Warriors 98 Kings 87: Poetry in Underwear

There’s nothing like a Jermaine O’Neal injury to make Mark Jackson a better coach, is there? The Warriors played big virtually every minute of the first two games. But in this game against the Kings, Jackson was forced to give major minutes to Speights and Lee at center, and to Draymond Green at power forward in the second and fourth quarters.

Accidentally causing the Warriors to explode. Oops!

I have nothing against the Warriors playing big, particularly in the first and third quarters. Those are the quarters to meet size with size, force with force. And to save the bodies of your most gifted players for crunch time, and the playoffs.

And — in principle — I have nothing against the Warriors playing big with their second units, and in crunch time, either. Just so long as by doing so they are putting their BEST team on the floor.

As this game indicated, those big teams need to be pretty darn good if Jackson prefers them. Because the Warriors smallball units of Lee or Speights at center, Green or Barnes at stretch-four, Iggy at free safety, the Splash Brothers, and a sprinkling of Toney Douglas on top, are going to be absolutely extraordinary.

As good a smallball squad as exists in the league. 

Those Short Sleeve Jerseys: Let’s start with the first thing we all noticed about this game.

Can we just stop this please? Hideous is not adequate to describe these jerseys.

The Warriors looked like a bunch of NASA engineers running around in their underwear.

Bogut:  Does it seem odd that premier NBA big man DeMarcus Cousins is a far better matchup for Bogut than DeAndre Jordan? That’s the way of the NBA, where matchups are king.

DeAndre Jordan left Bogut eating dust, running the floor. Cousins is fast for his size, but he never beat Bogut down court in this game.

The quicksilver Jordan went right around and over Bogut for offensive rebounds. But Bogut had little problem keeping Boogie on his back.

And as we saw, Bogut ate the still completely unschooled Cousins alive on the low block. Like Blake Griffin, and Shaquille O’Neal before him, Cousins relies more on bullying than technique down low. Bogut is made for that stuff.

(Memo to Mark Jackson: Bogut is made for Blake Griffin. And David Lee is made for DeAndre Jordan.)

On the offensive end, Mark Jackson opened the game with two straight Bogut postups. The first ended in a right-handed jump hook, the first with that hand this season. Was that for me?

The second was to his preferred left hand. That one was definitely for Cousins, and it just might have made his head explode.

It certainly made Mike Malone’s head explode: I believe I heard the words ”No resistance, no fight, no pride” emanate from my TV as I wrote this up.

Great game from the Warriors big man, in the role he was designed for. And pride of place in my write-up.

The Kings: While we’re on the subject of Mike Malone, I might as well mention that I think he’s made every right decision so far in putting his team together. Starting Vasquez, putting Isaiah Thomas in the Manu Ginobili sixth man role, playing them both together in the fourth quarter (as I predicted in my fantasy sleeper posts). Starting Patrick Patterson over Jason Thompson at the four, to spread the floor for Boogie. (It’s not Malone’s fault Patterson hasn’t hit a shot so far this season.) Benching (and soon dumping) Jimmer Fredette. (As the great Bob Fitzgerald noted this evening, Jimmer is not big or quick enough to become JJ Redick. Like Seth Curry, it’s point guard or bust for him.) Starting Salmons and Thornton, and working Macklemore in off the bench (but if this game is any indication, one of those defensive dogs will be sitting before long). Benching MBam. (You can’t play small forward in this league if you can’t shoot. Horrible signing.)

Masterful stuff. And he gives great post-game interview. Used several choice words that would make Mark Jackson’s congregation blush.

Macklemore: If the NBA draft can be regarded as a thrift shop, then the Kings just might have found themselves a leopard mink.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Klay Thompson: Why does Mark Jackson so often feel the need to lie to the media? Warriors fans are not fools, and not all of the Warriors media are either.

When asked about Klay Thompson getting no shots in the first quarter, and only 7 for the game in that Clippers fiasco, Jackson stated that he’s not going to “break” his offense to get Klay shots. That Klay has to work to get open, work within the offense, and blah, blah, etc.

I understand that there might have been a message for Klay in that, but there was also nothing but disrespect for his listeners. What utter nonsense.

In this game, after the first two plays were called for Bogut, Jackson immediately “broke” his offense to get a shot for Klay Thompson. On a called play. Third play of the game.

At 7:00 1Q, another called play: pindown, curl, layup. And at 3:30 1Q: post-up of Marcus Thornton, free throws.

At halftime of this game, Curry was asked about the Clipper game, and the secret to getting Klay going. The first thing out of his mouth: “Play-calling.”

