Warriors 115 Kings 113: Notes on Barnes and Bogut

Our buddies Abe and Nancy sprang a nice surprise on me and the Thaiblonde at the Kings’ game yesterday: floor seats! Great seats, great game, great company, great day. Thanks Abe and Nancy!

You’ve already read game recaps by this time, so I’ll restrict my comments on the game to a few notes on Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut.  

Harrison Barnes: Fanboys, stop reading.

Those who have taken objection to me pointing out that most of Barnes’ iso offense comes at the expense of small guards being hidden on him, will have to wait for another game for contradictory evidence.

Last night Barnes squared off against three of the worst defenders in the NBA, Derrick Williams, John Salmons and Marcus Thornton. Mark Jackson refused to isolate Barnes against the bigger Williams. He got at least three isos against the smaller Thornton, resulting in 2 easy buckets. And he got three against John Salmons, resulting in 4 free throws, and a turnover.

His lone other basket was a spoon fed dunk off of a backdoor cut against Patterson.

After one of his successful forays against the diminutive and generally execrable Thornton, Fitz exclaimed: “Barnes’ midrange game is spectacular!!!” This caused me to look it up. This season, Barnes is shooting 42% (24-57) on midrange twos, chiefly over small guards. Which is more spectacular, I’ll admit, than last year’s percentage in the 30′s.

Here are a few more facts about Barnes’ performance last night, and so far this season:

Last night Barnes got 0 rebounds in 38 minutes, versus 7 for Derrick Williams, in 21 minutes. Barnes has been out-rebounded by his starting counterpart at small forward in each of the last four games.

Last year Barnes averaged 4.1 rebounds per game. This year, in more minutes, he’s averaging 3.3.

Last year Barnes averaged .2 blocks per game, a miserable rate for a small forward. And completely inexplicable in a small forward with a 40″ vertical. This year, in more minutes, he is averaging .1.

In each of the last four games, regardless of how he’s shot, Barnes has had the worst +/- of any Warriors starter.

I was virtually on the court last night, which assisted me in these final two observations:

1) David Lee is at least an inch taller than Derrick Williams. DWill is at least an inch taller than Barnes. Adjust your listings accordingly.

2) Barnes shot 75% from the line last year, and is currently shooting 71%. That is not likely to improve.

Why do I say this? Because his shooting stroke is flawed. He pulls the ball back high, and over his head. I’ve noted it before from my couch, but really confirmed it last night at close range.

Great shooters, like Curry and Thompson, keep that ball in front of their face. Check it out.

OK fanboys, it’s safe now.

Andrew Bogut: It’s a good thing Bogut got that game-ending block in a nail-biting victory, because the storyline of last night’s game would have been pretty ugly for him if the Warriors had lost.

He got dominated. Absolutely spanked. Beaten outside. Beaten inside. Boogie went over him, around him, and in crunch time, right through him.

I think there are two possible reasons for this. The first being the obvious: the health of his ankle. I didn’t notice anything telltale, and I have no idea how it’s actually feeling but I did note a couple of Jim Barnett observations when I watched the replay:

After a Curry turnover caused by Bogut’s refusal to roll, Barnett said “Curry has to realize Bogut is not moving as well this game.”

And after another Kings offensive rebound in the fourth quarter, Barnett said: “For some reason Bogut didn’t get off the ground for that rebound.”

(Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that, like the plain-spoken Matt Steinmetz, Barnett is being forced out of the Warriors’ broadcasts.)

Another possible reason that comes to mind for Boogie’s ability to dominate Bogut down low, is Bogut’s weight loss. In order to alleviate his ankle condition, Bogut came into this season at a significantly lower playing weight than he ever has before. Is that making him easier to move off the block?

Fortunately for Bogut, he won’t be seeing Boogie in the playoffs.

The Closer: Mark Jackson finally put the ball in Curry’s hands at the end of a game, and asked him to pull his chestnuts out of the fire.

How’d he do?

45 Responses to Warriors 115 Kings 113: Notes on Barnes and Bogut

  1. The block rate for Barnes is not inexplicable when you realize his standing reach is only 8’5.5″. Blocks are made mostly with standing reach, not vertical.

    • Is that really true for players 6-8″ and smaller? I would be amazed if there weren’t a strong correlation between jumping ability and blocks in guards and small forwards.

      • Good defense is supposed to be played with your feet on the ground. That’s why guys with elite standing reach tend to be great shot blockers. You look at Barnes standing reach and it’s less than Evan Fournier and Jeff Taylor.

