Spurs 104 Warriors 102: The Hot Seat

That was absolutely humiliating. Popovich spanking Mark Jackson on a road back-to-back with his big three sitting on the bench. Kind of puts the lie to the Warriors’ injury problems doesn’t it?            

Andrew Bogut: How do you get your head around the fact that Bogut put up a line for the ages last night — 18 rebounds, perfect from the field and the line, assists, steals, blocks — and yet was one of the least effective players on the floor, with the worst plus/minus for the game? I know that many Warriors writers, let alone fans, struggle mightily with reconciling these opposing facts in their head.

Here it is: There are two giant holes in Bogut’s game, and they were on full display last night. The first is of course on offense, where his inability to finish the pick and roll triggers intense blitzes of Curry’s high pick and roll game. Absolutely killing what should be the most efficient source of Warriors offense. We see this virtually every game to start the first and third quarter. Another slow start, that Mark Jackson inexplicably attributes to effort on the defensive end.

(Memo to Mark Jackson: When you are routinely sitting on 10 points after the first 8 minutes of a quarter, the problem is not on defense.)

We also saw it on the last inbounds play of last night’s game. Bogut attempted to screen Curry’s man, resulting in a blitz. Bogut’s man simply pounced on Curry, creating a smothering double team that prevented a good look at the basket. Bogut didn’t even think of rolling. He didn’t want the ball, and the inbounder Iggy didn’t even look at him. Bogut hadn’t even set foot in the paint by the time the ball was inbounded.

Why was Bogut even in the game for that final play? Don’t you want five dangerous shooters out there, to completely spread the floor?

Of course you do. That playcall was sheer incompetence. Inconceivable incompetence. Has Jackson learned nothing after having witnessed Curry get blitzed off of Bogut screens for a season and a half, including playoffs?

Wow.

But I digress. The second giant hole in Bogut’s game is on defense. Yes, that’s right. Defense.

Bogut simply doesn’t defend the pick and roll. He CAN’T defend it. He is simply too slow to venture out of the lane to hedge. And teams like the Spurs simply pick this apart.

Do you see the 28 points from Marco Belinelli and 20 points from Patty Mills in last night’s game? Most of that scoring is due to the fact that when they came off the high screen they were virtually unguarded. Wide open.

Bogut was just parked in the lane. A helpless spectator, hoping for a miss and an uncontested rebound.

And in fact, whenever a point guard goes off on the Warriors, this is usually the reason. Pick and roll is Andrew Bogut’s Achilles heel on defense.

Bogut on Twitter:  After the game, I spotted this tweet from Bogut: “I don’t usually tweet after games, but there was no excuse for that, period.”

We shouldn’t be surprised that Bogut doesn’t view himself as part of the problem.

But it might have been a good idea to swallow these feelings right after whiffing that crucial rebound at the end of the game. What happened on that play? Bogut had perfect position, the ball bounced right to him…

And he fell on his back.

Not good. Bogut HAS to make that play. What else is he in for?

David Lee at Center: I’m sure you all noticed that glorious run of Nellieball to open the fourth quarter. Lee at center, Draymond Green at power forward. A +7 run to get the Warriors back in the game.

The sublime David Lee pick and roll, that the Spurs were helpless to stop.

But what I really would like you to notice is the DEFENSE that this unit played. The pressure on the ballhandlers that getting another small defender like Toney Douglas into the game caused. The turnovers it created.

And David Lee guarding the high pick and roll at the three point line. Picking up Marco Belinelli coming off the screen, forcing the turnover.

(You may remember me in the last recap arguing that Lee didn’t belong at the three point line guarding pick and roll. That is when he’s at power forward guarding a stretch-four. That’s an impossible assignment. But when he’s at center and his man is a non-shooter, he is extremely good at hedging against the ball handler. As we saw last night.)

There is a lot of confusion about how effective lineups with David Lee at center can be on the defensive end. About how they can possibly generate point-differential. You were given a 4 minute clinic in this in the 4th quarter last night. (Not to mention all last season in the fourth quarter, while Bogut was out. Were you watching? Do you understand the reason why Lee led the Warriors in plus/minus last season?)

After 4 minutes of rampant Warriors success and joy in the Oracle, Mark Jackson had seen enough. Andrew Bogut was brought back in to win the game the “right way.”

Was that the right time to pull the plug on the lineup that finished so many games with wins last season? That beat the Heat in Miami?

David Lee was phenomenal last night, and wound up +3 for the game. Kent Bazemore was by contrast absolutely wretched in his short stint, yet wound up +4.

They were both plus for the night because for a brief shining moment they were played together in the right system, at the right time.

Harrison Barnes: Barnes averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds against the Spurs in the playoffs last season. Last night, he put up 0 and 4 in 19 completely invisible minutes. What happened?

The reason is very simple, and it’s something I predicted would occur — to a hot reaction — before the season even began. Barnes was played at power forward in the playoffs. Last night  he was played exclusively at small forward. As he has been all season.

Barnes is a below average NBA small forward. He simply doesn’t have the necessary tools, particularly on the defensive end. You’re seeing that play out now on a nightly basis.

Like Stephen Curry and David Lee, Barnes is stuck in the wrong system, playing for the wrong coach.

He’s a stretch-four.

Kelvin Sampson recently said this about stretch-four Omri Casspi: “When you play him at the three,  you see all the things he can’t do. When you play him at the four, you see all the things he can do.”

Yes, indeed.

Shaq on David Lee: I was rather startled to hear Shaq call David Lee a “bonafide superstar” at half-time last night. I thought I was alone in the world with my positive opinion of Lee — and even I wouldn’t dare go that far.

I can only imagine the reaction, when they heard that, of Ethan Strauss, Adam Lauridsen, Sleepy Freud and the “majority of Warriors fans” that Strauss knows personally, who all want Lee traded or benched.

