Nellieball Rides Again

Frenchy: “Get out before I kill you!”

Destry: “You mean you ain’t been trying?”

— Destry Rides Again

There are some games in an NBA schedule that just can’t be won. And an 11:00 a.m. start on a road game in Texas, playing in a different system than you’re used to, against one of the league’s hottest teams, would seem to be one of them. I’ll confess I wasn’t high on the Warriors chances before this game, to put it mildly. So the fact that the Warriors dominated made a real statement to me. 

A couple of mitigating reasons for the Mavs poor performance were evident. Chandler Parsons was out, and it could be argued that he’s just about as key to the Mavs system as Bogut is to the Warriors. The Mavs play at the fastest pace in the league, and it’s their ability to stretch the floor with their bigs, to play Nellieball with Nowitzki and Parsons, that allows them to do it. It was also clear that the 11:00 am start affected the Mavs’ old men far more than it did the Warriors young bucks. Nowitzki in particular looked like he was playing through a hangover.

But what was clearest of all is that this Mavs team simply can’t hang with the Warriors. The Warriors are just a terrible matchup for them. The Mavs like to run teams out of the gym. They can’t outrun the Warriors. They like to spread teams out and shoot them out of the gym. They can’t outspread and outshoot the Warriors. And they like to pick and roll and pick and pop teams to death, with their swarms of unguardable munchkins, and their two stretch-fours. But the Warriors have the antidote to that, with their swarms of switchable 6-7″ defenders.

My list of Western Conference teams that are a threat to beat the Warriors in the playoffs (assuming everyone is fully healthy) is only three long: Spurs, Thunder, and Rockets. If by some miracle Bogut and Lee are both alive and kicking come playoff time, the Grizzlies will be merely a gamy appetizer for this team: not enough edge on the front line, not enough fire power.

The Clippers are food for Grizzlies.

The Mavs?

Road-kill.

NELLIEBALL

I’m sure everyone’s expecting me to talk about how the Warriors are playing without Bogut on the floor right now, but that’s not actually what I want to talk about. In fact, his latest whoopsie is rather ill-timed for me, because I’ve been planning to talk about the Nellieball the Warriors have been playing WITH Andrew Bogut on the floor.

That’s right, Nellieball with Bogut. Because that’s exactly what they’ve been playing, and in my mind, it’s the single greatest reason why the Warriors have exploded to this 20-2 start.

Isn’t this team built almost exactly like a good Don Nelson team? Defensive monster in the middle. Stretch-four. Superstar point guard. Quorum of interchangeable, switchable, long 3 and D wings.

Let’s just take We Believe, the Don Nelson team that most Warriors fans still remember. Biedrins at center. Harrington and Matt Barnes at stretch-four. BDiddy, bien sur. And then: Captain Jack, JRich, Barnes, Pietrus, Azubuike.

For those offended by the Biedrins to Bogut comparison, here’s a little treat for you:

25 min 7.1 pts .537 FG% .50 FT% 9.3 rb 3 ast .8 stl 2.2 blk 17.2 PER

29 min 9.5 pts .599 FG% .52 FT% 9.3 rb 1.1 ast .8 stl 1.7 blk 16.2 PER

One of those is Bogut’s line this year, the other is Biedrins’ line from We Believe.

And one of these is the best line of Bogut’s career (09-10), the other is the best  of Biedrins’ career (07-08):

27 min 11.9 pts .578 FG% .55 FT% 11.2 rb 2 ast 1 stl 1.5 blk 19.2 PER

32 min 15.9 pts .520 FG% .63 FT% 10.2 rb 1.8 ast .6 stl 2.5 blk 20.7 PER

Can you tell which is which?

As for the comparison of stretch-fours, I strongly prefer Draymond Green to Harrington, Matt Barnes and Harrison Barnes. But just to keep things in perspective, here are their respective PERs from this year versus the We Believe year:

  • Draymond Green: 15.5
  • Harrison Barnes: 15.2
  • Al Harrington (Warriors): 16.1
  • Matt Barnes: 14.7

Truly, this current Warriors team is just about as close in construction to Nellie’s We Believe team as it is possible to conceive.

And not just in construction, but in execution. Steve Kerr has had the Warriors playing Nellieball from opening tip to closing horn. A stretch four on the floor at every moment of the game. Pushing the tempo every possession. Running not only on rebounds, but also after made baskets. Shooting early offense threes.

In 2006-7, the Warriors were first in the league in fast-break points, at 20.6 per game.

In 2014-15, the Warriors are first in the league in fast-break points, at 19.2 per game.

In 2006-7, the Warriors were first in the league in three-pointers attempted, at 24.8.

In 2014-15, the Warriors are seventh in the league, at 25.1. (How the league has changed.)

One final comparison. This year’s Warriors team has opened the season 20-2. In 2006-7, the gelling-at-the-last-minute We Believe Warriors closed the season 16-5.

Now you can nitpick this comparison to death if you like. This year’s team is definitely more serious about defense than the regular season We Believers. (Although Biedrins, Barnes, Jackson, Pietrus, and Davis is a frightening defensive lineup, possibly better than any this year’s Warriors team could field; and the We Believers completely dismantled the #1 seed with their defense.) This team has a real, honest to goodness all-star power forward waiting in the wings, hopefully, by the name of David Lee, who would have made all the difference to the We Believers in their second round series against Utah. And this team has more frontline depth in general, with Ezeli and Speights as well as Lee to back up the decrepitating Bogut.

But that’s really beside the point. The point is that this season’s Warriors are a Nellieball team, playing full-out Nellieball, and they are absolutely killing it. As I have been predicting they would for years, if played in this style.

Nellieball with a Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson backcourt is completely and utterly unguardable. Throw in 20 odd minutes of Bogut, and a few patented Don Nelson 3 and D wings, and you have all the defense you need to create a championship point differential.

Nellieball is the fullest expression of this Warriors roster. Steve Kerr and Alvin Gentry realized it, from the get-go. And Warriors fans are now experiencing the joy of witnessing it.

VOLDEMORT

Of course, I’m the only writer alive who mentions Don Nelson’s name anymore. Adam Lauridsen, Tim Kawakami and Ethan Strauss would rather die in a fiery car crash than mention it, because they were among the biggest ridiculers and belittlers of Nellie’s stretch-four lineups back in the day. The process by which they became the biggest proponents of replacing David Lee with Harrison Barnes (first) and Draymond Green (second) has been mysterious to me in the extreme.

If anyone is given credit for the Nellieball that has swept the league, and is now practically common wisdom (except in Warriors headquarters, more on that below), it is Mike D’Antoni. You hear his name spoken a lot. And you also hear Alvin Gentry and Steve Kerr mentioned as coming from Mike D’Antoni’s tree, which I suppose is true, if you overlook the fact that Kerr killed “Seven Seconds or Less” and forced D’Antoni to quit.

But where did Mike D’Antoni get his system? Didn’t he steal the greatest Nellieball point guard in history from Nellie? The very idea of stretch-fours and small ball and seven seconds or less?

After the Miami Heat got their butts waxed by the Nellieball Mavericks in the finals, Erik Spoelstra (aka Pat Riley) reacted by transforming the Heat into a Nellieball team the following season: Centers benched, Chris Bosh to the five, Lebron to the four. Et voila, two consecutive championships.

Did Rick Carlisle or Erik Spoelstra ever credit Nellie? No, even though Carlisle has supremely benefited from another Nellie discovery and creation, Dirk Nowitzki, he works for Mark Cuban, and we know what mentioning Nellie’s name in that man’s presence would mean. As for Spoelstra, he calls it “positionless basketball.” As if it were his own discovery.

For some reason, Don Nelson is The Name That Must Not Be Spoken.

Nellie is Voldemort.

PLAN B

Dimsdale: “Here’s your badge. Don’t let anybody see it.”

— Destry Rides Again

What I find absolutely hilarious about the Warriors playing Nellieball this season, is that just like the Warriors playing Nellieball two years ago in the regular season and playoffs, and just like the Warriors playing Nellieball last year in the playoffs, IT IS PLAN B.

It was not GM Joe Lacob’s intention that the Warriors play this way. It has never been Joe Lacob’s intention. He has always wanted the Warriors to play big. As when he signed Lou Amundson over the stretch-four Anthony Tolliver. And as when he ironically destroyed David Lee’s health by trading for the sidelined Andrew Bogut mid-season. And as when he signed Carl Landry rather than a stretch-four. And as when he signed Mo Speights to play back-up power forward. (We know this because that’s where Mark Jackson played him, out of deference to management, for the first 20 odd games of his Warriors career.)

And we know this by the reaction of Lacob’s spokesmodel, Bob Myers, when Steve Kerr opened his mouth in the pre-season about the Warriors needing a stretch-four. When Myers was asked whether the Warriors would consider playing Green and Barnes at stretch-four, he responded: “We want to play big whenever possible.” And when asked about Kerr’s statement, he said, “I believe Steve would walk that statement back now, if you asked him.”

And we know this by management’s frequently voiced opinion that Festus Ezeli would be the primary backup to Bogut, now that he was healthy. So where else could David Lee and Mo Speights be played but at power forward?

I’m not completely certain that Steve Kerr took the Warriors job knowing what he would do with the roster. I’m not completely certain that Draymond Green would be starting if David Lee hadn’t gotten injured. Kerr certainly made a lot of noises over the summer about Bogut and Lee in the post, and running the triangle, that had me deeply disturbed.

But then he hired Alvin Gentry, which to quote Chris Matthews, sent a thrill up my leg. I wonder if GM Joe had any suspicion what Kerr was up to when he made that hire? This situation is endlessly amusing to me.

Bless you, Steve Kerr.

Nellieball rides again.

240 Responses to Nellieball Rides Again

  1. It’s not really Nellieball because the focus of this team is always defense first. Just focusing on the height of the players doesn’t really explain why they have been so successful. They play well with Bogut at the 5 and they play well with Green at the 5 because this team is loaded with players who give concentrated effort on the defensive end.

    • It’s fun to watch. Clinical assassination every night. I don’t care what they call it, it’s 9-12 guys every night swarming everywhere on defense and bobbing and weaving and bombing on offense. Love it more than I can say.

  2. I think this Warriors team transcends the traditional labels of small ball, big ball, nellie ball. The Warriors simply ball. They have players for literally every single role you can imagine and they have a coach smart enough to deploy them in the most advantageous manner possible. If they need to go big, as I am sure they will at some point, they will. To define this team with a style is a mistake.

    Where I agree with you 100% is that had Nelson had Bogut with either Run TMC or We Believe, they may have won a title. I loved MJ, but its a shame what he did to Bogut’s game by limiting him to a rebounding/defensive specialist. Nellie would have salivated at the thought of perhaps the best defensive center in the game combined with perhaps the best passing big in the game. That combination is both rare and exceedingly valuable. Given Nellie lived off the big man handling and being the screener while handling, Bogut would have excelled setting up those elite wing players. Luckily, he does it now with an elite sniping unit.

    Second, the Barnes/Green chemistry is really starting to show. Dray is a bit of an undersized 4 even though he bangs with the best of him. Barnes is every bit as big and strong as Draymond and, as a result, he usually bullies his man at the 3. It balances out. The best part? They are interchangeable defensively which segue’s nicely with my next topic.

