The Barnes Identity: Warriors 115 Clippers 94

There are plenty of reasons to discount this Warriors win over the Clippers. I sensed this would be a blowout before it happened, and missed an opportunity to make myself look good by predicting it in the last thread. I have noticed before that when teams come off a long winning streak, they often suffer a sustained letdown. This was also a road back-to-back. The Clippers were without Caron Butler, which threw off their normal rotation and further sapped their energy. And they are certainly looking ahead to the Lakers on Friday.       

But the truth of the matter is that the Warriors are legitimately a very tough matchup for the Clippers. For two reasons. First, because of their fabulously talented small-ball roster, led by Stephen Curry and David Lee. And second, because the Warriors’ coaching staff owns the blueprint to beating the Clippers on both sides of the ball.

On offense, you beat them with Nellieball. 23 fast break points, rampant early offense and Stephen Curry walkup threes.

In the half-court, pick and roll with a spread floor: pull the shot-blockers out of the lane, or force them off the court entirely.

That’s how the small-ball Warriors destroy a dominant half-court defense.

Continued kudos to Mark Jackson for empowering the Warriors’ new style of play.

Throw in a little successful “gimmick” defense, and you have the makings of a blowout. The gimmick in this case was playing Ezeli and Biedrins on Blake Griffin.

The uninformed media (with Fitz at the forefront) kept talking about the matchup between David Lee and Blake Griffin. I’ll let you in on a little secret: that matchup NEVER HAPPENED. The Warriors guarded Griffin with their centers for the most part, and when they went to small ball in the fourth quarter, with Carl Landry.

And the Warriors centers completely shut down Griffin, just as they were supposed to do against a player with absolutely no outside shot, and no post game. If you prevent him from dunking, you’re more than halfway home against this Clippers team.

Mark Jackson said post-game he put his centers on Griffin because “research” indicated that was the proper game plan. Research? That’s a fancy word. Was this “research” spit out by some advanced analytics algorithm in Kirk Lacob’s computer?

I stated in March of last year that Jackson was blowing it by not having his centers guard Blake Griffin. How did I know that? Because I had seen the great Rick Adelman do it, and dominate Griffin with Darko Milicic!

Sometimes watching the games works too.

Stephen Curry and David Lee: These two players proved last night why their pick and roll is absolutely unstoppable. In the first half the Clippers guarded it conventionally, and Curry simply buried them with quick threes.

In the second half, the Clippers were determined to take Curry out of the game. They put their best defender, 6-7″ Matt Barnes, on him. Making it harder for Curry to shoot over the defense. And they trapped Curry on the high screen to boot.

This worked quite well in the third quarter, with Ezeli and then Biedrins on the floor. But in the fourth quarter, David Lee became the pick-setter with a spread floor. Now when the Clippers trapped, Curry simply got the ball to Lee all alone at the top of the key, and the Warriors played four on three with Lee as the point guard.

Game Over.

Why O why were we made to wait so long to see these two great players empowered in the right system? And why do the mainstream media insist on continually maddening me by telling us how much David Lee and Stephen Curry have grown as players?

That’s not what happened. What happened is that Mark Jackson threw off Joe Lacob’s shackles and grew as a coach.

With a little help from an osteoarthritic ankle.


“I think he is in search of an identity, even if he has a ‘brand’.”

This recent comment (43 on this thread) by blog friend Andria summarizes perfectly my current opinion of Harrison Barnes. Since the season began I have been asking myself, what sort of player can Barnes become in the NBA? Which former or current player does he most resemble? The pre-draft comparisons to Glen Rice I found unsatisfying. Although there are certain similarities — particularly in their attitude towards dirty work — Barnes is more athletic than Rice was. And I think it’s clear Barnes will never be the kind of shooter Rice was.

So what identity did the Warriors envision for Barnes when they drafted him?

I’ve developed a theory about this, which I’ll get to below.

In the last two games, ever since I threatened to drop my analysis of Barnes, the Warriors have made a determined effort to get The Brand going in the first quarter. (Of course, I’m not reading anything into that.)

And it has certainly helped Barnes put some points on the board. Particularly in the first quarter, when the scoring comes easy. And Barnes has on occasion looked good, especially when his defender hasn’t read the scouting report, and allows him to drive. He dunks pretty.

But the fact of the matter is that Barnes simply isn’t helping the Warriors very much. He is a horribly inefficient offensive player, shooting 41.9% from the field as a forward, 34% from three, 70% from the line. And he’s doing that quite frequently against the other team’s worst defender.

Take last night, for example. In the first half, the Clippers used their best defender, small forward Matt Barnes, on Klay Thompson. Barnes was guarded by Willie Green, a 6-3″ two guard.

In the second half, it got more embarrassing. The Clippers went small, and guarded Barnes with Jamal Crawford. Now, THAT’S disrespect. Mark Jackson was mortally offended by this matchup, and determined to force-feed Barnes in the mid-post, to punish the much smaller and defensively invisible Crawford. It didn’t work. Partly because the Clippers sent a double team when Barnes put the ball on the floor, but mainly because Barnes has a wretched mid-range game once his drive is taken away.

After going 5-8 in the first half, on mainly layups, Barnes was 0-5 in the 3rd Q, on off-balance midrange shots.

This has been something of a theme lately, the Warriors forcing the ball into Barnes in the mid-post. And in fact, based on the large number of mid-post isos Barnes has been getting, I have developed a theory of how the Warriors see him. What they’d like him to become.

It is apparent to me that the Warriors see Barnes as some sort of Carmelo Anthony-lite. He of the dominant mid-post game. He whom Joe Lacob coveted when he was being shopped by Denver. He for whom Joe Lacob wanted to trade Stephen Curry.

I see a couple of problems with that. The first is that Barnes is a long, long way from Carmelo Anthony. Although he’s listed at Anthony’s height, he lacks Anthony’s heft and overpowering strength taking the ball to the rack. And he’s never had Anthony’s midrange scoring touch. He has simply been horrible trying to make something happen from the mid-post. I’d like to see the stats on that.

And second is that — up to this year at any rate — many of the smartest minds in the NBA have felt that even the real Carmelo Anthony is overrated as a team contributor. Inefficient on offense. A ball-stopper. Mediocre on defense.

In fact, Carmelo’s great improvement this season has coincided with his move to power forward, where he is virtually unguardable, and his defense can be hidden.

Which brings us to the topic of defense. I’ll keep this brief. Last night, Barnes was used to guard Matt Barnes, 19 points on 8-14, and Jamal Crawford, 24 points on 8-17.

Hmmm. I wonder what The Brand would think of being made a power forward?

Barnes did turn in a good rebounding performance last night. On paper. I say that because I continue to note that almost all of Barnes’ rebounds are of the opportunistic variety. He is very good at running down uncontested defensive boards.

Contested rebounds are a completely different story. I don’t see Barnes laying a body on somebody and ripping down a contested rebound very often. If at all. There is a stark contrast between him and Draymond Green in this regard. Not to mention Carl Landry, who is the same height as Barnes.

Many may feel that I’m being far too critical of The Brand, too early in his rookie campaign. And perhaps I am. There is a lot of room for him to grow, no question.

But what I intend to do here is to strip away the false analysis of Barnes’ better performances that you are getting from the Warriors media. And give you an idea of the ground rules by which I’m developing my own, independent analysis.

Is Klay Thompson a winning basketball player? At small forward, no doubt in my mind. Festus Ezeli? No doubt in my mind. Draymond Green? No doubt in my mind, so long as his coaches allow him to develop his three point shooting.

Harrison Barnes?

Feltbot’s jury is out.

Terrence Ross: You know who’s playing great right now? The #8 pick in last year’s draft. 26 points on 14 shots last night. 6-9 from three.

Terrence Ross, the 6-7″ shooting guard, who was considered not only the most athletic player in last year’s draft, but the best defender of wings. A true wing stopper. Or what I like to call a true Nellieball wing.

Terrence Ross, who could have shifted Klay Thompson to the three to start the game, where he belongs, and shut down starting twos.

You know who else is playing great, ever since Kyle Lowry got injured, and Ross’ role increased? Ross’ team, the Toronto Raptors, winners of eight of their last nine games.

I’m just saying.

Because no one else is.

225 Responses to The Barnes Identity: Warriors 115 Clippers 94

  1. Worth the wait, FB.

  2. Lacob talks about the direction of the team and his focus and intent, from Steve’s link on the previous post—thanks Steve:

    I think it’s a testament to the plan, and that plan from Day One was to change everything about the focus of the Warriors. We’ve become more of a defensive-oriented team, based on defense and rebounding first and foremost. As much as Warriors fans want to see great offense, that’s certainly nice and do want to push the pace. But you can’t score if you don’t have the ball, and this team was 30th in rebounding – that was the most glaring statistic when we looked at it. Four years in a row? It’s really hard to do that, by the way. Mark has been so on point, with the entire coaching staff, with the plan. We were all in sync on this – defense and rebounding, no matter what. We have to work every possession to be a gritty team, and that’s a focus and a testament to Mark and the coaching staff to impose their plan and their will and to really change the way every player on this team thinks, the way our entire organization thinks. That has worked. That culture change is probably first and foremost the biggest thing.

  3. warriorsablaze

    Not sure why you give Harrison the sole blame for Crawford and Barnes’ output considering Klay spent more time guarding them. Klay has been the weakest defender on the floor most nights, being beaten backdoor more than anyone I’ve ever seen. He’s a ball watcher and often loses his man. I’ll take Harrison’s 9 opportunistic rebounds in 25 minutes over Klay’s almost non-existent 3 in 35. Curry is a better rebounder than Klay. If your 3 (as you think Klay should be) is barely averaging 4 boards a game, you’re going to have trouble.

    I like Barnes’ potential as a slasher (if he dramatically improves his ball-handling), but you’re right that the mid-range game is sub par right now. He’s lucky he’s on a good team so as not to be forced to be “the man” before he’s ready… because he’s clearly not.

    • Have to gree with WAB on this one. Klay was on Jamal a significant portion of the game. In fact looked to me that’s why Klay was sitting in the 2nd half.

      Klay has this annoying method of leaving his man, but not providing help on defense at the same time. No way Thompson played better D than Harrison. Also, the 8 rebounds by Barnes was five more than Klay. Jury is still out in MHO.

      • Many of the same flaws you bring u p about HB can be said about KT.

        eg, lack of Rebounding, Defense etc. Note: Lakers put Nash on Klay in the fourth quater, and Nash shut him out. That would be Steve Nash…

  4. Many knowledgable Tar Heel fans felt pretty much the same way about Harrison Barnes. If he played baseball, his uni wouldn’t get dirty very often.

    • Oh, goody, this sounds like fun. How about…….if Tim Lincecum played basketball he wouldn’t get many rebounds? And this would say what about his toughness and/or heart?

      There was one guy who played lots of baseball around these parts and almost never got his “uni” dirty, Barry Bonds, and another who’s “uni” was seemingly always covered in dirt, Al Gallagher, a career .260 hitter.

      Sorry, but your Barnes “uni wouldn’t get dirty very often” analogy sucks.

      • It’s easy to dispute any analogy if you really want to. NCV’s point stands, though. So far, Barnes hasn’t made a habit of mixing it up under the boards, in college or the pros.

        Maybe that will come with time. It’s not like Barnes couldn’t do it. He certainly has the tools.

        • “It’s easy to dispute any analogy if you really want to.”


          Congratulations, you’ve just correctly identified the reason for my post. Yes, I really wanted to.

          And from you, of all people, Mr. Baseball. LOL

  5. Not sure how good HBarnes will be by the time he hits the ripe old age of, say, 25, but one of the game-glimpses into his future potential that has been the most eye-opening for me personally was his 4th qtr play vs the Lakers recently. He was the only young player out there, when the Warriors were trying to maintain their late game lead, who didn’t seem overwhelmed by the moment/situation, who really came through with some big plays/baskets when his team was in desperate need of someone stepping up.

    Right now I think he does everything OK. It’ll be up to him to work hard to the point where in the future “OK” turns into “really well” or even “great”. The odds that his game will eventually escalate to those more elite levels, IMO, are pretty good. And beyond everything else, I’ve already seen enough to conclude that having Barnes still available to draft at #7 was quite the fortuitous opportunity for GSW.

  6. Thanks FB!
    No need to continue discounting W’s wins anymore (or apologize for their success!) – they are a very good NBA team right now. And the Clips Caron Butler? He’s never been much of a game-changing player anyways, especially now nearing the end of his career…

    Andrew Bogut being out – arguably THE best defensive center in the game who can also handle, pass, and finish – is a negative, not a positive…

    The Clippers WILL be looking forward to the LA Lakers on Friday… Saturday? Likely overlooked, physically challenged, mentally drained again in playing the Warriors. Warriors? I hope they get greedy – perhaps we’ll see their mental makeup yet again. I’m not a betting man, but if I were? Warriors looking as well positioned on Saturday to win as ever, but who knows?

    FB might be right on Terrence Ross. And maybe not. Perhaps 3 or 4 years from now, someone “smart” can tell us in hindsight who the W’s could have selected instead of Harrison Barnes at #7.

    W’s fans need to wait a little longer to evaluate Harrison Barnes – who is still an elite NBA prospect. Barnes CAN get much, much better. I’m convinced Barnes has ALL the physical tools of a great NBA player. And he’s still only 20… I like what I see so far…

  7. Warriors talk from 95.7FM The Game:

    Arash Markazi (ESPN LA)

  8. Kenny Smith told the Warriors they have an identity; watch the little one-on-one between Jackson and Biedrins at the very end. AB lookin’ happy and spry these days. Unreal.

  9. With the Warriors shooting almost 46% from the field and our opponents 42%, one would expect the Warriors to garner more defensive rebounds and they have. On the other hand, one would expect our opponents to secure more offensive rebounds as the result of missing so many more shots, and they haven’t. In fact, the Warriors have avg. almost one more offensive rebounds per game a tribute to their improved rebounding on the defensive boards. And the Warriors have done this playing small ball.

    But, our slight advantage in 1 more possession per game via the offensive boards, is offset by the Warriors committing almost two more turnovers than our opponents. A net of one more possession via turnovers in virtually meaningless.

    In Nellie’s ear the Warriors got killed on the offensive boards, but committed less turnovers than their opponents.

    The Warriors real prowess is it’s defense, holding teams to shooting 42% from the field, not defensive rebounding. Match-ups are just one part of defense.

    Ross and Barnes are virtually statistically the same, and Barnes is far superior in garnering defensive rebounds, which may be attributed to the Warriors emphasis on defensive rebounds, which may not be Toronto’s focal point. So one cannot draw any conclusion as to who is a better player. I’m still intrigued by Henson who plays for the Bucks. He’s a power forward.

    Barnes driving to the hoop has changed dramatically. He’s no longer driving erect, gets closer to the hoop before laying the ball up, and is using the backboard more often. I agree with you that he’s strength is garnering uncontested rebounds. He’s still a work in progress. But as of late he really has helped the Warriors, especially in the first quarter. He may well turn out to be a Mike Dunlevy type of role player.