I have frequently heard great coaches admit when they’ve made a mistake in a game. Popovich, Nelson, Van Gundy.

Not Mark Jackson. Maybe he should take a lesson.

Curry: It was all going so well there for a while. And then that third quarter….

Hey, 7 turnovers is quite an improvement from 11 though, right? Statphreaks, what’s that in percentage terms?

Quite a few of those 12 assists came on pick and roll, pick and pop action with Speights or Lee, in the 2nd and 4th quarter smallball units.

(Memo to Mark Jackson: Your big team is pretty good. Your small team is great.)

Green:  A vintage Green defensive effort, in the role that he was designed for: Stretch-four.

It was obvious how efficient the Warriors smallball offense was in this game, helped by Green’s floor spreading. But did you notice how damn good the smallball defense was? The Warriors smallball team literally shut the Kings down. Quick rotations, quick hands, disruption, steals. Toney Douglas and Andre Iguodala had a lot to do with that, but Green was a monster.

I predicted before the season that the Warriors smallball lineups — particularly Lee at center, Green/Barnes at stretch-four — would lead the team in point-differential. That lineup was +10 in this game. We’re well on our way.

Lee: Ho hum, 15-12-3 in 31 minutes. Incredible pick and roll chemistry with Curry. Running the floor. All that mundane stuff that Warriors fans regard as “serviceable.”

I’d like to point out something not so mundane: His defense while playing center in this game. I mean beyond the fact that the Warriors generated incredible point-differential with him at the position. Let’s look a little deeper:

Did you notice how the Warriors defended the Isaiah Thomas high pick at the three point line? They did it by bringing their smallball centers, Speights and Lee, all the way out to hedge.

And Lee in particular did a fantastic job at this. Used his mobility to prevent Thomas from turning the corner, and recovered in a flash to pick up his man in the paint.

That’s something that Andrew Bogut doesn’t have a prayer of doing, which happened to cost the Warriors dearly against Chris Paul in the last game. Not to mention against Tony Parker in the playoffs.

Something to chew on, haters.

Speights: I predicted before the season that Mo Speights would be a great addition to the Warriors — at center. It didn’t take long for the need to play him at that position to arise, did it?

And as this game showed quite clearly, it’s his best position. He is a far better defender of big boys in the paint than he is chasing shooters out on the floor. He uses his size and strength well down low — doesn’t get pushed around in the box, and rebounds the position.

And on the offensive end, that superb pick and pop ability goes from being of mediocre efficiency when he’s at the four (mid-range twos, meh), to being a creator of super-efficient offense when he’s at the five. Because it’s a Blitz Breaker. It punishes the blitz, and will make teams more reluctant to double team Curry on the high pick.

And it’s not just Curry who benefits from playing with a shooting center, but the entire team. The whole floor opens up when your center is deadly from 18 feet out. Did you happen to see Speights swing the ball to Toney Douglas in the corner near the end of the game? The pass was perfect, and the shot was wide open. (He missed.)

(Memo to Mark Jackson: Speights is a center.)

Toney Douglas: All you worrywarts out there, remember this game. This game is the reason why the Warriors acquired TD. He destroyed Isaiah Thomas (with help from the pick and roll hedging ability of Speights and David Lee). Destroyed.

Do you know how hard it is to do that? Take a look at what Thomas has done so far this season. Take a look at what he did to Chris Paul yesterday. Or what he did in the second half of last season. Isaiah Thomas is a fantastic player, who will compete this season for Sixth Man of the Year.

Toney Douglas destroyed him.

TD can also shoot it a little bit, in the right system. (Running.)

That’s two good games out of three from TD, and I like what I’m seeing.

Barnes: Gary St. Jean let the words “bone bruise” slip out in the pre-game.

I still think it’s turf toe.

Best Passing Team in the NBA: Curry and Iggy combined for 17 assists. Will they lead the NBA as a backcourt? The Warriors combined for 28 assists overall. Will they lead the league in assisted baskets? I predicted they would in the preseason, and the early results are positive.

Highlights:

  • Iggy to Bogut alley-oop at 8:20 3Q.
  • Lee outlet pass to halfcourt at 3:55 3Q.
  • Point-Klay at 10:55 4Q: Drive and dish to Speights for the J.
  • Point-Iggy at 9:15 4Q: Drive and dish to Speights for the J.
  • Curry-Lee pick and pop at 4:26 4Q: Surprise! No pop — Lee hits Curry on perfectly timed backdoor for the And One floater.

