Warriors 98 Pacers 96: Thompson Arrives

I snarked pre-game on Twitter that the Warriors were finally playing a team that Mark Jackson knew how to match up against. I was referring of course, to Jackson’s penchant for playing big in crunchtime. And for using Andrew Bogut to close games. Even in the most obviously wrong situations, as against Toronto’s closing smallball frontline of Amir Johnson and Patrick Patterson. Jackson literally gave that game away.    

So against the Pacers, I figured that Jackson for once could do no wrong. I expected him to stick to his tried and untrue formula, but for it not to be such an egregious error this time, against one of the biggest and slowest frontcourts in the league.

Imagine my surprise when Jackson won this game with 4th quarter Nellieball. Jackson stuck with his reserve frontline of O’Neal and Green throughout the fourth quarter, leaving Bogut and Lee on the bench. Even after Hibbert and West returned. He also left Iggy on the bench, playing Harrison Barnes in his place.

The results were spectacular. Instead of playing 3 on 5 on offense, as they did for absolutely no conceivable reason against Toronto, the Warriors in this game played with 5 shooters on the floor in crunchtime. And got wide open shots for everyone. Green, Barnes, and in particular, Klay Thompson.

Without giving up a damn thing on defense. In fact, this Warriors Nellieball unit, with Bogut and Iguodala on the bench, played better on the defensive end than did the Warriors starters.

A lot of that had to with Draymond Green, of course. Green is not big enough to start and play 36 minutes against fronline power forwards. But when reserved for crunchtime, he can be a force against much bigger players. Green harassed West’s dribble, making it difficult for him to get to his spots. And he had an extraordinary game on the boards, pulling down 7 in 21 minutes, and keeping many more alive.

But Thompson and Barnes played great games on the defensive end as well. Barnes was surprisingly good defending Paul George in this game. A flashback to that extraordinary defensive performance he gave against Kevin Durant. That is no doubt what gave Jackson the confidence to leave Iggy on the bench.

But the Warriors won this game not just because they defended well, but because they SCORED. That has been the missing ingredient for them this season in crunchtime. And it was something I predicted before the season would be difficult for them, with Bogut healthy, and Iggy replacing Jack. The Warriors simply cannot win in crunchtime playing 3 on 5 on the offensive end.

Mark Jackson, to my utter shock, found an answer in this game. He made an adjustment, added some dynamism to his rotations. Realized the value of offense. Realized that the name of the game is point differential, not defense alone. Utilized the extraordinary roster versatility that has been at his fingertips all season long. Is this a sign of a lightbulb clicking on in his head?

That’s not a safe bet with Jackson. It’s more likely that the “flow coach” simply decided to go with what was working.

But one can dream.

Three more points about Jackson’s coaching in this game:

1) The Good: The Warriors got killed by the Pacers on the boards in Oakland, because while the Warriors bigs were engaged in death struggles, Stephenson, Granger and George swept in for numerous uncontested rebounds. I made a note of it in my recap, and prescribed determined gang rebounding by the Warriors guards.

Mark Jackson apparently agreed: Curry 8, Thompson 5, Barnes 5.

2) The Bad: The Warriors fell apart when Curry returned to finish the game. Part of the blame goes of course to Curry, who made a couple of careless turnovers.

But part of the blame goes to Mark Jackson. The Pacers switched all-world defender Paul George onto Curry, and Jackson was slow to react. Why in the world would you ask Curry to isolate against Scottie Pippen at the top of the key, when you have the option to set a high pick? Particularly when you can set that pick with Jermaine O’Neal, who unlike Bogut can finish a pick and roll? And particularly when O’Neal’s man was Roy Hibbert, who is not only incapable of blitzing Curry, but incapable of guarding him after the switch?

Curry’s last turnover was fed to him by bad coaching.

3) The Good and the Bad: The final play call was a great one. With Curry being guarded by Paul George, and Iggy’s shooting hand fingers taped together, going to Thompson iso’d on George Hill was perfect. Hill can’t guard him. And Thompson, unlike Harrison Barnes, can make that turnaround.

One has to think, however, that Jackson was greatly abetted in the success of this play by the decision of his counterpart, Frank Vogel, to use Lance Stephenson to guard Iggy. What was he thinking? Iggy can’t shoot even when his right index finger isn’t dislocated and taped back into place. Despite Iggy’s two freak makes this season, opposing NBA coaches have salivated for years at the thought of leaving Iggy open to take the final shot of the game. Hill should have been hidden on Iggy, and Stephenson should have been on Thompson.

Which leads me to Jackson’s final mistake, which was masked by Vogel’s. Why was Iggy in the game for that final offensive possession? Where would the Warriors have gone if Vogel had gotten it right?

KLAY THOMPSON ARRIVES

I can hear the snickers already. “One good game and Felty goes off!” “Small sample size!” “(TS%/Pace)*(Lacob Quotient)/(Assists + Offensive Rebounds) = Mediocrity!”

Easy, statphreaks.

Yes, Thompson’s shot fell in this game, and yes, that has not been at all a regular occurrence lately. But that’s not the point that I’m interested in making. The point I want to make has to do with Thompson’s mindset.

The mindset that he needs to have is one of a superstar. Stephen Curry desperately needs a reliable sidekick if the Warriors are to contend for a championship. That sidekick is going to be Klay Thompson.

As soon as he makes up his mind to become it.

Too often this season, Klay Thompson has settled for a poor shooting game. He has continued to fire jumpers, and shaken his head in frustration when he shoots poorly. That is NOT what superstars do.

Superstars win. That’s what they think about. When their shot is not falling, they become determined to find another way to help their team win. They put their heads down and drive to the basket. They launch themselves into the chests of bigger players, willing to take the punishment, willing to get knocked to the floor. Anything to get to the line, to get some points for their team, to get themselves going.

Superstars make an adjustment. Like winning poker players. When a poker player’s shots are not falling, he changes his game. Tightens it up, screws it down. Gets the mindset that he’s not going to leak a penny. And if he feels that an opponent is trying to pick on him, he doesn’t accept that meekly. He makes that opponent look at his stack.

I get that Thompson feels that he’s part of a talented team. That he knows the other Warriors are more veteran than he is, and great players in their own right. I get that he’s patient and unselfish and determined to play his role.

But if the Warriors are going to win a championship, that has to end. It’s time for Thompson to assert himself. To take his rightful place on this team. As this game against the toughest defense in the league showed, Thompson is capable — capable — of becoming an offensive superstar. But it will only happen if he wants it. If he decides not to be content with simply playing, but becomes determined to lead his team..

I am writing this now, because there have been signs since the All Star break that Thompson is starting to get it. That he’s starting to drive more, that he’s trying to get to the line more, that he’s become more willing to take contact. In this game in particular, I felt that Klay was determined to get to the bucket, and that he got his game back on track in the fourth quarter with those two free throws.

That is a winning mindset. That is seizing the game by the throat.

It’s probable that Klay took over the fourth quarter of this game because Curry and Lee were sitting, and he was the number one option on the floor. But I am sensing that something has clicked in Klay’s mind, that he’s about to make a move.

