Grizzlies 88 Warriors 81: Hero Ball

Don’t have time for a full recap of this Warriors overtime loss to the Grizzlies, but here’s a few things I think are worth noting: 

1) The Grizzlies are a really, really good team. They started the season slowly, but here they are at 7-5 after two great road wins against the Clippers and Warriors. I picked them to finish third in the Conference, and I stand by that. At the end of the season they’ll be right there battling for the top seed.

With the Warriors and Spurs.

2) I was hoping that Mark Jackson would cross-match the frontline, and he did — with 5 minutes left in the game. And from that point until the end of regulation, Zach Randolph was held scoreless by Bogut. Not one basket, not one free throw. And also, I’m pretty sure, not one offensive rebound.

Gasol took David Lee low one time, and got a couple of free throws. But that’s it — because the Grizzlies greatly prefer to play Gasol in the high post. To exploit Lee in this matchup the Grizzlies would have to break their offense, which you shouldn’t mind them doing.

So there you have it: A five minute demonstration of what I have been asking for, clearer than any words can describe it.

Mark Jackson may have had good reason to wait until 5 minutes were left in the game to pull this strategy — the thinness of the frontline bench, perhaps. Fear of exhausting Bogut, or getting Lee in foul trouble. Or maybe as Lee put it, he wanted to “challenge” Lee.

If these two teams meet in the playoffs, though, I think you can expect to see a crossmatch all game, every game.

3) I was also hoping to see Iggy on Conley, and we did get that in this game. And it was very, very effective. Particularly in the first half.

4) Barnes was very effective going at Conley in the first half. In the second half, though, when guarded by the bigger Pondexter, he started spinning and fading away. And bricked every shot. 6-14 for the game.

It looks to me like the Warriors are asking Barnes to face up in the triple threat position in the midpost now, rather than pound the basketball with his back to the basket. And that has been FAR more effective for him in the last two games.

Did some good and interesting things at point forward that we haven’t seen before. Rebounded well, particularly in the “small” frontline of Bogut, Green and himself.

Defense, well. I’m frankly baffled by the narrative that he’s a good defender. Bob Myers must be up to his old tricks again, buying bloggers dinner.

Or setting up meetings with Marv Albert.

5) Speights is quite obviously struggling to grasp what Mark Jackson wants from him on both ends — he keeps getting the quick hook.

In my opinion, though, it is not all his fault. I said before the season that Speights is a center and not a power forward. And I think we’ve seen more than enough from him this season to confirm my judgement. Speights struggles badly defensively when at the power forward. Both because he lacks the requisite quickness and foot speed, and because he lacks the uh… acuity to grasp the more complex defensive rotations from the power forward position. If you remember, this was the reason Don Nelson gave for playing Brandan Wright strictly at backup center. (As does Rick Carlisle now.)

Both on offense and defense, Speights is a much better player at center. And I think he could be a very effective player in a small lineup with Draymond Green and Barnes. But we’ve never seen that lineup this season, have we? Speights has played power forward alongside JON and Bogut, and occasionally center alongside Lee.

6) Speaking of Green, he continues to be the Warriors’ best player off the bench. And yet his minutes continue to be severely restricted, as Jackson has opted to play big all game long, every game. He was even going to play the raw rookie Kuzmic in this game, until he broke his finger.

There might have been good reason to stay big when Kosta Koufos took the floor.

But then again, there might not.

A lot of great NBA coaches have proven that there’s something to the idea of putting your best team on the floor, and forcing the other team to match up with you.

7) I’m starting to cringe whenever Bazemore takes the floor now. It is beyond obvious that he doesn’t have the handle or the vision to be an NBA point guard. How much longer can this experiment go on?

Bazemore has the tools to be a very effective 3-and-D wing. Why not let him fulfill his true destiny? Couldn’t the Warriors use a little of that?

8) Before this season started, right after the trade that brought Andre Iguodala to the Warriors, in fact, I wrote that the Warriors would at some point this season greatly miss Jarret Jack’s clutch fourth quarter shooting. I wrote that Iggy could not be relied upon in the fourth quarter, because he’s a poor shooter off the dribble, who shoots less than 40% from midrange. And I wrote that Philly fans got sick of him always trying to be the fourth quarter hero — a role he’s completely unsuited for — to the extent that they booed him out of town.

And the very night that he made his hero shot to beat the Thunder, my take was that I was dismayed that Mark Jackson has made him his closer.

In part due to Iggy’s hot start to the season, I have received not a little pushback for these opinions. Well… now you at least have an idea of where I was coming from. Iggy made a conscious decision to play the hero in the fourth quarter of this game, and called his own number again and again and again.

Laying brick after brick after brick.

Not saying he didn’t have a great floor game — he did. And I’m not saying anything about the last play of regulation — that was on Mark Jackson.

I’m talking about wanting to be the hero. Kobe Bryant. Kevin Durant.

Jarrett Jack.

9) The last play: When Iggy rebounded the ball with about ten seconds left in regulation and the score tied, Mark Jackson elected not to call a timeout. He told Iggy to “GO!”, wanting him to push the ball, and look for early offense before the defense could get set.

Under normal circumstances, when coaches like Don Nelson or Greg Popovich do this, I absolutely love it. I am convinced that it’s the best strategy, that it gets you the best shot.

Because those coaches always have five shooters on the floor in crunchtime.

But take a look at what happened to the Warriors. Iggy pushed the ball, and got stymied at the free throw line by Mike Conley. Iggy then stopped and pivoted, looking behind him for his trailer, his outlet, his open three point shooter…

And saw Andrew Bogut, lumbering over half court.

Oops. Mark Jackson needed a timeout, to get Bogut out, and a shooter in.

Jeez, I guess I gave a recap after all.

Some guys just can’t shut up.

 

178 Responses to Grizzlies 88 Warriors 81: Hero Ball

  1. All I could think of during the game is what you have been preaching all along: “will Jackson switch Bogart and Lee on defense” and, “will he play Green?”. Maybe next time. This is my first time posting but I have been singing Feltbot’s praises for two years. You really know this game.

  2. left a note on one of the other (lauridsen) blog after three quarters, that Mem, as a good team does, made defensive adjustments at the half, so the test was put to the preacher to counter. he seems a bit fixed about beating the opponent at their game, like a training exercise for his ‘troops’. but this was the second time ’round already vs. Mem.

    Mem can maintain its defensive identity w/o allen, clearly, but the woeyrs on offense w/o curry appears to be of a different stripe. the preacher has other skilled players if he cares to formulate different equations.

  3. That’s 4 losses on the coach.

    • Ouch. You’re right. With Curry, the Warriors probably win by 10, tho.

      • And don’t forget, the Warriors were playing without their back-up PG, Douglas, leaving them with a hole at that position.

        • Yabbut.

          We already knew Lee couldn’t handle Randolph alone. We knew that without any doubt well before this game started. We have YEARS of evidence. Have Lee pretend to defend Randolph? WTF? My grandma knows better. And she’s on life support.

          There is no stat anywhere – even out there on the horizon of future possible convoluted stats – that says Barnes is any better than OK this, OK that, and sub-par the rest. He’s a barely-OK player overall. Against a great opponent, that’s a weak link.

          The Warriors’ alternative to Barnes is a gold-plated, certified winner. The 2nd best basketball player in the entire history of MSU, behind only Magic. A more well-rounded player than 90% of the NBA. A hyperactive, unconventional, disruptive FORCE anywhere and everywhere, at any position. He’ll shut down ANYONE on D, and deliver on the other end.

          WTF.

          This Ws team is one of the best ever assembled, in the entire history of the NBA. I am so sick of the coach screwing over this team.

  4. Felty: You were right-on with regard to the cross-matching. Jackson should have tried it early on. But, experimenting or changing thing up is not one of his strengths.

    Have to disagree with you on Speights. He commits turnovers in every
    which way-not catching the ball, throwing it away, taking a step before dribbling, and charging. He has no basketball IQ.

    He takes way to many shots and makes too few.

    He’s also an idiot of defense gambling for balls he can’t get to and
    committing stupid fouls. The only place he should be playing center is
    in video games.

    You can’t put a guy on the court and see the Warriors game after game get outscored when he was on the court. He played 14 minutes last night, shot 1-5 and committed 2 turnovers. Green who played 15 minutes shot 2-4, and had no turnovers. He should be taking more of Speights minutes as the Warriors will do better playing Green at C or PF, over Speights.

  5. Feltbot: What offensive adjustment could they have made 2nd. half? I’m still scratching my head, but they needed one.

    The Warriors had surprising success first half, part of which has to be attributed to Memphis coming in on a b-to-b after a tough game and being off. This also makes the second time the Warrior offense was shut down by Memphis—they only scored 13 points against them 4th. Q the first game, and that was with Curry. It looks like the Warriors are trying to beat Memphis at their own game, with size and inside play, and they won’t be able to do that, certainly not in the playoffs. Who else has beaten Memphis in their 5 losses, and how?

    In football, you run the ball to set up the pass. Something similar has to happen with the Warriors against a physical team like Memphis, establish an inside game to set up the perimeter. Going big only worked for a while. The iso’s and post-ups slowed the offense and took out perimeter play, what should be a Warrior advantage, their ability to move the ball around and shoot or facilitate from anywhere on the court.

    One thing they need to do is make use of what they have on the bench, if for no other reason than to spell the starters, which would have helped last night when they were short handed and the starters were tired at the end. Green can fill in with a variety of units and put in more time.

    There’s no point in trying to make something out of Speights that he’s not. Instead, they should make best use out of what he has to offer. Driving is not his strength, where he flubbed mightily last night. He will need to drive to the basket, but he’ll get better at this if he has more openings caused by a more active spread offense. He spent half his time last night with Bazemore and Bogut. Bazemore can’t facilitate, and Bogut pushes Speights to the 4, where he’s weakest on defense. He can shoot however, and they need to exploit that, giving him more open looks. And he still had 4 boards and 2 assists in 13 minutes.

    Again, they need to maximize the skills of the whole team to manage the entire 48 minutes, which means spreading the top players out to support those bench players.

    But last night, they had no one else to put in.

  6. The Warriors now have 3 busted centers on the bench and no open roster slots. The only way they can improve the team with an addition later in the season is to let Bazemore go before January. They’ll have to keep Dedmon, given the injuries to Ezeli and Kuzmic and possible injuries to Bogut and O’Neal. They won’t be able to trade because they have no one worth trading (they’re not going to trade Barnes).

    In four years, the team has not brought up a single bench player at 1 or 2 with experience, talent, and some kind of promise, unless you count Douglas, who may well not be around next year. I’m repeating myself, but this should have been a priority years ago.

