Pre-game Jitters: Warriors @ Suns

The surprising Phoenix Suns present a nightmare matchup problem for the Warriors. I have no idea how the Warriors win this game if Mark Jackson refuses to match up small, as he did in Charlotte.  

The Suns have a two point guard backcourt in Bledsoe and Dragic that has been lighting up the league. Literally the best backcourt in the league on many nights so far this season. How can the Warriors match up without starting Toney Douglas?

I assume Jackson’s opening move will be to crossmatch Curry on 5th option PJ Tucker. But I’m not even sure how that will work out, because Tucker is a rugged, rugged customer.

And it won’t help much even if it does work, because Thompson and Barnes cannot guard the lightning quick Bledsoe and Dragic. No way, no how. They’re going to get lit up.

David Lee also has a nightmare matchup, because every single Suns power forward is a stretch-four. Channing Frye to start, and the interchangeable Morris twins off the bench. Meaning that Lee is going to spend the game trying to guard out at the three point line. Meaning that he’s going to get beat on drives, and be lucky to get 6 rebounds.

Bogut won’t have it much better. Not that Miles Plumlee will create a lot of problems in the half court. The way Bogut gets tortured against teams like this is different and manifold: 1) The mobile Plumlee will beat him up and down the court. 2) Bledsoe and Dragic will use the spread floor and their quickness advantage to mount a sustained assault on the rim. When Bogut rotates to challenge them strong side, the weak side will be wide open to cuts and rebounds. 3) Since Bogut cannot come out of the lane to guard the pick and roll, the Suns’ interchangeable point guards will have all the open foul line shots they can eat.

Foul trouble appears inevitable.

On the other end, Bledsoe is one of the best point guard defenders in the league. If not the best. Even better than Patrick Beverly, and that’s saying something: Beverly gave Curry all sorts of trouble last game. If Phoenix blitzes the Bogut high pick as ferociously as I think they will, another high turnover and stalled offensive game is highly likely.

So how can the Warriors win? Heavy doses of Lee at center and Toney Douglas at the point, that’s how.

Lee will have no problem matching up with Plumlee, and can easily run the floor with him.

And for heavens’ sake, use the Lee pick and roll to break the Curry blitz. If they want to double-team Curry, fine, Lee will bury them playing 4 on three from the foul line.

On the other side of the ball, Lee is a far better defender of the pick and roll than Bogut. He uses his quickness and smarts to come out to hedge against the ballhandler, cover the passing angles, and return to his man.

Toney Douglas can at the very least harass Bledsoe and slow him down. He also helps raise the Warriors’ team speed and amps up their three-point firepower.

With Lee at center, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green can match up with Frye and the Morri out on the floor. I’ll say this right upfront: Not a single one of the Suns’ power forwards can guard Barnes.

Now who wins in a three point shooting contest? Now whose big men run the floor better? Now whose pick and roll is better?

Now whose Nellieball is better?

I’m completely dreaming, of course.

What we’re really going to see:

30+ minutes of Bogut. Desperate alley-oops to feed him some points.

Lots and lots of zone, and packing the paint, and praying that the Suns miss their wide-open threes.

Lots and lots of turnovers. By the Warriors, against the quicker Suns.

Lots and lots of fastbreaks. By the Suns, against the slower Warriors.

The Warriors win the rebounding battle, but lose the war.

C’mon Mark Jackson. Prove me wrong.

Please.

138 Responses to Pre-game Jitters: Warriors @ Suns

  1. warriorsablaze

    Trying to muster some interest in this game, but the last month or so has quelled my excitement.

    It’s clear that Jackson believes that he can punish teams that play small by going big, despite no evidence suggesting that’s true with this particular roster, and plenty of evidence to the contrary.

    Who knows what the inner-workings really are, but at this point it just feels like hubris and a refusal to change course and admit his mistakes.

  2. Start Draymond instead of Barnes. Plz.

  3. Rockets within days of trading Asik.

    http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/rockets/article/Rockets-Asik-trade-situation-coming-into-focus-5065660.php?t=72899466c4f992f472

    Since it’s likely to be a three-way, it wouldn’t be totally out of left field if the Warriors got involved somehow. They’re shopping for a pointguard/sixth man, as their rumored interest in Kyle Lowry indicates.

  4. This preview will serve as my recap.

  5. Let me guess: they lost because they didn’t play Warrior brand of basketball.

    It is especially painful to watch them lose to a team playing the way the Warriors can and should play, and the Warriors have several superior players.

    I’m tired of hearing about turnovers. It’s one thing to make turnovers pushing the action and opening things up. What they’re doing is quite another. I’d like to see a video analysis of each play BEFORE the turnover and assess it for options offered. What you’d find is that there aren’t many. In many cases, there’s no movement on the floor and the offenders get trapped without any good option at all. The long pass Green threw away from the corner is one example. He was covered and had nothing else to do with the ball. They just replayed a Curry penetration where he tried to pass to Lee but turned it over. But again, both were well covered. Curry had nothing else to do.

    They are penetrating more, trying to get to the rim, often settling for difficult or impossible shots, missing, getting blocked, or turning the ball over. It’s an easily predictable offense where they dribble around and pass vainly, looking for openings in the lane which often are not there. I’d be curious to see a Goldsberry chart of efficiency in the paint, and I suspect we’d find they are not being efficient at all in raw percentage, and when you factor in the greater efficiency of 3 point shots, assuming they are working to get open looks, the real efficiency would be even less. And focusing on drives has to throw their shooting rhythm off—is this happening to Lee and Klay? Curry isn’t getting good shots either.

    The three guard plan would have worked well, FB, and it would have been useful later if developed now. They need to get Douglas going anyway.

    Dragic, 2nd. round, 45th pick, is exactly the kind of player they should have been keeping an eye out for three years ago. Look at how he has developed.

    I’m with WaB. I don’t know how much more of this I can watch. Where’s my bucket?

  6. D. Green, +6. No other Warrior had a positive +/-. 5 pts, 6 reb’s, 3 assists and the play of the night when he stole the ball from Bledsoe on the drive.

    Barnes: 8 pts, 4 boards, 2 assists, -6 in 36 mins. His contributions are pedestrian at best when he isn’t scoring. Start Green over Barnes.

    Felty, did you notice Channing Frye abuse both Barnes and Green? He is a tough cover…but Lee can guard him because he doesn’t drive well.

    I was actually pretty happy to see some progress for MJax in this game. He finally started sending Lee and Harrison Barnes out to set picks on Curry’s man and it slowed down the blitz. This bodes well going forward.

    Speights and Lee were allowed to take that midrange jumper this game…Lee is in a shooting slump right now. But Speights hit a three! (kudos Felty).

    Bogut was punishing his man on the low block in the first half…but the Warriors stopped going to him. Weirdly enough, I think he deserves more shots right now because his baby hooks are falling.

    • I suppose if they had a bigger, tougher 4 and tough guards they could play pound the paint against a team like Phoenix, focusing on Bogut, who should have vast advantage over Plumlee. But Bogut can’t keep it up all night and his hook is hit or miss. Most, they don’t have those kinds of players. And it wouldn’t work at all against the best teams.

      The Warriors are trying to be something they are not. Jackson said before the game they are a running team, yet isn’t doing anything to promote that. Their plan is just incoherent and contradictory.

      (Man, I’m pissed.)

      • The Warriors are a running team, but not a team that scares you going to the hoop on the fast break. Their fast break is built for getting transition 3s, but Barnes has totally killed the equation.

        At this point in his career, Barnes runs the floor poorly, stops the ball when he receives a pass and can’t really set up teammates to get open shots, outside of the occasional drive and dish to one of the bigs. He’s a second year player that should be getting about 15 minutes per game, but because Jackson and the FO see him as a hard worker and an asset to the overall brand of the Warriors, he’s getting the nod over players that will help them win (like Green).

        Thompson does seem to be having a brainfart in the first half right now. Not sure if it’s fatigue, playcalling or simply a let-down.

        Getting Iguodola and his skillset back into the lineup is crucial. I believe wins will follow.

    • Bogut should have been utterly dominant against a player like Plumlee. The problem with going to him often is that his shot isn’t consistent and doing so would have killed any attempt to push the pace, not done anyway. And Phoenix would only have had to harass him a bit more with double teams or foul him. 1 for 6 at the free throw line last night.

    • Wow, you really are a “glass half full” kind of fan if you can see progress in last night’s coaching.

