Rockets 116 Warriors 112: I See You

It’s pretty clear to me that given the superlative performance of their big men, the Warriors would have won this game against the Rockets pretty handily if they’d had Andre Iguodala. The Warriors were bedeviled in two areas last night: their perimeter defense, and Curry being unable to free himself from the predatory Patrick Beverly. Iggy would have made a major difference in both areas.

Bogut pointed the finger at the perimeter players post-game, saying that they allowed too much penetration, which was right on the money. Klay did a really good job on Harden last year, but this time around, with Harden healthier, Klay let him sneak into the lane a little too much — that’s where those 9 assists came from.

Barnes had a really good game on the offensive end (although his stats were padded considerably by the Warriors’ fouling end game). Also a great rebounding game, his first of the season. But he was otherwise completely invisible on defense, requiring help on every Parsons drive, and unable to slow his production at all.

Quite obviously, if you can put Iggy on Harden, and get Draymond Green onto Chandler Parsons, you have a different ballgame.

As for Curry’s problems, whenever you have a great defender ballhawking Curry that closely, there’s a simple solution — move Curry off the ball. So…. oops there’s the problem. The Warriors don’t have a working point guard behind Curry at the moment.

So, yeah, Iggy. Would have made a huge difference in this game. A winning difference.

Bogut: played a fantastic game last night, despite being overworked by the Warriors’ poor perimeter defense. And I really don’t want to take anything away from it, but it should be pointed out that Howard is still nothing like the player he was in the past. There’s no explosion there, is there? No lift, no bounce, no lightning fast rotations on the defensive end.

Mo Speights: was the shocker for most, obviously. He finally showed a little of what he can do on the offensive end. Those many Warriors fans who have been vocal in their hate of Speights should note what Bogut had to say about him post-game: that’s he’s one of the most talented players he’s ever been around, in terms of his skillset. That’s a pretty strong statement. And it indicates that there might be something to what I have been arguing, that he can be an extremely useful player when played in the right system. Which is to say, at center, guarding big players instead of stretch-fours, and spreading the floor and playing pick and pop on the offensive end. Mark Jackson hasn’t gotten that right so far this season, and may never have gotten it right, if not for the O’Neal injury.

Speights’ real limitations are not on offense — which is what he’s most getting hated on for now — but on defense. He’s simply a very low IQ player, and that was on frequent display last night. He appeared to forget several times that James Harden is left-handed when guarding the pick and roll. But we knew this coming in about Speights, right? The trick to getting value from him is to simplify his role as much as possible. That means playing him at center, keeping him as close to the basket as possible, where he’s a decent post defender, a pretty good rebounder, and provides a little rim protection as well.

Speights has struggled with what Mark Jackson wants from him this season — which is completely to be expected coming to a new team and new system. But also completely to be expected because Mark Jackson himself is struggling badly in all facets of his game plan this season, not least of all in his deployment of Speights. Speights’ confidence has taken a major hit, and his shot has suffered. But is it really reasonable for Warriors fans to hate on him for missing shots? No, not any more than it’s reasonable to hate on David Lee for missing his. Both of these guys have considerable track records — Lee has been over 50% his entire career, Speights is one of the best midrange shooters in the NBA (top five last season) — and what we witnessed last night was simply regression to the mean.

Speights tweeted “Don’t give up on me Warriors fans” after the game last night. Which tells you the depth to which he’s been feeling his bad play to start the season, and the hate he’s been getting from the fans. And I’ll admit that crusty and cynical old feltbot felt a little pang for him. I think Warriors fans need an attitude adjustment: lighten up and give him time to find his role on this team. And don’t blame him if Mark Jackson keeps putting him in positions to fail.

Mark Jackson: did a pretty good job last night, imnsho. I did notice Speights and Lee at center and the attempts at smallball. Unfortunately, the Rockets small lineup was better than the Warriors’ last night. They hit their threes, and we didn’t. That had something to do with the fact that our threes were principally being taken by Green and not Curry or Thompson. Yes, Iggy will change this.

What I didn’t notice was the Rockets getting to the rim against this unit. There are some defensive benefits to getting smaller and quicker players on the floor. It’s not all negative. This will be completely obvious if Jackson keeps going to these units after Iggy returns.