    Livingston/AI when they sub in for Curry, the Warriors generally usually have 4 players who have the ability to guard 4 positions. That is rare and harkens back to when Harper, Jordan, Pippen and Rodman used to lock down 1-4 consistently. These guys are doing it and both AI and Livingston have a lot to do it. Opponents, weary from chasing Curry and Klay think they get a reprieve whey they go to the bench. Instead, they are confronted with two very long, very athletic and very instinctive wing men who wreak havoc in the passing lanes. I said before these two are redundant and can’t play with one another but I have been proven wrong. I have been following the gameflows and the AI/Livingston second unit has shown very nice +/- numbers. They can’t shoot, but they get stops, get turnovers, and run. In the halfcourt they both attack relentlessly and get teammates shots while keeping the offense flowing. Livingston is really starting to come into his own though, that sky high shooting percentage and his ability to post up smaller defenders, especially when in that big lineup, has been a joy to watch. So many weapons.

    Finally, this defense is suffocating, reminds me of the We Believe squad with Baron Jax and Monta putting serious pressure on the ball and creating havoc. The thing this team has with that squad is the ability to go on huge runs fueled off of turnovers and stops. The only difference is, today’s incarnation shoots the ball at a ridiculous clip. That combination is what titles are made of. So long as they continue t defend like this they should be in a good playoff spot, but for the end game, we need Bogut in the playoffs to truly complete. I’m glad they are proving they can win without him

    Keep it going Dubs!

    • +1, nice post. I’ll have something further to point out about those game flows you allude to in my next post. Been following them myself.

  3. Your comparison of the We Believe Dubs and the current team is an excellent demonstration of what a crappy measure of player performance PER really is, especially in it’s complete inability to capture defensive value outside of box score stats.

    Stealing Alan Gentry from the Clippers (who apparently let him go so they could promote Tyronn Lue, who then got scooped by the Cavs) may well have been more important than signing Kerr, though the narrative will always give most of the credit to the head coach, for better or worse.

    • I’m not a fan of PER either, I think it’s crap. Here though I’m simply using it as shorthand to compare similar players in similar roles, which I think is OK. DG and MB. AH and HB.

  4. One more thing Felt, glad you wrote yesterday, been waiting to hear some good takes from you on the Streak. I haven’t figured out what you have against Lauridsen and I have been reading you for a few years but he actually talks about Nellie and compares his teams to the current vintage fairly often. As he did Thursday. http://blogs.mercurynews.com/warriors/2014/12/11/don-nelsons-revenge-warriors-105-rockets-93/#more-4517
    I will say credit to only you for keeping the memory of what Andris used to be alive. There’s gotta be a 30 on 30 coming some day because I loved watching him play and then it was GONE. Never a hint of coming back either. I know your injury theory but that didn’t fully explain it either. Gotta be a beautiful woman or a blackmail scheme out there somewhere it makes no sense.

  5. Nellieball is thought of as being small ball. Your now equating Nellieball with Biedrens and with the Warriors not playing with Bogut, for me changes the meaning of Nellieball.

    I agree with you that both Lacob and Myers wanted a big overpowering team like Boston with Perkins and Garnett that Lacob formerly had a finanial interest in.

    The Warriors running and shootng three’s are similar to Nellie’s system. And that the both Nellie’s team and Kerr’s team like to score in the paint.

    And it can be can be argued the rosters are similarly constructed with regard to have big wings and players who can shoot the three ball..

    But as I recently noted Nellie’s half court game was quite different from
    Kerr’s offense in some significant regards. For one it did not play that uptempo and often slowed down do to having a player like Corey Maggette on the court.

    Also on drives to the hoop there were not many passes made before such drives were taken. Nor were there many plays that called for passes and players heading for the hoop. The pick and roll was very predictable and were not run that often from different places on the court. It was mostly Ellis drives to the hoop with little passing off the drives.

    Kerr and Gentry’s plays are more complicated, quick striking and that involves picks and screen from all over the court. Nellie’s half court offense was nowhere close to the present system nor did he have the perimeter shooters that Kerr has.

    You use to argue that small ball was in many instances better than big ball. Now you seem to fit Bogut into a team playing small ball. interesting.

    And one can see that Kerr is deviating from your claim that Nellieball requires a good back up PG who can hit three’s. As Livingston is proving you dead wrong, at least, in the sense, that the Warriors have been successful with him on the court over the last 8 or so games.

    Regardless, the Dallas game was a good example of the Warriors killing there opponent in the first quarter with an average being center, and being creamed in the fourth quarter with Green playing center.

    Nellie is entitled to credit for starting a power forward who could hit the three. And such made perfect sense with the installation of the three point line.

    Since he didn’t have the players who could win, one can’t put him in the category of Bill Walsh. But even after a few games, Kerr and Gentry are in that category as night in,night out are killing teams while the roster is not a full strength.

    I’m glad the Warriors are not playing Nellie’s half court offense for if they did they would not have had the success they now enjoy.

    And you should have followed your gut when you pronounced that Gentry was a great offensive mind and based on that and the fact that Kerr had played for Pop should have been some indicating that the half court offense was going to be great. Instead, you got suckered into Kerr’s few statements about playing the triangle, and therefore you said that you could not predict whether the Warriors were going to be over or under the Las Vegas line. You should have known better for the simple reason the triangle was going to fail as we lack the personal for it and such would have been readily apparent to Kerr.

    Go Warriors.

  6. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.
    —Juliet/WS

    Nellieball is Nellieball is Nellieball.
    —Gertrude Stein

    There’s another way to say this. The team is finally figuring out how to make use of its core talent. But it took injuries and long years to realize that, and we can only hope Lacob—finally—has learned the lesson. Put another way, his obsession with “stars” and bigs and one-way players has sidetracked the team. (Source for the Myers quote, FB? We’ve been hearing that message for years.)

    Make no mistake. The Warriors are at the top and won yesterday largely because of three good draft picks, Curry, Klay, and Green, who were turned loose and allowed to show what they can do. $40 million of contracts, Lee and Lacob’s “transcendent” deals had almost no influence, obviously because the first two were out and Iguodala is struggling for whatever reason. We can only wonder how good the team would be now if the money were better spent and better picks made in the past.

    Lee, of course, can add all kinds of options to the team, played right, given his leadership and skills and intelligence and versatility, and we can only hope for the best. His years of playing with questionable—and absent because of injury—centers have worn him down. This is not to say Bogut will not be useful, in fact essential, to make a deep run playing a limited roll. But Fitz keeps whining they can’t run the offense without him, and that is utter nonsense. They can—and may well have to. I doubt many have confidence he’ll last the whole season, or the next. Running the offense through him, however, does make good use of him and helps keep him on the floor. It does slow the offense down, though, and works against early offense of a sort we saw yesterday. They can still push the pace, however, with him on the floor in other sets. Whether this system will work against the better teams and whether he can score against them remains to be seen. His scoring has already trailed off.

    I started following this blog Curry’s first season and Nelson’s last. While everyone else was looking at the win totals and excoriating Nelson and Nellieball, what I found here was appreciation of talents and systems, real potential overlooked, most notably by Lacob. In many ways it is my favorite season among the last five. They often couldn’t suit up more than 8 players. They had no creditable PF, a makeshift center, or at times no center at all. Yet Curry and Ellis and a handful of D-Leaguers were able to give teams fits—including Dallas. Look at this win over Dallas, and look at the roster:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=291124006

    VladRad at forward, Mikki Moore at center (who, though injured, did well). Only 6 players suited up that game.

    And it was this blog that saw the talents of Curry, Green, and Thompson right from the start.

    Bob McKillop, Curry’s college coach, said he was “special.” Nelson, I’m sure had a strong hand here, but it was Riley who hit the road and watched the college games. I remember his saying what impressed him was how Curry handled a bad shooting night and how he came back.

    It was Riley who hit the road to watch Green, and he saw intangibles for the player 34 other teams did not want in the draft. How right he was.

    I didn’t read anything about Riley on Klay. Odds are good Klay was selected simply because he was the best shooting guard they could find to facilitate an Ellis trade. No matter. Give the FO credit. He has far exceeded the expectations of anyone, except, of course, of our beloved blogmaster.

    And we still don’t know their ceilings.

    But after that? If his outside shooting keeps up, not certain, Barnes may well prove to be a useful role player and even add a bit to that. Give him credit for persevering in spite of the disappointment and the horribly distracting hype and promotional nonsense he’s had to endure, which most likely has influenced and sidetracked him. Let’s hope they find a way to work Livingston in, a capable player in spite of his limitations. Ezeli, in what may have looked to be a throwaway pick, may well prove to be a good backup center. Speights, a two-way player not phenomenal but still with talents, has been given a chance, so far, with good results. How much longer he stays remains to be seen.

    And after that? Unless Holiday pans out, far from certain, there isn’t a single draft choice or minor trade who has promise now or in the coming years. Count up all the players who have come and gone the last five years. The list is long—and has been put here several times. Add the trade picks given up for the “transcendent” deals. Then factor in all the potential lost of better players for the system not picked up and given time to develop. And try to figure a roster out the coming years with what little money will be left.

    There have been complaints of negativity. Baloney. This is the NBA, where standards should be set high. And they should be gauged by the incredible potential that this team has and no lower. It is a team that has the potential to make a good run in the playoffs and be strong for years. Many, however, have no stronger argument than Lacob is better than Cohan. Such an argument is infected with the pathology that has haunted the team for decades.

    Give credit where credit is due. The team’s potential came in through the back door. Lacob had to find someone who spoke his language and played golf, Kerr, who was trained in the school of Gentry and D’Antoni (I’m looking for a more solid Nelson connection).

    • Pathology, indeed.

    • “There have been complaints of negativity.”

      How could that be? You? Negative?

      “And after that? Unless Holiday pans out, far from certain, there isn’t a single draft choice or minor trade who has promise now or in the coming years.”

      “Add the trade picks given up for the “transcendent” deals. Then factor in all the potential lost of better players for the system not picked up and given time to develop. And try to figure a roster out the coming years with what little money will be left.”

      “The team’s potential came in through the back door.”

      “Lacob had to find someone who spoke his language and played golf…”

      Gosh, how could anyone find your comments negative?

      • If the Warriors were to win 3 strait Championships Lacob still
        wouldn’t get credit here. I guess it makes it more ‘fun’.

      • Love the team, love the playing, love the winning but don’t like the owner and/or coach. I will join the chorus when the team loses because of stupid moves made by front office. Right now, time to appreciate the team and who ever built that team.

    • “It was Riley who hit the road to watch Green, and he saw intangibles for the player 34 other teams did not want in the draft. How right he was.”

      If it was Riley who was instrumental, I doubt to credit him with that after seeing him pick Udoh, didn’t he also pass Green like two times. Riley(and gary st jean) screwed the team with bad draft picks more than he could ever make up.

  7. Davis again questionable today. Man, the breaks don’t stop coming. I’ll take them.

  8. The next time Draymond does the “It’s time for tipoff” spot, he should do it with cotton sticking out of his nose.

    Jim Barnett, late: “That was a man’s basket.”

    Hey, they won!

  9. Just as we have seen what a much better team the Warriors would have been with Kerr and his staff had coached the Warriors instead of Jackson and Smart, one can also say the same for the years that Nellie coached.

    For surely, the offensive would have been so much more effective in the half-court offense, and I doubt the Warriors would be out rebounded on the offensive glass by 5 or 6 per game as they were for many years that Nellie coached.

    Tonight’s game shows once again how vulnerable the Warriors are when opposing teams relentlessly attack the rim.