    • myers will be exhausting the possibilities for spending their two trade exceptions. those exceptions have very specific and limited conditions, and finding another team with a useful player and budget pressures won’t be easy. if he finds a big, dedmon gets waived, a combo guard means bazemore goes. another possibility, a team w. budget concerns looks to ship a vet on a multi year deal and lacob/myers decide to plunge past the lux tax line because they think that player can push them to the conference finals. it will be easier to find other teams looking to deal in late Dec. or Jan. so don’t be surprised if they stay in a holding phase with who they have.

    • Why would your priority 4 years ago have been to develop a bench player when we didn’t even have a solid starting 5? That’s not really how teams are built.

      I have a feeling there will be activity around the trade deadline or earlier. Probably not major deals, but tanking teams will be looking to shed contracts and some solid vet role players are likely to become available. Hopefully that includes filling our holes at back up pg (playmaker/scorer is more important in my mind than specifically PG)… Hopefully JON’s injury is short and Ezeli comes back solid to keep our frontcourt ok. Once we get to the playoffs, we’re really only gonna run 7-8 deep anyway… we just need enough manpower to get through the season without destroying our top 7 before we even get to the playoffs.

      • Because you might decide to trade your starting guard–Ellis–and be left one day without a backup–last night.

        They did bring in Jenkins, but let him go to avoid luxury tax. He would have been more serviceable than Bazemore. And they also brought in Nate Robinson, cheap, who would lead to a nice argument as to his value now.

        Oh, and Lin was let go for change to allow the DeAndre Jordan offer.

        They were lucky with the health of Jack and Curry last year. Loss of one for any stretch would have been a disaster.

        You might get lucky one year and pick up a player of the caliber of Reggie Jackson or Isaiah Thomas, who, after a couple of years, proves useful.

        How would Ian Clark compare with Brandon Jennings? They’re both small, they both can shoot. But Clark has a head on his shoulders and has shown good court presence, at least in summer league.

        And they may well need one next year. It’s not at all clear they’re committed to Douglas.

        If Nedovic has any potential, as we keep saying, they need to find out now. Bazemore at PG was a gamble or wishful thinking at best. Those skills weren’t what he showed in college. Bazemore was probably kept because he fit the FO’s defensive image, like so many other limited players who have left the team.

  7. Draymond should be getting at least 25 mpg. Period. He’s arguably the 3rd best defender and 3rd best ball handler on the team. How he doesn’t get more run is beyond me.

    • this is obvious to most rational observers — if the preacher thought green’s lack of ‘scoring punch’ kept him on the bench last night while both Mr.Barnes and Lee went over 48 min., restricting green to 41 seconds in the third period really helped the team get their 12 points. green has been an effective closer for the preacher, but saw only a tiny endgame role again last night.

      simplest explanation — his use isn’t being determined rationally because there are biases in place. [there is one bias that would make sense, but highly unlikely -- Mr.Barnes is being shown off to increase his trade value.]

    • Green last night was +3, highest on the team.

      Barnes was -11, Lee -15, the two lowest on the team.

      Barnes 49 minutes, 6-14 shooting, 8 rebounds (.16/min.). Green 14 minutes, .500 shooting, 4 rebounds (.28/min).

      Green also added defensive mayhem, of course. In the first half he was stopping guards. In the second half he stopped Koufos and made Gasol cry. Amazing.

      Other stuff I saw:

      - Barnes’ “great D” is a myth.

      - The Grizz made a halftime adjustment to shut down Barnes’ midrange shooting. It worked.

      - The Ws didn’t appear to make any halftime adjustments, unless you want to count their half-hearted “threat of doubling” Randolph. Maybe they need to practice that more. Jackson seems to overemphasize man-on-man D.

      - Randolph is a tough matchup for anyone, but he isn’t bothered much at all by Lee’s solo D.

      - When the Ws got around to doubling Zbo, they didn’t really commit to it hard. Even Fitz (!) pointed out that Randolph doesn’t pass much. Despite all his touches, he finished with just one assist. It’s hard to understand why the Ws didn’t do more to stop Randolph.

      - The Grizz are a great team! Besides all the bigname talent, Tayshaun Prince continues to impress. He was +12 last night, highest on the Grizzlies.

      Last year Jackson clearly told Jack to play the hero. Jack did OK at it. The year before it was Ellis. This year it’s Iggy. The one consistent trend here is that in crunch time Jackson stops running offensive plays and tells his designated hero to improvise something for himself. That showed again last night.

      Maybe it’s supposed to be some kind of man-building exercise or something. Me, I’d rather win. The Ws have a terrifying offense. Whenever the coach allows them to run it.

      • who is saying Barnes has “great D”??? People talk of his potential due to his athleticism, but I don’t really recall anyone talking about his actual defense as being great… not even Warriors PR.

    • No disagreement from me. Green should really be getting minutes over Barnes in most cases. We need scoring off the bench, but it’s not going to come efficiently or consistently from Barnes if his role is going to be just post up and mid-range iso’s. It’s good that he can usually get a clean shot, but those types of shots shouldn’t be his primary role. He needs to be slashing and filling the lanes on the break to really be effective.

      Green has shot OK so far this season, and as mentioned by Evanz, is a good ball handler. There’s no offensive liability (at least so far this season) to having him in over Barnes.

      • green’s effective f.g. pct. is actually higher than Mr.Barnes, bogut, and lee. he’s fifth on the team, and the top eight on the team are all over .500. as for speights, considered a better scorer than green, he’s way down at .347. green also snags a considerably higher percentage of available boards when he’s on the court than Mr.Barnes, whose share is much closer to curry and iguodala’s rather than the bigs.

  8. Green should play over Speights, not Barnes. The Warriors are a minus 13 with Speights on the court, plus 1.5 with Green.

    The Warriors are a plus 1.5 with JON, which supports Speights not playing center when JON is healthy and available. The Warriors finally have two centers this year in which the Warriors outscore their opponents when they are the court. The other is Bogut. JON positive would be even higher than presently but for the fact he plays with the subs a good bit of the time.

    Felty’s claim that Speights should be playing center is not supported by the stats, not only because the Warriors get outscored by a large margin when he is on the court, but opponents shoot 57% when he plays center, and opponents shoot 44 percent when he plays PF. Green has been a monster on defense as PF are shooting only 24 percent against him, and SF are shooting only 43% against him.

    Maybe Green should take a few minutes from Barnes as opponent SF shoot 50 percent against Barnes. 82 games.

    Both Green and Barnes shoot about the same from the field( Barnes efg. 54% to efc for Green, 55%) But, It’s an open question whether Green would maintain his shooting percentage if he played more minutes.

    The Warriors killing their opponents in point differential is reflected in the starting 5 plus-minus this year. Lee,-plus 20, Curry-plus 16, Iggy-plus 15, Bogut 15.6, Thompson-plus 13.6. Thompson’s plus number probably reflects that he plays with the subs more than any other Warrior.

  9. “But, It’s an open question whether Green would maintain his shooting percentage if he played more minutes.”

    Frank, bless you, you’ve offered the only possible rational, unbiased reason for Jackson to limit Draymond’s minutes. Green looks fitter this year, and he doesn’t have last year’s knee problems. But could he maintain his performance level with more minutes? Maybe not. If Jackson is rational and unbiased concerning Barnes v. Green, maybe that’s why Green doesn’t get more playing time.

    • Studies have shown that increased minutes is not a primary factor that affects efficiency. More often a change in role, such as increased or decreased usage, has a much larger impact. We’ve been seeing an example this season where Iguodala is taking fewer shots (per possession) and scoring at much higher efficiency than he has in the past. The one exception being his rookie season when he had lower usage, because he played with that other AI guy who shot the ball so much.

      • Those studies are counterintuitive to me, particularly in the effort categories, like rebounding. We are all familiar with the experience of getting winded and tired.

        Is Mo Speights really the 20th best rebounder in the league?

        http://www.sportingcharts.com/nba/stats/player-rebounds-per-36-min-leaders/2012/

        • Is rebounds per minute really the best measure of rebounding you can think of?

        • You seem to have difficulty sticking with the thread. And that’s Joe Lacob’s favorite metric, not mine. (And a likely reason Speights is on this team.)

          Again: are rebounds/min affected by minutes played?

          • Maybe. For some players (like me), it certainly is.

          • If you are a hustle player, more than likely the more minutes you play, the fewer rebounds per minute you will gather. Why is this the case? Because if you are playing big minutes, you will play against the other teams top players/rebounders for a longer period of time.

            Hustle players (the Lou Amudson’s/Reggie Evans of the world) grab many rebounds in limited minutes because they are playing inconsequential minutes against the other teams scrubs. According to the graph you posted above, Felty, Reggie Evans is averaging 16.3 rebounds/36 minutes playing 14 minutes per game. However, Kevin Love, at No. 2 is averaging 14.7 in an actual 36 minutes per game. Who’s the better rebounder? I would wager that Evans in 36 minutes would wear down to the point where he could hardly muscle for position if he was playing 36 minutes per game. Love, on the other hand has proven that his per/36 is his actual rebounding rate.

        • “But, It’s an open question whether Green would maintain his shooting percentage if he played more minutes.”

          The only person going off-topic is the person talking about rebounding. The quote I responded to was about shooting efficiency. It’s right there in plain English.

          Felty, if you want to have a discussion about rebounding, you’re free to do that. It’s your blog.

          • Touché.

            Back to shooting then. Do you regard Curry and Klay’s 4th quarter efficiency as totally unrelated to how many minutes they’ve played, and how much energy they’ve expended?

            Do you regard Mark Jackson and other coaches as hopelessly old school when they say things like, “We didn’t give him the tough assignment because we wanted to save him for the offensive end?” (Something that was recently said about putting Iggy on Conley rather than Klay.)

            What about the whole question of rest? Why take your best players off the floor at all if they can perform at maximum efficiency throughout?

          • “Back to shooting then. Do you regard Curry and Klay’s 4th quarter efficiency as totally unrelated to how many minutes they’ve played, and how much energy they’ve expended?”

            I think it’s a great hypothesis, but I don’t just believe things without seeing any data. If you know of a study, I’ll be happy to consider it.

            “Do you regard Mark Jackson and other coaches as hopelessly old school when they say things like, “We didn’t give him the tough assignment because we wanted to save him for the offensive end?”

            Maybe I have to defer to their domain expertise? It makes sense, although now we’re talking more about the quality of the minutes and not just the amount. LeBron seems to be good no matter what. I don’t know about the “average” effect. I suspect neither do you.

