Pacers 102 Warriors 94: Two Players Away

“We’re right there.” — Stephen Curry

I don’t buy the media narrative that the Indiana Pacers are on another level than the Golden State Warriors. While other writers saw nothing but how far away the Warriors are from the 33-7 Pacers, what I noticed was just how close the Warriors are to beating this team with a stick.

In my mind, the Warriors are merely two players away.

Andre Iguodala and Jordan Crawford.   

Iggy: The biggest factor that I saw in this loss was Iggy’s inability to impact the game on either end of the floor. This is not even close to the same player we saw at the beginning of the season, nor the player for whom the Warriors paid $48 million for four years. If the Warriors are going to play at a championship level, then Iggy has to play at a championship level. He’s a long way from that right now.

I’m not sure whether his lingering hamstring injury is affecting his shot. I fully expected significant regression in his shooting this season anyway. His extraordinary shooting to begin the year was unsustainable, no matter how great the effect of playing along side Curry and Thompson.

But it is definitely affecting all the other areas of his play, which the Warriors so desperately need. Particularly on defense. In this game, Paul George literally got whatever he wanted in the first half. Prompting Mark Jackson to begin using Klay on him in the second half.

It’s also apparently affecting his rebounding. Iggy is usually quite a good rebounder, but didn’t show up on the boards in this game where wing rebounding was desperately needed. I witnessed one play in the second half in particular, in which Iggy allowed Lance Stephenson to waltz in for an offensive rebound. Stephenson beasted the offensive boards for 4 rebounds.

Klay Thompson was equally culpable in this regard. Iggy totaled 2 rebounds for the game. Klay bageled. While Lance Stephenson totaled 10. This should be an obvious area of focus the next time these two teams meet.

Iggy’s hamstring issue has also hamstrung the Warriors’ offense in ways unrelated to his shooting. Do you remember to start the season how often Mark Jackson put the ball in Iggy’s hands, and asked him to run the offense? How skilled he was at driving the lane and finding Curry and Thompson open? How helpful he was in allowing Curry to get some rest off the ball?

That’s gone now. Jackson is barely putting the ball in his hands at all. The only possible explanation is that the Warriors don’t feel Iggy’s hamstring can handle the load.

One is beginning to wonder whether Iggy will be healthy again this season. Is this an injury that can heal itself while being played on? It’s nice that the Warriors are getting a break in the schedule, but perhaps they should contemplate shutting him down again for a longer time. No matter what that does to the Warriors’ seeding. If he’s not ready come playoff time, the Warriors are toast.

Jordan Crawford: Did the Warriors trade for Crawford so that he could play 13 minutes a game?

Did they trade for Crawford to feed Harrison Barnes in the low post?

What a ridiculous waste of his talents. Spread the floor with Curry or Thompson, Barnes and Green. Run high pick and roll with Crawford and Speights. And watch the buckets rain from the sky.

It is really that simple. With Crawford leading the second unit, there is simply no reason why it can’t be one of the highest scoring in the league.

If Mark Jackson can get himself out of the way. I understand that Crawford has just joined the team, and that the Warriors have had no practice time, and Jackson wants to get him up to speed, and…

Nonsense. All players of Crawford’s caliber know how to run high pick and roll. He knows how to find open shooters. He knows how to get his own shot.

Tom Thibodeau got D.J. Augustin up and running in no time. Mike D’Antoni got Kendall Marshall up and running in no time. Don Nelson had no problem putting the ball in the hands of D-Leaguers playing their first NBA game — when he needed their production.

The Warriors need Mark Jackson to relax and take his hands off the reins. They are desperate for what Jordan Crawford can do for them. And what he can do for them is TAKE OVER GAMES. Like Nate Robinson. And Jarrett Jack.

What’s the holdup?

Klay Thompson: Klay kept the Warriors in this game with his three point shooting. He’s a guy who will be much more successful than Chris Mullin at getting his shot off in the playoffs. He’s got the length, but the way he comes off those screens, turns and fires is simply incredible. He and Curry have the quickest releases in the league.

I was also extremely impressed by his defense on Paul George. Cementing my conviction that he’s a natural small forward.

But he needed to hit the boards in this game. He’s a very good rebounder when it’s needed.

Against the Pacers, it’s needed.

David Lee: During the game, a few Warriors media members were oohing and ahhing on twitter over David West’s game.

David Lee 20 and 12. David West 17 and 5.

I really wonder what it is that makes Lee’s game so incomprehensible to the Warriors media. It’s simply amazing.

Lee was by far the quickest big man on the floor last night, and he used that quickness to great effect in getting to the rim. He also beat the Pacers down the floor for layups on at least two occasions. He’s one of the best running big men in the game, who has gotten to show that talent all too infrequently playing for Lacob’s Warriors.

Unfortunately, Lee uncharacteristically missed a couple of wide-open bunnies, and four free throws, or this game may have turned out differently.

A word on Lee’s defense: Did any one of the great players he was guarding get to the rim last night? He forced David West to either set up outside, or shoot tough fading jump-hooks. He DESTROYED Luis Scola.

And as for Roy Hibbert, Lee forced him into jumphooks as well. Which Hibbert made look easy. Are they easy for him, though? He’s only shooting .465 from the field.

As Mark Jackson says, it’s a make or miss league.

Bogut: This is the kind of matchup that the Warriors signed Bogut for. And after an excruciatingly slow start in which he was beaten numerous times inside and on the boards, he showed up and went toe-to-toe with Hibbert.