  10. Wish Warriors could figure a way to
    Trade for Favors.

  11. rgg: The Warriors have won 15 straight
    games and you now chose to say that
    the roster could have been stronger,
    and certain players have limitation.
    Maybe you should consider that all
    other teams may be envious of our
    roster. Can’t wait for you to assert as
    soon as we lose to a good opponent
    That we’re not a top caliber team.

    Do think the Warriors should consider
    when the roster is at full strength
    making a trade that will upgrade the
    roster. For now, the value of most
    are higher than they have ever been.

    • How is Vivek ‘revolutionary’? I keep reading Felbot’s Lacob vs. Vivek POV with not surprisingly Felbot saying Vivek is the ‘superior mind’ – no surprise there.

      This is the same Vivek that hired Mullen (who resigned Murphy, Dunleavy & Foyle to huge contracts) to be his Jerry West where as Lacob actually hired Jerry West – ‘Mr. Mullen, you’re no Jerry West.’

      In fact, I’d argue Mullen has proved to be a poor talent evaluator
      & team constructor. It was Mullen who prodded the Kings to sign Rudy Gay for some inexplicable reason.

      Whereas Lacob by his second year as owner had a playoff team. Yeah, that Vivek seems like a pretty ‘revolutionary’ owner…

  12. Mike Malone fired by Kings. Gotta be an interesting story here…

    • If they hire Mark Jackson imma die!(laughing)

    • Bizarre. I was pulling for Malone. Lacob seems to have his house in order and I predict stability in the years to come. This is worth something.

      moto? You’ve followed the Kings.

      • malone was ranadive’s pick, not d’allesandro’s. if there was a rift, which is almost the standard m.o. between head coach and g.m. when there are strong personalities who’ve established themselves in different organizations (compared to for example SA, where buford worked for years in lower rungs before becoming g.m., or how myers and kerr are both made men given their dream jobs by the same boss), the owner has to break the impasse. hollins (now in Brk) didn’t last long under a regime change in Mem, kidd didn’t want to be king’s patsy and split to Mil.

        karl a dark horse candidate, if ranadive likes him and d’allesandro fancies the way lemonade was made from the lemons he and ujiri squeezed from NY and elsewhere when they dispatched anthony. alternatively, malone was just too old-school, while the owner and d’allesandro reached some concord on how to skip past the mediocre intermediate step so familiar to woeyr fans before the tease of reaching the second round in ’13. and they’ll be identifying or searching for someone outside the usual suspects of n.b.a. coaching ‘lifers’.

        • guess that rules out Voldemort.

          • The last time Mullin/D’allesandro hired Nelson their careers took a downturn.

          • true story, he has no shot with Mullin there, even if he weren’t 90. Still, an amusing thought. He and @vivek would be a match made in heaven.

          • I can’t imagine why you think Vivek and Nelly would be a good match…. Vivek is everything you imagine you hate about Lacob, only x 10. He’s an over-involved owner who treats the team like a new toy to play with… like Lacob, with less self-awareness.

            Nelly is going to take marching orders from an owner? Doubt it.

          • Both Vivek and Nellie are revolutionaries, unafraid to try anything. Malone was fired for refusing to push the pace and overemphasizing defense.

            Lacob is an old school reactionary.

          • If Malone’s emphasis was D, it wasn’t working, with or without Cousins playing. That being said, the Kings FO personnel management certainly made Malone’s job unnecessarily difficult.

            Nellie wouldn’t be a worse match for Vivek’s management team than George Karl. I don’t see either being eager to join another team with a twitchy ownership/front office, though.

            On the other hand, both are flexible and innovative, and either could enhance their retirement fund with one last guaranteed contract.

            On the third hand, given Ranadive’s outlook I suspect he’d prefer a coach who was younger, with a more stats-oriented mindset than the old dogs.

    • they could not win without cousins. many roster changes in malone’s tenure — perhaps a major mismatch between him an d’allesandro. the story given for thomas’ departure, cousins didn’t like the guard, and defense improved this season when cousins was healthy. malone will find a top assistant’s post when he wants, but meanwhile still collects salary from ranadive.

  13. There’s nothing inadvertent about Cunningham’s move at all. He wheeled around with his elbow high. It’s just a matter of whether or not a defender was close enough to catch it. Harrison could have been knocked out cold, maybe with a broken jaw. Hope he’s OK. Was it Cunningham who caught Green as well?

    • Draymond Green: “When the same guy elbowed the two guys in the nose, that’s not a coincidence.”

      https://twitter.com/diamond83/status/544329157426286592

    • According to Green post-game, the same guy elbowing two different players in the face made it seem to be no accident.

      Also worth noting that the incidents occurred on opposite ends of the floor.

    • It’s nights like this I miss Dominic McGuire, if for no other reason for a little enforcement—and payback. And he could have spelled Green, who will need rest later in the season. And if Lee and Bogut are going to be out more, they may well need a physical presence of some sort to fill in the rest of the season.

      http://popcornmachine.net/gf?date=20141214&game=GSWNOR

      The second unit floundered again, offensively and defensively. Look at the lineups, look at that line go down. Speights looked bad, of course, but there’s no reason to single him out as everyone was off first half. He’s not going to have Bogut’s rim protection—he’s smaller and less crafty. They’ll need team rebounding and team defense. Several times he got caught between his man and an open spot, as often happened to Lee, when the perimeter defense broke down. But he was vital both ends the last stretch, surprisingly so. AL details those minutes. He’ll be as good as the players around him.

      Iguodala scored—finally.

  14. This article is instructive on Malone’s firing: http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/12/15/7393495/michael-malone-fired-kings-vivek-ranadive-reasons

    So is this interview with Ranadive from last March: http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/67010/qa-kings-owner-vivek-ranadive

    Given a narcissistic owner with naive expectations and a coach they didn’t hire, D’Allesandro and Mullin appear to have worked steadily to undermine Malone, throwing him under the bus for any perceived shortcomings.

    And get this straight: The Kings’ fast start this year doesn’t make Malone’s firing anomaly — in fact, it may have doomed him. As Hat & Felt note above, D’Allesandro/Mullin’s experience with Nellie is a factor; they know what happens when a coach (and not the GM) gets credit for an improved team.

    Cousins’ illness may have been the biggest reason for a front office to celebrate its own team losing since MJax came up short in Game 7 against the Clippers. Why the rush to fire Malone now? Because Cousins will come back soon, and D’Allesandro/Mullin were terrified at the prospect: What if we start winning more games? We’ll never be able to get rid of him then!

    • From the first link:

      “A big reason unnamed sources are giving for the decision to fire Malone is his style doesn’t mesh with what Vivek and D’Alessandro envisioned. Vivek wants a Spursian system of ball movement and shooting with Jason Thompson, Collison, Gay and Nik Stauskas in the roles of Boris Diaw, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili, apparently. Yet, this roster, starting with Boogie, isn’t built for that type of play.”

      The reverse situation of the Warriors. Lacob & Co wanted to play big and defensive, but didn’t have the roster.

      The second link is an interesting read. I’m curious if the statistical analysis is correct. If so, it is a creative and effective use of stats. His interest in maintaining health is intriguing as well, and much needed. Cf—

      I wonder how well Joe and Vivek got along.

      • “The reverse situation of the Warriors. Lacob & Co wanted to play big and defensive, but didn’t have the roster.”

        You means years before or now. Right now, I see dubs are playing big and defensive, I mean at times, the smallest guy on the floor is 6’7″ and nba leading D.

        • The Ws are playing big in a good way. They don’t have those goofy 1-way players like Amudson, et al that have skewed offensive rebounding numbers, but actually add very little to the overall team.

  15. Barnes indeed has a broken nose and is questionable tomorrow.

  16. Rule Of Law does not apply to bankers, law enforcement,
    and the CIA. Didn’t know US Constitution said that.

  17. We Believe team front court and this year’s front court team is only comparable in height of each player. Harrington, Matt Barnes, Stephen Jackson, Corey Magette, Devean George couldn’t get that much needed rebound if their life depended on it and forget about post defending. Numbers won’t tell the whole story, Biedrins was good on ball defender and could get you rebounds except in clutch when he used to sit but he is no Bogut. Bogut is a tier above Biedrins in defending, better rebounder, being the rim protector and as a point center.

    Like gmoney said above, this team just balls and it is not comparable to Nellie coached teams.

    Though enjoyed the post and almost bought it, no comparison.

    • I believe Feltbot had the “what would Nellie do with Bogut?” conversation during the summer. I bring this up because Nellie never had the talent that Kerr has on this team. The team goes 10 deep easily, and the only non-NBA player on the bench is Kuz (and Ned when he returns).

      Nellie did a ton with not a lot. Kerr is doing a ton with a great amount of talent. You have to give credit to Lacob and Riley for assembling this team, and to Kerr, Gentry and Adams for fitting all the pieces together. Credit also to Kerr for limiting minutes of star players, something Nellie did not do very well.

      • +1

        I agree with everything you have said above. Nellie had a team of misfits that he had to make it work and that team was not a 2 way team and less talented yet we should all be glad for We Believe year. This team in every sense is much better and here to stay.

    • you’re not describing the roster from what generally is called the ‘we believe’ season of ’06-07. m’gette was still in LA and d.george either there as well on the ‘flagship franchise’ or some team not the woeyrs. in those days the younger m.barnes was a decent rebounder for a wing, as were azubuike and pietrus.

  18. “I can’t breathe”—Jason Whitlock pulls out all the stops:

    http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/11984741/whitlock-why-black-folks-breathe

  19. In the last year I’ve become
    a big advocate of a perimeter
    player at the top of the yet
    leaking out when his
    opponent drives to the hoop
    Or shoots a three. This is
    because the opponent will
    rarely stop the d rive or
    get the defensive Rebound.
    So, I’m willing in limited
    to play 4 against 5. The
    advantage of leaking
    out has a huge upside and
    should result in many easy
    baskets. This should
    revolutionize the game.

    Kerrs seems to realize this
    and As we see Curry and
    especially Green, and
    sometimes Speights, doing
    this more and more with
    great success.

    The owner of the Kings
    also seems to
    realize this as well.

  20. There’s always been leak-outs.
    Just saying the number of times
    it’s done should be greatly
    increased.

  21. Perhaps Ranadive can/will try to coach the team himself. He has that coaching experience after all, seemingly a large ego to go with his success in techworld and lots of time on his hands to play with his newest toy.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/05/11/how-david-beats-goliath

    Corbin should consider wearing “I can’t breathe” on his back while courtside. Can’t imagine why Karl would want the job other than the chance to break Nelson’s record.

    • “Corbin should consider wearing “I can’t breathe” on his back while courtside.”

      Now that’s funny.

      I’m preparing a defense of @vivek. Had a preliminary skirmish with Zach Lowe on twitter this morning, think I need to write something on this…

    • As I recall, Ranadive’s girls had no height and little skill. So they conditioned them and taught them discrete behaviors that didn’t require fundamental skills yet disrupted their opponents—harassing inbound plays, etc. Someone wrote a letter in response noting that it doesn’t take much to unsettle ten-year-old girls in the early stages of developing their game and poise. His team brought protests from other coaches who had players with skills and genuine interest in the game. Ranadive got wins at the expense of the game, hardly a goal at this age. I’d be curious to see how many of his girls went on to play at any level.

