Pick Rattle and Roll: Warriors 109 Nets 102 + Warriors 101 Wizards 97

Do you think that I’m shocked that the Warriors are playing so well? Me, who was so skeptical of Bogut playing this season? So carefully noncommittal on the Warriors’ prospects?       

Well, ask yourself these questions: Who has been saying for two long seasons that Joe Lacob inherited a playoff team, and squandered its first two seasons together? A fabulous small-ball core that required only a competent bargain-basement supporting cast, and a competent head coach running the right system, in order to excel?

Who is it who has been insisting for two long seasons that Stephen Curry is an all-star point guard, and David Lee an all-star center? Laboring without backups, for the wrong GM, the wrong rookie coaches, in the wrong system? Who has been insisting that SYSTEMS MATTER, and that the Warriors rookie coaches have gotten it absolutely, ass-backwards wrong?

Who has been insisting for two long seasons that the Warriors needed to scrap the horrible motion offense and static post-ups they were running, and simply put the ball in Stephen Curry’s hands to run pick and roll? Who was begging Mark Jackson as recently as a month ago to set a simple high pick for Stephen Curry and let him create?

Who has been insisting for two long seasons that the Warriors needed to spread the floor in the fourth quarter, and let one of the best pick and roll centers in the league — David Lee — get to work doing what he does best?

It finally happened. Finally. It took the end of the Andrew Bogut farce to make it happen, but it finally happened. Mark Jackson finally grew up as an NBA head coach and embraced the roster he has, and the system he needs.


That’s what the Warriors are running right now, virtually every trip down the court. Pick and Roll. They’re running it in the first quarter, they’re running it in the fourth quarter, and in every quarter in between. They’re running it with Stephen Curry, they’re running it with Jarret Jack. They’re running it with David Lee and Carl Landry, and yes, with Festus Ezeli and Andris Biedrins.  They’re running it up top, and they’re running it on the sides. They’re running it once, and when it doesn’t free the point guard, they’re running it twice, in the same possession.

What do you do when you have Stephen Curry and David Lee, two of the most gifted pick and roll players God has ever seen fit to put on the planet? You run pick and roll, for God’s sake!

Finally, after two long years.


Gone are the Kwame Brown Era, and yes, the Andrew Bogut Myth, stinking up the lane in the fourth quarter, destroying the effectiveness of Stephen Curry and David Lee, robbing them of the system they were designed by providence to run.

In its place Mark Jackson has inserted glorious Nellieball, the small ball that the Warriors need to spread the floor, in order that their two best players can assert their dominance over the NBA. Mark Jackson has gone small in the the fourth quarter — in winning time — with a Lee and Landry frontcourt, Thompson at the three, and Curry and Jack backcourt.

And if the last two games are any indication, Jackson may be about to start playing true Nellieball. With a true spread four, Draymond Green, supplanting Landry. Completely opening the lane to the predations of Curry and Lee. And igniting that long missing and absolutely essential component of winning small-ball, the fast break.

So am I shocked that the Warriors are playing so well right now? No, I am not.

I’m shocked that it took this long.

I’m shocked that a coach working for Joe Lacob has finally comprehended the nature of his roster, thrown off his shackles, mental or otherwise, and decided that he must play Nellieball to win.

I’m shocked that for the first time in two long seasons, a Warriors head coach has put the ball in Stephen Curry’s hands, and entrusted him to create off a simple high screen.

I’m shocked that Mark Jackson has turned himself into a bona fide NBA coach.

And is KICKING ASS. Ever since Andrew Bogut threw in the towel, Mark Jackson has been simply brilliant. The change in offense. Every lineup change, every adjustment. Brilliant. Who knew?

And by the way, I think this bears pointing out: I have been Mark Jackson’s biggest critic coming into this season. But a few short weeks ago when the Warriors were 2-4, and the mainstream media began circling Jackson’s campfire and gnashing their teeth, I spoke up in his defense. I stated that Jackson was actually beginning to get it right.

The results are now speaking for themselves.

Stephen Curry: The Warriors media are now starting to murmur about the “emergence” of Curry as a point guard. His string of four straight 20-10 performances, best in the NBA, really opened some eyes. And his coach pronounced that Curry is now playing the best basketball of his career.

I think that’s hogwash. Curry played his best stretch of basketball in his rookie season, when he averaged 20-8-5, and nearly 2 steals a game, after the all-star break. Putting up games like that triple-double 36-13-10 against the Clippers. 30-13-7 against Denver. 31-11-5 in Atlanta. 35-10-6 and 29-12-8 against Toronto. 30-11-5 against Memphis. 27-14-8 in Minny. 42-9-8 in Portland.

Running pick and roll not with David Lee and Carl Landry, but with D-Leaguers.

Remember those games? The Warriors media have conveniently forgotten about them. Mark Jackson may never have seen them. And Joe Lacob has been trying his best to prevent us from ever seeing their like again.

I haven’t forgotten. Stephen Curry hasn’t “emerged” as a point guard, he has re-emerged as a point guard. After two long years in rookie coach jail. Or as I like to put it, Cat Hell.

And one more point, for those followers of Matt Steinmetz, if there are any. Just because you happen to be the best shooter in the NBA, that doesn’t mean you’re not a point guard.

Ask Steve Nash.

David Lee: Lee’s having an incredible season, never more so than since the Warriors shifted their offense into his wheelhouse. I haven’t been to Lauridsen’s blog in awhile, but I can’t imagine how he’s dealing with this adversity. 

In a recent TNT broadcast, Shaq took to calling David Lee the “white Chris Webber.” Presumably because he’s a good passer, and has a similar stat line to Webber’s in their first 8 years in the league.

Lee, ever the gentleman, took the comparison as a compliment. I, never the gentleman, took it as a grave insult to David Lee, as well as my own intelligence.

Chris Webber was one of the softest big men ever to play in the NBA. Yes, he averaged over 10 rebounds for 6 seasons. But watching him play, I often felt he achieved that by averaging 13 at home, and 7 on the road.

After his rookie season, he refused to ever again play center. And he never again blocked shots at the rate he did in that season. Can you imagine, a player who peaked as a shot-blocker in his rookie season?

