson: Warriors 104 Pistons 97

This was a tale of two games for Klay Thompson, and for the Golden State Warriors as a consequence. Against the Orlando Magic, he was forced to guard Aaron Afflalo and Josh Reddick, and got lit up like Burning Man. The Magic attacked him so relentlessly that Gary St. Jean was forced to comment at half time: “They’re going straight at Thompson and feeling good about it.” 

The result was not just big games from Afflalo and Reddick, but as I noted in the comments to the last thread, big games from Big Baby and Vucevic as well. The Warriors bigs were pulled out of the lane on the pick and roll, and forced to scramble all over the court giving help. The lane was wide open to the Orlando front line.

Thompson’s mismatch also cost him on the offensive end. He was in foul trouble right from the get-go, and there’s a good possibility chasing Reddick around screens all night contributed to his 3 for 12 shooting. By forcing Thompson to match up against smaller, quicker players, the Magic rendered him ineffective on both ends of the court.

In last night’s Detroit game, we saw a completely different Klay Thompson. Not Klay Thompson the overmatched shooting guard, but Klay Thompson the completely dominant small forward.

Thompson was matched up with Kyle Singler, the 6-8″ rookie SF out of Duke. (The Pistons’ “guard”, Tayshaun Prince, was cross-matched against Harrison Barnes.) And lo and behold, Thompson looked quick and athletic by comparison. He got anywhere on the court he wanted, and had a marvelous floor game. On the defensive end, I won’t go so far as to say that he shut Singler down, but he had absolutely no trouble staying in front of him.

And lo and behold, the Warriors’ front line — who some feel were physically dominated by the Magic — were freed of their help responsibilities, and thus able to concentrate on shutting down the Pistons’ leading scorer, Greg Monroe (9 points).

What a difference a game can make. And what a difference playing Klay Thompson at his best position can make.

I have been harping on the fact that Klay Thompson is not a two-guard since before he played a single game for the Warriors. You may not have believed me up until now, but in watching the last two games, you have all the evidence you need to understand it for yourself.

There are some teams in the NBA that will allow the Warriors to get away with playing Thompson at the two. But against many teams, like the Magic, he’s simply a liability at that position. A losing player.

Which is a real shame, because I have become convinced that Klay Thompson can become a great player. And when I say great, I mean a potential Hall of Famer. But only if he gets to play at his natural position, at small forward.

Think I’m crazy? I’m definitely early and way out on a limb on this call, but I like it that way. I was early and way out on a limb on BWright, Curry, Lee, Udoh, Rush and Ezeli as well. Let’s see how my judgement plays out this time.

I’ve gotten to watch quite a bit of Thompson at small forward this season. Not just in this Pistons game, but in the fourth quarter of most games this season, when Jackson has been going with a Curry/Jack backcourt and shifting Thompson to the three. (There are several reasons that lineup has been so successful for the Warriors this season, but the chief reason is that it gets a quicker defender in at the two, and shifts Thompson to the position where he belongs.) And what I have seen has simply astonished me.

When being played at the small forward, Klay Thompson is a basketball genius. It goes way beyond his shotmaking, which is all-world in itself.

Off the ball, he glides around the court, always to the right spot, always with perfect timing, always with deadly purpose.

With the ball in his hands, he’s a triple threat. He has a great handle, going both right and left. He has a good first step that gets him around most opposing small forwards. He has the ability not just to find his teammates, but to create for his teammates off the drive. He sees the whole floor. He has fabulous instincts. He’s a great passer. A playmaker. He makes his teammates better.

When you combine this with his ability to defend a little and rebound a little at the small forward position, you have a completely dominant, winning basketball player. A potential championship player.

I have searched my mind, and come up with this list of great small forwards that I think the 6-7″ 205 lb. Klay Thompson will be compared to when he’s in his prime:

  • Bobby Gross 6’6″ 200 lbs.
  • Bill Bradley 6’5″ 205 lbs.
  • Chris Mullin 6-6″ 200 lbs.
  • Rick Barry 6-7″ 205 lbs.