One quibble: If you’re going to play smallball, you must make a concerted effort to up the tempo. That means running after made baskets, not just after turnovers and rebounds.

Like Chandler Parsons and the Rockets did, while Barnes was still hanging on the rim after a dunk.

Nedovich: Getting DNPs now that Douglas has returned. I like Nedo. I like his IQ, his poise, his ball handling, his court vision. But you’re not an NBA point guard if you can’t shoot. It’s really that simple, sorry.

How many times is Joe Lacob going to repeat this mistake?

David Lee: pretty much returned to form last night, although his jumper is still wonky. But I can guarantee that no mention will be made of his defense on Terrence Jones (7 points on 2-8). As an athletic stretch-four, Jones is a very tough cover not just for Lee, but for the rest of the league. Take a look at his recent boxscores — he’s been lighting it up this season.

Due to the fact that he’s been marginalized in the offense by Mark Jackson this year, and is suffering through an undeniable shooting slump, Lee has been getting an increasing amount of hate from the blogosphere lately. Ethan Strauss just stated in his latest piece that “the majority of Warriors fans” want Lee to be traded. (I know Strauss is connected, but he must know, like, everyone.) And now Sleepy Freud has written a piece on GSoM arguing that Green should start at power forward. (Seriously, at 6-5 and 3/4? Sorry, but this is just as absurd as those wanting Barnes to start over Lee. Both Barnes and Green are too small to handle a full meal of the Kevin Love’s, LA’s and Blake Griffins of the West. The player who is currently blocking Green, and I don’t know how this isn’t completely obvious, is Harrison Barnes.)

There is only one true starting power forward on the Golden State Warriors. He’s a guy who can bang with the biggest and toughest in the league for 38 minutes a game, 81 games a year. While leading the league in 20 and 10 performances. He’s the ultimate gamer, who doesn’t ask out with a tooth in his elbow, or any other ailment. Who insists on playing with a severed hip flexor. Who shows up every single game of every single season, home or away.

He’s the guy who always seems to give it to Kevin Love, considered the best power forward in the league by the pundits and gurus. (And whose own defense is never remarked upon.)

He’s the ultimate teammate, willing to make any sacrifice for the betterment of the team. Who does exactly what the coach asks of him, even when the coach has got it completely ass-backwards.

He’s a guy who is so smart and so skilled on the offensive end, that George Karl recently stated you could run your offense through him.

He’s a two-time AllStar. Put there by coaches, not by the mouth-breathers who are currently voting in Kobe Bryant over Stephen Curry.

He’s the guy who led the Warriors in plus/minus last season. (This fact has been conveniently omitted from every single negative analysis of his play that has ever been published. Every single one. Why? Confirmation bias, anyone?)

David Lee is a freakin’ great player, and it simply astonishes me that Warriors fans, who haven’t had a power forward like him on their team in their lifetimes — and never will again — can’t appreciate what he brings to the table.

I see you, David Lee.

32 Responses to Rockets 116 Warriors 112: I See You

  1. Apologies to those I keep faking out by saying I’m not recapping. Feel free to repost any comments on the last thread.

  2. +1 Felty. Jackson did a decent job throughout the game, especially on Harden and Howard. Bogut also played with passion.

    I posted on the previous thread, similarly, but what is up with Jackson not giving players more floor time when they earn it? Last night was the perfect example. With Speights playing his game of the year, he gets pulled for the last three minutes because Jackson wants his “finishing” lineup in. The only problem? His finishing lineup is also his starting lineup that has gotten blown out in 70 percent of first quarters this season. To his credit, Jackson has started to put Green into his “finishing” lineup — a key move in the Dallas win.

    My issue is that Jackson’s “finishing” lineup is actually Steph Curry doing miraculous things. Last night, his “finishing” lineup should have included Speights. It’s a simple concept. When a guy is feeling it in the second half, he needs to be on the floor during crunch time.

    Along those lines, it’s time for Green to start over Barnes…those two should be playing even minutes, with Barnes as “instant offense” when he can be inserted into the game against a smaller player.

  3. Keep ‘em coming, FB, and thanks. We’re in an odd phase now, with the subs and depleted roster, and every game now will teach us something.

    Hopefully.

    Great writeup on Speights. He deserves our attention—and Jackson’s.

