Warriors 98 Jazz 87: Wandering Thoughts

The Bogut-Lee Frontline: Another dominating performance from Bogut and Lee against the golden boys of Utah, Favors and Kanter. This time in their home gym. If you think that’s easy to do, you haven’t been following Jazz boxscores.

And in general, this furthers the point that I made in my Thunder recap. Bogut and Lee are at their best when playing against big lineups. They are far less effective playing together against smaller players who stretch the floor. When the Warriors are facing small lineups like the Thunder’s, Mark Jackson should rethink his rotations.                         

Take a look at last night’s Nuggets-Thunder game: In his home gym, Serge Ibaka was absolutely dominated on the boards by JJ Hickson, 19-7. How did that happen? Well, quite obviously, the undersized and highly mobile Nuggets’ frontline of Hickson and Faried is far better suited to matching up against the Thunder than the big and slow frontline of Bogut and Lee.

Serge Ibaka is not a great rebounder, averaging less than 8 a game the last few years. That dominating rebound performance he put on the Warriors? Strictly on Mark Jackson. A function of his refusal to match up correctly.

I remember that one of the biggest pet peeves Warriors fans voiced against Don Nelson in the forums had to do with his frequent lineup changes. These fans believed that SET ROTATIONS were essential to success in basketball. That SET ROTATIONS let players know what their role was, and enabled them to play their best.

Absolute nonsense. Utter garbage. Set rotations are nothing but a bugaboo of small minds. As has been proven forcefully and repeatedly by the great coaches of the NBA in recent years. Coaches like Greg Popovich and Erik Spoelstra don’t give a rat’s ass about set rotations. They match up to win.

As does the great Rick Carlisle. Take a look at the Mavs game against the Sixers last night. For the first time all season, Carlisle shifted Dalembert to the bench, Nowitzki to starting center, and Marion to the four, in order to match up with the Sixers’ stretch-five Spencer Hawes, and mobile four, Thaddeus Young.

That’s how it’s done. The best coaches in the league think the game dynamically, and deploy their rosters dynamically. They match up to win.

The Warriors have one of the most versatile rosters in the entire league. But so far this season, their coach has been trapped in conventionality. And it has cost the team badly in games against the Clippers, Grizzlies and Thunder.

Monta Ellis: Taking another look at that Mavs boxscore, tell me, who is the Mavs’ real point guard?

I have been predicting for years that Monta would rock the statphreaks’ world if he ever got the opportunity to play point guard for a good coach on a team that could spread the floor. And Kirk Goldsberry has taken notice. Now if Goldsberry would only turn that lens on his own piss-poor analysis of David Lee, who is currently playing on one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.

Something else I’ve been saying for years: The “Sausage Stats” (my term for fraudulently-confected advanced stats like PER) are absolutely worthless. They cannot account for a player’s teammates, the system he plays in, or his role within that system. The Sausage Stats are a very poor substitute for the ability to watch games attentively and understand what you are seeing.

Don’t look now, but I’m seeing that the Mavs are 5-0 at home.

Yo Adrien: Remember Jeff Adrien? He’s apparently found a home with the Charlotte Bobcats.

I always loved this guy. Serious banger, sweet outside stroke.

Perusing that boxscore further, you’ll see the reason why the Bobcats are so much better this year. No, it’s not Al Jefferson — he’s barely played due to an ankle injury, and didn’t play at all last night. It’s because they’ve finally added some legit stretch-fours to their roster: McBob, who’s starting. And Anthony Tolliver. Adding some spacing to an offense that was badly in need of it, due to the wretched draft of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (a perfect example of valuing athleticism over skill).

And then, of course, there’s Mr. Adrien. Who’s good out to 18 feet.

But best when you need some tenderizing.

Pre-Game Jitters: The Grizzlies nemesis is coming to town on Wednesday. Let’s see if Mark Jackson makes the necessary adjustment, and crossmatches the frontline. Bogut on Randolph. Lee on Gasol.

And maybe gets Iggy on Conley in crunch time.

Could make all the difference.

40 Responses to Warriors 98 Jazz 87: Wandering Thoughts

  1. +1

    Note, too, that, while it’s early, Ellis’s shooting % is a respectable .473 so far this year, in line with his earlier success. It’s no accident that his worst percentage, .416, was with the Bucks, given their system and roster.

    Was Dedmon given a year minimum contract, then? Is it guaranteed, or do they have an option in January to let him go? And Bazemore’s contract is non-guaranteed—same deal, can they let him go? Or are all roster spots locked up now, they won’t be able to bring up Santa Cruz prospects, and the only way to improve the team this season is through a trade?