There’s a pretty big gap between the idea that Lee is a superstar, and the belief that he should be traded or benched, isn’t there?

You could drive a diesel through it.

More TNT: Why is it that we have to wait to learn important things about our Warriors from TNT, and not the Warriors media? Perhaps it’s because “journalists” like Ric Bucher and Rusty Simmons are busy working Warriors promotions on Twitter. Joe Lacob is undeniably skillful at turning journalists into hired PR staff, without letting the public in on the joke.

So, yes, the injury that Harrison Barnes suffered from to start the season was indeed “turf toe.” Dr. Felt — and no one else — made the diagnosis and informed you of that fact at the time it happened, and now it’s been confirmed.

We also learned that David Lee attributes his struggles so far this season to having to learn a new role. Last season he was heavily featured in the offense, particularly in pick and roll. This season he’s had to fight for scraps, in a system that doesn’t fit his talents.

Pretty sure I’m the only one who’s been telling you that as well. Everyone else has been busy thinking up reasons to trade Lee.

And we learned Mark Jackson’s response to Lee’s discomfort: “Give me more hustle.” That’s coach-speak for: “Shut the fuck up and play.”

Mark Jackson, your slip is showing.

The Hot Seat: I have been pretty loud in my criticisms of Mark Jackson so far this year, but I haven’t yet called for his head. I remember the job he did last year when Bogut got injured in the regular season, and when Lee got injured in the playoffs. It has been hard for me to get my head around the idea that he could completely dismiss the lessons last year should have taught him about what playing with a stretch-four, spreading the floor, and pushing the tempo could do for this wonderfully talented Warriors team. I go into every game expecting him to snap out of it.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if I turned out to be the most patient of the Warriors writers?

The knives are coming out for Jackson. Matt Steinmetz tweeted some interesting information this morning: That after losing Malone, there was an internal disagreement among Warriors management over bringing in another top level assistant to replace him. Jackson opposed this idea, and Jackson prevailed. Leaving the Warriors bench “very inexperienced.”

There is an implication here that Mike Malone was a very big reason for the Warriors success last year. And more importantly, that the job is too big for Mark Jackson, and that he is failing.

A new post on GSoM is a little more direct: “Fire Mark Jackson” is the headline. I don’t agree with a lot of what is written in that post, but that’s not the point. The point is that it was written at all.

Is Mark Jackson’s seat getting warm? Is there a danger that he could be fired if things continue to go south?

I have a hard time believing that. First of all, because there’s always a hope of redemption in the playoffs, and I still have little doubt that the Warriors will make the postseason despite their current struggles.

Second, because I have the sense that the things Mark Jackson is doing to kill this team are precisely the things that Joe Lacob wants from him. When asked about the possibility of Harrison Barnes at the four and smallball before the season, Lacob spokesmodel Bob Myers replied that he hoped that the Warriors would play big this year. It was Lacob who signed a natural backup center (Speights), to play power forward behind Lee. It is Lacob, I am certain, who wants 30+ minutes a game from his signature signing Bogut, including crunch time. Despite the destruction that wreaks on Curry’s high pick game, and the Warriors offense in general. It is Lacob who wants potentially the best Nellieball team in history to turn its back on its identity and concentrate wholly on the defensive end. Lacob who believes that becoming “a combination of the Perkins-Garnett Celtics and the Showtime Lakers,” as he once said, makes some sort of sense in the real world.

And third, because there is simply no one on the bench to replace Jackson, even on an interim basis.

Perhaps that’s how he wanted it.

74 Responses to Spurs 104 Warriors 102: The Hot Seat

  1. Good post, Felt.

    I think the Lee-at-C lineup to start the 4th was largely a response to the 3rd-Q Bellinelli screens I mentioned in an earlier post. Like you, I didn’t see any reason to drop that lineup at the end, but all things considered I can’t say I’m surprised.

    Calling George Karl…

  2. Great insight on the Warriors issues of late, yours is quickly becoming my go to Dubs blog. You seem to be nailing the groove on the W’s front court problems. I’m curious as to what your take is on Klay Thompson. It getting increasingly difficult for me to watch both his mental mistakes on both sides of the floor as well as his one-dimensional perimeter offense, especially when he is living up to his negative moniker of “Klank”.

  3. Interesting analysis as always.

    I’d add this. The game was lost in the 3rd quarter.
    Bellinelli went for 17! I’ll take your word for why.

    But, at the other end of the floor there were 7 TO’s for the Ws (and 6 for SA). SA hit 3’s at 62% and the W’s at 18% in that quarter. Klay shot 1-7. And, they still weren’t down by that much.

    Or maybe it was lost in the second quarter. Leonard went off, among others. I’d have to watch it again to see what went wrong. Klay and Curry shot poorly.

    Lee was unstoppable, but that didn’t stop Klay and Curry from missing a lot of shots.

    • well coached teams that run the pick and roll well will give bogut a heavy dose if they see him out there. SA can refine matters further, because their system creates floor space, and the other three players spread their defenders to isolate the two defending the ball and screener. a prepared, experienced tactician on the bench recognizes this immediately and counters, and against a team that can effectively isolate those two defenders, a quick hook applied to bogut is the only remedy.

  4. No small part of the discomfort from malaise is not just not knowing the causes, but not even knowing what the problem is. No one else has provided a coherent interpretation of recent performances. No one else has provided much review of decisions made by our coach, of those of other coaches at all, past or present, what they do, what they did, what they might have done.

    So thanks once more, Feltbot.

    And if you want graphic demonstration of your point about that lineup, go to gameflow and watch the middle line fall in our favor and abruptly rise when that lineup was changed, 4th. Q:

    http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20131219&game=SASGSW

    Those who are tired of criticism of Bogut can go anywhere and everywhere else to find unqualified praise. The point is he has limited value, as has been amply discussed only here. I didn’t realize how limited he was on offense until this year, however, now that he is supposedly healthy, and only this year has the Comcast team conceded he has these limitations. I didn’t hear that at all at the time of the trade or last year.