            “What about the whole question of rest? Why take your best players off the floor at all if they can perform at maximum efficiency throughout?”

            Again, I believe we were talking about Draymond Green and why he doesn’t get more minutes. I don’t think it’s because he has expended all his energy and doesn’t have any productive minutes left. The other night against Memphis he played 14 minutes. Is that really all he can handle? I doubt it. I suspect David Lee was much more winded when he came back in to defend Randolph.

          • “Studies have shown that increased minutes is not a primary factor that affects efficiency.”

            That’s what I thought we were talking about. I view shooting efficiency vs minutes played as a probable bell curve, with the left side having to do with role players getting into the flow, and the right side having to do with starters tiring.

            And I view rebounding efficiency vs minutes played as a downward sloping line representing decreasing energy.

            I’d be interested to know of any studies purporting to contradict that.

  10. The Grizzlies are an interesting story this season. A really good old school basketball team with a new school rookie coach.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/grizzlies/2013/11/21/dave-joerger-mike-conley-lionel-hollins-grit-n-grind-/3668101/

    To me, their biggest need has been good three point shooting to complement their big frontline. It hasn’t really shown up so far this season, and the spread four they traded for, Jon Leuer, hasn’t even made the rotation.

    From the story, it’s obvious they want to work on getting some early offense. I thought their fastbreak hurt the Warriors quite a bit.

  11. Jimmy Butler for Chicago is out for the next couple of weeks with the exact same injury that plagued Harrison Barnes: turf toe.

    The difference: the Bulls were willing to tell the press what it is.

  12. There is a reason why the Warriors don’t want you to know that Harrison Barnes has turf toe. It never goes away:

    “Derrick Rose (toe) admitted that his turf toe injury from 2012 is still bothering him.

    This is a sentence that Derrick Rose owners won’t want to hear, but it looks as if D-Rose is dealing with another injury to go along with his knee, hamstring, and neck ailments. Rose expressed confidence that he thinks he can play heavy minutes, but also added that turf toe is an injury that never really goes away. While the former Memphis star has been averaging almost 32 minutes per game this season, he hasn’t scored more than 20 points all season and his toe injury could go a long way towards explaining that. If he doesn’t start playing better in the very near future, it’s going to be time for owners to hit the panic button, if they haven’t already.”

    http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nba/1476/derrick-rose

  13. For short, 5-minute bursts, I would like to see a lineup of Curry, Klay, Iggy, Barnes and Green as long as their simple goal would be to push the pace to extreme levels and swarm on defense.

    Obviously, Jackson could pull Barnes and replace with Lee for a similar and perhaps more potent look.

    Another, even more interesting swarming small ball lineup would be Curry, Douglas, Bazemore, Iggy and Green. Defensively, they could wreck havoc in a similar manner to the Heat when LeBron plays center.

  14. Curry, Klay, Iggy, Barnes and Green.
    Curry, Douglas, Bazemore, Iggy and Green.

    Now we’re talkin’! High-velocity mayhem! Nellieball to the max! Damn the torpedos!

    Maybe they could even alternate possessions with a Giganto-Ball lineup of Bogut, JON, Speights, Lee, Green!

    Talk about warping the game. I like this concept. Make it so, coach Jackson. Force the other team respond to your lineups for once.

    • “In short: Ellis is running more pick and rolls than he has in a long time, and he’s been an absolute monster while doing so. According to Synergy Sports, 44 percent of Ellis’s shots this year have come in pick and roll situations.”

      Maybe some good advice here?

      Nothing happened to Monta. He finally got on a strong enough team that supported his talents. And if there was ever a case that showed stats mean nothing out of context, this is it. Igoudala’s shooting percentage with the Warriors would be another.

    • Let’s talk about Monta in February and see if this holds up. I have my doubts.

    • “…while Ellis has been terrorizing defenses out of the pick and roll, he’s also cut way down on his isolation plays.”

      Iso plays are strictly the coach’s call. Carlyle is a brilliant coach, unlike Smart or Jackson. Of course he’s going to take advantage of the opportunities his players create, it’s the basic definition of a superior coach. And of course he’s going to avoid the most inefficient play in basketball.

      Damn.

      Imagine if Mark Jackson and the Warriors’ front office had more imagination:

      Curry
      Ellis
      Thompson
      Iguodala
      Lee/Bogut/O’Neil

      • So this is alternate universe where we got Bogut without trading Ellis?

        • Yeah.

          At the time, Bogut was useless. 7 feet of dead meat with bad feet. Clearly not worth Monta, Udoh and Brown, especially with the added requirement of picking up the problems of S. Jackson or a player the Ws wouldn’t use (R. Jefferson).

          At the time of the Monta/Bogut trade, NO ONE else was going to pick up Bogut. If the team had waited until the end of the season, Bogut would have been available for practically nothing. Especially after his microfracture surgery came to light.

  15. My general and tentative complaint with Jackson is that he hasn’t experimented with the possibilities this roster offers, and he’s had ample opportunities, the blowouts, being shorthanded the other night. But we have seen a trend: he wants to go big (Speights + O’Neal, O’Neal + Lee, etc.). Is this his preference or a mandate?

    • It seems that Jackson is not a very creative coach. It also seems that he’s operating under a front-office directive to play Barnes.

      But, from an organizational standpoint, it also seems that Ws management distrusts creativity, so you can’t really blame Jackson for toeing the line. Imagine if Lacob had kept Nellie. OMFG, what he could do with this crew.

  16. No recap tonight.

  17. Hear, hear!

    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/83569/abolish-useless-nba-divisions-step-1-of-a-radical-plan

    Pro basketball really is an urban/national sport anyway. Only a few crosstown rivalries are that hot.

    So here’s my solution:

    1. Play everybody twice, home and away, 58 games total. Keep the divisions anyway for sentimental purposes.

    2. No more than 5 games every two weeks, and no back-to-backs.

    3. That will give accurate info for the playoffs. Seed according to record, regardless of division.

    Regular season games will become more meaningful. Injuries won’t take such a large toll since a player out a week or so won’t miss as many games. And they’ll have more time to practice.

    16 teams for the playoffs is ridiculous, but I kind of like it. With fewer games, teams will be less tired and less beat up for this long process. It’s ridiculous how hard these guys are run, and the packed schedule can put teams at disadvantage, often randomly. I’m tired of hearing about the back-to-back disadvantage when a team rolls in. Level the playing field. This is a pro sport. Treat accordingly.

    I don’t care how much the owners and players lose with the reduced schedule. But games will be taken more seriously, and maybe some of the mid-market teams will fill more seats, as well as get more attention—and advertising revenue—for their broadcasts.

    • thank you for providing a good example of the large fantasy element in being a fan. you probably understand that your last paragraph has a significant contradiction, which makes acceptance of your scheme impossible. if there are reduced revenues with a smaller schedule before the playoffs, in theory the games count for more and would be ‘taken more seriously’, but the revenue factor, with half the teams getting excluded from the post season money pool (very limited revenue sharing has been a big determinant in the bidness all along), means major constituents won’t take your plan seriously. the big revenue teams probably like having 41 home games, among other things.

      • The NBA, I understand, had trouble making a go of it years ago, both in terms of attracting attention and revenue (same thing). Had they not expanded so quickly and crammed so many games in then, the adjustment wouldn’t be fanciful at all now.

        I don’t think anyone gave much thought at the time as to what schedule made sense for the game or players, and for me the current system is the greatest detraction from the quality of the sport and the competitive environment. Fatigue and injuries have too much influence.

        There are two ways to keep the NBA moguls happy, however, and have a more rational playoff:

        1. Drop two struggling teams from the NBA, leaving 28, and have each team play the rest three times, alternating home advantage each year. That would make an 81 game season. Talent wouldn’t be spread so thin and lame execs wouldn’t have as much influence come negotiation time.

        2. Expand again! Add twelve teams to the NBA for a total 0f 42, and play each team twice. Maybe they can add teams in Europe and China, as is being discussed. Just think—back-to-back games at London and Beijing!

  18. I line up with Felty on the reason that Green is not getting more minutes. is because Jackson prefers to go big with Speights over Green. Stupid. it’s not whether Green would continue to shoot 55% from the floor for even if his FG% dropped it would be so much higher than Speights that I believe is less than 40 percent. Moreover, Green is much better than Speights on defense.

    While the Warriors might do well going small against some teams, that’s not likely against good most good. With JON out it’s time to package Douglas and Speights, and a fill-in for Udoh.

  19. Can’t believe that Jackson went so long with Speights as center. Warriors minus 10 in the first half with him on the court. He should use Dedmon and Kusmic as both are better than Speights. Did you see players remanding Speights for not knowing where to go on defense. Even though Felty, you praised the Warriors for getting Speights. His body of work so far this year amply supports he’s terrible. He hasn’t hit the basket on his drives to the hoop the last two game. Felty, you hurt your own outstanding credibility by not telling your posters that he’s terrible.

    This game shows how weak or bench is. So Felty, the Warriors don’t have one of the best rosters in the NBA. Depth is lacking and not being developed.

    The Lakers are slashing to the hoop or hitting wide open guys inside and scoring easily inside. No wonder they shot 55% from the field.

    This game once again shows how small ball can be destroyed both inside and outside. Play defense inside and guys are wide open inside. And when the Lakers go inside that easily score.

    This is the second game in the row that shows that Iggy can’t handle the load as PG for many minutes. The Warriors need a back up point
    guard who dish and score. They also need another defender inside that is better than JOH. Van Gundy says we’re one player away from being contenders. We really are two away.

  20. LA:

    Maybe we can go back to talking about literature?

    LA also had injuries—a center, Kaman, and two starters, Kobe and Nash. Sacre didn’t play, either—is he injured as well?

    And give D’Antoni credit. He has gotten everyone involved, including the no names, in an active offense, and they come out ready to play and are loose. Both starters and bench moved the ball much better than our starters or subs. And the Lakers brought some offensive skills to the bench and had plenty of guards. I doubt D’Antoni lectures them on “character.” He gives them a system to play in that makes use of their talents and turns them loose.

    The box score hasn’t come up yet, but 36 points for Seth tonight. How soon before someone else picks him up?

    The announcers post-game said Igoudala heard a “pop.”

    • the LA/bussies bench before tonight was one of the association’s most productive, and a big reason they’ve stayed competitive. their coach is earning his contract, and with the woeyrs minus curry and scraping the dregs from its bench, this result was no surprise. lacob’s calculated asset management [he chose myers, fluent in contracts, cap budgets, negotiations but no history in talent eval and development] with the roster has clamped a pretty firm ceiling on the team. imagine what the roster built around howard would be like if that wish came true.