He also refused to develop a low post game. Why? Because he hated the low post! He absolutely loathed contact. He moved his game outside, with two major negative results for his teams. After the age of 24, he never shot over 50%  for a season. Not once. And he could never be a go-to man in crunch time, on a team that desperately needed one.

By contrast, David Lee has never shot less than 50% for a season. Despite having his pick and roll game taken away from him at Golden State, and despite shooting frequently from outside. David Lee can get it done outside, but he also gets it done in the paint.

David Lee is a man. A warrior. As big a gamer as anyone who has ever laced them up. Home or away, doesn’t matter. Lee gives you everything he has. At power forward, at center, whatever the coach asks.

David Lee has worked hard to realize every last bit of his potential as a basketball player.

You can illustrate a valid point by comparing Lee to many former and current players. My own point of reference is Dave Cowens.

Just don’t compare him to that giant pussy and disgrace to the game of basketball known as Chris Webber.


Klay Thompson: You see that 23 pts on 8-14, 6 rb, 5 assist line? After the 5-11, 5 rb, 2 assist game in New Jersey? Get used to those kind of lines from Thompson. He is that good.

Those of you who don’t think he’s a smart player are wrong. He has a genius-level basketball IQ. Even geniuses have brain freezes, like Thompson had earlier this season. Einstein couldn’t find his way home from work.

Those of you who don’t think he’s an assist man are wrong. His assists are down this season because of Jarret Jack’s presence in the fourth quarter backcourt. Have you already forgotten Klay as point-forward last season? Klay has the skills to play point-guard, which he actually did with total aplomb in the Summer League.

Unfortunately, like Harrison Barnes, he is getting absolutely torched on defense. He didn’t have the usual excuse of slow foot-speed against Joe Johnson. Johnson is bigger than he is, and simply abused him physically.

Small forward is Klay’s future. He needs to get a lot tougher down on the box. Stephen Curry tough. Curry is one of the best post defenders against bigger players I have ever seen.

Jarret Jack: A couple of weeks ago I wrote that Jack wasn’t looking for his shot enough, for whatever reason, and that it was hurting the Warriors.

Problem solved. And in Mark Jackson-speak, this is a player who can flat out get it done. Jack has been great in crunch time, and taken a lot of pressure off Curry.

Great acquisition.

Charles Jenkins: I like Jenkins, but the fact that the Warriors are giving him minutes at the two bespeaks a need. A real need.


Festus Ezeli: Is it just me, or did Ezeli look worn down in these last two games?  The Warriors can’t afford this young man to so much as tweak an ankle. He is all that’s standing between them and another season of oblivion.

And stand he has. With the exception of the last two games, Ezeli has been great. A defensive force. Not to mention desperately needed cannon fodder to preserve David Lee.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the Warriors needed to start getting Ezeli the ball on the move, rather than post him up. And that’s what they’re starting to do. Particularly with the pick and roll.

Unfortunately, although he’s executing it well, and catching the ball fine, he’s having major problems finishing, unleashing a wild array of errant layups. He needs to be told to finish strong every time. Either dunk it if it’s open, or stop, gather, pump fake and go up strong for the And One.

The Brand:  Woowhee has Barnes looked terrible lately. And even worse on defense than on offense. He is the opposite of Draymond Green: slow to read the play, completely reactive, more than a step slow.

After shooting lights out from three in both summer league and the start to this season, Barnes looked like a natural from outside the arc. But he has since cooled considerably, and his percentage from three has dipped below 33%.

Is this a temporary slump or a very real regression to the mean? Barnes was far from a standout shooter in college.

Jackson has begun giving Barnes a few fourth quarter minutes at the position Nellie would use him at: small-ball four. That is another avenue for Barnes to get on the floor, given that Klay Thompson is taking his minutes at small forward.

The only problem with that is that there is a far better rookie small-ball four than Barnes also on the Warriors roster:

Draymond Green: I know you’re all expecting me to start raving about Green’s phenomenal defense and rebounding, and the incredible intangibles he brings to the court. And the fact that in a world with no Venture Capitalist/GM egos, Harrison Barnes would never get a single minute ahead of this guy. But I’m going to put that aside for a later post, and use this post to get a pet peeve off my chest.

A few games back, after Green had launched and missed a three from the top of the key, Bob Fitzgerald had another one of his special moments:

Fitz: (passive-aggressive nagging coach voice) I just don’t know if that three is part of his game.

Barnett: (silence).

I had to restrain myself from throwing my snifter of Lagavulin at the TV when I heard this. When will Fitz realize he doesn’t know a goddamn thing about basketball, and shut the hell up? Seriously, he is absolutely brutal. And it’s even more brutal because the perfect guy for Warriors play-by-play is now hosting the Warriors half-time show. You know, the guy Fitz stabbed in the back to get his job, Greg Papa. The guy who masterfully elicits real basketball insight from Gary St. Jean, and only insinuates his own layman’s opinions in the form of questions. A true professional.

But I digress. Here are Draymond Green’s three point shooting percentages in his last 2 seasons of college:

2011-12: 38.8%

2010-11: 36.6%

And here are Harrison Barnes’:

2011-12: 35.8%

2010-11: 34.4%

Your expert analysis please, Fitz? Should Barnes stop shooting threes also, or is it only “power forwards” who shouldn’t shoot them?

Three point shooting IS Draymond Green’s game. Do you remember when Anthony Tolliver first got called up, and missed something like his first 10 three point shots? Did Nellie tell him to stop shooting? Hell no. And the Warriors were rewarded later in the season when Tolliver dropped 36 on Kevin Love’s head in Target Center.

Draymond Green MUST be encouraged to shoot the three. First, because he can make that shot, and will. Second, because it’s a far more efficient shot than those post-ups he’s getting in the lane. And third, because when he does start making the three, the floor will open up for the Warriors in a way we haven’t seen in years. The Warriors’ pick and roll will go from good to great. That fabulous Warriors fourth quarter small ball unit that is already winning games will start DOMINATING games.

And Stephen Curry and David Lee can pack their bags for the all-star game.

More Bob Fitzgerald: While I’m at it.

Have you noticed that whenever Mark Jackson starts playing Nellieball in the fourth quarter, Fitz immediately starts squealing into the mike after every missed rebound? “The Warriors can’t afford to give up second chance opportunities.” “The Warriors are awful small out there.” “You might want to think about getting some rebounders in there.” On and on and on. Never once considering the positive tradeoffs that Jackson is counting on.

