Warriors 101 Hawks 100: By the Throat

Great Warriors win over the Hawks on an absolutely impossible road-back-to-back. After the energy and emotion expended in defeating the two-time World Champs in their own building, the Warriors were obviously running on fumes. They stole this game the way the great teams do, by sticking together, playing unselfishly, grinding, and rising to the occasion in crunch time.

And playing Nellieball in the fourth quarter.      

David Lee: I know Warriors fans don’t care that he’s one of the best offensive big men in the NBA, leading the league in points in the paint. I know they don’t care that he just put the Warriors on his back, dropping 55 points on a road back-to-back against two of the best teams in the East. I know they don’t care that he’s one of the best pick and roll big men in league history — capable of single-handedly destroying the Curry blitz — who’s FINALLY getting the chance to show it once again this year. I know they don’t care that he’s one of the few 80% free throw shooters in the Warriors fourth quarter lineup (or among big men in the NBA), and is absolutely NAILS in crunchtime. Warriors fans don’t care about any of that.

He’s in the way of poor Harrison!

So I won’t even mention that stuff. But did you happen to notice the defense he played on Chris Bosh and Paul Millsap on this road back-to-back? Bosh 6-16. Millsap 3-14. Anyone else notice that?

I didn’t think so.

Oh wait, Stephen Curry noticed. In the post-game, he stated of David Lee: “He’s playing at an allstar level for sure. He’s anchored us down low on both sides of the floor. Defensively, he’s making an impact every single night, guarding stretch-fours, low-post-fours, and rebounding the basketball.”

Eh, allstar schmallstar, that’s enough of that nonsense. The majority of Warriors fans want to know, who can we trade him for?

Stephen Curry: Even when he struggles (1-7 from three, 9 TO’s) he’s transcendent (9 asts, 8 rbs, 5 stls). One of the highest IQ players to ever lace them up. And one of the clutchest (14 4th Q points).

He’s currently the second best player in fantasy basketball, so if you wanted to make the argument that he’s the second best player in the league, I wouldn’t disagree with you.

In fact, I predicted it, in his rookie season.

Klay Thompson: Forget about Klayups, they’ve disappeared. And very quietly, a new term is coming to mind: the Klaymaker.

I have mentioned many times before — throughout the time that he was regularly being ridiculed for poor play and poor decision-making, in fact — that Klay has an extremely high basketball IQ, great court vision, and point-guard-level passing ability. It’s really starting to shine now. Klay is starting to make plays for the Warriors from all over the court. Swinging the ball, bounce passes off the curl, drive and dish.

6 assists this game. 4 against the Heat.

I took some heat a while back for comparing Klay to some past Hall of Fame small forwards. Well, I haven’t repented. It is completely obvious to me that by the time Klay reaches his prime, he will not only be a multiple allstar, but will have a better all-around offensive floor game than Chris Mullin.

As for defense, they simply can’t be compared. Kyle Korver, 2-7.

Andrew Bogut: In an unprecedented display of transparency, the Warriors released the information that Bogut’s playing through a right calf strain. Which immediately provoked a couple of thoughts from me:

1) Is this what suddenly turned Mark Jackson into a coaching genius?

2) Calf strain?

Andrew Iguodala: I probably shouldn’t mention that I think Lebron was clearly still suffering from the groin strain he sustained a few games back. Nevertheless, Iggy played a great game against him.

And he’s still suffering from an injury of his own. Anyone think it odd that Iggy got hidden on DeMarre Carroll in this game, while Klay got assigned Kyle Korver?

How about the fact that this former ironman got only 27 minutes?

I love that he hit his second big game-winner for the Warriors. But I can’t help but wonder if that’s the way the Warriors really want to go. Is he the guy you want taking the big shot in the playoffs?

And how long will it be before opponents figure out that he should be fouled as soon as he touches the ball?

Harrison Barnes: Had a wretched first three quarters on offense, playing small forward. (1-9 from the field, -15.)

But when he stepped in for the faltering Draymond Green in the crunchtime Nellieball unit, at power forward, he shone. (3-3 from the field, +13)

I been saying.

Mo Speights: Yes, he’s a center.

Toney Douglas and Kent Bazemore: Huhhhhboy… Even though the Warriors escaped with a win tonight, this game further accentuated their desperate need for a quality backup point guard.

(Did you happen to notice that Stephen Curry turned his ankle near the end of the game? I did. And injuries like that are highly correlated to exhaustion.)


I really hate to jinx the Warriors like I apparently did to start the season, but barring further injury mishaps to their big four, the Warriors are getting ready to make their run to the top of the Western Conference standings.

The Thunder without Westbrook are falling from the sky. The Clippers are grossly overrated, and just suffered the first Chris Paul injury of the season. Memphis is decimated. And despite the fact that I predicted them to be greatly improved this season, I believe Portland is overachieving, the beneficiaries of a benevolent early season schedule.

The Warriors, by contrast, have had the toughest early season schedule in the entire Western Conference. Check it out. Among the teams of the Western Conference, the Warriors have played both the most road games, and the most games against Western Conference opponents. And this road trip is only half-finished.

