Warriors 102 Bulls 87: The Shadow Warriors

We got a look at the Shadow Warriors in this victory over the Bulls. By which I mean the seldom-seen lineup combinations within this Warriors roster, the true full squad within the #fullsquad, that GM Joe Lacob, Spokesmodel Bob Myers, and interim coach Mark Jackson would strongly prefer to keep hidden from view.

I’m referring of course to the one big + four smalls, and even five smalls units that worked to perfection last night in blowing out a bigger, rougher and tougher Chicago Bulls team. I’m referring to the gloriously talented Nellieball units contained within this extraordinarily versatile Warriors roster, that have the power to transform this Warriors team from pretender to contender.

We’ve seen these units beat the Heat. Twice. In their own gym.

We saw what they can do against the rough and tumble Bulls last night.

The Warriors defense didn’t miss a beat. Rim protection was replaced by swarming pressure defense. Disrupting the pick and roll. Creating turnovers. Closing out on three point shooters. Getting back on defense. Forcing the Bulls into the trap of uncomfortable and inefficient offense to exploit mismatches — low post isos — that Mark Jackson has too often fallen into himself this season.

And on offense… what a transformation. The ability to get out and run, what this Warriors team does best. 17 fast break points to the bigger and slower Bulls’ 7. Early offense threes.

In the halfcourt, Curry was unleashed because blitzing was not an option. Curry/Green pick and roll. Curry/Barnes pick and roll. Curry/Iggy pick and roll.

With a spread floor.

Unguardable.

Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes wide open for threes. Because, pick your poison.

Point-Iggy.

Last night, the Warriors have it all.

Will Mark Jackson take a lesson from this, or is he only capable of being a good coach when his bigs are taken from him by force?

Curry: Currently leading the NBA in assists. Is it still a thing to call him not a real point guard?

2 TOs last night. Did any of them come in the fourth quarter, when the Warriors were playing all-out Nellieball?

Something to consider: Sometimes turnovers are caused by lack of talent or inattentive play. But sometimes they’re caused by bad offense. Bad coaching.

The more the Warriors get out in the open court, the fewer turnovers they will have. The more the Warriors can break the Curry blitz by spreading the floor, the fewer turnovers they will have.

The more Nellieball, the fewer turnovers.

Iggy: I saw a hop in his step I haven’t seen in some time. Perhaps he’s getting better, or perhaps it was the urgency of the situation.

The steal and slam, yes. The badly needed 8 rebounds, yes. The crunchtime minutes at power forward (funny, this, one day after I admitted we’d probably never see that happen under Mark Jackson).

But equally as important as the defense, in my opinion, was the return of Point-Iggy. We saw a bit of everything last night. A drive and dish to Klay. That monster Green dunk over Noah? Iggy in the high post, working a Green/Curry pindown.

I recently saw a stat on the Warriors record when Iggy scores 10 or more. Far more important in my mind, is the Warriors record when Iggy gets 6 assists or more.

Jackson has been reluctant to put the ball in Iggy’s hands since his return from injury. Hopefully, that’s behind him now.

Barnes: At one point in this game, Barnes was 0-6, but leading the Warriors in plus/minus at +16. Draymond Green Jr.?

Not quite. And to a large degree, simply a reflection of Barnes not being forced to play on Jackson’s big units, which failed miserably, and being able to play on the smallball units, which succeeded spectacularly.

But don’t discount Barnes’ effort in this game. He did solid work on defense and on the boards, and contributed to this win.

It was nice to see those 4th Q threes fall for him. Because he’s been struggling. Because they came in the flow of a beautiful offense.

And because, on this night, he deserved them to fall.

How much longer can Mark Jackson refuse to play him at his best position?

Crawford: Lots of pick and roll. A beautiful spin-fake, drive and dish. A beautiful feed to a cutter off of a low post iso. A beautifully run fast break.

Some crunchtime run alongside Stephen Curry, in an ultra-small lineup.

A monster clutch three.

It’s coming.

Speights: It would be fair to accuse me of having an obsession with Mo Speights. But it would be fairer to accuse me of having an obsession with coaching. Because I view Speights on the Warriors as a fascinating case study of how important coach and system can be to a role player’s worth.

I’ve noted previously the uptick in Speight’s plus/minus results since the addition of Jordan Crawford to the second unit. I have also argued strenuously that Speights is a center, and not a power forward. Never, ever a power forward. Because first and foremost, he can’t defend that position. And secondly, because in the hands of mediocre coaches like Mark Jackson, he doesn’t help space the floor any better than Carl Landry did.

It’s just one night’s data, and not dispositive of anything, I understand. But let me add it to your consciousness:

Speights was +4 last night.

He was -4 right off the bat, when Mark Jackson inexplicably brought him in to play power forward alongside Jermaine O’Neal. So -4 at PF.

He was +8 at center.

Let’s break that down further. He was -2 at center against Taj Gibson and Bulls smallball.

And +10 matched up against legitimate centers. +8 against Noah. +2 against Mohammed.

Contrary to what some posters think, the above is not an expression of my “love” for Mo Speights. I simply believe he is an interesting piece to the puzzle. A guy who can contribute to the second unit when used correctly. And I really, really want to see him used correctly.

I see in Mo Speights a litmus test for a head coach:

Any coach who insists on playing him at power forward, after having him for 50 games, should be fired.

Any coach who compounds his error, by playing him alongside a 35 year old Jermaine O’Neal, should be fired at halftime, and handed a Keith Smart Lifetime Achievement Award on his way out.

And any coach who does both of the above, without having the sense to move Speights out behind the three point line…

Should submit his resume to Joe Lacob. He’s got a good shot to be the next Warriors head coach.

102 Responses to Warriors 102 Bulls 87: The Shadow Warriors

  1. You might be right about Iguodala. I was at the game last night with my wife who gamely listens to me analyze Iguodala’s sublime game. I no sooner finish telling her that he seems to have been hampered by injury recently that he steals and soars for the dunk. She says, “I’d like to see what he looks like healthy.”

    “Any coach who compounds his error, by playing him alongside a 35 years old Jermaine O’Neal, should be fired at halftime, and handed a Keith Smart Lifetime Achievement Award on his way out.” — Beautiful. Just beautiful. You perfectly captured the outrage I felt watching that transpire in real time. Thank goodness Jackson eventually got it right. It is time to wish upon a star, throw pennies in a fountain, or whatever and hope some of this lineup enlightenment sticks.

  2. Thanks once more FB.

    Some qualification: Curry had to play 43 minutes and had a brilliant shooting night. Then again, the offense opened him up for a variety of makable shots, inside and out, that helped get him in a rhythm, and most likely helped Klay as well. And it was an offense that helped him assist, as you say.

    Chicago’s problem was they couldn’t keep up in scoring—about 20 points a quarter after the first. I thought their guards would be a problem, and our defense is not the only reason they tailed off. Also Hinrich, 7-11, was on restricted minutes. Post-Rose Chicago just doesn’t have the hosses. There’s a lesson here.

    And I wonder if the same lineup will work against Phoenix Saturday (is Bogut playing? I know Lee’s out), who has a more versatile offensive squad.