The moment Klay decides that he needs to put his body on the line and play this way every single game, will be the moment Klay Thompson arrives as a superstar in the NBA.

And the moment the Warriors become a true contender.

THE WARRIORS

I stated before the season that the Warriors might have the best starting five in basketball. There are some stats now that provide some support for that view. Like the fact that Iggy, Curry and Lee are all in the top five in plus/minus in the league.

I stated before the season that the Warriors have a good enough team to win the West and contend for a title. A lot of things have conspired this season to make that look like a poor prediction. My top three, in order of importance: Mark Jackson, key injuries, and one of the toughest early schedules in the league.

And yet, thoughout the Warriors’ struggles this season, I have steadfastly maintained my belief in this team’s talent. My belief that this team could win, and win big, if only Mark Jackson could get his stuff together.

There are signs. In the midst of struggle, of Jackson misplaying his bench, and repeatedly giving away games in the fourth quarter, there are signs. Like beating the Heat in Miami, twice in two seasons. Like beating the Pacers in Indiana.

I believe, still, that in the hands of a great tactical coach, this Warriors team has the potential to make magic.

Is Mark Jackson that coach?

 

146 Responses to Warriors 98 Pacers 96: Thompson Arrives

  1. warriorfaithful

    I’m afraid Mark Jackson almost lost this game yet again when he went back to slowing the pace down when the Warrior’s had a 12 point lead. I don’t understand why he does this. Why go away from what got you the lead in the first place? I don’t know if it is bad coaching or just flat out stupidity. If Warrior’s had pushed the tempo like they had with the bench unit the game would have not been this close and the Pacer’s would have been run out of their building just like the game between the Sun’s and the Pacers.

    • Barnett was all over this. He’s letting his disgruntlement with Jackson show quite a bit this season.

  2. Thanks, Feltbot. Minor disagreement, maybe. The 12 point drop about halfway into the fourth quarter needs accounting for. It does begin when Curry comes in, and yes, his turnovers hurt, but Jackson changed his strategy to control—a mistake?—and had the wrong lineup in. Hard to believe Lee and Iguodala shouldn’t have come back in sooner, that Curry himself shouldn’t have come back sooner than he did. They got exceptional scoring from Barnes and Green, and there wasn’t good reason to think it would last.

    http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20140304&game=GSWIND

    And again, it’s hard to believe Blake couldn’t do more with O’Neal—and Speights. They’ll need all the scoring they can get.

  3. GooseLosGatos

    It has been quantitatively shown (Hollinger for one) that nearly all NBA players are what they are after 3 seasons. Klay could be one of the rare exceptions to that and next year will be the defining year as to his career trajectory….

    • Take a look at Steve Nash’s third season. And Jermaine O’Neals.

      • GooseLosGatos

        Exception not rule and a big part of the reason those two players are the few exceptions is Nash: didn’t get any playing time and was finally aquired by Nellie who believed in him. Jermaine: 18 year old pogo-stick on Portland who didn’t get any minutes & had some filling out to do before like Nash traded to a team (Indiana) that believed in him and played him starters minutes.

        Klay’s got into the league at 21 and has been playing starters minutes more or less for 3 years now.

        I hope you’re right about Klay but I’m pointing out the historical quantitative evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary.

        • Nash’s 3rd and 4th seasons were starting under Nellie. Is that the player he wound up being? He and Nellie butted heads over his scoring. Nellie forced him to start looking more aggressively for his own shot.

          Klay has started his career being the 3rd option on a veteran team. A very different role from being the first option, which is what he’d be on most teams in the league. I see a major growth curve ahead.

          Did anyone notice that Klay was being used at the point in the 4th quarter, with Blake off the ball? That Klay was creating for himself and others? How many times have we seen that this season?

          Case in point.

  4. How good are the Pacers? The first thing that has to be said is that they came into the season with a strong sense of who they were and built on that, that they have for the most part beaten the teams they were supposed to beat.

    But if you adjust for schedule and the weak East? I’m not sure where they caught LAC and OKC in terms of their injuries, but they lost handily to Phoenix twice and split with Portland, the win in overtime, two teams the Warriors would want to compare themselves. What I want to argue is that size and their style of play can only take them so far, but in the East it should take them to the conference finals.

    Just three more wins this season, and the Warriors would have been well poised not only to make the playoffs but get a good seed and make a run. A few more unexpected losses, however, and they may not make the playoffs or it will be one and done. Here’s hoping they figure out who they are, but I wish that had happened sooner. The final games should prove to test us all.

    • Pretty sure the Heat will beat them.

      • The battle may be with Chicago, if that matchup occurs. This will be a series if the Bulls continue on pace.

    • cosmicballoon

      About the Pacers from Grantland’s recap above: “But when you watch them, they look like a bunch of guys who have been gripping the wheel real tight all season long, and now they’re losing the handle a bit.”

      I tend to agree, and they have been riding their starters way too much (a lot like the Warriors did for the first half of the year).

  5. Barnes seems to be coming around to where he’s an adequate sub off the bench. I still think he needs to pick up his game another couple of notches to give us enough talent to make a deep run in the playoffs.

    Right now, would anyone argue that our 6-8 players (in no particular order) are Blake, Green, and JON? I don’t see where Barnes could reasonably surpass any one of those guys consistently, but if he did, it would make us much better.

    • If he concentrates on the defensive end, he will have a career.

    • Generally agree with you but it seems to me that the optimal rotation on this team is nine deep with who you said plus Barnes as the ninth. W’s have so many one-way players I think they are more dependent on taking advantage of match-ups than some other teams. That means some games a little more JON and Bogut and other games more Draymond and Barnes and various other combos.

      • Smart defensive teams will sag on and let Draymond Green shoot himself off the court. Even from three point land and just pack the lane. I’m praying Green can stay above 30% from three otherwise he’s Dominic McGuire II…

        Teams have to actually guard Harrison Barnes on the perimeter from three at near 40%… Spreading the floor. That’s his value. And slash on bigs and finish. This is not inconsequential. Opens up the offense. When he plays PF… Not SF much.

        • Dominic McGuire (who could do everything poorly) made *three* shots behind in the arc in his entire NBA career.

          So no. Draymond is not going to be Dominic McGuire.

  6. And I gotta say it. I’ve been critical of Bogut, but the way this is supposed to work and that I want it to work is that Bogut proves me wrong. I want this team to win. But last night should have been a significant test, and the results were tepid. Hibbert got his points, most by playing out, where Bogut (and anyone) is ineffective. The Warriors were able to pick up their boards elsewhere in the roster. The real question is how well someone else with a lesser contract might have done in his place, plus whoever the team picked up with the money saved. Bogut may be good against the behemoths, but if the Warriors ever make the finals, they won’t have to worry about Gortat (who is a good two-way center).

    What would the Warriors have lost had they waited until the end of the season to evaluate Bogut?

    • Absolutely nothing. The Warriors gave away a free option.

    • cosmicballoon

      While this is true, the Warriors have very few flaws with their roster right now. Where do you see them as weak? A bruising power forward? A backup shooting guard?

      • The strength of the roster will depend upon who is played, and how much and how, all still uncertainties now, unresolved. And they all would be much stronger had these decisions been made long ago and they had experience throughout the season to give them confidence now. Instead, we’ve seen players shuttled in and out and some not developed.