      I’m deeply skeptical of Gladwell’s pop stats/science, much the vogue now, and any system that comes up with interpretations and solutions without deep knowledge and experience of what they’re studying, without any larger perspective. Some of Gladwell’s views on education are glib, inherently destructive, and antithetical to its larger goals. (I could go on and on here.) William Deresiewicz, a Yale professor, the author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and The Way to a Meaningful Life, for example, has argued that focus on academic performance at the top schools has undermined the purposes of education at the expense of individual growth and societal development:

      http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118747/ivy-league-schools-are-overrated-send-your-kids-elsewhere

      My exposure, of course, is slight. Some of Ranadive’s ideas are intriguing. Others look gimmicky. But it’s hard to have any confidence in any system that does not come out of the laboratory of the game itself, by coaches who have deep and intimate experience with players and all facets of the game.

      Malone had an impressive start. His work with Gay and Cousins last summer looked to be paying off. It was hardly his fault Cousins went down. Which is not to say he shouldn’t push the pace, but the suspicion was raised that he was asked to take a player who fit Ranadive’s scheme but may have not been that good, all told. (Any truth to that?)

      But we’ll never know. It will now be impossible to compare what he might have done with what they eventually get. Odds are good it will take years to work in a new coach (and his replacement, if it’s Karl) as well as acquire the players they need. And the results may not be significantly different. Years of experiments may well yield ambiguous or lesser results. I have no confidence at all in the team if Ranadive doesn’t step back and turn scouting and coaching over to better minds.

      • “Ranadive got wins at the expense of the game…”

        That’s the same criticism bball aesthetes have about the Rockets, and many old-school coaches have (or, more accurately, had) about an “over-reliance” on three point shooting, such as with the Warriors.

        It’s an empty criticism. Coaches coach to win, and the rules are made to be worked. Just ask Nellie. Ranadive’s thoughts about twisting the game into weird shapes has a long “tradition” of its own.

        FWIW, the way I read all the hoohaw about the Malone firing is that, like Mark Jackson (or Lionel Hollins in Memphis), he failed in an essential way; to communicate effectively with his management. He was obviously making progress, the team was playing well, but he failed to get management buy-in. For better or worse, win or lose, that can get you fired from almost any job.

  22. Kings GM right in wanting to
    play up-tempo. Got perfect guy
    in Karl. Keeping Thomas would
    have helped them run. Malone a
    Lacob-like power coach.

  23. Felt’s promised defense of Ranadive should be entertaining fan fiction. But in reality, it’s hard to see any explanation of events that doesn’t show the Kings’ owner to be a clueless narcissist. Consider this from the March interview I posted above:

    I had worked with Malone with the Warriors, and I had the highest regard for him. I’d seen him in practice and I’d seen him in games for two years. I’d been to training sessions with him and been with him in the draft room.
    He was the 21st century kind of coach that I wanted. The style of play — we want to be like the Spurs, but exciting. We want to create a winning franchise that is a perennial contender, and we also want a strong defense, combined with up-tempo play…. I knew that I wanted him, so I made a deal with him that once I bought a team, he would be my coach.

    Eight months later, Malone is gone for allegedly refusing to play in that style. So after two years of close-up observation, either Ranadive’s assessment of Malone was completely wrong (meaning that his analytical skills are worthless) or he was snookered by someone telling him what he wanted to hear.

    There is one other alternative: Malone wanted to play that way, but the current roster needed time (either for added pieces, skill development, or gaining chemistry/continuity) before it could get there — and Vivek was too childishly impatient to accept this.

    Any way you slice it, Vivek is in way over his head. But he’s not smart enough to realize it.

    • “. . . we want to be like the Spurs, but exciting”

      Does not inspire confidence.

    • “Vivek is in way over his head. But he’s not smart enough to realize it.”

      Right, fans like us are far more brilliant than any stupid ol’ billionaire.

      Funny stuff, Swopa! Keep ’em coming!

      The days of rich hobbyists owning NBA franchises are almost entirely over. Lacob and Ranadive are pro business managers, with management philosophies that… made them successful enough to get their hands on NBA franchises. They became successful by building and leading management teams, not simply signing checks. Their approach works, and they have billions of reasons to believe in it.

      I assume you don’t actually know Ranadive personally, so you can’t say he has a big ego. But assume he does. If so, what employee in his right mind would freeze him out and refuse to let him share in the success of the team? That’s a stupid employee.

      Communicating well with management is part of the job, always. Any job. Especially when working with management that emphasizes it. If coaching well was all Malone could manage to do, then he shouldn’t have taken the Kings job. His style and Ranadive’s were a bad match.

      • I think it might also be fair to say that Vivek is NEVER in over his head, no matter what the subject. Check out his resume.

        He might produce a spectacular failure, but it will be an interesting failure. Ie., having nothing to do with being in over his head.

        What he’s struggling with most at the moment is finding mediocre minds willing to execute his vision, and possibly sacrifice their careers in the process.

        • I hope your analysis of Vivek and the Malone firing includes your views on how he is different from Lacob.

          I also hope you explain why you think he hired Malone in the first place.

      • Based on my my direct experience with people at or near that level of wealth — which is obviously more limited than I’d like :), but not nonexistent — they can’t help having outsized egos.

        Everyone they come into contact with wants to be on their good side, and thus every word that comes out of their mouth is treated as brilliant (or, at worst, extremely interesting and worth thinking about more). So even if they try to be humble, just by sheer repetition they “learn” that they’re natural geniuses on every conceivable topic.

        As a result, it’s easy for them to wander out of their depth, without sufficient warning, and fall on their face. If you follow media at all, just look at the recent fiascoes with TNR and First Look. Or look at Prokhorov with the Nets.

  24. Barnes to play tonight, and he’ll have a new look:

    https://twitter.com/Rusty_SFChron/status/544916665926815745

  25. It should seem obvious from
    Kerr’s success with most of
    the same players that Malone
    coached that Malone’s
    skills fell far short.

  26. Malone is the same guy who co-conspired with Mike Brown to make Lebron walk the ball up. Vivek’s biggest mistake was in hiring him in the first place, not in firing him. When Malone persisted in walking the ball up after Cousins got injured, the nails were in his coffin.

    There is a reason why Joe Lacob only hires rookie coaches. There’s a big difference between knowing what you want, and finding a competent person willing to do your bidding, particularly in the NBA. And Lacob is once again having his vision for a big, inside out team foiled by injuries and his hand-picked coach. Miraculously and hilariously. Doesn’t make Lacob dumb. Although he’s not even close to Vivek’s class intellectually.

    I continue to be seriously handicapped for time, but would love to write more on this sometime.

  27. One of the most interesting games of the season tonight, but I am unfortunately unable to watch or recap. Have at it.

  28. How to beat Memphis without Lee and Bogut:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400489959

    The temptation is to start Mo at center alongside Green, to see if Mo can get his offense going and spread the floor. But the risk is he’ll rack up fouls (only 2 that night, however). Mo on Gasol, with Green and help on Randolph? But then the second unit will be strapped for scorers.

    And run, run, run.

    • Ezeli will start. But here’s where it get’s interesting. The Warriors did best in the past with a crossmatch: Bogut on Randolph, Lee on Gasol. Worked great, as Randolph the inside player and board crasher, Gasol the wheeler at the elbows.

      I would guard Gasol with Green, Randolph with Ezeli. If they want to post up Green, fine, that is neither Gasol’s nor Memphis’ preferred game. A classic Don Nelson trap.

      Alvin Gentry is fully capable of laying these sorts of traps himself. Seen him do it.

  29. Coach Thorpe echoes everything I’ve been saying about why Shaun Livingston was NOT the answer:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/71546/upgrade-the-warriors

    Going to give what I think is an interesting statistics take on this soon.

    • My favorite line from that article: “Andre Iguodala has found a second life coming off the bench…”

      Huh? What qualifies as second life?

  30. If the Warriors played 4 against 5 with many leak-outs,
    the opponent driving to the hoe may shoot 52 percent
    of his drives but theWarriors should score 75 percent
    of the time at the other end. Seems like a good trade-
    off to me.

    However, the offensive team will probably figure
    out overtime to have one of it’s players drop back on
    each drive ti negate the other teams leak-out, thus
    resulting in a 4 on 4 game in some instances.
    Sounds interesting.

    Warriors may well run some zone defense
    inside defensively
    tonight.

  31. Felty, can’t believe you want to associate yourself
    with Thorpe’s comments of why Livingston
    not right back-up for the Warriors, Can see why you
    don’t quote what he said. As his argument
    is first that Livingston on court with Barbosa and both
    are non-shooters.

    That’s remedied by Barbosa not be on the court.

    Secondly, Thorpe is oblivious to the fact that that
    Livingston is a good shooter as he’s shooting 51
    percent on two’s court coming off an injury,
    which is significantly higher than
    what Thompson shoots on two’s(44 percent).
    No oneshould care if one shoots three’s
    if the shooter shoots. 51 percent on two’s.
    Even Nellie realized that.

    Moreover, Thorpe says that Livingston plays
    with Iggy who is also not a good shooter.I guess
    Iggy shooting 49 percent is not good enough
    for him.

    The second unit will thrive when Lee returns
    regarding who is playing on the second unit. Relying for
    support of your views based on analysts who obviously
    don’t watch or read stats is simply embarrassing.

    Moreover, Thorpe appears to be also oblivious to
    Livingston’s outstanding defense, his assists,
    defectingball, and his garnering steals.

  32. Bogut reveals that his injury may be more serious. It’s chondromalacia, or runners knee, involving degenerating cartilage. In some cases requires surgery.

    • I saw Jermaine O’Neal sitting next to Lacob a few games back. . . .

    • Chondromalacia (treatment):

      In the absence of cartilage damage, pain at the front of the knee due to overuse can be managed with a combination of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), anti-inflammatory medications, and physiotherapy.

      Usually chondromalacia develops without swelling or bruising. While treatment remains controversial,[citation needed] most individuals benefit from rest and adherence to an appropriate physical therapy program. Allowing inflammation to subside while avoiding irritating activities for several weeks is followed by a gradual resumption. Cross-training activities such as swimming can help to maintain general fitness until a physical therapy program emphasizing strengthening and flexibility of the hip and thigh muscles can be undertaken. Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication is also helpful to minimize the swelling amplifying patellar pain. Treatment with surgery is declining in popularity due to positive non-surgical outcomes and the relative ineffectiveness of surgical intervention.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chondromalacia_patellae

  33. Vince Carter is shooting .297 at the 3 on the season. . . .

    Impressive, really, and encouraging that they could make the game competitive in spite of all. And their comeback 1st. half was especially impressive. But when the Grizzlies are shooting lights out, the second unit has to score. The starters had to work too hard to get caught up, and it took its toll. Curry especially had to work extra hard, and it showed.

    Feltbot, I believe, will speak on this matter presently.

    • Curiously, Curry is +16. Everyone else is 0 or negative. There is a point here.

    • And give him credit. The man in the mask looked good. Several good, aggressive moves to the basket.

      21 points from the centers and 13 boards. Not bad for fill ins.

  34. Curry was 1-10 on three’s.
    Green 2-11 shooting and
    0-4 on three’s. Iggy
    3-10 from field. Team shot
    41 percent from field.

    Not much inside defense but
    Memphis still shot
    less than 46 percent field
    for the game. And we
    lost by only 7. One tired
    team. Great run.

    We have much better team.
    Really missed Bogut and Lee.

    • A decent shooting night and the Warriors win that game, possibly even without DLee or Bogut.