    I also wonder how valuable he is on defense. In addition to your point about pick and roll, my sense is he has limited range and is not much use on spread offenses.

    Last night was a game a big man was not needed at all—to stop Baynes, who played 9 minutes? That Lee and Bogut gathered 31 boards suggests rebounding was essentially conceded by Pop in his overall scheme. I’m not saying many weren’t fought for or weren’t valuable, but many others came easily. And Pop offset this concession with boards from a more valuable and versatile player, Leonard, who had 10. We won the rebounding battle, btw, 47-39.

    Meyers’ comment about playing big—we’ve seen evidence of this before. Smart did not do well in Sacramento, but Malone is struggling as well, which suggests lineup problems (with their big!). It’s hard to believe Smart wasn’t put under the same pressure. Was it his decision to focus on Biedrins after years coaching him? Of course he didn’t have a say in Kwame Brown. Smart was put on a short tether and had to contend with the lineup he was given and the directives. And focus on Biedrins he did, with results we saw. Brown lasted about a game. Had he remained healthy, we can guess how he would have been played, and how much.

    It’s the owner.

    • the owner didn’t require smart to use his training camp and preseason to install the flex offense, which exposed how little smart understood what his players could do, despite being their assistant coach in many instances. doubtful if smart was instructed to play acie law over curry, williams, or lin.

      • Not defending Smart, who got a full dose of criticism here, especially his treatment of Curry. But I can’t believe he wasn’t told to play big regardless. And haven’t the owner and his minions also expressed preference to use their guard (Curry) to penetrate and draw fouls or kick out? Or to feed the big, who drives or kicks back out to the guards for the 3? This was the sketch they painted for the Bogut trade.

  5. dev-lishly clever of that brain trust. when their puppet’s stumbling and bumbling starts attracting a bit too much attention, they leak the ‘news’ tidbit that Malone would have been replaced with another prime assistant, but instead deferred to the preacher. just in case the owner gets bad p.r. for originally hiring jackson.

  6. Just to add one more dimension: They haven’t replaced Jack. The combo of Bazemore/Douglas/Iggy is nowhere near as effective. Plus, Jack brought toughness out there,which very nice young men like Klay and Harrison and Steph and David do not. Jack would have competed against Mills, Bellinelli, et al. far more aggressively than happened last night, taking it all REALLY personally.

    • Big Jeff has it exactly right. Jack brought the intangibles of leadership and attitude. The W’s haven’t replaced that. They have a few players who seem tough: Bogut, Green, AI and JON, but not enough, and none of them is the leader they need. Green comes closest, IMO, but he won’t get there until he finds a way to improve his FG%. I’d like to see him used as a PointF with TD defending the PG, but we’ve seen precious little of that. I read that he did it in college.

    • anything is possible in fantasy land, and selective memory is a province of that wondrous utopia. objectively, there’s one thing that made jack better than iguodala — he missed only three games. he also had mediocre performances playing dinged up, as did iguodala last night. you can’t tell what the season in toto will reveal about iguodala’s contribution. you have no way of knowing what how jack would fare with this year’s roster, this season’s early schedule, and the reconfigured coaching staff. most of us perceive iguodala as a significantly better defender than jack, but if having an aggressive, tough attitude makes more of a difference, of course your opinion matters as much/little as anyone else’s.

  7. I agree with some of your points, but Re: David Lee’s defense, Nellie himself agrees that it’s awful…
    http://nba.si.com/2013/12/17/don-nelson-sports-illustrated-profile-maui-hawaii-david-lee-monta-ellis/
    “Later, when Warriors forward David Lee gets the ball on the block, Nelson smirks. “You better go to him,” he says, “because he can’t guard anybody.” “

  8. Felt,

    You are right about Bogut’s challenge with the PnR but I think the coaching problem is more than just who is in the game, but when, and what are they doing. Did Bellinelli really have to go off for that many points before some adjustment was made? The base defense is to sag the big man on the PnR and chase the ball handler, in theory leaving mostly long 2’s or quick 3’s off the bounce. But when the ball handler gets hot, you cool him by hard-hedging or blitzing the ball handler. Does anyone think that Pop, Carlisle, or any competent coach would wait all quarter to get torched before changing up tactics or personnel?

    OK, so let’s say that Jackson is committed to Bogut. That doesn’t have to be a white flag either. To my eyes, he has been getting more comfortable in his offense lately; 3-3 in the last game. We rarely see offense from him after the first quarter. If you have him in there and his offensive game isn’t stinking why aren’t we seeing if that 3-3 can become 5-6 or 7-9? It may not be off the PnR but it is something that can lead to opposing big man foul trouble or free up the perimeter. The Warriors aren’t losing by 12 and 15, they’re losing by 2, 3, and 4. Make small adjustments and make them early and much like a killer asteroid hurtling towards Earth, you can deflect it enough to avoid disaster. In the choice between action, reaction, and inaction mJax is stubbornly sticking to the latter. If he isn’t careful he’ll watch the asteroid of bad matchups and bad schemes obliterate the Warrior’s deep playoff aspirations.

  9. Uh oh, looks like Malone is struggling to implement the school of Jackson in Sac!

    “We have nobody that is protecting the basket,” Malone said outside the Kings’ locker room after the Heat scored 70 points in the paint. “I question how many guys that we have on this team who will take pride in their defense. I think a lot of guys are worried about their numbers and the offense, but they are not committed to defense. That’s apparent every night you watch us play.

    “Every day in practice, every shoot-around, every team meeting and every film session, all we talk about is our defense. Obviously the message isn’t getting through. They’re not accepting it or they’re unwilling to accept it, I’m not sure what the problem is; but I have to find five guys (Saturday night) in Orlando that are willing to compete on the defensive end of the floor.”