This list is notable first of all for the player I’ve left off it: Reggie Miller, 6-7″ 185 lbs., the player with whom I’ve most often seen Thompson compared. When you take away the outside shooting, I don’t think Thompson and Miller are at all alike. At 185 lbs., Miller was only capable of guarding twos (and he did that poorly). At 205 lbs. (and growing), Thompson is only capable of guarding threes. But most importantly, Klay Thompson is a complete basketball player, a playmaker, while Miller was a one-dimensional scorer.

So let’s talk about the guys actually on the list. Thompson is a much better player than the role player Bobby Gross, but they share many attributes in common. Gross was beloved by his teammates for his headiness and playmaking ability. He was always in the right spot, always making the best basketball play. And many observers felt that when it counted most, when his Portland Trailblazers met the ballyhooed Philadelphia 76ers in the 1977 NBA Finals, Gross outplayed Julius Erving and was instrumental in the Blazers winning the title.

Bill Bradley was an intellectual on the court, a fabulous playmaker as well as a shotmaker. He was so unselfish that although he was such a prolific scorer in college that he was considered the undisputed best college player of his era, he was willing to settle for a 16 pts./game average on a fabulously talented Knicks team. His unselfishness permeated his team, which was renowned for always finding the open man.

Chris Mullin we all know and love. He averaged 25 pts. 6 rbs and 5 assists during the Run TMC era. Could Thompson achieve those stats playing at small forward? The Warriors’ current system would make that impossible, but I truly believe Thompson might have been able to do it playing for Don Nelson on that team. Thompson can shoot like Mullin, get himself open like Mullin, pass like Mullin. One thing Thompson lacks is Mullin’s great game around the basket. But Thompson is far more athletic than Mullin was, potentially a much better defender, and more of a threat to drive.

Thompson also jumps much better, and knows how to defensive rebound. The question has always been, will he? I think he will. He’s up to 4 a game this season, playing more than half of the time out of position at shooting guard.

I hesitated at including the great Rick Barry on this list. It is unfair to both Thompson and Barry to compare them at this point. For one thing, Barry was a better athlete than Thompson. And his talents were just so supreme. Is Thompson capable of averaging 30 points for a season? 6 rebounds and 6 assists? Averaging 40 points in an NBA Finals? That’s a little hard to imagine, even for someone as high on Thompson as I am.

The reasons I include Barry are these: First of all, his size. It’s notable when making the argument that Thompson is a small forward, that he is absolutely identical in size to Rick Barry, isn’t it? Secondly, while Thompson is not as good an athlete as Barry was, he is a better athlete than all of the other players on my list. He’s somewhere in between. And third, like Rick Barry, Thompson shows signs of basketball genius, of becoming a complete basketball player with an incredible floor game.

Rick Barry is the player that Klay Thompson should set before him, should model himself after. Because if he does, who knows what he could achieve? His ceiling is incredibly high. Hall of Fame high, in my completely immodest opinion.

The Harrison Barnes Problem: Here we come to the elephant in the room. I’m sure you’re all wondering how Barnes fits into my analysis of Klay Thompson’s proper role on the Warriors. And I’m sure that Barnes wonders that himself, as he glumly sits on the bench watching Thompson play small forward in fourth quarters.

The Brand might someday turn out to be a fine player. But the fact of the matter is that he is currently standing in the way of Klay Thompson becoming a great player. And he is standing in the way of the Warriors becoming a great team, that can defend on the wings as well as light it up offensively.

The Warriors need to move Harrison Barnes. Preferably for the defensive two-guard they so desperately need now that Brandon Rush has gone down to injury. It is not sensible to assume that Rush will return to his past athleticism and defensive prowess, especially by next season. And besides, the Warriors clearly need help at two-guard NOW, this season. Does Joe Lacob still intend to compete this season, or does he already have his finger on the tank button?

Joe Lacob has already wasted three years of Stephen Curry’s and David Lee’s prime. Will he waste several years of Klay Thompson’s prime as well, attempting to shoehorn him into the shooting guard position? Stay tuned.

Coming Attractions: I have a lot of other things I’m dying to write about, but not enough time to get to at the moment. So I’ll leave you with this teaser of coming installments:

Stephen Curry’s “emergence” as a point guard. David Lee as the “White Chris Webber.” The state of The Brand’s development. The great Festus Ezeli. The great Jim Barnett on the Warriors’ fast break, or lack thereof. The deplorable Bob Fitzgerald on Draymond Green as a three-point shooter.