        (Personal aside: I think John Henson is going to be a monster on defense for this very reason when he figures it all out and grows into his body. Dude has a 9’4″ standing reach. He’s already improved his blocks per 36 minutes from 1.8 to 3.2 this season. He has a 4″ reach advantage on Davis and 3.5″ advantage on Drummond.)

        • What accounts for the fact that Monta Ellis is a better shot blocker than Barnes?

          Manu Ginobili?

          Or more pointedly, Mo Harkless, whose standing reach is 1″ higher than Barnes’, but averages SIX times as many blocks this season?

          Or Jimmy Butler, whose standing reach is a half inch shorter, but averages EIGHT times as many blocks this season?

          The examples you cited are all 7 footers.

          • It’s not just about reach. It’s certainly also about timing and anticipation. I think all three are more important factors than merely being able to jump high like Barnes (so I’d use those same examples you just gave to explain why).

          • Now we’ve reached a perfect meeting of the minds. Barnes has the physical tools.

            What he lacks is located in his head. And his chest.

  2. For every negative you can find in Barnes, an equally positive comment could be made about Green. He’s been a revelation as far as I’m concerned. Huge value for a guy taken in the 2nd round.

    • Totally agree. With the improvement in his shooting, it’s apparent that he will soon be as valuable as world champions Bruce Bowen and James Posey, if he’s not already.

      But his ceiling is higher.

  3. FB: Do you want to enter the David Lee debate, @18 and 19 the previous post, as his been enjoined elsewhere (bench him 4th. Q, trade him, etc)? After all, he had a bad night at Sacramento, 4-11, 4 boards, etc.

    • Obviously, it’s the system. He’s being misused, and everyone from George Karl to Lee himself knows it.

      There are a ton of different agendas at work here. Some basketball related. But I’m also wondering whether the Warriors are worried about his injury history, and trying to preserve him for the playoffs.

      One thing is for sure: Lee is the most unselfish, egoless, team oriented player who’s ever lived.

      • I’ve speculated on the previous post and on twitter that perhaps the change in offense structure is to provide more opportunities for Curry… even if it marginalizes Lee. Even though Lee is obviously more dangerous on the roll, Bogut actually sets solid screens and centers generally aren’t able to hedge as far out to defend Curry. Lee slips screens to roll and Curry usually gets doubled and is forced to pass. You see below from last night… Lee sets his usual almost-but-not-quite-a-screen and Curry is immediately doubled. Curry waits it out this time, but usually he’s forced to pass. Bogut more often takes the guard out of the play and forces a switch. He may not be as dangerous off the roll, but if more looks are created for Steph, it may be better for the offense overall even if Lee’s talents aren’t being maximized. I think we can all agree that the more good shots for Steph, the better our chances in any game. Green starting to become a more consistent 2-way player may make Lee expendable. He’s a far better defender and can stretch the floor with a reasonable (so far) 3pt shot. I love Lee’s character and effort, but it seems when he’s out we don’t take a hit in either rebounding or scoring… I’m not sure he’s essential to this team anymore.

        • 1:35 is the time in the video…

          • You picked a curious example. What happened at 1:35 is that David Lee took his man away from the play and sprinted to his screening spot (with the help of a screen from Draymond) in textbook fashion. As he gets to his spot Curry starts to make his move before he is set. Lee has no choice but to stop and contort to try and make a serviceable screen or he’ll get called for a moving screen. Curry’s brilliance and the Sacramento big man’s incompetence allows him to ultimately use the big man as a screener against his own man (Thomas) so that Curry gets the jumper. However, the weak screen was on Curry. A poor screen is as frequently the fault of the ball handler as it is the screener.

            In general, the slipping you see is the standard tactic against a hard hedge or a blitz. If your defender is going past you away from the basket to pick up your man your screen is useless anyhow. Your tactical adjustment is to slip and become the recipient. As Feltbot points out, when the screener in the PNR is no threat, there is no penalty for over-pursuing the ballhandler.

          • You beat me to the punch, YouTired. But what is key in the play @1:35 is that when Lee moves to the basket, he takes a defender and the court is now open and Curry is left alone against a guard he can handle easily, and he does get up a good shot and nails it. This would work in other plays where Lee is not caught improvising.

            The Bogut screens may look impressive simply because Bogut is so big and we see defenders run into and labor around him, but I wonder how effective they are and would like to see a string of replays for confirmation. They are slow setting up and essentially tell Curry where he can take his shot—and tell the defenders that his shot is likely coming and where he’ll take it.