    K.Thompson commits stupid fouls, steps out of bounds, is a crap shoot in the open court, loses sight of his opponent which results in his opponent blowing by him, and he makes bad passes. Other than shooting three’ s, placing the ball in his hands is a risky proposition. .

  10. Zach Lowe’s look at ROY and Coach of Year races. Mark Jackson deservedly leading, and the Brand deservedly not mentioned.

    • We’ve speculated that coaching is done by committee, that much of the planning is done by assistants, and criticized this, but it may, in fact, be an asset and one of Jackson’s strengths may be that he listens.

      I like listening to his assistants at the breaks, especially Malone and Erman. They are sharp and and quick and look to be on top of the game at any moment, which helps them make adjustments. If there’s any time more heads are needed, it’s during the rapid pace of the game. And if we’ve seen anything, it’s that the team makes many adjustments during the games. Maybe not all of them are good, but I like the spirit of trying things out rather than forcing a preset plan. They’ll learn from their mistakes. Wherever they came from, the adjustments to defense and its rotations have worked.

      And I’m enjoying more his postgame comments more. Now that he has a full team and is winning and may not have to worry about his job, he looks at ease and shows confidence and knowledge.

      Jackson, I’m sure, has his own input and makes final decisions. Nor is he dumb about the game. I’ll ring up your own Jackson quotations in your post some time ago:

      “Don’t try to walk it up, that’s when they were a bad team. Put pressure on the defense by pushing it down their throat. You have the best players in the world, force the issue offensively.”

      “Absolutely not. We will push the basketball. We will look to make plays in transition.” – Jackson when asked whether he will move the Warriors away from their up-and-down style (interview at NBA Finals).

      “You are doing the defense a favor when you post up Lee or Biedrins.” – Mark Jackson doing the Warriors v. Lakers preseason game.

      I wonder what he has to say about posting up Bogut. Or maybe what he really thinks but perhaps cannot say.

      Jackson is also well respected by other players—and former players who are now broadcasting. This can’t hurt. His many years of experience as a guard himself can only help.

      He puts faith (with a small “f”) in his players, individually and as a team, and they have responded. This motivates them and encourages their leadership and cooperation on the court. But of course with the character of the players he has, this is not hard to do at all. We saw what happened with Smart and Curry—and maybe the other players.

      The intangibles do matter.

      Most, he believes in Curry:

      “I believe he has an awfully bright future as a point guard in the league because he makes quality decisions and has the ability to flourish in either a movement-based system or a point-guard-dominant system where he would use the pick-and-roll more. That’s because of his quickness and amazing ability to shoot.”

      Again from your post. This belief in Curry is also a belief in teamwork, because that’s what defines Curry.

      (From your tweet) Pau Gasol, I read has mild plantar fasciitis, the same condition that has sidelined and slowed Nene.

      • +1

        re Gasol, he definitely has leg issues, but he’s been completely marginalized in D’Antoni’s system. He needs to be either traded, or moved to the second unit.

        Or D’Antoni needs to change his system. Magic and Bill Simmons absolutely killed him last night, accusing him trying to… Pound a round peg into a square hole. And I agree with them! The Lakers are not built for Nellieball. They need to slow the pace and concentrate on shutting teams down.

        • Yes, fire the coach D’Antoni or change the roster to run his system… They never should have hired D’Antoni to begin with… Buss, the son, should let basketball people make this decision… Brown, then D’Antoni? Wrong on so many levels.

          Actually, I hope the Lakers stink for a long time! LOL!

  11. rgg: Listening to Malone and Erman during time outs. which one speaks addresses defensive issues?

    • Both, no? But primarily Malone. Your point?

      I don’t think we’ll ever be able to separate the different input, know who says what or has what influence. They’re certainly not going to take credit themselves or challenge Jackson’s authority as head coach. Nor is Jackson going to slight his assistants. The point is the guys are talking and passing stuff around and working it out.

      They also have to appease the owner when they talk to the public, @2:

      “We were all in sync on this – defense and rebounding, no matter what.”

      None of the guys have said anything similar, but they do have to satisfy Lacob and his simplistic notions of the game. They’ll throw the words “defense” and “rebounding” every chance they get. They may even have to juice up rebounding stats just to appease Lacob to be able to do the other things they need to do to win. I wouldn’t be surprised, if their rebounding stats were down instead of up, there wouldn’t have been pressure to change their game plan and lineup.

      “We have to work every possession to be a gritty team, and that’s a focus and a testament to Mark and the coaching staff to impose their plan and their will and to really change the way every player on this team thinks, the way our entire organization thinks.”

      And I don’t see the staff imposing their plan or will on anybody. The players and coaches are working things out together. Only Lacob, in his ego and his distance from the players and the game itself—and much else, it appears—would think these thing have to be forced.

      I don’t think the players or coaches are absorbed with creating a winning culture. I suspect, rather, they are committed to winning.

  12. Great article on the defensive genius of Tom Thibodeau:

    Something to note: “In short, the corner three is the best non-dunk shot possible.” (Could someone please pass this along to Fitz?)

    • A foot or two does make a difference at that range, and it’s the reason I’m reluctant to push 3’s for a player like Green, who doesn’t look confident out there. Jenkins will take long 2’s, but not step back for 3’s because that’s his range, now anyway.

      D’Antoni’s and the Lakers’ real problem may be that they don’t have consistent 3 point shooters. MWP and Meeks are streaky. Gasol is 25% career there.

      Except for Nash. I wonder why he doesn’t shoot more. He may be their best shooter (cf. Curry).

  13. More evidence that three point shots are the best shots in basketball. As well as evidence that shooting QUICK threes is far better than running offense.

    “One last point we’ll address in this article is that despite the angst often heard when players take a pass and go up with the shot right away (“they shouldn’t settle for that shot…”), the reality is players in the NBA are more efficient overall when they don’t change zones after receiving the ball.”

  14. rgg: Someone changed the Warriors defensive alignments from last year. I was just wondering if it was Malone or Erman. Maybe it’s Erman, Since he joined the coaching staff this year.

    If Bogut and Rush played this year, would the Warriors be the best team in the NBA?

    • Erman is the staff’s direct link to the Bos bench, where Thibodeau rebuilt the defense. the single biggest change from last season’s defense is how they defend the screen and roll, and like many other teams they’ve gone to imitating thibodeau’s system. Malone would be perfectly capable of installing the system but with the lockout last year there was virtually no time to do so. not to mention the roster changes at the 2/3 ; the die-hard ellis advocates here and on other fan sites will never have to concede how incompatible their guy would be for the scheme that puts the court coverage and decision making burden on the guards and wings.

      • (I was writing my comment while you posted—forgot about the Thibodeau link.)

        I may make one last stand for Ellis yet, but it’s a moot point. But personally I have to confess I’m much happier seeing Curry running the team, and I much prefer the Jack and Curry guard combo.

    • There’s a fine Grantland piece by Zach Lowe on the defensive change—I believe Steve pointed it out—which notes this:

      “It’s nice to preach effort and passion and hustle, but the real story starts with boring old X’s and O’s. Mark Jackson, at the urging of his staff, decided over the summer to completely revamp Golden State’s basic defensive philosophy. . . .”

      And we’ll never know who recommended what, but the whole staff buys into it.

      “Golden State has ditched [last year’s] strategy. On pick-and-rolls in the middle of the floor, the Warriors now have their point guards try to force opposing ball handlers in a particular direction while the big man on the screener drops down toward the foul line on that side of the screen. The goal is to force the ball handler into a pocket above the foul line — to have the big man (Lee, Landry, whomever) waiting there, walling off the paint, as Stephen Curry or Jarrett Jack chases the opposing point guard from behind. It is the job of Curry and Jack to take away one direction at the start of the pick-and-roll, and to direct the the opposing guard the other way. At times, that means overplaying an opponent’s strong hand. At other times, it means jumping right in front of the screener, blocking the point guard’s path around the pick, and forcing him to dribble away from it.”

      The piece is a joy to read. And Lowe ends with this cautionary note:

      “They’re in the thick of it as is, and if they keep defending like this, they could stay there even without Bogut. It remains to be seen if they can do that without sabotaging their offense or stretching their defense too thin.”

      He obviously doesn’t buy into the idea of defense no matter what.

      And no. Experience, sheer talent, and depth of the top 4 teams will win out. Bogut, if he ever returns, will have to fit into the system they now have. I wonder if he will slow transition offense, but I have good memories of two fast breaks he made, passed to by Curry.

      It is intriguing, though, to think what if. Rush, a versatile player with some experience, would have provided all kinds of options. Bogut is a center with physical presence and some skills the others lack. And S Jax would have given the team the two guard FB covets—a good defender and scorer—except he’s at the end of his career and I have trouble seeing him fit in with this team.

      • And note the defense of the Lee/Landry pair:

        “The Warriors have come out ahead with that duo on the floor, but only because their scoring has jumped off the charts — to 113.4 points per 100 possessions, which would lead the league by a mile. And the defense? Well, it hasn’t fallen apart, but it’s not good. Golden State is allowing 104.6 points per 100 possessions when Lee and Landry play together, about equivalent to Phoenix’s 26th-ranked D, and their defensive rebounding rate has fallen to a hair below league-average.”

        I.e., they gain more than they give up. It’s not defense no matter what. His comments on Lee need rebuttal, but we’ve hear that here.

  15. Well, I’ll be making my prediction before the game as opposed to AFTER the game like some bloggers we know. :-)

    W’s lose. :-(

    • Oh, omnipotent one, I bow to your prognostic powers. LOL

      Actually, this game was fairly easy to predict from strictly a win/lose standpoint, but the degree of beat down I didn’t see coming. Of course, when the other team is making every shot imaginable, including banked-threes, and you’re life and death to score more than 10 points in 12 minutes, I guess losing by 25+ makes sense.

      Hopefully another lesson learned for the young Warriors. LAC was mentally ready x 100 to play this game after losing big the other night (and being down 0-2 in the season series), while GSW clearly (mentally) approached this just like it was another game, period.

      The one thing I did like was when the camera showed the Warriors’ regulars sitting and watching most of the 4th qtr there was no smiling or joking around to be seen. The saying that a team hates losing more than they enjoy winning hopefully applies to the Warriors. Their pained expressions certainly qualified in that regard.

      Brytex, here’s the real challenge for your predictive powers. Who wins when these two teams meet for one last time in the regular season on Jan 21 at The Oracle? With this game still fresh in their minds (only two weeks from now) the Warriors are going to want to show that the game tonight was a fluke and that they’re the better team (a 3-1 season series win). Equally, the Clippers are going to want to say that their win tonight wasn’t just a one game thing and that winning two in a row vs GSW would clearly establish who the better team is.

      On second thought, with a really tough matchup/team coming up on Wednesday (Memphis) the Warriors had best “respond” a lot sooner than two weeks from now.

      • Honestly – I’d like to see Andrew Bogut in the lineup although the Jan 21 rematch is too soon. Perhaps the playoffs! No way Griffin punks Bogut in the post like he did Ezeli and Biedrins and Landry.

  16. My recap @LAC:

    1) Pretty sure the only correct strategy down 20 at the half is to play small with a 3 point shooter at four. Barnes, RJ, or Green, not Landry.

    Guard Griffin with Lee, and Landry as backup 5. Guard Jordan with your smallball four. And foul him.

    When Mark Jackson gets this in his repertoire, he will have truly arrived.

    2) Warriors laid an egg after an overnight in South Beach. Now again after an overnight in LA.


    • Felt, I don’t think it was coincidence at all, especially considering that we know for a fact that Lee and Curry “went Hollywood” while they were down there (Bill Simmons podcast).

      As well as these guys have played (home AND road) to this point in the season it’s easy to forget how young and inexperienced overall this team is. This is a good team. Lots more wins to come.

      • @Felt – I would have liked to see that adjustment. DeAndre is useless on offense – other than dunks/alley oops/offensive boards. And when DeAndre’s on defense – anything to take him out of the key…

        I just take my hat off to the Clips – they shot over 60% at half and Griffin/Paul – were so embarrassed after Lee/Curry’s games at the Oracle – and wanted blood…

        Two statement wins for the Clips over the Lakers AND Warriors.

  17. The hell with any game recaps or video “highlights” from that game. Here is, however, the link to all the postgame audio, if you’re so inclined.

  18. I didn’t expect the Ws to have an easy time last night, but that was the worst case of “home court whistle” I’ve seen this year.

    Clips slap and grab on D, no problem. Ws get the whistle for breathing Griffin’s air. Griffin flops next to Biedrins, foul on Biedrins. Griffin bumps chest with Landry, foul on Landry. A sickening performance by the refs.

    It wasn’t all the refs. Last night’s game was also about game planning. The Ws went to LA with a game plan that worked for them earlier in the week. The Clips found a good way to counter it. Same players all around, but different systems.

  19. I suspect the lesson last night and for the weeks to come is that the Warriors cannot afford to have a slow start. It’s nearly impossible to play catchup with a team like the Clippers and it will be very hard with the others. What we saw preseason and last night is that when the Clippers get a lead and build momentum, they can run the ball down your throat.

    The Warriors anticipated a double teaming of Curry, so ran several plays through Barnes the early going. But the pressure didn’t come—Barnett noted this—and Paul proved adequate by himself. Not having a consistent, capable scorer at 3 or any scoring at 5, or a veteran 3 who can run an offense hurts. They only had to shut down three players, Curry, Thompson, and Lee, which they did. Would starting Jack in place of Barnes have made a difference? Probably not.

    But, sheesh, the Clippers’ depth. They could run two separate squads, each of which would be competitive with most teams.

    I hope they had another night on the town after the game to blow this one off.

    • if you like the depth of the sterlings’ roster now, just wait ’til hill and billups return. if hill gets back to his playing level of the past two seasons, for 20-25 min. he’d contribute more on both ends than any 3 on the lacobites’ roster. both he and billups would make their lineups immensely smarter ; at present they have one hoops genius and either specialists or dunces filling out the cast, but with paul’s level of skill, smarts, competitiveness (possibly the smirk’s only peer in this regard among the elite) it’s sufficed.

    • You could make an argument that the Clippers are better with Billups and Hill sidelined. In fact, it appears that the Clippers themselves are reluctant to activate them given how well their second unit is playing.

      Bledsoe, Barnes and Odom are the best defenders on the team, all now performing at a very high level. If Billups and Hill are a step slow on defense, as seems likely at this point, their return could very easily hurt the team.

  20. rgg: Thanks for pointing out Erman’s history with the Celtics, and that he is probably responsible for the Warriors improved defense. Also, his having coached with NJ’s Coach Hurley, the best high school in the U.S. also probably led to his being one of the best defensive minded coaches in the U.S.