    Per your invitation, my comment again on the game. But I think the point stands, that the team will need some help to make it into the playoffs. We don’t know what kind of shape Iguodala will be in when he returns.

    I was pissed yesterday because I anticipated a blowout, so was pleasantly surprised with the Houston game. It was good to see them find other ways to score, from unexpected players. Big credit to Bogut and Speights.

    And Lee.

    First, though, I’m tired of Fitz giving the defense credit when the other team doesn’t score. Houston had plenty of open looks the first quarter and wasn’t hitting. We got off to another rough start but weren’t hurt because of that. And Howard is nearly helpless from 10 feet out. He doesn’t know what to do with the ball. But both Bogut and Speights stayed on him well.

    I don’t know how to assess Barnes’ performance. He got his points and boards for a change, though, again, he was left openings by the Houston defense. Then his defense, as you said.

    The team is going to need all it can get from all its players, and, as I argued earlier, the subs are going to need playing time with a good lineup. Bogut played well both ends, but I was glad his fouls gave more time to Speights. I complained earlier that MJ was trying to turn him into an inside player, but he needs to drive and he finished well last night. He still needs to shoot. If he can fill in at 4 and 5, it will be a boost to playoff chances.

    I almost wished Curry stayed out for more minutes because of his fouls so Douglas got more quality time. He did do well against the Spurs. And Curry was rendered ineffective on defense because of his fouls.

    But the game was lost because of shooting. The 3′s put Houston over the top, and with their lineup it will be hard to stop all their threats. I still wish we had another effective shooter. I still don’t have that much confidence in Barnes or Green over the long haul. Klay, of course, had a bad night.

    Curry and Klay need a facilitator, and with Iguodala out, they need to pick one up, a third guard if Douglas doesn’t develop. They need someone to take the defensive load off Curry and Klay and find them. I don’t believe Curry can close out by himself consistently, nor does that make full use of his talents. He will need to play off the ball at times 4th Q, as he was able to with Jack.

    I was mistaken—Curry and Douglas played together, but not those two and Klay. There will be games where a three guard lineup with some combination of Lee, Speights, Bogut, and Green can be effective, and last night was one of them. A good point guard with a scoring threat, if they can pick one up, could tip the scales this season. He will be useful when Iguodala returns to run the second unit and spell the starters. If that isn’t possible, a plain old spot up shooter would help. They need some kind of scoring help on the bench.

    OK, Lacob. If money isn’t an object, put some up for another player.

    I do hope this game knocked the superman nonsense out of Curry’s head. He made some really bonehead plays, bad passes and two dumb fouls. He will be great only if he has a very good team.

    Last thought. If Houston had started hot, this would have been a very different game. The Warriors would have been playing catchup the rest of the game, losing by at least a dozen points. Last night was not a validation of “Warriors brand of basketball.”

  4. I’d like to see Green get more minutes with the 4 starters (i.e. instead of Barnes). Barnes replacing Iggy has not worked at all.

    • You can see the plus/minus stats EvanZ posted on twitter regarding Barnes v. Iggy in the starting lineup in my twitter sidebar.

    • green’s role has been expanded a bit recently to keeping the starters out of foul trouble, taking the worst defensive assignment regardless of position : der Dirkster, the great ellis, harden last night.

      the preacher has limited sense of chemistry, persisting in starting barnes + bogut +lee despite repeated slow starts (last night an exception) and plenty signs of mistuning like the high turnovers and defensive lapses. marcus thompson II wrote a recent essay advocating green as a starter to give them immediate energy and cohesion. so far, the Rev. Jackson has relied on torrid shooting by curry and/or thompson to cover up erratic team play but they look like a .500-ish team and their record reflects it. do they really wish to write off another 10 to 14 days waiting for iguodala’s return ?

  5. Here’s one to stir things up: what if (ha!) the Warriors traded Barnes for a versatile guard, one with some size and experience, say of the caliber of JJack, though I’m not sure Jack would be the best fit. I don’t say this to ridicule Barnes but rather to make a realistic assessment of Barnes and the team’s needs now and in the future.

    What is lost, what is gained on defense?

    We’d lose a larger and more athletic defender to put on other larger players, but the evidence that Barnes takes advantage of these is not good. But that guard would help shore up the perimeter (was Jack a good defender?) and Green would get more minutes to fill that role, richly deserved and needed.

