The French: Warriors 97 Pelicans 87

FOR SALE: Vintage World War II French Army rifle. Never been fired. Dropped once.

The Warriors essentially held serve on this road back-to-back, beating the team they were supposed to. And now, finally, the schedule starts turning radically in their favor. Well, after Indiana on Monday. But after that, they don’t play again until Friday, giving them some much needed practice time to get Jordan Crawford integrated into the team.        

And time to get some rest, which the team clearly needs. The starters have been badly overworked so far this season, and it’s showing in all sorts of ways right now. In their defense, in their shooting, and in Andre Iguodala, who has yet to regain his early season health.

Rest, Jordan Crawford, and home cooking.

The Warriors are primed for takeoff.

Bogut: I have to lead by slapping down the absurd storyline I know we’re about to get from the media ignorati about this game, which was bleated out in advance by the egregious Bob Fitzgerald before the game had even ended. You know, that the difference between the Warriors’ performance in this game and in the prior two games against OKC and Denver, was that in this game Bogut was played down the stretch, and for a total of 34 minutes, rather than a mere 20.

Wrong. Ridiculous. Absurd.

Bogut was yanked from the OKC and Denver games because the Warriors defense was HORRIBLE with him on the court. Because, as has been noted many times before in this blog, and as was noted by Mark Jackson himself after the Denver game, Bogut is helpless against smallball teams that can spread the floor and play pick and roll. Absolutely helpless. All he can do is stand in the paint and watch.

OKC and Denver sliced and diced Bogut to pieces.

The Hornets, by stark contrast, are reduced to starting a backup point guard who is not a scorer. What’s more, now that Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday are both out injured, they can’t spread the floor. They played this game with exactly one three-point shooter on the floor in crunchtime. One.

The Hornets have only one option on offense right now, launching themselves at the basket. Which of course played right into the Warriors’ hands. The Warriors zoned up, packed the paint, and awaited the inevitable drive.

It was almost pathetic watching Tyreke Evans and A.F. Aminu helplessly suicide themselves against Bogut in the fourth quarter. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Of course Bogut got 34 minutes in this game. It was the perfect game for him.

It should also be noted that Monty Williams mysteriously never resorted to the Hack-a-Bogut that shortened Bogut’s minutes against OKC. Bogut has now missed his last 11 free throws, his last a complete airball. His free throw percentage is down to a Biedrinsesque 35%. And as Jim Barnett noted in this game, he’s back to looking like a scared sheep Biedrins when he gets the ball near the basket: If there’s a chance of a foul, he’s passing back out. Hot potato.

Monty’s a horrible tactical coach. As has been pointed out on a nightly basis on twitter by NBA expert/bettor Haralabos Voulgaris.

Warriors fans need to understand that Andrew Bogut, while an extremely important player for the Warriors, is also an extremely limited basketball player. There are things he does great, and things that he does horribly. There are situations that are perfect for him, and situations in which he must be benched.

I happen to think that Mark Jackson has been doing a pretty good job lately of figuring this out. With the notable exception of the final minute of the Denver game. (Ugh.)

Curry: Has everyone been noticing lately how much progress the Warriors have made in beating the Curry blitz? Curry has been doing a great job of continuing his dribble to the side of the court, thereby dragging both blitzers completely out of the play, and then hitting the wide open Lee or Bogut in the key. And miracle of miracles, even Bogut has been looking to finish these pick and rolls lately.

In this game we saw something different. The blitzer, frequently Anthony Davis, was too soft in Monty’s scheme, allowing Curry to turn the corner and drive the lane.

I wasn’t sure that Curry had enough speed to do that, and I’m still not sure he does, against better teams. But it’s a fascinating development worth keeping an eye on.

Lee: Even great players have opponents that are kryptonite for them. Shaq’s kryptonite was Hakeem Olajuwon. Tim Duncan’s kryptonite was Shaq. And Dirk Nowitzki. And Amare Stoudemire.

David Lee’s kryptonite? We just saw them: Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis.

What these players have in common: A freakish combination of length and athleticism. High IQ. Ferocious defensive desire. An outside shot that must be honored.

Fortunately there’s not a whole lot of guys out there like these three. I’ll bet Lee is glad to see the back of them.

Crawford: We didn’t have to wait long to see what Crawford can bring in terms of creating his own shot, did we?

Unfortunately, we haven’t yet seen what he can do in service of his teammates. Mark Jackson inexplicably reduced him to feeding the post in isolation offense for Speights and Barnes in this game.

Seriously? PICK AND ROLL, MARK JACKSON. DRIVE AND DISH.

Let Jordan Crawford be who he is. The wonderful creator who jump-started the Celtics this season. Crawford should be allowed to TAKE OVER the second unit.

I’m guessing — hoping — that Jackson wanted to wait to get Crawford better acquainted with the system before unleashing him.

Psshhhhhhhhhh.

Don Nelson would have gotten him 20 and 5.

Green: Someone seriously needs to get in Green’s ear about his free throws. It is an absolute crime that he’s shooting 55% from the line this year. Because unlike Harrison Barnes, he’s got a great stroke. And, because the fix for his problem is ridiculously simple. It’s Feltbot’s First Law of Free Throw Shooting:

Free throws should never be missed LONG.

That’s it. They should never be missed long. It is far, far better to miss them short. Because then, they still have a very good chance to go in. Miss them short, they bounce soft and towards the backboard. Miss them long, they bounce hard, out and away.

There is a very obvious Corollary to this law:

When shooting free throws, your target should be THE FRONT RIM.

If you want to understand this intuitively, do the following: Set yourself up for a free throw, but only two feet from the basket. Now look up. What’s your target?

It is absolutely torture for me to watch a guy with a great stroke like Green continually miss his free throws long. And it simply amazes me how many American NBA players have never been taught this simple fundamental.

Someone help me out, please.

Barnes: Something clearly seems to be up with Barnes. I mean beyond the fact that he’s no longer being guarded much by point guards, which means his offense is going to suck, which means he’s not going to get iso’d much by Mark Jackson.