    Limiting your analysis and conclusion to the Warriors winning with offense, by pointing out that the Warriors outscore their opponents with both Lee and Landry on the court, ignores the fact that as a team the Warriors are taking close to 80 shots per game, and making 46% of all field goal attempts, to our opponents shooting 43%, and the Warriors holding their opponents making a lower percentage of 3’s.

    Defense is the reason the Warriors are winning, especially since they are shooting a FG% that is equal to what they shot last year when they were a losing team.

    With regard to Ellis, for me, it’s not whether Ellis should have been traded but rather what we got in return by giving up both Ellis and Udoh. To date the trade is a loser. My assessment may change if Bogut is able to perform the next two years.

    I was against the trade in the first place as the Warriors as I didn’t want the Warriors to trade for an injured player, and the Warriors, even with no trade, would have been better off right now, by having both Ellis and Udoh and should not have traded for a injured player.

    While the Warriors were off last night, Jackson made no defensive changes to counter what the Clippers were doing. Nellie would have have pulled the first team early in the first quarter to send message.

    • Ellis was the only trade piece (except perhaps Curry), and trading him for anyone other than a center was never in the cards. I suppose doing so might have been risky. In retrospect, but only in retrospect, I’d say the only acceptable trade would have been a straight up trade of Ellis for a healthy Bogut, one who was showing then he could play, though they probably still would have had to throw in Udoh. But I say this only because Jack has added so much, and there’s no way he could have been anticipated.

      My real regret is that the team has no money to improve and won’t next season, and I’ve said this over a dozen times. Not getting stuck with Jefferson in itself would have made a huge difference.

      J. J. Hickson was available not long ago, right? He’s making some noise at FC in Portland.

      • Jack gets to test unrestricted free agency this summer, with his market value likely at his career peak if his agent finds a team seeking an established, starting-level lead guard. he conceivably could double his annual salary, and the lacobites would need to bite a nice lux tax bill if they consider him essential for their success.

        M.Thompson II did a recent summary, discussing Bazemore’s prospects after Jan.10 when his contract becomes guaranteed for the rest of the season, that details how membership in the lux tax payer’s club affects overall roster and contract moves.

        • Plus they’ll have to cover Curry’s salary increase next year, also Biedrins’ and Jefferson’s contracts. That’s about $25m, around a third of the cap, right? (I have marginal interest and knowledge in such matters. I want to assume someone in the FO is managing them.)

          If they lose Jack, they not only lose his potential, but also his year’s experience with the team. If there’s any lesson to Landry and Jack this season, it’s that there are affordable ways to improve a team, ways to give it depth and flexibility. Similar choices should have been made the first season Lacob took over so the team would be benefiting from such decisions now. Instead, his gamble for a winning team—and I’m not convinced at all, Bogut’s health regardless—and focus solely on a center have stunted its growth and limited its future and potential. (I’ve said this a zillion times, ever since the trade, but we’ll be staring at it the next year and a half.)

          What’s the upside on Bazemore, anyway? What will he be able to do, and when?

    • “Defense is the reason the Warriors are winning, especially since they are shooting a FG% that is equal to what they shot last year when they were a losing team.”

      Scoring puts opponents in a position to have to score themselves, i.e. offense improves defense. Our defense is definitely better, and this is a plus, but one of the things we’ve found this year is that many opponents just haven’t had good offenses, and when pressured to keep up they have faltered.

  21. rgg: It’s not likely that any team was going to trade a center for Ellis. Orlando hoped to keep Howard, by securing Ellis. I suspect that Orlando offered us R. Anderson and a first round draft pick for Ellis. If offered, should have taken it.

    I hope the Warriors find a way via a trade to rid themselves of Jefferson’s contract. The Warriors do have trade chips in Barnes and Jenkins. Jack will want to resign and the Warriors will find a way to free up money to do so.

    Would like to see more of Bazemore and Jenkins. Jackson making a mistake by not inserting Bazemore into the rotation and provide him with an opportunity to develop. Can see him contributing at least as much as D. Green does. Bazemore is the Warriors best defensive perimeter player. If he can keep away from fouling, and can hit a decent % of his shots, he’ll be force.

    • “It’s not likely that any team was going to trade a center for Ellis.”

      But they sure as hell tried, even going after Howard (it was kind of embarrassing). I never heard word of any other kind of trade, i.e. someone other than a center, except perhaps offering Curry or Ellis for Paul, which wasn’t going to happen, either.

  22. The Warriors still need to Trade and get someone like R.Anderson for the play-offs.

    The Warriors had only 4 steals last night, as Jackson made no attempt to pressure the Clippers. The Clippers had 12 steals.

  23. From

    LOS ANGELES — Not many teams could make a rivalry more intriguing with a pair of blowout games. With the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, it gets more intriguing the wider the margin of victory.

    Sure, the Clippers’ 115-89 beatdown of the Warriors on Saturday was about as suspenseful as a Bazooka Joe comic. But with a menacing glare from Mark Jackson, a hard foul from David Lee, and Chris Paul’s memory and eye for detail thrown in the mix, there was just enough to make you want to fast-forward to their fourth and final meeting Jan. 21 — and hope they’ll collide again in the playoffs.

    The Warriors were the only team that could claim two victories over the Clippers this season, and no other squad enjoyed the process as much as the Warriors did in their 115-94 victory Wednesday night in Oakland, during which the Golden State bench rejoiced at a Blake Griffin shot that hit the side of the backboard and Jackson joked about Griffin’s acting skills.

    Saturday was the Clippers’ turn for repayment, with compounded interest. Despite having played a long, emotional game against the Lakers the previous night, they spurted to a 35-12 lead after the first quarter, expanded the lead to 28 points in the second, and were throwing alley-oops to DeAndre Jordan off the backboard and from half court while parading to a 39-point lead in the third.

    It was enough to get Jackson to spend a good portion of a timeout glaring in the Clippers’ direction.

    • “Warriors-Clippers A Budding Rivalry”

      To further this theme, I was wondering how many noticed that there was one guy on the Clippers bench who was up all night mimicking what Bazemore does during Warriors games when GSW scores? There was a piece about Bazemore’s antics from Ball Don’t Lie that posted last week in between the two GSW/LAC games. Without a doubt the Clippers were out to do more than just win that game, and unfortunately for the Warriors they accomplished their goal of not only winning but “rubbing it in” in the process.

      The Clippers didn’t show up in Oakland last week nor did the Warriors in LA on Saturday night. Needless to say both teams will be in attendance come Jan 21 at The Oracle.

  24. I think the Ws-Clips games are a preview of what typically happens in a playoff series. When teams are fairly evenly matched, the only possible edge comes from coaching; having a good game strategy to start with and making effective tactical adjustments as game situations dictate.

    In the last game, when the Ws fell into a hole in the 1st Q, they didn’t seem to have a good Plan B ready. I think they will, next time. It should be a good game.

    • the lacobites should not kid themselves that the early season results vs. the sterlings indicate some kind of parity. LA-C is an upper tier team, their northern rivals perhaps near the top of the contending mid-tier. their best player is a level above anyone on the woeyrs on both ends of the court. when the team leader is a fierce and able defender it changes the entire team dynamic — is there another squad that so easily absorbs the 20-30 points that crawfor- gives away ? if the lacoblites faced Mem in a seventh game in the playoffs, do they have anyone who’d lead the team back from a 27 point deficit in the second half ? [that’s Mem, not one of those eastern team punching bags].

      of course 25 min. per game of a fully functioning bogut would greatly alter the balance, but that’s all pie-in-the-sky until repeatedly demonstrated, like any empirical proposition.

  25. Moto: With the Warriors beating the Clippers twice, including once on their court, and the Clippers besting them only once, there is no basis concluding that the Cippers are better than the Warriors.

    • Frank,

      At the bottom line – wins – you’re right of course. But Moto raises a good Q:

      “…do they have anyone who’d lead the team back from a 27 point deficit in the second half?”

      Conventional wisdom sez top-tier teams need a go-to guy who can ALWAYS score. What do you think? Do the Ws have that? And is it really necessary, or is that just one of the myths of the game?

    • sorry, but you have little basis in giving the teams ‘parity’ by only looking at the head to head contests — by that reasoning, Sac is superior to the woeyrs, right ? try comparing the team’s western division records (18-10 vs. 9-9), points allowed per game to opponents (the sterlings are fourth best in the entire league), and point differential margin vs. all opponents.

  26. My standard for determining if a team is good, is not if the team is not whether they have a player who could bring them back from a 27 point deficit. As no team is going to be brought back by anyone in the NBA. As no one can always score, although Lebron comes close, but even he makes no more than 50% of his shots.

    Both the Clippers and Warriors have two terrific players, Yes, Paul is better than Curry. but D-Lee is more consistent than B. Griffin. And we have seen Curry play better than Paul.

    Both the Clippers and the Warriors have terrific win records. In watching Clippers games, they appear unorganized, sloppy, and selfish with Crawford on the court. The Warriors have a more effective offense as they share the ball and play at a nice tempo. And the Warriors have five terrific-Curry, Thompson, Lee, Jack, and Landry, while the Clippers have four good players- Paul, Griffin Caron, and Crawford.
    And if you want to count Billups, then I’ll throw in Bogut.

    The Warriors have better defensive schemes. If they faced the Clippers in the play-offs, they would do quite well. Less so, if they played San Antonio.

    • the matter at hand isn’t which team is more pleasant to watch, or has nicer, more articulate personalities, but who plays stronger and wins against all opponents. the given context of that 27 point comeback was quite specific — Mem plays good d, with one of the top perimeter defenders, allen. experience counts in the n.b.a. ; the woeyrs at this point depend heavily on rookies and a second year starter. one specific comparison — the journeyman former woeyr barnes is relied on for his defense and opportunity 3’s, but the rookie barnes so far doesn’t quite have his coach’s full trust. the sterlings have one of the oldest rosters in the league, and would it surprise us if hill ends up logging more minutes over the next four months than bogut and helping their playoff push ?

      the ‘sloppy’ appearance of the sterlings notwithstanding, their defense has been significantly better than the lacobites’. if they had a better coach the gap would likely be more discernible, but over 82 games we should see them exceed the woeyr wins by at least 8-10.

      • Moto, I pretty much agree with your concluding statement regarding GSW wins vs LAC final totals. I think the Clippers will ultimately win the Pacific fairly easily, although my opinion of what they accomplish after that (playoffs) remains unchanged.

        The decided advantage they have over the Warriors is strictly in the experience department. You talk about the two team’s records within the West, but 4 of those 9 GSW losses were should-have-been wins (first meeting with Denver, second meeting with LAL, and both games with Sac), sabotaged primarily by the unpredictability of youth (KThompson vs Denver, 4th qtr jitters vs Lakers). Take even 2 of those 4 losses and make them wins and you’re talking 11-7, numbers that would beat LAC percentage-wise.

        LAC is built to be a very good regular season team, and that’s proving to be even more factual than the Clippers could have ever hoped. Last year they weren’t expected to last very long once the playoffs started, which was indeed the case, but what happens this year when they’ll be favored to go much further? With teams in the bottom half of the Western Conference quickly improving (raise your hand if you think the Lakers are one of the top 8 teams) the playoffs this season should be tremendously competitive and more up-for-grabs than any time in recent memory. And a postseason team being co-led by Blake Griffin? My playoff “money” (I don’t bet on pro sports) without hesitation goes elsewhere.

        Back to GSW vs LAC. Their ultimate records and success stories for 2012-13 notwithstanding, which of the two teams would you rather own for the future? Better to be Lacob (aka the lacobites LOL) or Sterling? Or, to put it another way, which franchise will win more games between now and the end of the decade? Me thinks, with only the slightest bit of bias, that “The City” stomps “Lob City” on that one.

  27. Skiles out in Milwaukee…!

    I was just about to write something about his curious decision-making in the last several weeks. Veteran big men Dalembert and Gooden benched, all shooters taken out of the starting lineup, forcing Monta and Jennings to play literally two on five.

    I was wondering if he and the Bucks were intentionally tanking heading into a Monta trade, following the well-known example….

    Now I read a tweet from a close coaching friend of Skiles, stating, “Scott hated his team.” I’ve always surmised that Jennings drove Skiles crazy — simply not a team-first point guard. And Skiles clearly had something against his veteran big men — all known for slacking and selfishness. And Ilyasova found his way into the doghouse this season as well, slacking horribly — probably trying to force a trade after landing his big contract. Bottom line, no players want to stay in Milwaukee, and that makes coaching hell.

    The management didn’t make things any easier for him, refusing to re-sign Carlos Delfino, a guy who’s playing great in Houston. (I’ve completely reevaluated my opinion of Daryl Morey.) The Bucks desperately lack shooting at the two and three. And Delfino is a plus defender as well.

    It will be very interesting to read the post-mortems on this, as well as watch the Bucks heading into the trading deadline. Are they trying to win? Do they want to re-sign Ellis and/or Jennings?

    They have three of the most talented young bigs in the NBA in Sanders, Henson and Udoh. A backcourt that can light up any in the NBA on any given night. Do they want to win this season? What is their strategy?

    • Somewhere in the East Bay ABogut is hoisting a brew or two to that news. LOL

      • Seems like the architect of the Bucks – GM Hammond should go too.

        Sanders, Henson, Udoh, and Dalembert – defense, sure. But do you really need 4 of these guys with similar games? But none of these guys can buy a bucket.

        And any team starting Jennings and Ellis – will be playing 2 on 5. Volume scorers. Undersized defenders.

        Ilyasova – seems like a nice spread 4 option. It could be said Kwame’s expiring money was used to pay him.

  28. “if the lacoblites faced Mem in a seventh game in the playoffs, do they have anyone who’d lead the team back from a 27 point deficit in the second half ? [that’s Mem, not one of those eastern team punching bags].”

    Moto, a quick revisit to the above. I thought Memphis was definitely the better team going into their playoff series last year vs LAC, and their play, which was accentuated by blown (huge) leads and ice cold shooting stretches, wreaked of a team that plain and simply choked under the brighter lights of postseason play. In other words, I’m not giving the Clippers (or any one of their players) the credit you are. My take involves a more skeptical eye pointed towards the other team and what they failed to do when given the opportunity. Also a reason for me to remain doubtful on the Grizz and their chances going forward in 2013, despite their obvious talent and strengths.

    From ESPN’s recap of Mem/LAC 2012 Playoffs:

    “The home-court advantage that didn’t help the Grizzlies when they blew a 27-point lead in Game 1 didn’t help again Sunday as they went cold from the floor. Gasol’s one-handed dunk with 3:09 left was Memphis’ last field goal down the stretch as the Grizzlies hit only 4 of 18 in the fourth quarter and finished the game missing all 13 3-pointers.”

    “It was Game 7 pressure and jitters,” Hollins said. “We wanted to do well. We just wanted to let it rip. You walk up here and have two strikes on you in the ninth inning and you have to let it rip. And we didn’t.”

    Game 7 = “The Grizzlies shot 32.5 percent (25 of 77) from the floor, their worst percentage of the series.”