By the the time the Warriors get back from this trip, the toughest part of their schedule will be behind them. And they will be ready — this may sound strange to say about a team on a league-best 8 game winning streak — to really make some hay.

The Warriors are gearing up to seize the Western Conference by the throat.

Joe Lacob, do your job.


74 Responses to Warriors 101 Hawks 100: By the Throat

  1. Darth Warrior

    Spot-on observations! Keep this up and you might get a job offer from mr. Lacob himself! Yeah, poor Curry. Would hate for him to get injured as a result of fatigue.

  2. Nellieball lives on! Mark Jackson is getting this team into playoff form in mid-season! With this stretch of bad eastern teams coming up – and the run of key playoff team injuries, a healthier Ws team should soon move into the top 3 in the West. Book it.

    Glad to witness yet again Andre Igoudala’s non-existent CLUTCH GENE! Lol! And to think he was actually once a 20 points per game scorer in Philly. Love that Igoudala serves as our team’s 4th or 5th best offensive option. Just don’t ask him to make more than half his free throws!

    Loving The Curry/Lee pick and roll – run it all game long – in a spread floor. When picking up a new back-up pg, I’d like him to be able to run the PNR as well. Andre Miller at 38 have enough in the tank? None too excited about Lowry.

    Andrew a Bogut should be paired with Barnes at PF more for a spread floor and mismatches. David Lee at Center paired with Green more (spread the floor and more defense). Bogut and Lee – not enough spacing, Bogut and Green – not enough offense, Lee and Barnes – not enough defense.

    Unfortunately, living and dying solely with the jumper – will have ups and downs – as witnessed in the last 2 games.

  3. Mr.Barnes’ revival on offense in the fourth came immediately following iguodala’s re-entering the game and the increase in transition offense and open court play that he brought. the decision making and passing and movement that the iguodala/curry combination bring is such a tonic that even the bogut/lee unit is usually successful. both have exceptional court vision and read what all five defenders are doing when they have the ball, anticipating where/when their mates will be open, alert to openings and cuts when defenders sneak a look at the ball and linger half a second too long.

    similar to his game winner vs. OK, iguodala was not the primary option, another reason why instant assessment and perfect execution on curry and ‘dala’s part was critical. for their part, the Atl defense made a fatal error — the guy coming onto the court after the in bounds pass was left open. some guards can’t pass quickly and effectively out of the double team, and iguodala’s guy had to choose between leaving curry with single coverage or rotating onto him.

    as for that sprained calf of bogut’s — is it the one attached to all those repaired ankle ligaments ? iguodala’s hammie might not be completely healed until mid summer ; he said he heard it ‘pop’ when it went out.

    • There is no question Barnes’ 3 point shot at the end was essential for the win, and this wasn’t the first time that’s happened. Just as obvious, the passing ability of the starters made his scoring possible. (And remember our last win against Miami—Green, not a scorer, got an easy look from Jack for the winning layup). But one shot 4th Q was an easy dunk—I’ve forgotten the 3rd—and Barnes was 4-12 for the game. He had another open look earlier and really wasn’t going up against a tough defense on his other attempts.

      My point is that Barnes did nothing special that other players couldn’t have done with this team, in fact was again disappointing for the most part once again, doing nothing when he should have risen to the occasion earlier under less than trying circumstances, and I say that because, in the event he is the only way GSW can work a trade now, he won’t be greatly missed. Also I’m not jumping on the Barnes is a budding star bandwagon, and hope he won’t get a hefty contract if he sticks around unless he really shows us a whole lot more fairly soon.

      However, who knows what can happen in this post CPA world, where the laws of nature and common sense seem to be suspended? If the Warriors work a deal for a backup PG without trading Barnes, I will pull for him, and this is the best way to play him.

  4. Art Vandelay

    What exactly is your definition of Nellieball? It looked to me like the same strategy was implemented for more than just the 4th qtr.

    • You’re right. I just believe it’s crucial for this Warriors team to play it in crunch time.

  5. Mark Jackson postgame:

    “We went small, opened the floor, were able to defend the pick and roll better…”

    You called it, FB. Even Mark Jackson credited the win to going small. In a switch, I think it’s the first time he ever said the team played better on BOTH ends of the floor with a small lineup.

    Oddly, that seems to be a lesson that Jackson (or his boss?) seems to need to learn over and over again. If Jackson’s track record is any indication, he’ll go back to playing BigBall as soon as he has healthy bigs again. Still, it’s nice to have confirmation that Jackson has at least become aware of smallball’s advantages for this team. Yay!

    • So nice that the Ws actually have the players to go both big and small – as do most of the true contenders. Depending on the opponent. Just need a decent back-up PG and good health.

  6. I forgot to include this observation in my post: Did you happen to notice that the Atlanta lower bowl was packed? That is literally the first time I have seen that for a Warriors regular season game.

    The Warriors are the new Lakers, and Curry is the new Kobe.

    • Curry also remains a big draw in the South from his college days. He packed coliseums during that time—for lowly Southern Conference games.