I don’t blame him or Lee for the rebounding disparity. On this night, that was on Iggy and Thompson.

Barnes: Something possessed Barnes to compete for a few rebounds last night. I wonder what?

Green: I come down on the side of those who don’t feel this performance was adequate. He was a Warriors’ worst -12 in this game, nosing out Barnes (-10). (Everyone’s favorite whipping boy, Mo Speights was +1.) And while I think Mark Jackson’s second unit offense was significantly to blame, I think Green deserves blame as well.

His effort on defense and rebounding was quite good as usual, but the Warriors need much more from Green on the offensive end. Particularly in games in which he’s giving up significant size.

And I’m not talking about missing outside shots, which happens. When Green puts the ball on the floor, he needs to start making something good happen. Far too often he has resorted to flinging up wild prayers. He needs to find shots that he can actually finish, or pass the ball back out.

As I wrote one time about Coby Karl, when Green drives the lane he looks like the Bug in Men in Black, chasing the cat.

There was progress in one area. He missed one of his two free throws, but this time missed it short. Way short. But still, progress in concept, if not in outcome.

Next step, get it on top of the rim.

The Pacers: Most people believe the Pacers defense starts with Roy Hibbert in the middle. I disagree. I think it’s starts with Paul George and Lance Stephenson, two of the best wing defenders in the league. And George Hill, one of the best point guard defenders in the league. As a unit, they not only run opponents off the three point line, but are good enough to funnel and control penetration at the same time.

If you airlifted Roy Hibbert off of the Pacers, and planted him, say, on the Houston Rocket’s in Dwight Howard’s place, he would look like a different player. He would look a lot like Andrew Bogut recently did against the Nuggets, in point of fact. Small guards would run circles around him.

The best way to beat the Pacers? Cut off the head of the snake. By which I mean, take their primary distributors, George Hill and Lance Stephenson completely out of the game. That’s what the Heat did in their last victory over the Pacers. Chalmers and Cole destroyed the mediocre Hill. LeBron destroyed Stephenson. And the Pacers’ ball movement collapsed, making them unable to run their offense.

The Warriors don’t have the defenders to execute this game plan. Not with Curry on the floor. The Heat were able to shift Wade onto George, but Curry can’t guard either of the Pacers’ wings, as we saw last night. The Warriors need to beat the Pacers a different way.

By running.

Mark Jackson: After the game, Jackson found positives in the Warriors’ performance, and said: “When we begin to take care of the little things, it’s going to be scary how good we can be.”

I agree, Mark Jackson.

Starting with you.

Jackson needs to do more to get this Warriors team running. Curry, Thompson, Lee, Iggy, Barnes, and Crawford all excel in the open court. No matter how badly Jackson wants to hang his coat-tails on the defensive end, if he doesn’t realize that this team’s biggest edge is on offense, and in particular in pushing the tempo on offense, then the Warriors will never reach their true potential.

The Warriors are currently 12th in the league in fast break points.

That is absolutely shameful, for a team built like this. That is “unclear on the concept.”

I’m curious, has Mark Jackson ever heard of running after a made basket?

It’s surprisingly effective, against the Roy Hibberts of the league.

87 Responses to Pacers 102 Warriors 94: Two Players Away

  1. This is probably your best analysis of the year. I was at the game and what I saw matches closely with your take. I don’t care for your constant digs at Barnes but I have a different longterm view of Barnes than you do. Barnes played pretty well last night. However, your views on Iguodala, the use of Crawford and the need to run (imagine, running against a huge, physical team?) are spot on.

    During several of the timeouts last night, including a key one with :850 left in Q3, Vogel was completely engaged with his players on the bench communicating directions and scribbling on his board to illustrate, and Jackson was barely saying anything to the team. The difference between the two coaches was startling. And, by the way, Lacob, who wears his fan heart on his sleeve on the court sideline, is looking none too happy these days. Despite the road winning streak. I suspect he gets it. We’ll see.

  2. …but I would add another point to your analysis of this game: the Warriors desperately needed Ezeli or another athletic big in this game. David Lee played great on O and pretty well on D but he and Speights were totally outmuscled when matched against the Pacers’ bigs. We gave up easy inside shots and many offensive rebounds when Bogut was out. This is a team against which we need another solid center to compete. It’s hard to run when you’re not getting rebounds and the other team is getting inside bunny hooks and put-backs on O.

    • True, Ezeli’s 15 minutes of shot blocking and rebounding is sorely missed – and Festus negates Ian Mahinmi – who played a great game.

      I was sky high on Speights’ FA signing. I was wrong. Aside from a drawn charge here and there, he’s not the shot blocker I’d hoped for. He loves his jumper too much and his inside game too little.

      I’ve never watched Crawford play much and thus have no opinion on him… I’ve always been a huge Nate and Jack fan though – as off the bench sparks. I hope FB is right on Crawford’s ability. I say build up Crawford’s minutes – and let’s see how he fills Jack’s role. The status quo (huge Curry minutes on the ball, few off the ball) invites fatigue and or injury. Iggy was supposed to help with some PG minutes, but something’s not right with him…

  3. Great stuff, per usual.

    While you’re at it, could Brooks Play with Crawford and turn them loose? Both might be raw and ragged enough to go in and wreak havoc on teams rather than trying to hold a lead. Team them with Green and Speights, and I suppose Barnes could stand and watch. Or O’Neal could take Barnes’ place when he’s ready. Brooks might even have potential as a third PG, more than Bazemore or Nedovic (which admittedly isn’t saying much).