For some reason, he’s completely stopped competing. He was never much of a competitor anyway, as noted by NBA scouts about his college career, and by me about his NBA career. But this? This is a whole ‘nother level of suckitude.

Did you get a look at that perfect bagel against OKC? Not even his first, at least in the effort categories, in his last few games. This game was scarcely better — 2 rebounds, 1 assist.

I’ve been doing some speculating in previous threads about what might be up. Maybe he’s getting shopped, and it’s upsetting him. Maybe his turf toe is killing him. That seems like a decent possibility, as his first step has disappeared. And we haven’t been seeing a lot of leaping, either.

But these explanations are no excuse for the utter abjectness of Barnes’ game at the moment. Particularly on the defensive end, which no one seems to notice but me. He’s missing rotations right and left — including a couple in the Denver game that Adam Lauridsen tried to pin on David Lee. He’s getting hung up on screens like wet laundry on a line. When Draymond Green gets hung up on a screen, which is rare, someone’s ass hits the floor. Like the 255 lb. Nick Collison’s, in the last game.

Barnes is not boxing out,  not even at the free throw line. Did you see that play at OKC that got him yanked? Instead of trying to box out Kendrick Perkins, Barnes grabbed his elbow and leaned into him like a high school girl on a date in a movie theater. And got whistled for a sweet little foul.

You say Barnes shouldn’t be expected to be able to box out Perkins? Nonsense. I could box out Kendrick Perkins.

Yes, me. It’s simple: All you have to do is beat him into the lane. Then plant your feet, spread your arms, and make sure the ref hears you as you fly by into the fifth row.

The simple and lamentable fact of the matter is that Barnes didn’t box out Perkins because he lacks heart. Like Chris Webber, and Brandan Wright, and countless other highly touted big men before him, he loathes contact. He hates to compete physically.

Barnes wants the dream, without the battle. He wants the brand, without the blood, sweat and tears. He wants the fame, not the game. He simply doesn’t get the NBA.

The NBA is WAR.

And Harrison Barnes is the French.

94 Responses to The French: Warriors 97 Pelicans 87

  1. The Warriors are in quite a predicament. We’re basically going 7 deep right now, and 8-12 are replacement level talents. It’s an issue and I’m not sure what they can do about it.

  2. ****

    I see Crawford has sharpened your wit and returned your relish for the team.

    Crawford would do better just if Barnes weren’t on the floor. Try anybody else.

    There is no reason for Barnes to be on the floor. If it’s his toe, he needs to sit until he can return, even if it means the rest of the season. If it’s something else, it’s time to cut their losses and move on. Clear up a roster spot and start trying other players out.

  3. long time wubs fan. the only untouchable on this team is stef (unless your getting lebron or durant for him). barnes absolutely expendable. if he can grow a heart he could be a better glenn rice, but im skeptical after watching him this season. draymonds a winner with great intangibles. klay, dlee, bogut all skilled players but there are alot of skilled players in the nba. sometimes it a matter of chemistry ..
    im still optimistic about this team. iggy stepping up as the teams 2nd best player would be ideal. its actually crucial.

  4. GooseLosGatos

    Felbot,
    do you think Barnes is in the slightest bit self-aware of his ‘heartless’ deficiencies? Curious if his agent, coach, mom etc ever pointed this out to him or he’s living in a ‘bliss’ vacuum? Can he be that clueless for a player that professes to want to be ‘Great’?

    • cosmicballoon

      Goose, I have been watching Barnes closely for the past several weeks. Two things.

      I believe his turf toe is on his left (jumping) foot. All of the moves he has been trying to make are from is right to left.

      Secondly, I think he is extremely aware of his struggles. Every time he has the ball on offense he appears to be trying so hard that he fails. It’s not that he’s not confident, its that he’s trying so hard to score, he has altogether stopped making the correct basketball play.

      Bottom line is that he needs to be glued to the bench until he earns some minutes back. Currently he avoids glaring mistakes, but he’s playing so nondescriptly that he isn’t doing anything at all at this point.

      • Cosmic balloon,
        mixed it up. The below comment is attributed to you not EvanZ.

      • “All of the moves he has been trying to make are from right to left.”

        You know, I noticed this too, but was ready to attribute it to the fact that he has been scouted this year. I was thinking that opponents were taking away his right hand drive.

        But you could very well be right that he is favoring his right foot.

        • Favoring his left foot. Pushing off with his right.

          If he’s injured it would also explain why we haven’t seen any air time from Barnes.

          Of course that doesn’t explain his larger problems, confusion and a lack of hustle.

  5. Glad you point out that Bogut is barely as serviceable defensive center when a team plays big. He simply has limited range to provide weak side help. It points out the need for another big given that D Green who backs up Lee is not very tall.

    Still think Barnes has some value in a prospective trade, although given his recent performances his value is declining. More so, there is always a stupid general manager who probably thinks he has a upside.

    Have a feeling that Iggy is not going to completely recover this year from injury given that he needs rest and is playing daily.

    We want Brooks on the court!

    • “Glad you point out that Bogut is barely as serviceable defensive center when a team plays big.”

      He pointed out exactly the opposite. He said Bogut is not helping when teams go small.

      “It points out the need for another big given that D Green who backs up Lee is not very tall.”

      It actually points out the need to keep Draymond on the floor against teams that go small.

      What blog are you reading sir?

      • Evan,
        thanks for the perspective. To listen to Feltbot tell it, Barnes is a total #ussy – he may very well be right. I thought Barnes was more motivated that that. Not sure where the truth lies but I’m very curious to see where Barnes career leads….

  6. M. Feltbot,

    Normalement j’apprécie vos écrits jusqu’à maintenant.

    Beaucoup de bons joueurs de la NBA sont d’origine française.

    Je dois défendre la France et offensé par vos blagues. Nous sommes supérieurs à l’Amérique dans Football. peut-être vous avez laissé tomber votre arme lorsque vous jouez au football? Peut être avez vous entendu parler de Lilian Thuram? Thierry Henry? Ils ne sont pas tombés de leurs balles.

    Quand at-Unis à gagner la Coupe du Monde? La France a été victorieux en 1998.