  7. Wow, great knowledge on this forum.

  8. Note what Terrence Ross did to the heralded Bradley Beal last night:


    That 2-way ability is what I’m talking about.

    And note what Kyle Lowry did to John Wall. PB @2, you don’t want that playing for the Warriors?

    • I think the Ws acquiring Kyle Lowry is a pipe dream smokescreen – with zero chance of happening. My concerns/issues with Kyle Lowry are more about team fit and chemistry with the Warriors – and about what his asking price would be given Toronto’s new GM is actually very, very smart… I also remember that Lowry had serious issues playing behind Memphis’ PG Conley. He’s starting in Toronto now. And doing very well. Why in the world would Lowry be happy backing up Stephen Curry for 10-15 minutes? I always thought he was a very good two-way PG in Memphis, Houston.

      • Unless Lowry were to take on Jarret Jack’s 30 minute per game role…

        And didn’t Lowry also have issues playing in Houston under Coach McHale?

      • Because it would be a one year rental, and he’d be playing for a championship in a contract year.

        As for his price, bear in mind that unless Ujiri has reevaluated his current team, and changed his mind, his intent is to blow the team up and tank this season for a lottery pick.

  9. LOL… Feltbot, I did notice David “20’10 Lee’s defence on Bosh and Milsap. I also noticed who was guarding and getting torched by Bosh to start the Heat game. Andrew Bogut, thats who. And isn’t it extremely interesting how Bogut gets “injured” after every bad game. And how the defense and offense is crispier without Bogut.
    I don’t necessarily think this is victory for small ball, its effective coaching, where you play your best center ie Lee against teams whose centers are defensively limited.

    • It’s about match-ups. Bogut is needed to protect the rim and rebound and handle/facilitate/pass and finish. He just can’t shoot the blind side of a barn.

      Lee is a great center to finish games on this team – especially with a lead. Watching LeBron and Wade trying to shoot perimeter threes late in the game – was hilarious. The rim doesn’t need to be protected with a lead. Just keep scoring. Nellieball.

      • With the way teams play these days Bogut is needed to protect the rim against a handful of teams. As for rebounding, facilitating and finishing, Lee is much superior to Bogut. So too is Lees PnR defense. Clearly Lee at center and Green at PF/stretch four is our best lineup.
        Myers needs to rid us off HB hopefully for a draft pick and Bogut plus TD for a bu pg and center.

        • A healthy Andrew Bogut is mandatory for the Warriors to win a championship. More importantly in the playoffs when defense, shot-blocking, size, strength, and physicality matters much much much more. Required for Hibbert, Duncan, Randolph/Gasol, D. Howard, Griffin/Jordan. You know, the elite teams…

          If you think David Lee can sufficiently man the center position by himself – bless your soul.

          When the playoffs start, the games get more physical and defense becomes more important, I’ll be glad the Ws have a player of Bogut’s caliber around.

          • To advance in the playoffs we need to score and as we witnessed against the spurs, the 3pointers can dry up fast. Who’s gonna provide interior scoring when the jumpers don’t fall? Not Bogut and his 39% FT’s. And really, can Bogut guard Gasol or Howard anymore than Ezeli or Oneal can? Haven’t seen it thus far. So no Bogut is not mandatory for a championship. He’s neither Hibbert nor Howard, thise guys can play on both ends of the floor. One dimensional players need to be on the bench. Thankfully Mjax realize that too.

          • I’m at a loss for a dominant playoff team center other than maybe Hibbert and Howard if he returns to earlier form. Marc Gasol obviously makes a difference, but his strength is more his versatility, not his size. Most of the other centers play limited minutes, for a reason: what they offer is too limited.

            If Lee had a sizable, mobile, versatile partner, one who could move out and knock down some shots and drive or post up on occasion, who could move on defense and knew how to play it, this team would really be in business.

            And Lee has never played with such a player, or even a dominant big.

            If Speights had higher b-ball IQ, we’d be watching this time well into May.

          • PB,

            Agree with you that Bogut is essential against many good teams and especially in the playoffs. Knick and Frank, on other posts are missing half the point with Bogut. It is only partly about how he defends other centers because there aren’t that many that are scoring threats, it is partly about how you can cross match him on low post power forwards and mostly about how he protects the rim against driving perimeter players.

            Evans, on another post, brings up a should-be stat called shot denials. In the same vein, I think drives-turned-away would be stat in which Bogut would do well. FB repeatedly brings up the importance of how a player is used. He is right, and it applies to Bogut too.

  10. Don Nelson deserves ample credit for predicting Curry’s future. Nellie said on a few occasions when there were Curry doubters that he could be as good as Nash who Nellie publically regards as the best player he ever coached.

    • The first person I ever heard offer insight into Stephen Curry’s point guard abilities for the NBA was The General, Bobby Knight. Pre-draft on ESPN in Curry’s coming-out year he called Curry the best passer in college basketball. The talking heads raised their eyebrows but much like Nelson, the potential was not lost on him.