    • Implied here maybe is that Malone didn’t have the same problems with the Warriors? And that maybe the Warriors’ defensive problems aren’t the players but the coach?

  10. @2 If Klay Thompson continues to struggle he will certainly deserve my attention. I think a large part of it is system related, but he’s definitely missing open shots as well.

    I intend to address the turnover problem as well. I attribute it almost completely to problems with the system, and that was indirectly corroborated by David Lee on KNBR last night when he said the TOs were caused by “spacing and not having somewhere solid to go with the ball.” Right?

    Some of this I expect to go away as Iggy gets healthy. He’s clearly still limited, and probably shouldn’t be playing.

    I also heard Mark Jackson throw Keith Smart under the bus last night on KNBR (long commute). Said it would hurt the team to yank Steph for turnovers. “He doesn’t have to look over his shoulder, doesn’t have to worry about being yanked for Acie Law with me.”

    That’s a pretty direct shot. Ever heard a coach do the previous coach like that before? Maybe that’s part of Lacob’s culture change, because the practice started with him.

    • Has Jackson ever conceded any coaching or strategy problem, even the slightest?

    • It’s good that Jackson recognizes his team’s need for Steph to play, but wow, he didn’t need to kick two guys who are down. That’s just nasty.

      Common courtesy aside, it’s also bad for PR. Bad enough to make any PR-sensitive organization question Jackson’s suitability as a spokesman. Add that to his repeatedly trashing his players, and we’re looking at a guy who probably won’t get any other coaching opportunities in the future. Possibly not even another announcer gig.

      Jackson is in the e-n-t-e-r-t-a-i-n-m-e-n-t biz. There’s nothing entertaining about a public figure taking cheap shots at people who can’t fire back.

      • we already knew talking came easily for the preacher, but he hasn’t proven yet he can study, comprehend, teach actual hoops coaching material. he had a quick riposte to Karl’s critique about keeping things on the high road, and many of us would enjoy seeing what curry could accomplish with better technical/tactical coaching than what the preacher offers.

  11. Feltsiconitus, I’ve been surprised by your reticence in calling out Jackson’s performance as a coach this season. You’ve really been quite generous, patient and kind to him while watching him mis-use (and now even abuse) one of the most talented squads in the NBA.

    I know you see Jackson’s screwups. In this post, once again, you proved it. Yet even in this post, while you focus a laser on Jackson’s game-time failures, you excuse his performance. It’s not his fault, you say. He’s deferring to the (presumed) wishes of his boss. It’s Lacob, you say.

    That may be true to a degree. But Lacob doesn’t sit on the bench.

    I doubt Lacob called in to Jackson on the bench and said “Let Splitter set any number of high picks for an amazing 3-point shooter.” I’m pretty sure Lacob didn’t phone in to Jackson with 2.1 seconds left in the game and say “Make sure Bogut is on the floor. Yeah, I know he’s useless but my reputation is on the line dammit!”

    Didn’t happen.

    Feltimore, if this team doesn’t win, Lacob goes bust on his new arena. Then he has to go back and try to renegotiate with the Oakland Arena crowd he tried to screw over.

    If this team doesn’t win, Lacob’s reputation as a savant disappears, and that costs him $billions in lost opportunities.

    Feltonomiconski my friend, Lacob needs a winning coach far more than you or I do. He has more riding on this team than you or I will ever be able to gamble. Philosophy be damned.

    So let’s say Jackson does perceive his Job One as pandering to his boss. If he’s screwing up games to conform to Lacob’s basketball beliefs, he may be delivering what Lacob would like, but he is not producing what Lacob absolutely needs.

    Since you’re speculating about Lacob’s basketball philosophy, would you care to speculate about his priorities? Would you bet that Lacob prioritizes confirmation of his basketball philosophy over getting wins?

    Feltski. Bubke. Jackson may want to pander to his boss’s ego, but what he needs to do for his boss is win.

    Let’s focus on that. Jackson may be a marvelous asslicker, but let’s not even consider that on this blog. Besides being kinda sickening, it’s not a basketball issue.

    As a basketball coach, Jackson is in the midst of constructing a Shakespearian tragedy this season. An epic fail, one for the ages. Like all the greatest tragedies, a failure that could have easily been averted, if only.

    Jackson is clueless. That is the problem. Focus on that. You can bet that even Lacob does.

    • I believe I was offering reasons why he might not be fired, not excuses for his performance.

    • the owner isn’t worried about his game revenues yet — they’ve sold season tickets to capacity, and reaching the post season again, which boss felt assures us is practically certain, will sell out next season’s. there are still enough national t.v. games left including 25 Dec and 31 Jan to keep their t.v. ratings up, inducing the networks for more dates next season as well.

      even though the result vs. SA at home was a disappointment, the live and t.v. audiences were entertained, the national following for SA was gratified, and the home crowd can blame the outcome on a couple of officiating calls (including a good illustration why the FIBA rules differ completely on ‘offensive goaltending’).

      Jackson is still finishing the option portion of his first contract. if the very particular owner isn’t happy with available replacement candidates — and the best might want more authority over the roster, or higher compensation than what lacob cares to concede — we can’t rule the preacher out from getting another full term.

      • Felt, no problem with your work here, I was just blabbin. I probably got carried away. Mea culpa. You’re still the greatest.

        moto, the Ws always sell out, even when they’re hopeless. More to the point, ticket sales represent a microscopic fraction of the potential payback from a new SF arena, and a losing team simply has no chance of getting the stadium deal approved. Lacob needs a win.

  12. It that seems Jackson toward the end of last year asserted himself more as the coach. Whether Malone was responsible for the Warriors playing a tighter ship last year and the Warriors committing 14..8 turnovers per game, compared to this year committing and average of 16.9 per game is simply not known. What is known is that the Warriors are averaging 2 turnovers per game this year, and most of that blame has to be placed onJackson who is the leader of the team.