    Had to believe they couldn’t do something with this:

  4. Agree with you on the Warriors need to run.

    Wish you would acknowledge that the Warriors were killed on the boards because the Warriors went small and not due to Iggy and Tbompson failing to garner defensive rebounds as our team correctly points out. But you chose to maintain a blind eye to the ineffectiveness of small ball against a dominating and effective tall team inside..

    Do you really think the results would have been different if Iggy was healthy? Did you look at the bench stats. Horrible. Good point that Iggy should be rested. Won’t happen as Lacob s into short term fixes, damn the players.

    D. Green will rarely have a good game against a quality team like Indiana. Warriors need an upgrade.

    The Warriors have M. Brooks who I think would have done a good job defending Stephenson and Hill. Jackson relegated him to the bench.

    • “The Warriors have M. Brooks who I think would have done a good job defending Stephenson and Hill.”

      What in the world makes you think this? Do you also think Nick Young is an elite defender?

  5. Agree, should run more in general but not practical with the Pacers. Not going to work against, if you have seen Pacers transition D. It also looked like Hibbert scored at will against Lee, and also got this from ESPN. Basically looked like Lee as C failed on both counts, on offense and defense(may be for stretches):

    “Going small is a tall order against perhaps the NBA’s most physically imposing opponent. “You can’t go small against us!” Ian Mahinmi crowed to fellow Pacers center Roy Hibbert. The massive starting center responded, “David Lee nearly had me on skates.”

    Nearly, but not quite. Warriors lineups that featured Lee at center hit one out of 13 shots, allowing the Pacers to keep the home team at bay.”

    • If a Lee at center lineup produces a 1-13, it will always fail. Don’t think that will happen very often, tho.

      And I didn’t advocate for that in this game anyway. The Warriors can run with Bogut in the middle. And Speights.

      • Your review of Lee’s play gave me that impression but we in agreement that Bogut in the middle was better against Pacers.

  6. the team might be close to Ind in player talent, but the game showed another difference equally important gap, particularly in a playoff series — Ind has superior coaching and player development. superficially, GS might appear to be better suited for transition offense, but Ind pushed the tempo very successfully in the first half, which provided the impetus that became the win. they understand how to utilize their strong board work ; GS ranks just behind them in defensive rebounding and as we all know could have a ferocious open court offense if the preacher would embrace it. he’d also have to integrate his bench better than what he’s demonstrated, to keep the starters’ legs going to play both ends at that pace.

  7. Agreed something IS wrong with Iguodala. He’s obviously not healthy. Moving gingerly. Iggy doesn’t even attack the rim anymore – where he used to be one of the league’s elite finishers. Shut him down for a while, record be damned. Iggy needs to be healthy for a deep playoff run. Who cares about the regular season? I’m not too concerned about playoff seeding – as long as we GET in… I feel this Ws squad can knock any team out in the playoffs on the road anyway – if healthy.

    • Why would you shut down someone who is still one of the top 5 players on the team? Who exactly are you replacing him with that will be better than even a 80% health Iguodala?

  8. Not sure what’s up with my Twitter widget. Baffled.

  9. Evan Z: Responding to your inquiry, my comment that M.Brooks is a good defender is based on my seeing him play in person when he got extensive playing time his first year in the NBA. He’s surely has more length and is quicker that Thompson. .

  10. Not much (play performing) insights from this game, but I wholeheartedly agree that the sentiment ‘warriors are not in the same league as pacers’ is blatantly misplaced. After first quarter substitution mini collapse they played indiana as good as anyone.
    What some might overlook, is that playing the best teams all these small things that go one way or the other (a loose ball there an there, missed free throw, a single play) are of huge importance, for all being equal they decide the game. Warriors were right in it and indiana played very good, it came down to couple of empty possesions – one when warriors were 77-79 trailing, other when lee missed two free throws with indiana’s response being buckets. Its like a tiebreak in tennis – some luck, but also top notch tuning.
    Let’s warriors are tuned well to go on 10 game winning streaks against lesser opponents (including a tuff win there and there), but not yet tuned so damn well to be sure to have an upper hand in tight match-ups against great teams. After-all, they had 1,5 new players to start the season, some injuries causing ‘chemistry’ and presumably one more significant player to tune in.
    It is coming.
    Though i’m not sure if literally, or figuratively =wink=

  11. M. Brooks surely has the physical tools to be a good defender. If that has been his problem getting playing time for Boston, one would think he would address that problem. We’ll see his defense for ourselves when he he gets some playing time for the Warriors.

  12. It should be noted that the Boston Celtics had only two players with positive ratings. One was Crawford who was a plus 3.2, the other was M.Brooks who was a 3.9. So, regardless of his defense, it would appear he was a positive force playing for Boston.

    Even though he played limited minutes, when guarding SF’s his defense limited opponent SF’s to 39 percent. Opponent’s had a 50 per cent shooting when he played SG. We should see for ourselves how good a defender is he is rather then relying on bloggers.

    • Brooks played like 60-70 mins for Boston whole season in garbage minutes. Don’t you think you are reaching when you say he was +ve force for Boston ?

  13. Doesn’t prove anything, but interesting:

    Fouls per 48 min.:

    Kuzmic 10.4
    Bazemore 7.7
    Speights 7.4
    Green 6.0
    Bogut 5.1
    Lee 4.1
    Thompson 3.9
    Barnes 3.7
    Curry 3.5
    Iggy 2.4

    Barnes has the lowest fouls/48 among non-starters, but only the 3rd-lowest among active players on the team.

