Did either of these two home wins against the wretched Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings inspire you with confidence?
Yeah. It’s clear that the Warriors have no idea what their identity is at the moment. Both offensively and defensively, they’re working around that Myth in the middle.
Fortunately for their playoff hopes, it is highly unlikely that they will even need to get their act together in order to make the playoffs. Their huge scheduling edge going down the stretch will carry them through. And as I noted before, the Rockets blew a big hole in their team by trading away their spread fours for TRob at the deadline. Like the Warriors, their chemistry is wrecked.
Tyreke Evans: What an utterly horrible basketball player he’s turned out to be. As I predicted, before he was handed the Rookie of the Year trophy.
Patrick Patterson and Tony Douglas: I read a lot of stuff ridiculing the Kings for trading away their #5 pick Thomas Robinson for Patterson and Douglas. A lot of analysts thought it was a straightforward salary dump of Francisco Garcia’s remaining contract.
I think it was a brilliant trade for the Kings from a basketball perspective. TRob has a long way to go to become as good a player as Jason Thompson. And Patrick Patterson is not only a terrific all-around player, but showed us in this game just how important it is to have a legitimate spread four in this league. When he was paired with Thompson, Bogut and Lee literally couldn’t guard either one.
Douglas also gives the Kings something they desperately needed, a guard that can play defense. He did an incredible job on Curry in this game. Jimmer may never see the floor for Keith Smart again.
The Andrew Bogut Myth: There were innumerable signs in this game that Bogut is not healthy, and not helping the Warriors on the floor. Here’s a list:
The Warriors were forced to cross-match David Lee on Cousins, leaving Bogut on Jason Thompson. Barnett said it was because the Warriors didn’t want Bogut pulled away from the basket on the Kings’ pick and roll. I suspect it was because they wanted to save Bogut from the pounding. No matter what the reason, it’s not a good sign. Remind me again how Bogut is useful, if you can’t use him to guard the other team’s behemoth?
Beginning in the first quarter, the Kings went right at Bogut. He was helpless to defend the much smaller Thompson, out on the floor, in the post, or even driving right into his chest. Thompson ate Bogut alive, for 17 points on 8-13 shooting.
On a switch, Boogie Cousins simply knocked Bogut on his ass for an And One. I believe that’s the second time this season he did that.
Did the Warriors post Bogut up once in this game? In the fourth quarter, when they were desperate for a basket, did they try posting up their 7’1″ behemoth against the 6-10″ Jason Thompson? They did not. Not once. Does that tell you anything about the current state of Andrew Bogut?
How about that play at 7:25 3Q where he offensive rebounded that airball right under the basket, and instead of jumping and dunking with his right hand, he tried a flat-footed left hand flip shot that didn’t get over the rim?
How about that play at 3:37 3Q where Bogut was thundering to the hoop for the slam, only to be met at the top by Isaiah Thomas and turned away? That’s 5-9″ 185 lb. Isaiah Thomas. Bogut couldn’t finish over him. Yes, they called a foul, but that’s beside the point.
And by the way, that much disputed 3rd foul on Bogut at 1:55 2Q? That was a total foul. Don’t look at the right hand blocking the shot, look at the left hand pulling down on Thompson’s shoulder, which is what allowed Bogut to get off the floor.
David Lee: Had a great game defensively against Cousins, and struggled to guard the spread-four Patterson. More evidence for my argument that his true position is center.
Offensively, it was remarkable that he had such an efficient game, now that he is once again being taken away from what he does best. I counted one bucket from the pick and roll in this game, at 0:51 2Q.
Festus Ezeli: Fantastic game from the rookie who saved this Warriors season.
Did you notice how much pressure he put on the offensive boards? That’s something that Bogut is completely unable to do: He’s so concerned about getting his lumbering body back on defense that he starts running back as soon as the shot goes up.
Looking at Ezeli’s high level of activity in this game, it seems likely that he was indeed worn down from heavy usage in the first part of the season, and badly needed that rest that Biedrins provided him in the last few weeks.
It’s equally likely that Biedrins was being showcased.
The Brand: Barnes was used as something of a go-to man in this game, going against probably the worst defensive small forward tandem in the entire NBA in John Salmons and Tyreke Evans. His efficiency? Meh.
At any rate, it was a nice break for him, coming off the torchings he got from Melo, Pierce and Evan Turner.
Here’s a nice quote from Jim Barnett in the Philly game: “This is one of the most efficient games I’ve ever seen Evan Turner play.” Yes, indeed.
Klay Thompson: Is that three straight nice games from Klay Thompson? He’s made 15 threes in the last three games, as his 3pt percentage has climbed to a more than solid 39% after a very slow start to the season. A lot has been made of Klay’s shooting this season, but it should be noted that his 42% from the field is quite misleading. Why? Because he takes so many threes. (He took 27 in just the last three games!) And shooting a lot of threes at 39% has lowered his shooting percentage.
A much truer measure of Klay’s shooting is his TS% (True Shooting), which adjusts for threes and free throw percentage. Klay’s is 53.6%, good for 69th in the league. That’s darn good for a wing player, and I’ll bet you a case of Lagavulin that he shoots a higher percentage next season.
In this game, of course, the most newsworthy event is that he shed that “not clutch” label with that last shot. Personally, I thought that criticism of him was ridiculous. Have you ever caught me criticizing him for missing shots in the fourth quarter? You have not. Because he’s a young player, because he’s had a good excuse to tire in the fourth quarter when he’s being played out of position defensively in the first and third quarters, and most importantly, because he’s simply too great a shooter to keep missing them. Thompson is going to hit hundreds of clutch shots before his career is over.
I also thought he was equally clutch on that last defensive stand, smothering Tyreke Evans’ drive and forcing him to fall away, without fouling. Unlike Harrison Barnes, Thompson is a very hard working and very high IQ defender, with great anticipation. I haven’t changed my mind about his foot speed, though. He belongs at small forward.
And then there’s his floor game. I’m not sure anyone’s noticed how much better Thompson’s handle is than Barnes’. He has the handle of a point guard, equally good with his left hand as his right. Gets wherever he wants to on the floor without getting stripped. Despite his much lamented finishing abilities, I’d be willing to bet that he is significantly more efficient driving to the basket than the high-flying Barnes. Because when he gets doubled, he’s got the vision and the passing ability to hit the cutter. Barnes is a turnover machine when he’s doubled.
I have been completely perplexed by how many Warriors fans are down on Klay Thompson, and high on Harrison Barnes. I think a large part of it has to do with how Klay looks. I’ve seen his face compared to an Easter Island statue. His personality is invisible. And he doesn’t model jerseys.
And of course, Klay doesn’t have the crowd-pleasing big vertical and dunking ability of Barnes. (Somehow, though, he manages to block more shots. Maybe that’s not all about athleticism.)
It’s absurd. The gulf in talent between Thompson and Barnes is enormous. Enormous. Thompson is going to be a great, great player someday.
Basically as soon as he gets with a GM who realizes he’s a small forward.