Closing Games: How the Warriors are going to close games this season, without Jarrett Jack, has been identified as a major issue by the readers of this blog, and assorted media members. I happen to believe — relying chiefly on what I witnessed in his rookie season under Don Nelson — that Stephen Curry is capable of being a great closer — with the right lineup on the court, spreading the floor. Others disagree.

But I also feel that the unique makeup of the Warriors, with ultra-high IQ, great passing and great shooting players at virtually every position, may not require a single closer. With the great San Antonio teams, you never knew whether Parker, Duncan or Ginobili was going to take that last shot, and the Warriors just might have what it takes to execute crunch time offense at the Spurs’ level.

As it’s a matter of intense interest, I intend to to shine a spotlight on this issue. This particular game didn’t come down to the wire, but the Warriors did have the ball in their hands to end the 1st and 3rd quarters, and that provided us some initial clues:

  • 1Q: Jackson makes a great substitution of Curry for Speights, leaving Green at center. Green and Curry execute a perfect pick and pop at the top of the key, and Green buries the three. That baby was wiiiiiiiiiiide open.
  • 3Q: Isaiah Thomas is guarding Curry, and Jackson makes another great call: A Curry elbow iso. Drop the shoulder to knock Thomas on his heels… fade away J…

Money.

44 Responses to Warriors 98 Kings 87: Poetry in Underwear

  1. Last night was a contrast in two teams. On offense the Warriors moved the ball and attacked from everywhere on the court. And the Warriors played an uptempo offense and ran which made the performances of every player better.

    On the other hand, Sacramento settled for contested jump shots and had no clue what to do against the Warriors multiple offense.

    While I agree the Warriors ball hawking with Green and Douglas on the court was something to watch, it’s difficult to extoll the Warriors playing small ball with Speights when the Warriors were significantly outscored by the KIngs with him on the court.

    Don’t want Speights at center if either JON or Bogut are available.

    It’s clear that Jackson has decided to make Green the second power forward behind D. Lee, not Speights. And with Barnes returning Speights will be relegated to our third power forward.

    It can be said that Thompson after two inconsistent seasons (the
    equivalent of five college seasons) has finally shown signs that he now has a consistent shot. In his post-game interview, he said that the big difference this year is that he is getting to his spots and taking his time shooting, not rushing. Such appears so. As a result the trajectory of his shot is now consistently straight, as his the rotation and height of his shots. Not so, last year. His drives have improved significantly. His days of having one good game, and two bad ones should be over. There’s no reason to think such should change. If so, he will be an all-star. Last year, he wasn’t.

    With Thompson joining Curry and Lee as consistent shooters, and the Warriors pushing the ball up he court more then they have in the past as all of us have screamed for, the Warriors shooting percentage should continue to be high and the offense should continue to be successful.

    And with the Warriors playing playing an aggressive defense, the Warriors should be be a team to be reckoned with. It will be interesting to see how the Warriors do against a team that have good offensive sets and players. This up-coming four game road trip should be a window to their future.

    But there are still large holes. The Warriors were dominated on the offensive glass last night. Was this the result of small ball? It should be noted the Warriors shot as well playing tall or small. Turnovers are way to high especially by Curry, which negates somewhat he great offensive performances. But it’s early in season and such may be corrected. The Warriors still are being killed getting to the foul line where teams shoot a higher percentage than they do on field goal attempts. That won’t change given the make-up of the team.

  2. You’re right, Douglas is a great defender! Like a very quick Draymond mini-me.

    I mentioned before that the Ws 2nd team might be better on D than the starters. They ARE better on D. The group that led off the 2nd Q completely shut down the Kings. It was a thing of beauty, if you like that sort of thing.

    Bogut stopping Cousins highlighted the big flaw in the Sacto team. It’s still too Cousins-centric. As long as that’s true the Kings are going to be erratic, and probably relatively low scoring.

    • I really enjoyed Bogut’s block of Boogie as he plowed down the lane. It must have infuriated him. This game was a fat cry from what Cousins has done to the Warriors in the past. Good job Bogut.

      As for Curry’s turnovers, when he gets blitzed, he just needs to get the ball to Klay or Iggy immedietly. The result, eight their passing ability will be a layup.

  3. Ms. Hat sez the Big Shot Closer this year is Klay Thompson.To her it’s perfectly obvious.

    Hmm. If you don’t think of Thompson as a shaky newbie, he might actually be the best guy to take that final shot. He’ll almost always be able to get his shot away. Curry is still an excellent decoy, just as he was for Jack last year. Thompson has even improved his offensive arsenal, finishing better in the paint this year.

    From the mouth of babes.