      It was funny when Carter tried that “old veterens” trick on Green and Green just pushed him out of his way, causing a T. And Green was jawing right in ZBo’s face and Carter too, not backing down what-so-ever. A few of the other Warriors could have used that attitude too.

      • I didn’t see the play. What did Carter do?

        • Draymond and ZBo were trotting down the court jawing at each other nose-to-nose, and Carter steps in the way like taking a charge. Green runs into Carter, and Green was like “WTF”, and just pushed Carter hard out of the way with both hands and went back to expressing his concerns to ZBo. I guess Carter felt like that was kind of a disrespectful thing for a young player to do to an honored Vet like him, because he was jawing with Green later on in the game. Green didn’t take that too well, and had to be restrained on the side-lines at one point. BTW, is ZBo really 6-9? Looks shorter.

  35. Mark Jackson meets with Kings mgt. + Cousins:

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/12/17/former-warriors-coach-mark-jackson-meets-with-kings-gm-demarcus-cousins-after-tuesday-nights-game/

    Despite all my criticism of Jackson over the years, in the big picture I don’t think he hurt the Ws too much. At the time he took over the team, they weren’t really ready to do much better than they did, and despite all Jackson’s screwups the Ws gained a lot of confidence under him. In retrospect he was probably a net positive.

    However, the things that got Malone fired in Sacto were the same things that got Jackson booted from the Ws.

    I hope for the Kings’ sake that meeting with Jackson was just a courtesy. Or maybe Cousins asked for the meeting. If the Kings did hire Jackson, my estimate of Ranadive’s IQ would drop by about 100 points.

    Another interesting rumor was that Chris Mullin was asked to coach, and he declined. Mullin’s record as an exec was mixed at best (he blew high draft picks to bring Ike Diogu, Brandan Wright, and Anthony Randolph to the NBA), but still, Mullin was probably smart to decline the “opportunity” to coach the Kings. That team is a mess, and it’s going to stay that way for some time no matter who’s coaching.

  36. Dray makes a few of his bunny-shot putbacks last night, and the Ws win. Very disappointing.

    OTOH, Draymond’s influence on D is completely awesome! He seems to play a one-man zone, effectively covering regions of the floor rather than a single man. And mostly it works. I’m sure ZBo’s shot has been blocked before, but I’ve never seen it, and definitely not by a guy who’s 6’5″. Green totaled 4 blocks last night, along with countless shots altered, plays disrupted, and players just plain bugged by him. A great, great performance by a guy who was a long shot to make the NBA.

    • Great performance indeed. Green must have been dead fighting ZBo and Gasol all night, which might account for missing a few of those Bunnies. During one sequence, he successfully defended both ZBo and Gasol on 1 play. Can the Warriors really take Green out of the starting line-up? And should they expect him to continue to take this beating as a non-stop 4?

      • a fair sized contingent has become comfortable kvetching about green’s shooting throughout his n.b.a. career, and got to see their bias confirmed last night. the legs pay the butcher’s bill for persistent, enduring defense and boards. the best shooter in the association was affected as well. bogut’s knee will mean his minutes will be limited one means or another as the price for the team’s strong start heavily depending on him. it was green of course who had to step up in bogut’s absence.

        • These injuries are to be expected. Bogut has not played heavy minutes, this season, yet he is a 10-year vet who is 7 feet tall. Unless you are KG or Duncan, almost all of these guys break down around this time.

  37. And here is the gameflow against Memphis:

    http://popcornmachine.net/gf?date=20141216&game=GSWMEM

    Look at the graph in the middle, look at the steep hill they have to climb at the beginning of 2nd quarter, created in only five minutes. Then look at the lineup. The starters had to expend a great deal of energy to catch up, which took its toll in the flow of the game and in their energy later. We saw this all last season and have seen it this season as well. They won’t be able to play catchup many games in the playoffs. Defensive minded teams who can’t score struggle in the playoffs, as we’ve seen with the Bulls the last seasons.

    I suppose it could be argued that the 2nd unit’s defense broke down (which is what Monte Poole said), but Carter, a 30% shooter from the arc, hit three 3s in a row, one of them from Knoxville, and the Grizzlies also got outside shooting from others, including midrange shots, which are supposed to be low percentage. Hot shooting disrupts any defense. The 2nd unit had to score themselves, and again they couldn’t. The cause of the problem is pretty obvious.

    Nelson himself talked about the importance of getting into an offensive rhythm. Individual players and the whole team will shoot better when they get going. And this rhythm is helped by up tempo/early offense. I like the way Kerr is getting the scoring going early, obviously a D’Antoni/Gentry influence, which has helped set the course for victories. Quickness and shooting are the Warriors’ strongest assets, which need to be exploited. The problem in the old days in the NBA, when defense was weak, was that teams would get into a shootout and it just became a matter of whichever team was hottest on a given night.

    But couple offense with defense, as the Warriors can do, and they can work a large advantage.

    A shooter will be more relaxed and more confident popping a shot when the score is even, even more so when the team has a lead and there’s no pressure whatsoever. Shoot from behind, however, and the pressure’s on. I’d bet even Curry’s numbers decline when the team is x points behind, as we saw last night. He has another problem here: as point guard, he’s also expending much more energy trying to keep the rest of the team in the game.

    Scoring also works a defensive gain. When the Warriors go on a run, they force their opponent’s defense. Good shooting especially will disrupt the defense, as they now have more court to cover and invariably will leave openings somewhere. These same opponents will be under pressure now themselves when they go on offense and will play less efficiently as they try to stay even. And there’s a tonic effect from offense: when you’re scoring you feel pretty damn good and will up your defense.

    Invariably in a competitive situation what one team gains is taken away from the other. What this means is that there is a doubling effect. Pretend you could assign a number to a team’s confidence and ability to score. Say both teams are equal and give both a number of 100. When a team gets going on offense, that number rises—and the other team’s declines. Say a team opens up with scoring and increases its number to 105. The other team’s number might decline to 95, for the reasons given. That’s not a gain of 5 but 10, a decided advantage. And if the team continues to work that advantage, the disparity climbs, as does the lead. The 105 factor goes to 110; for the opponents it declines to 90, a difference now of 20. This cascade effect causes big leads, as happened with Memphis, and can lead to blowouts.

    Of course it seldom works out that neatly or dramatically. Good teams come back anyway and more often than not bring the numbers back close to even. The numbers will go back and forth all game. Teams will often get caught in half court offense, regardless, where they’ll have to adjust. But if you push a team enough, they will pay a price in energy and confidence. The Warriors have every reason to push their advantage whenever they can. Also they can’t let themselves get far behind.

    • Only now do I see this in the box score. The Warriors only used 8 men, and the starters, other than Ezeli, played heavy minutes. The Grizzlies played 10 with much better balance in their minutes. Another concern.

      • John Leuer and the b/u PG Uhrich looked really good. Carter got lucky.

        • I’m starting to wonder if it won’t be the teams with the best benches who have the best shot. Atlanta’s bench just put up 66 in their win over Cleveland.

    • Again with the “Offense is Defense.”

      No, it’s not. Never will be, despite your dogged repetition. The idea is a fallacy. It’s not even well-reasoned. It’s dumb. Let… it… go…

      • I heard JB, at about 8 min left of the second Q, say that guarding Livingston in the PnR is very different from guarding Curry. JB was angry about it, quite frankly. Then Curry came in and immediately ran the PnR with Speights, Speights wide open.

  38. Haven’t had chance to view second half, but the
    fact that Kerr wouldn’t put Kuzmic into a game like this one speaks worlds about where he truly stands as an NBA player right now.

    The Warriors are officially thin on the front line right now. Very thin.

    • P.S. As I’ve said before, it’s easy to balance minutes in blowout wins.

    • So if “win now” is the plan, the Ws need to sign not just a backup PG who can shoot, but another decent big too. Or maybe two bigs, depending on Lee’s health.

      As Marc said, expecting Green to carry a heavy workload as a 4-5 is probably unrealistic. He’s done a heroic job, but the front line is a brutal workplace.

    • DLee and Bogut health — let’s hope for the best.

    • There’s just no good evidence that Bogut, even if healthy, could play heavy duty minutes in 25+ playoff games against much greater pressure than he’s faced so far. I would say they have a better chance with Lee, because he is smaller and more durable and is a better athlete, but he’s been banged up the last seasons and it’s hard not to wonder if he won’t have a lingering condition. So Bogut necessarily should have limited minutes the rest of the season. If Lee plays with the subs, it will be to spell him as well, in less pressure. But they should manage many wins by doing so, and it may well develop the other centers so they can contribute as well. It will take a team effort.

      And we’ll hope that Lee and Bogut enter the playoffs in good enough shape. Or maybe MJax can pray along with us.

      • To paraphrase Dennis Rodman, MJ aint prayin fer shit. A LOWER win% for Kerr = a greater chance for Jackson to get another coaching gig.

  39. The Warriors’ ironman (Joe Lacob’s words) getting the Kobe treatment on his knee. Then doing it again next week.

    So it’s nothing serious.

    • bogut will need a minimum of two weeks from the second treatment of platelet injections (with his history of joint problems, four or six would be better). howard just had the same therapy, as did iguodala this past summer. howard supposedly is returning with a minimum recovery period, but we’ll see if he’s close to the same player and if he lasts through the season.

      Jan schedule has an interesting sequence of back to back games, with a pair that requires them to play at home the night after playing in UT, against respectable opponents. if bogut is back on the active roster, kerr should give him the games in UT off — they’ve beaten stronger teams without him, and lee might even be back in the lineup.

  40. JON coming back? Would that help, can he run with this offense?

  41. I thought you had to go to Germany to get that procedure? Bogut’s condition was first reported as an injury in his last game, but it has to be some condition that flared up earlier.

    What will be kept alive by Bogut’s injury, however, is the belief by many that he is absolutely essential to the team. It should be noted that the schedule has been easy, against many subpar teams, and that Bogut made slight contributions or didn’t play at all in their real contests against top teams, except Portland. And his offense has tailed off considerably after the opening weeks.

    When David Lee goes down, however, voices raise about how expendable he is. He has to be on the court, cranking out double doubles, to quiet them, though the silence doesn’t last long. There’s an odd phenomenon here worth exploration. When Bogut is out, his perceived value rises, while Lee’s falls. I bet Goldsberry could make a chart here.

    Zach Lowe, for example, in his recent piece:

    “He might be a hair less expendable than Iguodala, which sounds weird, since the Warriors are 21-3 without Lee — and have a long history of excelling without him.”

    I’m intrigued by this long history, as I don’t see it in Lee’s game logs. Maybe Lowe was referring to the Rick Barry years? Or TMC? Or We Believe? Lee was of no value to the team whatsoever then. We do have substantial evidence of how well the team can play without Bogut, however, with Lee playing with a weaker roster.

    It could even be argued that Lee, obviously hurting, was more essential in the playoffs in the down-to-the-wire loss against the Clippers. But it’s a dumb argument. To make a run, the team will need both, and will need to figure out how to best play them. If they last the season.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Bogut misses the playoffs but Lee plays and they make it to the western finals arguments will flare up that Lee didn’t take them all the way.

    We saw O’Neal sitting next to Lacob a few games ago. Tall, big, old, and prone to injury—Joe must be salivating at the prospect.

    • Bogut and Lee are completely different players. I see this argument for Bogut and against Lee as silly, and wrong.