    O’Neal may be coming back sooner than we first expected, though the word on Ezeli may not be good. But that makes 5 centers on the roster (I’m counting Speights, who might work better there than the rookies), 3 with little experience and not much chance of getting playing time to develop. I’m guessing Dedmon and Kuzmic will battle to stay away from Santa Cruz. But just think. If everyone gets healthy, they could go really big and start five centers, almost a 35 foot lineup! I guess Bogut could play point.

    Repeating my same point about the first Utah game. If the team keeps racking up big leads, they should bring key subs in to play with starters so they can develop. With a 28 point lead, let Nedovic replace Curry and run the team, for example, so he has someone to pass to and so he will be open for shots. If they can go small, let him play with Curry. They will need Speights, and have to find the best place for him. Also even the starters will need a push from time to time, fresh energy from the bench. They went slack both Utah games, 3rd. Q.

    Playing the scrubs together does nothing for developing them or building confidence. There’s just not enough talent and experience there to make a cohesive, effective unit.

    And pulling them at the end to shame them makes no sense at all. Give them a positive situation where they will get positive reinforcement.

    • minimum contracts on undrafted players like bazemore or dedmon do not become guaranteed for the season until 10 Jan. they can be waived anytime before then.

      when Mem comes in tomorrow night, it’s their last game of a long road trip. getting a win will be taking care of home court bidness, but some fans will try making it into something of bigger significance. Mem has been a .500 team this season.

      • It would be significant win not because Memphis is so special, but because they are a team that continues to create significant match up problems for us…. particularly if MJ continues to be largely inflexible.

    • Feltbot, great post. To further the discussion, how in your opinion do minutes played factor into the discussion? Nelson was often criticized for overplaying his most important players — usually those who caused matchup problems against any lineup on offense, but often had to battle much against bigger players, causing fatigue later in the season. Perhaps this is one of the contributing factors to never winning a championship.

      Popovich has done a masterful job of limiting minutes of his stars, even when their presence on the floor seemed to be vitally important. This allowed the Duncans and Parkers of the world to be fresh for the playoffs as they made sustained playoff runs.
      Mark Jackson, with an improved roster this season has limited Lee and Curry’s minutes. The Warriors have been able to do this because of huge leads in the third and fourth quarters. Currently:
      Iggy: 37 min, Klay: 35.5, Steph: 32.7, Lee: 29.5 and Bogut: 25.8. This seems like a good disbursement.

  2. I tend to agree, rgg…. Nedovic (for example) is certainly going to be more effective when surrounded by talent.

    Jackson ultimately may be too rigid and “old school” to really maximize this roster. I suppose there’s something to be said for consistency when you have a team full of marginal character and low IQ players… you leave things up in the air like Nellie and you get players like Stephen Jackson extorting his way out of town. Doesn’t make sense on a team full of players who “buy in”. Play the matchups, MJ…

  3. Right on. Of the Ws 3 losses, Jackson’s refusal to play smart matchups cost them two. And we can hang the third, in SA, on Jackson’s refusal to play Douglas to close out the game. Let’s hope the coach has learned something.

    On the other hand, I doubt it. Jackson’s best lineup last night had Green on the floor. Green was +20 (!) in 16 (!!!) minutes. I guess you could say the dubs didn’t need to play their best lineup last night, but still, if the team is going to invest game time in developing Barnes, wouldn’t it be good to see how far Green could go too? It’s a mystery. Even Barnett was rooting for Green last night.

    Re Adrien, I’ve loved that guy’s game ever since I saw him box out Gooden halfway to Pluto. He puts the Power in PF. Glad to hear he’s getting PT. Another “too short” guy is playing backup C for the Mavs quite well: DeJuan Blair (6’7″, 270). And of course there’s own own “little” D Green handling Kanter and Favors last night. Height is nice but strength, attitude, effort and skills count for more. Which is maybe why the Mavs don’t seem to be in too much hurry to get Brandan Wright back on the floor.

    Re Ellis, it’s the same old story. Wherever he goes he starts out at the 2 and quickly becomes the primary ballhandler (just as Nellie always wanted). 10 assists last night, to Calderon’s 4. And Calderon’s no slouch in the assist dept.

    • most of us can see that green would actually be more difficult to replace than Mr.Barnes, but that probably won’t prevent them from trading the older player, repeating the mantra about who will be better in two or three seasons. since green was a second round pick, the team will need to make its intentions clear about him one year earlier than for barnes. tony allen has succeeded in building a career at a scoring position without much acumen on offense because he’s been on the right team with coaches who valued him. green faces a similar task, but has to do it with a limited ration of playing time.

