Western Conference Forecast — Part Two

Here are my picks to contend for the 7th and 8th seeds in the West, and a quick analysis of the cellar dwellars. (Check out my analysis of the best six teams in the West here, if you haven’t already.)                


NUGGETS (47 wins — UNDER)

We saw what happened to this 57 win team last year when they lost their terrific stretch-four Danilo Gallinari. He was the key to their halfcourt offense. This year’s team is down not just Gallinari, but perhaps their best all-around player, Andre Iguodala, and their starting center, Kosta Koufos.

Think Koufos won’t matter? Think Javale McGee will improve this team? I have two responses: 1) George Karl is not an idiot 2) You used to think McGee was a laughingstock when he was surrounded by Wizards. What changed?

The fact of the matter is that McGee is a head case, and even when his head is screwed on straight, it doesn’t generate enough current to light a Christmas bulb. Paired with Kenneth Faried on the front line, this will be one of the lowest IQ frontlines in basketball.

And poorest shooting. The Nuggets are going to suffer a lot of spacing issues — their Achilles heel in last years playoffs — in the half court. The backups Hickson and Arthur will make this a decent rebounding team. And they’re good out to 15 feet. But where’s the stretch-four?  There is none, because I doubt very much that new head coach Brian Shaw will see his way to playing Wilson Chandler there.

Speaking of Brian Shaw: in what way does a triangle coach, late of the half-court Indiana Pacers, fit this run and gun Nuggets roster? Shaw has sworn that he won’t try to install the triangle, and will continue to play at a fast pace, but… What is his comfort level playing up-tempo? I smell a disaster in the making here.

And then there’s the backcourt: Ty Lawson with Randy Foye/Evan Fournier. Is that a good defensive backcourt? A good shooting backcourt? A backcourt that can execute in the halfcourt? If Shaw slows the tempo at all — which I think is an absolute given — Ty Lawson may be headed for his worst season as a pro.

And the team is headed for dissension. For players like McGee, Faried and Lawson, it’s run or lose — simple as that. Wilson Chandler has never played in anything but a running system. Hmmm.

I would not be at all surprised to see the Nuggets drop below .500, and miss the playoffs. Even though their competitors for the bottom seeds are far from compelling.

MAVERICKS (44 wins — no bet)

The Mavs should be improved from last year’s 41 win team, with a healthy Nowitzki,  the additions of the Monta Ellis/Jose Calderon backcourt and defensive presence Sam Dalembert at center instead of the Kamanosaurus. They just lost Brandan Wright for the season, but I’ve never been a fan.

Monta Ellis has a lot to prove. The roster is packed with accomplished veterans, including a couple of prideful World Champion holdovers. And they have one of the best coaches in the league in Rick Carlisle.

Solid pick for the seventh seed.

TIMBERWOLVES (41 wins — no bet)

I like the TWolves to squeak into the 8th seed this season, but I admit my opinion is colored by sentimentality. I love to watch this team play, and I root for them.

After more than a decade of fruitless search, they have finally added a legitimate shooting guard in Kevin Martin. And he’s re-united with his former coach, Rick Adelman, whose system is perfect for him. Look for Martin to have a much better season than last, particularly in getting to the line.

Rubio’s a wonderful player on both sides of the ball. If he’s added the set shot three he’s been working on, watch out. World Champion JJ Barea off the bench. And keep an eye on Alexey Shved, whom I love. He’s a two with great point guard skills, who struggled at times with his shot last season. I have a feeling he could become a terrific player in the league.

Big Pek is re-signed and Kevin Love is back from injury and in great shape, cementing a nice frontline. Although Pek’s injury history and newly fat wallet are concerning.

They lost Budinger at small forward again, but there’s some depth: Corey Brewer, Derrick Williams, and rookie Shabazz Muhammed.

Rick Adelman is one of the best coaches in the league, who knows exactly how to manipulate matchups.

Love the TWolves. I’ve scheduled a game at Oracle to watch them.

PELICANS (40 wins — UNDER)

I’m scratching my head that this team is favored to win more games than the Blazers. They’ve added some name players, Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans. And there’s that Anthony Davis hype.

Anthony Davis is a terrific player, yes, but I predicted before last season that his body wasn’t ready for the NBA and was a big injury risk. He wound up getting injured twice, and played 64 games. He’s all of 20 years old now. And with Robin Lopez gone, it looks like he’s penciled in for starting center. (Who else could it be? Smith? Stiemsma? Withey?) I’m again skeptical that his body will hold up.

The Pelicans have two of my least favorite backcourt players, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans. Known cancers. Gordon can be productive when healthy, particularly on the defensive end, but is he ever healthy?

Tyreke Evans is in my opinion just a flat out terrible player. Low IQ. Poor court vision. Selfish. Terrible outside shooter. Mediocre and unwilling defender. I can’t believe he landed the contract he did. To his credit, Monty Williams has made him the sixth man, which is probably the best place for him.

Aminu is mediocre at best at small forward. Can’t shoot! I love Ryan Anderson at stretch-four, but I don’t believe Williams is the right coach for him.

The bench is terrible. Young, inexperienced and dubious.


This line seems awfully low for a team that has one of the better starting lineups in the league. Are not LaMarcus Aldridge, Nic Batum and Damian Lillard all potential all-stars? Robin Lopez proved serviceable in the middle last season. And Wes Matthews is a good two-way player at the offguard.

The Blazers’ chief problem last year was a stripped down bench that led to the complete exhaustion of the starters. That problem seems to be over with the additions of Lopez (moving Meyers Leonard to the bench), Mo Williams and Dorell Wright. Sophomore Will Barton also opened some eyes at the end of last season.

The loss of rookie CJ McCollum hurts — I think he projects to be a terrific pro, and hope he makes it back for the second half of the season.

But the Blazers look pretty good to me. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sneak into the playoffs.


LAKERS (33.5 wins — no bet)

omg lol does this team project to be awful. The line says it all, especially if you bear in mind that it is propped up by a monstrous steaming pile of the stupidest money in all of sports. (Talking at you, Lakers fans.)

No exaggeration, this could be the worst defensive team in the entire league. Chris Kaman in the middle. Nick Young, Jody Meeks, Kobe on the wings. Nash at the point. And Pau Gasol coming off tendonitis procedures in both knees. Wow. Inconceivably bad.

But Kobe, Pau and Nash!

Who? Sorry, the guys wearing those jerseys this season are not those players.

Kobe is attempting to return from one of the most difficult injuries of all — torn Achilles heel surgery. His knee is no better than last year — he just had that mysterious blood platement treatment in Germany again. And he’s completely out of shape.

When he comes back, he’ll be playing small forward. No prayer this season staying with two-guards. He completely gave up on defense last season.

The Lakers are already talking about resting Nash on back-to-backs. Think he has a lot left?

Pau might be the healthiest of the lot. But let’s see how long his knees last at center, after D’Antoni benches Kaman in disgust.

Speaking of D’Antoni, is it possible to design a roster less suited to his talents? Is there a spread-four on this roster? There is not — Metta, Jamison and last year’s revelation Earl Clark are all gone. Can this team run? Can Kaman, Gasol, Kobe play uptempo?

In the half-court, it’s obvious that the Lakers offense should revolve around Nash/Gasol pick and roll. But is that something coach Kobe Bryant will allow?

There are already rumors that D’Antoni will be fired a month into the season. I think it’s even money he shoots himself first. The Lakers are suddenly the most dysfunctional franchise in all of basketball.

KINGS (31.5 — no bet)

I don’t give the Kings much of a chance to win this season, but they will certainly be an intriguing team to watch. They’ve got new, wealthy, brilliant and highly involved ownership, that have already gotten off on the right foot in remaking the franchise. The first order of business was dumping Tyreke Evans for the highly useful and unselfish Greivous Vasquez. They’ve finally got a competent X and O’s man in Mike Malone (even if it’s unclear how well he grasps big picture strategy). Giving head case DeMarcus Cousins a gigantic contract was actually a brilliant move: he will be far less motivated by selfish considerations now, and even if he doesn’t mature, and the Kings decide to move him, there will be at least one Greater Fool willing to take a chance on him.

Moves I didn’t like as well: adding Carl Landry and Luc M’bah Moute. Landry is a good guy and a solid veteran who will improve the culture, but he’s not a great NBA player: too small for backup center, too limited for backup power forward.

MBam is also limited: he can’t shoot. His best position is power forward, but it’s clear the Kings want him on the wings, to help “change the culture” on defense. He will do that, but only at the cost of the Kings’ spacing.

Intriguing storylines: Will Mike Malone and new minority owner Shaquille O’Neal be able to get through to Boogie? Will Malone find the natural 4th quarter backcourt of Isaiah Thomas and Vasquez? (I love Thomas, and think he’s greatly underrated at both ends of the floor.) Will he see the value in giving Patrick Patterson minutes at stretch-four? Is Ben McLemore a player? And of course,


Actually, I already know Jimmer’s headed out of town. Not a Mike Malone type.

JAZZ (27.5 wins — no bet)

Another intriguing team to watch, if only to judge the progress of promising youngsters Enes Kanter (love his game), Derrick Favors and Trey Burke.

SUNS (21.5 wins — no bet)

What is the plan here? Is Eric Bledsoe a shooting guard?