    With the Warriors losing some posters place it on Jackson and other factors. But, there is still a strong strand that argues that the roster is just fine, that another coach would get production, and that by Jackson playing Speights out of position, and Barnes not playing the stretch 4, the Warriors would be a superior team.

    And while Felty identifies Bogut’s liabilities on the defensive end and some realize that few offensive plays can be run for him, only a few criticize his resigning for three years.

    Few have pointed out how Iggy’s offensive production has dropped off since return from injury. His shooting six or less shots per game is not going to make the Warriors an effective team.

    Besides four good starters the roster is very weak that even better coaching would not get far in the playoffs. Not having a better and more mobile center, a back-up point guard who can distribute, a back up SG and PF, shows how far the Warriors need to go.

  13. Not much to recap. Lakers a joke with no point guard and no Pau. (notice I’m leaving someone out.)

    Most of my thoughts during the game are on my twitter widget in the sidebar.

  14. Mo’ Mo Speights! He’s big, he can motor, he can shoot, he can drive, and he can knock down a free throw. He would be someone else for Curry to pass to. I’m not sure how much is given up on defense. He can rebound and block, and he could have gone out on Jordan Hill. Certainly during these past two roster challenged opponents he needed to be brought out for use later. And there are many situations where he’s a better fit.

    And get Douglas shooting. They need another shooter, and he may be the best option. Playing both with a full roster—with Curry—will bring out their best.

    Kendall Marshall played alongside Barnes in an overhyped UNC team. Both left after their sophomore year, and both needed to stay.

    See if you can find Harrison Barnes in this picture:

    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=25iqkgw&s=6#.UrcaAqU57IE

    • Barnes’ performance, especially the last two games, where he should have shined, approaches pathos—and pathology. You have to wonder how well the staff trains its players. Klay goes to his father for advice on his shooting.

      • we can be fairly certain, if West was coaching the offense, he’d boost Thompson’s consistency, and the team would be scoring more points in transition. the occasional eruption of an outstanding game from Curry would become a fairly regular occurrence, floor spacing more coherent, with reduced turnovers the result. Mr.Barnes would have a specific bench role, one that does not burden his modest ball handling and decision making, and probably traded.

        there are two rookie coaches, in Bos and Phx, who would know how to install a coherent offensive system better than the Rev. Jackson. all that p.r. about his lead guard playing career preparing him for the job didn’t mention cheeks, thomas, del negro and others deservedly forgotten. (the great cousy didn’t make an effective coach but jackson hardly rates a comparison to him). the preacher won’t be forgotten.

  15. Match your *favorite* Warrior personality with the correct animal!

    1. Peter Guber
    2. Mark Jackson
    3. Joe Lacob
    4. Bob Fitzgerald
    5. Ric Bucher

    a. ferret
    b. hyena
    c. badger
    d. weasel
    e. goose

    • I’m sensing disgruntlement.

    • The correct answers are: 1e, 2c, 3d, 4b, and 5a. I think what most dispirits me about this organization and its media touts is that there is no one who talks intelligently about the game itself, other than Barnett, and I like listening to St. Jean talks about the details of play.

  16. I don’t usually write about basketball, but when I do, I choose feltbot.com.
    Through often unconscious (probably) irony and humour, lots of analytics (surely, dissecting the plays is analysis) and ‘anger is energy’ ways this is my favourite place to lurk for warrior friends and foes.
    I will go open (or bluff) in saying that I like barnes and bogut as players, strangely both have been at their best when playing without lee – last year playoffs. Of course, as seasoned eyes will notice, that has nothing to do with lee, but the system.

    Which is spread the damn floor! So, to me, this team has two amazing units in having wings soaring around either defensive/rebounding monster in bogut, or offensive/rebounding wizard in lee. For second double units it could be ezeli and speights respectively.

    This team is, and I will re-transfer the idea of a spectral double from derrida, a double headed force waiting to be unleashed.
    It might not be a champion, but surely good enough to be a ghost of a champion.

    The only problem I see is that the main coach might be empty enough to cause an unsuspected train wreck.

    Happy holidays, afficionados.

    • Thanks Martin (I think) and +1. Agree completely this team is a potential “double headed force waiting to be unleashed.”

  17. FB, right on!

    Running smallball with Speights @ C, the 2nd team is improved. Too bad it takes injuries to get Jackson to run a lineup that works.

    A smart adjustment: Green often initiated the 2nd team offense. He had 4 assists, 2nd on the whole team. He’d have had half a dozen more if the 2nd unit could make shots.

    Gotta seriously question Jackson’s decision to leave Iggy in the game when his leg got tweaked. Iggy is not right. Is Jackson desperate enough to risk Iggy’s health? Looks like it.

    A W is a W, but Curry and Thompson shot only 33% overall last night. They shot .470 from 3, but took only 8 of them combined! There’s something very, very wrong with that picture.

  18. p.s. (some wine opens up old and grumpy souls) could there be any truth to the idea, that barnes has become less aggressive after that concussion he had in san antonio series? Surely, the dude can jump over the chinese wall and through the berlin one, but he seems reluctant to take that last moment spring off the feet this year.
    Well versed and rational as he is, that might have been a spoon too many to send him into reflexive patterns he seems to be in a lot of the time.

    • I don’t know about the concussion, but I have on occasion found myself wondering whether his turf toe is affecting his game. It is, as I understand it, a chronic inflammatory condition.

      • I don’t think joint extension/sprain is by necessity a chronic injury. Probably as with most injuries, it can only become chronic if not treated or occurs too often (sprain in this case). I don’t believe he is experiencing it any more than curry after his sprains. For short period, some discomfort and awareness is inevitable. Since team was quite good without him (and is better without for most games), I don’t think he was rushed on the court sans proper treatment.
        Still, logically, he might as well be too aware of that and other things (fear of possible concussion).