      • Sadly, I’m afraid you’re right about how Green is perceived by team management, especially relative to Barnes.

        Seriously, I wonder if Green cleaned up his “look” on offense if that would improve his standing among the FO. “Good form” seems like a terribly shallow way to assess a player, but the “real” GM isn’t playing basketball.

        In basketball heaven – a place where there’s no “guessing what the boss wants to hear” – I think Warriors players would choose Green over Barnes in a heartbeat. But they’re merely playing basketball. Lacob’s playing field is the market for his basketball team. That’s an entirely different game.

    • Tony Allen also out. Suspended for kicking Chris Paul in the head.

    • Anyone know when Douglas is expected back? I doubt we’ll see Bazemore or Nedovic filling in.

      Too bad the Ws passed on Ian Clark. He’d be a help right about now.

      • acc. to the reports on douglas his lower leg has had problems since the season started, and the two weeks for rest was just an estimate.

        clark worked out for the team in the pre-draft auditions, and if they wanted to secure him, all they had to do was buy a bargain second round pick. when they made an offer to him after his summer league demonstration, it probably did not exceed UT’s, where he would also have a much better opportunity for playing time. bazemore has been granted a roster spot and playing opportunities but hasn’t been at all convincing that he’s a reliable reserve.

  4. Dwight Howard is no longer Dwight Howard, but the idea of Asik for Millsap or Anderson is still a little scary:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9997968/the-rockets-approach-nba-finals-worthy

  5. note to ‘feltbotsfakeamiga’ — my query re. jefferson’s third quarter was made between the two UT games and refers to the quarter in which he scored ten points and blocked one of bogut’s shots near the hoop. seven of those ten came after Mr.Barnes re-entered the game, but could not determine, without a game tape, which players were defending jefferson.

  6. Wednesday night, what will probably happen:

    Barnes, Thompson, Bogut, Lee, and Igoudala start, with key players overplayed and dismal substitutions, a game that will at best lead to a spirited loss.

    OK gentlemen, time to get creative. Here’s my plan, and I’d like to hear others.

    Start Green, Speights, Lee, Igoudala, and Thompson. Put Lee on Gasol (maybe let Speights switch off from time to time) and put Green on Randolph (maybe with Speights switching off). The key will be to stop the perimeter, and with Allen out, switch off Igoudala and Thompson on Conley. Harass him. He went wherever he wanted last game.

    On offense, this puts a sizable and fairly athletic team on the floor, with two good ball handlers, Klay and Igoudala, and fair handlers in Lee and Green, four playmakers in those four, and the possibility of adequate to good scoring from all five. This would work better had Green been better prepared for this role. Green looked good against Randolph, btw, the few minutes he covered him.

    Why Speights? We have him and will have him next year, and are paying him a good chunk of change. Now is the time to find out what he can do. And he can score. He has shown this. They need to bring it out. If he can knock down some shots, he will spread the floor. On defense he’s big enough to get in the way and at least mix things up a bit. Let him rack up the fouls.

    For substitutions, and substitute liberally, put in Bogut and Barnes. This might be where they can do the most good. Barnes will have a softer unit to score against and Bogut can pass and help facilitate, so would be especially useful here. And he’s better matched against a big stiff like Koufos. Surround this duo with Green or Lee and Igoudala or Thompson, whatever will best spread their minutes.

    Which still leaves them a player short, but I have no confidence in Bazemore other than spot defensive substitutions. If Nedovic had more time with the starters, he might be able to bring the ball up and if nothing else quickly dish it off to the other playmakers. And those guys might for openings for him, say for those drives and dunks we kept hearing about. He’s athletic. Did he play against Parker when Serbia beat France? He should be able to make some noise on defense, especially when accompanied by a capable perimeter player.

    The real point is that the team needs to find the capabilities of the other players for just such a situation, so they can step up when need be. I suspect most are conceding a loss anyway.

    • who is conceding a loss ? tomorrow is the last game of a five game road trip for Mem, their best perimeter defender is out, and they could easily ease up after their success in LA which meant a successful away jaunt. those two teams could have the most emotional rivalry in the west.

      for the home team to find enough scoring in curry’s absence, they’ll only need one of thompson’s A games, lee and iguodala making plays, and one other scorer getting above his norm. the home court advantage should help reduce their excessive fouling, and their three point shooting. if Mr.Barnes really is their sixth starter, let him prove it.

      a good team at home should find a way to win, and they all know it.