        Blake should provide stability whenever he’s on the floor, but he could have more to work with. We can’t count on Barnes and Green knocking down their shots, unless they turned a corner last night. Crawford got some shots up last night as well, and I like the way he can drive, but he got few minutes and it looks like he might be marginalized and let go as well. I still maintain Speights, with a competent point and good surrounding cast, could be put to good use. There’s plenty of evidence here. But he hasn’t been and wasn’t played last night. It will be hard for him to step up later.

        If you’re asking for my druthers, a modest experiment would be bringing in a more solid 2-3 backup who can score with consistency. Reggie, in his prime, would be ideal. If Speights is not going to be used, a versatile two-way four could have been added, but it’s too late for that.

        A very good case could be made that O’Neal should start over Bogut if he continues to perform as well as he has without injury. For now, at least, he makes Bogut look like the 19 year vet.

        • cosmicballoon

          So rgg, you shouldn’t be so hard on Lacob/Myers right now. They have constructed a roster that can and should win consistently. A solid 2-3 back-up is not a deal-breaker in terms of winning and losing a playoff series, IMO.

          The onus at this point in the season falls on Jackson and his staff. Lacob is not calling the shots regarding style of play. He is not smart enough as a basketball mind to properly fix the offensive struggles, and I believe he knows it. Additionally, the fact that there has been public pressure on Jackson seems to point to the idea that Jackson is more on his own related to coaching decisions. Lacob has mildly separated from Jackson in case he has to fire him. As long as Jackson can get his line-ups right, this team is poised for a run because the roster, at this point, is just about as good as any in the league.

          • There has been too much indecision and too many changes in the roster this season that could have been avoided. More should have been in place at the beginning of the season. A backup point should have been in the works years ago. This falls on the FO. But I’m setting the bar high. I hold owners to the same set of expectations I hold to players and coaches. At this level, I expect to see excellence.

            But yes, we’re left holding our breath with Jackson, the wild card in our hopes and dreams.

          • And I’m thinking to the future. The point of this comment is that they could have assessed Bogut at the end of the season and made decisions there. I doubt there would have been any loss at all, and I’m not clear what they’ve based their expectations on, this season or the next three.

            Phoenix has done quite well with a low-priced, slight center, Plumlee. And they are poised to strike a blow. I’m kind of sorry they didn’t get Gasol. I like this team and that would have been something to watch.

  7. Last night the Warriors demonstrated they could play with anyone. How that plays out over a possible seven game playoff remains to be seen.

    I always thought that small ball is being played when five small players are on the court.You now seem to have changed the definition and claim if one of the players is tall like JON, and the others front line players are shorter, than the team is still playing small ball. Don’t see how you can have a tall center and consider the team playing small ball. Very odd. Don’t think Nellie would agree.

    For me, Jackson deciding to sit Speights was his best decision that led to the Warriors win.

    Will be interesting to see if your prediction that Thompson has turned the corner psychologically and is now ready to shoot consistently pans out. Original and interesting theory.

    • “Will be interesting to see if your prediction that Thompson has turned the corner psychologically and is now ready to shoot consistently pans out. Original and interesting theory.”

      I’ve never thought that players can change anything based on one game, although that is often the narrative. Would love to be proven wrong and see Klay go on to beast the rest of the season. Or even just tonight.

      • +1 Klay seems to be the human embodiment of the argument against the concept of momentum. He has had many great games before and they are followed by mediocre games, bad games, good games. You never know, I think with him more than most other players.

      • I’m not looking at just one game. As I wrote above, I’m looking at his play since the AllStar break, and perceiving a trend that culminated in this breakout.

        Klay is starting to take it to the basket in earnest, something that will make him much harder to guard, and much more consistent.

        I pride myself on making calls as soon as soon as they become apparent to me, which tends to be a very long time before they become consensus. That’s part of what makes betting NBA futures so profitable for me.

        I sense this trend is real. Let’s watch and see.

    • Nellieball consisted of a certain Biedrins and 4 shooters.

      • Correct. The stretch-four is the hallmark of Nellieball. Smallball is not a term I used in this recap.

        • Nellie drafted and played lots of lumbering rebounders/shot-blockers in his GM and coaching career…

          Surround Bogut – a passing and finishing big man – with four shooters/slashers… Bogut is a much better offensive player and defensive player than Biedrins.

        • Sub-set is the mathematicallly correct term. Now I understand (I’m an engineer.)

  8. The Warriors won, in part, because the Pacers did not exploit the Warriors most glaring weakness-the inability to stop inside scoring. Thankfully, the Pacers settled for jump shots time and time again rather than drive to the hoop. As the result the Pacers took only one more foul shot than the Warriors. Yes, the Warriors did block some shots inside, but the Pacers drove the lane less than 10 times. In my judgment, if the Pacers had driven more they would have won easily.

    • cosmicballoon

      Frank. It’s not as simple as that. You need to give the Warriors defenders some credit. Draymond Green, Klay, Steve Blake, and O-Neal working in tandem make it really tough for players to drive to the bucket. Draymond, especially is like a brick wall, and frustrates the heck out of everyone who he is guarding. We are yet to see an offensive player get the best of Draymond for an entire game. He is a joy to watch.

      • Draymond does get beaten. Two PFs who have had no problem scoring on him are Boris Diaw and Taj Gibson.

        In addition, D West went for 27 points last night, which is why Green was cross-matched onto Hibbert sometimes last night. Green is better guarding at the high post than either of the Ws Cs. But he’s not always effective against a powerful low-post 4.

        Despite that, yeah, it’s great fun to watch Green do his stuff. For such a little big, he’s huge.

    • They tried to get inside unsuccessfully. Their 3PT shot not falling made it easier for dubs to defend them from penetrating but defense gets all credit to stopping inside scoring from Pacers.

    • Our GSWs beat an elite Indiana team on the road… If only they can beat the Charlottes of the NBA…

  9. Felt,

    Biggest fallback when team play small ball or Nellieball with a small playing PF is that, that team loses rebound battle and hence the game. Playing Green at PF is not same as playing Devean George or Corey Magette at PF because of Green’s rebounding rate which is higher than most PFs in the league. The point is, you can argue Green at PF is not small ball much like playing Barkley or Rodman at PF was not small ball. Credit to Green to make this work. My 2 cents.

    • I don’t call it smallball when there’s a center on the court. It’s Nellieball, playing with a stretch-four.

      Was Bradley/Nowitzki smallball? Biedrins/Harrington?

      Playing with a PF at center and 4 wings/guards — like the championship Mavs did sometimes, the runner-up Thunder and Spurs do a lot of the time, and the championship Heat do virtually all the time — is smallball as I understand it.

      Smallball is a subset of Nellieball.

      • I like Nellieball but as a strategy for change of pace. I don’t mind playing even more extensively if that stretch 4 is also a good rebounder and defender like Green. What I didn’t like is when you play someone at the expense of team getting outrebounded by 10 or so, giving up so many possessions. I know you heavily favor Nellieball, I like it as a good strategy as long as team don’t give up offensive rebounds.