  19. Bogut made the comment that a defender should hold an opponent to his scoring average. Jordan Hill, his opponent, is averaging 9.4 points and 8 boards a game this season but scored 14 and made 10 rebounds last night.

    • warriorsablaze

      Which is a direct result of MJ’s strategy which cross-matched Lee onto Kamen. Of course Bogut isn’t going to completely shut down an athletic PF with a midrange J. I’m not even sure what the advantage of the cross-match would be other than to hide Lee on Kamen. The strategy is good for the Clippers or Grizz… just don’t see the purpose with this Laker frontline.

      Perhaps you should also note that Bogut had 12 and 20… both far surpassing his season averages. I’d say he won the match-up handily.

      • If there was ever a game where cross matching made no difference this was it. It was nice he got 20 boards, but I’m no more impressed with that than I am with Kaman’s 17 boards or Kaman himself. In both cases, many boards are conceded, others you only have to be big and standing under the basket to get them. Yes, both fought for several as well. Also I would hope he would finally get open for dead put backs and tips against someone, in this case the horribly depleted Laker squad, disoriented without any kind of real point guard or front court (Jordan Hill?).

        If Bogut puts any stock in his comment, it shows what a limited understanding he has of his role, the game, and his contributions to the team, and this is not the first time he’s complained about the perimeter or being asked to help out. Most players he opposes are limited scorers, so holding them is no big deal.

        One reason Hill scored more is that Bogut doesn’t go out on centers when they move out for a shot—Barnett noted this. The whole point of Feltbot’s post is really how limited Bogut is on defense. He has limited range and is largely effective only in a small circle around the basket when action is slow and the court tight, often at the expense of overall defense. Pick up the pace, move Bogut from the basket, and his effectiveness diminishes. He’s slow, and players of all sizes can get by him. And his serious limitations on offense and their effect on the team have been discussed amply here.

        I react in part because I’m tired of the Fitz etc. rhapsodizing about his boards.

        More seriously, my greatest concern and source of my criticism is if the team values his rebounding in limited situations to justify his time on the court at the expense of the other players and use it to determine the overall system, in spite of how much it hampers the team. And this appears to be the case.

  20. Seth Curry signed by the Grizzlies. He might get some run due to all their guard injuries.

  21. Lets make a really “transcendent” trade.

    I think the trade the Warriors should be looking at is Mark Jackson for Mike D’Antoni. Up here, Jackson stubbornly plays big, half court, post up ball, misusing Curry and Lee and wasting a young small ball team. Down there, D’Antoni stubbornly plays small, fast, pick and roll ball, wasting Gasol and abusing players too old to run.

    Does anyone else think that trading our stubborn coach for another stubborn coach, a coach who happens to fit our players, would be just the thing to get the Warriors performing closer to their potential? The dang Clips can trade for a great coach, let’s at least trade for one that likes to run.

    That’s all I got. Feltbot, I really enjoy your analysis and the intelligent discussion on this site. Keep it up.

    Cheers.

    • Couldn’t agree more. D’Antoni would be terrorizing the league with this roster.

    • keeping it real, we’re not going to see Lacob making the investment in a coach like LA/sterlings made in rivers. rivers also got considerable authority over the roster, which lacob won’t be so amenable to relinquish. because of the contract commitments to lee, curry, iguodala, bogut, the next major changes likely will hinge on their decisions regarding thompson, barnes, green, and the coach. would it surprise us if lacob either re-signs jackson, or again tries the ‘undervalued asset’ approach and goes sideways with his next coaching hire ?

      • Gosh, moto, it seems to me that there’s a lot of speculation hereabouts concerning one guy’s inner thoughts. So let’s look at that guy’s history:

        1. Historically, Lacob makes money for investors.
        2. If Lacob were to suddenly, publicly, fail to make money, his entire world would collapse. His reputation shot, his career in the toilet.
        3. At this time, Lacob’s coach hurts more than helps his team to win.
        4. To achieve his next big (highly public) score, Lacob needs a winning ball team. SF voters won’t give Lacob a new arena for a bunch of schlubs.

        I don’t know diddly about Lacob the man, but it seems to me that anyone with his history would consider knifing an incompetent employee for a $billion payday.

        So I’m not convinced that Lacob believes that his bball philosophy, his wild flyer on Jackson, his attempts to justify his trades and drafts, or anything he’s tried to do with PR is a higher priority than simply GETTING WINS DAMMIT!!!

        If Jackson loses the next 3 games straight, he’s gone. If he loses the next 3 out of 5, the odds of keeping his job are slim. Lose 6 of the next 10, he’s gone.

        The sad thing about all of this is that, while it all hinges on basketball wins, it’s not really about basketball. It’s just business.

        • p.s.

          The next 6 games are

          @ Denver
          Clippers
          Phoenix
          Orlando
          @ Miami
          @ Atlanta

          With Jackson as coach I see only 3 wins there. Two sure losses, two probable wins, and two tossups. Jackson’s job is teetering on the brink.

          • the owner could well decide in the next few weeks to fire the coach, but the change won’t be announced until their games for the season are done. the preacher will probably steer clear of a outright disaster between now and 1 Feb (they actually get three consecutive off days) — he’s pretty adept at mediocrity.

        • Sr. Sombrero, your discourse leaves the impression that you might work in big finance (to go with the big hat), or have the chief’s desk in a successful enterprise, but a couple of your comments are curious. you said something about lacob having to answer to a board of owners — it’s more like the minority owners have to go along, unless as my reply stated, guber and kirk lacob pool their shares and lead a coup. and you scoffed at the significance of selling out season tickets to capacity, because they’ve always had a full house, not distinguishing the difference in revenue and types of revenue the season ticket sales bring, vs. filling seats with the ‘rush’ ticket prices when the visiting squad isn’t a big attraction.

          the coach won’t be fired if they go into another losing streak before the end of the season ; it would be too much a loss of face for the owner who made the contrarian hire in the first place. obviously, winning would boost his campaign to pave the bay for his submersible vanity development, but the owner’s investment pattern for the strictly hoops side of his enterprise suggests he’s hedging and not confident they’re legit championship material.

          your personal success and wealth might give you full confidence in your views, and of course you might be completely correct in all matters ; neither of us has hard proof behind our allegations.