(See also: Part One of my Western Conference forecast)


126 Responses to Western Conference Forecast — Part Two

  1. (Repost)
    @buckaroo It’s shameful how poorly I follow the Eastern Conference compared to the West, so I’m probably missing something. But I don’t spot any obvious win total wagers. The Pacers should be even better this season, but they’ve been nudged up to 53.5. And I think the Wizards will be much improved, but that’s already reflected in their 41 line. The Knicks could disappoint — Stoudemire probably won’t play a game, both JR Smith and Shumpert have injury concerns, and Bargnani is healthy (jk) — but they’ve been nudged down already to 49.5.

    The Cavs are reflecting a huge leap, from 24 to 40.5 wins, which strikes me as very unlikely. Particularly given the injury history of Varejao and Irving. I don’t want to bet against that Irving/Jack 4th Q backcourt though. There are few better.

  2. Undertaking a long overdue transfer of my webhosting from Dreamhost to Hostgator today, so if the site disappears forever, you’ll know what happened…

  3. Interview of Bogut, revealing exactly what he went through to play in last year’s playoffs.


  4. Burke will be out 8-12 weeks for Utah. I wonder if this will give Ian Clark more playing time at PG. I’m just curious to see what he can do in the NBA. His presence in summer league was transformative.

    Steph had an advantage as well his rookie year, getting so many minutes with the depleted squad, and that time paid dividends later. I wonder if GSW’s projects at PG will get the time to develop, and I’m not sure what they gain in D-league.

    If your site disappears, FB, will we disappear with it?

    • going by past performances, what comes out of the d-league varies with the player and the coaching. the best coaches often end up as assistants in the n.b.a., the richer ones like GS able to support another team within the team. by most accounts, lin benefitted significantly w. musselman coaching him. if bazemore improved from playing in s.cruz, the summer league showed he still has far to go. no one in d-league could defend him, but his turnovers were atrocious.

      • Carl Landry out for most of the season with a torn hip flexor. Sorry to see Carl lose a season like this. He was instrumental in getting the Warriors into the playoffs last season. My fear this season is that the team does not have the grinders like Landry and Jack to take some of the scoring burden when Curry and Klay are struggling. I guess having J. O’Neal and Iggy will make up for it as long as Jackson manages minutes correctly.

      • This may seem weird, but the thing I least like about Basemore is his dribbling and ball security. When he’s bringing the ball up the court, he almost always dribbles to his waist. Strong guards protect the ball and really pound the dribble. Then, when he drives the lane, his ball security seems pretty weak. Against D-Leaguers he’s faster than almost everyone, against NBA players, he need to improve these ball security fundamentals. I do believe his jumper will continue to improve, because he will need to become a 40% three point shooter to remain in the league.

  5. (Off topic)

    I watched the latest Great Gatsby movie the other night. I think it’s an abomination. Everything that is significant, suggestive, complex, and ambiguous in the novel is bracketed and trivialized or ignored. It’s an indication of how literal and sensational minded the culture has become.

    It reminds me of the Yahoo Sports facelift.

    Then again, I didn’t see the movie in 3D.

  6. Guess this is what I was warned about, but I’m not seeing a lot of the comments from earlier today, including my own. Site could be wonky for next couple of days.

    • As of this morning it appears many DNS servers were still pointing to your old IP address on Dreamhost. If you still had access to that account, you could probably find the missing comments there.

      • I don’t remember writing any gems, so I’ll let them go :> Anyone who wishes to repost, feel free.

        • from my sports-hype jaded perspective, the most interesting discussions we’ve shared to date was on the Dog Days thread, which is still intact.

  7. warriorsablaze

    Well, it’s fine that my earlier comment about Klay not starting again disappeared… apparently dude took a nap and missed the team bus. :)

  8. What’s so frustrating about Bogut is that he gave the Warriors 5 extra possessions via offensive rebounds, yet scored on 2 points off those , OR’s, in part die to his not being able to put the ball back into the basket. And even with Bogut playing the Warriorsc were outscored when Bogut played.

    The Warriors now entering into contract extention talks is scary. It will be laughable if he is offered more than half of what he now makes. Difficult to believe there would not be a better center available in free agency at the end of the season or the Warriors would not be better letting his contract expire and spending the $14 million elsewhere. Especially since we don’t have a first round draft pick next year.

    • don’t count on any help from the free agent pool next summer at center. it’s definitely a factor in the negotiations w. bogut’s agent. the vets who get let go all have issues of their own, like okafor, biedrins, varejao. the good ones at the end of rookie deals get retained. lacob does enjoy playing the big shot, as we saw in the howard charade, so they could enter the auction for the quality players like gortat or bosh, and pay at least as much as what bogut gets this year.

      if the team chooses the most conservative course, waiting to see what bogut can consistently maintain, he will also join the free agent auction market. would not be surprised with either outcome — re-signing him to avoid that, or entering the auctions like they’re a destination team.

  9. From FB’s link @4, Bogut:

    “I know my role. I’m fourth or fifth option on this team. I’m fine with that. I’ll have nights where I get touches and nights where I won’t. We have two of the best shooter sin the league. We have Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes, who are aggressive getting to the basket. We have David Lee, who is an all-star. So I’ve got to pick my poison when it comes to offense. But defensively, I’m aiming for 10 rebounds a game and two block shots a game.”

    What I appreciate here is that Bogut, and apparently the team, recognize how limited his role is. But this is worth a big contract? MT again:


    Most of the optimism is based on a handful of games, during the playoffs, and his performance there is vastly overrated. He was only useful against perimeter weak Denver, who was in disarray.

    He has very limited value, if any, in stretch offenses as well as on defense against teams who use the same.

    And there’s no reason to think he can remain healthy for any length of time. I’m skeptical about this season as it is.

    Hard to believe the money can’t be better spent on players who could better bring out the potential of the team. It’s still a developing team.

    • warriorsablaze

      Most teams aren’t running “stretch offenses” at this point… despite the hype… and even the teams that are, running stretch 4’s anyway, where Lee potentially becomes the liability, not Bogut.

      If you have a 7′ guy who can get 10+ boards, 2 blocks, change innumerable shots in the paint, and can make plays passing… you have a rare player that is worth money. That he isn’t much of a threat on the low post isn’t that big of a deal. Ben Wallace was useless on offense, but he changed games. Larry Sanders is the same. Udoh potentially could do the same if he gets in a better situation.

      I feel like most of the optimism is a combination of the playoffs along with the years of play of pre-injury Bogut. The pessimism seems to come from an even smaller sample (last season). He’s had two catastrophic injuries, he’s not Odom or Bynum or Roy… at least until there’s more support for Felt’s diagnosis. So far, he seems to be moving quite spryly, even if his post moves are still rusty.

  10. Preseason games represent something. Houston is getting 40-50 points from its bench. Ours struggles to get 20 against other teams’ subs. (I’m not counting Klay, and I’m skeptical if Barnes goes to the bench he’ll be able to score or help on offense, and by all indications he’s dragging the starters down.) The team would be much better off, +/-, improving the bench than sinking the cash into Bogut.

    • warriorsablaze

      Rarely do teams platoon full lineups hockey-style. Generally, starters and backups are rotated and blended into different units for different situations. There shouldn’t really be a “second team” that gets significant minutes as a unit during the season.

      One of Curry, Klay, or Lee will most likely always be on the court short of a garbage time blowout.

      • That still runs into heavy minutes for the starters, and little help if someone goes down.

        • warriorsablaze

          That’s pretty much the situation for most teams who aren’t the Spurs. Most teams are playing their core ~35 minutes and their stars even more.

          I’d like to see Curry down to 36 or so… but he’s proven he can handle more and be effective if the ankle continues to hold up.

        • warriorsablaze

          As far as someone going down… that’s always a possibility. Curry going down for an extended period of time is really the only catastrophic possibility. There are enough pieces to fill in the gaps for anyone else who may get injured.

  11. Hat, I caught the last 5 minutes of the Lakers game, including the last minute Curry shot you referred to. It should be noted that it was not an iso. The Warriors pretended it was an iso, with four flat and Curry dribbling above the 3 pt. line, but at the last second Bogut ran out to give a pick freeing Curry for a three. It was a good look, and there’s little doubt in my mind that Curry will bury that shot over 40% during the season, when he doesn’t have training camp legs.

    Back to the Bogut pick: This play is worthless at creating anything but a Curry 3. Curry can’t drive off it, because Bogut’s man is completely free to double team him.

    One hopes that Jackson will realize at some point that Bogut should not be on the court in crunchtime.

    Is Mark Jackson already feeling pressure? He’s trying real hard to win these preseason games. His starters played the whole game against the Lakers, who conversely were playing nothing but scrubs in crunchtime.

    • warriorsablaze

      Is he feeling the pressure, or does he want the players to feel the pressure?

      I realize it’s out of sorts to take a positive spin on a situation around here, but what if Jackson is looking to create chemistry with the core players? Iggy isn’t a small addition… he’s a major piece and it takes time for players to figure each other out. I expect the team to be up and down over the first few months… the gloom and doomers around here will have a blast, but I also expect the machine to start clicking strong by mid-November or so. I hope so, anyway.

    • in the media swarm after the game, the preacher rationalized the heavy minutes for his top four, admitting they had appeared out of synch, ‘individually and collectively’. he wanted ‘to try and get those guys playing well together’. we should also consider the marketing factor behind the trip, and the lacobites posturing about becoming prominent in China. LA/bussies is probably a close second there to Hou, and GS has barely started to get its share of nationally broadcast games domestically.

      b.t.w., the Assoc. marketing campaign listed LA as the home team in Beijing, GS home in Shanghai.