            I think Barnett has criticized Curry for not waiting for his screen to set, but I wonder if a deliberate screen is the best way for Curry to get a good shot up, and I return to my point about tempo, along with YT and FB’s superior analysis. The most important factor is that he simply gets that split second he needs and has options so he can choose his spots in a moving offense. Anyone can set a quick screen for Curry, regardless of size. At Davidson, he was able to run through two, even three picks around the court and quickly find his best opening.

            And if the offense is moving, Curry may be more effective without any screen any at all. There are reasons why he waves them off. Curry sees the court and reacts quickly, knows where defenders are on the court, who he’s up against, and what he can do against them. He can think faster than the defense, and that is his greatest strength.

            The best way to get Curry to shoot effective 3s is to turn him loose and let him shoot 3s. He has found so many ways to get a good shot up, that walk-up 3, for example, that catches the defense off guard every single time. Along with that, give him an active offense that provides him many options he knows how to use. Early offense, before defenders are set, gives him the best options. I would also be curious to see a comparison of percentages of 3s early and late in the shot clock, heavily suspecting the obvious, that they are much higher early.

          • Here we go again, all 272 made Curry 3′s last season. How many off a screen by Bogut—or any screen?

          • warriorsablaze

            I’m not sure how you see Lee pulling his man away… dude doubles from the right 3pt elbow where the screen is set all the way to the left 3pt elbow before breaking off. It may not be the best example of a failed Lee screen, but it does demonstrate another aspect… that Lee’s man can hedge on Curry and double him all the way. How many centers are going to chase him out there? Go to 3:13 and see Bogut set the screen on Thomas. Notice how Cousins is back in the lane… where centers live. And Curry simply shoots over him. Even if you disregard my impression of Lee’s screens, making the second defender the center both gives Curry a better look at a jump shot, and improves his ability to do a crossover to split the defenders and then penetrate. Wouldn’t you want the second defender attacking Curry to be the slowest guy on their team? That’s usually the center.

            Anyway, as I’ve said, I’m not trying to argue this is a better strategy, just discussing possible ways it can help Curry’s, and the team’s, offense.

          • Lee and Curry have been playing together for three years. The pick and roll has been a very effective weapon for these two for the entire time.

            The argument that Curry’s 3-pointer is valued higher than a Lee 2-pointer is valid when Curry is getting actual open looks. If the defense blitzes Curry off the high screen, Curry has been making that hook pass over his head back to Lee at the elbow. Lee probably makes 60 percent of those shots…a very high percentage. If someone steps out to guard him, then Lee either drives or dishes high-low to Bogut, etc. for an easy dunk. This offense is VERY EFFECTIVE. The difference when Bogut screens is that he offers a heavy screen, but very little offensive attacking ability from the elbow, which allows the defense to fully blitz Curry who is more reluctant to make that hook pass to Bogut.

            My opinion is that Jackson is focusing on matchups in order to get Curry, Thompson, Barnes or Lee the best matchup possible, on any given possession. He figures their overall talent will result in buckets. While this is the case a lot of the time, they are absolutely magical running a more free-flowing passing offense, especially with Iggy on the floor. I think Jackson is out-thinking himself…or maybe its his assistants who are doing all the thinking.

          • Agree with you RGG. Sometimes no screen is the best play and transition and early offense are the most efficient opportunities but PNR is frequently necessary but it is not always the end-move. It gets others involved, it sometimes results in a favorable switch that you subsequently beat 1:1, or it forces the defense to commit and then good ball movement keeps the defense chasing until you get a good shot. The important thing is to pick the right player for each of the roles and hope they have the IQ to make the right reads. Fortunately, the Warriors are loaded with IQ.

        • I totally disagree. In the playoffs, there will be no switching, Curry will never get open off Bogut screens, he’ll get BLITZED. As we saw ad nauseam last year. There is zero need to guard Bogut, particularly since he’s demonstrated an abject fear of rolling.

          As for Lee’s screens, if Jackson objected to him slipping, he’d tell Lee, and Lee would stick them. Because he’s a consummate team player.

          Thompson slips the screens too. Why? Because in pick and roll, the roller is the most dangerous player. And getting open is an art. That Lee happens to have absolutely mastered.

          David Lee is one of the greatest pick and roll centers the league has ever seen. Timing, hands, handle, shooting, passing, finishing, free throw shooting, he has it all. It’s earned him two allstar appearances. To compare him to Bogut in this role is a joke, as Jeff van Gundy made abundantly clear in last years playoffs, when he stated that the difference between the Spurs and the Warriors was that the Spurs had players who could actually catch and score in the pick and roll.