  29. Marc Stein’s latest Power Rankings

    4. GSW The main knock on the Dubs is that their glorious December came almost exclusively at the expense of teams from the overmatched East. Yet you also can’t deny, even if the schedule helped out some last week, that Golden State is the only team going with two wins over the Clips.

    • Power Rankings

      5. Golden State (22-11)
      Pace: 96.5 (5), OffRtg: 104.5 (9), DefRtg: 100.8 (10), NetRtg: +3.7 (7)

      Clippers-Warriors has turned into an interesting rivalry of teams that have combined for just four playoff appearances in the last 18 years. They traded blowouts last week and meet for the final time this season just 14 days from now. The Dubs can take fourth place in the West from the Grizzlies on Wednesday, but face the Blazers, Nuggets, Heat and Spurs after that.

  30. Despite knowing very little about Jerry Buss’ daughter I’d say Phil Jackson lucked out again (marriage vs HC LAL):

    The Lakers are 15-18. They’ve got their work cut out for them to keep it from getting shockingly worse.

    Lakers center Dwight Howard was diagnosed Monday with a torn labrum in his right shoulder and is out indefinitely, set to be re-evaluated in a week. His injury is not severe enough to necessitate surgery to repair the tear, which is the process that usually forces athletes to be sidelined for months, not a week. Howard said after the Lakers’ loss to Denver on Sunday night that the pain in his shoulder from aggravating his strained right shoulder in the game was not as bad as when he hurt it Friday night vs. the Clippers.

    Lakers power forward Pau Gasol is also out indefinitely with a concussion from a blow to the face by Denver’s JaVale McGee with 1:05 to play in that game. And the primary backup for Howard and Gasol, Jordan Hill injured his right hip in the game and will miss at least the upcoming trip to play Houston on Tuesday and San Antonio on Wednesday — likely meaning rookie Robert Sacre starts at center but forwards Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison, Devin Ebanks and Earl Clark will get plenty of action in a small lineup.

    The Lakers, on a three-game losing streak that has made this hard season even harder, have another tough game Friday night at home vs. Oklahoma City.

  31. “The Sustainability Of Early Season Success”

    “In my four seasons covering the Golden State Warriors, I have been asked a ton of questions by various people about the team. The question that has been asked with the most intensity (and the one asked most frequently recently) is whether the Warriors are “for real.” For a long time, I hedged by acknowledging the Warriors’ history and propensity for injuries.

    Now, I will make a definitive answer: If you define “for real” as being a playoff team in the West with a chance to win a playoff series, the Warriors are for real.”

  32. “The Rockets are super fast. Is that good?”

  33. Carl Steward: “GSW rookie Harrison Barnes settles in”

    Barnes, 20, gives the strong sense that his offensive ceiling is a lot higher than what he’s shown so far, but for now, he’s happy enough to demonstrate that he can be a well-rounded player.

    “Everybody wants to be known as a player who plays both ends, because that’s what’s going to keep you in this league a long time,” he said. “Athleticism, all that show and flash, that’s good for the fans. But being able to guard the basketball and create things offensively, that’s what’s going to keep you around. The main thing I try to do is add something positive to every game I play.”

  34. If the Warriors play anywhere close to .500 ball the next two months they’ll be in essence making one heck of a statement to the rest of the league and their fans as to their legitimacy and playoff worthiness/threat.

    After Friday’s home game vs Portland the Warriors will play 17 of their next 25 on the road, a stretch which leaks into the first two days of March.

    Most of these road games bear little resemblance to those on that 6-1 eastern trip (Charlotte, Detroit, Washington). This time we’re talking lots of Western Conference teams (Spurs, Rockets, Grizz, Thunder, Jazz) and they still make another east coast trip that will include the Knicks and Celtics.

    Throw in the Pacers, Bulls and Bucks and you can easily deduce that the Dubs are going to be extremely challenged to play .500 ball for the next 60 days. Bogut, as always, is the one huge variable in all this.

    Here’s the complete schedule. Read ’em and weep.

  35. “Expecting the unexpected”

    4. Who’s the most surprising team in the West?

    Abbott: San Antonio Spurs. The Clippers, Warriors and Rockets are all much better than projected, while — perhaps you’ve heard — it’s hard to find anybody who thought the Lakers would be this kind of mediocre. But to me the big surprise continues to be the Spurs, playing like the very best team in the league. It has to be at least five seasons since people started saying that team was too old to matter much longer.

    Chau: Golden State Warriors. The Lakers are still in shambles and the Blazers are somehow winning, but the Warriors are playing with home-court advantage in sight. That’s a huge step up from the cycle of low-end mediocrity the team has been caught in. This is a very good team that could be even better if Andrew Bogut weren’t so definitely indefinite.

    Foster: Golden State Warriors. With all due respect to the Lakers’ massive failures, Golden State’s rise in the standings on the heels of a pretty stingy defense — without Andrew Bogut — was pretty unexpected. Mark Jackson has his team up from 27th in defensive efficiency last season to 12th this season, an incredible leap considering he has largely the same personnel.

    McGuire: Daryl Morey went through a rough offseason, and the mismatched way the Rockets collected assets inspired some laughs. Now? His turn to laugh. Houston doesn’t simply look like a good young team, the Rockets could sneak home-court advantage! In the past three weeks, they’ve posted an offensive rating of 112 against an above-average defensive slate. Something’s cooking.

    Townsend: The Lakers. They’ve fallen below .500 for the first time since 2004-05, the last time they missed the postseason. Mike Brown was fired after a 1-4 start in favor of Mike D’Antoni, but this “old damn team” with four potential Hall of Famers on the roster can’t always keep up the pace — and their turnover ratio is in the bottom half.

  36. 2011 redraft: Who’s No. 1 now?

    2. With the second pick in the 2011 redraft, the Wolves select …

    Haberstroh: Jonas Valanciunas. Nikola Pekovic has been tremendous next to Kevin Love, but I think Valanciunas has more long-term upside (draft buzzword alert!) and can complement Love’s game nicely on the defensive side of the floor. He’s raw at 20 years old, but he’s already productive and plays his tail off.

    Hall: Klay Thompson. Only because GM David Kahn is known for his unexpected draft choices, and I want the Wolves to pass on Kenneth Faried for the Jazz. I’m not sure Thompson’s game would be a great fit in Minnesota, but they could do worse than a Shved/Thompson rotation. It’s been a pleasant surprise to see Thompson shine in the absence of Monta Ellis.

    Herbert: Klay Thompson. He’s not necessarily the best player on the board, but he’s a very good one and he fills a need for the Wolves, who desperately need 3-point shooters to put next to Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic.

    McGowan: Klay Thompson would give the Wolves the perimeter shooter they desperately need and one of the longest backcourts in the league. He would fit in perfectly next to Ricky Rubio, who is a brilliant passer but shoots as if blinded by the sun. Thompson isn’t a traditional No. 2 talent, but he might be the draft’s second-best scorer behind Irving.

    McPherson: Kawhi Leonard. Leonard would have provided the Wolves with many of the things Williams has so far been unable to: solid 3-point shooting, defense and a steady sense of who he is on the basketball court. Leonard’s 3-point percentage both last season and this one would have ranked second on the Wolves.

  37. NBA debate: Contender or Pretender?

    3. Contenders or Pretenders: Golden State Warriors.

    Deremo: Pretenders. David Lee has been underrated forever and Stephen Curry is having a career year, but are either of those players going to carry the Warriors past the Thunder in a tight playoff game on the road? That’s the question you always have to ask about your team’s best player when assessing whether you’re a contender out West.

    Mason: Pretenders. However, the Warriors are top contenders for the title of “my favorite team to watch.” My resolution for 2013 is to watch more Stephen Curry pull-up jumpers. I understand that this will make me a better person by osmosis.

    Pina: Pretenders. The Warriors boast the most lethal three-guard lineup in the league (Jarrett Jack, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson), with offensive versatility in the frontcourt that forces opposing teams to pick their poison. They’re probably a year or two away from being true contenders, but if the Warriors can stay healthy, preserve their top-10 defense (and offense), and hold home court in a seven-game series, they’ll be poised to make serious noise as early as this postseason.

    Soriano: Pretenders. The Warriors have a fantastic mix of youthful energy and veteran toughness. But they are still too reliant on young players with zero playoff experience to be a true contender. I think they can continue to play good basketball into April and May, but they will find the increased pressure and opponents’ hyper-specific game plans in the playoffs too much to overcome.

    Strauss: Contenders. If Andrew Bogut returns, this might even be a title-contending basketball team. Look, I know it sounds unfathomable, but the Warriors-as-competent sounded nuts a couple months ago. If a good team gets a massive upgrade at their weakest position … watch out.

  38. “10 Things To Know About: The Warriors”

    3. They don’t miss Monta Ellis.

    Perhaps more than any other player, Ellis represents the past of Golden State basketball. The most high-profile of the two holdovers from the We Believe Warriors, Ellis hijacked the team’s identity with his gaudy numbers and flashy performances. But by trading their miniature moped enthusiast before last year’s trade deadline for Bogut, Golden State invested in a future that was un-Ellis-like in virtually every way. It was ball-dominant offense for ball-stopping defense.

    “It gave us a different makeup,” Lee said.

    Even with Bogut unavailable for the bulk of his time since, the addition by subtraction alone was bound to aid the defense, but the Warriors also haven’t missed Ellis much on the offensive end, either. While no one Warriors player has the same knack for getting to the rim off the bounce, Landry and Lee have provided ample at-the-rim opportunities. And though Thompson has misfired a bit more than expected, both he and Stephen Curry are firing up more from long range this season. Curry is again one of the top 3-point shooters in the league and has looked particularly lethal playing the 2 next to Jack. The ball movement has improved as well, according to Lee, and it also gives the team a more traditional 1-5 lineup, which has helped most when matching up at the defensive end.

    While Lee and others remember Ellis fondly as a teammate, Golden State’s new flow extends beyond the court as well. The mood was always light in practice and in the locker room this weekend — at shootaround at Staples Center on Saturday before their matchup with the Clippers, veterans giddily kicked basketballs into the stands and had rookies retrieve them, and Lee sunbathed shirtless as he waited for his teammates by the bus — and Jackson has empowered talented assistants like Mike Malone to have a voice in the process and influence on the team, which has in turn presented a more cohesive unit to players.

    “There’s great chemistry amongst our coaches, and that really matters because everybody’s preaching the same message,” Lee said. “When the captains of the team and the coaches of the team are preaching the same message, especially when we have so many young guys that play a role in our success, it’s good for them to hear the same message across the board.”


    5. But injuries issues still linger.

    Is it possible for a player to save a franchise in only 73 minutes?

    That’s how much playing time Bogut has seen in a Warriors uniform since he was swapped for Ellis last March. The missed time is due to a left ankle injury that required microfracture surgery. Golden State has managed to turn things around since then thanks to the culture change signaled by their foundation-shaking deal (see No. 3) as well as the roster moves they’ve made since. But imagine one of the league’s top defensive centers patrolling the paint instead of a limited rookie in Ezeli and a player tailor made for the amnesty clause in Biedrins (even though they didn’t use it on him).

    When the Warriors will get to see that, however, remains a bit of a mystery. The 28-year-old 7-footer played in the season opener but shut it down after appearing in four of the team’s first five games and hasn’t played since. There is currently no timetable or target date for his return, he said, even among him and his doctors.

    “For my personal sanity and the team’s, I’ve kind of put my head down and worked every day,” Bogut said. “When I’m ready I’ll be in the layup lines. But I’m not gonna set expectations because with this kind of injury. You have swelling one week and you have to kind of turn it down.”

    The lack of an immediate goal has made the process tougher, but Bogut said the progress he has made has been “pretty positive.”

    “To be honest, I haven’t had a life outside of rehab,” Bogut said. “I’ve gone home and tried to put my foot up in the air and keep ice on it so I can be back on the court soon.”

  39. And now Scott Skiles is gone from the Bucks. AW tweet:

    Close coaching friend of ex-Bucks coach Scott Skiles tells Y! Sports: “Scott hated his team.”–nba.html


    Next week the Lakers fire D’Antoni and hire Skiles to improve the defense.

    The week after that they fire Skiles and bring in Norv Turner to improve the offense. Why not? It hasn’t been tried before.

    • Good predictions, rgg! But the Lackers’ biggest staff need might be someone big and tough enough to keep Dwight from squashing Kobe like a bug. Someone like this guy:

    • Ooops. Missed @38

      Ellis’s percentages are way down this year though. 5-19 tonight.

      2010-2011 for GSW he was 45% FG, 36% on threes.

      This year, so far 40% FG, 26% on threes. This is a big drop. Cause? I only see box scores.

  40. From NBA Mailbag

    Are the Warriors poised to play spoiler in the playoffs — again? They won’t crack the top three in the Western Conference, but with Andrew Bogut back, they can match up with anyone.

    Jeff Guzman, Oakland, Calif.

    That’s the most intriguing aspect of the Warriors’ surprising run, Jeff. Bogut, who remains out indefinitely while recovering from left-ankle surgery, is the kind of player who will only improve them. He won’t hurt their chemistry because he passes so well and plays selflessly. The Warriors won’t be expecting him to carry them or to play to his highest level, but rather to complement and augment their team, which is the perfect scenario for a potential midseason comeback. Contenders such as the Grizzlies or Spurs will work hard for home-court advantage, and their reward could be a first-round series against the Warriors just as Bogut is rounding into form. If Bogut has recovered and is contributing, a first-round series involving the Warriors would be worth watching.

  41. In games leading up to their loss to the Clippers, the Warriors have outscored their opponents with Biedrins playing. This is a big reversal from the beginning of the season when the opposite was true. This is a good omen for the Warriors. Biedrins has lately even out-perfomed Ezeli.

    But the fact remains that the Warriors far outscore their opponents when they go small.

    If Bogut returns one would expect him to take time away from both Biedrins and Ezeli, and for the Warriors to improve their play.

    But, It will be interesting to see if with Bogut, the Warriors play better as compared to when they go small. The result may be surprising.

    • With Bogut I’m thinking Ezeli’s defensive presence, but without all the dropped passes on offense. I don’t think it means the end of small ball, but maybe just a few more minutes per game in a conventional big-C lineup.

  42. From Grantland and Zach Lowe:

    Golden State Warriors

    The lineup: Jarrett Jack–Stephen Curry–Klay Thompson–David Lee–Carl Landry
    The numbers: 198 minutes, Golden State’s second most-used lineup

    A group that should have been a change-of-pace scoring force has turned into Golden State’s closing lineup, and it is blowing the doors off opposing defenses behind its five-man versatility and a hail of 3-point shots. In 197 minutes together, this group has scored about 117 points per 100 possessions — about 6.5 points better than Oklahoma City’s league-best overall offense.

    “Line ’em Up”

  43. Steve: I think a close analysis would show that the Warriors small ball line-up does so well, as you point out, because the offense they bring to the court, not their defense, even though their defense is better than when either Biedrins or Ezeli is on the court.

    hat room: An unanswered question is whether Bogut will earn playing time in the fourth quarter, or to put it another way, do the Warriors play better with Bogut on the court in the fourth quarter over them playing small ball?