      Lee doesn’t compare to any other player on the team right now. Without Bogut the defense will suffer. With Lee, the offense should improve. They play two different positions in two different ways. The comparison should be Green-Lee because when Lee comes back, he will be taking minutes from Green.

      • As I said, there shouldn’t be any argument. But there is. They need both. There shouldn’t be any argument about Green/Lee either. The argument should be Bogut + Green + Lee.

  42. Without Bogut playing at 100% the Warriors’ ceiling is much lower. There’s no way getting around that fact.

    It’s too bad. Would have liked Felt to be proven wrong about him, but alas, that was being way too optimistic. This is still the Warriors, after all.

    • As I said, they’ll need everybody playing at high percentage—Bogut, Lee, Iguodala, and the rest. It is a shame. They have a full coaching staff, more flexible and more inventive. They have a deeper bench. But the odds of full strength aren’t good, and really weren’t good from the start. Instead of calling them We Believe we may have to call them the What If team.

    • This is one prognostication I hate being right about.

      My analysis in this case was not based on me thinking I know something that others don’t. My argument was that the history of the NBA argued strongly against making the trade for Bogut, and even more strongly against extending him for 3 years, $36 million. That history was available to all, professionals and amateurs alike.

      It’s amateurs we’re concerned with here in Warriorsland.

  43. Rondo to Mavs rumor is interesting. Mavs definitely need to fix their defense, and this would be a huge first step. Offensively would be fascinating. I’m not sure they’ll get better looks than what Nelson and Ellis are getting them, particularly if you factor in Rondo’s own reluctance to shoot.

    It’s also a curious fit for Monta, as Rondo is next to useless off the ball. Monta found Jose Calderon for all sorts of threes. What can he find Rondo for?

    This is a very familiar problem for watchers of the Warriors’ second units.

    • +

      The Mavs would be better off if they moved Monta to PG and traded most of their collection of backup PGs for a defensively competent backup paint player or shooting guard.

      Heck, if the Mavs are really interested in a Rondo-type, the Ws could offer them Livingston for less.

    • Rondo is 12-36 from the free throw line. I can’t imagine, Felt, you can approve of a point guard like that?

      • Unreal. I might have to stop watching. I’d for sure have to turn off Fitz. I’m already very close.

    • Chemistry? This sounds more like Cuban than Carlisle.

  44. So should Iguodala start tonight and take on KD?

    • HA..Iggy could barely contain half man half retired the other night

    • The point here is seeing if starting Iguodala will jump start him. He lost his defense in a year? And if he can’t return to form, I have little hope for this team at all.

      KD will be a tough cover for Green—but who knows. Who covered KD last season?

    • Expect Barnes on KD until Barnes fouls out, then Green.

      Green on Ibaka, Ezeli on Perkins to start. Kuzmic could actually handle Perk, but in my wildest dreams I don’t see Kuzmic starting.

      Curry on Westbrook, but expect double-team help/traps.

      • Barnes foul out? How often has that happened? With a broken nose, he will play even farther off his man…

  45. And here comes Rondo:

    “Sources tell ESPN.com that the Celtics and the Mavericks have an agreement in principle to send the All-Star point guard to the Dallas Mavericks for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson and a future first- and second-round draft pick.”

    This makes no sense to me. Nelson was certainly serviceable, then think was to their salary structure, their ability to add on now and later.

  46. http://www.ibabuzz.com/warriors/2014/12/18/andrew-boguts-agent-addresses-knee-injury-situation/

    “Agent David Bauman expressed relief Thursday that the bone stress issue resulting in the inflammation in Bogut’s knee is treatable while also wondering if the 7-footer might have returned earlier had the team not initially diagnosed the condition as tendinitis.”

    The key is “bone stress”. All of Bogut’s injuries had to do with fracturing a bone.

    Lets hope this is healed with those platlets like it was for DHoward.

    If not, what can you do about “bone stress” with an NBA player?

  47. Interesting that Bogut’s knee can be characterized as a bone issue. So that’s how many bone injuries in his career now? All random, of course.

    Also interesting that Bogut’s agent sent a clear jab towards the Warriors and their medical staff. I did the same on twitter.

  48. Regarding the Rondo to Mavs trade. Everyone’s characterizing it as a boon to the Mavs’ defense. But they traded away their best defensive wing, Jae Crowder, at the same time! Guess we’re going to be watching a lot of Aminu bricks, and Monta off the ball.

    Also funny to me that people focusing on the Mavs moving Brandan Wright. Trust me, it’s the loss of Crowder that’s going to hurt the most.

    Also funny, nay hilarious, to me that Danny Ainge apparently believes that Brandan Wright can play power forward. He’s going to be rapidly disabused of that notion.

    • The Celts already have some pretty good, young bigs. Don’t make sense to add Wright.

      • Right. Ainge gets Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder and a 1st round pick for a bothersome player (Rondo) who doesn’t help today’s Celtics. That’s a pretty good win for Ainge even before including B Wright.

        Wright is a throw-in. With a shooting range of 3 ft. he’s not a PF, and at 225 lb. he won’t get many minutes at C.

        Can’t say what Carlyle will do with the players now at his disposal, but to this eye the trade looks like a negative for the Mavs. I think Cuban just blew his team’s playoff chances. If nothing else, while B Wright isn’t a world-beater, the Mavs just lost their #1 backup big – and that’s an area where they were weak BEFORE the trade.

        • We can safely assume Cuban will address that need before deadline. He’s in all-in mode.

          • If Cuban already has a follow-on deal in the works, this might work out. Even in that case, though, this trade just made any near-term deal for a new big much more difficult/expensive for himself.

          • Oh, wait. Maybe Monta is on offer. That would kinda make sense after committing to Rondo.

        • Perhaps the Celts will be looking to move one of their many bigs? The kid with the floppy hair?

    • Jae Crowder is the Mav’s version of Lou Amundsen. Poor guy threw up a few ‘bricks’ this year himself. Defense is his strong suit no offense though.

      Dallas must have a defender at the guard position (eg, Curry, CP3, Conley, Lilliard,… the list goes on) at the playoffs, or they are done in 1st round. Jameer Nelson is a very (very) poor defender (witness the last game with the Dubs). Rondo is their hope.

      Wright will be a free agent anyway, and Dallas was not going to resign BW because of his proneness for injury. Brandon has only played more than 58 games once in his eight year career. Unlikely the Celtics will have him past this season as he will demand a long term contract from one of many weak Eastern Conference teams.

      Ainge made a strategic error that will contribute to his eventual departure from Boston. He should have traded Rondo last year when better offers were available. Celtics are not heading North with this trade and signed off to another year of tanking.

  49. A Tale of Two Cities:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12046225/steve-kerr-derek-fisher-divergent-paths

    I like Green’s comment:

    “He gives us a voice,” forward Draymond Green said. “He asks us what we think. I think that’s the sign of a great coach. Every coach that I’ve played for, they’ll ask you what you see on the court. Sometimes you can see on the court what you can’t see from the sidelines.”

    CD:

    “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

  50. There’s no reason we can’t do this:

  51. Felt showing Barnes hatred in his tweets.

    • Either that, or I’m pushing back against NBA illiterates.

      • Really. Young 22 year old makes a game winner, you don’t even heart to complement him. Tell me what was going in your mind that time, dubs won or were you upset that Barnes made that shot. Your tweet, backhanded compliment:

        “It’s fitting that Barnes hit the game ender.

        Over a point guard.”

        You are very knowledgeable as I can see from your writing, but blinded by bias, obsession to be correct on Barnes and Livingston as bad players or fits.

    • Johnson and Rose don’t seem to actually watch Ws games.

      They overlooked Green’s 5 blocks against the Grizzlies, his rebounds, his always great help D, his ballhandling, and that he plays point center very well – 9 assists w/ just 2 TOs last night. Playing Green at point opens up the whole offense.

      Rose might be right, though, in one respect. It took playing time to understand Green’s ability to affect a game, and he might not have gotten the same opportunity on more loaded teams.

      Green’s ability isn’t apparent from his physique, and the NBA draft is more focused on physical potential than it used to be. Paul Pierce recently said that he himself might not have gotten drafted in the last few years, because he’s not a great physical specimen. That goes double for “too-short” Draymond Green.

      • You are right, they didn’t watch the game. Read this:

        “Tonight Draymond Green had a tough time with Zach Randolph. A traditional power forward – not a stretch four like Draymond Green – so when you’re playing against the Golden State Warriors, if you can take Draymond Green out of the game…that’s what teams are going to try to utilize in terms of minimizing Golden State’s production. ”

        Zach Randolph played like only 24 minutes or so, there is a reason for that.

  52. Livingston has been playing great but you won’t hear that from
    Felty. Maybe someday we’ll hear he’s making a lot of contested
    jump shots. Not likely.He’s now shooting 53 percent
    from the floor for the season.

    Now, the implication is made that he is shooting well because
    he’s left unguarded when before Felty portrayed the Warriors
    being hurt by Livingston because he was being left unguarded
    and other players were being double- teamed. Why don’t you
    admit the Warriors are doing great with Livingston. Felty
    can’t admit he was wrong. He’ll probably wait till he has
    a bad game to unload on him.

    Felty continues to jab at Barnes even though he is
    shooting an effective shooting percentage of 59 percent.

    And to point out one play that Thompson did well
    in defending Westbrook by blocking a shot when he
    was being schooled in second half by him, is
    something to behold. Especially given that the
    Thunder should have been ball as Thompson gave
    up on the play and Westbrook recovered the ball.
    Even with the blown call, and ensuing
    jump ball, the Thunder won the tip.

    Thompson has had some bad floor games which is
    reflected in averaging and giving the Warriors
    one-half less possession per game. But overall,
    he’s been performing exceeding well and would
    like to see his trips to the foul-line increase and
    not decrease as they have.

    Have to marvel at Gentry’s new plays run in the
    in second half. As the game before he had Curry
    go from close to the baseline to the foul-line
    and then back door for an easy score at the rim.
    Yesterday, he had Curry go baseline without the
    ball and receive a pass just past the rim and put it in.
    Wonderful to watch.

    • I concur on Livingston; he’s been fun to watch. In the half-court his deliberate slow dribbles to set up plays can be excruciating but it’s taken 25 games for me to realize he’s got great court vision and is a much better ball handler than I expected. Plus you have to love his quick bursts and great hops, fairly shocking given how serious his past injuries were; he’s gotta be leading the league in dunks by point guards even in limited minutes. I’ll always miss Jarrett Jack’s confidence and electricity but happy to have Livingston and his long arms on defense too. Anybody know why Justin Holiday got Barbosa’s minutes laat night? Don’t know about his skill set but he’s got good energy on the floor.

      • Barbosa has been missing 3s (.167 on the season) and blowing defensive assignments.

      • There is much to admire in Livingston and his game. We saw it last night. But the two key stats in evaluating Livingston last night are Curry’s minutes, 42, and Livingston’s assists, 1.

        http://popcornmachine.net/gf?date=20141218&game=OKCGSW

        Even with Durant out the 2nd. half, they couldn’t risk taking Curry out in a close game. Livingston cannot hold the line himself even when surrounded by starters. In his first stint without Curry, he had Green, Thompson, Speights, and Iguodala, but was not especially effective, and both Thompson and Speights have proven themselves as scorers. Reduce the lineup, and the results are dismal—look at the Memphis game.