  21. Barnes is really making a statement on the offensive end. For me, this was a break-out game for him. Now very confident player. Also, decisive and explosive. Hard work paying off. He still needs to develop on defense and continue improving his stats in rebounding, assists, and steals.

    For long stretches last night, very selfish play last night. Players simply not passing the ball. Offense a mess without Curry leading the team.

  22. The Warriors weren’t selfish last night—these aren’t selfish guys. They didn’t have an effective plan. They didn’t look to push the pace or get early offense, and I can’t believe these guys can’t do that, even without Curry. Igoudala largely walked the ball up, and the longer the ball stayed in his hands, the more time the Lakers had to adjust and the more inert our other players became. And the Lakers knew what was coming, largely post-ups and drives. Lee was always driving into traffic. Igoudala can’t run the pick and roll with Lee? I can’t recall many plays where either Lee or Bogut ran the offense at the top. It’s as if the team is committed to conventional big boy, half-court offense, where they cannot win.

    And/or they just don’t have the players. The Warriors don’t have a single guard who can competently run the offense after Curry, and even Curry is a compromise because, with his shooting, they need to get him off the ball as much as possible. The Lakers have three competent point guards, and with Nash out, Blake and Farmar both played very well.

    Everyone keeps saying the Warriors have all the offense they need, so they keep filling the bench with “defensive” players. Baloney. They don’t have a single player off the bench who can light it up on occasion, push the score and open the court. The way to rattle a team like LA is make them play from behind so they start forcing shots and missing.

    Gasol played a throwback game that reminded you just why a versatile and mobile big is so valuable. No one could stop him last night—Speights, Bogut, or Lee.

    Green of course had a fine night, both ends. And, though LA is soft defensively, absolutely give Barnes and Bogut credit for fine games.

    I nail this one on Lacob.

  23. Do the Warriors have any option to bring another player in, whether from Santa Cruz or elsewhere, without first clearing a spot on the roster? There’s some kind of injury exception, I think, but I’m not sure how it works and I recall it’s problematic.

    • yes, there is a roster exception for an injured player(just like the one they chose not to use for rush last season) but they probably think ezeli will be ready to resume play within a shorter time than what the exception specifies as its minimum to qualify. so if they want to add a vet with a serious contract, they’re in the same situation as now, looking at waiving one of the guys with a non-guaranteed (until 10 Jan.) deal [dedmon, bazemore].

  24. That’s two games in a row without a Ws team offensive play. Isolations and two-man plays, but no team plays. I guess Curry is the only one who gets the keys to that car.

    Iggy and Bazemore can both run a team. They’ve both done it successfully. Both are a lot better than they have looked in the last two games. It’s the offensive (non)system they’re running. Lazy, moronic coaching.

    Barnes did great, though again, isolating him isn’t the best use of his talent. Isolation plays are not the best use of anyone’s talent. Even LeBron only runs isolation plays as a last resort, not as a regular feature of his team’s offense. Regularly running isos for Barnes – or anyone – is lazy, moronic coaching.

    Credit Barnes for a great blocked shot last night! The first block in his career?

    Bogut has clearly gained confidence in his offense, and getting him the ball in motion is a great idea. Post-ups, not so much, though he’s getting better at those too. How good can this guy be?

    On D, however, Gasol destroyed Bogut. Andrew is a good paint defender, but doesn’t do so well at the high post. Despite his lack of height, Green might have handled Gasol better out there. He knows how to bother people of all sizes, and he has the foot speed to not worry about drives as much as Bogut has to.

    Speights needs more work, though I hesitate to say he’s “the” problem for the 2nd team. Like Bazemore, he’d benefit from a more structured offense. Get him the ball where he likes it, don’t make him create shots for himself. Duh.

    Thompson last night got the hook early in the first Q for his inability to stick with Steve Blake. That’s Steve Friggin Blake, Mr. Snail-step himself. Thompson must have been exhausted. .300 shooting last night.

    Green last night: 27 min., 4-5 shooting, 2 steals. Only 1 assist, but that’s one more than Bazemore. Mostly played wing D, nowhere near the paint. Green is a better floor general than Bazemore, and might be better at it than Iggy. He has a lot of experience at it (from college). If Jackson is going to concede games anyway, why not experiment? Put the ball in the hands of the smartest guy on the floor.

    Douglas was suited up on the sidelines, but I guess the team wants to give him more time. Too bad. If the coaches are only going to run PnRs and iso’s, they need their most creative scorer on the floor. On O he’s a fine shooter and the team’s best wing penetrator. As an added bonus, he’s their best wing defender too.

    Another loss to hang on the coach.

    • Totally agree about Draymond. He’s arguably the 3rd best PG this team has, and without Curry or Iggy, he’s the guy who needs to be running the offense.

      I’m afraid all we will see the next few games are Barnes and Lee isos. One inefficient shot after another.

    • it hasn’t been established that bazemore can play lead guard for anything longer than brief intervals against other reserves. his turnover rate has plagued him whenever he’s had longer stints, whether in d-league, summer league, or big league. the elite level defense they’ve become fond of boasting on will not withstand high turnovers, or their offense becoming inefficient, which is where they’re headed unless curry’s return brings it back.

  25. Rgg: Playing one on one ball. and not playing team ball, is playing selfishly. And Barnes will be a major and consistent contributor coming off the bench.

    Agree with Hat that Jackson should try allowing Hreen to initiate defense.

    Look for Portland to post-up and shoot outside in first-half and to slash to basket in second-half.Lilliard and Williams are both terrific. Aldridge and Mathews also good.

  26. I missed the part of the game where Nedovic got yanked. What happened?

    Perfect storm right now.

    • Nedovic racked up two quick fouls on Farmar, a disappointment, because he’s supposed to be athletic. He didn’t look dismal handling the ball and was passed to twice for missed shots.

  27. Away for weekend so no recap. Probably for the best.

  28. Seth Curry last night:

  29. The good news is that the Warriors would have beaten Portland if they had Iggy, JON, and Douglas available.

    In this game the Warriors couldn’t win given that Curry turned the ball over five times and Thompson four times.

    I finally thought that Jackson was showing some brains in the first=half when he limited Speights to six minutes on the court and I thought he ordeed Speights not to shoot which he didn’t. I said to myself that Jackson finally figured it out the Speights hurts him on both sides of the ball and that if he didn’t shoot at all that reduced by half how much he would hurt the Warriors, especially since he’s shooting 32 percent for the year. As a result of Speights not shooting the Warriors in one of those rare times with him on the court were plus 3 with him playing.

    Now comes the disastrous end of the third quarter when Speights decides to take two shots and missed all of them. He starts off the fourth by making one of two. That 1-4 for the game. Now I knew that Jackson had not told not to shoot and therefore it’s no surprise the Warriors for the entire time he was on the court were a minus seven.

    And to make matter worse with Green thrown out of the game, he has Speights play in place of Barnes and goes with Speights, Bogut, and Lee upfront. Absolutely laughable.

    Does anyone doubt that the Warriors would have done much better defensively playing Kuzmic or Dedmon over Speights? But since Speights is making $3,5 million that’s not going to happen.

    But, I can assure you if Green doesn’t get thrown out of future games
    in future games Speights time on the court has to be reduced.

  30. I gave a Twitter recap.

    • Says it all. The only thing else to do, for the purposes of comparison, is to analyze what Jackson was trying to do and why. When that is done, we’ll realize that he doesn’t have the roster for such play and that it diminishes the talents of the players he does have. Belatedly, he brought in Nedovic to get Curry off the ball, but that wasn’t going to work.

      Perverse.

      (From your tweet) MJ: “One thing we won’t win is a shootout. That’s not how we’re built.”

      Getting good shooters an open court and open look is not a shootout. Trying to turn them into 4th. Q iso heroes makes no sense at all. You have to wonder if the team has been listening to the statisticians and their nonsense about higher percentage red zone shots—under the basket. Playing the way they did makes those shots lower percentage shots, as we saw with Lee.

      Really a shame. Portland got off to a slow start and the team played well first half. What a waste.

  31. I readily acknowledge Bogut’s contributions the last games, though his inability to make low post plays, which would have helped last night and is the reason I thought the team got him, neutralizes much of what he offers.

    But his moving screens, now being called, and his goonish play do the team no good, not in the now sanitized NBA. I can’t see what provoked him, and it didn’t look that serious, but he clearly threw a high elbow and connected. You see it clearly in the YouTube at :32. No wonder Portland retaliated.

    Against Freeland, a bench player 40 pounds lighter.

    And in a game where the refs had everyone walking on ice, it broke whatever continuity they might have had or established. (Aldridge threw a punch—I don’t know why he wasn’t ejected. Or Bogut.)

    Let him show his toughness where it counts, blocking out, against key players.

    • Playing next to a softie, Bogut’s role is enforcer. That is his job. You can call it thuggish or whatever, but I for one am glad to see him do it. Bugging the opposition is the heart of good D. I’ve heard Popovitch tell his players he “wants some nasty.” Bogut brings the nasty. Good.

      The altercation started because Freeland had trapped Bogut’s surgically repaired elbow and was using it to pull Bogut away from the hoop. If you want to cite someone for goonish behavior, start there. That elbow is still a big problem for Bogut.

      Bogut didn’t even swing at Freeland. He shook his elbow loose and yelled at him. The fisticuffs started with Aldridge, in a massive overreaction to Bogut’s actions. I was shocked that Aldridge didn’t get tossed. Home court advantage, I guess.

      • If Bogut’s elbow is that sensitive years after his operation, he shouldn’t be on the court—or on the roster for that matter. And the YouTube shows clearly what I first saw, that he wasn’t just freeing his arm but also taking a shot at Freeland’s head with his elbow and he connects. Had Freeland moved into the shot, Bogut could have broken his jaw.

        This isn’t nasty. It’s just plain rash and stupid. There’s no way the other team will let that go, and I don’t know why the refs looked the other way.

        I am reminded of his pointless decking of Igoudala half court in the Denver playoffs, or, I believe in the same series, the time he pointed to his chin to an opponent as if to say take a shot, histrionics that served no purpose, which could only lead to what the NBA absolutely will not tolerate, a fight.

        Stupid.

        Stupid.

        Stupid.

        Again, let him be a thug where it counts instead of taking cheap shots that accomplish nothing except exacerbate tensions in the game.

        Or go back to knocking over fans half his size in commercials.

        • We know nothing about Bogut’s elbow, rgg, except that it’s still giving him problems. Your opinion about its impact on his career choices is dumb.