    Curry’s average is on the low side league-wide, and Iggy’s number is very surprising for a defensive wiz. He ranks 410th out of 440 NBA players.

    I was surprised at Bazemore number. I’m used to thinking of him as good defensively, but refs might disagree. In his defense, he knows he’s going to play sparingly, so he’s free to use his fouls, or risk foul calls, more than starters can. And that brings us back to Barnes.

    Barnes’ fouls/48 is the lowest among our team’s non-starters, which confirms what we see in his game play. Only Iggy and Curry foul at a lower rate. As for why that’s true, who knows? It could be by choice, it could be that he plays D so poorly that he’s never close enough to foul his man even when he should (I think that’s at least part of it, myself).

    EvanZ, does Synergy keep stats on the average distance between defenders and the people who score on them?

    • I’m not Evanz, but I can give you a stat..
      Barnes stinks and Bazemore sucks.
      I’m kind of kidding. Kind of

    • warriorsablaze

      I’m a bit surprised at the Curry number… I know he’s made drastic improvements, but it still seems like he picks up a bunch of unnecessary reach fouls every game. He’s generally guarding the last offensive wing option for the other team, so it makes sense he wouldn’t foul as much.

      As for Iggy, it just shows me he’s smart. And has also been injured a lot which minimized his aggressiveness.

      Baze is a good defender only in making big hustle plays like a chase-down block or a steal. I haven’t seen him be consistent in one on one situations or within the team concept. Plus, he’s out of control too much. Where Green has started to slow down a bit, Baze is still more aggressive than he himself can handle. On both ends.

      • Iguodala has had a very low foul rate, relative to his level of perimeter and team defense, his whole career. we only got to see his best stuff before he got hurt — beautifully efficient cuts, angles, with quickness and great length.

  14. Big Hat, with the short hiatus in the schedule and the blog in re-hash mode, could you be so kind as to enlighten me about your praise of E.Snowden, specifically, comparing him to P.Revere ? could not tell if you were being ironic, especially with your profession in the media. Revere as the patriot/hero is largely a figment of the media, created roughly eighty years after the War of Independence. didn’t hurt his cause that he was a successful entrepreneur and artisan with numerous progeny and well placed in Boston society after independence. are you implying that Snowden’s stature as folk hero is also a media creation ?

    • moto, I generally avoid discussing politics, so I’m not good at it. I was sincere. Snowden’s “crime” was that of whistleblower, a practice which is almost always beneficial to “the little people” in a democracy. Snowden didn’t do it for profit, he knowingly sacrificed any semblance of a normal life for himself.

      Snowden did no harm. We all had perfectly good reasons to suspect what the NSA was doing, Snowden only confirmed it. Any idiotic “terrorist” who got caught by the NSA got caught for rampant stupidity, always a punishable offense. No one was harmed, no one is less safe – and we are not in a war.

      Like drug dealers, terrorists are criminals, not soldiers. Strictly speaking, there is no “war” on terror, just as there is no “war” on drugs. “War on…” is a PR phrase used to bypass the US legal system and excuse law enforcement excesses.

      There have been excesses almost beyond belief. Even the government’s own Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board agrees:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/us/politics/watchdog-report-says-nsa-program-is-illegal-and-should-end.html?hpw&rref=us

      I really do think Snowden is a hero, sounding the alarm on the greatest threat to civil liberty – worldwide – ever seen. Seriously.

      I personally favor the American legal system over the extra-legal NSA/CIA/FBI/HSA system that says their “persons of interest” have no legal rights.

      It is either/or. We have inalienable rights, or we do not. We have to choose.

  15. And… the Suns run the Pacers out of the gym.

    • Phx shot their 3’s like durant as well, and look at the bench minutes and distributed contributions from reserves. they’re missing their starting lead guard. almost using the opposite approach as the woeyrs. mchale was another coach whom lacob could have hired, but was probably too qualified with his background as a g.m. for lacob to be comfortable with.

    • I see in the box score they won with slightish rookie Plumlee at center. This is not a large, physical team.

    • They’re beautifully constructed, with real stretch fours: Frye and the Morri. Great pg. And a Nellieball wing: Tucker.

      And a great rookie coach.

      • If Hornacek was the Dubs Coach. Wow.

        Last night, the Suns Frustrated Roy Hibbert (who could not keep up) and rest of the ‘vaunted’ Pacers Defense. Pick and Roll all game. And Run Baby Run. resulting in blowing out the Pacers by 24.

        The Suns are now 24-17 with one of the lowest payrolls while their best player is currently injured (Eric Bledsoe).

      • oui, my mental short circuit in the early a.m., Hornacek. that makes at least two rookie coaches (stephens, Bos) better qualified than lacob’s third year protege.

  16. cosmicballoon

    Regarding running more: while what you say sounds good in principal, practicality is a different matter. The only starter who is faster down the court than his counterpart on defense is David Lee because Iggy is not healthy. The Warriors do not have a good rim runner big man who finishes with power on the break, nor do they have a slashing guard who can easily get to the bucket on a fast break.

    The Warriors should run to get open three point looks. However, teams understand that to be the Warriors most dangerous weapon and have focused on stopping those transition looks from three point range. I believe the Warriors fast break is flawed because Iggy is injured and Barnes regressed from a guy who finishes the fast break to a player that NEVER runs toward the rim on the break, despite the 40 inch vertical. This could be on Barnes and the coaching staff.

    As Warriors fans we were spoiled by many years of the one man fast break from Monta Ellis. This team is simply less athletic and doesn’t get up and down like that, especially when forced to play the brand of defense that Jackson asks.