And, of course, the Bogut fiasco.

There’s a lot of fascinating stuff to talk about right now. But this season I’m going to pace myself, like the Warriors running upcourt.

43 Responses to The Truth About Klay Thompson: Warriors 104 Pistons 97

  1. MT talking about Barnes (vs Detroit):

    “Rookie Harrison Barnes was only 2 of 7, but Wednesday was a good experience game for him. He got taught a few lessons by Tayshaun Prince. But he also showed he’s not going to force the issue. He was attacking aggressively when the time called for it (and he goes strong when he does go to the cup) which led to six free throws. It’s promising to see him bide his time and pick his spots. Hard to tell he has been a scorer all his life. But he’s out there rebounding, he’s focused on defense, he’s being physical. Still think the Warriors need to take advantage of that more.”

    Felt says:

    “The Warriors need to move Harrison Barnes. Preferably for the defensive two-guard they so desperately need now that Brandon Rush has gone down to injury. It is not sensible to assume that Rush will return to his past athleticism and defensive prowess, especially by next season. And besides, the Warriors clearly need help at two-guard NOW, this season. Does Joe Lacob still intend to compete this season, or does he already have his finger on the tank button?

    Joe Lacob has already wasted three years of Stephen Curry’s and David Lee’s prime. Will he waste several years of Klay Thompson’s prime as well, attempting to shoehorn him into the shooting guard position? Stay tuned.”

    Felt, I’m not trading a 20 yr old KID who’s played all of 18 games in his NBA career, especially given his off-the-charts athleticism and all around potential to be much more than just a “fine player”.

    There is NO ONE who sits “glumly” on the Warriors bench (“And I’m sure that Barnes wonders that himself, as he glumly sits on the bench watching Thompson play small forward in fourth quarters”). This team is a TEAM, a group with great chemistry and dare I say “love” for each other. That’s an intangible that few teams have but when it manifests itself, beware all others. Just ask the 2012 postseason opponents of the SF Giants how great a TEAM can be when it’s all-hands-on-deck playing as one. This Warriors team just wants to win, and they couldn’t care less about who’s getting the most minutes or scoring the most points.

    Of course, a Feltbot essay is never complete without a few “jabs” at Joe Lacob. Yes, I do believe, with his current payroll leaking over and into the tax threshold, that Joe Lacob wants to compete this season. And so far so good. Even as is I think GSW can make the playoffs, but if Bogut comes back and comes back anywhere close to 100% the Warriors could look downright scary to play, for anyone, come late April.

    Lacob “wasting” prime years of Curry and Lee? First of all, how do you “waste” prime years when they haven’t even occurred yet? Curry is only 24 years old and coming into this season had only played a total of 180 NBA regular season games. That’s barely more than 2 NBA seasons. His “prime years” are still to come.

    But even having said that, to claim that Lacob is “wasting player years” is totally ignoring the rebuilding process that was desperately needed, and is now taking place with the Warriors, all thanks to that dastardly villain (Lacob) and his cohorts.

    Troy Aikman lost 24 of his first 32 games with a young and rebuilding Dallas team in the early ’90′s. How were those years “wasted” when eventually, through the draft and trades, the Cowboys became good enough to win 3 Super Bowls in 4 years?

    The Warriors are in the process of getting stronger/more talented. There’s nothing being wasted here. And I’m definitely not wasting any of the great team chemistry that has been built to this point (through a couple of great drafts, trades and free agent signings) by moving one of their better young players in Harrison Barnes.