      • I agree 100% with the marketing point. This trip, a double header against the Lakers was probably Lacob’s idea. And with no Kobe playing, the way to make it worthwhile was to play the “big guns”, Curry, et al for a significant portion of the game. I assume we will see less minutes from the starters for most of the rest of the preseason.

  12. But imagine Bogut has an OK year—who could they trade him for? Here he might prove his true worth to the team.

  13. GooseLosGatos

    10 mil for 3 seems appropriate for Bogut. Given his injury risk, age and inflammation I doubt he would command much more on the open market after a stellar season.

    Felbot, have you heard Jerry West’s enthusiasm on Barnes? I’m curious how you read that given your negative perception of Barnes’s game?

    • as a minority owner, it’s all but mandatory that any comments West makes to the media re. barnes are enthusiastically positive. before barnes was drafted and signed, however, West said little or nothing in favor of him, and hinted around that he really liked players that went elsewhere. in contrast, Thompson had West’s approval before the draft. barnes doesn’t have many of the skills that West usually finds attractive — he’s not exceptional in shooting, ball handling, court smarts, taking the ball and making something positive happen. barnes’ fans are certainly fond of regurgitating West’s positive remarks, but to my knowledge they were all made after he’d been drafted.

    • I agree w moto that West is required to speak positively about Barnes’ potential every time he’s asked his opinion. Part of the job. So everything he says must be viewed through that prism. Don Nelson spoke in much the same way about Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph.

      So I don’t take too much away from it. As with every player on every team, we’ll know what the organization truly thinks of Barnes by how much he plays, and if he’s kept.

  14. Felt, you’re right as usual. But also as usual, your point begs argument.

    I’m happy to oblige.

    As a coach, Jackson has consistently demonstrated a faith in BigTime Closers. Year 1: Ellis. Year 2: Jack.

    Year 3: TBD.

    Jackson stuck Curry out there all by his lonesome and told him to make something happen. Bogut saw it wasn’t happening, and moved to help. Bogut is a smart, smart player.

    Naturally, the result was Curry’s go-to move, a shot from deep. At best, that’s a 40-50% probability, even for (perhaps) the best 3-point shooter in history. Not a sure-thing (Ellis) layup, not a sure-thing (Jack) short-range shot in the key.

    At that moment in the game, the Ws needed a sure score. A 3-point attempt from Neptune is anything but.

    My concern about the Ws missing closer remains unrequited.

    • warriorsablaze

      Jack shot 45.2% from the 10-23 ft range.

      Your man Ellis shot and ugly 37% from that range.

      Curry shot 45.3% from 3.

      I personally don’t remember a SINGLE case of Ellis getting a layup in a final shot situation. It was always a pull-up long 2… which he shot at a horrible %. I’ll take the bet on Curry from 25 over Ellis from 17 any day. The idea that Ellis is some sort of closer and Curry is not isn’t really founded on anything other than Ellis has taken more attempts.

      • Back on the Ellis wagon. Sigh.

        I seem to remember Ellis firing two game-winning daggers against the Ws last year. He beat the Ws both times. Yup, his Bucks teammates and coaches considered him a closer.

        The two years prior, Ellis’ coaches put the ball in his hands in every must-score situation. Ellis, not Curry or Lee. I suppose you must wonder why, WAB.

        Last year, Coach Jackson designated Jack as the closer. Jack responded with far more crunch-time scores than Curry. It was really very surprising. Jack was mostly just a so-so shooter. Until crunch-time.

        Jack kinda reminded me of another closer from Warriors history, Stephen Jackson. SJax was also an average shooter. Until it counted. Nellie and Popovitch both agreed: Jackson was a closer.

        I think it’s something about the player’s mindset. Maybe it also has to do with just always being able to create a decent shot for oneself, something that not even great shooters can always do.

        Trying very hard not to mention any great shooters by name here. Draw your own conclusions about Coach Jackson’s conclusions.

        • Oops, just wanted to add one more thing here, WAB. Your final line has it precisely backward. Ellis and Jack often get their numbers called in crunch-time because they are closers. Nobody calls them closers just because they shoot a lot.

        • warriorsablaze

          You brought up Ellis, not me.

          The fact that Keith Smart designated Ellis “The Man” doesn’t carry much weight with me. He’ll never be a head coach again precisely because he’s clueless. So no, I don’t wonder why. Curry and Ellis played not even half a full season together under MJ… and Curry was injured for some of that time. So, again… no conclusions can be made there either. Ellis is great at getting a shot up, I’ll always give him props for that…but because he’s made a few doesn’t really mean much. Kobe has made a few also, but when you look at the stats, he shoots a pretty garbage % in clutch shots. Ellis, too.

          Nobody but you calls Ellis a closer. I’d bet anything that if Curry took as many shots in that situation as Ellis has, he’d make more. Anyway, how important is the last shot anyway? They only happen in a handful of games. I’ll have to seek out the stats, but I distinctly remember Curry leading the team in 4th quarter scoring even when Ellis was still there… the points are worth the same amount no matter when they occur.

          • I agree with WA about Ellis: he virtually never got to the rim, always settling for a (usually offbalance) midrange jumper. And he was spectacularly unsuccessful at closing, as I noted several times in posts. His ball security in the role was abysmal, frequently turning it over, and he virtually never hit the shot.

            Curry closed many games for Nellie in the second half of his rookie season, and was spectacularly successful at it. He had ice in his veins in last years playoffs and in the NCAA tournament. I simply don’t understand the pessimism about him closing.

            If Jackson puts the ball in his hands at the end of the game he will deliver at the same or better rate than Kobe Bryant — he’s a much better shooter. (A study has been done of Kobe’s hero ball closing: it is far more inefficient than people believe.)

            But if Jackson actually moved Lee to center to close the game instead of Bogut, and let Curry and Lee run pick and roll with a stretch four in the corner… well, I’d be willing to bet that the Warriors would close games more efficiently than any team in the league. That unit, that play, is unstoppable.

          • If Curry has a weakness as a closer, it is not being able to beat a trapping double team by himself, even while he’s dribbling at the top of the key.

            The conversation about Jack being the closer for the Warriors last year was more than likely a result of him having the weakest defender guarding him in fourth quarters and at the end of games. Jack’s free-throw line jumper against a usually smaller opponent seemed to be almost a gimme at the end of games. If Curry was ever guarded by the weakest defender on the floor, he would torch him in a myriad of ways. He IS that much of an offensive savant. Jack became the closer because teams had to focus that much more on Curry and Klay who were often camped at the three point line. The NBA is a game of matchups (unless you are LeBron who matches up well against everybody), and the coaches will always try to exploit the mismatches.

          • warriorsablaze

            Agree with Felty here… while I love the Bogut screen and it’s ability to get Curry looks, there’s no bailout if the look ends up not being there. I’d love for Lee to make a conscious effort to improve as a screener. His slip and dive is great if the play is designed for him, but he generally doesn’t help Curry get open. The play is more dangerous if he sets a solid screen and rolls… that way Curry can get first look, with Lee and Thompson providing options depending on how the defense covers the play.

        • warriorsablaze

          Also, Jack did not have more crunch time scores than Curry… unless the only basket you consider important near the end of the game is a buzzer shot…which is silly.

          Go ahead and look at 82games.com. With 5 minutes or less in the 4th quarter or overtime, Curry was +49… Jack was +27… so who was the closer?

  15. It’s my understanding that Warriors offering Bogut3-year extension at $13 million per year, plus incentives. It’s ridiculous to resign him at this time given his past health problems at that price. The Warriors would better off evaluating his play this year and resigning him at the end of the year, orvtrading him to another player and a first pick, or my preference of letting him go, and going in another direction.

    Lacob trying to resign Bogut reveals thst Lacob has appsrently lost his mind, and will probably result in the Warrios having a dim future.

    • Frank, you’re taking a shortsighted view on this Warriors team. The team’s championship window is opening this year and it seems like it will be open for the next 4 to 5 years. Crazy was Beidrins contract, not $4.3 million per year for Bogut. Bogut is a legitimate starting center in the NBA, who can corral 10 rebounds per game and block a shot or two. He’s obviously not Dwight Howard (or Andre Drummond), but he is a glue guy for a Warriors team that needs glue, not more scoring or selfish play. I don’t love what Bogut brings to the table, but $13 million over three years seems very reasonable to me.

      • The rumor was $13m per year. Over three years would be a good gamble. Hard to believe he’d settle for anything less than $10m per year, still too much.

    • warriorsablaze


      Pretty good breakdown of the Bogut situation along with comparisons to the contracts of other centers in the league. If Bogut can manage to stay healthy this season, he’s likely to move into that upper group… getting him for 13 per would be a steal. If he goes down again, it’ll be a bummer no matter what the contract is. He’s never gonna be an offensive beast, but he’s top tier in everything else.

  16. If Bogut was indeed our best center last last year opponents would not have scored the same number of points when he was off the court as they did when he was on the court.

    Adam Lauridsen use mislead his loyal followers how support a player Bogut is aver Udoh as Bogut garnered moe than twice the number of defensive rebounds than Udoh. When, in fact, the Warriors as a team garnered more defensive rebounds as a team when Udoh was on court than when Bogut was. Why? Because Udoh caused more misses than Bogut did. Peteb24 is apparently not aware of such facts by loving Bogut for garnering a lot of rebounds.not to mention that the Warriors dearly score off of his OR’s, or get possession off his blocked shots. Having two players in starting line-up who can’t hit fouls shots is going to hurt the team if they are lucky enough to make the playoffs. If you think the Warriors will be a good team paying Bogut 13 million per season prepare to be gravely dissapointed.