    What is lost, what is gained on offense?

    Barnes is scoring at times, but as noted many times here, largely in favorable situations and he still doesn’t capitalize on his size and speed. The guard would pick up much of that offense, maybe all, but also he would help the other players score more as well by opening the court, challenging defenses, and setting up our shooters, and taking shots himself. Any loss on offense would more than be made up here. That guard would also help fill in for Iguodala now, as well as spell him, Klay, and Curry, who will need to be preserved for postseason. He could run a second unit and give more options, say a three guard set, which I’d like to see.

    The major loss here is a future all star, viewed with skepticism here. What’s the most optimistic estimate, assuming such a thing and Barnes’ progress so far? Three years? Another gain might be savings on a big contract that doesn’t pan out.

    • I’m torn about trading Barnes this season, because he has so much potential value to the team as a stretch-four. He’s really pretty darn good in that role.

      Reasons to trade Barnes:
      1) Jackson will play him ahead of Green at the three.
      2) Jackson will hardly ever play him where he belongs, at the four.
      3) Going forward, he and his agent will grow disgruntled with his reserve role.
      4) There are currently a lot of optimists in the press, and probably in some front offices as well, who think he is a starting caliber NBA small forward. The number of these optimists will dwindle over time.

      • He may well be more valuable than Green as a stretch four. Green can’t move to the hoop as well as Barnes, even with the limited openings Barnes can take advantage of, and may not be as good a 3 point shooter, though its only 37% to 39%, and I’m not convinced either is that good. (There has to be a better way to measure effectiveness in 3’s—situation, etc.—because percentages don’t tell the whole story. Some .275 baseball hitters are good hitters, some aren’t. All .300 hitters are good, however, as are 40%+ 3 point shooters.)

        But run the whole +/– above, what is gained, what is lost.

        I suppose I should leave this one alone, though I don’t know why. There isn’t a chance in hell Lacob will let Barnes go or be benched now, not the player he tanked for. It would be admitting a gross mistake. I’m betting he’ll ride this horse to a big contract.

        There’s still Douglas, and he should be given every chance to prove himself, but I’m skeptical he’ll have time to develop and show what he’s worth or that he will be good enough if he does, so he won’t have his contract renewed, though Ned and the D-Leaguers won’t push him out.

      • Felt, to be perfectly precise here, your “reasons to trade Barnes” amount to a list of “reasons to question Jackson’s use of Barnes.”

  6. Agree with you entirely on Lee’s immense value to the Warriors.

    I doubt Speights reads this blog so don’t think our criticism is going to effect his play. He did not a good job last night on the offensive boards last night, I believe 8 offensive rebounds and on put backs and tips. Yeah, he finally completed a drive and made one or two outside shots. Doubt that we’ll see that more than once every 24 game. Defensively, he was a complete mess and one of the reasons that Houston shot 49 percent from the floor.

    Once again, small ball sucked without Iggy. Houston did score at will inside playing agains small ball but more devastating was the fact with the perimeter player going inside in vain effort to defend inside, Houston perimeter players torched us from the 3-point line.

    Why is Thompson having so many horrendous starts at the beginning of games?

    • Check EvanZ interesting analysis of that in my twitter sidebar. It’s the difference between playing with Barnes and Iggy.

  7. After shooting off he chart the first 14 games, Thompson has fallen on hard times as he shot only 34.1 percent( 60-176) from the field over the last 10 games. However, he has shot 42% (37-87) over the same period of games shooting three’s. Hopefully, Iggy returning will result in his shooting better.

  8. I added another small point about Lee to the main post. About his plus/minus last season.

  9. Feltbot: These are very fine appreciations of both players. It’s hard to be positive in analysis, often for good reasons.

  10. Some tentative thoughts on the value of rebounds:

    This is an argument, or the sketch of one, against both putting too much emphasis on a raw statistic as well as selecting players based on the same. Lacob’s evaluation of Lou Amundson’s rpm still burns in my ear. I wouldn’t be surprised if the FO didn’t pass on a directive to get rebounds up, regardless, and likely at the expense of overall play. At any rate both Smart and the Preacher have been preaching rebounds to the press for years now.