    Speights:

    How do you measure the offensive capabilities of Speights over Barnes? This is a moot argument, as it would be hard to settle and the difference is not great, but then that’s kind of the point I want to make—the team needs a player who makes a difference coming off the bench.

    Speights does have a good looking shot. In fact he has the best looking shot on the bench, unless you want to compare him to Barnes, where I suspect the differences are ambiguous. This, of course, isn’t saying much at all. Everyone else on the bench (and two starters) have horrible looking shots. His average is almost exactly the same as Barnes’, .406, but he doesn’t take nearly as many shots, and his average would be higher if he simply got more touches and was able to get into a rhythm, game to game.

    Speights can get an outside shot up over defenders better than Barnes, in part because of his size.

    In fact I’d be curious to see a 3 point contest among the subs. Speights can hit this, but hasn’t taken many at all. The results, however, might be ambiguous, if not embarrassing.

    Speights is a better free throw shooter, .83 to .73, in fact is a good free throw shooter. And he doesn’t go to the line much less than Barnes, even though he plays well less than half the minutes Barnes plays.

    Speights can drive off the pick and roll, as well as muscle it up under the hoop in a crowd. Barnes, of course, is faster, but can’t drive or shoot unless he has enough time and space. Speights gets to the line with fouls; Barnes ducks out and passes off.

    I didn’t say he was great at this.

    Of course I’ve seen the number of times both have fumbled the ball. I suspect Barnes wins this one, but let’s not dwell here.

    Defense would be a more sophisticated study, beyond my means, but there are pluses with Speights. He does have size, he can muscle up, and he can motor, though not always to the right spot. Barnes is faster, but his court vision and reaction times aren’t great.

    I’m going to avoid a tomato throwing barrage and not suggest Speights get Barnes’ minutes and shots. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing Speights get more minutes in the right system with the right players—and he has worked well with Curry—especially should Barnes go down. Nor do I feel comfortable counting on Barnes making open threes the rest of the season.

    • warriorsablaze

      Barnes is shooting 39% from three this year, and shot 36% last season…so why would you not be comfortable counting on him making open 3’s? If there’s anything Barnes has been reasonably consistent with, it’s 3 point shots. In fact, the only things I’m comfortable with him doing on offense at this point is slashing and finishing off a pass and 3 point shots.

      • Yeah, but how good is he at half court shots? Speights wins here, hands down.

        He only shoots an average of two 3’s a game, so I wonder how accurate and meaningful that percentage is. If he had missed 5 of the 3’s taken, his average would be 34%, not impressive at all. I don’t think there’s a good way to measure shooters who don’t take many shots and don’t trust stats. Maybe EvanZ can help out here.

        My real point is questioning how valuable that ability is to the team, when bundled with everything else about him. Of course I want to trade him.

        • Yeah, I think it’s always wise to be skeptical about a player’s outside shooting if they can’t shoot better than 75% from the line, and this has been the case with Barnes since his UNC days. He’s so limited in every other way though that turning him into a spot up shooter is probably for the best even if he’s below average at that as well.

        • warriorsablaze

          Well, he’s taken 245 threes in his career and shot 37%. How big of a sample size do you need?

          He’s obviously no Curry or Klay, but it’s respectable enough for him to continue shooting.

  3. feltbotsFakeGirlfriend

    Warriors just sent out their 2014-15 Renewal Packages.

    Season Ticket Prices are going up 30-50%

    INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Can you imagine what ticket prices will look like if the team ever moves to San Francisco.

    • That is crazy. It’s getting harder and harder to be an Authentic Fan.

      One wonders if Lacob and Guber won’t end by killing the Oracle vibe.

      • By the way, wasn’t the league partly complicit in this, by approving the sale to undercapitalized owners?

      • feltbotsFakeGirlfriend

        Moving to San Francisco would definitely kill the Oracle Arena.

        • I think it would be likely to kill the vibe as well, because large corporations would swallow up the season tickets.

    • Authentic fans = peasants?

      Marie Antoinette built a rustic village for retreat and diversion, a source of contempt during the revolution. Or maybe Potemkin Village is a better comparison, as authentic fans are about to be run out of the arena.

      So far, authentic fans in the ads are all mentally challenged, two are short, one overweight. I’m curious to see who comes next. But they are touching and amusing.

  4. Mark Jackson gets dunked on.

    http://instagram.com/p/kIqt04guJg/

    • warriorsablaze

      I like the camaraderie and am certainly down with them having fun… but I wonder if this is indicative of his relationship with the players. He’s “one of the guys”… is that the best dynamic? I can’t imagine Manu and Duncan ever putting Pop under the dunk cam. It’s sort of like the parent who’s desperate to be friends with their kid so is never able to set any boundaries when the time comes that it’s needed.

      Probably means nothing, but just a thought.

  5. Old buddy Anthony Morrow put away the TWolves tonight with 3 4th Q threes. Currently #1 in the league at 47%.

  6. Seems Versatility is the key, the Warriors Squad has it very well, and the Coaching Staff and Front Office don’t recognize this quality of the Squad, nor its importance.

  7. Re ticket prices:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/average-ticket-prices-for-all-30-teams-in-the-nba-sports-chart-of-the-day-2013-2

    Under Cohan, Ws tix were among the lowest priced in the league. That generally matched the quality of product he put on the floor.

    Lacob has raised prices every year, while upgrading the team. Last year, Warriors prices were 23rd in the league. Next year it sounds like they’ll go up among the top 1/3. Like the team record, more or less. Ticket prices aren’t connected to team records, though an expensive roster and good record are great justifications for raising prices.

    Demand drives ticket sales. The #1 and #2 size markets (Knicks and Lakers) have the two highest average tix prices in the league. The Bay Area is the 5th largest metro area in the US. Lacob is moving ticket prices to more closely match the size of the market/demand, up from 26th in the league, closer to 5th. I’m a little surprised he waited this long.

    What did you all think would happen with ticket prices?

    • warriorsablaze

      Don’t bring common sense and balance into a discussion about Lacob please. It ruins the narrative around here.

    • Cher, temperate Hat, and a thousand other humble obeisances—

      Those price averages are based on non-premium seats. Is there any way to factor in premium seats? I have no idea if that would change anything.

      I note the team is 11th in salary spending, well below the major markets and behind several mid-sized markets as well.

      http://hoopshype.com/salaries.htm

      Not sure why you’re comparing Lacob to Cohan, universally recognized as a horrible owner. Shouldn’t the bar be set higher?

      But Cohan in his last four years produced a 48 win team, a mark that hasn’t been equalled yet, and made the playoffs another year, both times against much, much stiffer competition. In fact, in his last four years Cohan had a record close to Lacob’s first three, about 45% wins, and that includes his dismal last year when the roster was injury ridden and the team in limbo pending the sale.

      Most, Cohan ended his reign with all the bad contracts shed and the solid core of two key players, Curry and Lee. We have every reason to believe that, with a few intelligent but affordable decisions, the team would have done as well had he stayed on, in fact better.