    Je vois l’Amérique ont beaucoup de problèmes avec les petites guerres aux Etats-Unis empire. nous continuons
    pour voir le football et le basket-ball.

    • From Google Translate:

      Normally I like your writing so far.

      Many good NBA players are of French origin.

      I have to defend France and offended by your jokes. We are superior to America in Football. Maybe you dropped your weapon when you play football? Perhaps you’ve heard of Lilian Thuram? Thierry Henry? They are not fallen from their bullets.

      When did U.S. win the World Cup? France was victorious in 1998.

      I see America have many problems with small wars the U.S. empire. we continue
      to see football and basketball.

    • M. Le Pen,

      Merci pour le compliment! Et une très belle riposte. Toutefois, si vous essayez de me convaincre que insulter le français est politiquement incorrect, je suis désolé, c’est une tâche impossible. Je suis tout simplement en suivant les traces de la grande George Bernard Shaw, qui a dit a propos de sujet de manger des escargots: “40 million Frenchmen can’t be right.”

      Votre commentaire concernant nos petites guerres est en particulier très bien pris. (Mais il est curieux que les deux grands joueurs de football que vous avez choisi de nommer étaient des produits de propre empire vaste de France. C’est aussi curieux que vous avez choisi de nommer ces deux joueurs en particulier à la lumière du fait que vous avez choisi le nom d’un politicien notoirement raciste et antisémite comme votre “handle”. Peut que vous pourriez clarifier cela pour nous?)

      • M. Feltbot,

        Aïe. ‘Le Pen’ est mon nom de plume. Votre référence est en effet regrettable. Je préfère remettre aime sa fille Marine :-). (Nous sommes amoureux et nous ne sommes pas des combattants)

        Un salut aux Les Golden State Warriors, nous pouvons convenir! Un salut à l’agréable M. Feltbot ainsi. Saluer ce M. Lacob.
        Au royaume des aveugles les borgnes SONT rois!

        Pour les Américains, qui sont capables de lire l’anglais,
        http://bastille-day.com/biography/Lafayette

        Enfin, Viva Marcel Desailly et Alain Giresse grêle de Paris!

        • Et je vous salue, M. Le Pen. L’honneur de la France est maintenue.

          Viva Michel Platini! Allez Les Bleus!

  7. Berdj Joseph Rassam

    Biggest concern for me in the starting lineup is Klay Thompson – he is so up and down, and has been throughout his career.

    • For someone who is inconsistent, he’s remarkably consistent year-to-year.

      3pt%
      2012 – 41.4%
      2013 – 40.1%
      2014 – 41.5%

      There have not been efficient 3pt shooters like Klay and Steph who shoot at the volume they do on a nightly basis. When you take 8 3pt shots a night, you are going to have many nights where you only make 1 or 2 shots. That’s just how probability works.

  8. Hi guys

    I just read this article on David Lee’s great pick and roll play as illustrated in the Miami game. Article with video clips on
    Hangtime blog. I really enjoy watching him play.

    Thank you for the intelligent discussion of basketball strategies and lineups.

  9. Feltbot,
    Your ability to provide accurate analysis is indeed unparalleled. Hopefully, all the Bogut and Barnes cheerleaders out there will take a peak at your handiwork and learn a lesson a two about good basketball,

    “For some reason, he’s completely stopped competing. He was never much of a competitor anyway, as noted by NBA scouts about his college career, and by me about his NBA career. But this? This is a whole ‘nother level of suckitude.”
    Truer words have never been said. And to think there are actually some folks who valued this guy over David 20’10 Lee.

  10. this is a test…today’s earlier attempts to post have not breached the feltblog defenses.
    the second of mr.barnes’ two rebounds was uncontested, in the very last seconds of the game.

  11. Regarding Barnes, I wonder why it is that (AFAIK) no one has asked Jackson point blank whether he has turf toe. I mean it would be pretty brazen of him to lie outright and any sort of “no comment” response would all but confirm it. Even for someone like Jackson-who’s definitely mastered the art of speaking at length while saying nothing- there’s very little wiggle room there, no? But “wonder” is perhaps the wrong word given the state of sports journalism…

    • There seems to be a code between Warriors sportswriters and management never to ask questions about injuries. It’s understandable on a certain level, but goes way beyond anything I’ve seen out of other franchises.

      It’s enough to make one ask whether the Warriors have the major media outlets in their pockets. As is watching more than one Warriors beat writer prostitute himself on twitter broadcasting Warriors promotions.

      • as far as communicating injury/medical details to the media, the team would be correct in giving the players control and authority whether to disclose their ailments. and the players with justification do not wish to appear like they’re making excuses. this goes back at least as far as the golden age of Aussie tennis (’30s through early 90s) when the players just said, if you see me out there playing, I’m not sick or hurt, if I were, I’d withdraw/concede. the regular bloggers/writers following the team can’t afford to lose access to a player by getting insistent about injury stuff. the interesting things about the great ellis during his second contract with the woeyrs only came out after he’d left the team, because the media couldn’t afford to have him freeze them out.

  12. EvanZ: Felty correctly points out that Bogut is not very good against small line-ups. I agree. My point is that Bogut is just a little bit better when teams go big. Surely would need a back up PF who is much better than D. Green both offensively and defensively regardless if our opponent plays big or small. I think that trading Barnes can help get us that guy. Moto doesn’t think so .

    • “Surely would need a back up PF who is much better than D. Green both offensively and defensively regardless if our opponent plays big or small.”

      Hey why stop there? Maybe LeBron is available.

  13. Wish there was some way the Warriors to trade some combination of Speights, Barnes, and D. Green for Spenser Hawes and fillers.Don’t know if we can substitute Ezeli for Green.

  14. FB,

    Cannot get behind your observation on Bogut. The problem isn’t Bogut alone, it is playing Bogut with Lee in certain situations. Last year’s Denver Playoffs should have shown us that he can play Center on a small-ball squad. The problem with the most recent Denver game was we didn’t have enough Guards covering the perimeter. Denver had three Point Guards or combo guards on the floor. We only had Curry. Klay is a combo 2-3 and so is Iguodala and although usually good, Iguodala is not healthy and they can’t play 48 minutes. Douglas was already gone, Crawford and Brooks weren’t here yet and Bazemore doesn’t count. We couldn’t keep up and Bogut nor anyone else was going to fix that. He shot 5-6, grabbed 10 boards, and was plus three in 24 minutes (second only to Curry.)