          Bogut has several times caused Curry turnovers recently because he is AFRAID to roll. Why? Because he’s afraid to go to the line. I saw his face after he airballed that free throw in Sacto. This is approaching Biedrins territory now.

          Against the Kings, whenever Curry couldn’t get his shot off a Bogut pick, he’d pass back to the stationary Bogut, then go back for a handoff, and run the same pick again. Pathetic. In the playoffs, this gets destroyed. Blitzed. Malone simply doesn’t have the personnel.

          David Lee has been completely marginalized this year, forced into an utterly unnatural role. As he was under Keith Smart before Kwame Brown got injured. And as he was under Jackson last year before Bogut stopped pretending to be healthy.

          Don’t confuse this with being a bad player. When unleashed last season, Lee led the Warriors in plus/minus, and literally carried them into the playoffs.

          (There you go, rgg. You got me.)

          • You only have to watch Lee doing night after night what he’s been doing for years with such effectiveness, so much so maybe we take it for granted.

            Which leaves us with the question what Jackson is doing and why. Lee didn’t get injured driving off the pick and roll, in fact what he’s doing now, banging, looks more risky.

            See if you can run it through Jackson’s perspective, if only for a better argument. For the life of me, I can’t see any sense in what he’s doing.

          • It’s the defensive end. Refusing to play Lee at center does preserve his body.

          • warriorsablaze

            Except in last years’ playoffs, Curry got tons of shots from Bogut screens, so I’m not sure what you’re saying. Curry gets blitzed no matter who sets the screen.. the difference being that at least Bogut occasionally slows down the guard.

            Lee has plenty of holes in his game… just like every player… if he were able to fix them, he would have by now. Why Lee doesn’t set solid screens, box out his man, or play help defense is a mystery to me… I love his game otherwise, but I guess I get particularly annoyed with players whose deficiencies are basketball fundamentals. Like Barnes and ball handling. There’s no excuse.

            As I said in the previous thread, I’m not necessarily saying it’s a better strategy, just speculating on the reasons for the offensive shift. The team didn’t suffer in rebounding or scoring with Lee out in the playoffs, and when Iggy was playing, they scored off the charts even with Lee in his diminished role. I like Lee for the most part, but I’m not convinced he’s essential for the team’s success anymore.

            Also, I never said Lee’s performance reflects being a bad player… I fully acknowledge that his role has changed in a way that doesn’t play to his strengths… I’m only wondering if his role was changed by the staff in an attempt to optimize the offense for Curry. Lee is great as the second option in the P n R, but he generally doesn’t help open up the primary option… which needs to be Curry if we want to win.

            Do we not agree that a Curry shot is generally the best shot on any given possession? Yes, Lee is a great traditional PnR player, but Curry is so unique that it requires a new paradigm. The goal of the action should be to get Curry open, not to get the roller open (as much as is possible). Lee’s only really good at the second part. He’s very good at it, in fact, but I’d still prefer get Curry more shots.

            Curry is pulling up for 3 on fast break and it’s a good shot…he’s literally changing the way the game is played. We’re likely to see the next generation of kids just as excited about 3 pointers as the previous generation was about dunks. We’re all gonna have to adjust our thinking as long as Curry is on “our” team.

          • A blitz occurs when the screener’s man jumps the pick and traps the ballhandler, leaving his own man wide open. Curry can’t get a shot in that scenario. His play is to hit the wide open screener. In the playoffs that was Bogut, and the result was too often simply Bogut playing “hot potato” (Jim Barnett’s phrase), looking for someone else to pass to.

            Attempting to blitz the pick and roll against a scoring big man like David Lee and a spread floor, on the other hand, is suicide. The result is Lee getting the ball wide open at the free throw line, playing 4 on 3, with the threat of driving, passing or shooting. Game over.

            And yes, the shot that results is far better than what Curry could get against the trap.

          • Kwame never played under Smart. Lee’s biggest problem during the Smart season was an infectious bite.

        • I definitely agree with YouTired that the ballhandler is also responsible for the screen. It’s something Curry also has to work on… I suspect a good portion of the illegal screens called this season are set in motion due to Curry making his move too soon.

    • WaB,

      Find the ton of made 3s off Bogut screens in the playoffs in the YouTube. I went through once and I think I saw one.

  4. Barnett is being forced out? I had assumed he was simply retiring.

  5. Bucher asked Bogut after the game “I noticed you were flexing your ankle during the middle of the game, any problems going on”

    Bogut responded, “nope, 100%” with a smirk on his face. Steph yelled, “no ankle questions” in the background.