  7. Looks like an accident to me:

    • Looks like he was sticking the leg out to get it in the passing lane. I don’t think the suspension is necessary. It’s a dangerous play where a flagrant could be the appropriate call… but I don’t really see malicious intent either.

  8. It;s difficult for the Warriors to be outscored given their shooting fire power, but Speights has amply demonstrated that he sucks as a player, and that the Warriors will be outscored 8 out of times with him getting any substantial playing time. Even the Warriors know that.

    • Speights has all the natural talent of the very best bigs in the league. What he hasn’t had, throughout his entire career, is the opportunity Mark Jackson gives him.

      Jackson isn’t the best game-time coach, but check out how he’s helped players develop. Curry is free to be the maniacally unpredictable presence his talents have always made possible. After a rough start, Thompson is now on his way to overshadowing even Curry – astonishing shooting, excellent well-rounded O, and, today, fine D. Bogut could barely walk last year, but Jackson gave him the playing/development time he needed to become one of the top 5 Cs in the league this season, and his offense too will improve with more reps. Iggy, now free to be Iggy, has suddenly become a better overall contributor than Kobe. An absolutely brilliant ballplayer, finally unleashed.

      Yeah, you’re right, Marreese Speights has delivered kinda sucky performances so far.

      But.

      • Speights will need a strong supporting cast to support his strengths and cover his weaknesses—but the Warriors have this. The team is going to have to develop all the potential on the roster, and after 7-8 players, there just isn’t much of that on the bench.

      • is that style usually described as ‘panama’, or does it belong to a different species ?

        you ran down the names in the team’s veteran core and omitted d.lee. we know the genesis really goes back to Fortuna and Min’s kahn handing curry into Nelson’s care. but d.lee, as the highest paid vet in the post-Nelson era, started the seminal dyad w. curry of smart, team-first players. curry was not the leader then that he’s become, thanks in part to the season lost to smart’s transitional regime. so d.lee was fairly significant in pushing the critical mass of the transformation. without curry, hard to say how thompson develops, and iguodala does not end up in oaktown — he put the woeyrs first as an unrestricted premium free agent because of curry.

        if you look at how myers acquired veteran reserves in his two summers of roster tinkering, he’s taken a fiscally conservative, hold until the market settles, position. vet free agents with even moderate demand can get multi-year contracts ; market luck made both landry and jack available for single seasons. if o’neal were just a bit younger and more physically capable, he would not be playing on a single season deal. speights has one principal attribute, size, and only one established skill — he can launch a mid range jumper over defenders.

        obviously it’s the injuries to ezeli, douglas, o’neal that has pushed speights, bazemore, NN, kuzmic, dedmon up the rotation ladder. speights could be the sole member of that cast who could count on being on the active portion of another n.b.a. team — the remainder thriving in europa or the d-league. his value though has been an enigma on several teams already, and believing in the preacher’s magic might not suffice for him nor for most of the euro/d-league gang.

        • Not sure what style the hat is. It’s not for long anyway.

          Lee came to the Ws fully formed. For better or worse, he hasn’t changed his game at all since.

          Curry, Thompson, Iggy, Barnes, and even Green have all grown under Jackson. Bogut has regained a lot – under another coach he might not have gotten the opportunity. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine Speights achieving his potential too.

    • With Curry out, and even when in, against a strong defensive team, the fire power can be shut down. We saw that against the Spurs and Memphis first time around. Which is why they need to develop another option, and a big who can score is a good option.

      I’m curious why the Warriors took him, what their expectations were and whether they were realistic or good, and whether or not they have followed up on them.

  9. My fantasy:

    Had the Warriors not extended Bogut’s contract, trade Bogut + Barnes for Asik + the best player they can get, any position, but one who at least has real potential, who might step up now. Beverly would probably be too much to ask for, but that would work great.

    Houston gets a backup center with an expiring contract plus Barnes, if they buy the hype. We get a younger and more versatile center who would fit in well and, hopefully, a deeper bench with a future.

    • Asik is a thug. That’s not a bad thing. Every team needs at least one.

      Bogut mostly plays the role of thug too. Bogut can’t score as well as Asik until he figures out how to work his wonky elbow, and that may or may not happen eventually. Meanwhile, he’s a far smarter and better team player than Asik will ever be.

      I’m fairly sure it’s not an option, but I wouldn’t trade Bogut for Asik even-up. If it were even possible, I’d have to think long and hard before trading Bogut for Asik + someone to take more minutes away from D Green. Back to the drawing board, rgg.