    The OKC game was rough for Bogut and Lee but they lost that game on missed free throws and not double-teaming Durant ALL GAME. Ricky Jackson should have been forced to score 40 to beat us. With no Westbrook, does anybody think Durant’s not going for broke?

    And yes, New Orleans was ripe for getting Bogutted and he took advantage as he should. Like everyone else, he is more effective in certain situations than others but multiple analyses from across the country are showing that he brings way more than he gives up in most situations.

    Let’s concentrate on the real problems, we need JO or Festus back. Speights doesn’t cut it. We need more Draymond and we need the player Barnes was supposed to be. “Barnesmore” isn’t cutting it. We still need a backup PG because although I think Crawford will do his job fine, I am concerned that Iguodala might require a lengthy rest to get back his health. If so, and Crawford moves up, the bench is back to no ball handler. JO and Festus will take care of themselves. Draymond is the easiest possible solution: play him more! What to do about Barnesmore, getting another true PF (Speights is a Center) and another PG is where there is still work to be done.

    • There is something to what you’re saying. Bogut + 4 smalls certainly had some success last year in the playoffs. And we’ve seen far too little of those configurations this season.

      However, the fact remains that Bogut is extremely exploitable by smallball pick and roll no matter whom he is surrounded by — as San Antonio demonstrated last year. He simply can’t leave the lane to defend it.

      Paradoxically — and this is something I don’t expect Adam Lauridson to ever get — David Lee and even Mo Speights are much better defenders of pick and roll than Bogut. Jackson uses the more mobile Lee and Speights to come all the way out and hedge against the ballhandler — something that Bogut is entirely incapable of.

      This of course puts a burden on the secondary defenders to pick up the roller. Something that Barnes in particular gets burned on with regularity. And the less astute bloggers and fans attribute that to the hedger — either Lee or Speights — getting burned. That’s absolutely incorrect.

      I think a lot of the problems we saw defensively against Denver and OKC can be cleaned up by putting better WING defenders into the game, not Andrew Bogut. By this I mean, more Draymond, less Barnes, and hopefully at some point a far healthier Iggy.

      Iggy is really the crux, as has been demonstrated by the sharp dropoff in the Warriors’ defensive numbers since his injury.

      • speaking of iguodala, Arnowitz has a piece on truehoop with some of the player’s thoughts on defense, along with a bit of bogut’s and a self-aware, deprecating jab by lee. iguodala said they ‘lost the scout’ when they’ve had lapses, i.e., didn’t follow the scouting report closely enough on opposition players and schemes. to me, this indicates lax coaching, and preparation in terms of scouting, communication, teaching from the coaches. it would also be less likely to happen if green was on the floor longer — he’s not the type to ‘lose the scout’, and he’ll keep directing his ‘mates on the floor when he’s out there.

        • Re:”…to me, this indicates lax coaching…”

          Maybe. However, I think your follow-up point (“…it would also be less likely to happen if Green was on the floor…”) is really getting to the truth of it. In 20+ years of coaching basketball up to the high school level I’ve learned that players can be wildly different in their ability to focus, to observe and adjust, and to process information. Tom Tolbert has told the story of being in the huddle with Nellie and Chris Gatling in numerous late game situations and everyone goes out on the floor and whatever the play was, Chris Gatling would go set a high screen for Hardaway. Gatling simply couldn’t process the adjustment that Nellie drew up.

          I would say that desire, scheming and technique, the ability to focus on your job, the ability to observe and adjust, fitness, and physical attributes are the most important qualities in an effective defender, probably in that order. Green has the first, third, and fourth qualities in substantially greater quantities than most players. If you look at the top seven players through this prism you might come up with with the following negatives:
          Bogut – fitness (due to chronic injury)
          Lee – technique, observe and adjust, and focus (past years might have included desire and fitness)
          Thompson – focus
          Curry – physical attributes, possibly focus due to overwork
          Iguodala – fitness (due to injury)
          Barnes – desire, technique, observe and adjust, focus
          Green – not too much

          The coaching plays an obvious role in scheming and Jackson’s adjustments seem two beats slow compared to the Pops and Carlisles of the league but I think the Pareto rule applies here. You can see 80% of the success or failure of the defense in what the players bring.

          • Coach YT:

            I’m not trying to judge him but just make some kind of assessment. My sense from college days on, casual, is that Barnes just doesn’t process things well. He doesn’t see the floor well and is slow to make decisions. If I’m right, this neutralizes his talents in shooting and driving. And it leaves him a step behind in making decision on both ends of the court. He might perform well if his toe is OK and everything is just right and he has time—i.e. the playoffs—but otherwise he is hampered and his minutes on the floor reduce the flexibility and response time of the whole team.

            Your take? Can he learn this?

          • YouTired,

            Please elaborate on your assessment of Lee’s defensive abilities. I would like examples of Lee’s “technique, observe and adjust, and focus.” I am not disagreeing, I just do not understand how you made these determinations (read: I am such a David Lee fan I am blind to his deficiencies).

            Thank you.

          • YT, thanks for the insights! Armchair coaching (like mine) is no substitute for the real deal.

            Just one comment concerning Barnes. I’m not sure we can really judge his level of desire.

            We can see that Barnes’ efforts haven’t produced to the level of the team’s hype, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t try hard enough. Whether he cared or not, he’s clearly limited by his understanding of the game and his role in it, and his ability to “observe and adjust.”

            I think Barnes tries plenty hard, but simply doesn’t “get it” yet. Then, to make things even tougher for him, his coach regularly spotlights him with tough isolation plays on O, and on defense his performance has to be compared to Iggy, one of the best in the league.

            There’s also the Q of how Barnes prioritizes things. He fouls very rarely. Is that part of his psychological makeup, or is it a perfectly logical attempt to keep from getting yanked off the floor like Green? Maybe it’s the latter. In avoiding that “mistake,” Barnes gets 2x the playing time of a superior player. In a me-first kinda way, that’s kinda smart.