  11. And as Curry being the second best player in the league, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. West, Lacob, Myers would swap Durant for Curry in a heartbeat as they should.

  12. “I have mentioned many times before — throughout the time that he was regularly being ridiculed for poor play and poor decision-making, in fact — that Klay has an extremely high basketball IQ, great court vision, and point-guard-level passing ability.”

    Inexplicably, there are many fans who still don’t see this side of Klay’s game, and wonder why guys like me call out Barnes, but never Klay.

    • I’ve been on the Klay bandwagon the minute Donnie Walsh and Jerry West went on record comparing him to a young Reggie Miller.

      I’m convinced as many are here that Barnes is a nice small ball 4. Not even a SF. Nothing wrong with being the next Jeff Green. Green is a better player of course, but Barnes is still young and has this ability. Barnes in my eyes is a monster mismatch and athletic floor spreader at PF… I won’t throw him under the bus yet. Lol!

    • At this point, Klay’s main problem is the protracted offensive slumps he goes through and the fact that they drag down the rest of his offensive game. To his credit, his defense seems to stay consistent. When he is good, he is really good. If he minimizes his slumps a little more, he is an all-star.

      • His most recent slump seems to be tied to the way he is played. The shift in strategy looks to have opened him up again. I don’t recall any slumps as bad as the one he had a few weeks ago. In the past, he came back in a game or two.

  13. Love what the Warriors are doing but there is still reason to take a step back and not jump on the bandwagon so fast.

    Don’t exactly evaluate the Atlanta game the same way as Felty. The Warriors played tall and small through three quarters and were down going into the fourth quarter and only scored 24, 22, and 18 points in each of the first three quarters probably because they were playing back to back.

    In the fourth quarter the Warriors exploded for 37 points mainly due to Curry and Lee going off. Curry shot six for nine from the field. I feel he would have done this whether the Warriors played big or small. Lee does it no matter who is on the court. D. Green had positive in the fourth quarter because he was playing with Curry. For the game he was a minus 17.

    With Al Horford out, there was no way to stop D. Lee or anyone else on the Warriors for that matter scoring inside. It’s also interesting that Atlanta scored their most points in the fourth quarter playing against a small Warrior line-up. No surprise there. And the Warriors would have lost but for Iggy’s sensational shot.

    And Thompson in the last two games has given the Warriors a minus net two possessions in each game. It also seems that unless Thompson starts off hot as he did in the Atlanta game, Jackson has finally correctly figured out that Curry and Lee should take the most shots and Thompson is not the third option.

    The Miami game exposed the Warriors real weakness. It’s not the back-up point guard position although it surely needs a major upgrade. It’s
    the center position as Miami shot 51 percent from the field which does not bode well for the playoffs. And we would have shot less if the the Birdman had been played more as he had a positive rating in his 17 minutes on the court. Neither Bogut nor Lee are going to get it done in the playoffs. The Warriors need a back-up center who will help defensively and who can give the Warriors extra possessions via offensive rebounds, steals and block and altered shots. That guy is Udoh.

    • I don’t necessarily agree with the notion that Barnes is the only piece to trade for a back-up point guard. If we’re aiming for Lowry or Dragic, then sure – that’s fair. But we’re talking about a decent back-up PG here, not a starting PG like Lowry or Dragic…

      Houston’s got three great back-up PGs in Beverly, Lin, and Brooks… Why can’t we get just one Myers? Nellie proved to me that there’s ALWAYS passable, under the radar free-agent PGs available… If I were a free agent PG, I’d want to play for the Ws!

      And taking on 2 years of Andre Miller’s big fat salary is actually doing the faltering Nuggets a huge favor. He’s disgruntled. He’s fought with Coach Shaw. He’s 38… The Ws really shouldn’t have to give up much to get him…

  14. We still don’t know why Bogut sat 4th. Q both games—injury or strategic decision? If the latter, with the brain trust’s approval? Nor do we know why Jackson didn’t focus on Lee and Curry more, the pick and roll, those games Iguodala was out. In short, I’m still holding my breath.

  15. I don’t know much about Atlanta’s bench at all. But last night they were 16-29, 4-10 on 3’s, for 41 points. Our bench was 9-29, 1-10 on 3’s, for 22 points.

    Except for Brand, all the bench players were late draft picks, and Scott and Mack are cheap.

    My point is that, given the scarcity of good all around players, the Warriors would have done better focusing on offensive players over defensive the past years, but for the two exceptions, Green because he offers so much more both ends, and Ezeli because he may stand in well at center. But just about everyone else is or has been expendable.

    Defensive players aren’t useful if they can’t score and stay on the court. And I’m not convinced they are that good defensively anyway. It’s hard to make such players better offensively—these skills require talent and past experience.

    Offensive players, however, can become better defensive players, even if only somewhat. Most, their scoring keeps them on the court and they can fill in in other ways. And GSW sorely lacks bench scoring.

  16. Anyone else notice what waiver wire pickup Kendall Marshall did for Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers last night?

    A lot of available point guards are whizzing by the Warriors’ ears. Just sayin.