  2. “The Fast and the Dubious: Mavericks, Bucks playing up-tempo to no avail”

    http://www.sbnation.com/2012/12/6/3735218/mavericks-bucks-pace-efficiency-map-hook

    By Tom Ziller on Dec 6, 11:01a +

  3. “Perhaps the most amazing statistical note for any team in the league is the Warriors’ rise to No. 5 in rebounding percentage. This team ranked 29th or 30th in rebounding each of the last six seasons, and they’ve improved dramatically without much help from Andrew Bogut. David Lee has controlled the glass and Harrison Barnes has been a big help from the small forward position.”

    http://www.nba.com/powerrankings/

  4. Michael Kay talked to David Lee today on his show from NY (Go to the 31 minute mark of the podcast)

    http://espn.go.com/espnradio/newyork/play?id=8721986

  5. Felt: I’m glad you’ve come around on Thompson bc as I recall you trashed him mercilessly last year. I kept arguing with you that he had the ability and handle to drive to the basket, pretty good vision, etc. etc. Now you’re touting how right you were about him all along? Anyway, Thompson will be very good, but not a Hall of Famer. Imo, he doesn’t have the smarts to become an all-star. Becoming a star is good enough, though, and he can become that. Barnes has more upside than Thompson. He is much quicker and a better leaper. Watch the way Thompson (adequate) and Barnes go to the hoop. Thompson is plenty athletic to get there but he often jumps off the wrong foot and has a bit more trouble converting in the air than Barnes. Barnes is completely fluid going to the hoop. And lightning quick for his size. Although you’re now kind of trashing Barnes, he is the real deal. He is more athletic and smarter than Thompson. Barnes is also very young. Give them both a couple of years–Barnes is more likely to develop into the All-Star in my opinion, but I’m glad we have them both. And next time we play Orlando, they should let Barnes guard Redick. I saw Barnes in preseason absolutely fly by the Jazz’s athletic 6 ft 5 shooting guard Alec Burks. Twice. Certainly, Barnes will have the quickness and smarts to stop Redick or Afflalo; just give him a little more experience. I don’t care whether you call Thompson’s position shooting guard or shooting forward. Because you have Barnes to guard the 2 guard if Thompson’s not quick enough. You don’t trade Barnes. And they won’t. Because Bob Myers, Jerry West and Joe Lacob all do get basketball. Cheers.

    • I don’t believe I’ve ever had anything negative to say about KT on the offensive side of the ball. He is a prodigy, whose IQ is off the charts.

      Barnes got torched by Afflalo and again by the slow as molasses Prince. If you think he can guard twos you simply haven’t been watching.

      He hasn’t even been good guarding threes. Hence Jackson subbing Green for him in end of quarter situations.

      • with far less playing time than barnes, it looks like green has already surpassed him as an all-around defensive player, perimeter included. we can observe a paradox here, the supposedly slower, less athletic green in fact covering more court than the prized lottery pick because he’s trained his body to go where his mind knows the player and/or the ball are headed, leading them rather than following them as the average, reactive defender does. green has established a niche for himself as a ‘glue’ guy, while barnes intermittently gives a bit of rush’s speed/energy game.

      • The beauty of this GSW’s team is that Jerry West has his fingerprints all over. Joe Lacob – a supportive owner, GM Myers – an NBA insider/agent, and Jerry West – the LEGEND with the rings.

        It was Jerry West who first proclaimed Klay Thompson as a first round steal when he was rated in the mid-20s by most NBA “experts.” Then Donnie Walsh compared Klay to the 2nd coming of Reggie Miller, whom he drafted.

        Felt’s not early to seeing Klay’s genius game, but may be early to discovering his best position – SF – defensively. Time will tell.

        RE: Guarding Reddick – Klay’s got to fight through screens aggressively regardless of the position he’s defending and Klay’s physical/mental toughness are where he needs most improvement – as well as finishing around the rim.

        RE: Harrison Barnes – I can definitely say he’s not a bust… And that was my biggest worry in the W’s drafting him. Now? The sky’s the limit! I hope his assertiveness will improve later in the season (as did Klay) when he becomes confident in playing with his teammates. He’s a rookie – so I won’t be critical of any of his defensive mistakes – only of his intensity/effort.

        CURRY, KLAY, HARRISON! THEY COULD BE THE BEST TRIO OF PERIMETER SHOOTERS/SCORERS SINCE RUN TMC!!!!

        With 20/10 David Lee and a healthy Andrew Bogut next season – and our freaking awesome bench…

        I’m loving it to be a GSW’s fan right now!