    • Bogut is no offensive liability – unlike Ezeli/Biedrins who are turnovers waiting to happen. His free throw percentages suck and always will – and his recent FG percentages can be attributed to his recovering elbow injury (likely fully healed now).

      I very much like Bogut handling the ball and making basketball decisions on offense. Not Ezeli. Not Biedrins. More like David Lee – he’s an excellent passer and decision maker. Unselfish. Looks for cutters. And he can handle the ball well for a big man.

      And oh that Defense!!! Positioning, rebounding, drawing charges, blocking shots. Bogut impacts the game with his defense.

      The 4 games were a small taste of what Bogut can bring to the table as a player. Not nearly at full strength…

  44. Feltbot, the Warriors line up of Jack, Curry, Thompson, Lee and Landry has been the most effective this season, per ESPN stats geeks and to the general observer: .

    All the pundits are leaning on the return of Bogut to qualify the Warriors as a true contender. Assuming that Bogut does not come back healthy, what transaction would you make to improve the Warriors current roster? Who would you trade, and what piece do you think is missing?

    Thank you.

  45. @58,61

    There are several myths currently circulating about the Warriors, chief among them that Bogut will return “healthy”; that a “healthy” Bogut will actually aid, rather than disrupt the Warriors; and that the Warriors are a “deep” team.

    One only has to look at the minutes of Lee and Curry to deduce that the Warriors have severe depth problems, particularly at two guard, at center (the Ws are an Ezeli or Biedrins injury away from big trouble), and/or at spread four (unless DG’s shooting picks up). And I think we can safely conclude that given a roster crippled by horrible immovable contracts, there is very little that management could do to help via trade, even if they wanted to. Which I don’t believe they do.

    I will expound on this at length in a coming post, tentatively titled “The Andrew Bogut Myth.”

    • talk to the hat

      Don’t want to steal a march here, but I’ve mentioned before that before Bogut can make a real contribution he has to accomplish:

      Thorough recovery
      Honest-to-gosh NBA-level fitness
      Integration into team play

      Even if Bogut could run tomorrow, that’s a big agenda. More realistically, he probably won’t even recover 100% this season, so if he does play again at all this year, he’ll continue to have very limited playing time. That’s not an impact player.

    • since there has been Ø known precedent of any professional hoops player of boguts’ size/mass ever coming back from ankle micro-fracture surgery (in his case, an attempted remedy for an injury already slow to respond to normal treatment), as empiricists we can only exclude expectations of any result until we see proof, verified over time. the lacobites naturally want everyone to have faith that bogut will flourish where no similar athlete has gone before. rationally, there’s little chance that bogut will be close to the same player he was, and a good chance there will be other injuries caused by his corpus compensating for the impaired ankle.

      • W’s are deep in the sense that they can lose their arguably 2 pre-season starters in Andrew Bogut and Brandon Rush – also their two best two-way players and defenders – and still manage to play decently 22W-11L.

        Sure, Mark Jackson is riding his bulls (Curry/Lee) as many coaches are… Let’s not forget, just a couple of months ago – many fans were calling for Jackson’s dismissal/replacement as head coach…

        Pre-season, I estimated these players to average 60 minutes of play per game. Then the Memphis game (Rush) and Bogut (“microfracture” not just a cleanup)…

        • “There are several myths currently circulating about the Warriors, chief among them that Bogut will return “healthy”; that a “healthy” Bogut will actually aid, rather than disrupt the Warriors; and that the Warriors are a “deep” team.”

          Felt, I’ve yet to read any speculation from the Warriors FO or any independant media source on Bogut’s “degree of health” if and when he returns. 100%? 80%? 50%? No speculation whatsoever, only that if and when he returns it’ll be as a result of Bogut himself telling the Warriors he’s ready to resume playing NBA games.

          Assuming Bogut returns this season his added presence, at ANY degree/percentage of health, will instantly make the Warriors a better team. Any “myth” that attempts to say otherwise is pure nonsense.

          To this point in the 2012-13 season Bogut has played 73 minutes, the approximate equivalent of 2 games for a starter (at, say, 35 minutes a game). In those “2 games” he scored 24 points on 11-20 from the field, to go along with his 15 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 blocks and 1 steal. And all at much less than 100% of full health. That, in comparison with whatever “chicken feed” that Ezeli or Biedrins (in fairness to AB his play of late has been a pleasant surprise) brings to the table, is really no comparison at all.

          The Warriors were 2-2 in games that Bogut played, but their 2 losses were to Memphis and Sac, tough size matchups for GSW. The fact Bogut was limited to less than 20 minutes in both of those games without question decreased their chances of winning, especially vs the Kings where the margin of defeat was 2 points.

          GSW better or worse with Bogut? To even momentarily contemplate the answer is a ridiculous waste of time.

          PeteyB said it best in regards the Warriors and their depth. To lose 2 of their 6 best players after only a handful of games into the season, and to still be where they are in once again a brutally tough Western Conference, speaks volumes to their depth as a team.

          There’s no team in the league that can withstand continued player loss to injury beyond a certain point. If the Warriors don’t get Bogut back AND get hit with any further significant injuries their season will undoubtedly unravel in the process. But if their future includes a return of Bogut and no further injuries of consequence the Dubs can thank their lucky stars they were as “deep” as they were. 22-11 ain’t no myth.


          talk to the hat | January 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Reply

          “Don’t want to steal a march here, but I’ve mentioned before that before Bogut can make a real contribution he has to accomplish:

          Thorough recovery
          Honest-to-gosh NBA-level fitness
          Integration into team play

          Even if Bogut could run tomorrow, that’s a big agenda. More realistically, he probably won’t even recover 100% this season, so if he does play again at all this year, he’ll continue to have very limited playing time. That’s not an impact player.”

          I think you need to loosen your hat a few notches.

          I’ve already detailed Bogut’s contribution in extremely limited action to this point, so to say he needs a “thorough recovery” has already proven to be incorrect. In the opener vs the Suns Bogut had 8 points and 6 rebounds in 18.5 minutes in a game the Warriors won by 2 points. I’d say the Warriors don’t win that game without Bogut, and how “thorough” was his recovery to full health way back in October?

          “NBA-level fitness”? Bogut played in ZERO preseason games, had NO TRAINING CAMP (according to Felt), and only participated in two 5-on-5 practices, yet played just under 20 minutes and made meaningful contributions in the Warriors season opener (and even later said he was unhappy he wasn’t used more i e his fitness wasn’t an issue).

          “Integration into team play”? This is the least of the Warriors worries whenever Bogut returns. More than anything else Andrew Bogut is the eptiome of “team player”.

          Take his numbers from his game vs the Suns then add this; in his final game before going back to rehabbing his ankle (vs Cleveland) Bogut only took 2 shots in 17+ minutes (0-2) but dished out 5 assists in the Warriors easy win.

          Bogut is one of the smarter players in the NBA. That, along with his big man skills, make him an extremely valuable asset to any team, at any degree of health that lets him play. When Bogut has been healthy enough to be on the court he’s always been an “impact player” in the NBA, and that will continue to be the case whenever he returns.

          • Nice posts, Link Master. And some mighty fine linking as well.

            I just got a feeling Bogut’s return is gonna be by surprise appearance. But when?

  46. Even with the immovable bad contracts of Biedrens and Jefferson, and possibly Bogut, the Warriors have some room to improve their roster by trading Barnes and Jenkins, and their other rookies. Even though the Warriors have unmet needs, the Warriors have shown no propensity to do so.

    If Jack and Landry were given more playing time. this would allow both Curry and Lee to be rested five more minutes per game.

    Given the nature of his surgery,, if and when Bogut returns, I doubt that he will be completely healthy, and fear that he will have further problems down the road this year, due to returning earlier than he should.

    • Fire and Brim

      I’d like to see the Ws do whatever it took to get Rudy Gay. Whining about salary cap penalties doesn’t get it done.

  47. Brytex… | January 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Reply
    Well, I’ll be making my prediction before the game as opposed to AFTER the game like some bloggers we know. :-)

    W’s lose. :-(

    Steve | January 6, 2013 at 12:48 am | Reply
    Oh, omnipotent one, I bow to your prognostic powers. LOL

    You may rise. Now bring me some chips…chop chop.

    Just in case you guys didn’t write ’em down from the previous thread, here are my predictions for the rest of the tough 12 January games. Man, I am so good at this stuff.

    2- v LAC W
    5- @ LAC L
    9- v Mem W
    11-v Por W
    13-@Den W
    16-v Mia L
    18-@SA L
    19-@NO W
    21-v LAC L
    23-v OKC L
    25-@ Chi W
    26-@ Mil L

    • Schedule:
      2- v LAC W (My prediction)
      5- @ LAC W (My prediction)
      9- v Mem L
      11-v Por W
      13-@Den L
      16-v Mia L
      18-@SA L
      19-@NO W
      21-v LAC L
      23-v OKC L
      25-@ Chi W
      26-@ Mil W

    • “You may rise. Now bring me some chips…chop chop”

      Brytex, just for picking the Clippers to beat the Warriors AGAIN (Jan 21), you can go get your chips yourself!! BOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  48. Matt Steinmetz… No longer on Comcast? 95.7? Update anyone?

    • correct, that went down around early Dec. his work was usually more skeptical and thereby a little more objective than most of the others. has a late morning radio spot. leaving csn might be blowback from the lacobites, who had reason to doubt he’d ever convert to their faith.

      • I see Matt may still have “The Pulse” on 95.7 10am-12pm, but I’ll check later.

        Matt’s tells it like he sees it which I don’t often agree with – but I always enjoyed his opinion. I’m going to miss him on Comcast.

      • Feltbot promised a rant against Ric Bucher and I’m looking forward to it. I’m getting my fill of RB.

  49. Bogut, in the 4 games he played, scored more points than Biedrins and Ezeli have because a) he is a better shooter and b) he took more shots. But Ezeli takes few shots and Biedrins scarcely shoots at all. That means the other players are taking E and B’s shots, most of whom are better and more versatile scorers, so what needs to be figured out is whether the team’s offense has a net gain in offense when Bogut plays, especially against faster, smaller lineups and at the end of the game. I’m skeptical, and suspect we’ll hear more about this shortly. It’s reasonable to assume Bogut will be a better defender, but again the overall picture needs to be assessed—how much more offense the team has vs however many points his better defense prevents. Rebounding, btw, is about the same for all three.

    And of course we don’t have enough evidence to make any conclusion based on this year’s performance.

    One thing that is absolutely certain is that Bogut will miss half the season, that $6.5 m of salary (half his contract) will be squandered, doing nothing for the team at all. Add to that Jefferson’s $10m, since he was part of the trade. It also means that the team gets no value from players who might have taken their place. That’s a lot of money to play with.

    But what, exactly, are the expectations for Bogut, and how meaningful are they? Realistic?

    1. I have to guess, but I suspect the most optimistic scenario is that Bogut does indeed recover and gets in shape about 3/4 of the way through the season, about a month from now. But for his return to be meaningful, it needs to get them into the playoffs and he needs to be healthy for the playoffs. Assumed here is that such a presence, overall, does help the team. It also means $9.75 m of contract will be wasted.

    Optimists: defend this scenario and justify the expense.

    2. But that’s not enough. We want to assume that he will be healthy the following year and again be a deciding factor for playoffs.

    3. And really, that’s still not enough. The plan is to build a team around him, and we want to assume he will be reasonably healthy to justify a contract extension and will play well in the following years.

    Optimists: same question.

    Pessimists: give other scenarios and calculate how much salary is wasted, how many opportunities for other players are lost.

    So I ran some numbers through Baye’s Theorem:

    x=prior probability, the chance that any big man who has played 8 years will sustain an injury that will effectively hamper his performance in the future. I set this at 25%.

    New event: an accident occurs to the player of concern.
    y = chance that Bogut has sustained an injury that will make him ineffective. I set this at 50%.

    z = chance that Bogut has sustained an injury that will NOT make him ineffective, i.e., he will recover fully. I set this at 50% as well.

    The formula is:

    xy divided by xy +z(1-x)

    And the result (if I did my math right) is that there is a 25% percent chance that Bogut will recover and be effective. These aren’t good odds, certainly not at this price.

    Of course I’m making my numbers up. As moto says, we have no empirical evidence. Yao went down for good and Howard is not 100% and has sustained another injury; Lopez seems to have recovered from the (less serious) break in his foot. Bynum is still out. Nor do we have a clear picture of Bogut’s injury and what it might mean. The point is that there is risk and expense. Plug your own numbers in.

    (I’m reading Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise. He talks about figuring probabilities and making predictions across the board—his efforts in baseball, the NBA gambler Bob Voulgaris, and even his foray into poker and WSOP. Kind of general but entertaining, with some insights.)

    • And I see now Varejao needs surgery on his leg and will be out two months. Also Love reinjured his hand, though not an issue for big men.

    • ‘little is better than nothing’. the lacobites hope to have the fans’ expectations deflated by the time the team, player, training/med staff figure out what bogut’s sustainable capacity will be. Hou put off Ming’s final expiration date by limiting his minutes and he chipped in 50-60% of the 82 games for another handful of seasons after starting to break down.

      we should expect to see center by committee during the initial part of the re-introduction, and at best that will happen over the last 2-3 months this season. past this summer, assuming biedrins remains, there will simply be too much of their money tied up in the position for them to add any established player ; they’ll hope for improvement from ezeli and probably try another developmental project like the failed tyler investment and the deferred euro asset kuzmic. (there’s a team option for about $800k. on tyler after this summer, if they wish to cut their losses and focus on the bigger deal jack will expect to get). we should not be surprised if the team has to continue to rely on a committee for the duration of bogut’s contract ; they’ll hope that he proves to be such a ‘good mate’ /role player on a contender that the fans go back to the usual chorus, ‘wait for xyz’s contracts to expire’. if they should be so lucky to find 25 min. per game of solid production from bogut(a fairly low bar set, given the present status quo of biedrins/ezeli), count on the lacobites chiming ‘great acquisition’ and ‘he’s a jolly good fellow’.

      that’s my guesstimate of what remains of bogut’s sojourn in oaktown, with about .65 probability. .25 chance that he won’t even be able to contribute in most of the games, .10 that he comes back close to his former peak for starter’s minutes without more setbacks.

      • Moto, isn’t Biedrins regaining some value this season? His free-throw shooting is still awful, but he is at least playing defense and rebounding. Maybe this means he is on the trading block once/if Bogut returns. Also, Ezeli could be a trade piece, except that the Labobites value his size too much. (And he has the potential to be a very good defender down the road.)

        Speaking of Biedrins…..When is someone going to challenge Feltbot on his Osteo….blah, blah injury theory? Biedrins sure doesn’t look like he’s having abdominal pain right now.