    I think Bogut’s ankle was sore or maybe he tweaked it, but I think it had some affect on his play against the Kings.

    • Given what I’ve learned about Matt Steinmetz being forced out of CSN, if Bucher keeps asking questions like that, he’ll follow Steinmetz out the door.

      • Wow. Just Googled Matt Steinmetz. He now co-hosts a sports talk show on 95.7. Other than that, Matt is a Twitter presence only.

        In one recent tweet he said the Ws need a game manager. Maybe it’s comments like that that got him canned @ CSN. Or maybe now he’s simply free to speak reality, instead of shouting relentless boosterism like Fitz, St. Jean, Poole and the rest of the guys on the Ws TV broadcasts.

        Especially that smirking fool Poole. I had to laugh recently when he spoke of the team trading Monta. Pure company-line bull about changing the culture, as if the coach didn’t call the plays or call Monta’s number. Poole actually said shedding Monta was worthwhile even if Bogut could never play. What a horse-butt.

        Sadly, trying to fool customers (fans, in this case) with hype and nonsense is always a losing game. It destroys loyalty.

        Lacob is showing his marketing amateurishness again. Let’s hope he comes to his senses before losing Barnett, one of the best and most professional color commentators in the NBA.

        I’m considering creating a website named inbarnettwetrust.com. Any thoughts?

  6. In answer to Frank’s question on the previous post:

    Speights may well be the best outside shooter after Curry through Barnes, which isn’t saying much because he doesn’t have much competition, other than Green.

    Shorthanded and hobbled as they are, the Warriors are in no position not to make use of whatever talents they have. He’s probably worthless on isolation and can’t be expected to drive, though if he has openings created by a supporting cast, he should be able to finish inside. We have also seen blocks and rebounds. It’s an experiment that will never be run, but I would be curious to see what he could do if he played extended minutes with the starters in place of Bogut or O’Neal, and I suspect, played correctly, there could well be a net gain or at least no serious loss.

    It is somewhat heartening that the Warriors have played close games since Iguodala went down, and, as has been discussed here, they could have played better.

    What we need to do, idly, of course, is figure out how to make best use of the players we have, including Barnes, and Bogut on offense, where I still struggle for answers. It’s not having him play up top with screens. Feeding him moving to the basket, as FB says, may be the best and most likely option.

    The other thing we can do is figure why that is not being done.

  7. the bogut + lee offense succeeded despite itself when iguodala was on the floor with them, and the absent wing’s minutes were leading the team. they’re floundering without him, with changes imposed on lee because of his greater versatility and range of scoring skills. apparently the best the preacher and his staff can do without iguodala is a middling affair, accurately reflected within standard deviation by their record and place in the standings. iguodala’s return will improve the results but the coaching deficiencies won’t be going away soon.

  8. moto, I think that’s a really good summation of what is going on right now, at least from our outsiders perspective. Missing the floor spreading, and defensive ability of both Douglas and Iggy has cost the Warriors in recent games. Douglas, while not a supersub by any means, certainly took the defense up a notch when he was in the game. A lineup of Douglas, Klay, Iggy, Green and Bogut could rival Chicago’s best lineups in terms of intensity and instinct.

  9. Toronto:

    Get ready for a roller coaster ride. Go here, and look at the graph of the score and watch it drop when Green, Curry, Thompson, Lee, and O’Neal played:

    http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20131203&game=TORGSW

    Do they have a better lineup without Iguodala?

    • if o’neal were physically up to playing 30 min. every night, it would be bogut and barnes who’d be back ups — o’neal with either lee or green, plus iguodala, curry, thompson, or lee and green with the three guards. but perhaps bogut was benched during the come back due to a physical impairment, rendering him slower than the ‘elderly’ o’neal. the coaches managed to shape Mr.Barnes too much into a shooter/scorer and the rest of his game regressed.

  10. Crazy game… from complete depression to absolute elation. Beautiful 4th quarter. Good to see an actual offense that wasn’t just iso’s… yes, including some beautiful PnR play with Lee that’s been missing lately. JON was a beast.

    MT2 tweeted that Curry scored or assisted on 28 of 31 Warrior points in the final 8 minutes. He’s unreal right now.

    It’s pretty clear that Bogut is either hurt or fatigued from playing more minutes than he has in years. He’s contributing, but definitely not moving well. Glad MJ stuck with JON in the 4th…dude was ballin’ like it was 1997.

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