  7. Iguodala was brought in because he would improve the defense, which is true and he has. But his real benefit to the team is that he makes up for the coaching incompetence.

  8. warriorsablaze

    Curry, Iggy, and Green are officially the only players on this team that I’m still a fan of. Bogut has been pretty good lately so I’ll give him a pass for now.

    Barnes is painfully mediocre, Klay is bi-polar and dumb as a brick, and Lee is just frustrating. At least one of these three should be moved… Jackson, too… but I’m sure that’s not happening any time soon.

  9. Denver, meanwhile, beat NO tonight without a center.

  10. I am interested to see what happens with Mark Jackson.
    I don’t think management is quite as sold on him as they make it seem.
    You figure they would have extended him last season after making the playoffs instead of just picking up his option.

  11. kudos to Chairman Felt for his succinct and accurate scouting report on Phx.

    we can only hope that the progress other novice coaches (not counting kidd of course) around the association, with modest rosters with limited playing time together might open the owner’s eyes about the Rev. Jackson. his own personnel decisions, neglecting to add two way players with one singular exception, and minimally addressing the need for quick perimeter defense, has definitely contributed to their stuck in the middle status.

  12. To say that the Warriors should have played more small ball is a joke, as the Warriors were outscored with smalls of the court, as the Warriors with Lee on the court were a minus 8, Barnes a minus 6, and Thompson a minus 10.

    The Warriors did ok on the defensive end holding the Suns to 45% shooting from the floor.

    Playing small also resulted in Suns player roaming free beyond the three point line. Also, Jackson’s penchant for allowing our opponents to take more threes as the Suns was a recipe’ for offensive disaster, along with Curry’s 6 turnovers, Bogut’s 4. Game over. If with Bogut’s turnovers the Warriors were only a minus 2. Bogut was the only big only big who played unless you count Speights.

  13. Please come back Iguodala. Please.

    I liked the Toney Douglas signing – he can shoot the three ball – but he seems to be another small tweener guard

    Draymond Green needs to play 30 minutes every night. Even when Iguodala comes back. Green’s defensive intensity makes good offensive players want to take the night off. Loved how he swiped the ball from Bledsoe…

    I thought I’d read Nedovic outplayed Dragic this year in Europe.

    I’d like to see how a defensive lineup of Curry, Iguodala, Klay, Green, and Bogut fares.

    Like Houston, Bogut pulled very early in the 4th quarter. Hmmm.

  14. Jackson doesn’t have explanations for his recent losses, he only has excuses. They’re wearing thin.

    “When my injured guys (the ones in suits) come back, we’ll play harder.”
    “My AllStars didn’t care enough.”
    “Turnovers are committed by players, it’s their fault.”

    Those excuses are also bad for team morale, the thing Jackson is supposedly best at. Trash your employees and you WILL lose them.

    We didn’t see any loafers last night. We saw a bunch of Warriors beaten by speed and athleticism they couldn’t match, not <wouldn't match. Guys with skill and talent crippled by a predictable – and inadequate – game plan on both ends of the floor.

    It doesn’t take a basketball genius to see any of that. I wonder what Lacob will do about it.

  15. The guys just don’t look right on the court. They have done better with lesser rosters. Run down game logs the past years, and you won’t find performances that match the ones we’ve seen the last weeks, especially from Lee and Klay. There’s not a head case, a prima donna in the bunch. They are all motivated and have played hard from day one. They are not stupid and they are not careless.

    The problem is not them.

    The beauty of a game like last night’s is that you can use the numbers to prove anything you want. Adam Lauridsen, master of the superficial, I see, is using it to ride his favorite hobby horse, David Lee. But the numbers are close enough that failed strategists won’t see the errors in their plans.

    I think everyone is ignoring the real problem player. He is a poor defender who does not help contain the perimeter. He has become a volume shooter. He turns the ball over too much. He cannot penetrate well on offense and often gets caught in traps handling the ball and cannot get out of them. He obviously is a selfish player, dull and uninspired.

    I suggest the team trade Stephen Curry and solve their problems once and for all. Then I hope he gets picked up by a real organization with a real coach, and I will buy League Pass so I can watch him. He’s the main reason I keep watching these games. I’m tired of seeing him having to carry the team and bear such a heavy load with such middling results.

    And let the Warriors fall back to the bottom of the Western Conference, where they belong.

  16. What makes me a little crazy about watching Ws games like last night:

    Conceding advantages to the other team. Well documented here, Felt!

    Refusing to capitalize on advantages your players do have. For example, if Jackson thinks Bogut can score over opposing Cs (he did last night), why not get him more than 6 shots? After the 1st Q, Bogut was largely ignored on O, and his man was free to help shut down Lee.

    Thompson only got four 3-pt attempts last night, Curry only 7. Why not run plays to get two of the best shooters in the league more open looks?

    One reason Draymond was + last night was because he repeatedly set killer screens for Curry. Why doesn’t Jackson get Barnes to set screens? Why doesn’t he have Lee do it more? Why make everyone on the team play one-on-one? Jackson is completely out of his depth as a coach.

    • we’ve seen enough of Mr. Barnes to understand certain gaps in his hoops education, and one of them is setting picks for other perimeter players. he’s said that he considers himself a 3. setting good screens requires desire, court awareness and timing, training, and he’s probably missing two if not three of those prerequisites. after green’s conditioning program since last season, Mr. Barnes is now physically bigger, but the simplest solution to getting better screens set is to play green more, barnes less.

    • What drove me crazy is that in crunchtime, with Lee at C, the screens were being set by anyone other than him.

      Are Mike D’Antoni, Don Nelson and myself the only three people left in the world that remember that David Lee is one of the best pick and roll big men in NBA history?

      That he’s not only great at beating his man to the basket and finishing (if Bogut’s man isn’t waiting for him under the basket), but also 80% from the line?

      That he’s just as good as Curry and Iggy at driving, finding open three point shooters, and hitting them on the hands?

      Curry/Lee pick and roll, with Thompson, Douglas and Green spreading the floor could have been devastating last night. It would have completely alleviated the problem of having bigger wings trying to beat smaller wings off the dribble, which is what Mark Jackson attempted all night long.

      The Warriors were a shambles in crunchtime last night, because Mark Jackson was running an ass-backwards system that his players were not familiar with. Quite clearly, the Warriors haven’t been practicing the right things.

  17. rgg @15 At least Lauridsen and I agree on one thing, Lee never should have been guarding Frye at the three point line. That is simply conceding the matchup to the Suns.

    Don Nelson would never have allowed this matchup to occur. He put Anthony Morrow on Frye in one game! The Suns were lured into sending Frye to the post to punish the matchup, and wound up ignoring their other significant edges on the floor (Amare Stoudemire, anyone?), and losing the game. Don Nelson: “The opponent can only attack one mismatch at a time.”

    But on the other end of the floor, could Frye guard Morrow? Could Aldridge or Bosh guard Maggette?

    More to the point: If Lee had been played at center last night, could Miles Plumlee have guarded the pick and roll? Could Plumlee have gotten anything against Lee in the post? The Warriors would have OWNED this matchup.

    Could Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes have guarded Frye on the three point line? Put their quickness to use forcing him to put the ball on the floor? Could Frye have guarded either of them? The Warriors would have OWNED this matchup.

    Is Klay Thompson a better defender against Dragic, or against PJ Tucker? On the other end, can Tucker chase him all over the court? Is it useful to pull Tucker completely away from the paint and the defensive boards?

    Who is the more useful defender in a matchup against a Nellieball team like the Suns: Bogut or Toney Douglas? Who is most useful in opening up the Warriors offensive game?

    Mark Jackson is simply clueless about the NBA matchup game. Simply clueless about how to deploy one of the most versatile rosters in the NBA.

    He gave last night’s game away, as he has done often this season.

    • the recurring failure to respond to opponents with countermeasures raises questions about the entire coaching staff, not just the Rev. Jackson. if the brain trust was paying attention, the Cha game in which the team failed to do what .90 of Cha’s other opponents managed should have raised serious doubts about the post-Malone staff’s capability to scout and prepare. we’ve learned from sufficient previous episodes that the preacher isn’t particularly adept at spontaneously improvising during the course of a game, but with available technology and an extended and diverse coaching staff opponents are hardly an unknown quantity before the games start. the opposition seems pretty well prepared to face jackson’s five starters, after all.

    • Sadly, yes.