  17. Bogut 101:

    Someone should do a cost/performance/risk analysis on Bogut. For example, what is the +/- on having Lee play with Speights vs. Lee playing with Bogut in terms of size, defense, and offense? Or having Lee play with someone comparable to Speights in the future if they let Bogut go, who will be cheaper? Then think what they might be able to do with the money saved. Because the front court is going to have to look to the future and keep developing. Someone will have to replace Lee eventually. Finding and developing this player should be the first priority. Odds are good a really competent center won’t turn up, not in the near future, neither through free agency or the draft. Add to the mix whatever younger and less capable but also less expensive—center they might obtain or keep, Ezeli if he gets healthy, for example.

    Odds are good Lacob will not run this experiment this season because he is committed to Bogut. How much more would they have to pay him if they wait for free agency vs. whatever deal they can cut now, and is it not worth keeping options open and seeing what else might turn up? But the worst case and likely scenario is that if Bogut plays a good year this season (which I think still will be ambiguous), they will overpay him if they wait. But what else might they do with the money if they let him go and what is the overall loss?

    I have to confess all I know about Bogut is based on the past season, and everyone keeps say his middling performance was due to injury. Fine. I’ll have to turn this one over to the Bogutologists, who have studied his career in depth. But he didn’t have much influence in his first playoff series, where Milwaukee exited quickly first round. During his healthy years, he didn’t raise the Bucks much out of the muck of eastern mediocrity. His performance for Australia in the Olympics against the US was dismal. And his influence in the last postseason is vastly overrated. He was largely effective against Javale McGhee and an offense that perversely kept driving to the hoop because they couldn’t do anything on the perimeter.

    He was not effective against more athletic centers like Noah or versatile ones like Duncan. He can’t keep up inside with faster, mobile centers or move outside. I made a quick spot check of his performance earlier years and did not find much that was impressive against centers like Howard. Or I kept running into DNP.

    Where’s the beef?


    Someone write a convincing argument why they think Bogut will be able to perform at level for the next three years. I’m not going to believe you, but do it anyway. But why should we think that a 270 lb bloke who suffered a serious injury in a critical joint that sustains that weight, who was in debilitating pain for a year and a half, who hasn’t been able to make a continuous strenuous effort at anything for some two years, will be OK up until he is 31?

    They say he is “healthy,” but he hasn’t been put to a serious test yet over any extended period of time. He still doesn’t look that mobile or quick preseason, but they say he is just “rusty.”

    We haven’t been told anything definite, but I don’t think anyone knows anything. Not even his doctors. He had some kind of partial microfracture surgery where the odds aren’t that high and the knowledge sketchy. Why take the risk?

    He doesn’t fit the style of the team:

    The team struggled last year against weak but large teams, notably Sacramento and Milwaukee, and he could help here, as well as against a handful of other behemoths, but again, his play against skilled, versatile centers is not impressive, and this size disparity could be made up elsewhere.

    His defensive boards will take the load off the other players. We saw the limitations of team rebounding and what it did to the fast break last season. But others could pick this up.

    I’m not impressed with his assists. He simply takes them away from the more capable playmakers, Curry, Lee, Iguodala, and Lee, who pose a greater threat to opponent’s defenses and thus will stretch them out. Bogut won’t have to be defended heavily, except to make sure he doesn’t get free under the basket. And he won’t be much use on the pick and roll unless, in fact, he can roll.

    He won’t be that effective on defense against teams that have depth at all positions and can run or spread the floor. His range is limited to a few feet around the hoop. Such as Houston and San Antonio, the teams we’ll have to beat to climb to the top.

    The future?

    The NBA is not strong in centers. Who exactly will be around the next three years who is that good or who isn’t wearing down himself? There just won’t be that many.

    There are just better gambles and better ways to spend the money. And maybe there’s a chance they could save the money for a really major coup, should they get lucky and that player ever turn up.

    10 boards, 2 blocks, and 10 points if they’re lucky are just not worth $10-13 m per year. Especially if he can’t produce at that level a full season.

  18. Zach Lowe weighs in on Bogutosity, but I don’t think makes a convincing case for keeping him:


    Run all the +/-s and weigh the risks. Think about ways to spend the money freed by letting him go. They don’t add up.

    The Warriors could be experimenting now with a post Bogut team, playing him limited minutes and in limited situations. A good case could be made they would be better, now and in the future, but we’ll never know unless they run the experiment.

    And odds are they won’t.

    • the z.lowe piece is a balanced view, unfortunately missing from the local media, so his intention was not to make a case. Frank might appreciate a non-biased take, if he tolerates information that doesn’t confirm what he knows. my reply to him in (10) recognizes the validity from the lacobite perspective of either position — an extension before the season starts, or playing the market because they’re confident they can, and succeed.

      one thing to bear in mind, if they let bogut play out the year without a new deal. when contracts expire in June, the $$ do not just disappear from a team’s salary cap, but remain as a ‘cap hold’. the team could not go forward with their deals this past summer until they formally relinquished rights on jack, which erased that hold, and he signed with Cle almost immediately after. bogut’s chunk of the cap would be more than twice than what jack’s was. it’s another factor that favors bogut if he has a successful season without a new deal from the lacobites.

      • Wow. Thanks. But I don’t understand that. Spell it out for a moron?

        • Herr Doktor Professor rgg, if only you were one of my instructors in my long slogg through the academic sausage grinder.

          the official move the woeyrs made to erase jack’s cap hold this summer is termed, renouncing Bird rights. said rights have persisted in the labor agreements because they can benefit both the players with expiring contracts and the teams that they last played for. ‘cap holds’ were implemented to prevent teams from abusing the system. without the cap holds, teams could sign new players with the cap room, and still enjoy the advantages of Bird rights on the players they wish to re-sign.

          for the dirty details on the salary cap, cbafaq.com/salarycap is your best friend.

          • No, I’m an idiot in such matters. I haven’t fared that well in the academic sausage grinder, either, not that that upsets me. I’m not an academic.

            Your second paragraph above confuses me. Can you spell out a specific scenario? If the team does not sign Bogut at the end of next June, what does that do to the team’s cap and to their ability to add to the team?

        • o.k., suppose the team lets bogut finish the season with no new deal. he gets free agent status, but his salary in his final year (plus or minus by some exotic formula, but a similar amount) still counts against the team’s salary cap (‘cap hold’). the trade off to that encumbrance, the team also retains his Bird rights. the hold gets erased, along with the Bird rights, if he signs a new contract either with his most recent employer or a new one, or if the woeyrs renounce his Bird rights, as they did with jack.

          this past summer, as long as they retained their Bird rights on jack and the hold was intact, certain categories of transactions were excluded, signing iguodala while retaining certain cap exceptions in their case.

          if the lacobites let the season run its course, let bogut’s contract expire, they could still retain him via the Bird rights, but his price would be set by their competitors’ best offer.

          • “his salary in his final year (plus or minus by some exotic formula, but a similar amount) still counts against the team’s salary cap”

            Counts when, in trade deals next summer? Against the 2014-15 season cap? (I know I’m being dense.)

          • rgg, just recall what went on with jack. his contract expired in June, but its ‘cap hold’ still encumbered the team’s salary cap for this current season, ’13-’14, until they renounced his Bird rights. there have even been cases when a player’s ‘cap hold’ continued when he was not on any roster at all, because he hadn’t officially retired, nor had he signed another contract, and his last team didn’t need to renounce his Bird rights to improve their cap room.

          • Thanks. Send Feltbot a bill.

  19. Thorpe at ESPN speculates on a Bogut + Barnes trade for Asik (from the other blog)?

    How many ways would this be a great trade and poise the team for development in the future? (My heart has skipped a beat.)

    A deal like this would be ideal—but likely? Other possible options? Are they even thinking about them?

    • warriorsablaze

      Not in many ways? Asik is good, so I wouldn’t be upset about him being on the team. I do think if Bogut stays healthy he’s a far superior defensive player, which is more what we need. Just giving away Barnes is dumb. I can’t imagine he’ll live up to the hype, but he’s already proven he can be a starter in the league and has shown flashes of more. You don’t toss that away for nothing. Also, Asik has a poison pill style contract that means he gets paid $15 million next season… so he doesn’t really improve our short term cap situation, though I suppose he saves us the likely 2 more years of Bogut since you can’t figure out how he’s valuable. This season will tell us one way or another.

      • You’d have to see how the numbers worked, and I didn’t look at Asik’s contract. Thanks. I thought he was cheaper. He wouldn’t be cheap to resign, either.

        It looks like Houston will have cap problems next year, however. Asik may be their bargaining piece. And maybe they’ll be releasing a few players?

        • Hou put a ‘poison pill’ salary in the final year of both lin’s and asik’s contracts, an identical amount just under $15 m. ; in lin’s case of course, it closed NY out of the bidding because just their lux tax penalty on lin alone could have reached 30 m. or more. if Hou keeps asik around, they’ll be paying extravagantly for a reserve, but possibly preferable to relying on howard’s physical or emotional health.