        • Nellie played lots of lumbering shot-blockers/rebounders at center in his time. Lots of them. Drafted them too.

          I like the strategy of center Andrew Bogut (and O’Neal and Lee) playing with four slashing shooters. Igoudala’s shooting qualifies as he can hit from three. With Bogut’s passing abilities to cutters in a spread floor and finishing dunks around the rim – the offense and defense could be sweet.

          Lee at PF doesn’t qualify… Lee’s perimeter shooting is good, but isn’t strong enough (no three) to space the floor. I prefer Lee at Center where he’s got a nice advantage in certain matchups. Barnes and Green – more minutes at PF.

          • Nellieball or small ball can work better with Bogut or O’Neal at C with Dray or Barnes at PF more than with David Lee at C. With David Lee at C, it is layup parade for the teams all day missing the interior defense.

            Felt, rebounding is essential to winning, but may be warriors are over emphasizing and don’t need to be #2 or #3 in league like they are now and should designate Iggy to run more than staying back for rebound.

        • The World Champions are 29th in the league in Rebound %.

          http://www.teamrankings.com/nba/stat/total-rebounding-percentage

          • Felt, I was going to mention Miami as the exception. To compensate for lack of rebounding, they excel in every other department especially the FG% because of Lebron.

          • There are many other exceptions. The team that should have won the championship last year, the Spurs was 16th.

            The team that beat the Heat, the Mavs, is not on this site, but I’m sure they were average at best at reb%, and probably in the bottom half.

            Rebounding is greatly overrated. It’s a bugaboo of small minds. If you have the best ballhandling, best shooting, best passing, quickest defensive team on the floor, having a disadvantage in rebounding is not that significant. As Don Nelson and the last 3 world champions/runnerups have proved for years.

      • Meant the sub-set reply here, which is the mathematically correct terminology and clears up the matter totally (for me being an engineer).

  10. thanks again felt boss. the irony in your final question is, this game will help jackson’s case with lacob and myers for him to finish the option year of his contract, with some interesting melodrama very possible next season from the media and its fondness for the phrase ‘lame duck’. they could even offer him a contract extension after a competitive and exciting first round playoff ouster. if the top nine on the roster are reasonably healthy and sound, they’re competitive with the best, but if the other top teams in the west also have all their guys, their coaching gives them the edge. Por is the outlier, with one of the less imposing rosters, similar in some respects to Den last season.

    • I feel as though – properly coached – this Ws team has the roster to knock any team in the NBA out of the playoffs. I’m with FB full-board on this and also predicted a 55-win close.

      This Ws team can go big. Small. Defense. Offense.

      I too am worried Coach Mark Jackson isn’t tactical enough or matchup oriented enough to maximize this team’s potential. Going big when he should go small – and vice versa. Malone did add value for certain aspects of the game – that the flow coach lets run it’s course… I like over-coaching – especially with subs to finish every quarters, etc.

      The struggles offensively against Charlotte, Toronto, Chicago, among others – is correctable. And more about coaching than anything.

      I definitely underestimated Jarrett Jack’s impact on this team offensively – or rather I way overestimated Andre Igoudala’s ability to run the point, create, and allow Curry and Klay to play off the ball. Blake’s okay…

  11. The only difference in my mind between HOFer Reggie Miller and Klay Thompson – is the numbers at the charity stripe. Reggie was a great flopper and got to shoot 8 or so free throws per game – and Reggie would can 8 of them at 90+%… Klay? Lucky Klay ever attacks the rim or draws a foul. He probably gets to the line for two or three free throws per game… This aggressiveness to the rim is all that separates him (and consistency as he disappears too much) from the best players. Klay’s almost there – and his defense is solid!

    Like James Harden, Klay has got to draw fouls with his 85-90 percent FT touch. Otherwise Klay’s wasting his immense talent…

    I’m too am waiting for Klay’s greatness. Soon.

  12. Has anyone thought of the real downside to Warrior Success?

    Bob Fitzgerald’s incessant statements about Bogut’s abilities and reason for Dub Success. We can only hope ALL Warrior games will be covered on TNT and ESPN. Or we will have to watch the Spanish channel.

    • huge downside potential for woeyr success. used to follow los gigantes beisbol pretty closely, but their success, followed very shortly by replacing Neukom with a billionaire investment oligarch, bochy, one of my least favorite managers, getting acclaimed as one of the greats, tickets for decent seats barely affordable except week nights against unpopular opponents, have pushed me away (fan since 1960).

      success will confirm lacob’s opinion of himself as a savant, keep the preacher around for another four or five seasons, and the marketing will only get uglier. we’re already seeing one of the consequences — Barnett leaving the broadcasts [just as comcast is taking over time warner communications]. or as a SA fan put it during the playoffs, hope GS never advances this far again in the post season so we can be spared those prayer huddles on the national telecast.

      when there’s a longer hiatus and we can discuss history, film, literature, will dissect one of lacob’s and b-fitz’ marketing slogans in their hype repetoire — ‘this is one of the n.b.a.’s flagship franchises’. it’s related to why the n.b.a. is called an association rather than a league. success of course will perpetuate the ‘flagship’ myth.

    • Jim Barnett is a significant reason why I watch the Warriors. He’s helped me maintain my interest and sanity all these years. His appreciation for the players and the game is genuine, his knowledge long and rich. And he could barely contain his enthusiasm last year in the playoffs. A good run in the playoffs would be a very fine reward for him his last year, and I’m looking forward to listening to him.

      Maybe if Fitz spoke in Spanish alongside him? That might be really entertaining, at least for those of us who don’t know Spanish. We won’t know what’s he’s saying about El Bogut.

  13. Interesting news in Zach Lowe’s recent column:

    “Bogut… will be due an extra $425,000 if he lands a spot on one of the league’s two All-Defense teams… If Bogut makes an All-Defense team, the Warriors will end up about $40,000 over the tax.”

    That would make the Warriors payers, not receivers, of lux tax cash. So maybe Bogut will get lots of rest for the rest of the season. Maybe that started already, in Indiana.

    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-nbas-bonus-breaking-point-tax-trades/

    • 1) Hibbert 2) Bogut 3) Howard? I think this might be sewed up already, regardless of whether Warriors start sitting him. They also have a reason to rest him that doesn’t have to do with saving money.

      This team is looking to make a deep run.

  14. Art Vandelay

    Noah?

    • Oops again. You are correct sir. Hibbert will probably get picked first, but my list would be Noah, Hibbert, Jordan, Bogut, Howard. Lacob’s money is safe.

      Noah because he’s a great pick and roll defender.

    • A couple of things about the possible Bogut bonus:

      1. I agree with y’all about where Bogut ranks, but what we think doesn’t affect Lacob’s choice to sit Bogut or not.

      2. If Lacob does say anything about sitting Bogut, the reason would obviously be for rest and health. It would also provide a little extra safety margin against Bogut earning his bonus, but that’s something that cannot be spoken.

      3. Feltie, as a conspiracy theorist yourself, stomping on other’s nutty theories makes you fair game.

      • You missed what I wrote @14?

        • No, I didn’t, but I think you might have missed my point.