    • “clueless”

      Now you’re talkin.

    • The problem with the Suns is that they have a stretch 5 in Frye and stretch 4s in either of the Morris twins. Lee could be stuck out defending on the perimeter regardless.

  18. Pingback: Mark Jackson on Warriors’ struggles: ‘The guys in suits and ties want it more than the guys in uniform’ | NBARealTalk

  19. Some noise is being made recently about the TWolves defensive difficulties, and in particular in defending the rim.

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/235969121.html

    Interesting that no one is suggesting trading or benching Kevin Love. He’s their worst defender by far, isn’t he?

    • You forgot about Kevin Martin. Combined with Love – that’s two crappy starting defenders (with Berea off the bench).

      Let’s see how the team plays when Iggy comes back. More Draymond/Barnes minutes at the PF spot.

  20. Re: 18– What a scathing look at this Warriors team.

    I am shocked that Jackson is calling out his players for their effort. The eye test does not show a lack of effort from any of the players. What I am seeing is Curry, et al, looking tired and grumpy.

    Have there been any George Karl sightings at Oracle? An”offensive coordinator” consulting job is open on the Warriors coaching staff.

  21. One of the reasons Phoenix is doing well is that they have 8 versatile players, all of whom can score, all averaging 9 ppg and up, including their lightweight but skilled and mobile center, Plumlee. Nor, with Okafor down, are they stuck with mandates to play their lottery picks or expensive big man regardless, or with an ownership who has preconceived notions about how they should play, again regardless. And apparently they have an intelligent coach who knows how to make best use of them over the course of the game. All 8 are getting good minutes.

    They won’t make it to the finals, of course, but neither will 27 other teams.

  22. Nellieball now the established wisdom in the league:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10148890/the-reliance-3-pointer-whether-not-hurting-nba

    Note also no. 5. I believe someone here had an issue recently with Lee slipping screens. There’s a good reason for it, with Curry getting blitzed.

    And no. 10. Utah has turned themselves into an actual NBA team by playing a stretch four.

    • You beat me to the punch, FB. Just getting ready to link the Lowe.

      I question the value of aggregate stats, especially in making roster and strategy decisions for individual teams.

      First, not all 3 point shooters are alike, and there has to be a better way to evaluate them. As I said before, in baseball not all .275 hitters are alike: some are good hitters, some are mediocre. Some are clutch and some are not. But all .300 hitters are good hitters. 36% 3 point shooters are a mixed bag as well, but all 40+% are good shooters and should get their shot.

      Situation and strategy have to be factored in as well. A system that does not work to get its good shooters good shots is not taking advantage of their skills.

      The 3 point shot was brought in to open up the game and keep it from becoming a brawl. But it also allowed players with special skills to play and influence the game who otherwise would have had lesser value, perhaps would not even have played. And the dominant physical players who can penetrate or muscle in up front are in short supply. Also they tend to get banged up and injured.

      Houston may have to rely on the 3 because Howard is not the dominant front court scorer everyone expects him to be.

      Meanwhile, the Warriors. . . .

    • warriorsablaze

      I was talking about Lee slipping screens, and I never said I had a problem with it…only that he does it and therefore doesn’t free up Curry for a look off the screen. That’s all.

      Love isn’t comparable to Lee because Love has a 3pt shot. Also, Rubio couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from outside, so the strategies aren’t even comparable… the fact that they are similar is a problem since we want different first-option outcomes. Our strategy should be to get Curry the shot…the Wolves’ are trying to get Love the shot.

      • Note that Love is rolling in the video, not popping. He’s looking for a layup, not a three.

        And if anything, Love has less of a reason to slip than Lee, because Rubio’s not getting blitzed nearly as hard or frequently as Curry.

        Also, as great as Curry is shooting off the dribble, I happen to think Lee unguarded with the ball in the lane is more efficient (and might even lead to a better, wide-open, catch and shoot three). Having Bogut’s man waiting under the basket complicates this analysis, of course. But it’s indisputable imo in the case of the Lee — Green frontcourt.

        So I disagree that the primary strategy of the pick is to get Curry a shot in all instances. The primary strategy is for Curry to read the defense, and take what they’re giving. If Lee holds the screen and Curry is blitzed, what the defense is giving is precisely nothing.

        Lee is trying to make them pay.

        And at any rate, I’m certain that how Lee comes off the screen is not simply his choice, but a collaborative choice including Jackson and Curry.

        • warriorsablaze

          I don’t disagree it’s a good play to have in the arsenal and should be used. It’s certainly more effective than whatever the strategy we’re using now is. The article discusses Love’s 3pt shot as one of the reasons the slip works well for them… because the defender has to worry about him rolling out beyond the arc. Lee’s defender has no such concerns.

          Curry shot 44% of his 3′s unassisted last season and shot >45% overall. I’d say that a 3 off the dribble from Curry is most definitely a better shot. Also, Lee has been terrible at midrange jumpers so far this season, though I expect he’ll find his groove back.

          Anyway, the original conversation was just speculation on why the Warriors may have gone away from the Lee PNR… not that it was a better strategy. What they’re doing now is clearly far worse.

          • Be careful with those percentages. I’m guessing Curry hits walk-up threes at an extremely high %, and his threes resulting from high picks are a lot more difficult.

        • It’s very interesting that the Warriors have not figured out how to turn that blitz on Curry into loads of points. It’s a double team way out beyond the three point line for goodness-sake. There is no way the defense should be able to rotate fast enough to cover all the shooters. In these situations, get Bogut off the floor and let Lee, Klay and Barnes punish the defense.

          • Of course, there is the issue of Curry actually being able to make the pass. When the blitz happens, he is forced to dribble hard away from the defenders, making it almost impossible to make the pass. I would rather see Curry attack the blitz, back it out quickly and swing the ball around the perimeter. It would require more patience than we’ve seen from the wizard.

          • They can’t because Curry doesn’t have a scoring center to pass to.

  23. Pre-game jitters: Hornets

    Interestingly enough, the Hornets without Anthony Davis are built almost identically to the Suns: Stretch four (Anderson), small, quick, high-scoring backcourt (Holiday and Gordon), unimposing center (Jason Smith).

    Same matchup problems, same solutions as above. Has Jackson learned anything?

    I’m guessing not, since he only turns to Nellieball in desperation, and the Warriors don’t need to be at their best to beat this team.

  24. Did Derrick Coleman ever play for the Warriors?

  25. warriorsablaze

    Thought I’d post this here since Felty was battling Coach Nick on Twitter over it. I know that you’ll blindly defend David Lee to the death, Felt, but the truth really is that you’re both correct. He’s being misused, AND he’s also among the worst, laziest help defenders in the league. I agree with you that he’s OK in one-on-one matchups –particularly against bigger players — but in all other aspects his defense is a disaster. Nearly all of the plays involving Lee highlighted here show a lack of effort, awareness, or a combination of the two.

    Also, I wish our offense were as free-flowing as the Suns’….it’s how this roster was born to play.

    • The problem I have with this analysis is that most of the traditional fours in the league would look equally silly in this assignment. Kevin Love and Aldridge in particular, and they’re currently considered the premier fours in the league.

      I told Coach Nick to go back and look at KG and Duncan IN THEIR PRIMES trying to guard Nash/Dirk or Nash/Amare in the playoffs. I think he would find it highly instructive. If KG and Duncan — perhaps the greatest power forward defenders in NBA history — got torched, and I mean TORCHED, by 30 and 40 point performances, then maybe the problem is in the assignment, not the execution. It is IMPOSSIBLE for big men to guard good offense at the three point line. Impossible. Or, for that matter, to even look good trying.

      (I think that has a lot to do with the ignorati’s criticism of Lee — he looks herky jerky and awkward in his movements, even when accomplishing great things, but especially when played out of position. But do you actually think KG and Duncan looked any better mid-bonfire? Go back and watch some tape.)

      Don Nelson showed the world how to guard Dirk Nowitzki in his prime: NOT with a power forward, but with a great small forward (Stephen Jackson). Don Nelson DESTROYED the great stretch four Nowitzki, and beat the #1 seeded Mavs by flipping the equation on the floor. By changing the matchups, deploying his men for success, not failure.

      Would the Warriors have held Nowitzki 10 points below his scoring average, let alone won the series, if Nellie had insisted that Al Harrington guard Nowitzki?

      No, they wouldn’t. And Coach Nick would have had the opportunity to make another instructive video.