    • Marshall looked dismal when we saw him, but he hasn’t had much playing time and didn’t get much at Phoenix.

      Marshall, in fact, was touted, maybe overhyped, as a star PG for UNC, who played alongside Barnes. He broke something before the tourney and missed it. And it was during the NCAA tournament many criticized Barnes for not stepping up to fill in the gap.

      • Can Marshall even shoot yet? I too don’t like guards much that can’t make an open perimeter jumper…

        • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

          You must not of liked Jason Kidd. Kendall Marshall dropped 15 dimes on Friday night.

          Rgg Did you actually watch Marshall play in college?

          • Only briefly, maybe a game. Again I was planning to watch him in the tournament, but he was out with a broken wrist, I think. His playmaking abilities were substantial though, at least in college. A lot of good college PG’s never make it into the NBA, however, often because of size.

          • With a healthy Marshall, the Heels were predicted to go all the way, although part of that prediction may have been based on an inflated estimation of Barnes, who disappointed.

          • feltbotsFakeGirlfriend

            I’m a huge college hoops fan. I watched almost every North Carolina and Michigan State game. Marshall is a playmaker. I was surprised that the Suns gave up on him so soon. It often takes a while for young players to be successful in the NBA. They are dealing with a longer season, maybe the coach never gives them a chance. It can start to affect their confidence. Take a look at the progression of Paul George. It is silly to right off Marshall after less than 2 seasons. Players get better. That is why I also think it is ridiculous to be so critical of Barnes. The kid is only 21 years. The poise he showed in the playoffs last year can’t be taught.

          • @FFG

            True, Jason Kidd couldn’t shoot much other than a streaky three. And was absolutely elite at everything else – athlete/size/speed, defender at 2 positions, ball handler, passer/creator. An exception for sure.

            If Kendall Marshall can’t shoot consistently, what does he do well? He’s an elite passer and ball handler, but a poor NBA athlete, and a horrible defender… And a bad shooter too?

            Too many knocks on his game to overcome. Time will tell.

  17. I’ve got a question for the whole board, specifically Feltbot and moto.

    So much is close to certain. If Curry goes down for a significant stretch, the chances of making the playoffs will be seriously derailed. Going far once there won’t happen. A fairly good PG, however, might help them win enough games against the many weaker opponents.

    Also, to make any kind of run in the playoffs, without help, Curry will have to play serious minutes every single game, and it’s hard to believe this won’t take its toll fairly soon.

    And the odds of Bazemore filling in here, or Nedovic developing in time, maybe ever, are close to nil.

    I hope I’m wrong here, but the only way I see they can work a deal for a backup PG is trade Barnes, both because of his salary and because he would be an attractive trade piece.

    So which do you do, keep Barnes and push Curry and hope for the best? Or trade Barnes?

    With a trade, you have a better chance for protecting Curry and making a run in the playoffs. And again, a good backup PG should bring more out of the subs and help keep them on the floor longer and develop them for the playoffs. But you give up, depending upon your point of view, Barnes’ potential trade value, unknown, or his future stardom, much more unknown.

    It’s a Scylla and Charybdis dilemma, and you get to be Odysseus, FB. Either you give up a half dozen sailors and cut your losses or run the nearly certain risk of watching the whole ship go down.

    I mention Miller only because he might be available and I was impressed with his play during the playoffs, the most I’ve seen from him. But he would be expensive and he is old. I’m not clear he’d throw them into luxury tax or not—depends on the deal.

    • The fact that we’re calling for a trade with just over a third of the season played is proof of what an abysmal job Lacob and Myers did in the summer. Just imagine all the pgs available then. Mo Williams, Collison, Calderon, our own JJ, etc etc. Heck even Gary Neal can play pg. Who’s out there now? Trading HB will be a good idea but what can we get back?

  18. It was a pretty good team effort shutting down Millsap last night. I watched Synergy on each of his 14 FGA.

    Bogut – 0 for 1
    Dray – 1 for 3
    Iguodala – 0 for 3
    Lee – 2 for 7

    What we need is a stat that shows “shot denials” (i.e. the opponent has a shot opportunity but passes it up). You could get that by charting. Maybe SportsVU could add that in the future.

  19. rgg, at this point in the calendar, much of the talk about trades, whether asik, miller, bynum, is smoke screen. between mid-Jan and 20 Feb. the meat market goes into active state. first the players on non-guaranteed deals get waived, or have their contracts secured through 30 June, and teams can offer ten day contracts. teams have to resolve if they’re holding, trading for budget or lottery, or acquiring to boost their wins.

    myers started the year with mere candidates for reserve lead guards, douglas, NN, bazemore, and none distinguished himself. there’s a change coming, but it won’t be Mr. Barnes departing yet, as little as he’d be missed by most of us here. all indications are, lacob and myers see him as a starting level wing (eventually). they aren’t even looking for a starting level lead guard like lowry, because of the cost. they’re waiting to see how the market erupts ; for one thing, trade exceptions can become actually useful in multi team deals.

    lacob and myers might go 0 for 3 with barnes (relative to their expectation), NN, kuzmic. neither the two of them nor the preacher has any background or training in player development. they’ve succeeded because of vets, gifts from the hoops gods like curry, iguodala, green, and because it was relatively low risk to let West have his say on an eleventh pick who was developed by his father and Malone.