      • “I don’t believe I’ve ever had anything negative to say about KT on the offensive side of the ball…”

        I know you covered it up last year when you said he wouldn’t be any better than Kyle Korver .

        Don’t want to see you throw your arm out patting yourself on the back.

    • Feltbot,

      As usual, an informative and fun read.

      However, I have a couple quibbles:

      1) Klay was not the only one guarding JJ Rettig. Rettig did not start, and once Coach Vaughn inserted JJ into the game late in the first quarter. Likely Coach Jackson agreed with you that Klay would not be effective guarding Rettig, and countered with Jaret Jack who did a very credible job in the first haf, limiting Rettig 1 for 6.

      Second half was a different story of course when he went 6 for 7 including 4 threes. He is after all, a very good shooter and can be as accurate as Klay on a good night. Point is, Jackson did put Klay on Rettig, but more often he had Jack, Barnes and even a little Curry guarding Rettig. Klay likely guarded Rettig 20% of the game.

      You also did not mention that David Lee could (or would) not guard Baby Glen Davis, who simply overpowered him down low, and also hit the mid range jumper (which Lee could not defend). Davis finished with 24 points (does that mean Lee cannot play center? I know its one game, but fair is fair). Davis was a very tough matchup for Lee. And it was not because of Lee helping the Guards out. There were inside moves by Davis which were simply too strong for Lee to guard. I hate to say it, but Bogut might have been a better matchup in the first half.

      Kudos also to rookie coach Jacque Vaughn. Orlando’s chemistry, willingness to share the ball, and leadership from Nelson, and Rettig made the difference. Vaughn constantly subbed in players to suit matchups and this greatly aided there win. A former Popovich assistant, he looks very much to be an upcoming coach.

      You have to give the Magic some credit, they did beat the Lakers the night before, and almost gave Utah their first home loss on Wednesday. I think they are indeed more fun to watch without Dwight Howard as bad as that might sound.

      Maybe just maybe Orlando will get an 8 spot on the playoffs (look out Indiana and Philadelphia). They are surprisingly not that bad (and well coached) in the weak Eastern Conference. It will be an interesting rematch between the two teams next week.

  6. Actually, saying Thompson doesn’t have the smarts to become an All-Star is a bit rigid and harsh. He could possibly make it one year. But I don’t project Thompson as an elite player. A very good player, yes. Even a star player. Just not quite bright enough to make it beyond that level.

  7. the team was taking a risk of redundancy in drafting barnes, and were lucky that the optimistic scouting that his game would flourish at the higher level might be on the mark. the offense since ellis’ departure has been tailored for thompson, so he has that significant advantage over the rookie in addition to a full season’s (he recently appeared in his game 82) experience.
    another of the consequences of rush’s loss will be the absence of a coherent relief squad ; the preacher has a defacto one with jack and landry plus three of the starters. he has yet to figure out the best combinations for his rookie 3 — the starting unit runs into matchup problems as we saw vs. Orl, and we should see more as the opposing coaches adjust. barnes seems well suited to an open court offense, but the preacher only embraced it when he had rush as the flying wing.

  8. Felt, you’re seeing things in Thompson that I completely do not.
    .
    Thompson is a scorer. That’s the only aspect of the game he plays with any proficiency. It’s the only thing he talks about in interviews. It looks like the only thing he ever practices. Everything else is missing.

    Thompson has the lowest average assists per minute of any guard on the team. He has HALF the assists of David Lee, an erstwhile center (62 Lee, 34 Thompson). Set picks? Never. Give and go, pick and roll? Run designed plays? Not when the ball is in his hands. As a rebounder, he’s a complete girly-man. He doesn’t box out. Fight for position? There’s no fight in the guy. Our teensy little starting point guard has almost identical rebounding stats.

    http://www.82games.com/1213/12GSW5.HTM
    http://www.82games.com/1213/12GSW1.HTM

    In matchups against opponents – ANY opponents – Stephen Curry on 1.5 legs (!) does better than Thompson. That’s not an opinion, here are the PER stats:

    Thompson: 9.1 v 12.8 opponent (That’s at guard. He compares even worse against forwards!)