      Or maybe it’s not half so instructive as he and Lee-hater Ethan Strauss believe.

      Mark Jackson has two highly athletic and skilled stretch-fours on his roster. And his starting power forward is a two-time allstar at the center position. It was within Mark Jackson’s power to flip the switch on the Suns, just as Nellie did on the Mavs.

      It is Mark Jackson who this video indicts, not David Lee.

      • warriorsablaze

        I don’t disagree with you that it puts Lee in a difficult position and that it’s a mismatch in their favor.

        My problem with Lee on defense is simply effort. We’ll see tonight how many times he “challenges” a shot with his hands still below his waist when the shot is released. How many times he makes a real effort to “help” when someone else’s man drives the lane. Green faces mismatches constantly, but even when he’s beaten you could never question his effort.

        I really only have 3 fundamental problems with Lee’s game:

        – Almost never boxes out his man so he loses a lot of contested rebounds… especially offensive rebounds.

        – Is an incredibly lazy help defender. Superficially challenges jump shots and rarely tries to make a play at the rim even against guards… shit, CURRY went up hard for a block at the rim last game and only averages 0.1 less blocks per game. CURRY. (and yes, that’s also an indictment on Barnes, who averages less than both)

        – Doesn’t set good screens. Yes, often slipping them is a good strategy, but even when he attempts to actually set the screen, he still leaves early and doesn’t slow the guard’s progress.

        As in most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Lee is both a poor team defender AND is being put in a position to fail by MJax.

    • The first thing I note from this video is the absence of Iguodala, who would help on the perimeter.

      The second thing I note is how little Bogut contributes to the defense. Watch the youtube again, and watch Bogut. He’s largely lolling around Plumlee, a minor scoring threat. He is only responsible for a small part of the court, where there is little action. I don’t see him helping out at the rim, which he’s supposed to protect. He doesn’t do much when a guard blows by the perimeter and Lee. I won’t fault him for getting blown by by Bledsoe, but what the youtube shows is that a big, slow center like Bogut has little value in an open court and up tempo offense. He has limited range and is slow to react.

      The persecution of Lee continues. What you see in all examples is that Lee has to cover for the weaknesses up front and on the perimeter. He also is responsible for a large part of the court, more than any player should have to handle. He has to look at 2-3 players at all times, all in motion, and cover when they get past our perimeter, yet still watch for shots and drives. In several plays he’s caught up in traffic when guards get past screens. In one play he’s well away from the ball, yet Nick criticizes him for not adjusting after the guard has already made his cut. I’m not saying he’s a great defender, but he is far away from the major problems with the defense. This defense is not designed for mobile, versatile teams, nor does Jackson put in the best lineup.

      Plus, of course, all that Feltbot said.

      • This defensive problem could have easily been solved by putting Lee on Plumlee and Green on Frye, as FB said. There would have been a gain in offense as well.

  26. Feltbot,

    rumors that Charlotte is looking to unload Gilchrist & they like Barnes. I would make that trade in a heartbeat despite his shooting woes. That dumb franchise always gives up on guys too soon.

    MKG already sabermetrically is already a very good defender, he can play the 2 and he’s a good kid & hard worker. Type of athletic defensive player this team needs. Only concern is Warriors fans who have drunk
    the ‘Barnes Koolaid’. Could care less about his shooting given his pluses and work-ethic.

    Also, I can almost guarantee the Warriors had MKG rated much higher than Barnes on their draft board.

    Would you make that deal Feltbot?

    • I would not, which may seem paradoxical to those who’ve noticed that I think premier defense is the most important quality a small forward can have.

      The second most important quality, though, is the ability to shoot the three. MKG can’t spread the floor, and if you can’t do that, you take away more than you give. (That’s why guys like MBam and Dominic McGuire can’t get on the floor — and Charlotte is attempting to dump MKG.)

      Barnes is a much better player than MKG, because of his ability to play stretch-four. He’s also a much better trade asset.

  27. Monte Poole twitter-reports a David Lee implication that Iggy might return tonight.

    If so, a lot of the current handwringing will disappear quickly. The Warriors will get back to dominating, the schedule has turned much more favorable. And in my mind, the Warriors were never at risk of not making the playoffs. Seeding is another question, now, but this is a year when seeding might not mean much.

    Also, David Lee just became a much better defender. And Mark Jackson just became a much better coach.

    • Why the hell isn’t the organization telling us this? We’ve received no word he’ll be able to return in the next month.

      • warriorsablaze

        Why are you entitled to know all the inner-workings of the team? I think the age of information has made people a bit confused about their relationship with the organization.

        I think the front office learned the hard way last season with Bogut that the less info you release, the better. If a mistake is made or the situation changes, you get skewered by the media.

        • They inform us of his progress so we don’t suspect he has been pushed into service too soon, maybe out of desperation. That may not be true, but it’s a likely suspicion. I don’t recall hearing Igulodala has even been in a hard practice yet.

          There are things they cannot tell the fans, but a certain trust is in order if fan loyalty and sensibilities matter. We care about the team and would like to know how they are and what they are doing and why. We don’t get good health reports or full discussions of strategy. It feels more like they’re trying to cover their rear ends than build a relationship. Or maybe they don’t feel we deserve good information. I am reminded of the Nixon administration.

          • One of the things that has made fans here question the coach and organization is that we have heard no explanation at all about strategy and rosters, especially the last weeks, from anyone. This should be the coach’s job, and it’s easy for us to wonder if he knows what he’s doing. Note, too, that the media never question Jackson, and there’s almost no critical discussion of strategy.

          • Warriorsablaze

            I understand your feelings and those of fans who care about the team…we all feel that way. But it’s the expectation of transparency that is perhaps unwarranted.

            Comparing it to government is a false equivalency. It is a business… we don’t vote on nor do we have any real input in the decision-making process within the corporation. They are not beholden to us beyond the economics. I doubt there’s much evidence that their ticket sales/revenue is affected by their transparency (or lack thereof).

            How much information on business and marketing strategy do you demand from other businesses whose products you consume? I could be wrong, but I doubt you are on other areas of the internet complaining that Coke isn’t providing enough information to you about their internal business affairs and marketing strategies.

            You feel like they aren’t building the relationship, but it sounds more like you’re fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of the relationship.

  28. warriorsablaze

    Don Nelson on Lee: “… he can’t guard anybody.”

    http://nba.si.com/2013/12/17/don-nelson-sports-illustrated-profile-maui-hawaii-david-lee-monta-ellis/

    God has spoken. ;)

    • We’ll be hearing this one for a while, and I won’t attempt a rejoinder. But to add gas to the fire, here are Lee’s comments on Nelson over a year ago:

      Lee: Probably since my rookie year, when we had Eddy Curry, those guys in the middle, and Quentin Richardson. We played slower basketball; we had a very veteran team. I think this year, not only with the depth we have, but the size we have, we don’t have to play Don Nelson “trickery” basketball, where you have a point guard guarding a center and try and trick people and score a lot of points. We can actually play standard basketball where we can face teams head-on.

      http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/20573865/david-lee-is-done-waiting-to-win

      Exactly the kind of play we’re arguing against here. I do regret, however, not seeing Nelson and Lee together. They would have worked something out.

      • To put Lee’s comment in context, he made it before the season started last year, when he went on to play quite well at center. I’m guessing he was frustrated with the lack of help he got with the Knicks. Also he may be overestimating how well he and Bogut would play together. It’s not a good pairing.

    • 1) I agree that Lee is not a good defender. 2) I don’t believe it is sensible to belabor that point in the context of him being played out of position. 3) Nellie made this comment while watching Lee struggle in Jackson’s system, which gives it a layer of complexity. 4) Like D’Antoni, Nellie would have played Lee almost exclusively at center, and absolutely never against stretch fours.

      5) His remarks on Mark Jackson are hilarious.

    • Yes, God HAS spoken! Lol! Nellie looking more trim and very good seeing him enjoy the fruits of his labor. I miss him tremendously…

      Happy to see Nellie tell it like it is… RE: Lee, Ellis, and Mark and Stephen Jackson. Dispelling all the myths. All it took was being out of the league for good and a little scotch.

      Unfortunately, no Nellie comment on “Bogus.” I would pay his weekly scotch bill to hear Nellie spout out about what he’d do with Bogut – to quell all the speculation here!

  29. Anyone notice that Mark Jackson crossmatched the SF and PF? Iggy on Ryan Anderson and Lee on Aminu.

    Made a difference, didn’t it?

