With Bogut back on the shelf, it looks like the Warriors are going to be playing some Nellieball going forward. So of course, I’m scheduled to be out of town for the next 10 days. It looks like I’m going to be forced to miss the next 4 games, including the two big home games against the Grizzlies and the Spurs. I assume those are the teams that Jackson is resting Jermaine O’Neal up for.
I’ll leave this thread open, and look forward to reading some of you guys’ recaps for a change.
We got a look at a little smallball last night. Some observations:
Tempo: This was one of the rare games all season long where the Warriors really sought to push the tempo. They even ran it up a few times after made baskets, so I know they were serious. And then even Steve Blake pushed it up.
And then Pete Myers came out of the locker room at the half and told Frau Bucher (neigh!): “We didn’t push the ball enough.”
I confess, I did spit up a little Lagavulin at that.
Is there a reason why the Warriors don’t have this mindset, say, when Andre Iguodala is healthy?
Lee: I’m sure Lee felt Warriors fans’ eyes burning holes in his jersey, with Bogut out and him filling in at starting center. And in truth, there was very little he could do to slow down the highly skilled Vucevic. But he gave as good as he got on the other end. As blog friend rgg would say, isn’t that another form of defense? I, being perhaps slightly less metaphysical, would say it’s a two-way sport, and in general, Lee outplays opposing centers, particularly in crunchtime. As the stats of the Lee/Green frontline attest.
Vucevic, by the way, is a terrific young player, who’s been torturing conventional centers at the same rate. He’s got it all on offense, inside and out.
Once Mark Jackson broke down and let it happen, the Curry/Lee pick and roll was a sight to behold. If the Warriors have a more efficient offense than PNR with Lee at center and a spread floor, I would love to see it.
Curry: Ever see him look more comfortable out on the floor? It had something to do with the non-competitive Magic, but also a lot to do with the fact that he couldn’t be blitzed.
With a spread floor, Stephen Curry All-Star becomes Stephen Curry Superstar.
Thompson: Klay took a game off from the offensive aggressiveness we’ve seen from him lately, but that’s because he had it going from the outside. This is a very confident player we’re seeing right now.
Great pumpfake at 4:45 3Q to get himself to the line. I’d love to see more of that. I think he could pull it off 3 times a game if he wanted.
The defense was again superb. Afflalo probably didn’t feel like showing up. But Klay pushed him over the edge into quitting.
Green: Not one of his better offensive games.
But great on the boards, and when he does pull them down, he’s one of the best on the team at pushing the ball upcourt.
Mokur: We didn’t get to see him in the role I’ve been yearning for, stretch-five. And we never will, particularly if he doesn’t hit those threes he sneaks in every so often. Hit that shot, Mokur!
But we did see some of the stuff that I have been pointing out about his game, that Warriors fans are blind to: The rebounding and the rim defense. He’s above average at both, when played at his true position, center.
It should be noted that there is a big difference between playing Mokur with David Lee, and playing him with Jermaine ONeal. When played with Lee, he’s a center, and very useful. When played with O’Neal, he’s out of position at power forward, and godawful.
Bogut: I don’t think it’s a good sign that the Warriors allowed the use of the word “inflammation” rather than sticking with “sprain.”
I think it’s something of a miracle that Bogut lasted this long before the inflammation returned to his arthritic ankle. But now that it’s back, it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to get it completely back out this season.
Hope I’m wrong.
So, 3 years $36 million? It couldn’t have waited?
Iggy: So now left-knee tendinitis. Another cost of bringing him back too soon from his hamstring injury.
So, 4 years $48 million for a 30 year old wing player? It’s funny that the same bloggers who set the internet ablaze over world champion Stephen Jackson’s contract, were over the moon about this one.
The Black Emu: His season is now verging on the historically bad. Do you realize that he’s shooting a flat 40% from the field? That is simply godawful for a small forward. And if he doesn’t give you offense, what does he give you? He’s not Draymond Green.
In NBA history, has a player of this caliber ever been given so much undeserved playing time? Ever caused his team to sacrifice so much in the name of his development?