  20. Re all of the above discussion of closers, just a couple of points before I drop it because IDGAFF, basically.

    First of all, I’m not in a position to choose closers, coaches do. All 5 of Ellis’ previous coaches called his number to close games. I’m just reporting historical fact here. If you disagree with Ellis=closer, take it up with his coaches. All of ’em.

    I will make a prediction, though: Ellis’ 6th pro coach will have Dirk the #1 closing option, and the team’s second option… will… be… [hey, you fill in the blank here.] Hint: it will be someone who can ALWAYS get his shot off, even when double and triple-teamed. Is that Calderon? Vince Carter? Hm. Who will it be? Saaaaayyy itttt…

    Re Jack over Curry, just think back: you all might remember some hat screeching about Jack hogging the ball and ruining the end-of-game offensive flow. But it is fact that he was Mark Jackson’s crunch-time go-to guy. Otherwise, Jackson would have had Jack run plays. QED.

    Re Kobe, it’s not news that his hero act doesn’t work all that well. BUT unlike anyone else on his team, Kobe can ALWAYS get a shot off. And that makes his mediocre crunch-time shooting percentage one hell of a lot better than the alternative: no shot at all.

    Which brings us to Curry the Closer. Jack got opportunities last year largely because defenses had to key on the Ws’ better shooters. Curry won’t get that opening. Throughout much of his career, Ellis closed out games being double-and triple-teamed, but it never prevented him from getting off a shot. Curry will be heavily covered now too – but we’ve seen Curry be stopped that way.

    Can the Ws do stuff about it? Sure! In fact, they’d better. Because as fantastic a player as Curry is, he’s not… “can’t stop this” kinda guy.

  21. Oops. Sorry about the double post. Ignore the first one.

    • easier to ignore the second, after reading the first.

      of the various and sundry players who went through the roster in nelson’s second tenure as coach, many would have to admit that their best seasons in their careers came with him. they might attribute it to playing with davis, but it was definitely true for the baron. (curry does not count, because he’s still on the roster). we’ll see if that remains true with the great ellis, having found another elite coach.

    • warriorsablaze

      No disagreement about what is the preferred end of game play… it wasn’t Ellis taking the shot, but that that was the strategy. The only fault I give to Ellis was his propensity to dribble down the clock too low so there was no opportunities for a put back on a miss.

      This should be an up year for Ellis if he’s smart. If he keeps up the old habits and continues to get in his own way, we’ll probably see more of what we’re used to seeing.

  22. Lowe is all over the place. After announcing that Bogot is one of the best defenders in NBA, he points out what have been saying- he’s crappy providing weak side help.

    The best point he makes in Bogut’s defense is that opponents score 8 less points when Bogut is on court then when he’s not. But could it not be that such is not due to Bogut’s defense, but rather that the Warriors play a quicker tempo when Bogut is off the court and therefore the opponents as ell as the Warriors score more points.

    I line-up with rgg’s excellent analysis of why the Warriors should not resign Bogut at this point in time.The modern center is now quick. That’s the future.Lacob’s feet are embedded in the past in wanting a big and lumbering center.

    • warriorsablaze

      He points out that he was crappy last season, while injured… and specifically says it’s different than his play in the past.

    • 8 points fewer per 100 possessions. He uses per possession numbers, so those won’t be skewed much by pace. And if Bogut’s lumbering is such a liability vs quick centers of today, then other teams would be able to exploit that when he is on the court and he wouldn’t have such a large effect on opponent scoring.

      And the disconnect between his help D and the top 4 defenders in the league comment is pretty simple. Health. Here is what Lowe said “When fully healthy, Bogut was one of the four best defensive players in the league.” He’s saying that if he’s healthy he will be a good help side defender. So now we see if he’s healthy. I wouldn’t give him an extension at all until I see how he plays this year.

  23. I am very pessimistic about the season, but would be less so if JON and Dedmon played center and some backup PF, and Speights was vanquished to the bench except to be seen in an emergency. I know it will take Dedmon some time to develop but this is the direction the Warriors should go .

    And Bogut and Barnes were traded to upgrade the team.

    • warriorsablaze

      Your hatred of Bogut and Barnes seems to cause you to swing irrationally hard on borderline NBA players. You’ve already mentioned Dedmon and Seth Curry as playing important roles on the team. That’s ludicrous. You’re right that some people overrate Bogut, and definitely Barnes… but when you start plugging in JON and Dedmon as primary roster players, your team is screwed.

      You and rgg can live in your pessimistic bubbles if you want… the team isn’t perfect, but not a single team in the league is. We’ll have our ups and downs this year and I don’t think we’ll contend, but we’ll be in the mix come the end of the season… and if you allow some joy in your life you might have a good time.

      • I want to see the bench develop, possibly into players who could make a difference two years down the road, and I’m skeptical any of the young bench players have that potential. Dedmon might have a chance at center because of his size and athleticism, but he has little experience and a lot to learn. I’m not sure his ceiling is very high. Seth Curry has skills and smarts, especially shooting, which they’ll need later, but lacks size and athleticism. And I like Currys and want to see him get a shot. I seriously doubt either would make substantial contributions this year.

        But here’s the point: they are inexpensive investments with possible upsides, and if they don’t pan out, not much is lost. Just guessing, but their upsides might be higher than Kuzmic’s (not big and strong enough) and Nedovic’s (not that high IQ, not a good enough shooter, not physical enough for the NBA?). Odds, are good none of those guys will pan out and they’ll have to build the bench with other players.

        I don’t hate Barnes or Bogut. I react most to their being overrated, really more on projections than substantial evidence. Barnes lacks essential skills, and there’s no reason to think he’ll pick them up any time soon. He didn’t show them in college either. Bogut has also been overrated on sketchy evidence. See above and below. And I seriously question their importance to the team, or that strategy and lineups should be built around them. There are much better options, and we’ve seen them work.

        I’m trying to be realistic in my expectations so I can, in fact, enjoy the season. All the hype is just a setup for disappointment. I won’t object to being pleasantly surprised, though. But for me the glass is about 40% full now in terms of making a deep run in the playoffs.

    • warriorsablaze

      Whoops… that was supposed to be a reply to the above comment… but in reference to yours, there are far more dumb remarks on this board than on that espn article. I guess we’ll see how it goes…

    • Yikes, just read the ESPN article. Seems to me that the contributors lack imagination.

      “No Jack or Landry, boohoo.” Idiots. The team upgraded talent AND improved depth at both positions.

      “Lee doesn’t fit.” Idiots. Lee at C transforms the team into the deadliest-shooting group in the NBA. But the Ws don’t list Lee at C, so that didn’t occur to anyone.

      “Barnes is fascinating.” Barnes is benched, dudes. If he didn’t have a foot injury, the team would have to make up something else.

      “Someone might get injured.” Ayup. And an unstoppable swarm of locusts might eat all the sweatbands in America, signaling the end of athletics as we know it. Huh? Everyone in the NBA is just one wrong move away from retirement, not just those players who’ve been hurt before. If you want to bet on injury risk, consider that Dwight Howard has at least the same potential for a recurrence of his problems as Bogut. The playoffs have always been more about “who’s left” than “who’s best.” Goes without saying. So why say it?

  24. Bogut may be good against certain centers, in certain defenses, against some lineups. But I bet he’s much more limited on defense than anyone concedes. Someone should make a full analysis of Bogut’s career against major centers and major teams. And remember he played most of his games in the dismal east. I only spot checked myself.

    But a lot of evidence just isn’t there because of injuries. Three full seasons are a wash because of injuries. In 3 of his 6 “healthy” seasons, he still missed around 14 games each.

  25. On a different topic, here’s an article that should stimulate Felt. Or maybe Harrison Barnes:


    Gimme a hundred of the Bogut brand. His stock has no place to go but up.

    • Fascinating idea, that will give a lot of fans a lesson in finance. I can envision at least one dark scenario though: What if post-IPO one of these guys wrecks his knee doing wheelies, like Jason Williams? Poor guy would be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life.

      Or what if someone starts messing up his career with drink and drugs, like Aldon Smith? He’d have 1000 fans camped on his yard, trying to scare him straight.

    • Warriorsablaze

      It’s be more interesting if it were tied to performance instead of the player’s money.

      I wouldn’t pick up any Bogut stock, Hat… he’s unlikely to get a larger contract than what he currently has unless he plays out of his mind this season.

      Now, picking up some Curry — who is underpaid but getting tons of endorsements — or some Klay still on his rookie deal, and you’ll stand to make some money. Maybe I’ll just pick up every good player at the end of their rookie deal and cash in on their first big contracts. :)

  26. I said that Dedmon could be a major contributor. I would like to see Seth Curry on court shooting the three ball but have no idea whether the rest off his game is NBA worthy.

    With the season approaching and most posters excited and positive about the Warriors I don’t want to detract from that optimism and therefore am going to take a hiatus for a period of time. When the season is well underway we can access how the team and individual players are doing.

    Best to all.

    • Warriorsablaze

      Don’t leave now, Frank… Bogut went out of the game with back spasms and JON is still having problems with his back as well. That likely gets Dedmon on the team and sends Seth Curry packing (only one roster spot available due to Nedovic and Kusmic having guaranteed contracts.)

      I actually randomly woke up at 430 this morning and decided to just watch the game. Klay still looking good, Curry still not shooting straight yet, but Iguodala…. oh man he was dominant. Only 4 points, but had 14 assists, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals. Nearly every time he ran point, Klay or Curry got an open 3 out of it. My biggest frustration with Jack was his tunnel vision… often missing wide open shooters… Iguodala doesn’t have this problem. He hits the open man every time.