        • agree, biedrins regaining some of his game, when so little was expected from him, has provided a small but significant boost. his individual numbers mean little compared to how much they need from either him or ezeli for team defense, and for keeping lee’s load more reasonable. his problems probably aren’t just physical — he’s revived because hoops has become fun for him again.

  50. Pretty sure that Warriors only interested in Gay as a way to dump either the Biedrins or Jefferson contract, with The Brand as the enticement.

    Odd to me anyway that the Ws, who profess to be going the path of advanced analytics, would swallow Gay. Gay is hated by the advanced stat guys, both Haralabos Voulgaris, whom I admire, and John Hollinger. Don’t think its a coincidence that Grizz are shopping Gay immediately after hiring Hollinger.

    Here’s my own opinion of Gay, without the aid of advanced stats. A completely overrated, selfish, LOSING, basketball player. Utterly inefficient on the offensive end. Bad from three, 40% overall this season. In love with the midrange jumpshot, the worst shot in basketball. A complete ball-stopper, totally disinterested in setting up teammates.

    Also completely disinterested in defense.

    And quite possibly a cancer in the clubhouse. Remember when he was injured and Memphis made that great playoff run? The theory then was, ADD Gay back to the team, and they will be special. It didn’t work that way. As I watched the Griz in last year’s playoffs, it looked to me like Gay was playing one on five, and the Griz offense went stale. And on defense, well.

    Those who think a “healthy” Bogut will automatically step in to help the Warriors should keep this example before them. As well as the example of ADDING the 80% Dwight Howard to the Lakers. Couldn’t hurt, right?

    • Got to agree with you regarding your view on Rudy Gay’s game. Memphis should improve with Rudy gone. Better chemistry. Open up the offense. John Hollinger’s first impact with the team.

      Stating that Andrew Bogut’s game won’t make the W’s better makes absolutely no sense to me. None.

      Say he’s not going to be 100%? Okay, I get that – but it’s merely speculation. He’s just as likely to return this season or next season and play at a high level.

      The “example” of this addition by subtraction theory is the W’s trading away Monta Ellis. There’s no other way to explain the recent W’s success. John Hollinger once described the W’s offense under Coach Smart as Monta Ellis dribbling around the perimeter looking for his shot.

      • TheOriginalTruth

        Well said PeteyBrian. The subtraction of Monta Ellis is a big reason the Warriors have improved.

        • La Verdad Original

          Basta ya de la crítica Monta y Nelson!

          Oklahoma Thunder recibe dos primeras rondas draftas selection y Kevin Martin para James Hardin, Golden State recieve haber
          lo mismo para el grande y talento a player Monta Ellis, une miserable y stupido Andrew Bogut! Ustedes Senor nada no basketball !

          Bogut no playa en 2012 y 2013 tambien!

          Viva Monta!

  51. The Grizz came, they saw, and once again, they conquered. Meh!

    What tonight’s game proved, without a doubt, is that the ongoing questions (almost exclusively to this blog) surrounding the importance of one Andrew Bogut to this team going forward was never more clearly defined/answered than during the Warriors loss to Memphis.

    The Warriors play hard, they compete with the best of them, they’re better than just about everyone in the East, but to crack the current top 4 in the West (especially OKC, SA and Memphis) they need a healthy Bogut. Without that missing piece the Warriors will ultimately slip below Denver and be in a dogfight to make the playoffs as a bottom seed (6-7-8).

    Nothing wrong with that, given how far they’ve come/improved since last season, and especially considering their youth. Even with a fairly thick pair of rose-colored glasses I think my belief that far better days/years are still to come is more than just a strong possibility.

    Still, 22-12 can spoil fans in a hurry, and personally I’ll be a tad disappointed if all their hard work and great first half of the season starts melting away in the heat of a much tougher upcoming schedule, a very real possibility minus Bogut. Yes, Bogut! He’s that good (even at 50% of his former self, which he proved to me in his 73 minutes of play to start the season) and that important to this team this season.

    Bad night for David Lee. Shot poorly, including only 2-6 from the foul line, with numerous poor passes and few, if any, impactful rebounds. On a night when the Warriors needed all they could get, and then some, from their “big men”, Lee didn’t have it.

    This was a rare game when Memphis didn’t shoot well from the perimeter vs GSW, which gave the Dubs a chance to steal this one in the second half. But while the Grizz were ice cold in the 3rd qtr (13 pts) the Warriors weren’t much better (17 pts). Opportunity lost, game over.

    Portland, and a very impressive rookie (Damian Lillard), are here Friday night (after playing Miami Thursday), and then it begins (17 of 25 on the road). Andrew, we need you, mate.


    More from Memphis/GSW:

    THE STAT: In a game where both teams shot almost the same percentage from the floor (46.5 for Golden State, 45.5 for Memphis), it was a case of quantity over quality; the Grizzlies parlayed 13 offensive rebounds and a 15-11 advantage in forcing turnovers to generate 17 more shot attempts than the Warriors. That allowed Memphis to prevail despite shooting 11.8 percent from 3-point range (2-for-17).

    TURNING POINT: Conley struggled for significant stretches Wednesday — committing five turnovers against just four assists — but he was in the thick of it when Memphis pulled away. With the Grizzlies nursing an 84-82 lead, Conley picked up a pass deflected by teammate Marc Gasol and took it the length of the floor before forcing a foul on Curry. Conley then drained both free throws to put Memphis up four. On Golden State’s next possession, Jerryd Bayless snuffed out a mid-range jumper by Jarrett Jack. Conley scooped up the rebound and capped a fast-break by converting a layup off Gay’s assist. Memphis led 88-82 with 1:51 left, and the Warriors would never get another chance to tie the game.

    QUOTABLE II: “The offensive rebounds, and then just the plays that you need to beat a team like that, we didn’t capitalize on them or gain enough possessions. And, if they shoot 17 extra shots, with the talent they have, it’s going to be tough to beat them.”

    — Stephen Curry

    HOT: After getting just six offensive rebounds through three quarters, Memphis more than doubled with seven in the fourth period alone. Twenty of Memphis’ 26 points in the fourth were in the paint, and 10 came on second-chance possessions.

    NOT: Jack has been a key performer down the stretch of games for the Warriors this season, but he was shutout in the fourth quarter Wednesday, despite playing all 12 minutes.

    GOOD MOVE: When the Warriors rode a burst of defensive momentum from their zone defense to tie the game at 74-all with 7:35 left, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins wasted no time bringing back his entire frontcourt of Gay, Randolph and Gasol. The trio combined to score 14 of the Grizzlies’ final 20 points and even forced the Warriors to briefly abandon their preferred closing frontcourt — a relatively diminutive group of Lee, Carl Landry and Thompson.

    Game recap and video highlights from

      • Ric Bucher:

        The Warriors aren’t into moral victories, but a glimpse into the Grizzlies’ lockerroom afterward would’ve offered one. To a man, the Grizzlies sat at their lockers, too tired to hobble to the showers after grinding out a 94-87 win at Oracle Arena; what energy they did have left went to talking about how much the Warriors had taken out of them. “Man, that was exhausting,” said Tony Allen. “I’m tired,” said Mike Conley. “You should be,” said Darrell Arthur.

        Conley, after finally showering and collecting his belongings, explained: “You don’t find a team that shoots as well or as quickly. They run on everything.” Arthur: “They run on made 3s. They have a good system. They’re a tough team.”

        • David Lee had to physically fight big, strong Zack Randolph and the other talented Memphis bigs all game. Wore him down. Missed free throws. This partially affected his offense as well. Absolutely great hustle – David Lee throwing himself all over the court.

          The W’s need a competent big PF or C to pair with David Lee. It should be Andrew Bogut. It isn’t Landry – who is a very good, but small PF borderline starter/great backup.

          D. Arthur of Memphis is an AWESOME backup PF. I’d been posting about wishing the W’s would try to sign him in the off-season – even injured – last season.

        • La Verdad Truth

          Ric Bush kisse de burro de Joe Lacob. Para Dinero Si?

  52. Video: David Aldridge talks about the Kings moving to Seattle. Sounds like pretty much a fait accompli.

  53. Charley Rosen: The NBA’s most overrated players

    Kevin Garnett is, and always has been, a choker. Expect him to tally beaucoup points in blow-outs, to be a cheap-shot artist, and for his mouth to be bigger than his game.

    Brandon Jennings has an exaggerated opinion of his own value. In truth he shoots too much and too inaccurately, and plays only for steals on the defensive end.

    Monta Ellis is another high-volume shooter who can’t differentiate between a good shot and a bad one. Also, his assist-to-turnover rate is only marginally acceptable.

    • La Verdad Original

      Overratado tambien:

      Bogut en Deciembre? 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg 0.0 apg.
      La Mismo para Ricardo Jefferson en Deciembre.

      cero ppg , y cero rpb y cero paros millones peso para este dos

      Muy grande trado usted.

  54. Memphis:

    It’s a small thing, but I kind of liked the brief substitution of Ezeli and Biedrins at the end, not because I believe in “big ball,” but simply because it shows the coaches responded fairly quickly to a situation—Memphis front court scoring/rebounding—and are willing to experiment. It sure surprised me and it seemed to have surprised Memphis, whose scoring stuttered at a key moment, down the stretch.

    Only four shots for Jack, and they needed another scorer. Was he covered that well or was he just not calling his number or other players weren’t looking for him? As I recall, he ran point almost exclusively the last seven or so minutes 4th quarter and Curry spent a lot of time planted in the corner. Sometimes Curry and he swap off at point, and I would have liked to have seen that, just to add more unpredictability and motion to the offense—and maybe give Jack a few more shots.

    The team is playing defense well not because they have become more defensively minded or are playing harder or because they are gritty, but because they have a more intelligent and more flexible defensive scheme, which makes best use of the motivation they have always had. Better minds, explain it.

    I think I am praising the coaches.

    • I liked when Mark Jackson – put in Ezeli and Biedrins too! Except I was waiting for the intentional foul putting them on the line… Size helps in rebounding and defense Memphis! At least on that possession.

      Jack’s surely playing through his injury – because he looks nothing like our Jarret Jack the last couple of games. Perhaps the Clips/Grizzlies defenses are actually better than the Eastern Conference teams!

      Our zone defense has looked good – but Memphis’ isos – are tough to defend. Zack and Gasol – are great on the post – and seemed nearly unstoppable. Not the reason why the team lost.

      How Stephen Curry only got 4 turnovers this game – floors me. It seemed some quarters – he had 4 turnovers! Unbelieveable score keeping! LOL! And me personally – ANYONE (Curry and Barnes) who gives up the rock to Festus Ezeli at the free throw line – Should be fined or disciplined… LOL! Turnover waiting to happen.

  55. Apropos to this thread: Sheridan’s rookie rankings.

    Terrence Ross sprained his ankle the day after I mentioned him. The feltbot jinx.

    I also really love Shved’s game. The TWolves managed a steal there.

    As for Anthony Davis, I do believe I predicted that he would struggle with injuries his first season in the NBA.

    • I’ve finally watched Anthony Davis play – and he does not remind me of second coming of Tim Duncan! LOL! Where do people get this comparison?

      Andre Drummond’s strong play is impressive. He could be really, really good. At the minimum, a very nice trade piece!!!

  56. Steve: Felty is right when he says that Bogut may not return completely heathy. The last report is that he still has swelling and inflammation in his foot. This had been a constant problem. If it hasn’t gone away by now, when will it? Watching him shoot flat-footed does not inspire confidence. If your banking on Bogut playing any significant minutes this year it’s not likely to happen, even though we wish that was true.

    And I disagree with you that our loss to Memphis shows how much we miss Bogut. The game was winnable and the loss in my judgment was due to Jackson.

    When the Warriors play good teams, he is incapable of making adjustments. Fitzgerald reported that time outs that Jackson told the team to play Warrior ball. No mention was made that he suggested any adjustments in defense. He did not tell the team to front either Gasol or Randolph to prevent them from receiving entry passes, and destroy our interior defense which they did at will.

    Did you see any indication in the game that Jackson had told the perimeter players to put pressure on the ball or try to steal entry passes to the wings? No. The Warriors just sat back and made very few steals.

    The Warriors defense is so predictable, it’s now pathetic to watch when teams have good low-post scorers.

    The Warriors should have t have been brought inLandry earilier, and should have been on the court late in the game, rather than either Jack or Thompson. He’s better than either of them on both sides of the ball.

    He’s shooting 4-6 from the field and his ability to get to the foul line, required that he be on the court. To the detriment of the Warriors, Jackson continues to refuses to play a big man with both Lee and Landry on the court.

    • A Landry/Lee frontcourt just doesn’t match up well with a Gasol/Randolph frontcourt. And Speights and Arthur off the bench? UNFAIR! LOL!

      Loved the “BS” chant when Memphis got some calls.

  57. Practice interviews for Thursday

  58. TrueHoop TV: Jrue Holiday (Bright young kid, I’m impressed)

  59. Video: The latest on the Dubs from Bob Myers (Chronicle Live)

  60. Better not look past Portland. I watched some of the game last night, and it was ugly—bad shooting both sides—but you saw the results.

    They aren’t great shooters, but they shoot and their starting lineup is really intriguing. Of course a starting lineup is all they have. I’d be curious to see what someone else could do with this core. One of the announcers said they’re saving cap space for next summer, but I think that’s a mistake. A few good pieces, players on the order of Landry and Jack, maybe a so-so center, could make this team a nightmare.

    On a side note, I really don’t enjoy watching Miami play.

  61. TrueHoop TV: Jrue Holiday (Bright young kid, I’m impressed)

  62. SCurry with Jim Rome

  63. Wow! We’re going to have watch Lillard against us for another 4-5+ years? Yuck! I see doubling Lillard at the top of the key – taking the ball out of his hands. I’d also would have liked to see Basemore guard Lillard (rough him up/throw him off) for a few minutes (Bledsoe like) – especially when Lillard’s shot was flowing. Last year, I thought McGuire could make a stop on a key possession with his length, athleticism, and quickness.

  64. The next great NBA PG was on display Friday night at The Oracle. Fortunately for GSW and their fans, Damian Lillard’s victory came in the points column instead of the won/loss column. Whew!

    The Warriors were the decidedly better team all night, and without Lillard’s amazing second half performance this game would have been a blowout. Pretty much everyone played well for the Dubs, something that’s going to need to take place over the next two months if the Warriors have any hope of playing close to .500 ball.

    In fact, looking at the next 8 games (schedule posted by Brytex) I have the Warriors losing 5 of those 8, and that’s with giving them a win vs LAC. The Warriors have yet to play the Spurs this season, and they’ve only faced OKC once. That means 7 games vs SA and OKC are still ahead on the schedule, if playing the rest of the Western teams wasn’t tough enough. And that “tough enough” part begins Sunday night in Denver.