In the Nets game, after the swarming Warriors smalls generated a steal, I caught Jim Barnett quietly murmur: “Quickness beats size.” And that put an end to that, for one game, anyway. The next day, Fitz was back squealing again.


Love you, Barnett. Don’t stop fighting the good fight, my brother.

101 Responses to Pick Rattle and Roll: Warriors 109 Nets 102 + Warriors 101 Wizards 97

  1. warriorsablaze

    After slogging through the first 5 paragraphs of self-congratulatory masturbation, I agreed with almost all of your analysis…as I usually do.

    I’m not sold on your Klay BBIQ genius idea, however. He makes a lot of really bone-headed plays and has become possibly the worst defender on the floor (that’s saying a lot with Lee out there). I wish I had a dollar for every pass and crash offensive foul or jump-in-the-air-with-no-plan turnover. I like Klay, but Curry is really the only one on this team with the potential to be truly great.

    Green is rapidly eating into Barnes’ minutes and at this point he should. Barnes maybe has more potential to be an high impact player, but Green is ready to do all the little things right now and is doing so. Agreed about the 3 point shot. They haven’t been falling, but I see that as a near make or break spot in his game….the difference between having a big role on a good team vs. being a solid journeyman throughout his career. I hope they start falling for him. It’s impossible to not cheer for this guy.

    • “After slogging through the first 5 paragraphs of self-congratulatory masturbation”


    • What can I say, feltbot is an asshole. But like Harrison Barnes, he has a brand to maintain. Feltbot’s brand consists of:

      1) Getting it right on NBA basketball, every time, before anyone else.
      2) Calling out mainstream media frauds and fakes, whenever they get it wrong.
      3) Self-congratulatory masturbation.

      He can’t really do the second two without the first, though, can he?

      I am not feltbot. But I contain him, and I like letting him out.

  2. “…that giant pussy and disgrace to the game of basketball named Chris Webber”

    Wow what a major disconnect between you & your holy grail Nellie!

    He obviously doesn’t agree with you, why else would he bring that “giant pussy” back in ’08????

    • Because he had a hopeless team with no healthy centers?

      Steps 8 and 9 of the 12 step program?
      (8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
      9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.)

      To remove a major obstacle to getting into the Hall of Fame?

      All of the above?

      • I remember when Weber came back to Warriors during Nelson’s last tenure.

        Feltbot is correct, the Warriors were interested in a backup center. Nelson was quoted at the time, that he felt bad about He and Weber’s relation during CWeb’s rookie year (ended with Weber demanding trade because Nelson was too hard on him).

        After a few games, it was apparent Weber could no longer run (for the Warriors or any other NBA team). He would constantly get beat running back on defense, and he was cut after a few a games. And he officially retired from the NBA.

  3. Gotta love DGreen…….

    (From “Fast Break”)

    Our Team says:
    December 8th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Hilarious about DGreen, from csn:

    The highest compliment Warriors rookie Draymond Green has been paid this season – and he has collected quite a few – came from Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough, who asked Green to meet him at the Pacers’ team bus after the game.

    What prompted the invitation? “I told him he was soft,” Green said.

    Hansbrough, of course, doesn’t hear that very often, having one of the most bruising playing styles in the entire NBA. But during the Warriors’ 103-92 win over the Pacers last Saturday, Hansbrough apparently complained that Green was illegally grabbing him.”

    Ric Bucher mentioned this at the end of the TV pre-game, also adding that Green’s answer to Hansbrough’s invite was “I can’t afford to pay the fine”.

  4. “Warriors Roll Into D.C.”

  5. Thanks Felt!
    Your BEST… POST… EVER!

    I too am convinced in running the pick and roll all day long – it’s what makes Curry and Lee special as All-Star players (once W’s make the playoffs!). Run correctly, the pick and roll is the most beautiful play in the game! LOL! And I haven’t forgotten the lethal Marbury/Lee pick and roll.

    I don’t understand why you don’t think Andrew Bogut – one of the top defensive players in the NBA – can’t be successfully added to this mix. Offensively.

    Why do you feel Bogut will only clog the lane? That Ezeli should run the pick and roll but not Bogut? Bogut has always struck me as a skilled big man who can finish – and who passes well. And can finish around the rim. With all our perimeter shooters, that an inside-out game wouldn’t work?

    Also – RE: Barnes and Green – I’d rather they make long twos – than airball threes – which is what they’re doing now. They’re rookies – and should be encouraged to shoot, and their threes will come in time. Barnes/Green – look simply nervous (not comfortable) – and they want to fit in. In addition, I say – sit Barnes out a couple of games putting Green in his place – and see how Barnes reacts (Nellie would challenge the kid, you know it) – hopefully it will piss him off and light his fire!

    • I assume the objection to Bogut is if they post him up low and feed him there to score or kick out that he will clog the lane, which I believe was the plan and what they did the four games he played.

      And I kind of agree on Green and Barnes on 3s, but the 3 shouldn’t be taken out of their arsenal. But they’ll both have to get more shots to develop confidence, and this might take time.

      • Jenkins is a .45 to .50+ percent 2 point shooter – and let’s face it, most of those shots are open, mid-range jumpers. 3/20 or .15 percent from 3 point land last season (I don’t know how many of them were end of clock chucks) ain’t such a good bet. Until he extends his range and confidence with the 3, I’ll be happy with his deep 2s.

        The W’s could run a couple of screens/plays for Green and Barnes every game – to build their confidence and get them going. They’ve earned it with their solid rookie play.

        • Depending on the match-ups, I don’t mind posting up Bogut or Landry down low to score – since they are both good at it. Plus, Lee, Curry, and Thompson don’t play all 48 minutes and can’t take all the shots! LOL! Plus, Bogut’s defensive impact will be huge. I can’t wait until he’s added to the mix. Unfortunately, this may be next season! LOL!