      Cohan didn’t have the benefit of fat TV contracts, or as much, did he? I’m pretty sure he kept under the cap all those years, which means he was much more efficient in his spending per win. And he netted a very nice profit when he sold—$200m, right?—while we only know the projected, not real, value of Lacob’s organization, based on suspect reckoning (this was covered elsewhere earlier).

      So: the argument could easily be made Cohan was a much better businessman.

      But I sure as hell am not going to make it, because I think Cohan is not worth comparison and I don’t care.

      A case could also easily be made that Lacob has not spent his roster money wisely, as I have been arguing all along, and we will see another team for comparison in Phoenix tonight, whose record is about the same as ours but who is 29th in salary. And they still are well poised to make a major deal because of this. GS will be strapped for years to come.

      I entered the Lacob reign with a clean slate and high expectations. I expected a shrewd businessman and was hoping to see competence and intelligence, most that he would bring in experienced and capable people top to bottom from the start, especially in coaching, to do the things where he lacks knowledge. And really, my expectations were higher: I expected brilliance. We are at the highest level of a very competitive environment, and nothing less will do.

      Lacob, however, has damned himself in my eyes both with his actions and his words. Only one example, his comments at the firing of Smart:

      Smart “represented a continuation of the Don Nelson era. He was trained by Don Nelson for seven years. It wasn’t the mind-set of what we wanted to do,” says Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob, who was encouraged by team consultant Jerry West to make the coaching change. I hate to say this, but the owner matters. … Our plan, our mind-set was not Don Nelson kind of basketball. We wanted to start with our own people and build it from scratch. We didn’t want any remnants.”

      http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/story/2012-01-29/Kings-coach-Smart-prepares-to-face-former-Warriors-team/52893732/1

      The comment, and so many others like it, all posted here over the years, shows Lacob has made all the major decisions for the team. It also shows his preference for style of play, again repeated elsewhere, reflected both in roster moves and strategies. And the team has been battling his preferences his entire tenure, even when the evidence is abundantly clear that Nellie strategy of up tempo play, variable and often quicker, smaller lineups, is more effective.

      The comment is also muddled, tactless, and self-serving.

      It is muddled because Smart did everything he could to distance himself from Nelson play, even made statements to that effect, and I still wonder if this was by Lacob’s mandate.

      And I have yet to hear a single coherent and intelligent statement from Lacob about basketball.

      It is self-serving because he had already fired Nelson, the coach in the NBA with the most wins, and there was no reason to bring him up again, unless to prove his victory over him, his control and superiority, or feed some hangup.

      It is damning for Smart, both in terms of ability and character, because Lacob had already identified Nelson play as inferior, as well as associated Nelson with what he termed as “the sins of the past.”

      That he was advised by West has to be a lie. West made clear in his interview with TK I linked earlier that he is going with the flow and accepting what the top guys say, i.e. what Lacob says. I don’t fault West at all for this. I assume he’s doing something he enjoys and finds it rewarding enough. He has earned it. But Lacob is trying to cover himself and his decision with West’s name and reputation.

      How can anyone admire this guy? But again I don’t care. I just want him to do his job—put it in the hands of competent people. If he does that, I concede what is inevitable, reluctantly, that he make big bucks. It’s hard to believe, however, he couldn’t make more money elsewhere.

      GSW is a personal project, I fear, in the case of Joe, who is trying to boost his status among the stars.

      • While I’m at it, what happened to transparency? We’ve been kept completely in the dark about the health and status of the players.

        ——
        Since purchasing the Warriors and assuming control of the team on November 12, 2010, Lacob has been the driving force behind many of the creative changes that have transpired with the organization, including several prominent personnel additions and an emphasis on transparency.

        http://www.nba.com/warriors/joelacob

        The word has been repeated many times, by Meyers and others.

      • Lacob is stupid incompetent arrogant devil bad businessman ad nauseum.

        In 16 years, your wonderful Cohan had one (or maybe two? I forget) playoff teams. Hence his low tix prices. He did what he had to do to put butts in seats (and earn parking fees and hotdog sales etc.) because Oracle cost him the same to rent whether it was empty or full.

        Don’t look now, rgg, but Lacob’s Warriors reasonably expect to make the playoffs consistently for awhile. There’s a higher demand for seats.

        “How can anyone admire this guy?”

        Start with that thing about making the playoffs, and work it out yourself.

        • Oh yeah, let’s talk about the roster too. Lacob “inherited” Lee and Curry, but acquired everyone else now with the team. Some players didn’t work out but overall it’s turned out well. You may not like Barnes, but here are some doozies among Cohan’s first round draft picks:

          Patrick O’Bryant (now in China)
          Ike Diogu (now SC Warriors)
          Todd Fuller (selected by the Ws before Kobe)
          Anthony Randolph (#14)
          Ekpe Udoh (#6)
          Jeff Foster

          So every time you complain about Lacob’s roster from here on out, I’ll refer you to that list. Over and over.

        • Most esteemed and beloved fellow poster,

          Actually, attendance was quite healthy during that period:

          2005-06 749,185 18,272
          2006-07 742,267 18,104
          2007-08 804,864 19,630
          2008-09 776,660 18,942
          2009-10 739,120 18,027

          http://www.apbr.org/attendance.html

          And I suspect we see a trend overall of the increased popularity of the NBA, coupled with the long standing (and often difficult to understand) loyalty of its fans.

          But I believe my point was that Cohan is a rotten measuring stick, that our expectations should be higher. There may be a few other matters left on the table, above.

          Also I admire your confidence the team will continue to fare well into the playoffs. But as it stands, Lacob’s success has depended on playing key starters heavy minutes, and it doesn’t look like that trend will change this season or in the foreseeable future.

          Meanwhile:

          1. The team has not brought up substantial backups at any position other than center, though the jury is out on Crawford. We of course are happy with Green, but his offense is limited and he needs company.

          2. It is not built to withstand injuries to key players, especially at 1, 2, and 3.

          3. It is not built to develop now or into the future. The cap is almost completely locked up, there are almost no good trade pieces they can afford to let go (other than Barnes, maybe), and they will only have minor draft picks for the next few years.

          Unless, of course, Barnes turns into a superstar.

          And unless Lacob starts spending like the big boys.

          But he’ll still remain a weasel. It is difficult for me to admire such people.

  8. Plus/minus denotes how a team did with a particular player on the court, not how the player played with a particular unit. Such plus/minus can be completely irrelevant to the player’s play.

    Unless you are going to point out how a player contributed to the plus/ minus the plus minus is virtually meaningless. And to even mention plus/minus when Speights only played a limited amount of time against the Bulls(12 minutes, 6 of which was with JON and 6 minutes in a small line-up) also renders plus/minus virtually meaningless.

    Nevertheless such did not prevent you from extolling Speights and falsely stating that Speights played better when he was on the court with a small line-up than when he played with a JON.

    Speights was not a minus 4 playing with Jermaine ONeal nor was he a a plus 8 playing center on a small line-up.. Rather the Warriors were a minus 4 with Speights playing with JON, and the Warriors were plus 8 when Speights was on the court playing in a small lin- up. Viewing his stats which you did not undertake to mention that indicate he played better nor worse playing with either unit. The team did. Moreover, other players he played with had higher pluses an indication that he drove their numbers down or they drove his numbers up.