    Game recap from

    • TURNING POINT: The Warriors’ lead — 67-47 at its highest, with 5:36 remaining in the third quarter — had melted to a mere four points after Nicolas Batum’s tip-in with 44.5 seconds left. Golden State held the ball to drain some block before finding a cutting Curry en route to the basket. Curry drew a second defender and then deftly slipped the ball to Carl Landry, who drained a twisting layup at the 24.7-second mark to make it 100-94, Golden State. Lillard dropped one last 3-pointer, but the Warriors converted three of four free throws to ice proceedings.

      QUOTABLE II: “I had a game like this in college, but that ended up with a win. That’s why this is bittersweet.”
      — Damian Lillard

      HOT: When Lillard connected on a falling-down jumper at the 4:16 mark of the third quarter, it seemed more like a lucky break than a harbinger of what was to come. But the former Weber State star knocked down a 3-opinter with his next attempt, and soon it was off the races. Portland coach Terry Stotts went small, using Aldridge for only 5:30 of the final 14:52 and not playing starting center J.J. Hickson over the game’s last 18 minutes, forcing the Warriors to defend shooters on the 3-point arc and opening lanes for Lillard to exploit. He finished 15-for-25 on the evening.

      QUOTABLE III: “It was a special period of basketball by [Lillard]. As a fan, I’m sure it was fun to watch. All I can do is look on the other end and shake my head and [Portland] coach [Terry] Stotts said, ‘He’s pretty good, ain’t he?’ But so’s my guy. When you put together 22 and 12 and play all those minutes being the guy trying to contain him — it was a special battle.”
      — Mark Jackson

      FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Landry had an especially efficient night off the bench for the Warriors, providing 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting and collecting seven rebounds in 23 minutes.

      BAD MOVE: It was a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t kind of night for Stotts, who knew he had to get significant rest at some point along the way for a quartet of players who went at least 40 minutes Thursday in beating Miami: Aldridge, Batum, Lillard and Matthews. Portland trailed by seven when Stotts pulled the last of that group with 29.9 seconds left in the first quarter; by the time the majority of them were back on the court in the second period, the Trail Blazers were down 17 — 39-22 some 7:10 from halftime.


      Postgame audio

      • Game recap from the perspective of a Portland fan:

        “The Warriors ended up putting the Blazers down 20 in the third. At that point I got up to get a snack. It was homemade tortilla chips with Ghost Pepper salsa. For those not familiar with the salsa world, Ghost Peppers–or Naga Bhut Joloki–make Habanero peppers look like baby food. They’re 170 times more potent than Tabasco sauce. They’ve been considered for use in hand grenades. Still, this Ghost Pepper salsa was nowhere near as hot as Damian Lillard when I returned and un-paused the DVR. From 4:20 left in the third to 20 seconds left in the fourth, Lillard made a dozen straight shots, including jumpers of 27, 27, 20, and 29 feet in a 2-minute span at the top of the fourth. It was like he said, “We may lose, but this is my homecoming. I’m going out burning the joint down.” And he did.”

  65. The Point Forward: First time All Star?

    9. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

    Numbers: 20.2 points, 6.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 43.6 percent shooting, 18.9 PER

    Record: 22-12, No. 5 in the West

    Analysis: Health clearly has been the key for Curry, who has experienced repeated ankle problems in his career. On the court and playing huge minutes, he’s showing just how deadly a 45.2 percent three-pointer shooter who expertly runs the pick-and-roll can be. He’s averaging career highs in points, assists and rebounds and, along with Lee, he’s been a steadying force on a team that’s dealt with injuries to Andrew Bogut and Brandon Rush. His play has been so good that he’s made Monta Ellis a forgotten man.

    The issue for Curry is that, as great as he’s been and as well as he’s shot the ball, there’s just no way he’s cracking the West’s top-five guards (Bryant, Paul, Westbrook, Parker and Harden). Further, he’s competing with Lee, a 2010 All-Star who is averaging 18.9 points and 10.4 rebounds. While Golden State has vastly exceeded expectations, it’s going to be hard for two Warriors to get selected if at least two Thunder players (Durant and Westbrook), at least two Lakers (Bryant and Howard), at least two Clippers (Paul and Griffin) and at least two Spurs (Parker and Duncan) are on the books. The Grizzlies, Rockets and Blazers will all rightfully feel like they should have at least one guy before the Warriors get two.

  66. The Warriors did play good defense, but really, Portland didn’t shoot well—first half. This changed, and of course Lillard put on a show for the hometown crowd. The defense didn’t really falter 2nd half. Rather, it was hard to contain all those outside shooters.

    Maybe it was crazy for Portland to launch so many threes, but it almost worked. What they’re doing is developing the team’s ability to shoot, and I’m curious to see how this holds up this season and next.

    I don’t see how any shooter can develop unless he is given a chance to shoot and plays for a team that supports shooting. Taking the three 2-3 times a game won’t play the odds or give experience and build confidence. Several players we saw several years ago—DWright, Reggie Williams especially, and even Tolliver—aren’t doing that well for other teams now. But they aren’t taking many shots and probably seldom have the green light. Some shooters, of course, are just streaky and don’t pan out.

    I love Green’s energy and enthusiasm, and I don’t think he’ll ever give up, but he looks too energetic and uncertain when he shoots. I’d rather see him build confidence midrange before he ventures out further. Anybody know how well he shoots in practice?

    I like to see new players shoot well right out of the box—e.g. Curry and Thompson. Their shooting represents years of experience and practice, and they both had a chance to prove themselves in college, for teams where they were centerpieces and shot freely against less competitive opposition (as did Reggie).

    I also wonder how easy it is to develop in the pros. Just imagine if Ezeli could shoot a little hook, or if even Biedrins had confidence in his. But Ezeli started b-ball late in life, and Biedrins hit the pros too early.

    Curry’s average is down, and last night’s shooting performance was poor. I suspect, however, several things are catching up—adjusting to his ankle and uncertainty there, having be the team leader, and playing heavy minutes night in and night out. Keep shooting, Steph.

    • chapeau blanc

      I think you’re right, rgg, some rookies need more time and reps for their shot to arrive in the NBA. In college last year, Green was a slightly better shooter than Barnes:

      Draymond Green college stats:
      Season FG% 3FG% FT%
      2011-12 44.9 38.8 72.3

      Harrison Barnes college stats:
      Season FG% 3FG% FT%
      2011-12 44.0 35.8 72.3

      But it’s a fact that Green’s shot hasn’t arrived in the NBA yet, and I wonder if his fitness level would even allow him to play more. Appearances can be deceptive, of course, but he just doesn’t LOOK like he has NBA-level 82-games fitness. Of course, when he does play he’s far more active than Barnes (or almost anyone else on the floor), so maybe that’s a factor.

  67. OK, the tough stretch is coming up. What should the Warriors do, play for the win every night—and continue to play Curry and Lee heavy minutes?

    Or should they concede some losses, play for the long run and try to rest key players, experiment with lineups, and see what they can do to bring the other players along, e.g. give Green and Bazemore more minutes and shots, maybe bring up some D-leaguers (do they have any prospects?) so they might be ready for playoffs, should that happen?

  68. The Warriors started strong by putting pressure on the ball, fronting at times the interior opponent, and contesting drives and bounce passes which resulted in steals and easy hoops.

    But Jackson abandoned defense late in the game, by having perimeter defenders sag in for rebounds in the fourth quarter, clearly letting Portland shoot uncontested 3’s, which allowed Portland to get back into the game. Such also resulted in Portland getting offensive rebounds off their missed rebounds which wound up far from the hoop. Even Greg Papa was honest enough to point out how the coaches blew a 20 point lead.The Warriors are so good they should have won the game by 20, and not just be lucky that they did not lose the game.

    It never entered Jackson’s mind to try to deny Lilliard the ball.

    Jackson continues not to rest players properly.

    Thompson is great shooting from the perimeter but the rest of his of game is a mess. He missed four easy drives on breakaways. One can’s continually turn the ball over on breakaways, In the play-offs, such misses may well cost us a game.

    And he turned the ball over 5 times in a variety of ways including being out of bounds and making bad passes. He also makes stupid and untimely fouls sending opponents to the line. The only time he passes ok is in the half-court set when he hits his man in a designed play and the guy is wide open.

    At times, Jack has problems both dribbling and passing. And, it would be nice if the coaches would tell him that he often misses shots because his jumper or floater does not make it over the rim, and when shooting the ball to be conscious to make sure he does not shoot the ball shorrt.

    Barnes is improving his stroke by moving his upper arm forward when shooting, and not simply jus using flipping his hand and wrist.

    The Warriors still need another decent big man. The Warriors need to make a move.

    • A better analysis, Frank, though I might argue that they decided their biggest threat 2nd. half would come from Aldridge, that the odds of Portland shooting that well outside weren’t strong, given what happened first half.

      “But Jackson abandoned defense late in the game, by having perimeter defenders sag in for rebounds in the fourth quarter, clearly letting Portland shoot uncontested 3′s, which allowed Portland to get back into the game.”

      Note what this implies: the heavy emphasis on team rebounding (as mandated from above) has a price, a downside not factored in—and this may affect them elsewhere, in fast breaks, for example.

      “The Warriors still need another decent big man. The Warriors need to make a move.”

      Not gonna happen. No trade pieces, no bucks.

    • 4 missed layups, 5 turnovers, at least 2 dumb fouls, an early shot that even outraged the normally mild-mannered Barnett, PLUS his usual hit-or-miss defense. Thompson played horribly.

      He was so bad that my goddess, a fledgling Warriors fan, kept threatening to hop in the car, rush over to Oracle and buy a ticket just so she could “punch Klay in the head.” That’s Bad.

      It’s a tribute to the rest of the team that they could overcome Thompson’s repeated screwups. Apparently, Feltie’s offensive genius doesn’t show up in competitive games, just cakewalks.

      • I take it you missed that uncompetitive Memphis game.

        And perhaps you failed to note who has the best +/- on the Warriors the last 2 games.

        You’re missing something.

        • Hi Felty. I wondered if you’d show up on your blog, or if you’d finally just conceded it to Steve.

  69. Down 20 points, Jackson should have known that Portland was not going to get back in the game having Aldridge shoot 2’s. th

    I don’t think Ezeli has bad hands. HIs problem is that he often just goes rebounds with one hand and fails to secure the ball or tries to tip the ball to other players with one hand which often resulting in turnovers. The coaches should tell him to try to catch all balls with two hands, not one, and avoid tipping the ball.

    • Ezeli – is getting on the job training. I agree – his hands aren’t bad – but he doesn’t make good basketball decisions when the ball is in his hands. Ezeli should NEVER get the ball with much of a decision other than how to dunk the ball! Curry/Jack – need to keep their dribble!

      The W’s do seem to be tipping the ball much more this season – Lee, Ezeli, and Biedrins – tip the ball a lot when rebounding. I like how Ezeli’s battling on the boards. It’s refreshing to have a W’s big with athleticism and size – rebound…

      Go 49ers!!!!!!!

  70. Practice interviews from Saturday

  71. Coaches from around the league talk about the Warriors

    • ++ – Agree very much, those coaches deserve credit for Curry and Lee’s improvement, the up tempo, and integration of Jack and Landry for sure.

    • I think this is my main concern about Barnes, though I don’t know what it means. Aggression is something he should have brought to the table, not something that has to be coaxed out of him. Jim Barnett praises him for all his athleticism, but I think it was Jerry West himself who said that athleticism doesn’t necessarily translate into basketball skills.

      • So true – Barnes has all the tools, all the skills, all the athleticism to be Rookie of the Year – but will he be?

        Just because Barnes is a #4 option in this talented W’s offense, does this mean Barnes can’t dominate an NBA game?

        Barnes definitely has the tools and talent to dominate on the boards and on defense.

        But does he? Sometimes… Probably when the coaches make a point of it.

        I question his “nice kid” mentality. Even “The Falcon” disappears for much of any game – and sometimes, I don’t even know he’s missing. Motor, heart, drive, willingness to win at all costs – over his dead body. Those kinds of things – are what realizes great talent into a star player.

        Skilled, but under the rim players – Curry, Lee, and Klay – can only dream of such athleticism.

  72. More (extended) highlights from GSW/Portland

  73. I forget who was calling out FB on his miss with Biedrins -“osteo-whatever” call! But here is an update,”Center Andris Biedrins (strained right groin) is questionable for Sunday’s game against Denver.” So Biedrins has found some success this year playing extremely limited minutes at about 70% of what he once was… Right again FB!

    • I believe it was in Steve ‘s many posts. ;-)

      • peteb24 | January 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Reply

        Moto, isn’t Biedrins regaining some value this season? His free-throw shooting is still awful, but he is at least playing defense and rebounding. Maybe this means he is on the trading block once/if Bogut returns. Also, Ezeli could be a trade piece, except that the Labobites value his size too much. (And he has the potential to be a very good defender down the road.)

        Speaking of Biedrins…..When is someone going to challenge Feltbot on his Osteo….blah, blah injury theory? Biedrins sure doesn’t look like he’s having abdominal pain right now.

        • A big who can’t shoot/make free throw who only plays 5 minutes per game with questionable drive making $9 million x 2 years – has trade value?

          My guess? Andris Biedris (and Richard Jefferson) has/have value as an expiring contract next season. That’s it.

          $9 million and $11 million.

          As a matter of fact – I would only consider trading for Rudy Gay – if the Grizzlies would take on Biedrins, Jefferson, and Barnes. And I still wouldn’t do the trade… Unless they threw in Darrell Arthur. And of course, Memphis is smart to know that there are other stupid teams that will consider taking on Rudy Gay’s max contract – and don’t want to get rid of Rudy Gay THAT much!

          3 years – $53+million on Gay’s (Crappy max) deal
          3 years – $9+million on Darrell Arthur’s deal

          2 years – $39 million (Biedrins/Jefferson combined)
          5 years – $18 million (Barnes’ great rookie deal)

  74. What has been accomplished so far, my early half-season evaluation:

    1. The team has gained respect among other teams and the national media. This is worth something, say in attracting other players.

    2. Joe Lacob’s reputation has been bailed out, at least temporarily, Lacob who has made some of the worst decisions in the franchise’s long, rich history of blunders.

    More importantly,

    3. Perhaps, finally, Lacob will learn from his mistakes and the team can move forward.

    4. The team has established an identity and built a framework and a system it can take into the next years. The coaching staff itself has had a chance to discover this framework and develop themselves into an effective unit. I have confidence in this group, if they’re given the players and independence.

    5. The team has enough wins now to think, in fact, about the playoffs this season. I predict many wins and losses among the teams after #4 in the Western Conference, who, like the Warriors, are developing afresh, and it’s a matter of who holds firm and emerges. Answering my question @89, I think the team should think about the long haul, developing the other players as best they can and resting the key players to give themselves a shot—and manage some losses along the way.

    As to what else the team might do to improve its chances this season and improve next season, the answer is not much. They simply don’t have the resources to build the roster now and won’t next year.