    • I remember Chris Mullin finishing as many fast breaks as any one on RunTMC. Cherrypicking.

      I think it’s about the mindset. Leaking out. Outlet passes to halfcourt. Running after made baskets.

      The Warriors seem content to walk it up after most rebounds.

      • I’m almost certain Mark Jackson frowns on any of his players leaking out. Additionally, Jim Barnett has pointed out that the Warriors guards, Klay and Barnes in particular, need to get into the lane and help out with rebounding against teams that like to offensive rebound.

        On the flip side, a good way to keep teams (like Indiana) off the offensive glass is to leak out and score some easy transition buckets. Their guards and forward will have to retreat on defense if this is a threat.

        Mark Jackson has a mediocre offensive system and unfortunately, limited offensive mind at this point in his coaching career. He’s the Michael Crabtree of NBA coaches.

  17. The danger of analytics:

    http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/story/2014-01-23/the-baseline-for-many-coaches-overuse-of-analytics-remains-very-very-dangerous

    Doug Collins argues for sanity: “There’s the eye test, the heart test.”

    Something readers here are familiar with.

    • Actually, the article highlighted the need for balance. Even Jeff Van Gundy, as “old school” as they get, said number-crunching was useful, just that it was not the only factor in coaching. As one anonymous coach said, a made 2 is worth more than a missed 3 no matter what the analytics say.

      I think Lionel Hollins’ big mistake was not in ignoring the numbers, but in refusing to speak numbers with his FO, people who live and die with number-speak. He needed to at least acknowledge that their lingo and mindset had at least some validity. What boss wouldn’t fire an employee who refused to communicate in the boss’ lingo?

  18. I agree with Hat that the government was collecting intelligence using all technical means available and one has to only to use our imagination as to what those techniques were. Only the media and the intelligence community make it look like they were secret techniques.

    It’s clear the NSA was collecting telephone records of millions of American citizens and that such was illegal as the 4th amendment to the US constitution that prohibit’s general warrants that was prevalent in Europe and was one of the reasons the pilgrims migrated to the U.S. The President has clearly said such practice is legal which raises questions if the President is following the commands of the U.S. constitution.

    The chief of intelligence told a U.S. Senate Committee that the intelligence was not not systematically collecting the telephone and emails of U.S. citizens which was patently false. Yet he is not charged criminally with perjury. Snowden, the whistle blower of violations of the Constitution by intelligence officials is criminally charged. So much for equal justice under the law.

    Given Snowden’s revelations, maybe someone will some day ask why the alleged Boston bomber who the Russians had told the FBi was a terrorist and who the FBI had interviewed two or three years had not had his conversations recorded by the FBI prior to the bombing, and thus would enabled the attack to be thwarted if he indeed was one of the bombers. And such is also suspect given that even though he was probably the only person living in the Boston area who had been deemed by the FBI as a terrorist, the FBI had not gone to his residence at the time of the bombing regardless if he was identified on videos at the seen of the bombing. And did not do so until after he was identified in film two days later. And it should be noted President Obama said at a press conference that both bombers were identified by the videos on the day of the bombing by the FBI, The FBI via the Boston Globe said they had not identified the bombers until the day of the shootout two days later in Watertown.

    All these matters raise the question whether the Boston bombing conversations were deliberately not recorded by the FBI, and if so why? Questions that should be asked by Congress and by the media. Not going to happen.

    • Frank, as an extremely old person and sometime student of history, I’ve seen lots of elite-vs.-populist power swings in Washington.

      You’re right, we probably won’t see a change this year. But change is the only constant. It is going to happen.

      • Herr Doktor Hut, maybe you’re sufficiently ‘extremely old’ to have lived during the heyday of the Kingfish, Huey Long ? the true populists with national notoriety, as opposed to the privileged who disguise themselves and appropriate populist rhetoric and marketing, have largely been in decline since Nixon/Reagan [the former turned Wallace into an advantage, the latter adopted a populist influenced script]. there might be some congressmen or local leaders who consider themselves populists.

        • You’re baiting me, moto.

          Huey Long was popular within his district, anathema elsewhere, and he was a single-issue (yay racism!) politician who accomplished very, very little for his constituency.

          By definition, any elected pol was the most popular candidate. “Popular” is obviously not the same thing as “populist” in the context of this conversation.

          With apologies to FB for all my off-topic ranting, this marks the end of my political talk on this site.

  19. @19

    Wired finally put up that piece about quants I talked about earlier:

    http://www.wired.com/business/2014/01/quants-dont-know-everything/

    “The reason the quants win is that they’re almost always right—at least at first. They find numerical patterns or invent ingenious algorithms that increase profits or solve problems in ways that no amount of subjective experience can match. But what happens after the quants win is not always the data-driven paradise that they and their boosters expected. The more a field is run by a system, the more that system creates incentives for everyone (employees, customers, competitors) to change their behavior in perverse ways—providing more of whatever the system is designed to measure and produce, whether that actually creates any value or not.”

    “On a managerial level, once the quants come into an industry and disrupt it, they often don’t know when to stop. They tend not to have decades of institutional knowledge about the field in which they have found themselves. And once they’re empowered, quants tend to create systems that favor something pretty close to cheating. As soon as managers pick a numerical metric as a way to measure whether they’re achieving their desired outcome, everybody starts maximizing that metric rather than doing the rest of their job—just as Campbell’s law predicts.”