  6. Wow, so why aren’t you coaching or a GM somewhere since you obviously know better than the pros do. Geez, what a bunch of self effacing dribble. If only the Warriors had listened to you decades ago the Dubs would have championship banners hanging from Oracle. David Lee is a Warrior and a big gamer?? Okay did I miss the big game he has played in with his zero career playoff games?? Lee is a fantastic offense player and rebounder but also one of the worst defenders you will see, he is the definition of madator defense. For a guy so athletic has he ever gotten off the floor to challenge a shot or moved his feet to take a charge? Green is definitely a better defender than Barnes but in the long run I do think Barnes will be the better overall player. Green is the perfect role player that every winning teams needs but don’t get carried away. Lacob inherited a playoff team???? Which team was that?? With what All-Star?? That statement alone should make much of what you wrote suspect so I won’t even bother with going through the rest of the nonsense. But hey congrats on having a blog while you wait for that NBA GM/Head Coach job to come along that your destined for.

    • Uh – did you see Step Curry play his rookie year – that was an all star in the making until they fired Nellie….

      • Curry was an all star player who suffered serious ankle problems for nearly 2 years. Felt, don’t forget the injury!

  7. “Mark Jackson finally grew up as an NBA head coach and embraced the roster he has, and the system he needs.”

    Hear, hear. The results speak for themselves. If Bogut does join the mix he’ll have to adapt to the team, not the other way around. I think he will do that just fine as long as his coach doesn’t try to demonstrate how “transformative” Bogut is.

    Still holding my breath on the coaching, after all the stinkbombs Jackson dropped last year.

  8. I’m glad somebody has been watching the games the past four years and remembers them. Go back and look at the box scores of all the wins and close games, even against the powerhouses, and look at the rosters. (Has Lacob done this?) In most of them the Warriors had only a marginal center or no real center at all. Curry’s first year, and Nelson’s last, they didn’t even have a solid 4. Yet they still produced.

    Then remember how excited people got, here at least, when Lee was acquired and what that might mean for the team. A nucleus was formed that had potential, but essentially was put on hold for two seasons, largely because of the coaching and FO decisions. What this nucleus did in Brooklyn last Friday they have been capable of doing all along.

    As in the past, the Warriors have been forced this season into playing the smaller unit when the center went down. Let’s hope Jackson builds on what he has discovered. Had Bogut started the season healthy, the team might have pursued another course.

    Game log for Curry’s first season here:


    Quick count: nine 10 assist 20 point games, of which five are 10 assist 30+ points. He showed how well he could run an uptempo game his first preseason game.

    The second unit didn’t do badly in Washington, and I was happy to see Jenkins get some time and points. It’s want I most want to see (because it’s all I can realistically hope for, given how limited the roster will be in adding players), that they continue to develop so they’ll be ready down the stretch. And maybe it’s where Barnes needs to be.

  9. I agree that small ball is what the Warriors need to do in order to win as this team is currently constructed. However, they also NEED to be able to play big half court ball as well if they are going to be successful deep into the playoffs. You can’t just discard that part of the game. If the Warriors can master both they can be what the Suns with Nash couldn’t be, and accomplish what they couldn’t accomplish. Also, I respect your opinion and find your analysis to be good. However, your constant pitting against those who preach a different message comes across as arrogant and petulant. Just food for thought.

    • +!

      Small-ball is beatable, just as behemoth-ball is. The trick is in selecting winning matchups and tactics. We saw that in the Orlando game.

      Very few teams are so awesomely talented that they’ll win against any and all styles of play without making game-to-game or in-game adjustments to offset the strengths of their opponents. No matter what style a team is usually best at, their “best” game plan and lineup is the one that will work against that day’s opponent.

      Adding a healthy Bogut to the Ws current mix gives them more options. Sometimes a player with his size and talents will be a winning difference. Cuz no single approach works 100% of the time.

    • Your thoughts on basketball will be addressed in subsequent posts.

      Your thoughts on style were addressed @1 above, by someone who annoys me.

    • “they also NEED to be able to play big half court ball as well if they are going to be successful deep into the playoffs.”

      If that means keeping our bigs down low and clogging the lane instead of spreading the floor, the Warriors will be playing into the other teams’s strengths and negating ours in the backcourt. Feltbot, I’m sure, will have much to say here later.

      • For example, this game against the Bucks, from FB’s recap:

        When Keith Smart opened the game with the twin tower look of Biedrins and Gadzuric, my first thought was: “He’s conceding the game before it’s even begun.” Smart was trying to match up with the Bucks, on their terms, instead of forcing the Bucks to match up with the Warriors, on the Warriors’ terms. We all know what Don Nelson thought about that.

        Do you think that Golden State’s 16 point first quarter was an accident? A simple case of players gone cold on the road? That’s letting Smart off the hook too easy. Smart’s lineup made it easy for the Bucks to match up with the Warriors skill players. Easy to cross-match MBam on Monta. Easy for Jennings to stay glued to Curry. Easy to pack the lane and deny penetration.


        (We lost, 72-79.)

        And putting a larger, slower team on the floor will not help at all against LBJ and Durant, etc.

  10. Excellent post. I can’t begrudge you a little crowing; I’ve seen you take a lot of abuse on other forums from one-dimensional thinkers. Keep doing your thing. I agree with pretty much everything you say except the Klay is destined for greatness predictions. Still, your thoughts on the pick and roll, the proper use of small ball, Steph Curry IS a point guard, David Lee and Chris Webber…. RIGHT ON!

  11. I love some of the comments on this thread. Warriorsablaze, hilarious! Felt, the Warriors can’t afford another injury. I hope your arms are ok after patting yourself on the back so much in this blog.

    (By the way, did you mention the importance of defense or rebounding in your post? Must have been in there somewhere. Let’s see…)

    (Did you mention that Keith Smart (“notso”) was Nelson’s top assistant coach for his last term here? It’s not as if Lacob pulled Smart out of thin air, is it? Nellie’s defensive system here stunk. He put Keith Smart in charge of it. All was not roses.)

  12. Has anyone actually seen Kent Bazemore play? I remember seeing some game where he came in for a few minutes. I think he had 3 steals in about 3 minutes. His hands were so fast at grabbing the ball from an opposing point guard I actually reran the video to verify that he actually swiped it and not just a mistake from the offensive player. I would love to see this guy get a little run.

  13. Buckaroo, if you want to see Bazemore play, he played a D league game for the Santa Cruz Warriors vs Reno a few weeks ago. The game is on Youtube.