          In addition to having plausible basketball reasons, Ws management has financial reasons to rest Bogut. And that can only make reduced playing time for Bogut a more solid bet.

          After all, it seems pretty clear that business reasons do factor in to the Ws PT decisions. Ref. Barnes.

  15. Reggie Williams to the Thunder on a 10 day contract.

    • This will be a tough audition if he isn’t taken seriously and not given minutes and shots.

      • They’re desperate for production at the two. And I believe Sefalosha is out for a while.

  16. Bazemore (with the Lakers) vs Barnes:

    Bazemore

    32.9 minutes pg, 16.9 points (47%, 46% on 3’s, 63% FT) 2.6 assists, 3.7 boards, 1.6 steals

    Barnes (season)

    28.4 minutes pg, 10 points (40%, 40% on 3’s, 74% FT) 1.4 assists, 4 boards, 0.8 steals

    • fuzzy dunlop

      Well for one thing, the discrepancy between his 3 PT% and his FT% screams “unsustainable shooting”. He’s also been turning the ball over like crazy. Overall I’m still not sold on Bazemore as a rotation player on a team that isn’t actively seeking to lose games. Barnes does pass that test for me. He’s a bad NBA player right now and can be a thoroughly mediocre one in the future. Now that isn’t very exciting, but there’s no reason to get hyperbolic and compare him to Bazemore.

      • The biggest difference between Barnes and Bazemore, and the real reason Bazemore is playing big minutes, is invisible here. It’s defense.

        • fuzzy dunlop

          The real reason Bazemore is getting big minutes is that the Lakers have lost about 30 guards/wings to injury and aren’t trying to win games. Having said that, you’re of course right that his potential as a defender is his biggest selling point. Is he actually good defensively though? I never go that impression watching him play. Plenty of guys that have great tools on that end never manage to make a positive impact.

          • I disagree they aren’t trying to win. MDA’s playing his best lineup, the team is competing, and winning.

            Bazemore is a very good wing defender. Jackson had him trying to guard point guards.

        • But Bazemore is also scoring well enough to justify keeping him on the court for his defense—so far.

          Bazemore’s wildness at point drove me crazy, but I wonder what’s happening now under D’Antoni’s systems, where the team is encouraged to force the pace and action, and turnovers are foriven. But while playing point for the Warrior’s, a large part of his problem was that he didn’t have good options when he tried to move the ball.

          Barnes’ passivity on offense drives me just as crazy. It’s rare that he does anything with the ball, except pass it back, so it’s not surprising he has few turnovers, and those usually come when he fumbles the ball, trying to drive. For me this is the biggest downside to Barnes, that he doesn’t add to the collective intelligence and movement on offense. Rather, he’s utterly dependent on what others can set up for him.

    • Player A in the same season:

      Non Playoff team, 39 games, 13.7 PPG, 5.7 assists
      Playoff team, 22 games, 7.5 PPG, 1.7 assists

      That player A is Jordan Crawford. There is a message somewhere there.

      • The message is that he’s not playing point guard for the playoff team. And he’s coming off the bench. And he’s playing for a much worse coach. And he’s no longer one of the best scorers on the team. And…

        • :-)

          I was going for “he’s no longer one of the best scorers on the team.” along with your stats will be different on playoff team Vs non playoff team. Bazemore was too mistake prone but I am pleasantly surprised that he is doing well for Lakers but as SF and he would have no chance of playing as one for dubs. Bazemore kind of reminds me of Anthony Randolph with “superb athletism and if they ever figure it out” category.

          • cosmicballoon

            While Baze is still learning the game, he is a much better NBA player than Randolph. Bazemore cares about his teammates and is excited to be playing. Randolph always seemed disinterested and about ready to cry when something didn’t go his way. Both are freak athletes. The difference is mental/attitude.

          • cosmic, Do you remember how Randoph finished his rookie year when Nellie moved him to C. He was awesome as looked like a future star, Nellie himself called him super star in the making. Even in his second year he averaged closed to 12 PPG 2blks, 6 rebs. Anyway, what transpired later is that he will never be able to play in a team setup.

          • cosmicballoon

            Vaguely…that was on a pretty bad team if I recall in 2009-10. He never matured and I filed him away as another poor first round pick by the dubs in a very stacked 2008 NBA draft.http://www.nba.com/draft2008/board.html

            Hibbert, Ryan Anderson, Ibaka and other NBA starters came after him in the first round.

    • Bazemores a better wing than Barmes, and Bazemore will continue to improve. Barnes will be a serviceable strech-4.

  17. This interview of Crawford seems to belie the current Warriors narrative that he’s back to his “true” position. Clearly, he likes to play the point.

    http://bostonherald.com/sports/celtics_nba/boston_celtics/2014/03/jordan_crawford_looks_back_fondly_on_good_times_with

    It also happens to be the only position at which he’s useful.

    • What he wants to be or what he is are completely different. Blake as pass first PG is what team needed and Crawford is doing well as off guard too.

  18. Reggie Williams getting called up to the Thunder.

  19. I’m not clear how the numbers add up, but would the possible cap tax for B’s bonus encourage the Warriors not to fill the 15th slot (isn’t Armstrong gone?) and leave it vacant?

    • when Lowe put together that piece to amuse his readers he included all the small bit contracts they’re already committed to paying, or have paid in his calculation, including those d-leaguers not on the active payroll now.

      at least two of the trio of hibbert, noah, howard will be higher in the voting. recent all stars (which excludes bogut of course) usually have an advantage in the voting, so even duncan could get in ahead of bogut. and lacob will welcome the publicity, even if the unlikely occurs and he ends up a lux tax contributor — he’s already gone on record that he’d be willing to exceed the line to improve the team, and he marketed bogut’s deal and early signing for all it was worth last year.

      they may or may not succeed (and .80 of any rumours we hear will be specious), but lacob and myers will be hunting for a fairly major trade this summer, with that lux tax limit a factor along with the topic of this chapter in the feltbot chronicles, thompson. if the team wants any discount on the post-rookie contracts for thompson and green, they have until July 2015, at which point the players have incentive to find out their free agent market value.

      • I expect warriors to go after Lebron, Love and Melo using Lee, Klay and Barnes as baits. Chances of succeeding are almost zero though. Or to a lesser extent getting Zach Randolph for Barnes+Speights. Oh, this last one I made it up, don’t know if warriors front office will even give it a one sec thought.

  20. Klay Thompson Watch (since FB announced Klay is turning the corner)

    Key stats: 18 pts on 15 shots, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 3 steals, 0 t/o’s

    This is a win for FB (1-0). This is exactly the sort of game (old) Klay turns bad by going 1-8 on threes. Instead, he goes 6-7 on 2’s and 3-3 from the stripe to have a solid offensive game. He still rebounds like he’s the guy Harrison Barnes dunks over on the TV commercial instead of a 6’7″ professional basketball player but his plus defense and good playmaking more than made up for it.

    • +1 Glad you noticed the work he did driving the lane and getting easy, close shots. And great idea to start this watch.