  4. I’ve added Stats Resources to the sidebar. Suggestions for additions welcome. (Or a better title.)

    • Thanks on this end.

      As the season progresses, if you, Dr. J, and other commenters want to get into a debate over which stats you accept, which you reject, and why, I’d like to hear it. Maybe we can make suggestions about which pages to add to the list. And we’ll have a handy reference.

  5. Thanks, Feltbot.

    Some qualification is in order. The Kings played horribly and could not knock down a shot. They had plenty of open looks. Keeping the score close the first half would have resulted in a different game. Also I’m surprised Malone didn’t put up a smaller unit sooner and pushed the pace. The Warriors can be rattled at this stage. I’m curious so see what adjustments he makes next game.

    Give Bogut credit, but Boogie was oddly passive, as if his anger management sessions are working too well. Barnett noted something similar. Or he may have been tired from the previous night, where he played heavy minutes, scored 24 points, and looks to have contained Jordan well.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400488904

    The next games against Sacramento won’t be cakewalks.

    +1 on the NASA engineers in undies,

  6. Reading the obit on Walt Bellamy makes me wonder if part of the reason the league has become less center-oriented recently is simply because outstanding centers are so rare. In Bell’s time, big men dominated the game.

    There was a nice story on Walt Bellamy in the NY Times (link below). I sent along one section (next) that really demonstrates the difference between good centers and great ones. There isn’t a center in today’s league who could possibly do what either of these guys did. Enjoy.

    “Bellamy had a terrific start as an N.B.A. rookie, but then came a matchup against Chamberlain in November 1961 in Chicago.

    As related by Gary M. Pomerantz in “Wilt, 1962,” an account of the season when Chamberlain scored 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a game against the Knicks and averaged 50.4 points a game, Bellamy sought to avert any wrath Chamberlain had in mind in order to put a rookie in his place.

    “H’lo, Mister Chamberlain,” he said with deference at the opening tip-off. “I’m Walter Bellamy.”

    “Hello, Walter,” Chamberlain replied. “You won’t get a shot off in the first half.”

    Chamberlain blocked nine shots that Bellamy attempted from inside the free-throw line. When the second half began, Chamberlain told Bellamy, “O.K., Walter, now you can play.”

    Chamberlain finished with 51 points. Bellamy would have many high-scoring games, but on that night he settled for 14.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/04/sports/basketball/walt-bellamy-hall-of-famer-and-footnote-dies-at-74.html?ref=basketball

    • “Reading the obit on Walt Bellamy makes me wonder if part of the reason the league has become less center-oriented recently is simply because outstanding centers are so rare.”

      Perhaps its also that the league has realized that even outstanding centers are overrated. It’s interesting to me that the trade that put the championship Knicks over the top was Walt Bellamy for a stretch-four, 6-6 220 Dave Debusschere. The Knicks power forward, 6-9 235 Willis Reed, slid over to play center.

      And that was all she wrote for Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, whose Lakers got dominated by the Knicks for two straight titles.

      There’s another point to this story that was understood implicitly by Don Nelson: Why should you ever choose to match up second best at the center position? Isn’t that simply conceding before the opening tip?

      There is nothing that says you have to fight wars conventionally. And nothing in basketball that says you have to fight size with size.

      If you don’t happen to be the team with the best big man on the planet, you fight size with TALENT and SPEED.

      • And Bellamy moved on to Detroit, where I watched him play with the great Dave Bing (and a bunch of stiffs) to a so-so record.

        Your point about talent beating size is well taken, Felt. Nellie certainly proved it at times, and he wasn’t the first. But I don’t think centers are any more overrated than good players at any position. Overpaid, probably, just because talented big men are always more rare than talented shorter players. But a good center certainly has his uses, and a great center – Wilt, Jabbar, the young Shaq – is harder to stop than a great wing player. Wilt AVERAGED 50 pts./game for an entire season.

        In addition, a good big can have more effect on D than a wing player. Defending the paint effectively with just one player makes everything easier for the rest of the team.

        For that matter, Willis Reed was a great center. Not as big as Wilt, but tough, talented and more skilled. His Knicks teams wouldn’t have been as successful without him. It’s not as if they played smallball with an Al Harrington at C.

        • Wilt Chamberlain won all of one title. His nemesis, Bill Russell, was 6-9 235.

          David Lee is bigger than Willis Reed (and Dave Cowens). Draymond Green is bigger than Dave Debusschere. Aren’t the Warriors accused of playing smallball whenever they play that lineup?

          As for your overall point about talented big men — I agree with you, while noting that it’s the TALENT that’s the key.