          • RGG,

            If you mean the “Super-Wing” that many predicted for him coming out of high school, no. To my eyes he lacks the fine motor skills. There is a reason that your average tall, lanky person moves awkwardly in explosive movements. It takes special coordination to get fast twitch muscles to respond with nuance when stretched over a long frame. He doesn’t seem to have enough control of his body to get it to respond at an NBA elite-wing level. He may also be an extremely linear and literate thinker. Some people see patterns out of what looks like chaos, some not as much. Some must gets their information one bit at a time. I think it could be a factor.

            All that being said:
            – He may be injured. We mustn’t forget that someone’s strength can be so strong as to mask weaknesses. A few powerful finishes a game might effectively mask his weaknesses.
            – I’ve read where studies show the brain, the male brain in particular, is changing into the mid-20’s. I’m not sure what this means for his hoops ability but it would be wise to remember he is only 21.
            – A linear thinker can succeed but you have to add responsibilities and skills one at a time. I think trying to make him a more versatile offensive player too soon worked against him. Threes and drives and defense should be it until he is confident and competent at all three. I think the offensive system matters too. A more structured system might work in his favor; something with less reading and reacting.
            – I don’t know what you can do about fine motor skills except play a position that minimizes the impact. FB has mentioned stretch 4. He might be better off putting on 20 solid pounds and going for a traditional 4.

            No matter how you slice it, I don’t see how he helps this year. And that is what matters. The window for this team is this year, next, and maybe one more before Iguodala, Lee, and Bogut get too old. I’m afraid I don’t see how he will contribute to this group’s championship aspirations.

          • Hat,

            You make a fair point about the subjectivity of evaluating desire. As a matter of fact, I think his “activity” is what has fooled a lot of national observers into thinking he is decent defender. I’m not sure that activity equates to desire but you might be right about the “not getting it” part. His stoic personality might make it difficult to give him the credit he deserves for desire. I just don’t see the palpable joy and relish in playing defense that is part and parcel to Green and Bogut, to name two.

          • DLITBY,

            First of all I am a David Lee fan. I think he is an exceptional offensive player and a good rebounder. He is an essential part of this Warriors squad. His defense is not his strong suit, to wit:
            – defending inside, he turns to follow the shot instead of getting a body into his man to prevent the offensive board. See any Memphis game to see how Zach Randolph takes advantage of this.
            – he takes bad angles against penetration leaving him in a position to neither challenge the shot or take a charge while leaving him in a position to make a touch foul. This also applies to PnR when the guard turns the corner and the defending guard is chasing.
            – weakside action involving his man leaves him frequently unaware of strong side penetration and he provides little help.
            – his fouling strategy is ass backwards. He wastes touch fouls and then is reluctant to challenge players who have gotten deep position and should be fouled.

            Describing the flaws makes it sound worse than it is. Defense is hard and he is closer to average than awful, especially this year.

          • YT, thanks for your reply.

            I totally agree with your take on Barnes’ “palpable joy.” On TV he doesn’t look like he’s enjoying himself. In contrast, Green “appears” to be having a blast, even when he’s doing his mastodon act, stomping across the landscape of his opponents.

            As for “relish,” I think that can only come with success. Even Barnes must know he’s no Iggy. But the flip side of that lack of emotion is that Barnes doesn’t get bothered by crisis moments. He maintains his equanimity in crunchtime.

            I don’t think Barnes is the 2nd coming. I do think he has potential, and that until now his (publicity/$$$/marketing) situations have combined to cheat him out of the coaching and training time that anyone would need to succeed at the highest level, as represented by NBA competition.

            Whether or not Barnes does improve isn’t entirely up to him. In a way, it would be a tragedy if the Ws hype machine decided to write him off. He’s neither “great” nor “hopeless,” he’s simply a guy who needs more work. Like most people.

          • cosmicballoon

            YT, I couldn’t agree more with you about Barnes’ motor skills, coordination and fast-twitch ability. There is some reason he seems a bit slow when he has all the physical tools. I have never seen this from an NBA player before! Last season I thought it was a matter of Barnes growing into his man-sized body. This season, it has been even more pronounced. I think his career has officially gone down the tubes.

            Secondly, I have never seen a player get so much leeway from the coach. On any other team, Barnes would have been stuck to the bench. Not so with the Warriors. What’s the deal????!!!

  15. felt boss, w. a bon jour to M. Le Pen, your imagery from the French debacle, when the quasi-fascist high command preferred to live on their knees rather than face obliteration on their feet, sounds like it might be influenced by the Furst novels. you’ve probably visited Paris. my first/only experience was fifteen months ago, our apartment a short walk away from the former boche HQ in the Hotel de Ville. what a gift to experience an old city in that quarter of Europa or Great Britain (have only seen London, not Ireland) that didn’t suffer from demolition and worse. of course, that’s with the comforts of hindsight, and security in the knowledge that the Wehrmacht ultimately met its Dämmerung. did they spare Paris when they retreated, because they’d enjoyed their three years of r&r there ? irrefutably, schickelgruber’s visions of ‘pax germanica’ and ‘racial purity’ had to be actively resisted and terminated. and yet, today’s world has the u.s. as a leading power in militarism, arms and conflict proliferation, also providing a haven for the neo-nazi network, while Deutschland is Europa’s dominant capitalist power. and Paris the centuries-old jewel endures.

    • thank you, Professor, your article is both entertaining and enlightening. as smart as some of the folks at gsom are, apparently some of your sly subtlety escaped many of them.

    • Thanks for showing us this, EvanZ! This must have been a great experience for you.

      “Our research showed that most people will go with the ‘safe’ $25, even though the expected value of choice A is much higher than that.”

      Risk aversion may well describe the behavior of many fans—and owners. They prefer defensive players and strategies, which offer a more certain result, over only somewhat lower percentage offensive strategies that promise likely and greater net gains. (See Lacob/defense.)

      Vive le nellieball!

      We may need a psychotherapist to explain other fan behavior.