    Curry: 16.6 v 15.9 opponent

    I agree Thompson has the ability to be more. Many players slower, smaller, and less physically gifted have done more for their teams, and it’s possible that the lightbulb could go on for Klay someday. He has the tools. But I once heard “talent” decribed as “ability + affinity.” If true, Thompson is and will always be just a talented scorer because he’s already demonstrated that scoring is his only real interest. He won’t become a talented ballplayer,/i> just a one-dimensional role-player in a league full of more complete players, going through the motions in most of his game just enough to stay on the floor.

    That’s not to say Thompson couldn’t be tabbed as an All-Star someday. It’s a fan vote, a popularity contest, and scoring gets attention. But if All-Star voting were based simply on getting better results than his opponents, Klay Thompson is further from the honor than Anthony Morrow:

    Morrow PER: 15.9 v 11.8 opponents (as SF)

    Hope I’m wrong. But after watching the complete stupidity and futility of ¾ of Thompson’s game for the last year+, Harrison Barnes looks to become a better teammate overall. And despite his physical limitations, in my view Draymond Green looks far more like an All-Star-to-be than Klay Thompson.

  9. I very much enjoy reading your blog Feltbot. You do your analysis and fearlessly put your opinion and rationale out in public for comment. I frequently agree, not always but, always enjoy the intellectual stimulation. This is a good piece that I think would have been even better if you took Rick Barry out of the picture. Anyone who thinks that you can project Klay Thompson at the end of his career to be in the same conversation as Rick Barry is addled or being purposely provocative. I would bet Rick Barry over-the-age of 15 never shot a ball early in the clock in a tie game where he gives the opponent a chance to win. Rick Barry had the genius of skill and improvisation but he also had the genius of intellect and discipline (except for his temper.) Klay appears downright dumb in some parts of basketball.

    I agree with you overall. Klay is a small forward and can be a darn good one in time. I agree that there is a duplication in talent with Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson (and Draymond Green) but I would call it the Klay Barnes problem. Barnes, at 20 years of age, less than 20 NBA games, and visibly improving is every bit as intriguing to me as Thompson at 22 years of age and over 80 NBA games. This is from someone who was not a Barnes fan coming in. I’m not sure that a switch to small forward will fix Thompson’s sub-standard shooting percentage (he seems hard-wired to be a high-volume chucker) so I would be interested to see what either one could get us in the way of a talented and athletic two guard. I think whoever remains at SF can succeed.

    All-in-all, it will be fun to see it play out and hats off to you for being the first to drive the Klay to SF bus. Another Feltbot original.

    • Hey Felt,

      Maybe we’re both wrong. Maybe Barnes and Thompson are in the way of the real genius at small forward: Draymond Green. Man, is he fun to watch!

  10. Barnes may be the team’s most tradable piece, tradable in the sense that he could be replaced and might have value on the market. But you know they’re not going to trade him, so the question is what to do with him.

    What I wonder is why he has to start. He gets low use there most nights. He has shown scoring potential, though, and I’m wondering if he might contribute more in the 2nd unit. He might add to their offense, which they need, and have a better chance to develop, which he needs. Also he would have less demanding defensive match-ups.

    Which leaves the question of who would replace him in the starting lineup—Jack to play 2? Would his experience make up for the loss of size? Could Jenkins get playing time in the second unit to give Jack a rest and perhaps add some scoring as well? I see holes in both cases though.

    Or they could try to find another player, ideally a veteran, for the time being to fill in gaps and give the young players time to develop.

    What’s the upside on Barnes? Does he have the potential to become a starting 3, given time to develop? He has the athleticism. Does he have the skills and smarts to get better?

    Barnes has played two years, about 60 games of college b-ball, plus 18 as a pro, this in the haze of being touted a potential great, which has to be distracting and probably destructive. He’d be better served if everyone toned down their expectations and treated him as what he is, a rookie with limited experience.

    On the team, there are only three lottery picks and only three who played for powerhouse college programs, which I’m beginning to think is an advantage—they are spared the hype machine that starts in college, or in Barnes’ case, before, in high school. All players on the team played three or four years of college, except Barnes and Bogut, who played two. Our basket cases, Biedrins and Tyler, of course, didn’t play college at all. It’s one of the strengths of the team, the experience and maturity of almost all the players.