    Last night the Warriors outrebounded Houston 56 to 32. And lost. I would bet that McHale did not find that stat alarming or is especially concerned, that the numbers are deceiving.

    1. Offensive rebounds:

    One reason for the disparity last night is offensive rebounds, 19 to 7 in favor of the Warriors. But in many cases players rebounded themselves: they missed a shot and put it back up (there’s a rebound in that, right?), Speights on one play 3 times. But give the big guy credit for sticking with it and getting the most important stat, 2 points.

    Also their players got to the line more for free throws, especially Harden and Howard, and there are no rebounds on this scoring opportunity, obviously. Barnes, Bogut, and Green didn’t go to the line at all, and Thompson only three times.

    Many coaches don’t put that much emphasis on offensive rebounding anyway. It’s more important to get back on defense. Feltbot gave a link about this some time ago, from top coaches on top teams. And if a team is pushing fast breaks and up tempo offense, there won’t be time for players to get set for boards, certainly not their big center.

    But that loss is more than offset by the much greater efficiency of up tempo scoring.

    2. 3 point shots and shooters:

    Any good 3 point shooting team, like Houston, as the Warriors are and should be, is going to concede rebounds. The misses will bounce long, away from the big front court. Also 3 point shooters tend not to be as large, or good rebounders (Curry is an exception, and his example is a good one for team rebounding, against relying too much on the front court).

    But that loss is well offset by the greater efficiency of 3 point shooting, 3 points for the single shot versus 2. And 3 point shooting won the game for Houston and is holding them in the standings.

    3. Easy boards:

    Some rebounds just aren’t that difficult and aren’t that meaningful. You just have to be standing under the board at the time and it falls in your hands. Any sizable player will get these boards, especially if he is designated as the rebounder. All the more reason to get a fairly large guy who can do something else on the other end.

    4. Offensive loss:

    But if you select players because they are good rebounders, even though poor offensively, you’re giving up points, not just what these guys don’t score, but how they affect the rest of the team by not taxing the opponents’ defenses, putting more pressure on the other players. We’ve been hearing this one here for years now. And I’m not just talking about Bogut, but many of the defensive players GSW has brought in.

    5. Real boards:

    There should be a way to measure serious rebounds, and not just the ones that are easy or are conceded. Here you gauge a rebounder’s range and ability to box out and get tough boards. These should be the true measure of a rebounder.

    I’m only talking about rebounds, of course. There are other defensive factors to consider—blocks, stops, etc.—when evaluating any player. But even here it’s got to add up and move to the plus side on +/–, when it comes to the score.

    This is sketchy and can be added to, some significant numbers added.

    • Interesting analysis. It is always fascinating when teams win while getting pounded on the boards. There is something to learn there, something mysterious about the essence of the game.

      (I was frequently fascinated watching Don Nelson’s Warriors teams.)

    • whenever someone comments, well of course (team x) lost, they were annihilated on the boards, especially (pick one or two players to blame), my reaction is, superficial generalization from a casual fan. several of your reasons (three point shooting, free throws, transition offense which all help increase scoring and possession efficiency) are a big part of why rebounds is a single factor that can be outweighed in the winning equation by others equally important.

      if Hou shot its free throws just a bit better their win would have looked more decisive. as it was, the edge they had in made free throws, or the margin of points they converted from woeyr turnovers vs. what the home team did with the Hou turnovers, coincided pretty much with the score. they also made more of their 3’s. safe to guess, GS will lose the games when they concede all three of those contests within the game. if they play a clean, efficient offense keeping turnovers down, making 3’s, a clean, efficient defense keeping their fouls down and limiting opponent 3’s, they can win plenty of games while getting out-rebounded.

      • This is only a sketch and much more has to be considered. But that’s my point. My real concern is when a simple stat is used to determine rosters and strategy. Jackson is often playing big, Lee plus one of the centers, Bogut regardless, etc. Wouldn’t the team be more effective overall if Lee played with a versatile F in many situations, and if they do sacrifice rebounds, that isn’t significant? As has been discussed here many times. And many players have been put on the roster simply because they are big and can rebound. At what price?