          • moto, Lacob’s SF arena is worth $Billions. Anything that stands in the way of a payback like that is inconsequential in comparison. Lacob could be as loyal as a puppy. He might have a huge ego. Whatever. We’re talking $Billions here. With a Capital B.

            If Lacob’s ego were an impediment to profit, he wouldn’t be profitable.

            Even as Ws followers we’ve seen Lacob humbly cut his losses before. After “Mullin night” he quit being the public face of the team. When his son Kirk got hit with a sexual harrassment charge, he was banished to North Dakota. Small things, perhaps, but indicative of Lacob’s priorities: his ego counts for less than his balance sheet. Frankly, I’d be shocked if someone managing as much money as Lacob had any other attitude. He may not like to admit mistakes – no one does – but he does have fiduciary responsibilities.

            I keep reading that Lacob “can’t” admit mistakes, so we’re stuck with the Warriors status quo. Keeping a proven loser on the payroll would be a huge mistake, though, wouldn’t it? It would be even worse than hiring an unproven guy in the first place.

            When it’s time to fire an employee, it’s a mistake to keep him on. That’s business. Lacob is unquestionably good at business.

            To me that says that over the next 10 games or so, Jackson’s coaching career is on the line. Feel free to continue to speculate on Lacob’s personality and ego. I’m going on his track record.

          • Trading coach D’Antoni for coach Jackson? Hmmm. Interesting.

            The W’s would definitely even more fun to watch with D’Antoni at the helm of our elite shooters, at the expense of playing defense and actually winning… Those NY Knick games starring David Lee and Coach D’Antoni were entertaining as all hell, but I doubt they ever broke a .500 winning percentage.

            The Laker trade I’ll secretly root for is David Lee to LA for Pau Gasol and his huge expiring deal… I’d have Jerry West decide which of them starts at center. If Pau doesn’t re-sign, the Ws can add 4 Jarret Jack’s/Carl Landry’s with his cap space.

  22. Losing 9 out of 10 might get Jackson canned, but with Iggy back and the rest of the roster relatively healthy, there is no way the Warriors do that. This team should go 6-4 in every 10 game stretch the rest of the season. Mediocrity at its best — one of the top rosters in the league, but a coach who can’t design an offense that works for them.

    It’s interesting that Pat Riley hired Eric Spoelstra, by many accounts an ingenious coach who doesn’t seem to have an ego and simply cares about the X’s and O’s, while Lacob hires a spokesman coach whose X’s and O’s acumen is highly questionable.

    Riley, Spoelstra and even LeBron took hits early as Spoelstra developed an offense and defensive scheme for the Heat. Then it sank in, and the Heat have won back to back championships. The difference between the Heat and the Warriors is that the Heat have a discernible, highly complex and supremely effective system while the Warriors do not, and seem to be getting worse in that department.

    It’s time to hear Jerry West evaluate this roster and coach. I’d like to hear what West has to say about the Warriors problems.

    • Very astute observation — failed to mention they have arguably, the greatest player of all time — who willfully carries them on his back every night. They might win even if they ran a Princeton offense with four players.

      • You’re wrong Frank Lee. Spoelstra’s innovative offense has freed LeBron to do what he does. If you watch the Heat, yes, sometimes LeBron takes over. However, Spoelstra puts his players in positions to succeed. Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen (at this point in his career), and Chris Anderson are put in position to succeed. This is not the case with many of the Warriors players. There is a clear difference between an X’s and O’s coach like Spoelstra and Coach Jackson.

  23. D’Antoni is not a good coach. Nellie schooled him many times.

    Where are these rumors sthat have Jackson being fired coming from.

    When are the Warroors ever going to try to keep a good perimeter shooter from getting the ball.?

  24. a breakthrough game, the first win on the road over a team above .500 since the Min game in the first week of the season (Min 3-2 at the time). it looks like three starters are playing dinged up, curry, bogut, iguodala, plus Mr. Barnes. the preacher refused to bench curry with a 14 pt. lead in the first quarter after curry picked up his second foul, got his wish with the third foul a minute later, and put him back again in the second quarter. four fouls by the half. Den offense more poorly focused than the woeyrs’ — GS will need more cooperative opponents on that road trip coming up.

    • Meh.

      Another non-performance by Harrison Barnes. Other than Speights and their utility infielder, Green, there’s almost no bench at all. If Lacob wants to protect his investment and self esteem, he’d better bring some more players to the roster.

    • Good, a win against a team with a winning record, but at the risk of sounding negative:

      – The Ws didn’t beat Denver’s winning lineup. Denver is missing multiple starters.
      – An average of 34.6 min. for all the Ws starters. 38 for Lee and Thompson. Too much.
      – 31 min. for Iggy, who is clearly not fully recovered from torn hamstring. Too much.
      – HBarnes 22 min., 1-6 shooting, 0 boards, 1 assist, 0 steals or blocks.
      – Green only 17 minutes. Not enough.
      – 55.6% FT shooting overall. Ghastly.
      - 42.9% overall shooting, 43.8% from 3.
      – “Splash Bros” got only seven 3-point attempts, the same number as Iggy, Barnes and Green totaled.

      Re those last 2 items, WTF? It’s not uncommon for this team to shoot better from 3. Why isn’t it getting its best shooters their best shots?

      If you have two superb shooters, why wouldn’t you work to maximize their shots? Even if the Ws played terrible wing D, wouldn’t they win every game if they consistently got the Splashers open looks? Why would you NOT try to force opponents play catch-up to Curry/Thompson’s shooting, shot-for-shot, all game long?