    Question: What do David Lee and Festus Ezeli have in common?

    Answer: They both were 30th picks, first round. (This floored me when I saw it.)

  11. From what I’ve seen, Thompson is limited to shooting and driving to the rim in half-court sets. He does not possess good judgment in the open the court. I agree with White Hat that Thompson is not an assist man, and lacks court vision. But, at times, he’s a terrific shooter. If he becomes a consistent shooter, he’s a force to be reckoned with

    His defensive stats show that he plays better at SF than at the SG position. On the offensive side playing SF, last year, he shot 54% when playing SF, this year, 37%.

    I do agree that Thompson should start at SF over Barnes, and that Jack should be inserted into the starting line-up in place of Barnes.

    Unless Barnes learns to improve driving to the rim and getting some consistency on his jump shots. The Warriors need to exploit his jumping ability by receiving more ally-opps at the rim. a la David Thompson. I don’t see him becoming an impact player. I would not oppose him being traded. But, given that West loves him, maybe we should wait in accessing his talents.

    In watching games it seems that a number of jump shots end up at the foul-line. It seems the Warriors plays should be designed to place a player at the foul-line on each jump shot taken by the Warriors or their opponents. If we did so we would win both the offensive and defensive rebound differential on most nights assuming both teams shoot close to the same FG%.

    • Thanks Frank.

      Jerry West loves Barnes’ game? Before the draft, I was wondering specifically who Jerry West was championing – as he did not talk about who he wanted to pick pre-draft – unlike when West spoke endlessly about Klay Thompson pre- during- and post draft… Even after the draft when Barnes was selected – Jerry talked more about Ezeli and Green in interviews.

      Someone – set me straight here… LOL!

      • there was nothing from the logo re. Barnes prior to the draft — if he’s said anything since, he’s being a team player. some speculation before the pick about who he really favoured — rumors mentioned lillard or perhaps waiters, but not barnes. Barnes wasn’t a good ball handler at NC, and in a wing that would be something that west would probably consider a requisite — he likes ball skills and court vision.

  12. Brooklyn:

    What a gorgeous basketball game! Hope you’re weighing in, FB.

    Minor thoughts:

    If Barnes isn’t contributing to offense, especially against physical teams like the Nets, why not start Green and let him switch off as needed, in this case on Johnson?

    Is there any reason to play Biedrins?

    What won’t show up in the stats are the half dozen or so inside passes Curry made first half, not converted, especially those two brilliant passes to Lee.

    Woof! Woof!

  13. hope the ‘experts’ over on lauridsen’s blog reflected on their abuse of the term ‘small ball’ after the game tonight. they win the second half and the game when the preacher goes against his own patterns and starts green at the 4, lee at 5. for this game at least, green proves to be the most valuable rookie.

    from comments by roye on the radio, it seems that the logo thinks very highly of green, and post game, the preacher was quite effusive in his praise of the rookie, describing him as a future coaching candidate. barnett and roye commented how one of his steals came from reading a pass at the same moment the player making it was conceiving it, before he even began the physical motion.

    • Moto, I had severe doubts about MJackson as a head coach coming into this season, and it’s still very early, but MJ and his entire coaching staff are doing a helluva job thus far, including making great adjustments in the second half of games.

      The Warriors are quickly opening eyes around the league and deservedly so. The question I’m now asking is how good can this team be if they stay healthy and get Bogut back for the second half of the season?

      • Steve – I agree it is really time to start asking how good this team can be. I think we do a disservice if that question includes the Bogut reference. There are now 3 questions re: Bogut
        1. Will he ever return?
        2. If he returns can – what level can he play at?
        3. If he returns and can play – can he stay healthy thru a season?
        It is #3 that is now the most troubling… Particularly when you consider how bad Fezeli looked last night. Bad hands, couldn’t hit a lay up.. You can see why is +/- is negative. And now it will be fun to see how AL portrays the 30/15 night at center for Lee?????

        • There’s a fourth question, buckaroo: If Bogut returns, what will his role be and how will he fit in with what they have now? Surely his role will be only be complementary, not central. There may be a blessing of sorts in his going down in that the team had had a chance to find its true identity and develop its other talents.