          • People say lots of silly things. I never thought of that combination as smallball, myself. Lee/Dray is a “shortish” front line, but both are tough in the paint and neither is really playing out of position. They’re just quicker and more mobile than most players they’ll face at the 4 & 5. Also more talented.

            On the other hand, I think that if the Ws led with that combination and never even had the option to go big – like many of Nellie’s weaker Ws teams – the Ws wouldn’t be as good. Sometimes you need a big banger. Like against Cousins, for example. Bogut had his number. Lee never has.

          • The introduction of the NBA three point line was the death knell for centers for reasons you constantly outline, spacing and weighting of threes versus twos…

          • The rising impact of 3-point shooting is a big factor in the de-emphasis of center play, but “death knell” doesn’t seem right.

            Compare this year’s Warriors wing D to last year’s. Having a healthy Bogut patrolling the paint means wing players don’t have to sag off outside shooters as much. I think it helps Thompson, for one, be even more effective on D. He can play up closer to his man on the 3-point line, and not worry as much about him blowing by him for a layup. Because a good defensive C has that move covered.

          • @benhogan That is an excellent point about the three point line.

            When your only choice on offense is two points, of course you should emphasize inside play. Stephen Curry shooting 45% from 28 feet out is no longer that interesting.

            And on the defensive end the increased spacing created by the need to cover the three point line makes mobility a prized commodity in big men, to a far greater degree than in the past.

  7. Curry’s TO’s I see are making local and national headlines. Obviously he’s taking his point guard role seriously, maybe too much so. Some will go away when the team becomes more cohesive. Others will go away if the team pushes the pace. Often the offense is scattered themselves, or they’re tightly defended and there aren’t many good options. Many happen when he’s trying to make something happen. Others belong in the wtf category.

    But his comment is intriguing:

    “I’ve got to play smarter. Sometimes, getting a shot up is better than trying to thread a needle when it’s not necessary.”

    • “Sometimes, getting a shot up is better than trying to thread a needle when it’s not necessary.”

      Another thing that Don Nelson coached. Which is why his teams were among the lowest in turnovers, despite their breakneck pace.

      Curry is extraordinary among point guards in that opposing coaches know they have to get the ball out of his hands, or get destroyed from three. He is getting blitzed harder and more frequently than any point guard in history.

      Curry has been responsible for a lot of turnovers, particularly of the lazy variety. But a lot of them are on Mark Jackson.

      He needs to scheme to break the blitz.

      • I have to wonder if Coach J is trying to mold Curry in his own image.

        • my impression, almost the opposite seems to be going on — the preacher lets some of his players figure things out on their own too much. not that he’s necessarily qualified to figure things out and teach them, and that might be part of the reason he’s relatively hands off. surely he knows his own game as a player and the m.o. of his NY or Ind teams would not fit with his roster. my guess, malone took care of a lot of the corrective measures and teaching (officially, he was in charge of player development). from what goes on in many games, the majority of head coaches in the association do not appear to have elite levels of tactical insight, a developed playbook of countermeasures, combined with an ability to teach and motivate.

          rivers coming west might mean the sterlings prove much tougher to overtake in the division than what the fans had planned.

  8. re: sixers game:
    THIS ought to be fun, unless warriors put Iggy on MCW, Thompson on Turner and let Anderson try beat us, in this case it should be over very fast for sixers for their front court is not scary and if Bogut can’t run with Spencer Hawes, simply put Lee on him and Dray on Young.
    if we get the crossmatching fine, we should beat them handily.
    if jackson decides that curry needs to build his defensive pride by defending MCW, we might be due for a longer night.
    warriors by 12.

    • I think you’ve identified the core issue for tonight. The Ws should win, but if the boss doesn’t play it smart they could have problems.

  9. MJ with a little public shaming of the bench. They deserve it. Everyone not a starter was a negative tonight…. that’s ridiculous in a game that was won by 20.

    Barnes will help a little, but he’s not really a playmaker. I hope Jackson can get the lineups right so we aren’t stuck with the no offense club ever… or hopefully Myers is working on picking up some kind of useful scorer for the 15th roster spot. Bring back Reggie!

    • Impossible! I was informed on this site that Speights and O’Neal were much better than Bogut… ;-P

      Trolling aside, I totally agree with you. This crapping upon the masterpieces turned in by our Vermeer-esque starting 5 must stop. I don’t expect perfection, but it is that hard to keep the game at least relatively level against the other team’s scrubs? This is now two straight games where, had the lead been merely 15-20 rather than 30-35, we would have to re-insert the starters to prevent disaster.