          The refs didn’t penalize Bogut for taking a swing at Freeland, because he didn’t. You are mistaken.

          Bogut bangs and bullies for a living. If he had wanted to deck Freeland, he would have.

          • I believe you (and Fitz) were the one who referred to Bogut’s medical condition. I merely ran with it. And as Gertrude Stein once said, an elbow to the chops is an elbow to the chops is an elbow to the chops.

            I’m going to let this one go. The apologists for Bogut, however (not you) continue to amaze.

          • That’s strange. I’ve never thought of Gertrude Stein as simple-minded before.

            As in the world at large, the player’s intention counts. Please don’t pretend otherwise. The refs (obviously) determined that Bogut’s elbow was inadvertent. Go with it, rgg.

            Besides, bigs get hit in the chops in every game. No one was actually hurt in the filming of that clown scene.

          • Note I have no objection to a low elbow to the midsection of, say, Howard, that helps him get into position for a rebound. The Portland game itself was a blow to the chops, and I suspect we will soon be in happy accord in our opinion of the coach. I hate to see these guys get shut down by poor strategy.

        • Your Anti-Bogut campaign has nearly crossed over into an obsession… especially since he’s been playing well overall for the past several games (moving screen fouls notwithstanding).

  32. MJ: “One thing we won’t win is a shootout.”

    Did Jackson simply mis-speak, or is he really a moron? With awesome, game-warping sharpshooters on his side, why wouldn’t a coach do everything possible to FORCE every game into a shootout?

  33. Not sure if you guys are aware, but all the D-League games are streamed live on YouTube for free.

    Curry isn’t doing anything tonight, but Nedovic and Dedmon have pretty much been dominant.

  34. D-League, but big nights for Dedmon and Nedovic. Demon has a wonderfully fluid feel in his shots, outside and at the free throw line, surprising for a big man, especially one who started so late. Nedovic finally got a full game under his belt and shot well. Joe and brother Steph were there.

    http://www.nba.com/dleague/games/20131124/AUSSCW/gameinfo.html

  35. Zach Lowe on injuries, etc. Marc Gasol should be out at least two months, for example. And Rose. And Iguodala.

    Are injuries worse than ever, or is it just me? It seems to me Bill Simmons speculated that the emphasis on defense, the push to drive on guards have taken their toll, but I can’t find it.

    Lowe also makes a curious observation:

    “. . . and Kent Bazemore deserves more of a shot at the point.”

  36. What I want to argue is that the wide open offensive shows of the past led to fewer injuries, that a team that pushes the pace, opens the court, and takes outside shots now runs fewer risks simply because bodies aren’t banging as much, but that may be facile and I have no evidence.

    But the push to defense, to high percentage shots near the hoop, to size and bulking up has to take its toll. Something has to give, and usually it’s a knee. Cf. the NFL. I don’t know how this can be changed though.

    Dedmon can motor, btw:

  37. Bogut has been playing decently the last few weeks. But, he still fails to provide what one wants most on defense-providing weak side help on a consistent basis to prevent slashing players from getting to the hoop and for preventing easy dishes off inside to cutting to players along the baseline. That’s part of the reason some good teams can shoot 52 percent against the Warriors. To overcome his weakness, the Warriors added Iggy who has negated some what Bogut’s big weakness.

    With Iggy out for some period of time, it’s time to move Green into the starting line-up who will provide better defense, but probably not as good offense as Barnes. Barnes would be more effective coming off the bench for the Warriors. It’s also time for Dedmon to get a lot of playing time and for Speights to be sit on the bench.

    It’s not likely the Warriors are going to have much success over a 48 minute game even when JON and Douglas return. Jackson narrowing his rotations and overplaying starters is a recipe’ for disaster. The Warriors are going to sustain some losses they otherwise would not if they ware at full strength, so now is the time to experiment and give
    Dedmon and Kuzmic some playing time. They need to go out and get a back-up point guard who can distribute.

  38. AL, I see, has found another way to skim the surface, massage superficial stats, and throw Lee under the bus again. Citing Curry and Lee’s poor offensive 4th. Q stats, he argues Lee should be benched come crunch time. Their performance has everything to do with the way they’re played 4th. Q, to the disadvantage of both their talents.

  39. Kobe just signed for another 2 years, $48m. An immediate candidate for the worst contract in history.

    • From a purely oncourt bball perspective, yes.

      From a business viewpoint, keeping Kobe is LA maintaining its “better days” marketing visibility. They won’t win more games with him, but they’ll probably make more money.

  40. Apparently the league agrees with rgg: Bogut suspended for one game.

    Mo Williams received 1 game as well.

    • subtracting bogut from the preacher’s confusion will force him to play one of the best (non-iguodala) combinations : lee, green, barnes, curry, thompson. dedmon, with his far greater mobility, might not fare any worse than bogut against NO’s power man, who won’t find much to worry about from lee or speights inside.

  41. If the last three games have told me anything, it’s that Harrison Barnes is the wrong player for this Warriors team.

    The Warriors need high IQ players who are willing and able to pass the ball in order to keep the offense moving. Harrison Barnes is at best an average passer, and his basketball IQ at this point in his career does not allow him to make the extra pass, or for that matter, quick passes to free up the Warriors extraordinary shooters.

    I have been struggling for a comparison. Harrison Barnes is Joe Johnson. And that is not a good thing.

    Barnes has been scoring, but it has been at the expense of other players open shots. He is a ball stopper in the mold of Kobe, but with Joe Johnson’s actual ability. He might be an All Star in the East someday, but on a Warriors team that has perhaps the best passing team in the league with Curry, Thompson, Iggy, Lee and Bogut, Harrison simply doesn’t fit correctly.

    I have been holding out hope that he would be a good change-of-pace type of player who could take over a game for a short period, but his demeanor is not of a dominate player, but rather a second option.

    I’m with Felty. Trade Barnes while his value is high.

    • “If the last three games have told me anything, it’s that Harrison Barnes is the wrong player for this Warriors team.”

      He’s not necessarily the wrong player, but his value is certainly overrated. I’ve been on the “trade high” bandwagon for a long time.

    • Barnes was most frequently compared to Glen Rice pre-draft, and I’m beginning to recognize the accuracy of that. Other “tweener” candidates: Al Harrington, Antwan Jamison, Carmelo Anthony (whose mid post game the Warriors are seeking to emulate, for god knows what reason).

      The theme? Talented scorers, but too slow/uninterested to guard 3s, too small/soft at 4, no pass ballstopping blackholes.

      • mentioned before elsewhere, my own measurement for Mr.Barnes will come next season, and look at how he compares with what harrington (who entered the bigs directly from high school) did in his third year. harrington was often critiqued for not pulling his share of boards, but it appears so far that barnes might be more feeble in that aspect. another player of that ilk was donyell marshall, but it remains to be seen if barnes ever gets into a zone, hitting 3′s and rebounding well, like marshall occasionally could.

        that ‘coach nick’ guy who blogs and makes youtube video analyses of n.b.a. hoops predicts that Mr.Barnes will be a bigger star than curry or thompson. one obvious flaw with that projection — he hardly plays without one or both of the older players on the court, so he’d have to move to another team to prove coach nick right.

        • That’s probably the best way to judge Barnes, Moto. I just hate to see his style of play hurt the Warriors magical offense.

  42. I was calling for Barnes to be traded before the season started. But he’s an improved player over last year and doubt the Warriors are going to obtain a player that is both better than Barnes nor obtained at a reasonable price.

    Barnes is good coming off the bench.

    He can shoot and is starting to garner defensive rebounds. Assists, steals, obtaining offensive rebounds and getting to the foul line, are not strengths at this time in his career. I’m not going to put him down for committing two bad passes in his last game as he was on the court 45 minutes.

    • Frank, any NBA player who is on the court of 45 minutes is going to accumulate statistics. Barnes is slightly better this season in all facets of the game, which is natural for any player who works as hard as he does. In fact, his .500 shooter percentage is pretty darn good, considering that most of his shots are jumpers.

      The problem with Barnes on THIS Warriors team is that he kills the ball movement that made the Warriors so strong early in the season when he is asked to ISO. Additionally, Barnes often starts his dribble without any purpose (I am surprised that Barnett doesn’t criticize this more often) which milks time off the clock and freezes ball movement.

      Spread 4, as Felty says, as a catch and shoot player and/or slashing to the hoop is certainly the best option for Barnes on this roster. Not as a mid-post player in the mold of Carmelo.

      • we can be fairly sure that Mr.Barnes is one of the few players in the team’s top seven who gets specific tasks on offense from the preacher, in part because of his history of lapses into passivity. they run those plays for him on orders from the coaches, probably on the assumption that he’ll face the opponent’s third best perimeter defender.

      • Here’s my question. I agree that Barnes’ iso sucks. But *why* does he do it? Is it coaching? Is it his mentality?

        Look at Monta in Dallas. He’s finally starting to play efficiently after so many years, I have to think he had the talent to do it all along, it just took some coaching to realize how needs to play. Why can’t Barnes do more pick and roll and team-oriented offense?

        What’s killing this team right now is the tendency to go away from the thing it does best. I honestly don’t understand why.

        • It’s pretty clear to me that his mid-post isos are called plays. The Warriors are trying to develop him into a mini-Melo. A “go-to” post player.

          Proving that they don’t grasp analytics as much as they’d like us to believe.

          • warriorsablaze

            Is it that they are trying to develop him into that role, or just trying to figure out how to get any kind of offense from a second unit with no playmaker? I guess he did a fair amount of those plays last season, too… I get that he can almost always get that midrange shot off, but it’s a horrible shot if he can’t make it consistently. Good to have in your arsenal, not good as your bread and butter.

          • it requires very little analytics to understand the negative value of mid range jump shots that don’t fall in at greater than .50 and fail to generate either free throws or drives to the rim. they’re losing plays and opponents will encourage a player to take them. isolation stuff that stagnates and fails also undermines transition defense significantly, without iguodala around as the rover.

  43. Dudes.

    Nedovic, Dedmon, Bazemore and Speights aren’t the problem or the solution. 2nd tier players don’t generally win or lose NBA games.

    The NBA is a highly competitive environment, one in which you either maximize your team’s ability, or lose.

    Mark Jackson leads some of the most prolific scorers in the history of the NBA, but recently he’s been leading them into <90 points per game. The friggin moron says he wants a team featuring Curry, Lee, Thompson and Barnes to be a defensive powerhouse, as if they could defend better than they score.

    The friggin moron.