Last season, the Warriors benched Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush to rush Barnes’ development. This season, they lost Kent Bazemore — a far better defender, whatever his offensive skills are — and simply watched while their competitors in the Western Conference signed Danny Granger and Caron Butler and Austin Daye at the deadline. The stretch-four Daye is a reach, and probably simply organizational depth, but Granger and Butler have stepped right into the rotations of the Clippers and Thunder, and even now are much better players on both sides of the ball than Barnes. Think the Warriors could have used them? Why didn’t they compete for them?
I’ve been discussing Barnes’ limitations — to not a little heat — ever since the Warriors drafted him. But even I never thought it would be this bad. Jim Barnett has now resorted to basically saying, every time Barnes gets a favorable matchup, “Let’s see what Barnes can do against this guy.”
It should be clear to all by now that Barnes is a bust at small forward. Even if he improves considerably, his ceiling grades out to mediocrity on the offensive end, and worse than that on defense.
So why are the Warriors continuing to feature him? Continuing to strip their roster to protect him? Don’t think it hasn’t cost the team in a huge way. As we’re about to see in spades, with Iggy again sidelined.
This was Joe Lacob’s draft pick. Jerry West didn’t want him, saw the holes in his game. But Lacob, as he recently revealed in an interview with his Mercury News press agent, was simply overwhelmed by Barnes’ body, his athleticism, and not least, his great interview skills. (Lacob’s revelations reminded me, uncomfortably, of Ralph Barbieri’s infatuation with Chris Webber’s eyes. But at least Webber could play, when he felt like it.)
Has a sports franchise ever been so damaged by two interviews than those of Mark Jackson — whom West also didn’t want — and Harrison Barnes? Perhaps Lacob should consider putting someone other than himself in the room.
I have the feeling that Joe Lacob’s ego is on the line in a major way with Harrison Barnes. That Joe Lacob’s ego is responsible for Barnes’ continued place on the Warriors. And especially for the sacrifices to the team the Warriors have made, and are continuing to make.
How long will we have to see this play out?
The Anti-Barnes: I have been writing for some time about a player who at the time of the draft was obviously better than Barnes on both sides of the ball, and a better fit for the Warriors as well: The guy whom the Raptors snagged at #8, one spot after Barnes: Terrence Ross. Now that he’s emerged from Rudy Gay’s shadow, we’re seeing just how good a two-way pro Ross will be.
Everyone else is focused on Andre Drummond, but I can understand the reluctance to draft him. His character was in question, and even now he’s still a project, a long way from a winning basketball player. And the Warriors had already committed to Bogut, and a desire to win now.
But what about the young small forward we saw play last night, who was also drafted after Barnes, at #15? Like Terrence Ross, Mo Harkless is just emerging from a log jam at his position. And I think it’s a lock that he will also be a far better pro than Barnes. First and foremost because he’s a great, lockdown defender, which should be your first priority when drafting small forwards.
At 6-9, with long rangy arms, and fantastic defensive instincts, Harkless is a better defender now than Barnes can ever hope to be. 1.2 steals a game to Barnes’ .8. Tripling Barnes’ blocks. Did you see him cap Draymond Green at the rim at 7:10 3rd Q? He did it first by sniffing out the play, and leaving his own man to rotate early — something Barnes routinely fails at. The block was dessert.
The offense is still raw, but Harkless shoots the three at the same percentage as Barnes, and is over 45% from the field. And the upside… did you catch that lightning spin move he put on Green under the basket? The ball was through the basket before Draymond knew where he went.
Ross, Harkless. Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Tony Snell. Prototypical 3 and D wing players abound in the bottom of drafts.
Granger, Butler. Prototypical 3 and D wings are available in free agency and at the trade deadline. Cheap.
Kent Bazemore. Prototypical 3 and D wings are available in the D leagues.
Guys like these are what the Warriors desperately need, not 3 and no D, soft, handsome, well-spoken, self-branded primadonnas.
Hopefully, at some point Joe Lacob will swallow his pride, and allow this near-great Warriors team to really contend.