      I think the return of Barnes will help, but I agree that a creator/scorer in the second unit would be useful. Totally sign me up for Reggie “Mr. Potatohead” Williams.

  10. I don’t know who installed the Warriors new offense, but whoever it is, he’s the Bill Walsh of NBA coaching. The Warriors are attacking their opponents from everyone on the court and here’s not much our opponents can do about it. We have four players who take a good number of shots- Curry, Lee, Iggy, and Thompson making more than 50 percent of their shots, and three players Curry, Thompson, and Iggy, making 50 percent of their three’s.

    The Warriors this last game have gotten smart now transferring shots taken by other players to Iggy.

    The Warriors sparking offensive play is virtually all due the big four shooting the lights out and the addition of Iggy, and not the those other players, Douglas, Speights, Nedovic and Kuzmic, added to the roster over the summer. By and large our bench sucks offensively. But the big four is simply carrying the team.

    Barnes return will help.

    Defensively the team is funneling all opponents to Bogut where his defense has been stellar. Such has only occured because he now has both Iggy and Lee on his wings which now has hidden Bogut’s inability
    to provide weakside help. I suspect that Darren Erman has been largely responsibility for the improved defense. We saw what he did over the summer. Holding teams to shooting less that 44 per cent is one thing, Holding teams to shooting less 40 percent as they have done, is simply off the charts.

    The Warriors still need to improve their roster given the lack of bench. But, the Warriors future this year looks very bright and they may well win the West, but it won’t be because of the composition of the roster.

    .

    • I don’t think Barnes’ return will help the 2nd team, especially at first.

      Their biggest problem is a lack of cohesive team play. Adding another tunnel-vision player doesn’t improve that. In fact, if playing Barnes means Green sits out, it makes the team’s offensive cohesiveness even worse. Green is a good facilitator, Barnes is not.

      Besides, Barnes has barely practiced with the 2nd team. It’s going to take some time for him to get a feel for his new teammates.

      Based on Barnes’ performance last year, playing him also reduces the 2nd team’s defensive chops. He is not (or was not, last year) a better defender than anyone on the 2nd unit he might replace. Anyone.

      I don’t hate Barnes. I think he could be great someday. But he’s not “the answer” to poor team play from the Ws’ 2nd unit.

  11. I’m in the camp that thinks the return of Barnes will be an immense boon to the second unit offense, simply by allowing them to play small, spread the floor and up the tempo. And it’s quite possible they’ll be better defensively as well, because most second units that they will match up against will be small and quick.

    @9 Sleepy I take your point that JON has looked terrible on offense. Has he made a shot yet?

    It’s not all his fault, though. I never envisioned he and Speights being on the floor together, when Barnes and Green make the Warriors so much better when they’re at the spread 4. JON has been fighting some severe spacing issues, and even double teams, when he’s played in the low post.

    Let’s reevaluate when the second unit is rolling with a spread floor. (By the way, the Lee at 5, Green at 4 unit was +12 to close the second Q, blowing the game open.)

    • JO’s 3-14 on the season. :-(

      Possibly even more concerning than that to me was a play last night where he had Curry — Curry! — wide open over his shoulder at the top of the circle, and elected instead to attempt an impossible post move. (Clang). It’s plays like that, imo, where you really see Bogut’s advantage over Speights and O’Neal in terms of court vision, passing, and hoops IQ.

      But hey, as long as I’m patting myself on the back for my (rather unremarkable) belief that Bogut is a superior player to O’Neal and Speights, I gotta give you props for your early and consistent belief in the specialness of Klay Thompson. Both in preseason and in the early going, his game really looks to have taken a leap forward, in all respects. Some of the stellar early returns from the starting unit can be chalked up to small samples (I’m pretty sure Bogut and Iguodala aren’t going to put up ts% of .668 and .684, respectively) but I’m starting to think Klay may be making the same kind of third-year leap that Ray Allen did. (Though his .741 ts% is probably unsustainable). His shot looks even purer and more consistently squared up than it did last year, and he looks extremely comfortable off the dribble, either moving a few steps in for open 15-footer, or taking it all the way to the rack. At times he seems almost unguardable: Barnett marvelled last night at how he can get off a good shot seemingly anytime he wants. Would that we could say the same for anyone on our bench!