    The problem is this:

    Against Grizzlies: 18, 13, 18 Warriors points, quarters 2-4
    Against Lakers: 17 Warriors pts. 3rd Q
    Against Trailblazers: 17 Warriors pts. 4th Q

    While playing two of the best shooters who ever lived, the Warriors couldn't outscore a few Portland post-ups.

    This from a team that could/should be averaging 120+ points per game.

    I don't hope for Dedmon to become Magic or something. I hope for something a lot simpler, more realistic, and more immediately beneficial. I wish for Mark Jackson to remove his head from whichever ass in which it is currently implanted, and tell his team this:

    "Do what you do best."

    Is that too much to ask?

    • the body of evidence is accumulating with indications that some teams will win the coaching match up over the preacher, whatever advantages he might enjoy with his home court or roster talent. stotts opened some eyes last season, keeping them competitive without any viable bench at all.

      mchale derived a solution last night to the hack-howard defense, seeing his offense stifled vs. Mem with 55 points after three quarters and losing. he sat howard for the entire fourth quarter and Hou pulled away with lin and asik providing some of the impetus. imagine what the preacher’s offensive creativity might have done if he had howard.

  44. We forgot to mention Derrick Williams in the conversation about Harrison Barnes. Williams is 6-8″ 240 and possessed of a world of offensive talent. Drafted #2, he’s never managed to fit in with the TWolves.

    And he just got traded to the Kings, for MBam. Interesting trade for both teams. The Wolves have been looking to dump Williams for a couple of years, and you have to regard this as pennies on the dollar. MBam is a 3 and D wing, without the 3. The Wolves are badly in need of grit and grind, though, and MBam does have that. But can he play with Rubio and Pekovich? I think not — you can’t have 3 non-shooters on the floor. Destined for the second unit, I’d say.

    As for the Kings, they’re desperate to spread the floor around Cousins. And John Salmons clearly won’t work for Mike Malone. But will Williams work any better? Williams is a very low-IQ player, who struggled to grasp Adelman’s offensive concepts. And he is a very subpar defender, particularly at the three — where it seems likely the Kings want to play him. Like Harrison Barnes, he is far more valuable at the four, where his defensive issues can be hidden, and his floor spreading becomes valuable.

    • Sac probably hopes williams will respond to regular play (his excuse for erratic performance for adelman) at the four, in part filling in for landry though obviously a much different kind of player. the trade is contrary to the malone stereotype of defensive focus.

    • Strange pickup for Sacto.

  45. Just came across this detailed breakdown of the OKC game.

    “…right now the strategic deficiencies of the Warriors coaching staff are their ceiling.”

    http://basketball.realgm.com/article/230728/The-Process

  46. A more realistic, but still idle, question to ask about Barnes is what he will be worth when he turns free agent. I suspect the FO won’t give up on him the next few years—when his value may go down? He’s guaranteed $3m next season and there’s a team option at 3.8 the following.

    Still, some kind of realistic assessment of his value now is in order. He’s an average to above average shooter at times. If the clouds clear and he sees an opening, he makes those lightning drives that bring the oohs and ahs. But what else after that, and how many players can do the same?

    He’s a hard player to read from his look and demeanor. He’s not a take charge, gimme the ball player like Melo. It appears things first have to be set up for him, that he’s always waiting to be shown what to do. Then again, he lacks the skills to turn his ego loose, the ball handling and shakes and gyrations on his shots and drives. Yet he always looks one step removed or behind something, probably the hype and expectations that surround him. Or maybe, as Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, there’s no there there.*

    *I seem to be on a Gertrude Stein kick this week. I have to confess I’ve never read her.

  47. Bogut’s suspension is no surprise. You have to ask what caused Portland to react so quickly, so vehemently, with such great risk.

    Every since Kermit Washington deconstructed Rudy Tomjanovich’s face, the NBA will not tolerate anything that approaches fighting or even resembles an approach, and with good cause. You cannot raise an elbow towards another player, or make a fist and move it anywhere towards an opponent, or move any part of your body—hand, elbow, knee, foot, etc.—towards another player’s face (as we saw with Chris Paul).

    • Good knowledge rgg. “The Punch” is an excellent read about the Kermit Washington incident. He was an enforcer when it was OK to be, but it was terrible luck how the incident went down, and pretty much ruined Kermit’s life, and drastically altered Tomjanovich’s playing career, and thus the future of the NBA. In my opinion, the NBA game is much better for the changes that were made as a result.

  48. Finally checked out nba wowy. Stats for obsessives, entirely interactive. Great stuff!

    http://nbawowy.com/

    Pick an on-court 4-some, add/remove other individual players to see their impact.

    So I did this:
    Lee
    Curry
    Thompson
    Iguodala
    Green

    and got a team ppp of 1.424, pps of 1.394, true shooting % of 69.7

    Then took Green “off-court” and left the other 4 on:

    Team ppp of 1.187, pps of 1.243, ts% 62.2

    The starters with Green played together for only 16 minutes over the season so far. Ppp is 20% better! A surprising impact for a “non-scorer,” but that’s a tiny sample size, probably not statistically significant.

    Here’s what happened to the opposition during those 16 minutes when Green played next to Lee: ppp .788

    And w/Green off court, those other 4 guys (plus whoever else, mostly Bogut): ppp 1.047. With Bogut specifically: 1.031

    So Green’s impact looks HUGE. But of course, a tiny sample size isn’t proof of anything.

    Now Barnes oncourt:

    Team ppp .998, pps 1.064, TS 53.2%
    opponent 1.018

    And Barnes offcourt: ppp 1.082, pps 1.167, TS 58.4%
    opponent ppp .987

    To be entirely fair, Barnes has logged significant time with the 2nd team, and most of his time with the 1st team has come because either Iggy or Curry was missing. All that considered, I thought there would have been a far bigger on/off disparity, but it wasn’t too bad. Hm.

  49. Hat, good stuff. Whoever plays with Speights suffers. One can safely conclude that Speights and Bazemore are problems. Speights is plain awful, and Bazemore needs to prove he’s part of the Warriors future. Hasn’t so far. Nedovic also has a long way to go. First, need to see if he has a shot.

    Coaches have probably noticed that the ball dies in Barnes hands, by either reading this blog or seeing that themselves, and that he’s not effective in ISO’s. The will attempt to have him make the necessary changes.

  50. Stirring finish (or undeserved escape, depending on your perspective). I’ll be recapping the Mavs game tomorrow.

  51. N.O.:

    Too damn close.

    MJ: “One thing we won’t win is a shootout. That’s not how we’re built.”

    New Orleans stayed in the game in large part because of their outside shooting, much of it early offense. It’s difficult to watch Curry work so hard in half court sets to pass out to Barnes or Green, for that matter, when the team should be working to get him more shots. He’s the best damn shooter in the league.

    Many of his penetration shots are low percentage and even if he drives and gets fouled and shoots free throws, as many wish, he is still more efficient shooting 3s. Thompson needs more outside looks as well.

    The offense finally opened up 4th. Q when they ran it through Lee, who found free players.

    What a difference a mobile, scoring center makes. I’m surprised they couldn’t have used O’Neal’s threat to open up shots.

    I thought Nedovic looked fine, surrounded with better players. I especially liked seeing him play with Curry.

    Speights made positive contributions.

    I suspect we’ll hear a Green/Barnes debate tonight.

  52. Good win. Why Warriors won:

    1. Warriors made 5 more foul shots than the Pellicans, and D. Lee going
    7-7 from the foul-line.

    2. Speights playing only 11 minutes, taken only three shots, and only one of those were a designed play that he missed. The other two were a tip-in and put-back. The less plays designed for him the better. No more drives.

    3. Playing big ball at the end of the game.

    Why the Warriors almost lost:

    1. Playing Curry, Lee, Curry, and Thompson too many minutes in the first half that guaranteed that the Warriors shooting percentage would decline in second half and it did. I believe they shot close to 40 percent in second half compared to 52 percent in first half.

    2. Playing Barnes 39 minutes which resulted in the Warriors being minus 11 with Barnes on the court and the Warriors being outscored overall with him on the court. Barnes had a million open shots in the first half and passed them up for ill-advised drives. Allowing him to
    do ISO’s. He doesn’t have a clue where to go on the court. He just stands around and does not help out on the defensive boards. Playing 39 minutes and garnering only 3 defensive rebounds simply not acceptable.

    3. Playing Green only 15 minutes who had a plus 12 the highest on the team on the court. He helped the Warriors immensely by giving them 3 steals, 3 OR, and no turnovers. That’s a plus 6 extra possessions in only 15 minutes. And probably even more as he had two block shots. As a result he had a plus 12 even though he shot only 2-6 from the floor. He way outperformed Barnes who made half his shots, because Barnes is not an extra possession guy. There’s no way Barnes should be playing 39 minutes and Green 15 minutes. Almost cost us the game.

    4. Still think Warriors would have done much better giving all of Speights minutes to Dedmon. He’s better than Speights on both sides of ball. Seeing Speights trying to take charges and letting guys get three point plays hard to watch. Doubt that Dedmon would do that. He would go to block or alter shots, not try to take charges.

    Great game by JON. Nice to have a center who can shoot as well as dunk. His defense is only marginally below that of Bogut, but it’s so terrific to have a center the Warriors can run plays for. No wonder the Warriors were shooting 52 percent from the field in the first half. He makes everyone else better on offense.

    Thompson was terrific having many assists, but his 4 turnovers somewhat detracts from that.

    Still open question whether JON should start and Bogut come off the bench. If Bogut had come off bench, hopefully he would have done a better job against Evans slashing to hoop.

    • “Playing Green only 15 minutes who had a plus 12 the highest on the team on the court.”

      15, 24, but who’s counting? (It was 24 minutes.)

  53. Why the Ws won:

    Draymond Green +12, highest on the team. 3 steals, 3 blocks, 3 assists, lots of smart basketball. If only he could only finish at the rim!

    All the starters were in the minus, w/ Barnes the lowest at -7.

    Don’t want to beat a dead horse, but there you have it.

    • The Warriors won with Curry having an off night because O Neil had what will probably be his best offensive game of the season. Green was magnificent defensively, bit JON on offense is what saved them.

      • I like JON. Last spring I was the first to recommend the Warriors try to sign him. Good player, good guy.

        JON was -4 last night.

        Every touch for JON is a JON shot attempt. He came through offensively last night, but his stats say that if you’re running much of your O through this year’s JON, you’re going to lose.

        Curry’s “off night” had to do with the fact that NO, like everyone else this year, assigned an average of 1.5 defensive players to hound and pound him wherever he went. He wasn’t getting many open looks.