      He could use more of a rebounding mentality, but I think that’s largely a function of his role, and whom he is guarding. It’s natural for Curry to come back for boards, because he’s asked to come back to take the pass or handoff in case it falls into the hands of his bigs. It’s not his role to leak out. Thompson, by contrast, is frequently guarding out at the three point line, and leaking out.

      Unlike Barnes, Thompson rarely guards small forwards who hit the offensive boards. But when he does, he holds his own.

  21. By the way, the coach who completely failed the Phoenix Suns last year sits next to Mark Jackson on the Warriors bench.

    • Who is this? I’m too lazy to look up.

      What a difference a year (and FO) can make:

      Denver’s owner dumps its coach and GM and goes from a 70% team to 43% so far this season.

      The dumped Denver GM, Ujiri, goes to Toronto, who has gone from 42% to 56%.

      Phoenix gets a new coach, deepens its roster but doesn’t blow its budget on big names, and goes from 30% to 59%. And showed OKC what it can do last night. With a backup center—Plumlee was out. When Okafor’s contract expires, they’ll be able to make a strike in free agency next summer.

      Dolan, the free spender, the chaser of stars, continues to amaze us with his Knicks.

    • cosmicballoon

      Good observation. On that note, I wonder why Hornacek has been so successful. Very little pub at least nationally, but a stinkin’ good team playing a modern style of basketball.

    • If Jackson would tolerate it, hire a tactical assistant coach, not afraid to speak up and work with players on their weak points. Jackson is an excellent motivator.

  22. Bazemore wasn’t the problem last night, and the first quarter was promising. He made a serious block, a beautiful reverse layup in traffic, hit a 3 in stride, and made one fine assist I can recall. As for his wildness and slips, it will be hard to separate rate them from the rest of the mess that followed.

    It’s hard to know what to make of D’Antoni, and while he needed to make an adjustment last night, it wouldn’t have mattered. It’s impossible to assess him as a coach when you look at the rosters he’s had to deal with, the problem players, the glaring holes.

    • And you saw the problem with Marshall. He’s a good assist man but can’t shoot, allowing more pressure on the perimeter.

  23. Hornacek, from Wikipedia:

    “He was hired for the 2007–08 season by the Jazz as a special assistant coach and to help Andrei Kirilenko and others with their shooting. In May 2008 Hornacek interviewed for a coaching position with the Chicago Bulls, meeting with general manager John Paxson. . . . After the departure of Jerry Sloan and Phil Johnson in February 2011, Jeff Hornacek became a full assistant coach with the Utah Jazz. During 2013, Hornacek was considered a head coach candidate for two of his former teams, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns, as well as the Charlotte Bobcats. On May 28, 2013, he was named the head coach of the Phoenix Suns. Hornacek has stated that his coaching style is reminiscent to that of Cotton Fitzsimmons and Jerry Sloan, who both coached him back when he played for the coaches’ respective teams. Hornacek also coached the Suns’ Summer League team during the 2013 season in Las Vegas.

    Three things strike me:

    1. His ability to coach mechanics (shooting).

    2. His tutelage under a winning coach (Sloan).

    3. He was taken seriously by many teams fairly quickly.

    • cosmicballoon

      This is a path that MJax should have taken.

      • Was Jackson never offered a job as assistant anywhere?
        If not, why not, and what does this tell us?

        Or was he offered a position and turned it down?
        What does that tell us?

      • I’m not sure that path was available to Jackson.

        1. He wasn’t a good shooter, and his shooting mechanics are nasty.

        2. He reportedly announced his desire to coach, for years, but didn’t consider assistant coaching jobs. Maybe he didn’t feel he needed to learn the ropes, or maybe just didn’t want to give up a national announcer’s salary for a lot less money.

        3. No one took Jackson seriously as a head coaching candidate until he met a rookie owner.

        Jason Kidd’s skills, experience, etc. match Jackson’s better than Hornacek’s background does. In his first month as coach, Kidd said that he thought he had a good eye for the game, but he learned he didn’t have a coach’s eye. With an all-new team and rookie coach, the Nets had a rough first half of the season. Since then, they’ve done a lot better. Kidd has obviously learned a lot.

        I really respect Kidd’s admission of his limitations, and I think MJax could have benefited from the same sort of insight. A little humility is a necessary ingredient for learning.

  24. I was listening to interview by Pacers play by play analyst of 20+years. He mentioned that MJax has told him long time back when he was a player that he will be a head coach one day and he will not go through earning stripes like becoming assistant first.

  25. One question I have about Nelson is why he didn’t bring up better assistants—and I assume none were that good, but someone tell me different. They aren’t head coaches now. He was getting on in years and didn’t know about the change in ownership his last season, or until late summer that he wouldn’t be returning. Smart didn’t work out, and I’m curious about his relationship with Nelson.

    Not that it would have made any difference. It’s unlikely Lacob would have kept whoever Nelson trained, if he were available.

    • Nellie mentored Avery Johnson at Dallas and Keith Smart with Warriors. Keith Smart turned out to be horrible coach but Avery did win COY award and Dirk credits him for making him complete player.

    • Popovich isn’t a head coach?

      • yes Pop was too, was looking at his last two head coaching jobs only. My bad, though until recently Pop didn’t coach anything like Nellie.

    • Ooops. I meant why he didn’t bring up someone better his last years. I’ve forgotten the history. Who were the good assistants under Nelson?

      • don’t overlook the Peter principle. most excellent assistant coaches aren’t going to make good chiefs in the hyper realm of the n.b.a., where the owners and v.p.’s/g.m.’s running personnel largely determine the coach’s success. the chief’s job is much more political (including media manipulation). this is where the former players have an advantage, accustomed to performing in public and interacting with media. can’t really consider nelson an exceptional personal mentor, but he clearly taught his assistants skills and gave them great opportunities to grow.

  26. You can add Del Harris and Larry Riley to the list.

    There are a couple of coaching legends who have an abominable tree: Phil Jackson, obviously, and Jerry Sloan. Sloan had one loyal top assistant his entire career.

  27. Just came across this summation of Nellie’s career. One of the better ones I have seen.

    http://espn.go.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/7753140/former-dallas-mavericks-coach-don-nelson-impact-felt-all-nba

    • Like this one too.

      http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2012/04/03/pop-pays-tribute-to-nelson-legacy/

      “You look at what he does, and what you learn is what the NBA rules are and how to use them to your best advantage,” Popovich said. “You also learn to look at players and really see what players can do and use that positive against the opponent.

      “Nellie didn’t worry about what people couldn’t do. He’d figure out what each player could do and then use that to his advantage.”

      Genius, Popovich reminds, should be reserved for scientists, philosophers and brain surgeons, but Nelson came closer than most to finding brilliance inside the X’s and O’s of basketball strategy.

      “By definition, coaches can’t be brilliant,” Popovich said. “But all things being relative, Nellie was brilliant as a coach.”

    • Lacob and Jackson share this in common, that neither has come to terms with his inadequacies and lack of knowledge, or at any rate do not show they have.

      The first thing Lacob should have done was sit down with Nelson and hear him out, his thoughts on the roster and how they could be played. It would have cost him nothing. Even if Lacob disagreed, at least he would have ideas to counter to better strengthen his own thoughts about where he wanted to go. Sounding out opposition is the best way to construct a good argument.