    Felt, I should also say that you have been right-on all along about Curry’s greatness (yes, as a point guard!), Smart’s total mishandling of him and Nellie’s terrific evaluation and handling of him. This is an issue that has driven me nuts over the past three seasons–so many bloggers, writers (do you hear us, Matt Steinmetz?) and even Notso, were so wrong in their evaluation of Curry (“he’s a shooting guard, not a point guard”; “look at his assist to to ratio”; “he doesn’t penetrate”; blah blah blah. Kudo’s to you for consistently getting that right.

  14. Thanks to all supporters and critics alike on this thread — I enjoy the dialogue.

    Here’s a recent interview of Stephen Jackson. His favorite team? The 2007 Golden State Warriors.


    Also of interest: The NBA just fined him for threatening Serge Ibaka on twitter.


    • feltmeister, can’t express what a relief to me your words were in re. to c.webber’s actual worth as a winning n.b.a. player, that at least one other person saw the vacuity of his accomplishments. he was sufficiently inflated beyond his contributions during his playing career, and some woeyr fans continue to fuss about the ‘devastating’ long term harm his forced trade brought to the team. plenty of people apparently watched him work for Sac during playoff games vs. LA, yet it didn’t register that he led the team nowhere and expected the guards or wing to make the big plays.

      r.bucher’s account of the webber vs. nelson/front office turned into n.b.a. folklore, and since there had to be a scapegoat, the nonconformist became the easiest target. when enough people convince themselves of the unreal, myth becomes reality. strange to see bucher back with on the local media front after his stint as a national ‘insider’ — makes one wonder about kickbacks from ridder and the lacobite marketing combine [completely legit, if any exist, with all the interconnecting deals and sponsorships].

  15. Relevant to this post, from Lacob’s interview with TK, Nov. 2010:

    LACOB: I think the defensive philosophy is greater than it was. I think we’re clearly a better rebounding team than we were. That’s actually the No. 1 goal. You know, we’ve got great guards here. But how many years has it been since we could rebound the ball?

    You can be fast, you can run fast, all that stuff, go down the court and do all the stuff the previous coach wanted to do, but if you can’t get the ball, what good is it?

    Our No. 1 focus in the off-season, and I had an impact on it, was getting some rebounding in here. Obviously we wanted to change the defensive philosophy and become more of a defensive team as well.

    We need some big bodies, ultimately. Big bangers. We need some more beef inside. I call it beef. We need some more beef inside at some point.

    But we’ve become a pretty darn good rebounding team. And here’s… you guys didn’t ask this question, it’s probably the most important question of all, in respect to the team, Amundson and our No. 1 draft pick, the No. 6 pick in the draft, Ekpe Udoh, these guys haven’t even played yet.

    Amundson’s I think the No. 1 rebounding-per-minute guy in the NBA last year. I think that’s true. So you had those two guys to the mix, to what is already—I think we’re the fifth-rated rebounding team, already, percentage-wise—you add that, we’ve got something very interesting about to happen.

    -LACOB: I think Larry and I are in agreement and have been from the very first time we spoke about this, that we needed to become a defense-rebounding-oriented team. We needed to be able to get the ball, so we could then use our guards.

    We’ve got two incredible guards. So I think combination Celtics—beef, inside, rebounding defense—and Lakers, Showtime of the ‘80s. That’s the way I like to think about it.


    • The above, of course, is confused and incoherent. But when Lacob makes remarks like this, I can’t believe that he hasn’t had direct influence on the coaching decisions made the last years.

      Joe Lacob:
      I hate to say this, but the owner matters. … Our plan, our mind-set was not Don Nelson kind of basketball. We wanted to start with our own people and build it from scratch. We didn’t want any remnants.

      From the youtube repeated @1:
      Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

  16. Fun Quiz – Got this from Coltraning from Adam’s blog:


    I scored an honest man’s 70%. Not proud of it (but “C’s do get degrees”), but I was still wetting my bed nightly when the W’s won their championship – so I got all those questions wrong! LOL!

  17. Agree with everything you write about Curry and D.Lee, but don’t see Thompson as being an assist man.

    Regardless of D.Green’s college proficiency in shooting three’s, he’s not hitting them in the pro’s. He should limited himself to shooting 2’s to see if he can find some consistency.

    The Warriors have to go small given Ezeli’s limitations, Biedrens non-play, and D. Green being a star on defense. Landry and D. Lee very effective down low on offense, and with Curry, Jack and Thompson being effective both on the perimeter and taking it to the hoop, the Warriors are a a force.

    Jackson may agree with his assistants to go small, but I still don’t think that Jackson has much input with regard to what the Warriors do on the court.He has no ability to make adjustments during a game. The Warriors are winning so I care little who gets the credit.

  18. Jerry West wanted Waiters to drop to the Warriors in the draft, but he didn’t. He had that right.

  19. The big improvement for the Warriors is there defense as the Warriors are shooting 45% to their opponents 43%. And ironically that are doing it, by and large, by going small.

    The Warriors are garnering close to one more offensive rebound this year as compared to being down close to 3.5 offensive rebounds per game last year. This is somewhat offset by the Warriors turning the ball over 2 more times than their opponents per game. Last year, I believe, the Warriors had the advantage in committing less turnovers.

    As for players, the Warriors outscore their opponents overall when Lee, Landry, Jack, Curry, Thompson, or D. Green is on the court. So, maybe we should be thankful that D. Green limits himself to taking only three shots per game, given his current lack of offense.

    The Warriors get outscored with Barnes and Ezeli on the court, and do much better when both are sitting. All the Warrior players stats are somewhat skewed by the fact that many played with Thompson early in the season when he got off to a horrendous start.

    Last year’s draft had many good players, nor did this year’s draft for that matter.The Warriors probably did as best they could do drafting Thompson last year. But, they should have chosen Parson over Tyler in the second round.

    I’m still not impressed with Barnes. I can’t see him being an impact player. He’s probably not going to be good as B. Owens, which is not saying much.

    We needed to draft Ezeli given that we didn’t have a back-up. But, he looks like a career back-up center given his inability to shoot and provide weakside help.