  27. We didn’t give Hat a proper welcome back. I think this will do the trick (Soul was a Motown imprint):

    • Thanks, rgg!

      I once caught a Junior Walker show at SF’s Kennel Club, a punk venue. He and his band ripped. the. place. apart. without ever missing a beat.

      There was crowd-surfing to “Shotgun.” Body-slamming to “How Sweet it Is.” Great fun for all.

      I wonder how alien-sounding “Shotgun” is to modern music fans. I wonder if they can keep from dancing anyway. I’ll have to ask around.

      Thanks again, rgg.

  28. Couple of recently posted Twitter thoughts:

    Bogut has this leverage in his contract talks with the #Warriors: Joe Lacob doesn’t want to wind up with bupkus for Monta Ellis. Bad PR.

    Among next year’s free agent centers, Marcin Gortat is the most intriguing for #Warriors. He can run pick and roll.

    • warriorsablaze

      If this morning’s game is any indication of how we’ll play, we’ll definitely be among the most entertaining teams.

      Lots of steals (Iggy with 5!) leading to transition offense.

  29. Jenkins on Bogut negotiations:


    Another twitter thought from a couple of days ago:

    Bogut’s contract situation is to Curry’s as chronic ankle osteoarthritis is to an ankle sprain.

    • Curry doesn’t weigh 270 lbs. either.

      I’m kind of amazed Jenkins thinks Bogut can draw top bucks from other teams. There weren’t many callers when the Ellis deal went down, were there? But then there was his injury, but which everyone at the time thought was a simple break that would heal in 6 mos or so.

      If there will be demand if he turns free agent, what exactly has changed other FOs’ minds?

      I think I read somewhere that GSW is trying to put a performance clause in Bogut’s contract and that Bogut accepts it?

      • the team is handling the negotiations by standard procedure for their bidness — do not disclose any offered money or terms publicly, to do so invites negotiation via media and hearsay. it’s been bogut in his usual unabashed, outspoken m.o. who has brought up the notion of game incentives, and said he might be open to them. he guessed the number could be 60 or 70 (games he’d need to play in a season to get his full salary amount). he also said he’d never take a deal with any non- guaranteed portion, as bynum did, so most of the salary whether or not he played past the incentive minimum would have to be guaranteed.

        fans need to remember that bogut has been able to play more than 70 games just three seasons out of eight. his recurring back problem that just reappeared is a helpful reminder that the first time he had to miss most of the season was due to back strain.

        • Game incentives are fairly rare, aren’t they. Or non-existent? I don’t know any, but I don’t keep up with such things much. I suspect they wouldn’t sit well with the player’s union?

          If so, what are we supposed to make of Bogut’s gesture? If he gets a standard contract–without incentives–feel good about him because he made the offer?

          • the stuff an outgoing, aussie-croat expostulates to the media might have no bearing at all to what his agent wrangles out of Myers or the counter offers they exchange. you’re right about the union discouraging game incentives, but Bogut himself brought up bynum’s deal, which had to conform to c.b.a. requirements, as something he could not accept.

            curry’s re-signing was much more important to the team that bogut’s is now, but lacob-myers didn’t have a problem in making a below market offer because both parties recognized the re-injury variable. all we know about the initial offer to bogut comes from his comments, that he thinks it was low but not an insult.

    • jenkins, more so at this point in his career than ever, has become just another outlet for ‘comfort food journalism.’ he would like to have it both ways, advising caution on re-signing bogut, yet touting a healthy version as ‘ one of the few genuine treasures at that position’, which sounds more like an endorsement of character than ability.

      to an earlier post, responded with another significant aspect that makes bogut’s re-signing substantially different than curry’s. the roster w/o bogut has a foundation and identity with curry, iguodala, lee, and a more proven thompson. none of the locals have come right out and admitted in so many words that re-signing bogut would be done much more in hope that he can eke out another few years with useful vestiges of his former self, and they’re not securing a veteran still close to his prime.

  30. Query:

    If people start saying how much Lee’s defense improves this season, how much of that will actually be attributable to playing with a better defensive team, specifically with Iguodala on the perimeter?

    • warriorsablaze

      I think it will matter a lot. I’m guessing you’re going with the Lee is underrated idea… but, to me, it will improve because Lee’s weakness is help defense. He generally does a good job just one on one in the majority of match-ups. Less penetration will cover up Lee’s defensive weakness…so stronger perimeter defense will indeed make him a better defender.

      • Lee’s defense won’t change much at all. It will look better because he won’t have to cover so much court, as he did last season, front and back. It’s what delighted Goldsberry et al. in those youtubes where be played out but really got burned because he had too much to try to cover.

  31. warriorsablaze

    Curry is going to appear in the top 10 in the ESPN NBA player rank for this season. Not that it really means anything, but it’s interesting how much hype he’s receiving after the playoffs. I hope he can live up to it with a good season.

    Ellis came in at 84. Ouch.

    • When you’re the third or fourth best player in the NBA, it’s not hype.

      I’m referring to the fantasy basketball season Curry had last year. As I mentioned on twitter today, there is no better ranking system of NBA players than simple 8 category fantasy rankings. Far, far better than any advanced stat has ever been able to produce.

      The 8 categories are these: Points, Threes, Assists, Shooting % (x number of attempts) , FT % (x number of attempts), Rebounds, Blocks, Steals. All equally weighted.

      For reasons that aren’t totally clear to all, but are pretty clear to me, these 8 stats do an incredible job at giving an overall ranking of a player, on both sides of the court.

      Consider this year’s projected rankings of the top 10 players in the league:

      1) and 2) Durant and LBJ (tie) (1.43)
      3) and 4) Curry and Harden (tie) (1.05)
      5) Chris Paul (1.01)
      6) Kyrie Irving (.62)
      7) Kevin Love (.61)
      8) Paul George (.52)
      9) Derrick Rose (.49)
      10) and 11) Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis (tie) (.46)

      Curry aside, any arguments with this ranking? Now note the Value above the Mean in parenthesis (basically, how much more valuable this player is than an average player). Curry is in the second tier with Harden and Paul. Please note that he is nearly twice as valuable as the players in the next tier, including Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. More than twice as valuable as Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.

      Note also the inclusion of the young Anthony Davis. Is he already in the top 10 in the league? He’s ranked where he is for five reasons, 3 on the defensive side of the ball: Rebounds, blocks and steals. The other stats are shooting % and FT%. So here’s the picture his fantasy ranking paints: 1) A defensive superstar. 2) A solid and EFFICIENT scorer. 3) A guy who can close basketball games at the free throw line.

      The picture that Curry’s fantasy stats paint of him are one of the best scorers in the league, one of the most efficient and versatile scorers in the league, a terrific facilitator for his teammates (assists) and an extremely underrated defensive player (steals and rebounds).

      To anyone who states that Curry being ranked among the top 10 players in the league is hype, I would reply, that ranking severely UNDERRATES him.

      And for what it’s worth, Monta Ellis is projected as the 28th best fantasy player this season, and I expect him to finish higher. To rank him in the 80s, or even in the 50s, is sheer idiocy, and representative of the talent that ESPN employs on the basketball side.

      • Warriorsablaze

        Don’t get me wrong… I fully agree that Curry is a top ten player with room to spare. I suppose “hype” has a different connotation, but I was simply referring to the very sharp ramp in overall attention and respect around the league he’s been receiving since the playoffs.

        • Hype may well have influenced those rankers at ESPN. Look at the rest of their ratings. And you were responding in that context.

  32. Actually, Nedovic has good court presence, which isn’t surprising given his experience in Europe, and he sees the court well. They should put him on the fast track for backup point, in direct competition with Douglas. Ned will be around next season regardless.

    Both Dedmon and Kuzmic have shown enough they’ll have to keep them both.

  33. I managed to catch parts of the third and 4th quarter of the last game on NBATV tonight. Some observations:

    Do you think it’s an accident that the Warriors had their best game of the preseason with Bogut out? The Warriors ran away from the Lakers in the 3rd Q with a lineup of Lee at center, Green at 4, Klay, Iggy and Curry. This lineup was incredible at BOTH ends of the court. And I’m willing to predict that there are perhaps 4 teams in the NBA at most that could have any kind of success against this lineup. Maybe.

    I think it’s safe to say that Iggy at point guard is more than just an experiment, it’s an unqualified success. I’m willing to say that after watching 5 minutes of play. How many assists did he have? 14? The Warriors do NOT have a backup point guard problem. It’s going to be Iggy quite often when Curry’s off the floor, and also quite often in crunch time.

    Draymond Green went 4-5 from 3? If he can shoot a merely respectable 36% from there, Harrison Barnes will really struggle for minutes on this team. Green is an incredible all-around basketball player. In one sequence in this game, I saw him deliver an assist, and then a block and a steal. Just to mention 3 things that Harrison Barnes can’t do.

    Kuzmic was playing against scrubs, but he was spectacular. The Warriors have a bona fide NBA player here. He has very decent mobility (compared to Bogut, but not Ezeli) , that was well evident in two great defensive plays: 1) Chasing down a loose ball, then leading the fast break (!) and dishing for an assist; 2) Stealing the ball from a guard at the top of the key. He also has a lot of skill on the offensive end. As Barnett noted, he sees the open man, and knows how to make the right pass. And he has a silky smooth turnaround jumper at close quarters.