        Almost all of Livingston’s shots, if not all, came from iso’s or assists. He cannot create for other players. Rather they have to create for him. He can’t show a shot up top, thus draw defenders and create openings. And the pace invariably slows when the ball is in his hands, competent as he is in holding it.

        The staff has done a fine job in working around his limitations and playing to his strengths. But a point guard is supposed to set up others, not have others set up him.

        • To hit the nail on the head for the obvious point, Livingston isn’t giving Curry the rest he needs.

          • That is true. If we have or get a 3PT shooter off bench either at point or SG, Curry will get more rest. As it stands, seems like against top competition, Curry will be over played.

          • I’m not sold on Ray Allen at all, for a variety of reasons, and not just his age and absence from the game. Instead he looks like part of a kludge Myers is considering to compensate for his mistakes.

            The point guard has to be able to show a shot because he is the one in position, with the skill to pass to others. With Allen, Livingston has a better option for a pass—but only if Allen can get open in the slowed down defense. Livingston won’t be able to disrupt the defense to allow that.

          • Sorry— make that “slowed down offense.” But you have to consider what Allen adds to defense—or subtracts. As before, Myers is piling mistakes on top of mistakes.

        • +1 Boom, there it is. Couldn’t say it better myself, rgg. (Although I’m going to try, as soon as I get some time.)

          For now, something I came up with while stream-of-twittering last night:

          Shaun Livingston is the Harrison Barnes of the second unit.

          • One more point to add to rgg’s splendid analysis: Why are the Warriors so hot for Ray Allen, when they have such obvious needs elsewhere?

            It’s because you can NEVER get enough shooting around Shaun Livingston. And for that reason he’s abjectly failed at his primary purpose, giving Curry and Klay a blow. After one of Livingston’s notable failures on his own with the second unit, Steve Kerr came out and said that from now on he wants one of Curry and Klay on the court at all times. In order to fix his Livingston-led second unit, in other words, Kerr was forced to transform it into a version of his first.

            Livingston has proven that he’s not the solution for the second unit. Quite the contrary, he’s proven to be a guy who needs a radical solution around him just to be playable.

            3 years, $16 million for a non-shooting back-up wing?

          • Ha. We had the same thought at the same time (see above).

        • RGG you had me at much to admire about Livingston’s game. Sometimes it feels like this blog holds backups to a higher standard than the starters… They are backups after all. Livingston for me at least, can be admirable, explosive, adept and alternately limited. Take Westbrook for example, last night he bounced between all-time top 5 point guard and worthless, overhyped high schooler losing his dribble repeatedly. If Livingston was as good as Klay or Steph he would be starting for someone else. I love the debate and analysis you and most of the other posters but I think this entire population of Felt readers would be a whole lot less disappointed as this scintillating season unfolds by reducing the magnification on the microscope sometimes- don’t miss the beauty we have been waiting 40 years to see

          • I’m not that good at this at all. The point is too obvious. Livingston simply has to be an adequate PG who can show a shot and push the pace. But the argument is not with us, but with the coaches, who can’t sit Curry and have Livingston run the show.

            All the praise for Livingston stands. It has been made elsewhere.

          • Glad to hear your comments, btw. Assessment of Livingston has to be a debate of strengths and weaknesses, both provided here.

    • Yes, SL playing well. He’s a point forward like Iguodala. When playing with Curry, he’s another Wing, yes, a good one, getting fed by Curry and others. I don’t see any conflict at all picking up an outside shooting PG like the Clips young Cunningham and playing him with SL, Iguodala, etc. I think the whole argument is a misnomer.

    • Klay completely smothered Westbrook towards the end of the game when it counted, not just 1 block. So much so that they went to Jackson on that last play.

  53. Kerr & Co. have proved themselves resourceful and inventive. One of the regrets I have about injuries to the front court is that we may not get a chance to see what the coaches do with a full squad. Think of the conversations we might have. Maybe we’d get YouTired back.

  54. “3 years, $16 million for a non-shooting back-up wing?”

    Andre Iguodala: 3 years, $36 million and four draft picks for a non-shooting/48% FT/non-scoring/non-rebounding wing.

    Harrison Barnes and Shaun Livingston (combined): 3 years, $28 million and one draft pick (used for Barnes).

  55. If anyone wants to defend Myers in the Livingston acquisition, please do so. And when you do, see if you can find an intelligent comment Myers has made. I can’t.

    If you want to invoke Jerry West, consider this:

    “Honestly, I think we’ve got one of the best offseason acquisitions around,” West said of the 29-year-old. “Shaun Livingston is a terrific player. He can play all over the place. He can defend. He has an incredible mind to play the game, and he’s still young.

    “He will be our best playmaker. And when you watch him, he’s pretty to watch. He’s such a great ballhandler, and with his size (at) 6-foot-7, he will help everyone.”

    http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_26646043/golden-state-warriors-jerry-west-is-an-early

    Best playmaker?

  56. I sense that Livingston’s acquisition was fueled by the following: the need to have a reliable backup PG and someone who is capable of playing alongside Curry and Klay. The powers that be especially liked that he was very long and an excellent defender. In many respects, he’s what the W’s thought they were getting in Iguodala who, it turned out, is neither reliable as a PG, nor an offensive threat. He’s also deteriorated physically, which will increasingly show on the defensive end, I fear. (BTW, I liked his game last night and he’s been a bit better the past three games in general).

    I understand the consternation about Livingston and the fact that he’s not an outside shooting threat. Yet, one minute he’s implicitly praised for his contributions to the “small ball” lineup (where he’s been quite effective), and the next he’s chastised for not getting the 2nd unit scoring efficiently.

    We should remember that Livingston is still finding his way in the system and had not played basketball for months prior to his first game. So, we must give him—and the team (especially the 2nd unit) time. I fully agree that, unless he’s surrounded by shooters/scorers his ability to contribute on the offensive end is limited. I think that FO knew this and expected that either or both the Blur (who’s an even more awkward fit in many ways: no D, weak outside shot, with poor court vision) and B Rush would play the role of an effective scoring sidekick on the 2nd unit. So far, not at all. Moreover, they continued to ignore the fact that Iguodala has largely turned into a cipher on offense.

    We must also remember that the whole team—whatever combination—plays much worse without Curry. Moreover, the 2nd unit has not found its identity and I’m confident that Kerr and Co. will figure that out. DLee will be a helpful addition to the 2nd unit as both he and Speights (when playing together) can operate inside and out. Yes, Kerr might have to continue the hybrid units by keeping Steph or Klay on to play alongside Livingston—but that is in great part due to the fact that they whiffed on the Blur and Rush and overestimated Iguodala on offense.

    • The Livingston acquisition was fueled by the FO’s horrible mistakes at finding a backup PG the last five years, especially last season. Make a list of all the ones they’ve tried and stare at it. It was a move motivated by insecurity and doubt (cf. Steve Blake), so they find a player whose experience and confidence makes up for their own deficiencies in those regards.

      • Respect your opinion but I think Livingston is a great pick up and we can see his effect on the floor. Only caveat, team needs a 3PT shooter off bench. In theory, it should be fill that role. May be getting Barbosa was a mistake but Barbosa is a cheap contract. If Rush provided 3PT shooting as expected as he has proven over the time, no need to look for another guard. Anyway, warriors are best team in the association and have a very small hole, no 3 pt shooter off bench, I will take this problem over the problems 29 other teams have.

  57. I’m just wondering if Green’s new agent, if not Green himself, will make his playing position in their consideration of who they sign with. Green might not really like the idea of playing exclusively against all those big guys constantly. They might tell the Ws start me at the 3, I earned it. OK some stretch 4 too, but not exclusively. Didn’t Aldridge and CWeber, natural Centers, dictate their positions as PFs? And Garrnet and Bosh? And for the same reason that they don’t like taking the beating against large centers?

    • You’re probably right, Green’s position would have to be an item on his agent’s agenda. For now, though, Green just benefits from playing time, regardless of position.

      Also, with the presumed return of Lee and Bogut, and perhaps the addition of other bigs on the Ws roster, Green’s role with the Ws would naturally change. He’d have to play more at the 3, reducing Iggy’s and/or Barnes’ playing time. Because it’s clear that the Ws really get a boost from playing the guy, at any position.

  58. To address Frank @ 58: Klay smothered Westbrook towards the end of the game, not just 1 block. And the play you cite leading to the jump ball is one instance. It was Jackson that took the last play, not Westbrook. What was Wsetbrooks shooting % this game? What was Klays? Yep, Klay smoked Westbrook in this game. And the other thing is SL is a point forward like Iguodala and both are good ones, nothing wrong with that. Why would that mean not picking up a 3 point shooting b/u PG and play him alongside SL? It’s very obvious the Warriors offense don’t move as well without Curry. They need another PG that can bury the 3, that’s all, no big deal.

  59. Harrison Barnes, another take:

    The Warriors would not have won last night without Barnes’ contributions. Their success this season, with the now depleted roster, depends on his showing the aggressiveness on offense he’s shown the last games and building on that. He’s manning up more on defense. He couldn’t handle Durant, but no one is going to stop KD’s 3s, though someone else might have gotten into his skin more and tried to rattle him.

    That doesn’t mean he is a superstar. That doesn’t mean he is worth a max contract. It doesn’t mean he should start or close, either, if Iguodala comes around. A more promising prospect, should he continue his improvement, is his bolstering the second unit, which we haven’t seen yet. I am assuming, of course, he is going to stay for the season and likely the next.

    We haven’t seen a single thing to make us question him as person on the court or off. Make plenty of comparisons here with other players who have received similar attention. By all appearances he is a decent and sensitive soul. Nothing has challenged his character as a human being.

    His limitations have been posted here amply, and I won’t repeat them. Instead, I’ll look at his strengths. He has shown great desire to get better and is working to improve the strengths he has. In addition to his increased aggressiveness, he has improved his moves and shooting, scoring with high efficiency in the limited shots he takes. Maybe he gets easy looks, but he has shown composure and kept within himself without getting rattled. He had to make the shot at the end last night, even if over a guard, and did. In the playoffs two seasons back, he got tons of openings and shots—he was a volume shooter—but he kept his composure and hit them at key moments with good efficiency, good efficiency, that is, for the playoffs.

    What I think most impresses me about Barnes is his ability to withstand all the nonsense he’s had to endure really since birth, which might have corrupted a lesser person. His mother wanted him to be the next Michael Jordan. He learned to make sensational dunks against Iowa’s best, dunks that filled the nation’s starry eyed visions of what an NBA player should be and look like, that got Roy Williams to visit him a dozen times to play for the fabled Heels. The whole nation primed him to be a sensational star. His first year at Chapel Hill, he wasn’t sure he could do it, yet he persevered. Then the NBA decided he was ready after only two years of college, and one year was an option he passed up.

    Absolutely read this piece, which fills in his background:

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-12-13/features/0912100486_1_shirley-barnes-two-of-college-basketball-espn

    Note the praise for his work ethic, the 46 college credit hours he had through advance placement courses (probably not a challenge in Iowa, but he didn’t have to take them).

    I might fault him for naivete, buying into the branding bit, but he was just passing on what the media and glitter-struck NBA owners are buying into. And he was repeating what he was taught in school:

    That morning, he’d attended three classes at UNC’s highly regarded Kenan-Flagler Business School (including his favorite, Entrepreneurship). . .