      Maybe I’m missing something, or maybe the coach is an idiot.

      Curry’s shooting by shot clock, from 82games.com:

      Secs…….Att…..eFG%
      0-10……45%….567
      11-15…..15%….400
      16-20….33%….500
      21+………6%….750
      Crunch..17%…576

      Thompson’s:
      Secs…..Att…..eFG%
      0-10……..32%….333
      11-15…….26%….600
      16-20……32%….583
      21+………11%….000
      Crunch…30%….488

      The way I read those number: the 0-10 time segment includes fast break layups. Thompson has regressed there. The two middle time segments would include called motion plays. That is some amazing shooting success. The last segment is desperation time. Yup, Curry looks like a closer. Wow.

      But look at those Att. percentages. If the Ws regularly ran motion plays to get Curry and Thompson shots, wouldn’t the 11-20 portion of the shot clock have the highest % of attempts? Shouldn’t it?

      • Nice stats Hat. I would also like to see analysis for situation, i.e., the kind of offense, the kind of shots taken. What you’d find is that Jackson’s offense makes it hard to get into an offensive rhythm. A lot of shots Curry is taking aren’t especially efficient for him. Many times he’s penetrating and getting up whatever kind of shot he can. Klay is not brought into the offense much at all, and often has to create for himself as well.

        And I still say get a competent backup point guard, someone who could take Curry and/or Klay off the ball, who could score himself when the pressure goes to them. Many of Curry’s minutes don’t make good use of him at all, and another guard could fill in here and give him some rest. It’s what Jack did last year.

        If Douglas could fill in this role, it should be developed—and really hasn’t. He can shoot and provides defense.

        What fast breaks?

        • I don’t know where to go for the kind of analysis you’re talking about.

          My eyes tell me the Ws run fewer motion plays this year, including PnRs. Far more iso’s, though that has decreased in the last few games, thankfully. Almost no plays to get an off-ball player clear for a shot. That’s the biggest difference this year.

          That last item worked well for Thompson last year. This season it’s MIA. It’s not a wonder that Thompson’s shooting is down. We’re not getting him the open looks we got him last year. He’s having to create most of his shots himself – Jackson has even said as much. I can’t imagine why Jackson thinks that’s a good idea.

          Re Jack, Iggy’s better in all ways, on both ends of the floor. Especially in making assists. Jack averaged over 10 shots/game last year in fairly limited minutes. Those were 10 shots Curry wasn’t taking, but should have had. Don’t miss Jack. At all.

          I’d like to see Iggy paired with Douglas, something we haven’t seen much. Iggy is a decent floor general, and Douglas can be a great scorer. Potentially a good combination, playing to the strengths of both.

          In other words, the team doesn’t need to have a plug-in replacement for Curry at PG, so don’t bother pining about missing talent, rgg. The team has plenty of talent. It just needs to be used properly.

  25. Thompson seems to be shooting a more of flat ball with not as much arc than he did earlier in the season when he was successful shooting. He’s also returned to shooting off-line from certain places on the floor as he did last year.

    It will be interesting to see if posters ever come around to my previously expressed view that both Barnes and Thompson should not be part of the Warriors future if the Warriors hope to win an NBA championship.
    Impact players create and average a net 2 or 3 extra possessions per game for their team. Not these two guys.

    This year the Warriors have two consistent shooters Lee and Curry and even Curry has been erratic at time. Usually a shooter takes time developing a consistent shot as the seasons wears on. Not the Warriors. They came out shooting like gangbusters only to fall off the cliff. One can only hope that they regain their former prowess shooting the ball.

    • Thompson wins games for the Warriors. When he is put in the right position, the guy can get as hot as Jamal Crawford. He may not be an All Star, but he’s a solid starter for a winning team (as evidenced last season! How quickly you forget how good he was!).

      Currently, Thompson is going through a Mark Jackson-induced slump. Jackson can’t get the offense running in a coherent fashion which has hurt all of the players. Thompson and Curry just don’t suddenly become average shooters — other team’s change defensive strategies on them, which result in the need for counter-moves from the coach. We have not seen effective counter-moves from Jackson and his staff yet.

    • As for Barnes, Feltbot has pointed out that Barnes either needs to be played at stretch-4 or should be traded, especially while his value is high. We saw Barnes at stretch-4 during the playoffs last year, but haven’t seen it this season. Why not?

      • I’m not convinced Barnes would be successful at stretch four, most because it is doubtful he could hold up his end on defense, not against the full, balanced squads at the top. But I’m not convinced he will perform that well offensively, either, not enough to justify this experiment, that there wouldn’t be better options for scoring and spreading the floor elsewhere. A scoring guard, for example, who would bring Speights or Green on the floor.

        But it is probably the best place to make use of his limited talents. But has Jackson tried it once this season? As long as he is committed to having size on the floor and his narrow conception of defense, I don’t think we’ll ever see it. Did he learn anything from last year?

        • Barnes can play defense on 4s because he is thick enough for the majority of 4s in the league. But, he might have to come out of the game against the Al Jefferson’s of the world because their post up game would eat him alive. He can certainly defend the stretch 4 and non-scoring 4s, so he’s probably useful against 2/3 of NBA teams.

  26. Bogut isn’t a force offensively as he is a team first player and understands the team dynamics. Have you seen how many times a game “others” could give a quick dish to Bogut for an easy 2 points but elect to drive 1 on 2/3 players. Curry is now starting to dish and suspect will happen a lot more as Curry matures and Bogut gets healthier.

    Defensively are you kidding, of course some occasions will require a quicker line up but Boguts size not only produces rebounds and blocked shouts but changes opponents shot selection.

    Did you watch last years playoffs ? That was with Bogut in considerable pain, looking forward to see what he does this season, and yes they will get there.