    I’m awaiting Coach Nick’s video.

    (That’s my recap.)

  30. warriorsablaze

    I suspect there will be a Felt recap for this one, so I’ll just say great bounce back game by Lee.

    I won’t even pull a Felt and mention the asterisks such as being guarded by Lou Amundsen and NO having no center. :)

    Seriously, though. Great game for him and Curry. Thompson and Barnes are still pretty much useless.

  31. Sheesh did Barnes stink up the court. He almost singlehandedly brought New Orleans back into the game when he entered for Igoudala 1st quarter. Ball movement immediately stopped, the offense clogged. He turned the ball over. He blew defensive covers. You couldn’t ask for a more dramatic demonstration of what Iguodala adds to the team and what Barnes takes away. If Green had started instead of Barnes, they win at last 3 more of the games while Iguodala was out.

    And what an amazing stat line for Iguodala—2 points, 2 assists, zip boards, and yet he was +20 for the night, just behind Curry.

    Trade Barnes, trade Barnes, trade Barnes while someone thinks he has some value. I say a point guard, but anyone who can score and make plays and has some court sense. Someone to spell the starters and run the second unit. Did Curry run the second unit first half (I’m still waiting for game flow)? They did fine then. But they floundered with Douglas, Bazemore, and Nedovic 2nd. half.

    Here’s some New Orleans welcome back music for Iguodala (I had funeral music prepared before I heard he was starting):

    • like other young men in his situation Mr.Barnes’ near term career goal is to secure his next contract in the vicinity of $40 m. or greater, but what most woeyr fans might not appreciate, best to let it happen for another team.

  32. The key to the Ws win last night was Anthony Davis being injured.

    For all his wonderful qualities, Ryan Anderson is no substitute for Anthony Davis in paint D. David Lee 21 pts., 17 rebounds. The dropoff in NO paint defense enabled Lee to post the kind of numbers that “Mr. 20-and-10″ routinely contributed when Bogut wasn’t playing last season. Lee took advantage last night, but it’s not a sign of things to come. The Lee/Bogut combo still needs work.

    Iggy > Barnes. The difference isn’t individual stats, it’s how each affects team play. As rgg mentioned, the disparity between the two couldn’t have been more evident. To everyone except Coach Jackson, apparently.

    Speights was only 4-11 last night, but overall held his own. Has anyone else noticed that he has “suddenly gotten better” since JON went down? Out of necessity, Speights has been playing more C and less PF. Score another one for Feltbot. He’s been touting Speights at C since last summer.

    Happy to see the Ws win last night! But…

    3-pt shooting: 25%. Curry 7 attempts, Thompson 4. WTF? The best 3-point shooting pair in the league, getting only eleven 3-pt attempts, making only 3 of them. Yikes. That’s not working.

    Like everyone else I’d like to see Green get more minutes, but here’s why he doesn’t: 2-10 shooting. For a guy who’s so good at so many things, it’s amazing how terrible he is at layups. Make those easy shots, Draymond! Your team needs you on the floor! Your coach thinks Harrison Barnes is better because Barnes makes layups and you don’t!

    • Barnes is shooting even worse on layups than Draymond.

      • My impression is that when he can get to the rim, Barnes is a good finisher. He rarely gets there. More often, he settles for contested midrange shots. That’s the usual result of a Barnes iso (when he doesn’t turn over the ball).

        Green was 2-10 last night. He missed 3 layups, including a wide open fast break attempt. He also missed two shots from < 7' in the paint. It was not an unusual performance from Green.

        When Green drives to the hoop he is out of control. I know that look because, sadly, it's how I play. When shooting from anywhere but my happy spot, I'm a liability. Green is like that.

        Seriously, if I were Green's personal trainer, I'd have him watch videos of Carl Landry until his lightbulb went on. For weeks, if necessary. Green is shorter than Landry, but is just as strong and has the same or better vertical reach. What Landry did around the hoop, Green could do. If he figured it out.

        And then Green would get more playing time. "Defensive specialist" + "offensive facilitator" add up to a "non-scoring special-use player," and you can only have so many of those guys on the floor at one time. Did you ever notice how Green rarely gets on the floor when Bogut is out there? There's a reason for that.

        • Hat, Harrison is shooting 45% on layups this season. Draymond is shooting 47%. Both really bad. But I don’t make excuses for one of them and not the other. You know?

    • I think that Jackson knows that Iggy is better than Barnes. What he didn’t grasp was that Green should have been starting ahead of Barnes while Iggy was out! 2-for-10 was a blip on the radar. Green is shooting 38 percent from 3 which is certainly good enough to be on the court considering all the other things he does. He does need to learn about shot selection for 2-pointers, which I think will come with time.

      • CB, fair enough, 2-10 was unusual for Green. But he rarely shoots anything except wide-open 3s. His happy spot.

        The rest of the time he looks to pass, not score, especially around the rim. One of his TOs last night was a point-blank pass attempt in the paint. St. Barnett himself said Green should have shot instead.

        Being the smart guy he is, Green knows he shouldn’t shoot anything except gimmes. When he gets open 3s, he takes and makes them this year. Anything else, he has a lower success rate.

        • In fairness to you Hat, Green is shooting 40 percent from the field, along with 38 percent from 3, so you are right about his shot selection and current ability to score inside the arc.

          Interesting that you think he could develop a Landry-like game. Green doesn’t have low post footwork like Landry has. It will take years to develop that, if that’s the route he should take.

          Felt-man, time to get out your crystal ball. Do you see Green’s ideal career arc more in the mold of a 3 or a stretch 4? Is his ceiling 9-12 ppg?

    • I agree that if AD had played, Lee would have got nothing at the rim. He is an incredible player.

  33. I like Iggy every time I hear the guy talk. An thinking man’s basketball player who understands how to properly play the game.

    “The assist to turnover ratio hasn’t been too good the last couple weeks,” Iguodala said. “We wanted to get back to where we were high in assists and low in turnovers, at least as high in assists. That starts by good possessions offensively. In turn it helps us get back in transition and not give up too many easy baskets.”

  34. In the first 4 minutes and 49 seconds of the game, with Iguodala playing for the first time in weeks, NO scores 6 points, the Warriors 14.

    At 7:11 Barnes comes in. This is the unit that has been playing together all that time. In 3 and a half minutes, the score is 14-18. NO scores 8 and the Warriors 4. I’d like to see a replay of those minutes. Barnes did not do anything right, except a block.

    We have every reason to believe we would have seen the same performance had Igoudala not played, with the Warriors getting behind and digging themselves into a hole. NO missed Davis, of course, but they were 3-3 without him, with a win against Memphis and a close loss to Dallas. It would have been the Charlotte game again. It would have been the Phoenix game again.

    At 3:43, the subs come in, first Green and Speights for Barnes and Bogut, then Douglas for Curry at 2:27. They slow down NO and restore the lead. At the end of the quarter the score is 19-26.

    The same story was told second quarter, with similar results, Barnes in and Barnes out. Curry fed Speights nicely on a drive, btw. The subs do much better with a strong supporting cast. Putting Barnes only out there with them accomplishes nothing good.

    How much more proof do you need about Barnes, about the system?

    Trade Barnes.

    The preacher says he isn’t worried about offense. They don’t have nearly enough to cover 48 minutes. Green, as Hat says, looked bad last night. I don’t think Barnes will develop into the consistent stretch 4 FB envisions, and that won’t happen anyway, because the preacher won’t bench Bogut.

    I still say a good midrange point guard, who can facilitate and score. He would spell the starters and he might be able to get Douglas going off the ball, allowing them to take advantage of his defense. This player would be their best shot to a playoff run.

    And keep him and let him develop with the team the next seasons. We saw what happened when Curry went down.

    The preacher says the plan is start the games with a defensive show to allow the offense to kick in. This won’t work if they don’t have an offensive roster and scheme to kick in, and we’ve seen that so many games. Iguodala did help with the defensive effort at first, of course, but there were so many things he did his first minutes to keep the ball moving and open up shots that don’t appear in the box score. He is as much a very fine offensive player.

    • What’s crazy is that there are Warriors fans who would not trade Barnes for Goran Dragic or Kyle Lowry. What planet are these people from? I don’t think they watch the games with their eyes or look at stats.