      Our Vermeer-esque starting 5, through 4 games (per 36 mins.):

      Curry — 25.5 pts on .690 ts, 11.3 ast, 5.2 reb, 2.0 stl
      Thompson — 23.3 pts on .741 ts
      Iguodala — 14.6 pts on .684 ts, 5.8 ast
      Lee — 25.2 pts on .620 ts, 10.2 reb, 3.8 ast
      Bogut — 11.6 pts on .668 ts, 10.8 reb, 3.2 ast, 3.2 blk

      • I think you’re stretching my words if you’re insinuating that I believed that either Speights or JON are better players overall than a healthy Bogut. I don’t believe that, nor anything close. My point after the trades was simply that if you inserted either JON or Speights in the starting lineup in Bogut’s place, the effect on the offense would be startlingly transformative. It would help Curry bust the blitz. And I stand by that analysis (while pointing out that we have not yet seen it put to the test).

        I really like what I’m seeing in the emerging chemistry of the starting unit. But let’s not forget that they’ve played three horrible teams in their wins, and looked pretty bad against their sole quality opponent. I’m seeing a -5 from the starting unit against the Clippers:

        http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20131031&game=GSWLAC

        Would that be Picasso-esque? Or perhaps Dali-esque. All I know is that Jackson had the parts out of position.

        Really looking forward to the upcoming test against the TWolves. They’re playing great ball.

  12. As for the Warriors garbage time unit, we’ve gotten our first looks at Kuzmic and Nedovic, and they’re clearly not ready. Not even ready for garbage time, let alone prime time.

    Kuzmic might look better if Bazemore ever actually looked at him on offense. Bazemore is really intent on getting his own shots up. And the Warriors don’t seem to be running many plays on the second unit, certainly none involving Kuzmic.

    As for Nedovic, if you can’t shoot, you can’t be an NBA point guard. Simple as that. He’s got a lot of work to do, and might not work out even so.

    Which means Curry better not get injured. The Warriors have less depth at the point than any of the other contenders.

  13. “[fill in the blank] is really intent on getting his own shots up. And the Warriors don’t seem to be running many plays on the second unit…”

    My point exactly. Playing Barnes does NOT improve that situation, especially since he has barely practiced with this unit. And when has Barnes ever NOT been really intent on getting his own shots up? When has he ever been involved in team plays other than “Barnes on 5?” How is his passing? His assists?

    Honestly, I’m not hating on Barnes here, just trying to be realistic. Especially if playing Barnes means pushing Green off the floor, I don’t see how that would improve the team play of the 2nd unit. Any thoughts, Feltie?

    • If Jackson continues to run JON and Speights out together, putting Barnes at the three, I would agree with you totally. That looks like a disaster to me.

      I’m assuming that Jackson plays only one of JON and Speights at a time, putting Green and Barnes at the forwards. TD + an interchangeable allstar in the backcourt, and I think that could be one of the best second units in the game. No?

  14. Bench thoughts:

    I don’t know how much garbage time the Warriors will get this year, but they might as well make best use of it. And this experience will help the players step up in sub time during a regular game, as well as in spot substitutions.

    The goal should not be to build a cohesive unit, but to develop the individual talents they most need. What they most need is a perimeter scorer and/or (it may not be the same player) a guard to run the team. But that would lead to a more effective, more cohesive unit.

    Bazemore is the sticking point for me. I lost all confidence in him summer league, when he should have stepped up. I can’t see him filling either role. Even at 2 he looks like he’ll be a spotty scorer.

    The other guards aren’t getting many shots. Pull Bazemore and run Douglas and Nedovic at 1 and 2, with Nedovic the primary handler, but passing off the duty to Douglas on occasion so he’ll get more experience. Give them more shots. Put Green on the floor as floor general and secondary facilitator, something like Lee’s role. Then add Barnes and whatever center. Speights might as well keep getting his shots, as that will help spread the defense and develop his scoring with the starters. Ditto on Barnes, who will also be looking to drive.

    Maybe play the offensive sets Nedovic is used to, at least for starters? Which seems to be controlled half court offense (this based on about 2 minutes of Youtube viewing). (During the strike year in the NFL and scabs were brought in, Bill Walsh had a good record with them. He ran standard college sets—the Y or wishbone—because that is what they knew and they performed well quickly.)

    What would it take to see those Nedovic dunks we heard about, and can he drive in the NBA? Get Green and the others looking to run?

    The odds of getting an experienced point are probably nil. But scorers on the order of Reggie Williams, or even Reggie himself, should be available. But they have to get the minutes and shots to be effective.

    More Nedovic:

  15. A shooter has to get enough shots to develop confidence and a rhythm, game to game. Maybe Igoudala is, in fact, a good 3 point shooter? He didn’t take that many with Philly and Denver, and when he did, he would have been contested. He should get plenty of open looks with the Warriors this season, with Curry and Thompson in the backcourt.