    The Warriors did play much better with a small line-up in this game mainly due JON just returning from an injury and Speights not being very good, and Bogut and Lee being out. But it was good to see the Warriors small unit best the Bulls.

  9. Even if Jackson just resolves to go with the small lineup when the big lineup comes out flat to start games, it would be a big improvement. That shouldn’t take much strategic thinking, right? Just sort of a visceral reaction to seeing dreg in terms of energy?

    That small lineup with AI, Green, Barnes, Curry and Klay in it (or sub one of our bigs) is a uniquely small all talented lineup. AI and Barnes can guard 4 positions and Green and Klay can guard 3 effectively. And on O, Curry has to be one of the top 2 or 3 small team players ever. Just so talented in an uptempo system with a spread floor.

    • defensively, barnes might be able to keep up with some old or slow guards, so if that’s your criteria for defending four positions, bueno. he’s too upright much of the time against quicker players. he is supposed to be well suited to go against perimeter-oriented 4’s, but tolliver the other night didn’t have much trouble beating his d, because barnes’ positioning was poor and he watched the ball too much. barnes himself always refers to his position as the 3, perhaps that’s a cue for his fans.

      • cosmicballoon

        Yes, Moto. Barnes was guarding Tolliver on the back to back 3s that sealed the deal. I went back and looked because I was curious Barnes sucked way too far into the lane on both.

        But, Barnes suddenly becomes an impact player when guarding and is guarded by 4s. The curious case of Harrison Barnes.

  10. Apparently both Lee and Bogut will be out again tonight. Same starters—the game should provide an interesting study for strategy scholars.

  11. Both Bogut and Lee out again tonight.

    Kremlinologists everywhere have been enlisted to help decode what the Warriors mean by “sore shoulder.” It is already established fact that Lacob’s politburo doesn’t believe Warriors fans can be trusted with the truth.

    Most experts believe that the true meaning of the phrase is heavily reliant on the context in which it used. Thus, it could mean anything from “sore ankle” to “recurrent abdominal strain.” And in some rare instances, it could mean “sore shoulder.”

    No enlightenment is expected from the Warriors media, whom experts regard as little more than apparatchiks.

  12. I don’t think they’re going to beat Dragic on a night like he had, but:

    If they’re going to play small, why not run—

    Especially with Crawford and have him come in for Klay or Iguodala, who looked like he was ready to go on a tear 1st.Q, who can push the pace, penetrate and shoot or kick out. Why didn’t he stay in after the first quarter? He looked ragged when he came back in, second half though.

    And play O’Neal up top—or Speights for that matter—to open the lane, set picks, or be hit on the roll.

    Barnes, of course, had a good game. The mystery is why he showed stuff tonight he hasn’t shown all season, though the more open court with the small lineups helped.

    • The rebounding battle was not lost at the 5 spot, or even the 4, but from the larger players elsewhere, especially on the bench.

    • Going with the flow: Pop turned Patty Mills loose tonight, who scored 32 in their win against Charlotte.

  13. Watching the Bulls game it seemed to me that Barnes
    changed his jump shot by abandoning his raising his shooting
    hand above his his head and sometimes to the rear of
    his head to shooting from in front and slightly above his
    eyes. He had success shooting against the Bulls.
    He did the same thing tonight with great success. It
    would be terrific if the recent change results in his being
    a consistent good shooter. If so, a completely new analysis
    of his game will be warranted.

  14. One reason Dragic shot so well is that he had good support across the court and could shoot in the flow of the offense, without pressure. Curry was put in a position to take over himself, often forcing shots. And we’ve seen it all season. It’s the major reason his percentage is down, that and fatigue.

    It’s just a mistake putting so much load on him, and now is the time to find out other options. If they have them.

    • cbosmicballoon

      All credit to Dragic in this game. His threes at the end of the shot clock were very well done. PJ Tuckers shooting also hurt the Warriors significantly.

      The Warriors don’t run because Klay and Barnes hardly run. Klay especially has very little end to end speed and Barnes very rarely gives the extra effort to run ahead. Iggy should be the slasher, but he’s still easing his way back into things. No one else runs!

      • The Warriors don’t run because Mark Jackson doesn’t let them run. Period.

        One of the most frequent finishers of the fast break for RunTMC, if not THE most frequent, was Chris Mullin. That’s because Nellie let him leak out as soon as the shot went up.

        Was Chris Mullin faster end to end than Klay Thompson?

  15. And the big question: who did they miss more tonight, if they had to choose one, Lee or Bogut? I think we know the answer to that one.

  16. rgg @ 14:

    The main reason that Dragic shot so well is that Jermaine ONeal was in the game. The much quicker Suns simply ran circles around the Warriors, when they weren’t outrunning them in a straight line on the fastbreak. The could get any shot they wanted, all night long.

    To beat this very good Suns team, the Warriors need an edge. If they don’t have an edge in size and rebounding, they need an edge in quickness and shooting.

    By overplaying Jermaine ONeal, Mark Jackson assured that the Warriors had no edge in any facet of the game.

    • Great observation Mr. Feltbot, completely over-looked on the other forums. I am increasingly discouraged by this Coaching Staff.

  17. Other observations:

    Nearly every minute that Barnes spent on the court was at PF, with the expected huge uptick in scoring. [Edit: He was also +6 for extended minutes in a game the Warriors lost badly, so I guess its hard to critique his two-way play altho I thought his defensive presence was not great. He benefited greatly by not sharing much time with Jermaine ONeal, who had no business being on the court in this game. Contrary to Fitz' whining, the Warriors were a much better team on both ends of the court when ONeal was sitting.]

    One defensive play in particular got my goat: He failed to box out Markieff Morris at the free throw line on a crucial play in the fourth quarter. If you watch the replay, it is very evident how much Barnes hates to put his body on people.

    This is, by the way, the second such failure he’s had in the last couple of weeks.

  18. Mo Speights was +2, and to my eye did a pretty credible job guarding the middle.

    There is very little doubt in my mind that his floor spreading, ability to come out and hedge on the pick and roll, and greater speed up and down the floor would have made him a better choice than Jermaine ONeal for much of this game, if not all.

  19. Draymond Green is a very valuable player, but is vulnerable to getting exposed against the bigger starting PFs in the league, as we’ve seen many times this season, including this game.

    At what point will the Lee detractors throw in the towel on their belief that Green should be starting over Lee?

  20. Andre Iguodala:

    12 points.

    0 assists.

    Which is the more valuable indicator of a Warriors win?

    Oh, and by the way, his defense was nonexistent in this game.

    I’m out!

    • cosmicballoon

      Feltbot, when you say Mark Jackson won’t let the run, that’s only part of the story. I believe that he asks them to run, but a fundamental flaw (or many) in his defensive plan and philosophy has totally negated the Warriors ability to run. Running is more than simply leaking out when a shot goes up, although that is probably frowned upon, too.