      • A straight up trade wouldn’t work, as it puts the Warriors $3.7m over the luxury cap threshold. I threw in a bunch of bench scrubs plus O’Neal, just to make the trade work, and the Hollinger analysis valued it at +7 games for the Warriors and -9 for Phoenix.

        Hard to imagine Phoenix would bite on such a deal, unless they buy the Barnes hype. Also I don’t know where he’d fit in their lineup, with the Morris bros., etc. And I doubt Dragic would take to being a backup player, though he could get serious minutes with the Warriors.

        But Dragic would be perfect, for his skill, experience, and versatility. He would give the offense all kinds of options and insurance. Look at what he’s doing with Bledsoe. Imagine him with our guards. He could bring the best out of Speights and Green and Douglas (this year). And the team could clear its roster of all these hopeless prospects. How many guards have we seen come and go the last years? (Jenkins, Nate, Lin, and likely Bazemore, Nedovic, and anyone they bring up from Santa Cruz, if that happens.

        Such a player should have been a priority when they traded Ellis.

        • And part of the problem with making trades is that the Warriors not only don’t have any other good trade pieces, they don’t have any players with salaries big enough to offset cap issues if they were traded. All the nickel and dime players on the roster destroy flexibility.

        • It’s a ludicrous thought, but the team would have been better years ago and now off if they traded Dragic for Ellis years ago, IF some promising prospects were thrown in AND the Warriors spent the money they saved wisely.

          • I will persist with this. It may have to be conceded that Ellis didn’t want to step down and let Curry take over. His experience with Milwaukee may have trained him to adjust his expectations.

            So the first priority after trading Ellis was to pick up another good point guard who would stay with the team. He would have given the team stability and coherence. The team wouldn’t have been in the position of having to pick up a player like Jack for a one year rental.

            The next priority was to find a good 4/5 to play alongside Lee, someone on the order of Hickson, without an exorbitant salary, who would also be with the team now, who would have prevented another one year rental in Landry. They would have had to find a fill in center, but that’s what they did the first three years anyway, with Bogut’s injury. And they found one, two, if you count O’Neal. They might have been in position to pick up Asik, who certainly is serviceable.

            Doing this would have left the team with all kinds of options and money, especially if Biedrins were amnestied. This team wouldn’t have been just as attractive to Iguodala? And they would have saved draft picks for the future.

            They probably miss the lottery the tank year however—no Barnes!

            And no Bogut. But weigh that against the odds of injury the next three years. Make a realistic assessment of where Bogut is valuable and where he is not, where he could easily be substituted with an OK big, or a more versatile one.

            It’s what San Antonio would have done.

          • If only we had kept Lin.

    • safe to guess that the trained, professional observers of the games have seen what you have. that means they’ve seen Mr. Barnes’ limitations. would be no surprise if green is valued substantially higher by other teams — he could start for some teams that have sufficient scoring from other positions, while the Rev. Jackson successfully established that barnes should not, at least in the manner applied by the preacher. even more obvious is green’s greater value as a reserve. while o’neal was healthy, the preacher used a bench quintet of o’neal, green, NN, barnes, speights, and barnes was exposed again as an accessory player, little better than r. jefferson.

  35. rgg, you’re a smart guy, but please don’t bring up the Ellis trade any more. The moment the Warriors made the trade for Iguodala, all Ellis trade talk became irrelevant because the shape of the roster changed drastically.

    You can take one move back in chess, but you can’t go back two moves very easily because the entire board may have changed.

    • I’m using it only to make an assessment of the team now and in the future. It’s impossible to run all the what if scenarios, but this way there would have been a lot more what ifs to run. And my point is, the team doesn’t have much flexibility or leverage now and won’t in the next years.

      Also I’m not that smart.

    • rgg, the problems the Ws have had this year are not roster problems. Yes, the team has personnel weaknesses. But the perfect team doesn’t exist. Even Miami has soft spots.

      Yes, a smart trade or good acquisition might help the Ws, BUT only if the new talent could/would be played in ways to capitalize on their talents. And there’s the rub.

      This team does not play to its strengths. Lee has always been a 20/10 guy – until this year. Curry and Thompson are amazing shooters – until the last 10 games or so, when they could barely get off a shot at the 3-pt. line. Even Bogut seems to have rediscovered his shooting touch somewhat, leading the team in shooting percentage lately – but he only gets 3-4 planned touches per game.

      And on D, players repeatedly get assignments they can’t cover. That’s a coaching screwup. No matter how often Jackson publicly flogs his players, they can only do what they can do. It’s his job to recognize what they can and can’t do, and plan accordingly. He doesn’t do that. He’s not performing a key minimum requirement for his job.

      Felt has offered numerous examples of ways the Ws could cross-match, minimize weaknesses, capitalize on strengths, and win with different offensive and defensive strategies. In short, to win with the talent at hand. I think Felt is mostly right. The recent spate of losses are on the coach, not the players.

      rgg, right now the Ws have as much talent as anyone in the league, including Miami. Adding more talent might flip a couple more games, but capitalizing on the talent at hand would win far more. Examples abound, but just for one, consider Phoenix. As talented as the Ws overall? Not even close. Better coached? By far.

      • If Green were a better scorer and Douglas was a better ball handler and had a better head, I would agree. But what we have seen proven this season is that the team cannot win much at all without Curry, that it struggles without Iguodala, though could have done better with better coaching.

        What we most saw last night is that they can’t win without playing their starters heavy minutes, unless they build up an enormous lead, and that was almost blown. The subs collapsed once again. This is not a formula to make it through the season and be strong for the playoffs. Phoenix has a much better bench, and I envy it.

        • In the right spots, Green is a fine scorer. When asked to drive, not so much. Kind of like World Champion Shane Battier.

          In the right system, Douglas is a scoring machine like World Champion Vinnie Johnson. In the wrong system, ours, Douglas is required to do things he’s not good at.

          When Thompson gets the right opportunities, he’s as good a pure shooter as Reggie Miller. When the team offense doesn’t create those opportunities – and allows opposing defenses to shut down Thompson – his offense disappears. Of course.

          When Curry gets the slightest opening at the 3-pt line, it’s lights out. Otherwise, he drives and assists, or gets trapped. We’ve seen an awful lot of that lately. We’d be better off working to get him 3pt opportunities. We’re not doing that.

          It’s like that, rgg. ANYONE can get shut down. ANYONE can be made to look bad. Don’t run offensive plays, just allow opposing defenses to dictate who is permitted to shoot where. Ask players to do stuff they’re not equipped to do, like having Thompson guard a shifty, speedy guard. Take your weakest offensive talent and run only isolation plays for him. Lee is an OK man/man defender, but make him a help defender – he’s terrible at that.

          Those are things competent coaches simply do not do. “Try harder” is the advice of someone who doesn’t know to make it easier for his team to win.

          Jackson is clueless.

          If the Ws got more good new players, Jackson would be clueless with them too.

  36. Apparently they aren’t done yet:

    “Steven Tavares and Robert Gammon of the East Bay Express report that Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, owners of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, have emerged as potential buyers of the A’s. Also of note is that Lacob and Guber reportedly have interest in making the ballpark you see above actually happen.”

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24380269

    I assume their first step will be to fire Billy Beane.

  37. Those who were down on David Lee for his defense against Channing Frye should check out what he did to Tim Duncan and the Spurs last night.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400489251

    OK? An impossible assignment for any conventional four to cover. Tim Duncan, like David Lee, doesn’t belong on stretch-fours, out at the three point line. He’s going to get his ass handed to him, just as he did against Dirk Nowitzki, in his prime. So what?

    I await Coach Nick’s video (and asked him to produce one).

    (But I know we’ll never see it, because that utterly ignorant breakdown was the result of nothing but prejudice.)

  38. It’s disappointing that tonight’s Spurs game won’t be more meaningful as a measuring stick. Bad enough that the Spurs are on a road back-to-back, but they’re also missing Tony Parker.

    Unless, of course, the Warriors lose….

    • Bellinelli is shooting .535 from 3 this season, Danny Green .435, Patty Mills .447. Ginobili had 24 pts, 7 assists, 6 rebounds in 27 min. last night. The team is 20-5 overall, 11-3 away despite a slow start for Duncan last month.

      Before I bet against the Spurs, I always check their record. It’s hard to bet against them even on a road back-to-back without Parker. Especially since I think tonight’s matchups favor SA unless coach Jackson does something tricky. Which he won’t.