    What we’ve most learned is that the team can win without a dominant center. Lacob’s biggest mistake is deciding they cannot, and, by the end of next season, he will have squandered more than 75 million dollars on players who have returned little value or none at all, or, in the case of Bogut, may not return much value, which is diminishing every day. (Add all the contracts for Brown, Bogut + Jefferson, not amnestying Biedrins, etc.) Set against that what the team might have gained by putting that money into other players.

    What we’ve also learned, which should have been known over two years ago, is that dominant centers are nearly impossible to come by and don’t always pan out. There are only a few good centers; the rest are compromises (Brown, Biedrins, and is Hibbert worth $13.6m?) who are limited in speed and skill, who don’t add much and do more harm than good if pushed into a central role. They get hurt (Bynum, Nene, Bogut, Biedrins, etc.). And they can’t be had and don’t want to come here. (Chandler would have been a coup and should have been offered a max, but I say that only in retrospect. I think there were questions about injury, but he would have been a better gamble than Bogut. But the Knicks wouldn’t have let him go and would have matched. And he didn’t want to come here.)

    What the team has most learned is what players like Jack and Landry offer, players who lack the size and speed you’d want at their positions, but who have good all around skills, who can score and defend, who have heads on their shoulders and can figure out systems, who fit in well with the team, and who provide good service at their positions and give the team options. Also they were affordable. What the team most needed to do years ago and still needs to do is find similar players (although they may not be that easy to find; maybe we got lucky).

    Since the team can’t get a good center, it needs to find good substitutes who work well within the present scheme, who can stand in at center, who can play alongside Lee when the team goes small (as most teams are doing now, down the stretch), and spell Lee so he isn’t overused. Also they can continue to try to find affordable, lesser centers who play subordinate roles, largely on defense. Ezeli is the perfect example.

    Quick examples (and I’m only looking at box scores):

    Hickson, Portland, (6-9, 240) center: 12 points, 11 boards per game this season; $4m contract.

    Splitter, San Antonio (6-11, but a light 235), center: 10 pts., 5 boards; $4m contract.

    Of course having Aldridge and Duncan alongside them helps, but that’s the point: our prospect plays alongside Lee.

    Imagine Scola, Phoenix, backing up and spelling Lee. 6-9, 240, 13 pts., 6 boards; $4m, picked up from amnesty.

    I wish Chris Hunter hadn’t gotten hurt (Lacob didn’t know who he was). He had pretty good size and a variety of skills and was a warrior. He reminds me of Landry.

    One way to improve now and pick up such players is to cut loses and move on. I’m not saying Bogut doesn’t haven potential and couldn’t contribute to the team, but the odds don’t look good he’ll return much value this season or next, not when you consider that possible value, again, diminishing, against what might be gained if the team picked up other such players as above.

    One option would be to buy him out and hope other teams pick him up at half value, thus reducing what he has to be paid and reducing the cap space by that same amount, giving enough money for another player and avoiding cap tax, which is expensive and is getting more expensive. (I think I have this right). Maybe I’m being sarcastic, but I didn’t put the team in this spot. Also there is some merit to such a decision.

    Here’s my question: would anybody pick Bogut up at $6.5m? If not, why not?

    Or I suppose the team could try to trade him.

    For what?

    Would anyone bite?

    Why not?

    Or imagine a hypothetical situation, not possible: pretend the team could auction Bogut plus Jefferson off at half price. Would anyone bite?

    Why not?

    Why weren’t more teams going after the #5 center in the league when we traded?

    Why did Lacob make such a horrible deal?

    • lacob is prepared to write off the bogut investment . the team’s early season success will buffer him from the worst blow-back he’d potentially endure otherwise. Sac will be changing ownership at a price about $100m. higher than what the lacobites paid for their prize, and even with a bogut write off, the team is worth more than Sac. he made his fortune from identifying assets temporarily devalued in their market and speculating on favorable changes, sometimes intervening with management tweaks. he took a risk that bogut would become another of his appreciating assets, understanding that there’s no assured outcome in the recovery of high mileage athletes from serious injuries.

      the lacobites can accept getting very little from bogut for the remainder of his contract because they have confidence that the conventional views about the progress of the team without bogut (completely based of course from this season’s early successes) are accurate. the history which they will perpetuate will describe how shipping ellis and even getting a bag of beans in return eliminated the conflicts between the ellis/curry/lee triumvirate, enabling the latter duo to blossom and lead. should thompson, barnes, ezeli continue to make progress, all the better.

      we can’t say yet that the team will be unable to reach the playoffs while getting little or nothing from bogut, but it seems possible, and through Feb. they’ll have roster tweaks as an option. we can be sure that they’re already surveying that course.

      • The W’s will not trade or release Andrew Bogut…

        At 85% on his hobbled ankle for 4 games and 73 minutes (or so) – W’s got a glimpse of what Andrew Bogut can be when even somewhat healthy. I liked what I saw.

        A healthy Bogut – mixed in with this offensively talented small ball lineup – can make a deep run in the NBA playoffs.

        Let’s not forget what impact an often injured, fragile C Tyson Chandler – had on the offensively talented, but little defense/toughness Dallas Mavericks roster.

        I’m not saying Lee is Dirk or that the W’s will win an NBA championship, but this is a talented W’s roster and a deep playoff run is not out of the question!

        Add in an elite defending, offensively competent shot blocking center…

        The Bucks got Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, and $8 million cap space (used for say keep Ilyasova and/or sign FA Dalembert). How well are they doing? They just fired their coach – Skiles. A .500 team in the horrible eastern conference. They were just as good a team with Bogut sitting on their bench in a cast and Stephen Jackson whining like a baby to no end – as they are now.

        • At a recent Warriors game I was sitting next to a crusty season ticket holder explaining to me why OKC’s GM Sam Presti is so good:

          OKC unable to resign James Hardin, traded him for a starter (Kevin Martin), a first round #12 pick Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones (originally supposed to be a#5 pick), and next year’s Toronto Raptor first round pick PLUS more salary cap flexibility for the Thunder.

          He made me laugh when he said the “Warriors gave up Epke Udoh and Monta Ellis and all I got was this stupid Andrew Bogut bobble head doll!”. I laughed out loud.

        • by ‘prepared to write off’ in no way was my meaning intended to imply that the lacobites would buy him out or waive him — simply, they’re prepared to accept the worst, i.e. his inability to contribute meaningfully for the rest of his contract. there’s still a chance he’ll contribute to some wins before his deal expires, and the saying goes, ‘little is better than nothing.’

        • PeteyBrian—

          I wasn’t serious about buying out/trading Bogut, and it’s not going to happen anyway. My real point is to suggest how restricted the team is now in terms of improving now and next season and that doing something this drastic may be their only option.

          But I think a case could be made such a deal would make sense, once you calculate the risks of Bogut not being able to play, or play enough, and the added value of another lesser player. If such a deal could be made now, the team would get immediate gains from his play, which would help with the playoffs. Even in the best scenario, it doesn’t look like Bogut will be able to do much for another month, but more likely much longer.

          Such a player would have helped last night. We get a bit more scoring and Lee gets a rest. He looked tired much of the game and was tanked at the end.

          The thing is, I don’t think anyone would bite at such an offer, that the team could even get half value for Bogut. I can’t prove this, but I suspect the player the team banks its success this year and next on, Bogut, is not worth that much to any other team. If I’m right, what does this tell us about the value of the deal?

          Buying out Biedrins would make more sense, but I don’t think they’d get much return at all, if any, and wouldn’t be able to reduce the cap.

      • moto—

        The team might be able to absorb Bogut’s (and Jefferson’s) contract, but I don’t see how Lacob can make the team better now or in the near future, unless he goes into cap tax, probably deep, which he says he doesn’t want to do.

        Two Ellis scenarios, both moot, and I’m going to give this one a rest:

        1. Keep Ellis. I think he’s much maligned on offense—look at his assists, his numbers with Curry—and he wasn’t the only one who suffered on defense or who might have benefited from a better system.

        2. Trade Ellis for someone other than a center, someone on the order of the players mentioned above. I can’t believe something couldn’t have been worked out. This, however, would have taken foresight and maybe some courage. (Yes, we picked up draft picks in the Bogut trade, but there would have been other ways to get them.)

        Either way, they’re a better team now, but I won’t argue #1 because I’m happy with what they have now, for reasons given. There’s no way I would trade back on the same terms, were that possible.

        Either way, they aren’t saddled with Jefferson’s $10m contract. Either way, they keep Udoh, who would have helped tonight and who also could have made amnestying Biedrins possible. That’s a lot of money.

        Picking up more good, affordable pieces makes them better now. It also saves cap space and gives many more options come trade time. And bringing players into the organization and showing their potential with this team might improve their trade value, as you note with Jack.

      • The other way to look at Ellis is that he may well have been on the way out, one way or another. The organization has made it clear a long time that they want Curry to lead and be the future. I don’t know how this sat with Ellis, but at the very least it would have caused a conflict. If we had kept him, he may well have opted out after this season. And he would not have good reason to think his contract would have been renewed after that.

        So better to get the best possible value for Ellis in a sensible trade last season, when his numbers were quite good.

  75. rgg,

    Lacob & co. are at least as smart as we are, and being insiders they know more about the team than we do. They could clearly see how much the Bogut deal would cost the team competitively and financially, and they fully understood the odds of any potential payoff scenario. As Feltie might say if he were still participating in his blog, they had “more perfect knowledge” than us about the bet. By far.

    So if it looks like a bad deal to us outsiders, the obvious explanation is that there’s stuff we don’t know.

    I’ve previously mentioned one possibility: Monta had to go, no alternatives, ASAP. There are numerous offcourt scenarios that could create that requirement, the only one we know about being his sexual harassment case.

    You’re right, of course, as far as you have taken your analysis. If you only look at the trade from an on-court competitive standpoint, the Bogut deal doesn’t make sense. The team gave up two good players for a single possibly-someday good player. But if you assume the team was required to move Monta over an offcourt issue, the deal makes complete sense. In that case, it was the best deal possible given the situation. That’s the smart bet.

    In any case there’s no point to us worrying about it. We’ll never be privy to the inside story, and Lacob & co. will move forward at least as well as we could from here.

    • I believe all the messages from the FO were clear: they had to get a center no matter what. From what I remember from reports and rumors, Ellis wasn’t offered in any trade for another position, other than perhaps Paul, which wasn’t going to happen.

      Ellis’s antics didn’t upset the Bucks and doesn’t seem to be upsetting anyone else now.

      • So you believe that after passing up 3 years’ worth of functioning free agent centers, the stupid FO stupidly made a stupid trade for the reasons they gave in their PR reports. With all due respect, that seems highly unlikely.

        • Duh—

          Actually, that is a strong possibility, given this FO. They seem to believe what they say in their PR reports.

    • Also, with Ellis – W’s team chemistry wasn’t there.

      And the genius of the trade – the tank – helped the W’s barely keep the lottery pick (+lots of luck). Harrison Barnes is a promising prospect. So is Festus Ezeli.

      Unfortunately for the W’s, drafting a big – C Andre Drummond – wasn’t the #1 priority (need) since the W’s were planning to put in Andrew Bogut at Center. Drummond’s looking like a BEAST in his short play and had a big impact on the W’s/Pistons game in limited minutes.

      If the W’s had traded Ellis for say, OJ Mayo (keeping Udoh) – perhaps the W’s don’t retain the 2012 lottery pick (tank not as “effective”). No 2 years $22 million of Richard Jefferson’s deal, no late #1 pick (Festus Ezeli), keeping the $8 milion expiring contract (Kwame’s deal). $19+ million in available cap space (Jefferson’s $11 million + Kwame’s $8 million) could buy something nice in Free Agency. More likely no Harrison Barnes, but keeping W’s 2013 draft pick (instead of sending to Utah).

      • Not sure of why there is so much negative love for Ellis on this blog.

        Can you substantiate your Monta hate? Who ever said the Warriors had bad chemistry? Warrior fans love Monta — just watch last year’s game against the Bucks and the standing Ovation(s) for him. And be sure to tune in this year when Ellis returns.

        The Dubs have had one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA for the past five years. Ellis was a large part of it. That is not bad chemistry, but appreciation for his fine play and support of his team and fans.

        He was traded because the management of the team thought it would help make the team better. Just because AB has not played, should not change the reason for the trade.

        • I’m with you on that, Buck. “Chemistry,” especially offensive chemistry, is a coaching responsibility. Unless Ellis was uncoachable – and NO ONE has ever suggested he is – the “Monta-centric” Warriors offense of the last few years was a coaching decision. Given the level of talent hereabouts, it was probably the best option. But why blame Monta? He kicked butt, above and beyond any reasonable expectations.

  76. And I’ll end my thoughts about Ellis with a tribute:

  77. PeteyBrian: As of this date, the Bucks got the better of the trade, and therefore it does not matter how well the Bucks are performing.

    Orlando did offer the Warriors a trade for Ellis. We just don’t know which player or players were offered.

    In the Warriors loss last night, Denver had 18 more possessions than the Warriors via 8 additional offensive rebounds, and 10 less turnovers. The Warriors shooting the lights out could not overcome this negative possession differential.

    • Okay – keeping team performance out of it…

      If Monta Ellis isn’t traded soon, he’s likely opting out. Has Ekpe Udoh even progressed his game? It can be argued the Kwame Brown cap space was used to retain Ilyasova whom the Bucks are shopping now as we speak…

      Andrew Bogut’s career may not be actually be finished… LOL! Time will tell. Signed for this season and next to see if he can regain his health to become a top 3-5 NBA center.

      Whose name would you rather have, Festus Ezeli or Ekpe Udoh? I like Festus’ name slightly better than Ekpe – but it’s close.

      And the “genius” of the trade – tank? Harrison Barnes – who just had his best game as a pro vs. Denver – 29 minutes, 21 points on 8-11 fg/5-6 3 pt, 6 rebounds, 1 steal. Of course, he’ll disappear his next game. Perhaps – he read this blog and got motivated! LOL!

      Alex Smith is a very good NFL quarterback. Colin Kaepernick is THE MAN!

  78. Cap’nTrade – like the moniker but your analysis is woeful. Your point is that the “smart bet” is that because the Warriors FO knows stuff we don’t about some Ellis internal situation, the Ellis trade must have been the “best possible deal”. WTH… there is no internal situation here. Lacob wanted his “franchise transforming” deal for a center that he had been promising since he took over. They stated over and over that Bogut would be ready for the next season. And the “genius” of the trade that it led to the Barnes draft pick is another fallacy. Once you decide to tank – there are many ways to do it besides trading your best player and your lottery pick for a guy who still cannot play and Capn Jack who you could not bear to have on the roster….

    That said the other moves the front office has made have worked well, so the W’s are in better shape overall. But that does not mean the Bogut trade is a positive for the W’s.

    • Yes, that was the official explanation in all of the Ws PR releases. You believe that? OK, whatever. I don’t happen to think the FO is stupid enough to make an awful trade after passing up better (read “functional”) centers for 3 straight years.

      • Unless they had to. Something they wouldn’t tell us about. Something we couldn’t know about.