      Two casual thoughts:

      1. I wonder if the 3 point % is that meaningful for players who only get a few attempts per game simply because the sampling is not large enough.

      2. Aggregate stats, such as a season’s average, will not tell us about situational performance. Some shooters, for example, might shoot better under certain circumstances, against average defenders, whom they most face, while the team is ahead, when the pressure is off, etc. They may not perform as well under pressure, but the peaks and valleys of a season will average out and show a good percentage. Others shoot better under pressure. Their percentages go down then, but not enough to warrant keeping them from launching 3’s.

      We don’t have good common sense ways of thinking about athletic performance. Common sense would tell us that Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hitting streak is no big deal. A .400 hitter should always get a hit when he comes to the plate at least 4 times in a game. But statisticians tell us his record is phenomenal and may likely never be broken.

      I am always leery, however, of anyone who makes global studies and applies them locally, especially those based on raw stats. For example, someone studies defensive performance near the hoop—Goldsberry—and this info is used to make roster and strategy evaluations without considering situation and context (strategies those players follow, their teammates, etc.—go back to the discussion about his study and Lee). Goldsberry is, after all, a geographer, who studies large patterns. His studies might be useful in some distant view, but will be ambiguous if not meaningless close up, say when looking at an individual player in a given season, under a certain system, with a particular roster.

      Sometimes predetermined bias, supported by stats and studies, can wreak havoc. My contribution to the Feltbot Book Club is Allen Frances, Saving Normal. Quite readable, and he speaks from a large perspective, and quite disturbing. He tells how criteria from the current psychiatric diagnosis manual, along with insidious influence from the drug companies, have turned us into a nation of mentally ill taking dangerous drugs. And he should know. He oversaw the previous revision of the manual. Diagnosis of depression has skyrocketed, along with prescriptions to antidepressants. About 15% of U.S. grade school children have been diagnosed with ADD—and are taking ADD drugs that entail many risks along with the stigma of being diagnosed with a condition.

      Education, meanwhile, has been subverted and weakened by the standards push, this supported by all kinds of tests and statistical studies. No Students Left Behind has led teachers to return to rote instruction, having students memorize material to pass standardized tests. Colleges are pushing student learning outcomes with similar results. In a field like mine, English, writing is reduced and eviscerated to formula writing that can be measured, by computer now. And students and teachers alike are evaluated by the results, which are used in promotion and tenure decisions.

      Needless to say, I want to argue something similar might happen in the NBA, if it hasn’t already.

    • Beautiful.

      Next Q: EZ, are you aware of any stats concerning the success of different types of offensive plays?

      I have no statistical evidence, but strongly “feel” that iso’s are the least efficient offensive plays in basketball.

  16. Odds and ends: D.Green’s inability to convert on drives to the basket really starting to bother me. He does give up one extra possession per game compared to Curry giving us 1.5 less possessions per game. Curry has to clean up his his number of turnovers.

    On a lighter note, what do you guy think of Edward Snowden?

    • Edward Snowden is an American hero in the classic mold of Paul Revere.

      Green’s failure (can’t say “inability” with that guy) to finish at the hoop bugs the hell out of me too.

  17. The probability of at least one hit in a game for a .400 hitter would be 1 minus the probability of no hits, which would be 1 – . 6 to the 4th power. 4 AB per game. Walks don’t count. That’s 4 outs in a row, each of which has a probability of .6. So that’s about an 87% chance of getting a hit. Now, what Joe D. did is .87 to the 56th power. Apparently, that is about .0004.

  18. I’m going to take on the ADHD issue a little bit.

    ADHD is like a pair of glasses. It exists on a continuum with normalcy, for the most part. Do you need glasses? It depends on what you’re trying to see. Do you need stimulant medication? It depends on what you’re trying to do.

    So, we have an educational system that is designed, in early grades, for girls. Girls, at that age, have an easier time sitting still, being quiet and focusing on a lesson. Beyond that, the curriculum introduces new material near the leading edge of the developmental wave. So, for example, they start long division at a time when a lot of the kids aren’t ready for it. Those kids then struggle. If they waited a year, the kids’ nervous systems would mature further and long division would be easier.

    Although some progress is being made, schools still tend to assign homework without really checking how long it’s taking. So, you can have a kid who can’t handle the demands to sit down, shut up and pay attention, can’t handle the lectures, and hates the homework.

    Parents are besides themselves as they see their kids fall behind, so they seek help. And, in fact, the stimulants often do help.

    This post is not pro-stimulant. It’s anti-poorly thought out education.

    • RickP,

      In fact I read a NY Times piece that said 20% of boys and just 10% of girls are diagnosed with ADHD. I think it’s getting harder to be a boy in this society, certainly in school.

      Such a condition exists, of course, but not to this extent. The stimulants are hotly debated with more evidence coming in, especially in the milder cases, if we want to call them that. There was an extensive piece in the Times that detailed how much the drug companies have worked their influence down to parents and school counselors:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/health/the-selling-of-attention-deficit-disorder.html?hp&_r=1&

      This is not shoot from the hip conspiracy theory. The piece is incredibly thorough. It’s just amazing—and alarming. Meanwhile, the drug companies are targeting adults now with adult ADD (ADHD). I was once playing a game on my Ipad, and an ad appeared from a drug company for just that. I’m surprised they’re not targeting blogs like this where old boys like me gather—and make typos.

      What gets lost is that spirited boys have talents not rewarded. We see this in many athletes, who, sped up, can do amazing things. Nate Robinson was said to have ADHD on ADHD, but look at what he did in the playoffs for Chicago last year.

  19. There are two main types of ADHD. One involves hyperactivity the other, just inattention.

    Most girls with the diagnosis are inattentive type. I didn’t bother to check the prevalence numbers, but 10% sounds high. Few girls are diagnosed with hyperactive type, and some of them probably have something else. And, those kids are faced with the same problem. They “have ADHD” because they are being asked to do something that’s too difficult for them. The meds can help with this, but that may be more of adding another layer of problem than really providing a solution. Would those people be seen as having a disorder if they lived on a farm 100 years ago? Would any of their parents buy stimulants for them, even if they were being pushed by drug companies back then?