    Often priorities are counterproductive:

    “The same goes for the rise of ‘teaching to the test’ in public schools, or the perverse incentives placed on snowplow operators, who, paid by the quantity of snow cleared, might simply ignore patches of lethal black ice.”

    It’s not hard to imagine a team dictating simple priorities, ours for example, at the expense of overall play. Demanding more rebounding, say, thus picking players for that skill over others, or forcing a strategy that leads to more rebounds, whether they help a team win or not. Notice how much Fitz waxes ecstatic over rebounds?

    • rgg, you’re absolutely, obviously correct to question the validity of quantification and analysis. Rigid adherence to a limited set of numbers can easily introduce distortions and errors in understanding any complex system.

      Using stats well means questioning your assumptions and the valuation you place on the numbers. To NOT question the validity, relevance and true meaning of your numbers is to invalidate them. With a degree in epidemiology, Joe Lacob has to understand that quite well.

      If I understand what you’re saying, you’re concerned that stupid management people will oversimplify, and want their coach to play to the numbers only. That may actually have happened in some cases, like with the jerks who fired George Karl. But the issue, as always, isn’t that simple.

      Analytics can be helpful. They can be harmful when mis-interpreted or used poorly. But refusing to use them is to refuse to even attempt to get whatever edge they might provide. Sorry, but that doesn’t seem terribly clever.

  20. I got nice seats to tomorrow’s TWolves game. Unfortunately, both Bogut and Lee are questionable for the game. So, Speights and Green against Pekovic and Love?

    Let’s hope Mark Jackson sees the value in pushing the tempo.

  21. More Green

    http://www.warriorsworld.net/2014/01/21/the-case-for-more-draymond-green/

    “Draymond Green presently ranks in the top fifteen in the NBA for defending opposition field goals at the rim… At 47.0 percent, his efficiency in limiting the successes of opponents in close is comparable to the marks of… Tim Duncan (46.7 percent), Dwight Howard (47.2 percent), and Andre Drummond (48.1 percent).”

    If only DrayDray could make layups.

  22. If you go quant, you sometimes get drugs approved based on bad statistics.

    If you go non-quant … well, I can’t even contemplate it.

    To be more specific, if a quant develops an objective function and rewards people in accordance with it, it’s no surprise if people pay attention to it to the exclusion of all else.

    Which means, if you’re smart, you’re going to be very careful about how you specify an objective function. There are several issues, a main one being the reality of intangibles and hard-to-quantify variables. Another is that complex systems tend to be massively non-linear which, in practice, can mean that, even if your objective function is perfect, your solution can be unstable.

    This, btw, is one reason that I pay attention to +/-. As fuzzy and misleading as it can be, at least it’s right in line with the goal.

    • No one here or in the articles argues against stats per se. They should be managed, however, by those closest to the game, i.e. coaches and GMs. I have yet to see a stat that considers a player’s overall talents or the context of fellow teammates and strategies.

      I am curious to see what Billy Beane would have done with this roster. He would have gotten a lot more bang for the buck.

    • Speaking of plus/minus, +1. Interesting discussion.

      As everyone knows, I think about stats a lot myself when analyzing basketball. I like Voulgaris’ statement that “NBA offense has been solved: layups and threes.” I’m a believer in efficiency.

      But I also believe, with Doug Collins, in the eye test, and the heart test. My eyes told me that Monta Ellis could and would be a good and efficient player on the right team and the right system. My eyes told me after one or two NBA games that Brandan Wright and Harrison Barnes would never be impact players — they failed the heart test. The quants have no methodology by which to derive and nurture such opinions.

      Basketball quants frequently fail to understand the suppositions upon which their data relies. They attempt to assign numbers to players, without realizing the extent to which those numbers are determined by role and system. They attempt to assign numbers to offenses and defenses, without fully understanding how correlated they are to systems, philosophies and rotations.

      It’s part of this blog’s aim to shine a light on those issues. And I don’t believe I have any agenda other than getting it right. I am just as willing to trash the old school — like the hidebound Lionel Hollins, who refused to let his team shoot threes to spread the floor for his dominant front line, or make obvious cross-matches in the playoffs — as I am the new school, like John Hollinger and Kirk Goldsberry, who produce analysis like cows produce patties.

      • It’s worth noting where feel and the eye test come from in a coach: many years of experience, if not the bulk of his life, intimately involved with the game on a daily basis, often at first as a player himself, later a coach or manager, making roster decisions and seeing how they work, testing strategies in the laboratory of real game time competitive situations, risking his self-esteem and relationship with others, the approval of crowds, even his career in every single decision he makes. Quants like Goldsberry spend a weekend making a nifty chart that immediately catches the eye of the public.

        Which is not to say coaches don’t make mistakes or don’t get locked into ineffective strategies or couldn’t use some objective feedback as might be offered by sensible stats. But it’s a matter of who’s in the driver’s seat when it comes to decisions, and it should be the coach.

  23. O’Neal in full practice, return possible in 2-3 weeks (but not Friday):

    http://bluemanhoop.com/2014/01/22/warriors-jermaine-oneal-returns-to-practice/

    • Shame they couldn’t call up Dominic from SC Warriors for Friday night. He’d add some beef and isn’t doing badly down there. Machado, I see, is back (why?).

  24. Felty, a more accurate description of Brandon Wright was that he sucked as a player, not that he would not be an impact player. Wright has shot 65% percent from the floor since he left the Warriors. And in fact, he’s an impact player his limited time on the court.