          • How about a fifth option?

            Bogut returns and the Warriors play worse and start to lose again?

            What would Fitz say then?

      • Yes! Last year the Ws typically got killed in Q3, this year the reverse. That suggests that some really good coaching adjustments are being made. Wonder if Jackson came up to speed or if he’s relying on his pro assistants more.

        • Mark Jackson also has a much deeper roster this season as well as having his training camp. Prior to Rush/Bogut getting hurt – he had 10+ quality players deep. Landry, Jack, Rush, Jefferson (even Beans!) – all former NBA starters coming off his bench. With the tank season, our kids like Klay, Jenkins, Tyler – got some playing time too.

          • Good points, PB. A good bench gives the team a lot more options, and having no training camp last year hurt the Ws more than most other teams.

    • “hope the ‘experts’ over on lauridsen’s blog reflected on their abuse of the term ‘small ball’ after the game tonight”

      No takers yet.

  14. Warriors/Nets game highlights

  15. @13, 14

    Cool but weird! In the morning I call Green over Thompson and that evening he

    a) starts the 2nd half,
    b) plays like the smartest guy on the floor,
    c) upgrades the entire team’s game for the win.

    28 minutes. Only 3-9 shooting (one bucket was stolen from him by refs), but 10 rebs, 3 assists, 3 steals and (it seemed like) dozens of defensive stops. An A-list Player.

  16. Pregame, on KNBR, Fitz made the comment that the Warriors were essentially biding its time until Bogut returned.

    Postgame, Steinmetz repeated his view that Curry is a two guard.

    • rgg – biding time until Bogut is way off base considering the probabilities that he can contribute over an extended period. Maybe Ezeli just had an off night and I am over reacting. But in the game last night Ezeli looked more like Lee’s size than Blatch’s size. I am left wondering what could the warriors have been wo the trade for Bogut and picking up a journeyman center… Somebody that could finish around the basket and convert some of those curry passes…. But here’s hoping ezeli bounces back and he is certainly a great 30th pick… The Bogut trade did not get Barnes, tanking did.

      • “I am left wondering what could the warriors have been wo the trade for Bogut and picking up a journeyman center…”

        And who else they might have picked up with all the money that would have been saved. This one will stay with us this year and next.

        • Ezeli would likely be a lottery pick if the draft were re-done today. He did have a bad game (his hands are better than this) though and his Nets opponents are smaller, quicker. He shouldn’t play big minutes every game – depending on the matchup. I don’t expect anything but dunks and stick backs for Festus offensively. As a backup C who competes for boards, protects the rim, and wears down opposing big men – he’s a steal.

          The Nets are a fine team to play small against. Wish they were in our division – we’d run them off the court 4 times…

        • you might be mistaking Bogut for the most significant part of the trade. finding a buyer for Ellis at a reasonable rate has tangibly benefitted the team, while Bogut obviously has yet to do so. all of the progress the team has made, defense, boards, Curry’s ascent and its effect on the whole offense, Thompson’s development, simply do not happen with Ellis getting his 30-35 min. per game and getting star billing in the marketing and media.

          • Moto, you’ve always been down on Ellis, but I’ve never understood it. The best defending guard on the team. Led even Curry in assists per game. With incredible athleticism and endurance, he averaged 38+ min/game in the last two seasons with GSW, when the team was playing short-handed. A smart, thoroughly competent player, his coaches and teammates (including Curry) put the ball in his hands on offense because they wanted him to have it.

            In no way is Thompson an upgrade at the position – not now, not ever, in any way. No matter how many seasons of “development time” he gets, he will never contribute as much to a team as Monta.

            Curry is leading more this year, but that’s a coaching decision, not a trade result. As of this minute, the Ws got 1 (one. Uno. Eine.) draft pick + two expensive, unusuable players for Ellis, Udoh and an $8mm expiring contract. Can’t see that trade as anything except a ghastly screwup, no matter how much better the team is this year than last.

  17. Wow! The Milwaukee Bucks started Udoh, Sanders, with Dalembert off the bench. 12 blocked shots between them! Block shot party!

    http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400277997

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