      And there was absolutely no reason why Lacob shouldn’t have kept Nelson for one one more year, especially given the lateness of his ascension. It would not have hurt a damn thing, in terms of the future of the team or anything. No major roster changes were in the offing for some time, whatever Nelson’s input. But Nelson had finally got a workable roster in place and knew what to do with it. With a few minor additions—we talked about this long ago. At the very least that would have allowed continuity and allowed further development of the players Nelson brought out, especially Curry. This isn’t Nellie love. It’s a lowest common denominator assessment. And it would have given Lacob time to learn the ropes and plan for the future.

      The downside here is that I assume Nelson would have promoted Smart as his replacement. Smart is a mystery to me—did he spend all his time with Nelson hating his system and waiting his chance to put his own in place? I’m not sure what we learned about him at Sacramento, given their roster. Malone is struggling there as well.

      Do you know anything about the relationship of Hornacek to Sloan? He must have learned something.

  28. cosmicballoon

    Re: Atlanta. Draymond and O’Neal were awesome in the third quarter once Jackson got Bogut out of the game. Barnes had another nondescript game despite heavy minutes.

    Interesting that Elton Brand had a nice first half….Bogut can’t even get out to the free throw line defensively.

    The smallball unit at the end of the first half extended the lead with Curry, Iggy, Barnes, Green and Lee.

    Solid win and low minutes for the starters. Hopefully Klay is OK.

    • I held my breath when Bogut, Barnes, and Igoudala started 2nd. half.

      http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20140307&game=ATLGSW

      Look at the line in middle go back up towards a tie. Then look at it go down again when O’Neal, Green, and Blake came in. The Warriors now have several lineups to run—without Barnes and Bogut.

      I’m sorry now they didn’t beat Indiana worse.

      David Lee has a cute little dog? (From Bucher’s interview with that little girl.)

    • “Bogut can’t even get out to the free throw line defensively.”

      This is an issue, as much as Bogut fans want to stick their head in the sand about it.

    • “Re: Atlanta. Draymond and O’Neal were awesome in the third quarter once Jackson got Bogut out of the game. ”

      Sure he can. Did you not see him get out to the 3pt line and try to defend Antic which resulted in his shoe blowing up?

      Bogut not getting out to the free throw line is on Mark Jackson’s defensive play calling. Not Bogut.

      • cosmicballoon

        Key word: trying. He isn’t able to do it. Bogut was -2 in this game, playing with the starters. Atlanta effectively ran him off the floor because he couldn’t guard their shooting bogs.

        Three first half free throw line jumpers from Brand with Bogut nearly underneath the hoop on all three. I would say OK if Brand were shooting from 18-20 feet, but from the free throw line? Bogut was not even making an effort to challenge that shot. I can’t remember O’Neal even allowing Brand to get that shot off. O’Neal was +17 I’m this game. He’s playing like he just got the $36M deal.

        This is nitpicking, obviously, in a blowout win. However, Bogut can only be used against low post scorers even when “healthy”.

      • I agree with cb. When Bogut comes out, it’s just for show — he’s can’t actually guard out on the floor. Brand exposed this in the first quarter.

        And Blake Griffin exposed it in the last Clippers game.

        It’s also exposed every time a team, like the Spurs or Thunder, run pick and roll. Bogut doesn’t bother even attempting to come out on the point guard. The Warriors have to live and die with leaving those pull-ups open.

        Or do they? While I like Bogut, and think he’s great in certain matchups, I don’t think he’s great in every matchup. There are holes in his game that certain matchups exploit badly. With O’Neal healthy, and Lee and even Green being able to play smallball center quite effectively, the Warriors have options and versatility.

        The only thing about this Warriors team that’s not versatile is Mark Jackson’s mind. It will cost the Warriors severely in the playoffs against teams like the Thunder and Spurs if he doesn’t adjust.

        • “The Warriors have to live and die with leaving those pull-ups open.”

          I have no problem with that. Those are low-percentage shots compared to many other types of shots.

          Haven’t you heard mid-range jumpers are inefficient? Why would you want your center running out 20 feet to contest those? Makes no sense given the data.

          • I’ve also seen Parker, Westbrook and Paul destroy teams with just those shots. They’re not that inefficient when they’re uncontested.

          • I’d rather have Bogut in the lane waiting for Westbrook then him running out 15 feet to contest mid-range shots from Westbrook who will then simply hand the ball to Durant and be given a free pass to the rim.

        • Whether Bogut has the physical capability to play effective D away from the hoop is a moot point. The fact is that he hasn’t done it well, and Jackson has others who do better. For whatever reason, Green seems to be the team’s best at defending high-post and stretch 5s.

          If Nellie were at the wheel, I suspect he’d swap in Green for Bogut ASAP against every opposing center who preferred to set up outside the low post. Nellie was like that – responding quickly to game conditions, forcing opponents to pick their poison. Jackson, not so much.

          After all those years of watching Nellie crank the dials courtside, MJax does look unresponsive. His lineups are his lineups.

          On the other hand, Jackson is giving his 2nd unit more play now that they’re doing better. It was GREAT to see them run away with the game last night! Now if he’d make individual adjustments/substitutions outside of crunchtime, we might have something here.

          • cosmicballoon

            +1 Like you said, when you have options, use them. Let’s hope Jackson is learning and perhaps looking at the analytics regarding having Green on the floor. His mayhem in the playoffs is going to be crucial.

  29. Kay Thompson Watch – Atlanta

    I think we have to call this an incomplete which is too bad for FB’s score (1-0-1) as I suspect he would have had another W if Klay didn’t get hurt. Klay looked active in his few minutes. After all, he did get hurt on an aggressive drive to the basket. I hope the fall doesn’t bring back the timidness.

    • Hey, should an incomplete be scored as a tie? Not fair! Particularly since he was aggressive in his short stint! :>

      Paradoxically, I think if he had taken the ball right into the contact, instead of trying a finesse dipsy do to avoid the contact, he probably wouldn’t have fallen on his backside.

  30. Draymond keeps getting better. Last night 5 assists and 4 steals in 23 minutes. I hope the FO makes the right choice when the time comes.

    • +1

    • Not to mention that he was back to hitting spot up threes instead of trying high difficulty twos.

    • That will be a competency check for the FO, won’t it?

      No one can predict how DG will do between now and the end of his contract, of course, but his best option next year really might be to test free agency. If he stayed with the Ws, with this roster, with this coach, he could be stuck at 20 mpg forever. Elsewhere, maybe he gets to play more.

      Someone who recognized Green’s team-wide impact would snap him up in an instant.

      My guess: as much as some here “have concerns” about management, the fact is that they’ve done a spectacular job of team building. Myers and possibly Lacob really do understand what they have.

      Draymond might get a lucrative offer elsewhere, but the guy is damn useful even to a coach and team who can’t find more than 20 min./game for him. If DG gets a ridiculous offer from someone else, the Ws will have to let him go. Otherwise, he’ll be a Warrior past next year. And 3 years from now, it will be Draymond’s team.