    • what’s the irony of succeeding defensively while ‘going small’ frank, really, unless you’re trapped by obsolete modes of thought. the obvious exception of Green (both his college and pro coaches use words like ‘genius’ to describe him) aside, it usually takes experience to play good defense, especially now with players entering with less than three years of high level coaching and competition. ezeli (didn’t even start playing the game ’til a teenager) and barnes look like first year guys. lee, with all his defensive limitations the fans enjoyed pointing at, is smart, experienced, and a team guy (again, fans relish calling him a stat hog).

  20. Warriors hangin’ out in Charlotte

  21. Warriors TV game recap

  22. SB Nation power rankings

    9. GSW David Lee, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry (who took an ankle tweaking in stride this past week) are all having fine Decembers and Draymond Green’s defending impressively in increased minutes off the bench. The short-handed Warriors continue to look remarkably well-rounded, and the next step seems to be eliminating stretches of carelessness so they can make quicker work of bad teams — the Warriors let Detroit and Washington hang with them a bit this past week (and lost to the Magic, too). Stifling nippy bottom-dwellers and earning some blowouts might graduate Golden State from “team with a very good record” to “very good team.”


  23. From SI.com’s The Point Forward

    “The Fundamentals: Big men engineering a defensive turnaround in Golden State”


    • This story is utterly bogus for a lot of reasons that I will get to in later posts. But here’s one:

      “Forward Carl Landry and rookies Festus Ezeli and Draymond Greene have since given Jackson some very different options, and all but erased the three-wing configurations from the rotation.”

      If you’re going to write a piece analyzing the Warriors, shouldn’t you at least watch the games? Or maybe this guy only watches first and third quarters.

  24. From Grantland and Zach Lowe:

    “Q&A: Stephen Curry on the Surprising Warriors”


  25. This piece on Andrew Bynum’s condition makes explicit the connection between damaged cartilage, microfracture surgery, and osteoarthritis, for those of you who are still confused:

    < <<< What is new, and different, is one word. "Cartilage." And the admission, from Bynum, that he's missing some in his left knee, and that even Bynum (the guy that drives on the wrong side of the road, bowls on rehabbed knees, and parks in handicapped spaces when he's healthy) is more than aware of what playing without cartilage in a knee is like. It's, like, unable to overcome. From The Delaware County Times: "Health is going to be an issue. There's nothing I can really do about it. It's arthritis in the knees. Cartilage is missing. That's not going to regrow itself. Maybe in the future, the next three to five years, there may be something out there that really does help. For right now, it's a waiting game." As we've gone over and over while detailing the frustrating career of Brandon Roy, cartilage does not grow again. It's not a ligament that can be repaired or even taken, as Danny Manning's surgeons once did, from a cadaver. Even a season-killing microfracture surgery can't cause the purposeful sort of internal bleeding needed to create that bone-y stuff that rubs up against your bones to return to where it's needed most. >>>>


    A glance at the reference articles in the footnotes to the Wikipedia article on microfracture surgery should also make this clear.


    Microfracture surgery is a remedy for deteriorating cartilage on the bone ends that meet in a joint, which is what causes osteoarthritis, the chronic inflammation of the joint.

    Bogut has osteoarthritis in his ankle, just as he has it in his damaged elbow. As I predicted.

    • Well Feltbot – I think you are 3 for 3 on your big themes in this blog… 1. Biedrins has osteopubitis and is a shell of his former self. A key to his playing is that he can only manage a few minutes of playing time with lots of days off. And Biedrins’ movements are not dynamic, no speed, no burst.
      2. Bogut – has a serious condition in his ankle that required microfracture. I cannot understand why Bogut even tried to play as he was wincing in pain. Microfracture is described as a very fragile recovery and patients must avoid any activity.
      3. The Warriors core with David Lee at center and Curry was built to run a pick and roll offense. I can see now how Tolliver at the PF and Lee at center would have been a strong nucleus. It was the refusal to resign Tolliver that Nelson .

      Great job – your paragraph of self congratulation was overdue…

  26. Since Jenkins is a better shooter than Jack, it’s up to the coach to insure that Jenkins takes more shots than Jack when they are both are on the court together. Jack took 11 shots and made 3 last night. Jenkins took 4 shots and made 3 baskets.

    Even though Barnes is a first year player, one expects more from the 7th pick of the first round. Being a SF and shooting 43% from the field and making less than 1/3 of the 3-pointers, not going to cut it.

    Until D. Green can show he can hit a decent % from the field, he needs to shoot less. How the Warriors outscored their opponents by a wide margin, with his missing all eight his shots, and further committed four turnovers. demonstrates how other Warriors were on. But he contributed by playing great defense and garnering a large number of rebounds last night.

    I was surprised to learn that Waiters is shooting less than 40% from the field. Beal, Michael G, also nothing to write home about. Another indication that except for NO’s Davis, this year’s draft was weak.

  27. On the telecast of the game last night, at one point they showed a closeup Draymond Green talking to Carl Landry. From the perspective of the camera, it appeared Green had at least a few inches on Landry, despite Landry being listed at 6’9 and Green at 6’7.

    • From my perspective behind the W’s bench at a recent game, both Green and Landry are close to the same height: 6-7″. But Green might be an inch shorter: he was dwarfed by Faried.

      I’ve noticed that TV angles can frequently be deceptive.

  28. Felty: I agree that Lacob had a potential play-off team last year. But, by Jackson starting Biedrins and opponents shooting 60% from the field in the first quarter, and the Warriors not running and letting Elis be the focal point of the offense, the Warriors were doomed from the beginning. While not intentional, by doing the foregoing, Lacob and Jackson effectively tanked the season from day one.

    If Udoh had started the whole season and given more playing time, Ellis had not shot as much, the Warriors had run, and Curry and D.Lee were healthy, the Warriors may well have made the play-offs. But, such is pure speculation.

    By the Warriors adding a fourth shooter in Landry, who can play defense,and Curry and D. Lee being the main shooters, the Warriors have gotten off to a good start. To bad Rush went down, and Bogut has not been able to play.

  29. Zach Lowe (IMO the best NBA writer around) with an interesting rundown on potential trade targets/teams


  30. GSW 81.6 chance to make the playoffs? The “great” John Hollinger computes the numbers.


  31. Kevin Love not feeling loved in Minnesota

    “For three seasons around Love, the incompetence of Kahn’s regime ruled the day. For three seasons, Love transformed his body, his talent, his productivity to become one of the most menacing scorers and rebounders in the sport. With Love and Rubio, the Wolves should be shaping into a championship contender.