    This bodes well.

    • Iggy’s career FG% is similar to JJack’s, though he achieved it as the #1 or 2 scoring option on all his teams. Career .331 on 3s, he’s shooting .500 so far this season.

      Most of Iggy’s 3s last night came when he was wide open. I think he expected that sort of thing would happen playing next to Curry and Thompson, and it probably factored in to his decision to come here. Last night he was certainly ready. I wouldn’t count on it being a regular thing, though. Philly’s D was just overmatched.

  16. Except in garbage time, the Warriors don’t have a second unit. Expect to see Barnes, Green, and Douglas on court with 2 or 3 starters. In close games, Nedovic and Kuzmic won’t be seen.

  17. Up to tonight’s game: I give a home team 5-10 point advantage, concrete value depending of whether they are a good team and what opponent they are facing. In this case – I give wolves 5 point advantage, while they are good, they are facing a better team, imho.
    Warriors start from: -5.
    Matchups: Bogut has done and will do enough defensive damage control on Pekovic, who is big, but slow, that should be enough for warriors to keep it close there +5 minny.
    Lee, and I think this match-up together with Curry’s, is of an essential importance, has done enough to stop Love from getting it done, but with (Lee) being dragged out of the paint, Iguodala has to help rebound under the basket. If Lee keeps it close, we have a good chance of taking this game. Minny +5.
    So far we are down 15.
    Now, I expect Iguodala eat Brewer alive, overpower him and I believe shoot better than him (courtesy of patented W’s ball movement and floor spacing). Warriors +10
    Thompson should do just fine on Martin (with help from Iguodala, if Warriors are in a position where they lack/need scoring, to ease the game for him on defense so as to have more on offense). Let’s say it’s a +5 Warriors.
    So we are tied for the game, and it’s 5 minutes left.
    Enter Curry – he must shoot Rubio out off the court, but the spaniard is a heck of a defender, long and has quick arms – can steal, block and otherwise infuriate the defended player.
    I won’t lay out the predicted value here, just to keep it fun, but let me say, I have Warriors winning the tight game by 6 points.
    Having in mind that our bench has been underperforming, you guess whom I have taking Warriors over the line.

    • Rim, meet Iggy. Iggy, rim.

      DLee should also have a good night at the rim, but Love can easily shoot over Lee from deep. Expect Lee to get help on Love at long range.

      Probably a good team to play some smallball against. With Lee at C, expect Jackson to try Green on Love. On D, Green has a knack for disrupting shots even without being a shot-blocking threat (mostly by keeping his opponents off their happy spots before the ball arrives). On O, if Green looks like a credible 3-point threat it would pull Love out of the rim area.

      Minnesota is a great team, but they can be beaten with the right schemes. I wonder which Coach Jackson we’ll see tonight, the guy in Philly or the one from Clipperville.

      • I don’t know about Lee on Pekovic, certainly too strong and skilled enough to punish him down low. Lee would have advantage in high pick ‘n’ pop, but I’m not sure I’d do that tradeoff, for I believe Love and Pekovic would grab ton of offensive boards against Lee and Green.

      • BTW, if it’s Philly Jackson, i wouldn’t be surprised to see him try Thompson or Iguodala on Rubio to disrupt their offense, while gambling on Curry staying with Martin.

        • Curry can guard Rubio, because he’s not a big offensive threat. My second choice would be Brewer.

          The TWolves best scoring guard is KMart. That’s who Iggy should pick up.

          Lee against Love should be a great matchup. It was Lee who ended his record double-double streak:

          http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=310313009

          • Thanks Feltie, that link was a nice trip down memory lane, and a great frame of reference for how far the team has come since Lacob bought it.

            Amundson – unsigned
            Radmanovic – retired in Oct.
            Acie Law – unsigned since 2011
            Thornton – unsigned since 2011
            Reggie Williams – unsigned
            Adrien – Bobcats reserve

            The game roster doesn’t show it, but I believe that team also had:
            Charlie Bell – unsigned
            Rodney Carney – unsigned
            And, of course, the rookie Jeremy Lin, not to be confused with the New and Improved Lin currently playing for Houston.

  18. Mix things up and throw Igoudala at Love in spots? Who could better prevent his getting the ball and harass his outside shots? Lee plus whoever should be able to shore up the front court and Thompson hold his own on the perimeter.

  19. It appears that against some opponents the Warriors are not having Bogut take many shots. He’s averaging 4 per game. That’s good as I rather see his shots redistributed to one of our three point shooters. That appears to be happening. That’s good.

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