    • In other words my speculation is utterly idle and not worth pondering.

      Or, in a world where $20m of salary can be dumped and a Melo for Griffin trade entertained, we’ll just have to sit back and wait for magic or weirdness.

      Developing a point guard should always be a high priority, and it was a critical one for the Warriors when Ellis was traded.

      Any backup will be a compromise of some sort. But we have seen point guards, all worth interesting debate:

      Lin, Lacob’s pick, is an interesting case. Had he not been let go, there wouldn’t have been Linsanity and his high (inflated) salary. Had he stayed, he would have had limited playing time but would have had a chance to develop, especially when Curry went down. Yet he wouldn’t have shown enough to draw an expensive contract. But Lin was let go to clear cap space for the Deandre Jordan trade.

      Jenkins would certainly serve better than NN or Baze, and he got substantial experience when Curry went down. Also, while he had no 3 point shot, he had a pretty good midrange and pretty good court presence. But he was let go to avoid luxury tax.

      Nate should raise all kinds of interesting debates, but he was cheap and certainly showed something in Chicago last year, and would have remained cheap had he stayed.

      Then, of course, there are all the point guards the team didn’t consider during all this time.

      • In today’s NBA, every team that wants a realistic shot at the playoffs has to suck it up and ignore the salary cap. That’s the way it’s been for years in the NBA, with very few exceptions. Don’t take my word for that, just check the winning teams’ salary fig’s for the last 20 years. Start with the Heat’s salaries, then check the Lakers.

        So if Ws management honestly wants to reach the next level of success, their critical Q isn’t “how many $$$,” but simply “who can help” and “who’s available.”

        We don’t know that Lacob is willing to go into the red for any degree of team success. He has said he’d go there if necessary, but has never actually taken the Warriors there. This season suddenly looks like a special situation, though. The Warriors suddenly look like serious contenders to take it all, if they can only get a couple of missing pieces. They need a… gosh, why not go for broke? Why not:

        Steve Nash?

        Nash is useless to the Lakers this season. He’s hugely pricey, but if/when he plays again he couldn’t possibly make this year’s Lakers team even respectable. So why wouldn’t Lakers management consider shedding his contract? He can’t change the team’s fortunes this season significantly even if he plays.

        On the Ws side, Nash would be well worth Speights, Bazemore, Douglas, Nedovic and Kuzmic. The team could manage without all of them, and the Lakers could really use them.

        OK, maybe that sounds like some dumb fan rant. But at first glance it looks like it would work for all concerned. Just a thought.

        • I’m intrigued by the Steve Nash idea! He can probably run the pick and roll as well as Curry! Keep the ball moving for 10-15 minutes. I like it! Let’s do it! The Lakers could also waive Nash…

        • Sr. Sombrero, your words are all we have to go by, and for me at least you leave the impression that you have a big brain to go with the big hat. however,

          lacob clearly isn’t like the NY or NJ owners, willing to spend beaucoup $$ on physically fragile vets who might or might not summon up enough for a playoff run. could you really count on nash being physically able to perform most games for 10 – 15 min., or more if another injury strikes curry, thompson, iguodala?
          investing heavily in a reserve might be justifiable in terms of increasing the team’s chances for post season success. the premium on perimeter d and from guards and wings, and making opponents work for their 3’s, becomes greater in the playoffs. in his prime, nash had such a huge impact on offense that it outweighed his liabilities on d. but that was with nelson or d’antoni coaching, with their offenses. his mobility for defense has declined, and he would be playing in the preacher-directed offense for the woeyrs. the bussies’ ship might be sinking this season, but from what we know of the LA Weltanschauung, they’d rather go down with a marquee name like nash than the bargain bin odds and ends you propose to offer them.

          • You’re probably right about the Lackers, moto. Sometimes they don’t even seem to care about salaries, e.g., Kobe’s ridiculous contract extension. But Kobe is the face of the franchise, and Nash has barely played at all for the Lakers, so their marketing values to the team are very different.

            On the other hand, the Lackers do seem all hot and bothered about shedding Gasol and his salary. So who knows what’s up with them?

            Re Lacob’s willingness to part with bux for a backup PG this season, we simply don’t know. He’s on record as saying something like that would be a possibility. He has an investment in Curry to protect. He has a winning team now, and a competent bupg would improve their odds of winning more, which means going further in the playoffs, which adds millions in revenue. It’s not as if the team would lose money by adding one more hefty salary.

            All those possibilities disappear if Curry goes down without a competent backup. Lots of lost playoff revenue and poorer public perception of Lacob and the team, leading to less likelihood of voter approval for the SF arena.

            Assuming good health for Nash and Curry, the team would need only 10-15 min./game from Nash. That would be ideal for Nash, and he would be ideal for the team, notwithstanding his weak D.