      What we loved about the We Believe team was its ability to create choas on the defensive end that resulted in steals and a strong transition offense (with Monta, the one man fast break). Jackson’s defense seems to be based on positioning and predictability…forcing opponents into difficult and challenged shots, rather than trying to force turnovers. It is predicated on correct rotations, and as far as I can tell, on forcing ballhandlers toward Andrew Bogut in the middle. Watch Curry play defense. He opens up extremely far to one side, inviting the ballhandler to attack the lane where Bogut or JON waits. Over and over again this results are shots going up, and it forces the Warriors to all crash the glass because the primary rebounder, Bogut, had just jumped out of rebounding position. An extra rebounder must crash the glass because of this. It negates a leak out. Additionally, Jackson has required his outside wings to box out, rather than leak out. Barnes could be the difference maker, but he never puts his foot on the gas and runs the floor. I think that is his personality, more than anything else.

      Finally, Feltbot, you never explained why Iggy’s assists are more important than his scoring (The Warriors record when Iggy scores 10 or more is now 9-4). This game is an outlier for Iggy because Lee was not on the floor. If Lee scores 20 and Iggy 12, the Warriors win this game. Lee would be able to handle Plumlee and JO wouldn’t have to be on the floor. Additionally, it is hard for Iggy to get assists when Klay is shooting a low percentage, but I would argue that if Iggy is not a scoring threat, Klay is not going to get his open looks.

      • The Ws are now 11-4 when Iggy gets 5 assts or more, which is pretty much the same thing. I just think, given his own shooting weakness, the Ws offense is best when he attacks the basket as the primary ballhandler. (That will also cause his scoring to go up, of course, so the stat correlation I’m suggesting is flawed.)

        He was not at all aggressive last night, which contributed significantly to the loss.

        Regarding leaking out, if you have a rotational responsibility, of course you don’t leak out. But if you’re out of the play, or closing out on a shooter, you can. You can also run after made baskets, which Jim Barnett was raving about last night. It is simply not part of MJs philosophy.

        To blame it on the players seems misguided to me. All NBA smalls love to score, love to get out on the break. And this team follows MJs gameplan in everything else. The Ws pace is MJs creation.

  21. Phoenix’ Green and Tucker are darn good wings scoring and rebounding and seems like their defense was pretty good as well. (I’m not saying they are better than Barnes, Iguodala, or Thomspon.)

  22. @19

    Felt, you’re right on about Green defending low-post PFs. We saw that in the playoffs last year against Diaw, and again in the Chicago game against Taj Gibson. Both simply shot over Green down low.

    Green was more effective against Noah (3-9) in the Chicago game, maybe because Noah mostly played at the high post. Green worked better against Noah than JON did. Like Bogut, JON doesn’t extend out there well.

    All of which leaves Green out of any straight-up low-post role against big opponents. And if he’s not hitting his 3s, he’s not going to get much PT at a wing position either. With scoring always a priority, Jackson subs in Barnes on the wing first. Whether or not Barnes shows up in any other way, he shoots 3s better than Draymond.

    The other big issue last night was that Iggy isn’t playing like the Iggy this team once had. The fearless shooter, rim attacker, great passer, great defender. There’s no quickness and no explosiveness, especially in his hops. He’s playing like a guy who’s dragging a sore leg around. Not that we’ll ever hear this from team management, but it’s pretty clear that Iggy is not healed up.

    Jackson needs to bench Iggy until he’s healthy. He’s not just “not a boost,” in his current condition he’s a liability. Green and Crawford should be getting his playing time until Iggy is whole again.

    • There are signs of panic in Warriordom. I’m pretty sure Iggy was rushed back prematurely because the Ws were in a tailspin.

      And I think the pattern was repeated with JON. Do you think it is a coincidence that as soon as JON was ready to play 30 minutes, that Bogut was held out to rest his “shoulder”?

      • That’s an astute reading of the situation.

        Most teams, in every sport, speak openly about injuries. There are good reasons for it. Among other things, it gives them more material to feed the press – more is better, even if the material isn’t entirely positive. It’s publicity and exposure that fuels fan interest, the bread and butter of pro sports.

        Another very good reason to be open about player health status is that by being secretive about it, the team is essentially refusing to support bettors, a significant percentage of any fan base. That’s completely asinine. There’s no reason at all to lop off ANY part of a fan base, whether or not the team has an “official” policy about a group’s participation.

        The Ws refusal to discuss player health is the only lasting fallout from Bogut telling the truth about his ankle surgery. At the time, the team’s sudden secrecy about injuries seemed like the knee-jerk reaction of a marketing amateur. It still seems that way.

  23. I must confess, I envy Phoenix’s roster and GM. In answer to Hat’s question of a few days ago about rosters, they have built theirs for depth, versatility, flexibility, and growth.

    They have been able to withstand the loss of a significant player, Bledsoe.

    They didn’t bank a huge part of their cap on a center (Okafor doesn’t count—see below). In fact they haven’t banked a large percentage of their salary on anyone. Rather they have a variety of affordable, sizable two-way players who can stay on the court in any situation. Much of the rebounding and defense is spread down the roster, as we saw last night (25 boards from Tucker and the Morris bros. last night), as is scoring, 8 players deep, not counting Bledsoe.

    Plumlee, an average but disciplined center, quite affordable, has surprised, but a large part of that has to be because he has help down the roster.

    Maybe they got lucky with Tucker. Or maybe they have good scouts and a good overall plan.

    Dragic has exceeded all expectations—or is it because he has a roster that exploits his talents and turns him loose? And he’s averaging 34 minutes a game.

    And apparently the Suns have a good coach who knows what to do with all these pieces.

    Their schedule looks to be softer than ours so far, but they beat Indiana, that large defensive team, twice, decisively, plus have other good wins.

    Not only do they have a deep roster of affordable, flexible players to develop, they are poised to strike a blow. They have $58m salary, of that $14.5 for Okafor, insured, an expiring, who looms a major trade piece. And they picked up draft picks along the way.

    From BR:

    “The Suns could wind up with as many as four first-round picks in the upcoming draft, per RealGM.com. That means they’ve got more deal-sweeteners than anybody. If Phoenix wants to pry a veteran from a rebuilding team, it has the first-rounders to do it.

    “Plus, Phoenix is a team devoid of bad contracts. Everybody on the roster is either underpaid or on a rookie deal with years of team control ahead. With insurance covering up to 80 percent of Okafor’s salary, Goran Dragic—who should have been named an All-Star reserve—is the highest paid player on the Suns with a ridiculously reasonable annual salary of $7.5 million.

    “That combination of attractive, affordable players and a stockpile of draft picks gives the Suns flexibility to move in either direction. If they want to pry a veteran away from a team going nowhere, they can ship out picks. If they’d rather collect more assets for the future, they can offer up their own collection of intriguing players.”

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1947936-why-surprising-phoenix-suns-could-be-nbas-biggest-trade-deadline-player

    They won’t make the finals this year, but neither will 28 other teams. A big deal, however, and they can make a splash—and still be set to develop in years to come. We may be looking at their tailpipes the rest of the season, and years after that.