  25. Your putting B. Wright down by comparing him to Biedrins is disingenous as B. Wright is not comparable to Biedrens.

    Wright shoots 65% from the field taking 7 shots per game, Biedrins averaged less than 1 shot per game last year and only 1.4 the year before. Wright makes his foul shots, Biedrins does not. Moreover, you advocated Biedrins starting before Bogut’s acquisition which resulted in disastrous starts for the Warriors.

    You just can’t bring yourself to admit that B. Wright is not crap as you contended when he was released.

    You’ve also made the same mistake in the opposite direction by contending that Speights is good and not acknowledging that Speights on most nights is crap which my eyes and stats confirm.

    You’ve gotten more things right than wrong, and your insights surpass all of us, but like most of us, you’ve made some bad calls was well.

    • Speights shoots from outside, BW does not. Their stats are not comparable. That was my chief point: that stats lie when used incorrectly.

      Bogut’s shooting 64% this season. Does that impress you? The reason is, as with Biedrins and BW, his team has given up on posting him up.

      But while we’re at it, if BW is a valuable player, why couldn’t he get off the Mavs bench in the playoffs? The fact of the matter is he’s a fringe NBA player useful only in a very limited role.

  26. warriorfaithful

    here is an interesting post on reddit about steph’s turnover problems. what do you think about it felt?

    http://www.reddit.com/r/nba/comments/1w2359/currys_turnover_problem_oc/

    and is it just me or does warriorsworld have one of the most incompetent sports writers ever? they really have no idea what they are talking about

    • I think it is a mistake to compare Curry (and Monta Ellis) to traditional point guards in terms of turnovers. These guys are not just the primary playmakers for their teams, but also the primary scorers. They’re ultra-high-usage, attacking guards, whose teams need them to take risks.

      They should be compared to guys like Westbrook (4), Wade (4+ in his prime), LeBron (3.5), DRose (3.4) and Kobe (3). Even Steve Nash had over 3.5 TOs a game in his prime seasons.

      Curry’s at 4.2 this season, 3.2 for his career. A little high this year, but I just don’t see it as a big problem, nor particularly HIS problem, given how hard he’s getting blitzed. As Jerry West said, “That’s on the coaches.”

      Right?

      I think the Warriors could have far fewer turnovers if Mark Jackson pushed the pace, played more balanced rotations, and ran better offense.

      I keep coming back to the fact that Don Nelson’s teams were perennially among the best in the league at controlling turnovers, even those with a plurality of rookie D-Leaguers, INCLUDING Curry’s rookie year team.

      I also think that Iggy getting healthy and Crawford getting integrated will significantly cut into Curry’s turnovers, if not the team’s. They can move him off the ball, and thereby circumvent the double-teaming.

    • I thnk FB is right about who you compare Steph to but I think the author makes an accurate tactical observation about the opportunity for more bounce passes. Nash is a master at the bounce pass.

  27. Wolves:

    I would have much rather have seen Crawford in the last seconds than Barnes. Crawford could have dribbled in for a better shot, or driven for a shot and/or foul.

    Bench Barnes. And not because he missed the final shot. He did almost nothing the whole game. Give his minutes to Crawford and Green, and get Brooks started with the subs. I can’t believe they give up anything in defense with Barnes off the floor.

    • The last play was only part of the problem. Mark Jackson lost this game by not playing Draymond and Speights more with Curry and Lee. What do the sub’s have to do to get more run? Jackson’s misuse of the bench this season has been absolutely criminal.

      The starters played the entire third quarter (why?) and then came in mid 4th after the lead had been squandered. Then, no Draymond down the stretch because of Pecovic. Jackson was reactive. Adelman dictated the matchups all game long and it was an absolute shame because Thompson and Curry were firing on all cylinders after three days of rest. What an awful loss.

      Final question. How did Barnes wind up with a +13? He was awful. Three bad turnovers and many missed jumpers. Maybe the fact that he stretched the floor opened up the P&R for Curry and Lee while Bogut was out.

      • Barnes is just a drain on the whole team every minute he’s in. There’s no reason for him to be on the court. They can’t afford to have a player out there who isn’t fighting with them. Any energy from someone else off the bench would help.

        • Barnes 23 minutes! 1-7 shooting! 3 junk rebounds (0 offensive), 3 turnovers, 0 assists, near-0 defense!

          Green 14 minutes. 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers and stout defense! FIVE assists in 14 minutes! Unfortunately, Green was only 1-4 shooting. Under a simple-minded “make-or-miss” coach, he needs to fix that.

          It’s easy to say now, but still true: I called this game a loss the instant Jackson subbed in Barnes in the 1st Q. Barnes performed just as horribly as he always has. It was entirely predictable.

          Msg. to Lacob: “Real fans” know a little about basketball. Quit trying to shit us about Barnes, it just makes the entire Warriors’ organization look like a pack of liars. Start by pulling the Barnes promo ad. It is insulting.

          Msg. #2 to Lacob: This Warriors team isn’t going anywhere with Mark Jackson as coach.
          – Predictable game plans (on both ends of the floor) are easy to plan against.
          – Thoughtless substitutions do not correct game-time issues.
          – Making a poor player the first off the bench hurts the team.
          – Refusing to play the team’s best defender, who, by the way, makes the offense run better too (FIVE ASSISTS IN 14 MINUTES!), well, that’s just about as stupid as a coach can be.

          Unless those things change, it’s going to be a frustrating season for this team. And its real fans.

      • Randomness. Plus minus stats from one game are useless, especially for a bench player. IIRC his RAPM is bottom ten in the league…

    • Feelings about Barnes not withstanding, there was no time to dribble into the defense. He had to catch and shoot. Positioning and actually making the shot another thing.