  39. I keep forgetting to look at your tweets, FB. I had the Houston game on last night and heard van Gundy’s remark the Warriors were a quality player away from contention. In spite of everything, it’s hard to believe Lacob & Co. aren’t thinking the same.

    But if it is a quality player, I hope it’s someone they plan on keeping. He’ll develop this year and will be more familiar with the team the next years, when they’ll need him as well.

    A good point guard, for example, could run with Green, Speights, and Douglas and get them going. They’ll need all they can get from these guys. Douglas did play well against the Spurs and has talents to mine. But he’d offer so many other options as well. What if he could sub for Curry and play with Iguodala, and Curry spent some minutes with the subs? If nothing else, he could help keep the team from running its starters into the ground before the playoffs.

    The problem, as I dimly understand it, is that the Warriors have no feasible, attractive trade pieces, other than Green and Barnes. But also they don’t have any substantial contracts to trade to stay within cap rules. (I don’t understand how trade exceptions work, but they have them. How do other teams go over the cap?)

    I also fear Barnes may have lost whatever trade lure he might have had earlier in the season.

    • the salary cap for this season is $58.7 m., the woeyrs are well over it already with a payroll of around 69 m. minimum required payroll is .90 of the cap, the lux tax line is around 71.7 m.

      teams have the most payroll flexibility when they’re in the same spot as GS, over the cap but under the lux tax, eligible for cap exceptions. speights and douglas were signed using the cap exception. they have two players on non guaranteed deals that won’t count until they become guaranteed around Jan 10.

  40. Lacob has a chance to prove he’s not Dolan (proposed Lowry trade):

    http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24374200/report-james-dolan-blocked-knicks-trade-for-kyle-lowry

    “They had a deal ready … There are two problems. Dolan didn’t like that someone from his group leaked it to the media, and the other problem is the Knicks seem to have too many (people) involved with making decisions.”

    They had to put up a lot, however. Any trade for Lowry looks complicated.

    • I’m not familiar with Lowry’s game, but his stats don’t explain what all the excitement is about. Raymond Felton has similar stats at half the salary. At nearly identical salary JJack has better offensive stats.

      What’s up? Why would the Knicks pay double the salary for a player who gets basically similar results as Felton? Couldn’t they just give Felton a bonus and call it a day?

      • Depends what “stats” you are looking at. Lowry has always been very good on defense. “Stats” don’t usually capture that (unless they are “advanced stats” like +/-). If you look at RAPM, for example, Lowry is +3.7 as of last season whereas Felton is +0.8. That’s a huge difference, equivalent to about 6 wins over the course of a season.

        And if you just look at TS% this season, Felton is at 46% and Lowry is at 56% (on just about the same usage). Not sure what’s going on with Felton, but that is terrible production from your point guard.

      • He’s an extremely efficient player on both sides of the ball despite poor overall shooting %. Most of his outside shooting is from 3. A jitterbug who penetrates well, and shoots FTs well. Very good defensively, with both high steals and rebounds. Great speed in open court.

        The missing piece for this Warriors team, that would immediately make them a contender. If we could trade, say, Douglas and Barnes for Lowery and Amir Johnson, it would be absolutely over.

        • Go to the trade machine:

          http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine

          That trade fails, and you’ll get an explanation why (can’t copy the text). Douglas + Barnes for Lowry works, however.

        • “If we could trade, say, Douglas and Barnes for Lowery and Amir Johnson, it would be absolutely over.”

          Maybe we can trade Speights for LeBron too. Felty, I love your ability to assess talent, but you have the trade values all out of whack man! Lowry and Amir are so much more valuable, it’s ridiculous. And, fwiw, I actually am friends with the stats guy in Toronto. Let me just say…that trade won’t happen.

          • warriorsablaze

            Thanks a lot, Evanz… your constant Barnes bashing has now ruined his trade value to your friend in Toronto. You should have been sending him manipulated stats this whole time. :)

          • Hate to mention it, but if the Ws can’t deal without throwing in a major contract, there’s Lee.

            Lee has been a great player for the Ws, and still could be going forward, but not in the system the Ws seem committed to at this time.

            If the team is not going to use him well enough to justify his contract, they might as well trade him for essential pieces who fit the system better.

          • I don’t know why your so sure of that, EvanZ. The Raptors are looking for a first and expirings for Lowry. If they value Barnes, he’s a lot like a first, right?

            As far as Amir, goes, check my timeline for a convo with a Raptors blogger I had. He says Ujiri might want to trade Amir for 2 reasons: 1) He’s a UFA soon, and Raptors have a poor track record re-signing those. 2) The Raptors are TANKING, and the players they’re tanking for play his position.

            They don’t want equal value back. The whole question is whether Barnes works for them.

          • Bogut also has a big contract. And if they hadn’t renewed his contract, he’d be an expiring, which might have been attractive to Toronto. Shame.

  41. This team isn’t going anywhere until they get a coach and a full roster, but I give this loss entirely to Lacob, the men he selects to coach the team, to develop the players, to evaluate talent; the way he spends his money; the directives he gives as to who they will pick up and will not and how he thinks they are supposed to play. The Warriors were out front-officed tonight.

    We were beat by $19m dollars worth of roster, plus Splitter’s $10m, a versatile squad, well coached and developed over the last few years. They were led by the 55th pick some years ago, an undersized player with a head and some skills, Patty Mills, the kind of player our organization overlooks but the Spurs developed into a capable backup.

    Our FO says it has plenty of offense. We only have three consistent scorers, and don’t have a single good shooter on the bench to relieve the subs and spread the floor or pick up the slack when the starters falter. When Klay has a bad night and Curry an off night, they are done.

    They need to do everything they can to get Speights and Douglas going, their best scoring hopes, by playing them more with the starters so they can develop confidence and help out later, Douglas especially, instead of burying them with the scrubs and then having them lectured by Jackson for not playing with energy.

    Barnes, meanwhile, gave another Santa Cruz worthy performance.

    Yes, let’s trade Lee and get another defensive stiff in the mix.

    • Even with three starters out, the Spurs bench played 101 minutes, ours only 56.

    • Barnet mentioned something about the way the Spurs backcourt offense played, they were able to free shooters—again their bench players—something we can’t do with the starters, not in Jackson’s system. Anybody know what he was talking about?

      • the SA offense utilizes time, space, motion in measured proportions, so when the ball reaches a certain area the ball handler can be secure he’ll have specific options available (roughly equivalent to the q.b. in passing plays). court spacing of course, pulling defenders to areas, is a big part, disciplined choreography enabling the players to trust the system with any personnel combination. they run it efficiently and can re-set and start again within 24 sec. if necessary. the best defenses throw the timing off by slowing the ball handler and obscuring the passing space, average or worse defenses get to watch open shot attempts and rely on their offense on the other side.

        goes without saying, if the owner and personnel chief accumulate guards and wings on the roster who either don’t handle and pass well or can’t defend the perimeter, the SA system can’t be imitated.

    • the p.r. machine and pundits assured us that the preacher could carry on just fine without Malone. he was their guy supervising player development. part of it of course is using systems and plays that recognize the personnel’s strengths and weaknesses, and incorporating the reserves into the systems so no roster spot gets squandered. the SA bench put in 40 min. more than the preacher’s this game.

      usually the head coach and personnel chief run player development, but how and when did either the Rev. Jackson or Myers get any training or experience in it, aside from the two seasons the preacher had malone next to him ? players are just assets, after all, and the owner knows plenty about getting them to appreciate in value.

      • This game was lost three years ago. And the only two players who made a game of it were the two Lacob inherited, Lee and Curry, and they did it on their own.

        • rgg, I am frustrated, too. But that’s an asinine comment. Are you saying Iggy and Klay are scrubs? The game was probably lost because the Warriors offense did not develop after last year’s successful season.

          • That’s worth a reply, CB. Of course Klay and Iggy were good additions.

            What the organization did not bring in are good fill-in players who could have developed with the team all that time, players who can complement the starters, provide a variety of options against all the different teams, keep the team competitive for the entire 48 minutes, and help weather the stress and strain of a 82 game season, as I’ve said too many times. Green may be the only player worth keeping out of all those who have come and gone, and Ezeli, if he returns healthy.

            The only way the team has been competitive last season and this is playing the starters heavy minutes, not a formula for success.

            The team suffered greatly when Iguodala went down, though could have been better. It cannot win at all without Curry.

            Klay probably most needs the other players and a system of coaching that exploits his talents. His recent performances are probably the best indication of that.