    The Wolves had successive seasons with the sixth, fourth and second overall picks in the draft, and nothing to show for it. Jonny Flynn is out of the NBA. Wesley Johnson is on his way. And Derrick Williams – the No. 2 overall pick – will be getting one DNP after another on the Wolves’ bench until Kahn finally trades him for next to nothing in the near future. Free agents were signed only to be shipped out when they didn’t perform.

    After four years, Love does believe there’s winning players on this roster, but he understands something else, too: Opportunity after opportunity was wasted to construct a sustainable contender around him, and those chances are gone forever. Love likes most of this roster now, but where’s the staying power to suggest that it’ll grow together? Bottom line: The Wolves should be much further along in their construction, and that’s completely on Kahn.”


    • They should trade Love for Gasol (plus whatever to make the monies work). Pau Gasol paired with fellow Spaniard teammate Ricky Rubio would make a beautiful combination. Love goes back the West Coast/LA and camp out at the three point line spreading the floor in Mike D’Antoni’s system.

  32. Warriors hit South Florida

  33. NBA Mailbag (SI.com)

    With about a quarter of the season gone, there is really only one surprise when I look at the standings. Golden State figured to be better in Year 2 under first-time head coach Mark Jackson. But 14-7? It’s not like they’ve leaned on a home-loaded schedule either. They’re 8-4 on the road and Andrew Bogut, who is easily one of the best half-dozen centers in the league when healthy, has played only four games. They’re giving up an un-Warriors-like 99 points a game. Is it safe to say Jackson has brought some East Coast toughness to the notoriously soft Warriors?
    — Jeffrey Wright, Watertown, Mass.

    They’ve been impressive, Jeffrey. Not only have they missed Bogut (whose absence is large, even though I would not rate him among the NBA’s top six centers — he hasn’t earned that ranking yet), but Klay Thompson also began the year in a shooting slump before recovering his form recently.

    They’re benefiting from the health of Stephen Curry and tremendous contributions from David Lee (who looks like an All-Star) and sixth man Carl Landry. The Warriors are off to their best start in 21 years because Curry has led them to a 11-3 record in games decided by single digits, and because Jackson has raised the standards for team defense and rebounding since last season.

    It isn’t going to be easy for the young Warriors to make the playoffs because the talented Lakers and Nuggets — both currently outside the top eight — figure to climb up the standings as the season progresses. But any team that is 7-2 against opponents with .500-or-better records is by definition a playoff contender.


  34. Andris Biedrins is no longer the worst free throw shooter I’ve ever seen… LOL!

  35. Woof! Woof! Woof!

    The joy is seeing all the guys play with such confidence. And Jefferson’s calf strain was a blessing—they probably would have worked him in more minutes otherwise.

    For me the key to the last minutes was pushing the pace. They walked it up one, then pushed the next several, with success. Barnett mentioned this.

    Jackson was asked what his plan was for the last play, the Green shot, and he said exactly what we saw.

  36. Oh yeah! I take it Mark Jackson will be around awhile…

  37. Great win tonight in Miami. The Warriors (coaches and players) are showing the league and the national media that they’re for real, and for obvious reasons they’re a group that will only get better as the season moves along.

    Given all the great athletes in pro sports maybe one of the biggest factors that determine ultimate success is team confidence, which the Warriors now have in spades. Beating a team like Miami, and especially at their place, and doubly-especially when the Heat were rested, playing well and fully aware that a hot team was coming to town (i e ready to give GSW their best shot), gives the Warriors confidence that they can play with and beat anyone in the league. The fact they’ve now won 9 of their first 13 road games is remarkable for such a young team.

    It’s still early but this is a really good TEAM that’s doing what they’re doing while they rebuild-on-the-run (one of the youngest teams in the NBA) and continue to wait for the return of one of their better players (Bogut). It’s getting more fun by the day to be a Warriors fan.

  38. Meanwhile, about 400 miles to the south Magic Johnson talks about the Lakers and their latest new coach……….

    “His system doesn’t fit the talent that the Lakers have,” Johnson told reporters at Dodger Stadium. “You can’t run with this team. Where are the runners? You got one dude who can get up and down the court and that’s Kobe (Bryant). Ron (Metta World Peace), love him, but he’s slow. Both of our big men, not fast guys. (D’Antoni) has got to say, `Maybe I should scale it back.”‘

    Part of Johnson’s concerns reflected the Lakers’ struggle with transition defense. The Lakers (9-13) rank last in fast-break points allowed (16.4 ppg).

    Johnson’s most pointed criticism involved Lakers forward Pau Gasol. Before missing the past five games because of knee tendinitis, Gasol had averaged a career-low 12.6 points per game.

    “He is the best passing big man in the game, but you have him at the free-throw line” waiting for the ball, Johnson said. “That makes no sense. That’s not his game. His game is catch it on the low block, face his man, one dribble left or right, he’s in the cup, nice hook, nice move because he’s got great moves.”

    D’Antoni and Gasol acknowledged his struggles with conditioning and adapting to his role. D’Antoni even benched him for an entire fourth quarter against Memphis two weeks ago.

    “Now all the blame is on his shoulders, like he’s not performing well,” Johnson said of Gasol. “He can’t take that. That’s not who he is. They got to put him in a winning situation because once Gasol starts playing well, I think the team will play well.”

  39. Love this from GSOM:

    “Wow. Where do you even start with a game like this? A huge win. Let me get some things off my chest. There are a few Warriors that I feel a need to simultaneously praise and apologize to:

    1. David Lee. I have been a huge detractor of yours for a few years now. I’ve probably said as much bad about your game as anyone. I’ve devised countless trades designed solely to dump your “burdensome contract”. David Lee, I apologize. I don’t know if you can keep this up for the next 3 seasons, but right now, you are worth your salary. More than that, you are —> <—– close to earning my vote for the All-Star game. You've been that good. I don't know what got into you, but whatever it is, keep doing your thing.

    2.Jarret Jack. I didn't believe in you. I thought you put up "empty" stats. I thought your "toughness" was overrated. I thought you would be exposed by getting significant minutes in important game-on-the-line situations. Jarret Jack, I apologize. You are a better point guard than I gave you credit for. You are needed on this team. Keep doing your thing.