        Green was the only teammate I saw setting good high screens for Curry. No one else seemed to it – not JON, Lee or Speights. Bogut does sometimes, but he wasn’t there last night. It would be pointless for Thompson to do it.

        It might help if Barnes set screens, but he never does. He wanders aimlessly around the perimeter, ruining everyone’s floor spacing, until someone spoonfeeds him the ball. He was -7 last night not because he’s a bad shot, but because he hampers the rest of the team’s offense. That’s on the coach.

        • I’ve noticed this many times before. If I’m not keeping up with substitutions, I’m often not aware Barnes is on the court and am surprised how many minutes he’s played. But I’m always aware when Green is on the court, both ends. He makes his presence known by his activity.

          I’m skeptical Green can match Barnes’ offense, though wouldn’t mind seeing him get more (of Barnes’) shots. But his shooting has been pretty good, and if he were used to facilitate on offense and be there as a third of fourth option, he would offset the loss, if any.

          O’Neal’s offense serves two purposes: he adds points, of course, but also he presents that threat and draws defenders, opening up the court for others, something that doesn’t happen with the other centers. I don’t know if he can also pass out from the post. He’ll need more time with the team to do that.

          • In general, having a scoring C has to be a help to the perimeter shooters. Last night, though, one of the big reasons JON and Lee had scoring opportunities was because, as often as not, Anthony Davis was outside the paint providing help D against Curry. How many times did Curry have to shoot over Davis? By my (admittedly unreliable) count, it was at least 3x. Davis is completely awesome. Size, speed, skills, smarts.

            It’s hard to compare Green’s and Barnes’ offense. Green can sink wide open 3s, but he gets those opportunities only because no one rates him highly as a scoring threat. Opponents ignore him in their focus on the Splash guys. When Barnes gets the ball, everyone knows he’s going to shoot it and he’s not bad at it. He gets a lot of attention.

            Green is also gawdawful at finishing at the rim, while Barnes is very, very good at it. If I’m Green’s coach, I’m making him study tons of Charles Barkley videos. Until/unless he figures out NBA paint offense, I’m afraid his PT will continue to be limited.

        • JON is certainly not the answer most nights, but last night, he was. His -4 probably would have been much worse had he not made shots, because the Warriors were a bit lethargic. In fact, with Curry struggling to find his range, JON’s 18 points were probably a must because everyone else was around their average. A solid road win for the Warriors with a banged up squad.

          On the defensive side, David Lee was pretty darn good against Anthony Davis last night. Davis is a special player with a high ceiling and Lee neutralized him, except for a few lob dunks and that ridiculous putback dunk where he came out of nowhere.

          • Somewhat obscured by JON’s surprising offensive performance was the fact that Lee was FREAKIN AWESOME AS USUAL!!!

            Hohum, Lee got his usual (awesome!) numbers and played some D too. Quietly, efficiently, Lee is the foundation for the entire Warriors team. I wouldn’t want to change much about that, except this: physically, Lee is a weakling. Lee is a Gumby:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcoKEsaoa6I

            OK, maybe that’s a little harsh. Hahaha! I don’t care! It’s true!

            Lee is a quick and nimble “power” forward with no power.

            In a perfect world (one in which I direct all things, natch) I require Lee to hit the weight room with a merciless trainer. A Conan, Kobe or Chuck Norris. Every day, 2x, until Lee develops the baseline physical ability every one of his opponents has.

            Then he’s even more awesome.

          • Bulk up and Lee loses his nimbleness. You can’t have it both ways.

          • That would be true for an endurance sport like bicycle stage racing, but basketball is a burst-muscle contest. A series of sprints, not a marathon. A collection of anaerobic/recovery cycles, not an aerobic contest per se.

            In basketball, fitness is absolutely necessary – it improves recovery time – but sheer physical strength enables one to accomplish more in those critical seconds of activity. You’re quicker and more powerful when it counts. You can do more things.

            If Lee gained some arm strength/mass, I’d certainly expect his merciless trainer to make his legs stronger too.

          • davis is still maturing physically and mentally. he probably put out mucha energia the night before in SA, and it could have affected the way his coach moderated his minutes. lee might see different results the next time if they match up again.

          • Unlike the Ws, the Pelicans have a good coach.

            That coach capitalized on Davis’ ability to flit all over the court on D. A good part of Davis’ time and energy was spent stopping Curry. JON and Lee were the beneficiaries.

            Yeah, Davis is the real deal, and he keeps getting better, dammit. Next time things will almost certainly be different.

  54. It’s early and maybe I’m worrying over nothing, but Curry is not Chris Paul, will never be a Chris Paul type of point guard, and there’s no good reason for him to try to be one, though it looks like that’s what MJ is trying to do. Paul is compact and fast and powerful, and can take a team on by himself and penetrate and score or dish out. Curry is quick and crafty, but not powerful and fast, and has to find his openings, and have an offense that makes them, not create them on the fly.

    Curry can get better in that regard, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of of his true skill, his shooting. Curry is the best shooter in the NBA. The best shooter in the NBA should shoot the ball, and the team needs to find ways to make that happen. And he will need to shoot often and continually over a season to keep his rhythm.

    He can hold his own, however, in up tempo offense, which should be exploited as well.

  55. MJ’s coaching so far, dramatic recreation:

    • Wonderful stuff! Thanks!

      The core question is “Why?”

      I became a devoted fan of JON last night. Unlike most players, when a mike is in his face he says precisely and sincerely what he feels and thinks, from the heart. That man wants a championship. He’s playing today, long after his “use-by” date, because the Ws can win it all.

      That’s actually true. The Warriors have the talent to win everything. But only if their coach isn’t stupid.

  56. I liked seeing Nedovic play with Curry and hope they can do this more if the score and lineups allow. Curry will first give Nedovic someone to pass to and make assists. Curry will also be there to bail him out if he gets stuck in a press. And since Curry draws so much of the defense, he’ll be able to pass back to Ned for shots or drives. Curry makes players better, and he’ll help build Ned’s confidence.

    • Nedovic is going to be a fine player, possibly as soon as the end of this season. A brilliant, talented guy. Props to whoever identified his ability and brought him in to this team (Riley?).

      At this time, Nedovic has some learning to do, though. Until he “gets it,” Douglas is a better alternative. Hope he’s back on the court soon. It could be completely awesome to see Curry, Thompson and Douglas together. Almost like having Monta back.

  57. Anyone want to take a shot on predicting tonight’s game?

    As always, Monta is the key. He hasn’t lost against the Ws yet. I’m thinking Mavericks.

    • The Mavs are a seriously flawed team, but tonight they’re playing against a seriously flawed coach. Does that make it a toss-up?

      • Probably is somewhat of a toss-up… without Iggy, Monta is certainly going to get to his spots. Bogut may help around the rim, but we all know one of Monta’s strengths is being crafty around the rim against the trees. If we pack the paint and force Monta into being a midrange shooter, we’ll have an advantage.

        On the flipside, Curry can take Monta to school on offense if he can get his shot to fall. Curry can get his shot up over the t-rex arms of Monta any time he wants.

    • What Denver exposed about the Mavs in their recent back-to-back is their difficulty containing small ball teams with their Dalembert/Nowitzki frontline.

      In the second game, Carlisle brought Dalembert off the bench, but the Mavs performed even worse. Nowitzki just doesn’t match up well against the mobile Hickson/Faried combo whether playing with Dalembert or Marion.

      Of course, now that Jackson has Bogut back, I doubt that he’ll try to exploit the Mavs with small ball. If he even noticed their vulnerability in the first place.

      • FB, as always, your insight is dead on.

        So… if Jackson plays smart – matches his smalls against the Dallas smalls – the Ws win. If he plays stupid – the trend he seems committed to – the Ws lose.

        Gotta go with the Mavs on this one.

  58. There is no doubt that JON played an outstanding game on offense given his outstanding shooting stats. And his defense was good as the Pelicans shot 47% from the floor for the game which one would expect with the Warriors not having Bogut available. The main reason that the Warriors were outscored marginally when JON was playing is because Curry, Thompson and other Warriors he was playing with not hitting their shots when JON was on the court.

    Hat: Couldn’t agree with you more regarding Barnes being invisible and a non-contributor during large portions of his court time.

    • I still believe Barnes is the wrong player for this Warriors team because of his offensive style.

      HOWEVER, when Iggy is healthy (along with Curry and Thompson), they can make it work if Barnes plays spread 4 and simply sits in the corner waiting for passes. He’s shown that his shot improved over the off season and I am getting to the point where I feel confident he will knock down open shots.

  59. Just dismal.

    The Warriors in the past have given far better Dallas teams fits with far less. I spent most of the game being so fed up with their strategy that I almost didn’t notice their comeback, and that they made a comeback is only a sign that this is not a complete Dallas team.

    This post-up, iso offense, one of the few ways they can get Barnes a shot, stalls tempo and ball movement and invites turnovers and low percentage shots. But for Lee’s performance, Goldsberry’s precious “red zone,” around the bucket, is probably the team’s least efficient, least effective places to score. Anybody got percentages? And after Barnes, not being able to get much from you-know-who only tightens up the floor for the remaining three.

    As for the opponent defense, it allows them time to relax in their assignments and poise themselves for rebounds as well as getting back on offense, and even think about their stock portfolios, if so disposed.

    One way to put pressure on opponent’s offense is put them in a position where they’re pushed to score. But if you’re not scoring, there’s no pressure and they can relax and get into a rhythm. The subs can come in and take chances with shots and get in stride themselves. If you aren’t getting many shots up, they don’t have to worry about missing a few because they’ll have plenty of chances later.

    The FO kept saying the Warriors have plenty of offense. They don’t have nearly enough. They don’t have any bench players who can play well enough and knock down a shot. I was relieved when O’ Neal and—yes—Speights came in simply because they offered a few more options and can put the ball up.

    I thought Curry was going to be bottled up all game again, but finally he was turned loose only at the end of the first half, and we saw the results.

    Query: How many walk-up threes has Curry taken this season, in his hands one of the most effective and most difficult to defend shots in the game?

    Blah. Feltbot, open the floodgates.

  60. Seriously, I am so dispirited watching Mark Jackson coach this year that it’s a struggle for me to recap. I thought this war was over.

  61. Not going to recap this game because what I have to say might not carry the weight it should on a road back-to-back.

    I strongly suspect that my next post will have Mark Jackson in the subject line.