    • Making the obvious parallel criticism of the Warriors:

      Lacob & Co can’t be faulted for Lee’s steep contract (though Lacob perversely takes credit). It’s the price the team paid for being so weak. By all means give them credit on taking a chance on Curry, though I don’t know how to assess the risk. As Lacob said himself, there aren’t many cases of pros going down because of ankle sprains. But let us all thank our lucky stars we got him so long, so cheap.

      And by all means give them credit for Klay, who, with the right roster and system should play well for years, which the team does not have.

      Health aside, if we’re seeing Iguodala’s real offensive capabilities now, his contract only makes sense if he has a full roster to exploit his talents (someone to pass to) and offset this deficiency.

      Bogut, apparently healthy up to now, has shown tremendous defensive ability. But only in limited situations, only against certain—and weaker teams—for so many minutes. His limited offense is a minus. Is this worth the some $60m they have invested in him over five years?

      Whatever might have been lost by not signing him could have been offset by acquiring the sizable and affordable two-way players such as Phoenix has, who could spread the load on defense and who would complement Klay and Iguodala well and help put a strong squad on the floor 48 minutes a game, 82 games a season.

      They needed to bring up prospects at all positions, especially at point guard. Think Isaiah Thomas and Reggie Jackson.

      And they needed to protect the cap and draft picks and roster spots for mid-season adjustments and future growth.

    • I envy Phoenix their coach.

  24. Get ready for EPV’s:

    http://grantland.com/features/expected-value-possession-nba-analytics/

    (I haven’t read this thoroughly yet.)

    • Another type of analysis poker players are intimately familiar with. We’re always looking for what we call +EV situations.

      • Is that a valid comparison, poker/basketball? In basketball, it might make sense in crunch time, but might not be useful in the overall flow of the game in making roster and strategic decisions. I know it’s more complicated in poker, as there is an overall game plan, but poker players start each hand afresh and are making discrete decisions. (I’m out of my league here.)

        • It’s identical. A +ev situation might be created in basketball with a simple swing pass (hockey assists), or with leaking out for a fast break, by a pick and roll, or by penetration.

          In today’s world of tracking data, all of these situations can be tracked to their outcomes, and thus all can be assigned a ppp (points per possession) to figure out whether they are +ev or not.

          This is not something for basketball players to think about while playing, but for coaches, when designing offense.

          Similarly for poker players, while they can try to work mathematical stuff out during a hand, the best do their homework away from the tables, and are thus totally prepared for the situations that arise during play. To be a winning player, you need to avoid low ev situations, and work to create +ev situations.

  25. Rebounds, related @23, and this is sketchy. I’ll defer to better statistical and coaching minds.

    The new camera generated stats give us specifics about rebounding:

    http://stats.nba.com/playerTrackingRebounding.html?pageNo=1&rowsPerPage=25

    What intrigues me is uncontested rebounds, about 60% down the rankings (Lee and Bogut’s numbers are similar across the board). My casual thought is that focusing on a particular player as a rebounding specialist is a mistake, both in terms of pay, strategy, and minutes on the floor, as many rebounds could be picked up by other players, the sizable two-way players I mentioned above, who would, overall +/-, add more to the team—and save them money to develop other positions. Many rebounds are simply conceded for strategic reasons—getting back on defense, etc.

    Several qualifications, however. Rebounding doesn’t tell the whole defensive story, of course. Also these are raw stats of position, which give only a limited perspective.

    A contested rebound is one where a defender is within 3.5 feet of the rebounder (why use that length?), uncontested rebounds outside of that. But that doesn’t tell us a player’s range, how much space a player can control and grab a board (Lee’s would be larger because of his position and his greater quickness). Nor does it reflect a player’s ability to block out and get into position.

    Only 25% of Curry’s boards are contested, but this doesn’t reflect the fact that he is so good at anticipating shot deflections and getting into place. For his position, he is an astonishing rebounder.

    And likely big players such as Bogut may well get uncontested boards because once he is in place, defenders will concede him the rebound because they don’t have a chance.

    I’ll take opinions here.

    • Your last 2 paragraphs pointed out succintly why this stat is garbage.

      Is it also possible for a player to get a high % of uncontested rebounds because his teammate is one of the best in the league at blocking out?

      • It really, really isn’t garbage. Of course one can quibble about whether 3.5 ft is the correct threshold, or about how one should factor in boxing out, but the point is an uncontested rebound is fundamentally different than a contested one. That isn’t to say that getting uncontested rebounds is unimportant, but it’s much more of a team accomplishment than an individual one.

      • It follows, then that the simple stat of total rebounds may not tell us enough about the quality of the rebounder, or of his value to the team or what he’s worth in percentage of the cap, especially when there are almost no two-way centers and all centers exact a costly premium. Most experiments with centers are either costly or are a wash. Or both.

        I still hold to my thought that the task of rebounding could be distributed in a more effective way that brings in more versatile players down the roster who fit better into an overall +/– picture, offense and defense. Uncontested rebounds is a casual—though suspect—way to look at that. Of course you keep a center, but not at a premium.

        A team should be built for flexibility, depth, and diversity. GSW’s architecture is costly and creaky.

        • Rebounding is about effort. If a player is undersized, he is going to have to do something special to grab more rebounds. The Curry metric — 25% contested — shows that he has a natural ability to see where the ball is headed, and get to that spot before anyone else can. Charles Barkley would be an interesting case study for this metric, perhaps compared to Dwight Howard. (Two great rebounders, one small, one big.)

          I do believe that this stat is garbage. A better metric might be to measure how often a player actually boxes out on a rebound, rather than standing around. If a player boxes out, they are in position to rebound. They may not gather the rebound themselves, but someone on their squad is more likely to.

          • The problem with raw rebounding stats is that players who are judged (and payed) in part on their rebounding can “pad” their stats by competing for rebounds that are meaningless in the individual sense, eg those that occur after every single offensive player has given up and is getting back on defense. I think it’s fairly obvious that this does occur. Lee does it quite a bit. Players that are closing in on a triple double do it all the time. That’s where various contested rebounding stats (percentage, opportunities etc) come in. I’m not sure what about this is so controversial.

            As to boxing out, it actually prevents players from putting themselves in position to rebound more often than not. The point is it’s done to prevent offensive boards and thus serves to increase the team’s chance of rebounding the ball while not showing up in the individual player’s stat sheet. That’s where plus/minus stats can come in and detect that effect (and I suppose one could track boxing out directly, though I haven’t seen that stat).

          • *played

  26. -Yeah, so about Iguodala “being back”…
    -Offensively Barnes is clearly better off at the 4, but (as others have pointed out) I’m not sure you can actually get away with that defensively and on the glass.
    -Jermaine Oneal is back so of course he gets 4-5 post up ISOs per game. Player’s coach.
    -I have no idea why you’re still high on Speights. I thought he was terrible defensively and that this Bogut and/or Lee less stretch has really brought home how unplayable he is. The plus/minus thing was addressed in comment 8 above.
    -Curry has been impressing me lately with a string of really solid floor games. Hope he can get the TOs down to around 3.5 by the end of the year, though that’s probably too optimistic.
    -This team just isn’t that good.