    He also has an NBA body, I believe, despite his low listed weight. Take a look at his calves: they’re monstrous. He also appears to be somewhat shortwaisted, which is good: a lower center of gravity is very helpful to a big man’s balance on both ends.

    I didn’t see Bazemore’s disastrous 2nd quarter, but did hear Barnett mention that he’s a much better player off the ball. So I guess Barnett agrees with my assessment that he’s not a point guard. At the end of the game he played mostly at the two, and hit several shots. If this kid’s outside shot is actually as good as it looks this preseason, I’m willing to say that he might turn into a more valuable player than Tony Allen.

    As rgg noted above, Nedovic already has NBA court presence. It’s difficult to define this, just as table presence is difficult to define in poker. Let’s just say he looks like he belongs. His movements are assured, poised, confident. His court vision and decision-making are advanced. Timing impeccable. His physical skills are unquestioned: he’s both far stronger than most NBA point guards, and a better athlete. He dunks effortlessly.

    Dedmon continues to impress. As Barnett noted, he’s still extremely raw. But you can see that he knows how to play basketball. The difference between him and Jeremy Tyler is enormous, even though Tyler had the better body. Dedmon plays D, positions well for rebounds, jumps well of course. Runs like the wind. Has a better jump hook than Bogut. Shoots the 15 footer.

    He played so well that he didn’t even look so skinny to me. I think the Warriors absolutely must keep this guy. Sending him to the D-leagues is not an option: he would be immediately snatched by another NBA team. As Barnett noted, he would have no problem getting rostered on many teams less deep than the Warriors.

    Seth Curry looked desperate (and terrible) in this game. His dribble-drive is awful, slow, uncertain, and turnover prone. Forced up a lot of runners and floaters his brother excels at, but didn’t look good out of his hand. Fitz noted that he’s a two (when Fitz says something, I assume it’s a talking point he’s been fed) and that his size was a question. Barnett added that his defense and quickness to play in the league were concerns.

    I’ll sum it up for you: Seth Curry will not be an NBA player unless he makes himself a point guard. He belongs in the D-leagues. And it will take a minimum of two years before he’s NBA ready. If ever.

    I can only assume that he’s stuck this far out of deference to his brother. If he’s rostered at the cost of Dedmon, it will be the grossest commercial decision Lacob has ever made. And he’s made a few.

    • Man, you said all the things I didn’t want to say because I’ve been harping on them so much.

      I’d much rather see Green on the court than Barnes, any moment in the game, for all those reasons. Everyone raves about Barnes’s drives and dunks, but he can only do them when the other players create an opening for him. I haven’t seen much evidence Barnes can create much for himself or others anywhere on the court. Then there’s his defense. If Green develops any kind of shooting consistency, it’s a no brainer. We can live without Barnes’s youtube dunks.

      Ditto on Bogut. Note they also played well without O’Neal, and the Lakers are at least sizable. Speights was serviceable at center, btw. He has size and is mobile and can shoot. But his IQ is not great, notably in positioning himself on defense for stops and boards, and that may not change. Still, maybe the leaders might be able to bring him around. And there’s an advantage in not focusing on the center on offense with this team. It puts the offense in the hands where it belongs, the capable players at 1-4. Bogut is just a drag on the offense.

      The problem with having young centers—and there are three now, because you have to include Ezeli—is when they’ll get a chance to develop. It won’t happen against the smaller players in D-league. Even Tyler could put up numbers there. They need NBA playing time. Speights, Kuzmic, hopefully Ezeli will be around next year, and they have to give Dedmon a two year shot as well. Would that be enough to let Bogut and O’Neal go? (Or any chance O’Neal has one more year?) What else could they do with the money saved?

      Point guards have to have a chance to play point for extended minutes. If Nedovic has any potential, they need to give him minutes now, possibly with an eye to replacing Dougas next season. I still wonder about his shooting, though.

      Bazemore didn’t look good on defense either tonight. I dunno. If his shooting—at 2—isn’t consistent, I don’t see a place for him.

      Seth has to be in a position where he’s taken seriously at point as well, and it will have to be in D-league. Shame he can’t get the same chance his brother had, with those depleted Warriors several years ago.

    • to clarify what the boss said about dedmon, if he’s put on the final roster of fifteen and signed to a deal, he can be assigned to s.cruz and another team cannot sign him until he’s waived (‘cut’ in the vernacular). we might see kuzmic spend time there, or ezeli for some game conditioning, but assuming dedmon makes the roster, they’ll probably need both him and kuzmic in practices in order to rest bogut and o’neal and give the young players more instruction.

  34. You’re right Warriorblaze, hard to stay away when without Bogut, the Warriors play there best ball this preseason. No Bogut, no Douglas, Warriors. put 115 points on the scoreboard. Bogul not playing allows for Iggy to play more on the perimeter as he doesn’t have to stay inside to protect Bogut lack of weak side help. The team is so much better without him starting on both sides of the court.

    Bogut coming out with back spasms maybe will penetrate Lacob’s thick skull that he shouldn’t resign him bonfire season starts.

    Felty, glad your coming around on Dedmon, I’m slowly coming around on Kuzmic. All good for the Warriors.

    Hope Green and Bazemore can establish some consistency. If Green can hit the three at a good rate, he’s superior player than Barnes as he can defend and is an extra possession team guy as he gets more OR’s and steals than Barnes does. If Bazemore doesn’t handle the ball his big weakness of committing turnovers will hopefully diminish.

    Good to see Nedovic look experienced. All good for the Warriors.

  35. Curry:

    Curry is going to deserve his top 10 ranking at ESPN, but don’t bother to read the rankers’ explanations. Or look at their other rankings and analyses and roll your eyes.

    First it has to be recognized he had a phenomenal year last year, but consider how he had it. Much of his scoring came from playing off the ball in spread sets and quick, transition offense, and this is where Jack and strategy helped out. He wouldn’t have had so much success with other players and other systems.

    The coming season will be his greatest challenge yet, and we shouldn’t be disappointed if there’s a fall off. Every team will be gunning for him and he’ll have the pressure of living up to the hype. But all the more reason to put players around him in a system that will allow him to thrive, and they do have the material and the means now.

    He’s not a great PG in slow, half court sets. He doesn’t have the strength and explosive speed to break through traps and heavy guarding, and he’s not a superior ball handler. In half court games, he’ll need to get rid of the ball and pass to the other capable playmakers who can keep the ball moving–and free him for openings, which he finds very, very well. The focus should not be on the PG and “dominant” center, but Curry and the whole team.

    I don’t buy at all the notion he should drive more, draw more fouls, and get to the line. He’s not built for it and trying to do this might screw him up. He’s not going to develop explosive speed and bulking up could well throw him off. Rather he should continue what he’s been doing all along, relying on his foxlike instincts, his craft and intelligence. Let him keep perfecting his floaters instead of driving just to draw fouls. Give him openings and let him find them. He should, however, be able to get to the free throw line more drawing fouls on shots since he will be heavily guarded.

    Let Curry be Curry.

  36. Bogut 201, The Post-Bogut Years:

    By all means, let’s hope Bogut returns to health, has a phenomenal year, and draws an outrageous contract in the free agency battle. Even spell his minutes so that might happen.

    And wish him well when another team picks him up.

    And if he can’t give conclusive proof of his value this year, there’s no reason to gamble on him for another three years.

    The FO’s assumption (and that of many teams) is that you can’t win without a dominant center. If that means that center dominates strategy on both ends of the court, at the expense of the talents of the other players on the team, the answer is yes you can. A dominant center is, everything factored in, a liability if he doesn’t offer enough to compensate for that subtraction. Bogut doesn’t and won’t.

    Can the Warriors win without a dominant center? The proof is abundant. Look at last year, at what they could do with the rookie Ezeli and Biedrins at times when Bogut was out. Look at the opponents and scores last season when Bogut played and when he didn’t:


    We have every reason to believe the Warriors can do the same this season, should he go down, and next without him, in fact can win more. Run all the +/-‘s comparing this year’s team with last year’s. Igoudala plus the development of Klay and the rookies offsets the loss of Jack’s offense and playmaking and adds more on defense. Speights lacks the skill and savvy of Landry, but too often Landry’s effectiveness on both ends was hampered by his size. Speights can score and fill in as center (Barnett talked about this), and at least get in the way on defense if he learns how to get into position and is put into a defensive scheme where his role and range is limited. The other players can pick up the slack. Also this year’s team has O’Neal, possibly later Ezeli, and the two rookies, if they can develop enough just to fill in at spots.

    If Ezeli returns to health and can develop further—we’ll find out this season—he’ll be on the team next year. We’ll also find out if O’Neal has another season left in him. And can Dedmon and Kuzmic develop enough to fill in, possibly pay off later? They offer youth, speed, and potentially more versatility on offense. The team has them and has to find out what they can do now.

    It would be great to land another center with size, experience, athleticism, and versatility. They won’t find one. Maybe they’ll have to pick up another big lug just to plug holes in the front court.

    But here’s the question: Who could they pick up with the money they’d save on Bogut who would best complement what they already have? (I’d like an opinion here, FB, if you have one.) Here I see a future for the next three years. In Bogut I see a bad gamble and at best a stall.