    • curry and iguodala in tandem can sidetrack the preacher’s schemes into wins, but just one won’t suffice against the better coached teams, especially those with scoring punch of their own. the preacher might be in some la-la land for all we know, convinced that his team’s defense and ‘competitiveness’ will prevail over inefficiency on offense.

      the team probably can’t rise to the top tier (5-6 teams) with this coach, but the no-excuse team will have plenty at hand, as if most teams don’t face injuries to starters or have soft spots on their bench.

  62. In lieu of a recap, I blew off some steam in a twitter conversation with Marcus Thompson (@gswscribe).

    Not a lot new there. If you want to get right to the core of my frustration, rewatch the last 1:40 of the second quarter, when Thompson came in for Bogut and the Warriors played with Lee at center. 3 Curry/Lee pick and rolls in a row –> 2 Curry threes, and a Lee dunk. Warriors +6.

    Lee sat on the bench for most of the 4th Q. Played 30 minutes in the game, even though +14.

    Bogut and O’Neal played a total of 45 minutes. Because Dalembert and DeJuan Blair are so formidable?

    Warriors fast break points? 6.

    • perhaps lee was being disciplined for his poor defense, and committing only one foul ? with 3.30 remaining in the third, he sits with them trailing by six, sits for another 5 + min. after the break between quarters after Dal has broken out to a 17 pt. lead. and curry gets the credit in the media and blogs for making it close in the fourth.

  63. Tuesday:
    New Orleans bench: 86 minutes, 34 points
    GSW bench: 51 minutes, 13 points

    Wednesday:
    Dallas bench: 89 minutes, 43 points
    GSW bench: 61 minutes, 13 points

    And the benches of both opponents took many more shots, obviously, but with good percentage. Our subs against Dallas, in spite of their minutes, only took 10 shots. Equally obvious, our starters had to pick up the difference in minutes—30 minutes more in each game.

    We missed Iguodala, of course, but after him our only hope for scoring would have been Douglas, who has been spotty in sub time.

    The Warriors are struggling also because they don’t have enough scoring for 48 minutes. If we had more versatile players on the bench, who can score, they would have gotten better the opening month. When you have several scorers on the floor, they get more looks and can feed each other and build confidence, just as Larkin looked good for Dallas last night (and if Carter were in form, Dallas would be a force this season). Loading the bench with bigs and selecting bench players for their “defense” and “energy” only guarantees more minutes for the starters.

    The Santa Cruz team, by contrast, is fun to watch because they are so effective across the starters. I don’t know if any of them translate into NBA players, but there are many good handlers and shooters. They are a major reason Seth is racking up assists.

    Credit to Lacob & Co. for both, blame for our bench, but the D-League in Santa Cruz was a good idea. It’s close for quick shuttles to Oakland and the team looks to be well supported by the locals.

  64. Our roster is horribly constructed.

    5 spots for centers, largely because of the need for backups due to injury to Ezeli, possible injury to O’Neal and Bogut, and they’ll be carrying B’s risk the next three years as well. Next there are the unlikely prospects Lacob keeps bringing up, Kuzmic, who is not especially intriguing, Dedmon, who is, but I suspect there are reasons so many teams passed on him. Though he only played one year at USC, he is 24, the age of physical and perhaps athletic maturity. Did he play jc? What’s his story?

    Then there are the compromises.

    Green is a compromise in size, speed, and offense, but his court presence and intelligence make him a good compromise.

    Bazemore is a compromise in everything but energy, and the prospects here are slim to none.

    Douglas is supposed to be a good distance shooter, though this hasn’t been explored enough, and a good defender, but apparently offers not much else at guard, unless he is supported by the starters.

    Nedovic was selected for his size and speed, not his shooting, and some court presence, though we may not see many of his drives in the NBA. I am pulling for him, but am skeptical.

    I assume they knew what they were getting into when they traded for Speights, but if they only selected him for his size and are trying to turn him into something he is not, they made a mistake. But he is mobile and athletic for his size and can shoot, and they need to exploit both and get what potential there is, and he also needs the support of a strong cast.

    There’s not a versatile, reliable scorer in the bunch, and only one competent handler.

    Then against all those compromises, add the compromises the team has to live with in Barnes, amply discussed here.

    Iguodala was thought to be a compromise in offense, but he has surprised us. Most here, of course, are happy as well with Lee, Curry, and Thompson, who may well have to play heavy minutes the rest of the season.

    • the dedmon story is well documented and accessible to the curious. his ma is jehovah witnik and didn’t want him playing sports, so he picked up the hoops even later than ezeli. he’s obviously there for emergencies only and practice scrimmages, getting a smaller ration of play than kuzmic saw. it was probably a poor decision not to give kuzmic another season or two in euro leagues — they must think they can develop him better with the coaching here, and they’ve also left their cupboard of draft picks in the next few drafts pretty bare.

      speights was not acquired by trade, he was a free agent.

      • Goof on Speights. I knew that.

        It’s Dedmon’s age that has me curious—what did he do before USC?

        • dedmon started hoops as a senior in high school. entered junior college, didn’t play on their team the first year. played well enough the next season to interest USC, though he missed games after a facial and nasal fracture from an elbow to the head. didn’t play as a redshirt his first year at USC. in his only NCAA season he missed games for three different injuries — hand, knee and lower leg, foot.

          dedmon and ezeli both started the game very late, and still need to establish that they can physically endure the pounding and rigors that prevent many young bigs from building their career.

  65. Someone elsewhere noted Curry’s “tired, depressed look.” He’s not tired or depressed at all. He’s frustrated, and we’ve seen this look before and know why.

  66. one of the last, sober (kool aid free), local word processors in the local media MThompsonII won’t be the beat writer anymore for the newsgroup conglomerate. boss felt, do you know what his next gig and does it already have a blog or web site ? merci beaucoup.

    • He’s been kicked up to columnist, and he tweeted to me “Gloves off!”, so I think we will enjoy some more opinionated work from him going forward.

      Forgot to ask which outlet. I assumed the same, but they’ve already got TK and AL.

  67. Not looking forward to tonight. I see two options:

    They can continue the control offense and hope for defensive shutdown, which won’t happen, and at best keep try to keep the score within reach, but that won’t happen either, unless OKC is having a very bad night. At best, the starters might push hard to make up a 10 point deficit 2nd half and exhaust themselves and come up short. They can’t play catchup all season.

    Or they can cut loose, free the guards, get Lee and Curry going, and push the pace. Barnes could be more effective in such a game, as it should open him in the corner or give him lanes to drive. They have a much better chance of beating OKC by forcing them to keep up. Westbrook especially will be less effective if he’s put in a position where he has to score to keep pace rather than pad the lead. And as we know, taking the game in his own hands is what he does, often with bad results.

    They’ll need unlikely heroes. Maybe O’Neal will get going, and give him freedom to shoot if he sees an opening. And get Speights going. In this game, a win against OKC, Speights was 10-15, 21 points, and had 10 boards.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400278418

    They need something from the bench, and if Speights has any talent, it needs to be mined. The only problem is who can run this offense without exhausting the starters.

    I don’t have high hopes here, either, but it has the best chance. The real issue is how the team can experiment, make best use of its roster, and develop options that will be useful later, especially now with Iguodala out.

    The more you try to control our players, and have them control the game, the more you squeeze out their talents.

    • I wouldn’t mind some pre-game jitters, FB.

    • Looking forward to seeing who they start on Durant. It must be Barnes, because isn’t he the next Iggy? But if it is Barnes, I don’t like Ws chances.

      I don’t like the Ws chances anyway, for reasons you note. Jackson’s preference for playing big regardless of matchup is asking to get murdered.

      Going to watch Westbrook closely. There have been some signs he returned to soon.

  68. Moto, you might note that Ty Corbin in Utah has made some strides with his rotation. The twin tower look didn’t work — no surprise there — so now he’s moved Kanter to the bench, starting “PF” Favors at center (he IS a center). And moved Marvin Williams to the role he should have had since he came into the league: Stretch Four. Where Williams is thriving, with some really big games.

    (Marvin Williams is another player we left out of the Barnes discussion. Like Barnes, his limited ball handling and playmaking ability make Williams a much better offensive player at the four. But there’s a big difference between Barnes and Williams — Williams is a decent defender, a two-way player.)

    Trey Burke is back, tho I haven’t seen much of him, and haven’t particularly liked what I have seen.

    And our old friend Brandon Rush is going to hit the floor any day now.

    Voila. Watchable basketball.

    • Wow, Marvin Williams. That’s a good comparison. A nice scorer when he has open looks. That’s about it. Williams never had the ability to dunk the ball the way Barnes does, however.

      I watched Trey Burke in the NCAA tournament last year. He’s a pretty slow point guard who has good range from three and a decent handle. He doesn’t have much size or athletic ability, but has some intangibles that will aide him in the NBA game. However, he’s a more walk-it-up type player.

  69. Jeremy Lin out with sprained knee. His frequent injuries are directly related to his style of play, and it’s an open question whether he’d still be a good player if he tried to play differently.

    • if you mention style of play + small guard + injuries, lin is more durable than the former top three -rated point guard, Rose, and will log more games for his teams this season than rose, last season, probably next season. paul is also dinged up again with a kranky hamstring.

  70. Lots of great stuff in this George Karl interview:

    http://blitzkrieg13.com/2013/11/28/breakfast-with-george-karl/

    • lacob and his bandwagon of bloggers will never admit it, but the woeyr roster would get more wins coached by Karl, and we’d have a much better notion of what the younger players and role-fillers are capable of with Karl to develop them. because of his age and health though it might be best for him to be out of the coaching grind and given an exec position.

      the Por players were observed using i-pads on the bench during their visit, reviewing video. probably not a coincidence that they were better prepared for the back to back game than the home team. NO was also playing a back to back and wins if that last shot bounces just a bit differently. fortunately for the preacher, the team has relatively few on the schedule this season.

      • “the Por players were observed using i-pads on the bench during their visit, reviewing video. ”

        This is not even allowed per league rules.

  71. Credit first to Barnes and Bogut for well exceeding expectations. Barnes had the easiest matchup on offense, but he delivered. Bogut got some points and made genuine stops at the rim.

    Curry’s performance was far superior to Westbrook’s, thought their numbers were similar, and you see the achilles heel of OKC. It’s all Westbrook or nothing, and if they were prepared at the rim, it’s because he kept driving. Plus they don’t have that third scorer to replace Harden.

    But the fickle finger of fate gives Westbrook that last shot. Plus missed free throws, a rough night at the start for Klay, and those calls on Bogut (moving screen?)/non-calls on Lee.

    They still need to figure out something come crunch/over time.

    • Actually, it was the 53 minutes of isolation offense that did in the Ws. I saw just one PnR all game, with very little motion offense.

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