    The hyperactive/impulsive type is largely a boy thing. Last I looked it was somewhere between 4:1 and 10:1 boys.

    I’m not arguing about the drug companies’ interest in making money off this. But, they are plowing ground made fertile by the educational system, it seems to me.

  20. Hat et al @ 14

    I disagree strongly with this statement: “I’m not sure we can really judge [Barnes’] level of desire.”

    While someone’s mind is inherently unknowable, that doesn’t mean we can’t form objective judgements of it. There is nothing that prevents us from making a valid working judgement based on external objective evidence.

    In particular, good NBA observers make valid judgements of players’ defensive desire all the time. No one has any doubt, do they, about Draymond Green’s defensive desire? It is palpable. And Hat in particular remarks on it all the time, and has no questions about the validity of those observations.

    Harrison Barnes’ defensive desire, if any exists at all, is invisible. In fact, there is extraordinarily strong evidence of its complete absence. Here’s my list:

    — Failure to initiate contact and fight for position on the defensive boards.
    — Failure to fight through screens.
    — Failure to ever give a hard foul.
    — Failure to ever get under an opponent’s skin.
    — Failure to learn and understand the defensive game plan. Including understanding his rotations, and his opponent’s strong hand. (How many times recently have we seen him beaten on a right-handed drive?).

    This last also has something to do with the postulated lack of intelligence — as does his failure to block shots — but the evidence in Barnes’ game of a complete disinterest in competing physically and doing dirty work is absolutely overwhelming.

    And I for one have no problem making a connection between objective evidence and a state of mind. I make a living doing just that.

    • “And I for one have no problem making a connection between external evidence and a state of mind. I make a living doing just that.”

      That’s totally fair, and as your livelihood proves you’re accurate enough in your assessments to have an edge. What’s usually true is true enough for your purposes.

      I work in media. I KNOW I can’t know the whole truth via media. That’s a fact, for me and for everyone else. Case in point: Ray Allen. Totally impassive at all times. You can’t tell from his expression whether he just lost or just won a game. Barnes is like that.

      Obviously, Barnes isn’t Allen.

      The point is that impassivity isn’t passivity.

      As mentioned above, Barnes may have a perfectly sound reason for choosing not mix it up in ways that could lead to a foul call. That’s not a sign that he couldn’t act like Green. It could be that he chooses not to get into those situations for the perfectly valid reason that Jackson will bench him for fouling, just as he yanks Green for fouling.

      To Draymond’s credit, he plays the game the way he knows how to play best, damn the torpedoes. Eventually, Jackson will probably come around to DG’s POV, but even if he doesn’t, DG will know he’s done his best. That’s an astonishing display of cojones for anyone, in any profession.

      I don’t think Barnes has Green’s level of confidence, and is simply doing what he perceives to be the best for Barnes. Which, by the PT evidence, might be the right thing for him under coach Jackson.

      • If my (unproven) theory is correct, Jackson’s best move with Barnes is this:

        “Barnes! Get in there! Slap that guy in the mouth! If you’re not thrown out of the game I’m benching you for a month!”

        • cosmicballoon

          Hat, I like your thinking. Another, more realistic, approach would be to start running motion plays for Barnes where he comes off a screen back door to catch lobs at the rim. Bogut is not the only guy who can get up in the air to slam the ball on this team.

    • By intelligence, we mean the ability to translate intent into action at a professional level. This is a rare skill in the overall population.

      Rodman wasn’t bright at all but didn’t have trouble being aggressive.

      I suppose a case could be made, given the envelope of expectations since day one, Barnes might be using his athleticism to avoid contact? It’s a way to succeed without doing something for which he has no taste?

      No kid who’s spent an hour on the playground or anywhere beyond hasn’t learned how to take an elbow or throw one.

      • “Barnes might be using his athleticism to avoid contact?”

        Precisely. Unless it’s intentional, Barnes’ dearth of fouls is statistically bizarre (EZ, jump in here?).

      • Is he using his athleticism to do ANYTHING on the defensive end? Rebound? Block shots? Stay in front? Avoid screens? Rotate on time?

        Why not accept the obvious explanation? Occam’s razor inevitably leads us to desire, and an aversion to contact.

        • What I meant to say is that he channeled his athleticism into doing two things he can safely, cleanly, and competently do—drive and shoot—to the exclusion of all else, which gave him a measure of success and impressed, for a while.

        • The most obvious thing about Barnes is that he is a relative neophyte. It’s obvious that he’s in a position to be hugely rewarded ($) for doing well, which suggests a high degree of ($) motivation. It’s obvious that Barnes’ coach has repeatedly put him in positions in which he is almost guaranteed to fail (iso’s), rather than assigning him simple, limited roles he has the training and ability to handle. And on D, when subbing for Iggy, he knows he can’t measure up to one of the best in the league.

          The “no fouls” idea is also the only basketball-related explanation for Barnes to get more PT than Green. If not for that, we can only guess he’s on the court more than Green for non-bball reasons. And that, to me, has always seemed…not obvious. Kind of a stretch, actually. It’s no secret that winning today solves yesterday’s PR problems better than anything. Everyone knows that, even Lacob.

          So… poor motivation? Maybe, but maybe not.
          Poor training and preparation by his coach? Absolutely.
          Poor usage by his coach? Absolutely.

          Barnes must feel completely overwhelmed. And it does looks that way.

          • It should be completely obvious that Barnes has been getting playing time for non-basketball reasons. He got started over TWO much better veterans his rookie season, no? Jefferson and Rush. Jefferson is starting for Utah this year. He’s always been a better player than Barnes, and still is. Rush was better than both of them, before his injury.

            How can you get more obvious than what happened last year? Did Barnes earn his playing time, or was it handed to him?

            This year, Barnes was the Warriors’ chosen underwear model. The Warriors somehow got him placed on the all-star ballot. They created a controversy over whether he would start over Klay Thompson. He was one of the leading faces of their advertising — second only to Curry. Many Warriors fans came into the season believing, with the help of Warriors PR, that he was a star in the league.