            Nor has there been a coherent, consistent plan for three years to make best use of the talent the team has, developed over those years, so it can pay off now, or the continuity of a capable coaching staff to lead. First Smart, now Maloneless Jackson. We can only wonder who comes next and what happens they start over once again.

            And the best comparison, again, is San Antonio, who has done all those things well, as we saw last night, without three starters.

  42. At the end of the 3rd Q, the Spurs ran the same play 3 times. Splitter screened for Bellinelli at the 3-pt line.

    That play worked all 3 times. Splitter sets good screens. Green was guarding Bellinelli, Bogut on Splitter. Green was playing one-on-two.

    This was a BFD kinda thing. Bellinelli is shooting .532 on 3-pointers this season. This was a play the Ws had to have seen coming, and one they needed to stop.

    Bellinelli scored 28 points in 29 minutes.

    Coach Jackson could have:

    a) Recognized the problem and subbed Bogut out. Even Speights is more mobile, and it doesn’t take a speed demon to stay with Splitter. It just takes more than Bogut has.

    b) Recognized the problem and switched someone else onto Splitter (a defender who could then switch to Bellinelli off the Splitter screen). A good coach has conditional switches built in to the game plan (i.e., if Splitter roams, Lee takes him). Normal coaches call a timeout to put in changes like that.

    c) Recognized the problem and trapped Bellinelli. He’s not a great passer, so make him pass it.

    d) Worked to prevent the problem by denying Bellinelli the ball at all costs. BELLINELLI IS SHOOTING .532 FROM 3!

    e) Etc. (Sorry, it’s early and I’m not a coach, just a fan).

    f) None of the above. Blame the players. They LOVE getting trashed on national TV. It’s highly motivational. And it solves game-time problems, right? Yeah, right.

    Did anyone else notice the super-closeup shot of Jackson in his 4th-Q sideline interview? It was the kind of camera work done to Richard Nixon in his presidential debate against John Kennedy. Cameramen and producers know that no one looks good that close, so they generally avoid doing it. It’s done to make people look bad.

    Nothing looks worse than flop sweat up close.

  43. My main problem with Jackson is that he let’s the Warriors play so loose on offense that they commit many turnovers. I think most of the problem is Curry and that he’s turnovers are created via passes that are not necessary an option on a offensive play or he makes poor decisions. There was no excuse for committing 24 turnovers last night.

    Thompson committing 5 is some indication that he is not possess the court vision that Felty ascribes to him. He’s thrown poor passes consistently. Yes, he sometimes makes good passes but those are usually part of pre-determined option on a given play.

    Even though Thompson started off the season shooting the lights out, that doesn’t occur very often anymore. It’s ridiculous to call him a great shooter and most of the shots he misses in my opinion are open shots that are not contested. He’s a splash brother in the sense that does a cannonball and his the ball often leaves the cylinder on those occasions that it is even in the cylinder.

    Bogut last night on paper had great offensive stats. 3-3 shooting, 2 offensive rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocked shots. Even pulled in a ton of defensive rebounds. He had 2 turnovers. But the Warriors were still outscored with him on the court and he had a minus 6 rating for the game. In part due to his playing at best average defense and the Warriors not capitalizing on the extra possessions he gave the Warriors. As the Warriors score no points off his 3 blocked shots. The Warriors somewhat missed JOH last night.

    Glad everyone seems to be coming around to the view that Barnes should be traded.

    • Frank, Jackson doesn’t “permit” his players to play loose, he requires his players to make things happen on their own. Different players react differently to that.

      Barnes treats every touch as an iso. Curry sometimes tries to force passes. Thompson first tries to create a shot for himself, but he’s getting a lot of defensive attention so his choices often end up being either a contested shot or a bad pass. And so on.

      The Ws got beaten by well-coached scrubs last night. I can’t imagine better proof that the Ws problems are not a talent issue. It’s not “who,” it’s “how.” That’s coaching.

      • warriorsablaze

        This is the truth. The roster, while certainly not perfect, has more than enough talent to be among the top teams in the western conference.

        Put Spoelstra or Pop at the helm and this would be a different beast.

        The team is out there playing pick-up basketball… it looks good when it’s flowing, but if there’s any resistance there’s no structure to fall back on. Curry is out there like a quarterback who doesn’t know what routes his receivers are going to run before the play… expect interceptions.

        • Wab, that’s a great analogy for Curry’s situation…a QB who doesn’t know what routes his receivers are going to be running.

          The Warriors do have a number of very clever plays, but overall the offense is in shambles because of the ISOs that seem to absolutely kill things. I think Jackson’s idea of taking advantage of matchups is simply get the ball to the player who has “the advantage” and let them go to work. This is not the proper way to win a mismatch.

  44. Complaining about turnovers is like saying the problem with a sick patient is that he has a fever. You’re looking at the symptoms, not the disease.

    If the Warriors protected the ball more, they would simply get off more bad shots or not get off a shot at all.

    Last night, with Curry off and Klay struggling, would have been a natural time to go to the big men. A pass to the center is a natural, easy outlet. And maintaing the lead and confidence in the offense takes the pressure off the shooters and may help them get into a rhythm later.

    The problem is Bogut can’t do much with the ball, as FB keeps saying. He can’t take a short shot or drive himself effectively. About the only time he can score is when he is left open under the basket or Curry can find him with a lob, but if Curry is covered well the latter option doesn’t open up often.

    So it was left up to Lee, who delivered once more. And this was a lineup he could exploit.

    But a team still needs other options, say a good shooter who can pick up the scoring slack, as Belinelli did last night, and the Warriors do not have anyone after the first three starters who can shoot. Or another guard who can dish or drive with confidence. Or another 4 who can work the basket or take a shot, as Landry did last year, who would have helped last night. (I’m not clear why Iguodala was not more effective last night.)

    It’s still more complicated than that. There are offensive schemes that break down defenses. It’s what we saw with the Spurs do, find openings for their perimeter, as Barnett noted, and I’m not sophisticated enough to say what those are, but I can see when they work and when they don’t.

    But that’s why we have coaches, who can figure things out and show us in the play the results of their planning, their intelligence, their ability to think on the fly. Then we have the analysts to explain what they have done. But all the official analysts talk about is turnovers. Why is that?

    Ultimately, it comes down to intelligence that has been developed over time—experience—and this is in short supply. There is almost none in the owner, or in the former agent who evaluates talent, or in the coach, and apparently not in his assistants. Klay and especially Barnes are still young. After the starters, there is no crafty or craftsmanlike player with experience in winning, except Green, who learned his craft four years under Tom Izzo, and O’Neal is out.

    A coaching staff develops talent over time. About the only real coaching the team has enjoyed has come from college coaches (aside from the few real vets on the team, who got it elsewhere). Curry got it from Bob McKillop, Lee from Billy Donovan. (I don’t know Klay’s coach.)

    This team has a low collective IQ and is short in depth.

    ‘Tis bitter cold in Denmark and I am sick at heart.

    • As to coaching, I should give Nelson credit for transitioning Curry to the NBA so well, so quickly, another Lacob inheritance. And Lee should probably grudgingly give credit to D’Antoni.

  45. I suppose there’s slight consolation in the fact that the same roster did the same thing against Miami at Miami last year, but it points to the same conclusion: it’s the organization.

    I assume everyone has seen Steinmetz’s tweet about Jackson nixing more experience in the staff. I’ve held off on Jackson because the team has played brilliant games this season. Also it’s just too hard to watch a game without confidence in the guy steering the ship. But evidence is pointing hard that way.

    Has Jackson, our moral and spiritual leader, ever taken responsibility for anything? Has he made a single intelligent remark about the game? Do we have any reason to believe he’s not over his head?

  46. Hey, Feltbot! The people are suffering and are in turmoil. Are we hearing from you about this mess?

  47. Patty Mills, the little guard no one else wanted, was +10 last night in heavy minutes, tied for highest. Baynes, the fill-in big, was lowest with -11, and he didn’t play many minutes. Pop saw he didn’t need him—no threat from Bogut—and pulled him quickly.

  48. So, apparently David Lee has been dealing with a sore knee for most of the season, according to Rusty Simmons who was on KNBR with Tom Tolbert yesterday. Simmons said that Lee re-evaluated his play and also that the knee has been feeling better, allowing for more scoring in the past four games.

    He also said that Lee has been taking a beating from the media for his “bad” defense.