            Nash’s contract extends through next season. He makes $9.3 million/yr. That would be a stretch, but it would be do-able. I don’t give it good odds of happening, of course.

            More to the point, a good new bupg wouldn’t have to be Nash – but it wouldn’t have to be some minimum-salary guy either. Filling the hole at that position is worth far more to the organization – financially, not just competitively – than any conceivable salary+penalties they’d pay.

        • The Nash idea sounds like a dream. What do you think about Nash, Gasol for Bogut, Barnes and a pick(do the Warriors have any)?
          We get a real center, an experienced albeit injury prone pg and a step closer to the finals.

          • Yeah, Knick, the Nash idea is a pipe dream. The Lackers haven’t given any indication that they’d part with him, no one knows if he can play anymore, the Ws don’t have a lot to offer in trade, and he’d be a defensive liability.

            Re your idea of making it a bigger package with Bogut and Gasol, maybe something like that could work. But

            * Losing Barnes would mean a big hole at the backup 3. The team needs him or a replacement for him, regardless of what happens at bu PG.
            * Bogut is hurting at the moment, but he’s been delivering exactly what the team needs from him this year. Plus the Ws are heavily invested in him. Hard to see the Ws trading him.
            * Gasol’s game is very different from Bogut’s. It’s hard to say how well he’d mesh with the Ws.
            * Swallowing Nash’s salary would be difficult. Taking on his and Gasol’s would be more difficult.

            I don’t honestly think signing Nash is realistic. I do think the Ws are only as “capped-out” as they choose to be. They don’t need to limit themselves to bringing in another minimum-wage bu PG. Almost anything they could pay a good player would likely return hard $$$ to the team in the form of more playoff success.

  20. Quants:

    While waiting to get a haircut the other day, I read Felix Salmon’s piece in Wired about the rise of quants, the guys who crunch numbers, and their pernicious influence in just about every aspect of our life, from national security to education to, of course, sports. (I feel I have to explain why I was reading Wired.)

    One influence is that we have been overwhelmed with mammoth amounts of data no one knows how to handle. Worse, when quants have their say, malicious things can happen, poor decisions made with detrimental results. It was the quants who helped bring Wall Street down in the subprime mess years ago:

    “The most profound example of overshoot, of course, happened in finance, where the rise of quantification could concentrate decisionmaking—and moneymaking—within a relatively small group of people at a bank’s headquarters.”

    Hotshot execs hired math whizzes who came up with formulas no one understood but looked impressive, used to create those bizarre and unstable subprime instruments.


    In sports, reliance on quants could lead to bad roster decisions, bad strategies, and, related, a move away from intelligent coaching.

    Moneyball, of course is mentioned, but Lewis’ book does little to explain the success of the A’s. Also strategy is not nearly as important in baseball as it is in basketball. Billy Beane did, however, break conventional wisdom, which lead to effective—and much less expensive—players. And I’m curious. Would Billy Beane bank the future of the Warriors on an expensive center?

    Information does not equal knowledge.

    The solution is to temper stats with subjective knowledge, even common sense, which is happening now, and this knowledge comes from training and hands-on experience, such as a coach might possess.

    Joe Lacob, from Wikipedia:

    “In interviews, he has credited his epidemiology degree for giving him a background in statistics that has fed the statistical side of his longstanding sports interest.”

    Which came from his interview with TK.

    • Meanwhile, NBA execs, including ours, flock to the Sloan conference.

    • More from the TK/Lacob interview:

      -Q: Are there advanced statistical analytics that you particularly like?

      -LACOB: I do like the statistical approach to sports. I think in baseball, it’s particularly relevant. The Billy Beanes, Theo Epsteins… I admire those people a lot.

      I think it also can work in basketball. Probably not to as great an extent, although I don’t think people have explored the boundaries yet.

      There’s one great guy, I think, in basketball, Daryl Morey, who came from Boston, by the way. You know him? Daryl’s very good. I think there’s room for more of that. But I don’t think it’s the only thing you can depend on.

      -Q: It’s a developing thing…

      -LACOB: It’s another piece of data.

      -Q: What stat do you like?

      -LACOB: There’s a bunch of stats. I’ll give you an example of one: If you look at college players–my son and I do a lot of this stuff, he’s a stat maniac.

      And I don’t know if you know this, but this hasn’t been pointed out in the press yet, but one of my degrees is in statistics. I have a masters in something called epidemiology. I have an MBA, but before that I did a masters in epidemiology, which is the study of disease distributions in populations. It’s all about statistics, it’s bio statistics, they call it. So I have a statistics kind of background.

      Which is why I’m into poker thing, and the cards and all that. I’m a very statistical-oriented guy.

      I do admire all that. I think there’s a place for it. And we’ll probably be doing quite a bit of that.


    • As you say, rgg, the challenge in statistical analysis is always to derive true meaning from the numbers.

      But implying that stats are useless or harmful because “mistakes get made” is to ignore the proven value of quantitative analysis throughout industry, science and technology – including the science of human performance.