        We’ve also discussed turnovers being caused by the offensive system, its lack of coherence, its not being tailored for the players we have and their talents. Yet it’s the stat the media has pushed many games as a significant factor. D’Antoni, during Lin’s run in NY, said he wasn’t concerned about Lin’s turnovers as long as the team was pushing the action.

        But I’d like to see something more sophisticated. Is playing big always, or most of the time, the best defense?

  11. Why is Lee shooting fewer jumpers this season?

    I’d hypothesize that it’s analytics driven. The discussion by Fitz and Barnett last night about Houston’s analytical approach — shooting 3s or driving to the hoop, must be the same train of thought for the Warriors. Lee has been noticeably more aggressive driving to the basket this season, rather than shooting that 10 to 15 footer he’s done so well with in the past several years. Why would he stop shooting that shot? Because the analytics say it’s not as high percentage of a shot.
    Additionally, there was a lot of post game chatter about how Speights had not done what Mark Jackson wanted….I’m guessing Jackson was done with the long 2s that Speights has missed for most of the season. In turn, Speights got more minutes as he started crashing to the hoop (with success).

    The problem with the analytics driven approach for this Warriors team is that they are more skilled than athletic. If it’s obvious what they are going to do (i.e. Lee’s drives to the hoop without a pump fake, or Curry and Klay always trying to squeeze off threes because they are ordered not to shoot the midrange jumper), it makes them one dimensional, and limits the offenses’ effectiveness.

    Iguadola is the answer because passing trumps everything. Making the extra pass almost always gets an open 3, and Iggy and Green are the two guards who make the extra pass. Barnes, as I continue to say, kills the offense because he does not pass or is too slow to pass after he recieves a pass.

    Major problems until Iggy is back in the lineup. Don’t forget, this is the same team as last year, minus the scoring of Jack and Landry when Iggy is out.

    • That’s a very interesting point about analytics possibly being behind Lee and Speights being forced to drive rather than shoot. That could very well be. If so, though, the Warriors are making a very big mistake, for several reasons.

      First of all, if the Warriors don’t want Speights to shoot from midrange, then why did they sign him? That is his signature skill set. And he is a particularly inept ballhandler and finisher.

      Secondly — and this is a point I made to EvanZ once — there is a big difference between wings shooting midrange shots, and big men shooting them. It is extremely valuable, and efficient, when your big men can shoot from midrange. Why? Because it pulls opposing big men out of the lane and opens up the possibility of the most efficient shot possible, the layup, for your other players. Also, your big man is frequently the man left wide open at the end of the shot clock. When your options are between a wide open midrange shot from a good shooter, or a forced three or forced drive in traffic, which is the most efficient?

      I recently retweeted @Haralabob making this second point on twitter. He’s the analytics guy I respect the most, because he has wagered his own money on the predictive ability of his proprietary analytics, and done extremely well.

    • If you’re right, it’s a scary thought that strategy is being driven by a raw stat. And if so, I’m curious how this has been done. Is Jackson reading the studies and saying hey boys let’s try this? Or is he getting a message from above and complying?

      Lee has been a 50+% shooter for the previous eight seasons. As you say, it’s hard to believe he’s lost his touch. And he’s done it without Iguodala, though obviously he’s a factor the last few weeks. We speculated earlier that the system was causing Lee’s shooting woes. I can’t help wondering if such a directive might make him a poorer shooter simply because he’s taking the midrange shot less, thus not getting into a rhythm during the game and game to game, and maybe feeling self-conscious about it?

  12. First, thank you for calling me a moron bc I think Barnes will develop into a good starting sf. I guess that means, that if you’re wrong, then you’re the moron and I’m the genius? He’s only 21 so it will take another couple of years and then he’ll be about DGreen’s current age, right? I can wait.

    DGreen and Barnes are such different types of players I don’t like comparing them to claim one is “better” than the other. Was Battier “better” than Sean Elliott? Why even try to go there? The Warriors need both of these guys and their different skill sets long term.

    Second, Nedovic can shoot. You watch his pre-game shooting? Watch it some time. He was hitting his outside shot without problem in his DLeague game also. From the three-point line, too. Just like Speights can shoot ( though not from three-point range). Nedovic needs some time to relax and gain some confidence, then he’ll be fine. Probably won’t happen for him this year, though.