    • Put Speights in with the starters and see how he does. He has worked well with Curry. O’Neal should be played sparingly anyway until he returns to form and possibly rehabilitates. (Did I see him holding his wrist?)

      The team needs to mine the potential it has, and Crawford needs more time as well. The last three games would have been good times to experiment, as will the next three, most likely.

      But the plan seems to be to push Curry to the limits while relying on injured players. And we don’t know how injured they are.

      • I think Speights has seen plenty of run with the starters, especially in recent games after Jackson finally started staggering the lineups. He still, IMO, played like garbage.

        As for Curry being run into the ground, I agree. It was obvious in the second half of the Suns game. The problem is that this team can’t score without Curry. At all. That’s partly a function of roster construction and partly of Jackson’s incompetence. The contrast between the production Pop gets out of his bench talent and what Jackson is able to muster is amazing (and depressing).

  27. Go to 82games.com, click Ws then Iguadala. Scroll down to his 5 man units.

    There are 20. 16 of them are positive in +/-. The 4 negatives total -24 points. The positives total around +300.

    Do it for Curry or Lee. Also 4 negatives, but the point totals are a good deal worse.

    For Barnes, 8 of them are negative and the point totals look negative (actually, I didn’t add them up). Curry, Thompson, Barnes, Lee, Bogut is -39 and 10-16 W-L.

    Bogut is a little less positive than Curry. So is Thompson.

    What does it all mean? Well, the bench has sucked. It also strongly suggests that Iguadala is dramatically more effective than Bogut. Too bad that I can’t split them post hamstring, but I’ve been watching the gameflow charts. Iguadala still has a positive impact on the game.

  28. Trade rumor mania:

    Fitz, on the radio, suggested trading Lee for Kevin Love.

    TK wants to trade Lee and Barnes for Deng and Waiters.

    Barnes for Hinrich keeps popping up.

    More believable, the Warriors have expressed interest in Brandon Bass (as has Phoenix—looking for an alternative to Gasol?), from The Sporting News. The Boston connection again. Phoenix is in a position to deal, however.

    • Two things bother me most about Fitz.

      1) His lack of any interesting insider knowledge. If he has it, he sure doesn’t share.

      2) His affinity for focusing in on one statistic (namely rebounding or shooting percentage) and harping on it all game long. For example, if a team has a hot shooting quarter, we hear about shooting percentage for the rest of the game. Or if the Warriors miss 2 of their first three free throws, we hear about free throw shooting the rest of the game. SO ANNOYING.

      Actually, a third.

      3) His voice when he gets exasperated. It is just not pleasant to listen to when he gets whiny about calls, and especially about the Warriors rebounding.

      Has there been any indication that he will be out the door when Barnett retires at the end of the season?

      • I watched the Mavs game last night and was struck by how calm and peaceful the announcers were. No yelling, no whining, no stupid advice. It was nice.

        Fitz is something else. He seems to keep forgetting that he’s a play-by-play announcer and the expert Jim Barnett is the analyst.

        Unfortunately, the word is that this is Barnett’s last season. Also unfortunately, there’s no word of giving Ws fans a break from the screecher.

        If Barnett goes and Fitz stays next year, Ms. Hat and plan to turn off the TV sound and listen to Tim Roye on the radio instead. Barnett is the only reason we haven’t done that already.

        • I have tried to listen to the radio while I watch the game. Unfortunately the radio signal is about 10-15 seconds ahead of the picture. So I hear a good announcer paint a picture of the warriors offense while I am watching their defense on the other end of the floor. I end up with it just on mute.

          Marv Albert on TNT is such a relief.

          I remember once last year there was a problem with the Comcast signal and just the crowd noise came through with no announcers. That was a nice game to watch.

    • The Ws can deal too, rgg. If they were seriously interested in Bass, they could offer things Phoenix can’t.

      Ainge is busy stockpiling assets he can use to build a good team, not one constructed from leftovers from other teams. Acquiring the Ws trade exceptions would give him more flexibility for that agenda than Phoenix’ scraps.

      • Bos had no interest in taking GS leftovers in the crawford trade, and they probably reckon that Bass’ market value is a bit higher. (his contract, if nothing else, is in the mid-level veteran tier).

  29. What should I watch tonight, curling or walk-it-up basketball?

    Decisions, decision. . . .

  30. Wait…not that it could/would happen, but is there anyone here that would not trade kevin love for david lee??
    It was a much more possible outcome a while back, and fitz is a putz, but for argument’s sake. Wouldn’t you even do barnes/lee for love/filler?
    Curious to see what felt thinks of a 4 who shoots threes at almost the same efficiency as curry…

  31. ahhhh
    what a difference a year makes
    oh how barnes’ stock has fallen
    last june, there was a love for lee rumor and the breaking point for everyone was barnes, notice how literally every warrior commenter is outraged because of the potential barnes inclusion. he did look good in san antonio, but…37% threes for a 24 year old 26/13 guy?
    i’d trade barnes for a five dollar footlong at this point

    http://forums.prosportsdaily.com/showthread.php?825590-Warriors-in-trade-talks-to-get-Kevin-Love

  32. I would not trade Lee for Love straight up.

    I googled “David Lee fights teammates” and “Kevin Love fights teammates” and got very different results. Lee sacrifices himself for the team every night. I don’t know why anyone would want to break up the Curry/Lee duo.

  33. MO’ MO SPEIGHTS!

    His weaknesses are readily apparent and not inconsiderable, but the team has never looked at and exploited his strengths. Rather, the team needs to look at these instead and bring them out, because they will need them.

    Go to 82 games:

    http://www.82games.com/1314/13GSW12.HTM

    and you’ll find he hasn’t played much at all, that he hasn’t done badly with the starters, and that he’s played most of his time with the dismal subs who can’t set him up or open up the floor for him, who all get yanked when they blow a lead.

    But surround him with starters and make him a third or fourth option, and he can produce. Jackson could have started this months ago, bringing him out all those games they had big leads, also when they were shorthanded. And when you look at Iguodala’s shots and free throws, Klay’s recent streaky shooting, Bogut’s nonproduction, you realize the team needs him. He is probably the fourth best shooter/scorer on the team (which isn’t saying a lot), more versatile than Barnes, who hasn’t stepped up in similar situations.

    Is Lee healthy now? Or is he more healthy than O’Neal and Bogut? Or, more likely, did he simply step up, regardless of his injuries, and told coach he was ready to play regardless? Why this doesn’t bring admiration baffles me. It is beyond me why lightweights like Adam L and others continue to attack him. The pace was crisp and effective from the start, and Lee was key here. I didn’t expect this game to be a rout, either. Philadelphia isn’t good, but I expected them to come out fired up after their embarrassment last night.

    Nothing like a rout to ease the troubled soul.

    • Ever wonder how complete NBA scrubs average Oscar Robertson numbers in the D league? The Sixers roster is about 4 deep, in terms of actual NBA players…

    • lee volunteered to play knowing they’d be starting speights and green without him, o’neal, bogut. his presence obviously made an immense difference — speights probably has a completely different kind of game as a starter. lee and green have been effective all season as the 5/4, probably the second or third best the team has put on the floor. at the same time, it would not come as a surprise should we learn about shoulder surgery for lee over the summer.