  28. Felty: Udoh was an impact player when he played for the Warriors.By
    saying that Udoh did not become an impact player are you claiming he was not while playing for the Warriors?

    You compared B. Wright to Biedrins.

    Now you want to change the comparison and compare Wright to Speights? Speights doesn’t shoot squat, Wright does. This being a given who cares who shoots outside or inside?

    • Frank, you’re championing two players with career average PTs of about 20 min./game each. Neither boxes out and fights for rebounds. That’s a fatal flaw in a Big.

      Speights has more fight than either of your guys, and he averages more rebounds and points in less PT. He’s also a shooting threat from anywhere, which helps the whole team by opening up the floor. No one in the league would give up Speights for either of your guys. Let it go.

  29. GooseLosGatos

    Barnes Trade Rumor: To Chicago for Kirk Hinrich as reported by Bleacher & another news outlet (sorry don’t have link but Google Barnes & Trade)

    Not a Barnes fan but for a 33 yr. old Expiring Contract Hinrich makes little sense. Hope there is a 1st rounder in there somewhere…

    • Interesting rumor. Zach Lowe says the Ws show signs of being “all in” on winning this season. If that’s the case, you can see why the Ws would consider trading Barnes for a vet. While Barnes may have future potential as a player, taking him out of this season’s Ws rotation would not hurt the team.

      Unfortunately, at the moment Hinrich is out “at least a week” with a strained hamstring. And he’s 33. And his 3-pt shooting this season is below .300. I can’t see the Ws signing up Hinrich.

      FWIW, Bleacher Report articles are written by random unpaid fans. Even the Hat got an invitation to be a contributor. Don’t count on them for actual news.

  30. Here is your game:
    Barnes, minutes played: 22:51
    Green, minutes played: 13:38

    • I wonder what has happened to the offense- defense substitutions that Jackson employed last season. I would like to see more of that…use Bazemore and Green on defense to end quarters and halves.

  31. Barnes’ +13 last night only represents how well the other guys were playing, plus maybe some things about the Wolves (missing shots, etc.—and on defense I’d be curious to see how many times they ran through him).

    There has to be a way to measure what a player potentially offers to the team, and his stats don’t tell the whole story. In the case of Barnes, it isn’t very much.

    Offense:

    Barnes, by a quick count, is shooting 32% the last 20 games, 41% on 3’s.

    That 41% is pretty good, but it can’t be compared against Curry or Klay’s %. Barnes will only shoot the 3 when he is dead open and has time to compose himself, largely catch and shoot. Curry and Klay, of course, often create their shots, and do so quickly. Their % under similar circumstances would be much higher.

    His overall shooting is 32%, which is dismal. But this still needs to be qualified. Many shots he takes are ill advised—drives or pull-up jumpers that he can’t complete in traffic. But a many shots are sure things, open dunks, etc., where he should shoot well.

    Here is his heat map this season (scroll down—I never said I didn’t like graphs):

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/barneha02/shooting/2014/

    Brrrr!

    But qualify this more. He best scores when things are set up for him by other players—when matched against smaller players, when given open looks, etc. He can only perform well under light competitive stress. And because of his limitations, he can only perform under certain strategies—isolations, where he is not effective, or having him stand in the corner for an open shot. What this means is that he is putting demands on the overall team as to strategy to justify his presence, and that the overall offense suffers accordingly because he is limiting its flexibility.

    What isn’t counted is the number of times Barnes passes up shots good players can hit, but instead passes out. If he took them, his effective % would be even lower. And by passing them up, he passes burden of offense off on the other four players—a low percentage option with the subs. Add to this his inability to set up other players.

    What all this means is that he detracts from the offensive potential of the team. He is a passive drain.

    Defense:

    Hard stats just don’t tell us much, as Green’s numbers demonstrate time and time again. I suppose the best way is to look at how well the players he defended performed—anybody remember from last night? But there has to be a larger picture here as well that can’t be measured, how well he works in defensive schemes, how much of the defensive territory he can hold down—and how much of a strain he puts on the rest of the team because of his limitations. Can anybody think of a way to do that?

    • Look at that heat map. Colors represent %, I assume, and are dramatic but deceptive. What strikes me about the chart is its faintness, as I assume it also shows where he’s taking shots and how often, and there just isn’t much offensive presence on the court, regardless of the percentages.

      Barnes is in a downward spiral with the team. His numbers would improve if he were started, thus surrounded by good supporting players, and given more shots and minutes, but he doesn’t offer enough vs. the other players to justify that.

      But the less he is played, and the more he is played with the weak subs, the worse his performance will be and he won’t develop.

      Either they find a way to improve his weaknesses, and playing him more is not an option—

      Or they cut their losses and move on.

    • For comparison, look at Reggie Williams’ heat map his first year with the Warriors:

      http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/willire02/shooting/2010/

      (Sorry guys—I really liked Reggie.)

    • Barnes, btw, is 33% from 16 feet to the 3 point line, not a good percentage. But his overall offensive effectiveness is diminished even more when you realize he is not good driving from there and at least drawing a foul (71% FT) or moving in for a closer shot. From 10 to 16 feet, he is 32%.

      He shouldn’t be on the floor crunch time.

  32. Thanks once more for your time and insight, FB.

    This was a hardship. Next time the Warriors make the playoffs and a pipe bursts in your house, ask around. Maybe we can chip in and rent you an apartment with cable or put you up for the night.