    • Although the Warriors certainly over-paid for Bogut, the big Aussie does understand that shots for Curry and Klay are primarily important and he has done everything in his power to get those boys the ball in open space. His hard screens, good passing, opportune steals, and willingness to push the ball up the court have been one of the reasons (along with Iggy and Lee) the Warriors shooters have had so many open looks this season.

      When I watch teams in the East, or sub-par teams in the West, I gain an understanding of how good the Warriors spacing and passing has been this season. Not sure if Asik brings that same element to the team he’s on. Also, if nothing else, Barnes spaces the floor well on the fast break and does take the ball at the basket.

      I do not love Barnes as a player, but I am growing fonder of him. I am at the point where I think his ceiling is 14-5-2 on this team with a steal or two. Those are fine numbers for a 6th or 7th man. He is not a starter on this team, but he’s proven that he can be instant offense if he’s given open shots.

      I echo Feltbot in saying that his is a beautifully constructed roster (at least the top 9 players.)

    • Incidentally, I ran the Bogut + Barnes for Asik + Beverley (I’d do it in a heartbeat) on the ESPN trade machine, and it said it wasn’t legal, that it broke cap rules for Houston. Houston has a lot of small contracts and a few whoppers.

      The only trade that would work was Bogut + Barnes for Asik + Lin (Lin has an $8m contract), which would lead to some interesting debates. But the trade machine said that that trade would result in a Hollinger estimate of a -5 game loss for Houston. I’d be curious to see the algorithm.

      • Over his last three games, Bogut is averaging 10.7 pts, 12.7 rebs and 2.67 blocks. I know you’ve made up your mind and have put about 50,000 words down against Bogut, but he’s playing well.

        Mark Jackson’s rigidity and our useless bench are the two biggest concerns right now.

  10. green only sees 14.5 min. vs. Mem when the bench is already cut down, shoots 2-4, four boards and a blocked shot. the preacher apparently didn’t want his perimeter defense and fresh legs in overtime, and if he can’t find more uses for green in a game like this, it’s going to take foul trouble on bogut and lee for green’s role to expand.

    • Barnes played well overall tonight (at least on offense), so I imagine that kept Green off the floor… particularly in a game where we struggled so hard for any kind of offense.

      It’s starting to feel like Bazemore is going to get moved/waived in the next few months. I was hoping he would show some improvement, but his confidence looks shaken. Also, he needs to be playing the 2… he’s not being put in a position to succeed at all by having to run the point.

  11. Not sure if you’re recapping this game… but MJ definitely lost us this one from the start. Lee put forth the effort but ZBo destroyed him in the post. We didn’t even attempt a double team until the final 3 minutes, and THEN we switched to Bogut… which ended ZBo’s dominance. MJ just refuses to make timely adjustments with match ups and timeouts. It’s starting to look more and more like the team wins in spite of him due to the talent level.

    Games like these without Curry just make it clear how he is the MVP of this team. Our offense is flat out terrible with him out. No movement, no spacing, just iso’s and post ups. Ugly, ugly stuff.

  12. I switched back and forth to catch the end of the Dallas/Houston game on a rare night Howard was effective. Ellis had a phenomenal game in their comeback, 13-18, 37 points, 8 assists. He plays very well with Dirk.

    Hardly a stellar performance by Memphis, and I have questions about their strategy, specifically more perimeter offense to break down our defense.

    OK, Barnes and Bogut exceeded expectations, mine, anyway.

    But—

    Are you writing this up FB? Curious to hear what you have to say.

    • Memphis played the same game the Spurs tore apart so easily in the playoffs, yet we tried to beat them at their own game tonight. I take little comfort in the closeness of the game.

    • I imagine Mark Jackson will get the brunt of the Felty ire… as he did from me as well. Letting ZBo punish David Lee with no double team for 3.5 quarters is just silly. As Felty often calls for, a cross match with Bogut on ZBo would have been nice….as they did successfully for the final minutes. At the least, give Lee some help with some double teams.

      • The Comcast guys were talking about this after the game. The post-ups and isos were surprisingly effective–the first half. But these slow the offense, take the other players out, taking away the advantage the Warriors can push against a team like Memphis, early offense. And Memphis made the adjustment. Also no pick and roll play, but they can’t do that with Bogut. I’m not clear, however, how they could have played otherwise without Curry. Running the offense more through Lee, Klay, and Igoudala is my best guess, looking to push the pace and pass more.

  13. And Kuzmic broke his hand during the game. Man.

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