  34. Jackson’s post game comments aren’t boring for a change… just arrogant, classless and fucking stupid. God I love Bogut.

  35. Did not see yesterdays game with Philly (working/living in the Middle East). Did Mo S play mostly at the 5? Did he play at all with DLee on the floor?

    • if you use the box score on espn.com [which is the equivalent of semi-official nba.com], they provide a play by play function with which you can reconstruct substitutions and lineups out on the court. s’al’aam al’ai-kum.

    • Marc—

      As Hat linked, go to the game flow. Feltbot has a link to Popcorn Machine, on the right, under stats. Just go there and click the appropriate game. It will graphically tell you who was on the court at any given minute and what they did.

      And lookit that nice graph in the middle representing the score. Look at the line rise when Speights came in, who was on the floor with him. His +20 is going to be lower because he stayed in with the subs, at the end.

  36. My best wild guess about MJ’s post game stress is that he approached the centers and asked them who could step up and play, in spite of their injuries, and Bogut said he wasn’t ready. If so, I’ll side with Bogut. And odds are good O’Neal came back too soon, that Lee shouldn’t have played after he first got his injury. But Lee, as we all know, is a good soldier.

    I also heard his interview briefly after the Charlotte game when Lee played so poorly, obvious hurting. MJ’s basic message was they were a no excuses team, that if a player gets on the floor, he should be expected to perform (or something close to that).

    I’m also guessing MJ is getting ambiguous yet pressured messages from above about the terms of continuing his tenure with the Warriors, that this might be pushing him to overplay the starters and play injured players. Biblical stories must have special relevance to him now. Smart was in the same position. But he is the figurehead of their “new culture.”

    If I had to field questions from Strauss, I’d struggle keeping my composure. I’d be fighting the urge to strangle him.

    • RGG — Jackson has always overplayed his starters. He has never trusted his bench (outside of Jack and Landry last season), and so overplaying of the starters story continues, with or without pressure from above.

      That being said, the reason the starters are playing too much is because Jackson has mishandled his bench all season long by not putting them in position to succeed. In recent games, he has been forced to mix and match and the results have been generally positive. However, I do not believe he has taken it to heart. He is a staunch believer in consistent play in a defensive system, while the “offense will take care of itself.” Clearly, when any reserves come in, the offense does not “take care of itself.”

      I am not yet on the bandwagon to fire Jackson because there is a chance he actually starts mixing and matching lineups down the stretch. However, if the Warriors go 1-and-done in the playoffs or (gosh forbid), they miss the playoffs, a change ought to be in the works. There is far too much talent on this team to wind up with the 8 seed and a 1-and-done.

  37. If Speights had started last night, the game might well have been a struggle, but it depends on how they were coached to play. Jackson would have started cautiously, trying to stop Philly with defense, and would have pulled Speights quickly, subbing him with whoever. Lee was able to facilitate and score from the start, building the lead that set Speights loose.

    And you know MJ would have played O’Neal instead of Speights if he were healthy, with similar results. You wouldn’t have seen the quick spurt with Speights that allowed them to coast the rest of the way.

    If Bogut had started, we could well have seen a contested battle where the starters had to play heavy minutes to win because scoring would have been slow to start with Bogut. Philly might have gotten into some kind of rhythm.

    MJ keeps saying they use defense to set up the offense. It hasn’t worked. The opposite is true. What we’ve seen repeatedly is that when the Warriors get off to a quick start, they put opponents on their heels and control the rest of the game. (And often, when MJ sends the subs in as a group, they lose their lead and the starters have to come back in.) Against better teams, when it is not easy to build a lead, they just get in a hole and are forced to play hard to catch up.

    MJ has to turn games into some kind of moral, spiritual battle, a struggle against softness and temptation, maybe even against the devil. But to do that, he has to first create the challenge to allow the battle to be engaged, and does so by starting slow, ignoring the team’s easy, sinful strengths. If he just followed talent and strategy instead, the Warriors have a lot more wins, but there’s no moral lesson in that.

    Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war
    (sing along, gang)

    But he’s also upholding the winning culture of Those above him, who preach toughness and defense, in spite of all. MJ is also a soldier for Lacob’s personal mission.

    Seriously. Why does Jackson keep repeating that they are a defensive team first, and keep telling us what Warriors basketball truly is. Why can’t he just be a coach who plays to win, doing whatever it takes?

    • “Against better teams, when it is not easy to build a lead, they just get in a hole and are forced to play hard to catch up.”

      Against better bigger teams they will get blown out if Bogut is not there to defend the rim. We cannot handle the size of teams like the Pacers, Spurs, or Grizz without Bogut. I don’t care how small we go. It just won’t work against those teams.

      • Phoenix beat Indiana handily without a big rim defender. Bogut was a drag against Miami. The Spurs are hardly a big team, and it’s their flexibility and scoring threats all over the court that challenge big lineups. The game results the past two years will show that the value of rim protection is a myth. But the Warriors could use size and versatility at other positions.

        • rgg- the only small ball teams in the past decade that have won championships without a strong rim protector involve LeBron James.

          Miami 2013
          Miami 2012
          Dallas 2011 (Chandler)
          Lackers 2010 (Bynum, Gasol)
          Lackers 2009 (Bynum, Gasol)
          Celtics 2008 (Garnett, Perkins)
          Spurs 2007 (Duncan)
          Miami 2006 (Shaq)
          Spurs 2005 (Duncan)
          Detroit 2004 (Wallace)

          The point is, the road to a championship involves having the best player in the world (LeBron and maybe this year Durant) or a big who can protect the rim. Without Bogut, the Warriors have neither. IMO, the playoffs slower pace often favors having a big man who can end possessions at the rim, relegating the offense to outside shooting that almost never holds up through 3 or 4 rounds of playoff basketball.

  38. We keep waiting for Mark Jackson to learn some lessons about game plans, matchups and game-time tactics, but seriously, does anyone think last night was a teaching moment for him? Assuming everyone gets healthy, will Speights get more minutes as a result of last night’s performance?

    I think we know he won’t. When/if Ezeli returns, he’ll get as much playing time as Speights. He shouldn’t, but Jackson subs by the clock and by size, not based on game conditions.

    Even worse, when Jackson subs in the entire 2nd team, Ezeli will play C, Speights PF, and Draymond will sit. Ezeli is bigger than Speights, Speights bigger than Green. It’s that simple.

    BTW, lost behind all the amazement about Speights’ breakout game was Draymond’s performance last night: 11 points, 11 boards, FOUR blocks, 4-4 on free throws, plus the usual defensive mayhem and smart complementary play on offense. All in 28 minutes.

    And as soon as Bogut and JON can play again, DG will be back to playing <20 minutes per game. Jackson never learns anything.

    • “BTW, lost behind all the amazement about Speights’ breakout game was Draymond’s performance last night: 11 points, 11 boards, FOUR blocks, 4-4 on free throws, plus the usual defensive mayhem and smart complementary play on offense. All in 28 minutes.”

      In terms of value per $, Dray is going to be one of the most valuable players in the league one of these days.