      In Silicon Valley, we had a big debate about “quants” when the first spreadsheet software (Visicalc) was introduced. Lots of mistakes were made with Visicalc, and many of them slipped through simply because it was a new tool – some extremely bright people didn’t understand electronic spreadsheets well enough to know what errors were possible with them.

      In some ways, advanced basketball stats seem to be at about that same stage of development today. There are a lot of crappy – not truly meaningful, potentially misleading – basketball stats floating around now. There are also some new insights to be gleaned from the numbers.

      What I think ultimately happens is that stats get refined to the point where many management decisions can be migrated from the realm of “art” to “science.” When that occcurs, it no longer takes a genius to make good insightful decisions. In fact, that effect could explain the recent league-wide adoption of Nellieball as a game strategy. In Nelson’s time, he was the only one who “got it.” Now many lesser bball brains “get it.” Because “the numbers” say it’s a good idea.

    • “I read Felix Salmon’s piece in Wired about the rise of quants, the guys who crunch numbers, and their pernicious influence in just about every aspect of our life, from national security to education to, of course, sports.”

      Did you really mean pernicious here?

      • Yes. Look at what happened on Wall Street. And it happens, as the quote says, when decision making is focused on a small, powerful group with limited knowledge and questionable motives. I see it in education all the time.

        • Skepticism of science…welcome to the Middle Ages.

          • You might enjoy reading a book written by a close friend of mine, Robert Burton, titled: On Being Certain. It got a bit of recognition when it came out; I believe it was Scientific American’s book of the year.

            Bob’s a (retired) prominent neurologist, who has dedicated the last part of his career (after a detour as a novelist) to pointing out the limits of science in understanding reality, and consciousness in particular. He delights in pointing out, in this book and in Salon, how scientists frequently overreach in their claims of what is actually provable by science, and overstate their conclusions.

            The problem is not skepticism of science per se, but skepticism of the claims of pseudo-scientists, snake oil salesmen, and morons, like Hollinger and Goldsberry.

            There’s a big difference.

          • Or just read Salmon’s piece on what Wall Street did with that formula by a mathematician and how it nearly collapsed, linked above.

            Another problem is when science is used to solve problems that are not scientific. But here, people with limited knowledge and questionable motives are using a little math or science to corrupt enterprises. It’s hard not to wonder this isn’t happening in the NBA, with the Warriors, for example.

            If the NBA were around in the Middle Ages, players, owners, and managers would have had to learn their trade in a long apprenticeship from experienced masters. Today, players are determined talented by opinion polls of so called media experts after little play and get little real training, owners by how much money they have, and managers by how well they create an impression.

      • Incidentally, I poked around the Sloan Analytics site some time ago and listened to a sports marketing guru who argued without irony that branding is as important for a pro player as talent. (See Harrison Barnes.)

  21. feltbotsFakeGirlfriend

    Everyone keeps complaining about the minutes the starters are playing. Apparently you just started watching basketball. For 3 straight seasons Michael Jordan averaged 40 minutes/game in the middle of a 5 year stretch in which he missed just one game. The game was also much more physical in the 80’s and 90’s. Athletes today are in better shape due to better resources. All the Super Stars used to play more minutes per game and were not breaking down. Yes a better backup point guard would be nice but not at the cost of Barnes. The Warriors have some very valuable trade exception so lets see how they use them.

  22. Apparently Harrison Barnes faced high expectations from the start:

    Barnes has had a lot to live up to even before he was born. His mom used to videotape all of Michael Jordan’s games in case she one day had a son. The VCR was rolling May 29, 1992, the night Jordan scored 29 points to help the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the decisive Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    That’s also the night Shirley went into labor. She named her son Harrison Bryce Jordan Barnes.

    “I wanted my son’s name to sound royal,” Shirley told the Charlotte News and Observer earlier this year. “Most people don’t have four names, but I just knew my guy would be special.”


    • It’s probably unfair to get into Barnes’ head in this way, but one can only imagine the difficulty someone raised with these expectations might have with the adjustment to becoming a role player.

      It also might go some way towards explaining his attitude towards defense and dirty work — the things, paradoxically, that he most needs to add to his game in order to make mom’s dream a reality.

  23. I see a lot of Barnes in Wiggins. FWIW.

  24. (Washington)

    OK, Bogut was rather handy.

    I’m tired of hearing how poorly the subs played. The problem is it’s a poorly constructed bench. Without leadership and competence on the perimeter, they will always stumble.

    I can’t believe they couldn’t bring up a D-Leaguer to shore them up. Even a plain old shooter would help keep them on the floor.

    • “I’m tired of hearing how poorly the subs played. The problem is it’s a poorly constructed bench.”

      It’s a bench. The rotations are terrible. The bench is what it is.

      • The only way to improve the bench is to have them play with a starter, especially Curry, but that stretches their minutes.

        Or with the backup point guard they’re going to acquire.

        And they are the worst scoring bench in the NBA—it was announced during the game.

    • Nice win, of course.

    • Rather handy? Are you absolutely sure you want to commit? I mean, going that far out on a limb and all?