    • I probably shouldn’t have used that word, sorry to offend. But please note I was directing it towards professionals, not fans. Critiquing the media and NBA executives is part of what I do.

      I don’t want to tell fans who they can and can’t like. I certainly have had very idiosyncratic favorites in the past. I do think it is appropriate to make judgements between players like Green and Barnes, though. Warriors fans will always discuss whether Klay Thompson is better than Kawhi Leonard, although they’re extremely different and difficult to compare. And I believe there is an answer lurking there, as difficult as it may be to discern in the fog of skillsets, team, coach and system.

      I don’t happen to think, even taking into account their likely development, that Green and Barnes are as equal in value to a winning team as are Thompson and Leonard. And I’m going to continue voicing that opinion, because that’s what I do. Feel free to disagree.

      I hope you’re right about Nedo being able to shoot. He hasn’t shown it in games yet. In fact, he has frequently passed up open threes in favor of a worse option. I think that’s a major reason why he’s sitting on the bench.

      Bottom line, if he can shoot, he has a chance in the league. If he can’t, then he doesn’t. That was my point.

      That and the fact that Joe Lacob once again stocked his bench with a player who isn’t ready, when the Warriors needed someone who was.

    • OT: I’d be happy to be called a moron if Barnes develops into the kind of player you describe. It would mean we’d have a much stronger team, which is the common interest.

      But what are these projections based on? Most I’ve seen refer to his athleticism. But he’s missing many skills kids show off in high school, ball handling for example. And he lacks court vision. Can that be learned? Even as a scorer he’s limited. He’s not one of those players who can get up a shot regardless of his defender or drive effectively in any situation and at least draw a foul. It feels like you have to cut his steak into pieces before he can eat it.

  13. This is just scary:

    http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=400489220

    Portland blows out Philly, sinking 21 3’s. 5-5 for Dorell Wright, good to see.

  14. In describing Omri Casspi, Kelvin Sampson gives one of the best definitions of a stretch-four I’ve ever seen: “If you put him at the three he shows you what he can’t do. If you put him at the four he shows you what he can do.”

    http://blog.chron.com/ultimaterockets/2013/12/offseason-recruitment-by-rockets-boosts-confidence-of-casspi/

    Couldn’t express my feelings about Harrison Barnes any better.

  15. Actually, Felt, I wasn’t offended. I don’t take this too personally. I was having a bit of fun with you back.

    Rgg, I do think Barnes is in the process of developing into a very good player. He’s got tremendous athletic ability, good size and an excellent work ethic. His ball handling is greatly improved over last year, which has been the key obstacle to his short term development. He has had games when he’s been the best one or two players on the court. Then he’ll have a game where he recedes into the woodwork. His court vision will never be great. But he can be a great scorer and defender of multiple positions. He is an athletic mismatch who you can iso down the stretch, who can post up smaller guys and blow by bigger guys. That is an incredibly valuable skill set to have in the nba, and that is who I see Barnes developing into. He’s only 21 and by all accounts he’s the hardest worker on the team. His bball IQ needs further development, but so does Klay’s, right? And Klay’s several years older.

    • you could be right about Mr. Barnes learning to become very good. questionable, though, if his bb i.q. will improve that much — certainly he can learn to recognize and remember patterns and sequence probabilities better with experience, but nearly everyone notices his limited court vision. questionable if he’s the hardest worker on the team, or if ‘mates, coaches, marketing are providing positive reinforcement. working smarter is just as important as working harder, and green probably works smarter, if we go by how quickly he notices nuances and adjusts or directs ‘mates to adjust in motion during the games.

      problem is, if he does become very good, his agent and team marketing translate that to ‘near elite’ or ‘potential all star’ which we’ve already been inundated with. that means contract expectations appropriate to the hype. my guess, one of the limiting factors is his personality. he comes off as someone who doesn’t work in practices so much as he rehearses. a lot of his play looks deliberate and reactive, self conscious rather than spontaneous, half a beat behind what a player with decisiveness and anticipation would do, and his foot speed can’t compensate for that. there’s a significant difference between the top .40 or .3o who are very good and the top .15 who are elite, and for players in the 3-4 wing/’tweener niche, the competitive standard is extremely tough. chandler parsons isn’t quite as tough as george or leonard, but Mr.Barnes has some distance to go before approaching parsons.