      • the decision is simple for green and his agent — if the lacobites want him, they can get him before free agency becomes a major factor in his decision. if they truly love him, they can offer a nice signing bonus this summer and give him an extension before he even enters the option year. they extended bogut after all before he entered the final year on his Mil deal. green will be paid less than a vet’s minimum next season, less than NN.

        • Less than NN. About 1/4 of Barnes’ pay, with zero marketing hoopla. A tiny fraction of Speights’ salary.

          The Warriors haven’t even rewarded Green’s contribution with more playing time. moto, what do you think the odds are of the Warriors rewarding him with an early contract extension? I’m thinking near zero.

          • on the surface, you are probably accurate. and we know quite well that lacob is a near virtuoso at superficial (de. jordan, d.howard, barnes). myers however might consider things a bit deeper, contemplating what a glue player, multiple position defender, excellent secondary ball handler, tough on the boards, all that and more, really would cost in the market — 3 year contracts, $9-13m. an early extension for green could go for less than $3m. per season, or on the low end of that range.

            consider this hypothesis, though, not to push racial stereotypes but to critique the latent racism in the ownership of big $$ teams (sure, his bloated airness owns a team, but does a good job imitating his present peers). what if green was a melanin-challenged, euro-gened player, wouldn’t he be hyped into a kind of folk hero ? consider how well Brian Cardinal did with the logo’s $$ in Mem, or even how Amundson has stuck around and done financially, considering his production. footnote : the lacobite payroll has two of the highest salaried non-black guys in the game.

          • Ouch, moto. I see your point about the implicit racism of some marketing programs. And I certainly couldn’t rule out the possibility that it could factor in to Green’s next contract, though it would be a surprising mistake for that to come true.

            Lacob sells products. Barnes is a product, Green is a product. Products are packaged and promoted. To some degree, the packaging and promotions ARE the product. People lay out cash for the idea of things, concepts and imagery. That’s especially true in sports marketing.

            Back to the Warriors: the “idea” of Harrison Barnes is a broadly appealing one. More appealing than the reality of his basketball play. He’s a lovely movie star. Yeah, I could sell that.

            But the “idea” of Draymond has barely been cultivated by the Warriors. The dude just doesn’t look pretty out there, he can’t be a movie star. And as a non-scorer he’s not obviously marketable. As he is, Dray is establishing a different concept for himself, that of a hardhat/lunchbucket guy. Competent, smart, tough, no-nonsense, get the job done. That, my friend, is a saleable marketing concept. Unfortunately, it’s also a complete counterpoint to Barnes, and if the team promotes the Dray concept it kills its marketing investment in Barnes. The two can coexist on the court, but not in promotions.

            Is there some latent racism embedded in that picture? If so, it is certainly not the point, not central to the ideas in play here. And if racist memes were embedded in these marketing concepts, they would not be a selling point. In the marketplace for NBA product, they would harm sales. Besides being disgusting, immoral and illegal, racist messaging would be bad for business.

            We’ve all said here that Barnes’ playing time cuts into Green’s. I think in the same way the Ws promotional backing for Barnes has had a big impact on Green’s level of publicity. Because if Green is your idea of a good player – there’s no way around it – then Barnes isn’t. And I don’t think the Ws are quite ready to write off their Barnes promo dollars quite yet.

            So… again, I don’t know. I don’t see racism there, I see dueling marketing programs.

          • I’m avoiding making some comment about why Lacob and the NBA world find Barnes attractive.

  31. There are two ways of looking at Steve Blake, depending on your point of view:

    1. He is a capable, experienced PG who will help an inexperienced coach learn the ropes, succeed now, and mature into a capable experienced member of the organization himself.

    One of these days.

    2. He will bail out Jackson and allow his coaching job to be renewed. He will also reinforce his habits to be cautious, play cautious offensive sets, and not bring out other players or experiment. He will also keep the team from finding and developing a PG for the future, especially one who might better serve the talents of the team.

    But at least Steph will get some rest.

    The same can be said of Iguodala, though there’s a drop off in offense and court management. He facilitates very well, but he’s still not a PG.

    How many more games would the Warriors have won and what kind of shape would they be in now if they simply had a good backup PG from the start? Four is a conservative guess, and those four games would make all the difference in the world. And he would he have brought out the other bench players so they’d be ready now, as well as given the starters more rest. I still suspect Klay is most suffering from fatigue, pressure, and lack of support. How do his numbers compare with when he played with Jack?

    Bringing inexperienced and unproven players for the position—Douglass, NN, Bazemore, and Crawford—to an inexperienced coach is at best a risky gamble where it’s difficult to predict the odds.

    The most important acquisitions last year were simply two experienced, midrange players—Jack and Landry, one a PG. This is easily proven: look at how well they did when Bogut went down (and imagine if they simply had a midrange center and put the extra money elsewhere).

    There should be a stat that measures proven experience and its effects on the floor.

    Even though he’s getting on in years, they’ll have to keep Blake next season, unless they somehow get lucky. There’s no reason to think anyone else on the squad now can fill in. They won’t get any experience this season at the very least. But I see a tight cap without much room for sensible decisions—Green, etc., and O’Neal is certainly worth another contract.

    Blake vs Jack would make a nice debate. Blake is a better PG, but Jack a better scorer, or was with us. Defense may be a tossup.

  32. Warriors once again set out to convince us that Bob Myers is the GM, once again wind up proving he’s not:

    http://www.sfgate.com/sports/kroichick/article/Warrior-through-and-through-5300735.php

    PS. What does Kroichik mean by “some quarters”?

    • Quick clip:

      This creates a perception, in some quarters, that Lacob is the de facto general manager. Myers painted a picture of collaborative decision-making involving Lacob, executive board member Jerry West, director of player personnel Travis Schlenk and assistant general manager Kirk Lacob (Joe’s son).

      Myers insisted he’s comfortable with the arrangement, and Lacob acknowledged that Myers’ personality and listening skills are vital given the circumstances.

      “Everyone in the room can’t have the last word,” Lacob said. “I’m a local owner and I think I know something about basketball. Bob is willing to defer to me or Peter or Jerry with the ego thing.

    • The Ainge recommendation slows me down a bit in my criticism of Meyers. Then again, Ainge has experience in every facet of the game—the Warriors have no one comparable—and may not put so much emphasis on the same with a GM—nor want anyone to challenge him. Who’s the GM of the Celtics now and is he any good?

  33. Did u guys catch Bazemore take over crunchtime against the Thunder? If not, you really missed something. Particularly that last drive and finish over Durant.

    Mark Jackson missed so badly on Bazemore it is ridiculous. Bazemore is a guy who could play a role on a champion, right now. And I think it’s probable he’ll have a better career than Barnes. His defense is that good.

  34. Jodie Meeks put on a show today—42 points—and probably postponed Reggie’s debut. I assume OKC was trying to win. Durant played 42 minutes.

    • J.Butler for Chi with turf toe played 48 min., most on his team, in their OT upset of Mia.

  35. Phoenix:

    Crawford should have come in with the subs 2nd. half (and Speights). With a big lead, they struggled scoring. Blake needed someone to help spread and scatter the defense, someone who can score, someone like Crawford who can slash, dish, and pass himself. Barnes is just a passive drain.