    • ezeli will end up with an ‘Inc.’ on his card this season, and the team will pick up his low cost option for next season. the only way he’s not on the roster next year, he’s traded or retires. his absence ends up helping bogut’s bargaining position, of course.

      they didn’t let curry reach the end of his rookie deal, but in the cohan era, specifically w. mullin/rowell running things, letting their players finish their contracts before re-signing them didn’t work out particularly well. they paid max market rate on foyle, biedrins, ellis, and didn’t convince davis to stay. logically, if they let bogut play out the season and he’s healthy for most games, they would abstain from getting into an auction with their Bird rights for cost reasons. can’t expect them to necessarily take that course, should things go there.

    • re-signing curry was a no-brainer compared to the decision facing myers w. bogut. a three year deal in the range of 34 – 44 m., the numbers being tossed by the media and blogs, would be a gesture of defiance in the face of the hoops gods. ‘t’would be consistent, if not fated, with the hubris thus far seen in the strutting lacob.

      back in Mil, bogut thrived in the initial three years of his rookie contract as the #1 pick of the ’05 draft. before starting the final year of that deal, Mil was happy to get him signed to a five year extension, the very one that closes out next June, starting from the ’09- ’10 season. with five years and $60 m. assured, bogut incurred his first serious injury in the initial months of the ’08-’09 season. partial stress fracture of the back. they speculated that he tried to play too much when his back started to bother him, and he ended up missing fifty games. four years later, has his back really stabilized ? the week he missed last winter with bulging discs suggest continuing problems.

      his fans, whether in the team’s p.r. department, media, or public, sound optimistic that his healed ankle and lighter body will enable him to finish his shots in the paint more effectively. but any hoops move, offense or defense, that involves leaving the ground twists and loads the back. and the ankle can be iced, elevated, and rested on road trips. will the ankle or his back cause him to miss more games this season ? (the score is one game for the back to love so far).

      • It’s just part of the process that Bogut will promote himself and the FO express interest. But the FO does consider plan B, as we saw last summer, and must be contemplating other options, options we’ll never know until they happen.

  37. Just wanted to jump in here and throw my body in front of all the bullets you guys are firing at Bogut.

    YES, the Lee@C lineup is a great smallball crew. Just the thing to throw at the Lackers. But wasn’t it just a few months ago we were all saying TG for Bogut?

    It’s still all about matchups. Lee isn’t going to handle Howard or Hibbert, or any number of other big Cs in the league. Then it’s Bogut time. He’s a very smart, and very beastly, rim protector, just the thing every team needs in its arsenal. Maybe not always, against every team. But definitely some, sometimes.

    We should also recognize that we haven’t seen the best Bogut can deliver. He’s only been out of pain for a couple of months. I think Bogut is still re-learning how to play, figuring out how to work with what he has now.

    So yes, I hope the Ws can run the Lee@C smallball crew a lot this year. Based on matchups, I suspect we won’t see as much of it as we’d like. That means Coach Jackson still has some work to do in figuring how to make a lineup with Bogut at C more effective. Because while Bogut can’t do what Lee does, Lee can’t do what Bogut does either.

  38. I watched some of the Denver/Clips game last night, which both sides took seriously into the 4th. Q.

    Fournier looks to be the real deal, and Denver could have used him in the playoffs. How would he compare to Klay at the same stage in his career?

    Lawson may be the weak link in that he doesn’t provide floor leadership. Or maybe it’s the way Shaw plays him.

    The Clippers couldn’t get much front court scoring 4th. Q, not even in a preseason game. Paul and Collison did it all. That does not bode well for them.

    I thought Hickson was impressive. He posted up well and scored or moved the ball back out and looked like he knew what he was doing. I believe he can play back a bit as well. And he played defense, helped shut down the Clips front court (which may not be that difficult).

    So here’s my question: How much did Portland gain/lose by letting Hickson go and picking up Lopez, a so-so center with center size? Obviously I want to make comparisons with decisions the Warriors might make in the front court.

    • warriorsablaze

      I’ve always liked Hickson’s game… I think the knock on him has always been character issues. Kind of a Cousins/Beasley type of player…. lots of talent but never able to put it all together. Looks like he had a nice year last season. I don’t know the circumstances… did Portland let JJ go specifically to sign Lopez? They don’t even play the same position/role. I’m not familiar enough with the rest of Portland’s current roster to know if JJ was expendable. I certainly wouldn’t call Lopez an upgrade. Lopez may have center size, but is pretty terrible at center things… namely rebounding and defense, where Bogut excels and his primary role on the team.

      As Hat mentions above, Bogut will be essential against some teams and not so much against others… it’s up to Jackson to get it right and play the match-ups. I agree with Felt that the Warriors best lineup is Curry, Klay, Andre, Green, and Lee… I imagine that will be the closing lineup more often than not (assuming Green can at least bump his shooting up to mediocre levels)… not matter who starts. If you recall the playoffs, Boris Diaw completely destroyed Green at the 4… you simply can’t expect to run small all the time. Especially against elite teams. The Warriors aren’t always going to be able to control the tempo. Dedmon and Kusmic might have some potential, but you’re deluding yourself if you think they make Bogut expendable in the near future. They are borderline NBA players… most likely 2 seasons away from being rotation players.

    • Por was in the position familiar to the cohan era teams, a level below post season seeds but not wretched enough to get serious help from the lottery. using hickson as a starting center in their assessment wasn’t going to alter the situation, and with aldridge around his role returns to reserve 4/5, which is what Den signed him to do. Por essentially replaced hickson with two players, lopez to start at center, and robinson as a reserve 4/5. lopez is at a turning point in his career because last season was his first as a viable starting center, and his contract affords Por greater budget flexibility in the future than re-signing hickson would have done. Por doesn’t have to commit to lopez as their starter if last season proves to be an anomaly.

      bogut expects greater than twice the yearly salary of lopez, and more guaranteed years on the deal. the budget would be encumbered with four vets getting seven figure annual salaries, with thompson expecting a raise close to that range in the same time period, if he’s not traded. re-signing bogut might mean they’d be more inclined to trade thompson and retain barnes, which would be a mistake unless the younger player has a miraculous transformation this season and next.
      lacob has boasted he would plunge into the lux tax for a championship run, so he could re-sign both bogut and thompson and carry five heavy salaries. winning a trophy of course is another matter.

      • Warriorsablaze

        I’m no where near as low on Barnes as Felt and others on this board, but I’ll be bummed if they deal Klay in favor of him. I’ve been lukewarm on Klay due to his inconsistency, but it just feels like he’s about to put it all together this year. I don’t get that feeling with Barnes. I guess we’ll just have to see how the season goes and see who rises above their previous performance levels.

        • barnes-flavoured kool aid has been on the market since he was anointed the best high schooler in the country (a self-evident absurd honor in itself). unfortunately, many woeyr fans became fond of the brew based on five or six games in the post season. in many essentials he’s clearly behind thompson, especially as a perimeter player (rebounding is the younger player’s sole advantage), and green provides more as an all purpose sub, other than quick points. the team will continue to give barnes maximum opportunities because of his age, contract status, and no draft picks in the next class, barring a trade or purchase.

        • I’ve never read Felt’s realism as pessimism. He has money in play here. Money PUNISHES those who view players and teams unrealistically, with either favoritism or pessimism.

          So I’m generally inclined to listen closely to Felt’s POV, and I really can’t fault his take on Barnes The Player. It’s not pessimism to examine Barnes’ results closely and compare them to other rookies at his position, or to other alternatives the team has available – and to find that Barnes doesn’t live up to the team’s hype. That’s the bottom-line, hard-cold-cash wallet talking, not some fan-speak or scratch-my-back dealmaking going on.

          It’s not unfair, overly pessimistic or unrealistic for an independent gambler to say “hype exceeds performance.” In Barnes’ case, that is simple fact. Just check the numbers.

          Barnes’ backers have, unfortunately, consistently oversold him, his whole life. That is not his fault. He’s probably a fairly normal down-to-earth guy who happens to have a freakish body.

          Hype isn’t performance. Potential isn’t performance. Athleticism can help basketball performance, but not necessarily. The difference between Harrison Barnes and Chris Mullin is an entire world full of basketball results.

          The difference between Barnes and Rodney Carney?

          Do you even remember Rodney Carney?

          The difference between Barnes and Carney could be nothing more than the level of hype each received.

          Where is Rodney Carney today?


          Barnes v. Carney is a hell of a lot more even comparison than Barnes v. Mullin, isn’t it?

          So let’s not call Felt’s realism pessimism.

  39. MT confirms my evaluation of Seth Curry:


    Check out his Western conference predictions while you’re there.

    • “Up to three players not under contract as D-League affiliate picks. That, in essence, makes them the Warriors’ minor league property and automatically assigns them to the Warriors’ D-League team, preventing other teams from poaching them.”

      So three players not on the 15 man roster can be protected? I didn’t know this. Theoretically, then, they could protect Seth and two others. And others on the roster will be going back and forth.

      But I’m assuming Nedovic will spend time in Santa Cruz developing as PG as well? Again, I don’t think you can assess any player at this position until you give him plenty of time and experience there. I hope he gets a shot–somewhere.

      • semantics. if those three players don’t have a standard n.b.a. player’s contract, the only poaching excluded is from a different team’s d-league team. a free agent is a free agent is a free agent. the big league teams sign players from other teams’ d-league rosters as a matter of course. no d-league team will pay close to a minimum n.b.a. contract (over 700 k. for undrafted rookies), for one thing.

  40. Curry ranked #6 at ESPN! Above Howard!

    This ranking is ridiculous top to bottom, but happy to see him get the credit. I’d take him over Howard any day.

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