    3.Mark Jackson. I though we should have hired Dwane Casey. I was wrong. You have been the perfect coach for this team. I can see now that your toughness and effort has rubbed off on this team. You were not the most talented player, but you made the most of your talent. This team is doing the same thing. I don't know how the transformation happened this quick. Maybe it was that visit you had with Jim Harbaugh last season. I don't know. Regardless, Mark Jackson, I apologize. Keep doing your thing."


  40. Steve – great work. Gotta love this from Lebron about Green:
    “After the game, James talked to Green to congratulate him.
    “He played hard, it was great competition out there between me and him,” James said. “I’ve also respected him especially in college, a big-time player and no one really gave him a shot, but you can tell he knows how to play the game.”

    “Any team that got him he will find a way to get minutes because he knows how to play the game and (Golden State) is a good fit for him. It was good to see him out there.”
    Classy of Lebron…

  41. For Surging Warriors, A Time To Dance

    By Michael Wallace

    MIAMI — Golden State Warriors rookie forward Draymond Green stood in the corner of a festive visitors locker room Wednesday trying to explain what was said during his heated exchange with LeBron James in the fourth quarter.

    At the time, James had risen in the lane to score despite strong defense and plenty of contact from Green with nine minutes left and the Miami Heat trying to put away the Warriors.

    Green committed the foul, and James scored anyway. But before he went to the free throw line to complete the 3-point play, the three-time MVP stood face-to-face with Green and delivered the youngster a strong message.

    “He said, ‘[Dude], you’re not strong enough to stop me — you need some help,'” Green recalled after the game as he laughed with a teammate. “And I said, ‘Yeah, whatever man. But I bet you won’t score again.’ He scored again, though. … But still. You know what I’m saying?”

    Green didn’t back down from James, and the Warriors certainly didn’t shrink in a big moment against the Heat. James scored many of his game-high 31 points on Green. But none were bigger than the game-winning basket Green scored on a layup with nine-tenths of a second left to deliver the upstart Warriors their signature victory of the season in a 97-95 stunner against the defending champions.

    Now might be as good a time as ever to get to know these streaking Warriors, whose win over Miami moved improved them to 5-0 to start a road trip for the first time since the 1978-79 season. Of course, with a playing rotation that includes three rookies, none of the Warriors were born the last time the team had a stretch this successful outside the Bay Area.

    Perhaps this was the type of victory that will make the mainstream take notice. Despite getting off to their best start since the 1991-92 season, the Warriors (15-7) are still overshadowed on the West coast — and in their own state — by the turmoil that has engulfed the Los Angeles Lakers.

    They lack the San Antonio Spurs’ experience and credibility, are considered far less relevant than the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers, and weren’t even involved in the sort of major offseason trade that garnered the headlines and interest that teams such as the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets received.

    Instead, second-year coach Mark Jackson, forgotten man David Lee and a finally healthy Stephen Curry have gone about their business quickly and productively. After taking down James and handing the Heat only their second home loss of the season, the Warriors now have the kind of statement victory on their young résumé that just might get the league talking about them for a change.

    “It’s definitely surprising the league,” Lee said. “I think when we came into the season, they said we had a zero percent chance of making the playoffs, we were going to finish 13th in the West. There were a lot of attacks on our players personally, then negative things going into the season. But all we’re trying to do is just win as a team.”

    When asked for the source of their improved play so far this season, the Warriors point to two areas: defense and rebounding. Golden State jumped from 26th last season to 12th this season in overall defensive efficiency, and ranked ninth in total rebounds entering Wednesday’s game.

    They’ve managed to get stingier on one end of the court while remaining explosive on offense with streaky shooting from Curry, Klay Thompson and rookie Harrison Barnes. And the Warriors have made these early strides while two key veterans — Richard Jefferson and Andrew Bogut — have missed either all or much of the season with injuries.

    But there’s been no shortage of fight and resolve. Green showed that much in his moment with James, who after the game congratulated him on the victory.

    “It was great,” Green said of his follow-up conversation with James. “I’m not going to back down from anyone, though. Yes, he is one of the greatest players in the world, but that’s not a license for me to back down. I’m trying to make a name for myself in this league like he did one day, way, way, way back in the day, once upon a time.”

    Several players seemed offended after beating the Heat that the Warriors haven’t been a bigger story, that it shouldn’t take Wednesday’s win for them to be taken more seriously.

    Veteran point guard Jarrett Jack, who had the assist on Green’s game-winning basket, said the next step is for the Warriors to believe they belong among the top teams.

    “Don’t get me wrong; we know the Heat is a high-power caliber team,” said Jack, who had the assist on Green’s game-winning basket. “But we’re another ballclub than people are used to seeing. I told my guys, because we kind of celebrated after that basket went in, I was like, ‘We didn’t do much. It’s just one game.’ Don’t be surprised with some things we do on this nice journey.”

    Jack’s attempt to temper the celebration the Warriors had on the court and in the locker room after the win proved to be one of the few times he wasn’t on the same page with his coach. Jackson had no problem with his team taking a few moments to enjoy the biggest win of their season so far.

    It wasn’t a sign of disrespect against the Heat. In fact, it was exactly the opposite. Winning on the road against the defending champions, who have two of the best players of all time at their positions in James and Dwyane Wade, is proof of just how much potential these Warriors possess.

    When you’re a veteran team, there’s no such thing as statement wins in December. When you’re a young team with five rotation players born since 1988, a victory the magnitude of Wednesday’s is the biggest thing to happen since many of them played in the NCAA tournament.

    With the Warriors staying overnight in Miami before moving on to play Orlando on Friday, Jackson’s only concern after the game was that his players avoid the potential trappings of a late night out on South Beach.

    “Extremely, extremely big win for us,” Jackson said of his message to the team. “I apologize for not being a normal coach. But we are 15-7. Enjoy it. And I put a warning out there. I know that Miami is undefeated, as far as this place goes, so I told the guys to be awfully careful. Enjoy themselves and let’s get back to business tomorrow.”

    The Warriors left the arena knowing they had the talent it took to conquer the high-powered team they faced Wednesday. They also had the confidence they needed to take on the glitzy and glamorous town that awaited them.


  42. Warriors TV covers GSW both before and after the game with Miami


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