            And the Warriors sold the most season tickets in the history of the franchise.

            Now he’s getting twice the playing time of yet another player who’s clearly better than him. For close to the same reasons.

            There’s a lot at stake for management in Barnes. Vindication for a tanked season. Credibility in an intra-franchise debate over talent evaluation. Marketing dollars. And development of a major trade asset.

            The only difference is that at this moment the intended dupes are professionals.

        • Look at it this way: if Barnes just came up from D-League, what are you saying about him now?

          IF they do this and IF they do that—what the hell kind of basketball player is that? He should be able to get out on the court and play and figure things out, things he should have figured out in high school.

          I’m sure there is much about Barnes Jackson isn’t saying. But that whole isolation routine they ran while Igoudala was down may have been the only thing they could figure out to do with him.

          How far backward does the team have to bend?

          • I just hope that by messing with Green they don’t screw that relationship up in the next few seasons. Green is exactly the kind of guy you want to retain in this day and age. He is way more valuable than most “stars” because you don’t have to pay him like one. My concern is that by continually giving Barnes minutes he doesn’t deserve it will eventually ruby Day-Day the wrong way and he’ll take his talents somewhere else. Maybe Miami or Houston where they would know his worth.

    • To me the most damning thing about Barnes isn’t so much his recent play (It’s hard for me to judge given the very real possibility that he’s injured) but the type of player he projects to be even in the best case. All I see is a barely serviceable bench player with the potential to become an inefficient iso-heavy volume scorer with no court vision, poor rebounding for his size and certainly no intangibles to make up for those attributes. Basically a Rudy Gay type with slightly better shot selection but worse defense and rebounding.

  21. since the topics of competitive desire and tenacity in general have been tossed about a bit, some trivial stats which may or may not correlate to those attributes — bogut and green are far and away the team leaders in technical fouls with five. the only other guys with more than one are crawford (prior to GS of course) with 3, thompson with 2. bogut and green are also far and away the leaders in blocked shots, and thompson is first among all wings or guards. for a coach considered highly as a leader and motivator, in terms of getting technical fouls the preacher either appears a bit detached during the games, or might be striving not to get a technical called on him. popovich was recently tossed for sticking up for his player, and malone incurred a good fine for protesting a strange call that cost his team a game.

    • cosmicballoon

      I haven’t sat near him during a game, but it appears on TV that Mark Jackson is strangely demure on the sidelines during the game. He never “pulls his hair out” after a call (maybe because he doesn’t have any), and his lack of technical fouls probably means he is not badgering the officials enough to be a nuisance. In society this is a great trait. As a head coach, you need to be pushing for any advantage you can gain. A perfect example was the Thunder game when Scotty Brooks went ballistic after not getting enough calls. All of a sudden, the Thunder were at the free throw line every possession. That hasn’t happened for the Warriors all season.

      Unfortunately for this Warriors team, going to the free throw line is not the way to win.

    • It’s funny, I was thinking about this exact topic while driving home a couple of hours ago.

  22. They’re going to need to put four scorers on the floor if they’re going to beat a team like Indiana, not just for points but to tax the defense and open up ball movement. If Iguodala can’t going, I wonder if they couldn’t run Douglas in his place in spurts.

    Really they need five. No complaints about Bogut tonight, but if he could create for himself down low and out a bit, it would have made a significant difference.

  23. Jackson hasn’t given M. Brooks any playing time probably because he didn’t want to give two new players playing time. With Crawford not knowing the plays he has been reduced to taking jump shots and not penetrating and dishing off which is what the Warriors need.

    If he had played maybe the Warriors would not have lost their 2 of there last 3 games.

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that M. Brooks will prove to better than Barnes on both sides of the ball. It will be nice to have a player who can get to the rim and score easily on drives or go to the foul line. He’ll outplay him on the defensive end but that is not saying much as everyone is better than Barnes defensively. Would really like to see Brooks spell at times Iggy whose still not right.

    Once again this game showed that the Warriors need JON and a bigger
    player than D. Green to back-up D. Lee. Against good teams like Indiana one should not expect Green to do much and he didn’t.

    Not good both Curry and Thompson giving up a net 4 possessions via turnovers and not offsetting that via obtaining any offensive rebounds nor steals.

    Speights sucks as a player.

    Be interested to see what the Warriors second team has JON, Brooks, Crawford, Green, and whoever the Warriors receive for Barnes. By the Warriors appearing to have considered trading Barnes for Lowry, it’s safe to say he’s still on the trading block. Front office, make it happen.

  24. Green has an interesting game. He did look good tonight. He got 6 boards in 17 minutes. He’s tough, active and aggressive.

    It’s almost enough to make me forget that he was 1-7. He took the fourth most shots and hit the fewest (tied with several others). He has a way of getting his shots in the paint to roll out.

    And, his +/- led both teams. Worst on the Ws. And more negative than any Pacer was positive.

    Draymond’s game makes it easier to forget all those shots that roll out.

  25. EvanZ and RickP:

    Sorry that I didn’t realize that I should have been cheering as I watched D. Green shoot 1-7 from the field. I guess I should have also been cheering as he obtained three offensive rebounds and only placed one of them back into the hoop, making his three offensive rebounds almost meaningless.

    Praising D. Green for getting 3 defensive rebounds is equally meaningless as none were contested and doesn’t make me forget his woeful shooting at the rim.

    The Warriors got slaughtered scoring wise with D. Green on the court. We need a better back-up power forward. Hope the front office realizes that.

    There was simply nothing in his performance that is worthy of praise other than “he looked good” making only 1 of 7 shots, and garnering 3 offensive rebounds.

    • Frank, I guess you don’t care about defense either.

    • Did it really sound like I was praising Draymond’s game?

      My point was that Draymond is a guy who can be easily overestimated. He’s active, aggressive, plays D, etc, but too often, he wastes possessions by missing shots he should make. Those wasted possessions are important.

      I think he has the potential to be great, but he needs to slow down just a bit so that his short shots roll in.

  26. Grantland’s Zach Lowe named his All-Stars today. Good in-depth analysis of the players. There may be a Warrior amongst the starters….

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