    “The NBA is a business,” Barnes told me, elaborating that players are akin to pieces of inventory that, if they don’t produce, get replaced by other pieces that do. “But on the brighter side,” he added, “you do gain a lot of capital, and you have a platform from which you have avenues to do just about anything you want to do.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/04/moneyballer/308911/?single_page=true

    Why are schools teaching such crap? But note he did that instead of loading up on crip courses, the bogus black history class at UNC, now a scandal (bogus because there are no standards and little, if any work, not because of the subject).

    Then he had to endure the fluff and promotional hysteria of a zealous and misguided NBA owner.

    I like the mask on Barnes. It might shield him from all the nonsense and help him figure out who he is.

    • There’s another subtext I’ll say quickly and quietly. In today’s racial environment, the nation wants a polite black man who dresses in suits, like them (again, see the links above), who doesn’t look or act the gangstah. This isn’t Barnes’ fault, either.

    • Prince of the back-handed compliment.

      It would have been better if Barnes had missed that last shot over a true forward.

    • “That doesn’t mean he is a superstar. That doesn’t mean he is worth a max contract.”

      Just curious, does anyone really think like that ? All reports pointed to that front office offered Lee and Barnes for Love, so FO couldn’t be thinking of him as a super star. Team obviously think of Klay higher than Barnes evident by extending that big contract and offering Barnes over Klay in Love’s deal. As for fans, may be there are few who thinks so or hopeful, but I don’t see anyone vowing that he will be become super star. Heck, I don’t see even majority of warriors fans voting Barnes as all star. The moment Barnes was offered in trade as throw in for Love, all your arguments of how Lacob loves him and sees him as super star are out of the window.

      May be you are creating argument all by yourself and arguing with yourself.

      • @110 of the last post, Harry, you had Barnes for MVP of, I believe, the Houston game, over Green, Thompson, and Curry. As for the Love deal, I understand Lee + Barnes straight up was their first offer. Then they changed it (the reports vary) to Lee + Klay + trade pick for Love + Martin. The first suggests high evaluation by the FO, the latter depends on how much you value Martin. And the national report was that West and Kerr were against the trade and Myers and Lacob for (or maybe Myers was on the fence—reports varied).

        As for overevaluations of Barnes I suggest you read the reports in the local and national media, as I have the last 4-5 years, ever since he played college, which have billed him as a star. Read Lacob’s comments (posted here) on the signing. Absolutely track down the many times it was suggested he made Lee expendable. While you’re at it, look at the posts and comments over at the clan of the cave bear the last years.

        But I don’t think there’s anything trivial about Harrison’s contributions so far, especially what he has shown in the last games. And there is much to admire in his character. This is not trivial to me at all.

        • Yeah, that is what I thought of him for ONE game, not for the season. Depending on what you see, he is like 5th to 8th best player of this team. The only place I hear where I see Barnes is overrated is here as a reference by someone else. Even Kenny Smith when he was praising Barnes yesterday, didn’t say anything like he will be all star or anything or any potential. Same with Jim Barnett and others, everyone talks about the development of Barnes but they stop it there, not take it any further. Somehow, some here are imagining things and making Barnes.

          Either that or show me any reference of Barnes being talked as super star or all star by anyone, if you see so would love to read those links.

          Oh, Klay was not included in Love deal and Barnes was included as every media reporting, right there proof that owners and team don’t overvalue Barnes.

          • Klay wasn’t included or considered? This is news. As for the rest look it up yourself. I’m not the hired help.

          • Pretty sure Klay was never actually offered in the trade. Warriors wanted to trade Lee/Barnes. I don’t know that they ever actually put Klay on the table.

          • Rather it was what Minnesota offered. We have every reason to believe it was actively considered for a long time, with the FO divided, as noted. Not sure how this is relevant to the discussion anyway.

  60. I ‘m with you Feltbot on the Thunder, Spurs and Rockets as the W’s main foils. Memphis’ bench had a nice game vs. GS but I think it was more of a blip than true indicator of value.
    At this point sans Lee and Bogut we just need a big who can do a little of evrything 12-16 minutes a game. Its puzzling why Kuzmic is holding a roster spot. Does the org think his future is that bright? Hes certainly not helping now, when we really need it. Even a D-Leaguer like JMMcAdoo could be more useful, as he could (theoretically) score.

    Yes RGG, you can’t beat the Hi-Life.
    I know Harrison gets ripped over his brand , but he’s not got nothing on Budweiser. Do the majority of Americans really prefer this “beer”? Its ghastly stuff that tastes as if they ferment rice, sugar and water, minus the hops or any “secret” ingredients.
    The last time I drank a Bud, maybe 6 or 8 years ago, my train of thought flashed to Orwells 1984, (which I read about the same year). The protagonist was contemplating a glass of the alcohol BigBrother provided to the non-proles, he sniffed it, finally guzzled it down and shuddered. I think the scene may have faded to black, as the govt put something in it to sedate the masses…

  61. I think Green is also the Warriors best perimeter defender, maybe even Klay. In the few sequences he guarded Durant and Harden, he was effective. I see Livingston getting beat by guys off the dribble more than Klay or others. Livingston length filling the passing lane and his smarts are valuable as is his court vision and calm, sure ball handling. He is also an accomplished mid-range scorer.

    • Totally agree with Nellie about Kerr, obviously. Fantastic job so far this season, and I have a few more points to make about this in future posts. I’m just about at the point where I can give him the benefit of the doubt on every decision, which is long way from where I’ve been with Warriors coaches for the last 4 years, as you well know.

      What is with Nellie continually calling Bogut “Bogus” though? No doubt in my mind that it’s intentional. So I wonder what his point is? Is he sticking for old buddy Scott Skiles?

    • Most interesting takeaways from interview withNelli:

      Papa: can the Warriors win it all without Bogut? Nellie: Oh no! They need Bogut to win it all… …they can nurse him along until the playoffs

      About Kerr: …perfect…

      About Green: I just love him! …he might be the guy that brings them all together…

      And some well-deserved pride in how the Warriors are playing their share of Nellieball.

    • One of the things that gets lost in the invective hurled against Nelson is how varied his coaching was, depending on roster and situation. This may well be a strength of Kerr and crew.

      What got us questioning Kerr preseason is his saying he’d close with Bogut. I’m curious how this plays out.

    • There’s a thin line between Mark Cuban and Charlie Finley. Innovation as the all-consuming goal can backfire fast. Nice article though.

  62. Wow, Rockets pick up Corey Brewer and Alexey Shved for Troy Daniels and second round picks.

    I predicted before the season that Daryl Morey would address their depth issues, and bingo, he just did. Brewer is a solid defender who can back up both wing positions, allowing Ariza to play some stretch-four. Shved can back up both guard positions, and I have been extremely high on him since he was a TWolf.

    Assuming both teams at full strength, the Rockets will be a hell of a tough matchup in the playoffs for the Warriors. Would not care to predict that series.

  63. Regarding Draymond Green playing more 3 in the future (N0 63 here):

    The central reason Green is having a breakout season offensively is because he is playing 4. He is virtually unguarded about half the time because slower, less agile players are having to either chase him out the three point line or sit back and let him pop open threes. He is turning into a classic stretch 4, and his decision making makes him extremely effective from that position.

    If he was matched up against a faster player, he is not going to get the open looks from 3, nor will he be able to drive the way he has been doing the past few weeks.

    Obviously he can’t bang with the Reggie Evans of the world very often, but if he is used correctly and to guard guys who are long, thin and don’t weight 275+, he should have a long, successful career at the 4. He and Speights spreading the floor ARE the reason the Warriors are dominating big lineups this year. (It’s not Bogut).

    The talk of moving Green to the 3 permanently is silly for this year’s Warriors team because they have Iggy, Barnes, Klay and Livingston — the wonderful interchangeable pieces Kerr has at his disposal on defense.

  64. A small note on the silly issue of Barnes scoring over Reggie Jackson at the end of the OKC game: the implication that the Thunder were “hiding” their PG on Barnes is incorrect — to the best of my knowledge, neither OKC nor any other team has done this all season long.

    So why was Jackson guarding Barnes? Because the Thunder were playing two PGs (Westbrook was on Curry), and GS wasn’t — so Jackson had no choice but to guard a bigger player.

    Thus the real takeaway here is that OKC’s attempt to out-smallball the Warriors failed. But I guess it may be ideologically unacceptable to acknowledge that point here. :)

  65. Further point re #57 concerning Jalen Rose’ criticism of Green (Rose said he was a weak spot on D because of his height).

    Check out the league defensive efficiency ratings for this season to date, here:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_2015_leaders.html

    defensive efficiency
    1. Bogut
    2. Draymond

    Defensive Win Shares
    1. Draymond

    Defensive Box Plus/Minus
    1. Bogut
    6. Draymond

    Lots of the stats on that page seem kinda phony-baloney, but some of the ratings match the eyeball test. Many of the numbers are an attempt to measure a player’s contribution to a team, but they’re highly sensitive to team results, which invalidates the stat to a degree. For example, Ibaka doesn’t show up much in the top 20 on D stats this year, even though he’s terrific. Conversely, Bogut and Draymond on a losing team would rate much lower.

    Still, it’s not accidental that the best defenders on the league’s best defensive team have high defensive ratings. Jalen Rose says teams run their offense at Draymond Green? Is he nuts, or does he just not do his homework?

    • Rose is nuts and doesn’t do his homework. Green has excelled covering 1-5 in different stretches for the past 2 years. You don’t have to rely on stats, his D, steals, blocks, taking charges and amazing position both on shooters and to rebound are superb every night.

      Plus, I can’t actually remember seeing Dray targeted ever, other in limited height mismatch situations – which he usually adjusts to so quickly that the opposing team abandons that plan.

      Opposing coaches actually know what’s going on – Jalen, you embarrassed yourself on this one.

    • I think it’s fair to say that Portland, Memphis and Houston targeted him. With very mixed results.

  66. rgg: You chose to site that Livingston only had one assist last night to
    support your view that he is nit getting others involved, In fact, he has done fine job getting others open looks but unfortunately he has played with players that he threw the ball to who missed wide open shots, Speights is one who comes to mind. Nevertheless, he’s done quite well getting assists even though he plays on the second unit.

    Moreover, what you should of pointed out is that he shot 6-9 from the field against the Thunder, which really was 6=8, since he heaved the ball the length of the court at the end of a quarter. Wish most starters would shoot 6-8 in 19 minutes of play. And wish our outstanding starting point guard would have committed “0” turnovers in 19 minutes on the court as Livingston did. And being joined by Felty shows that neither of you have a clue to the fact that the the Warriors outscored the Thunder the second most of any Warrior with Livingston on the court as they were plus eight.An indication of how vital he is the Warriors success.Thankfully, ownership, the front office, Jerry West, don’t pay attention to what either of you say on this matter. I guess you think the Warriors would have not have won more games with someone else playing in his stead,

    And by the way rgg, maybe you missed the number of long outlet passes Livingston has made that led to easy baskets.

    Hard to see how Thompson outplayed Westbrook when the the Thunder was plus 2 with Westbrook on the court and the Warriors were
    minus 2 with Thompson.

  67. FB: Thanks for the warning on Comcast X1. (Why?) Not going to try it.

  68. It’s unfortunate that DAL and GSW would never make an in-season trade. I know Felt absolutely hates Broken Wing (aka Brandan Wright), but it seems to me that a Livingston-Wright swap would have made a lot of sense. Livingston is a much smaller contract than Rondo, for all intents and purposes, he’d provide them with the same stuff that Rondo will, and he’s much better defensively. Seems like he’d pair very well with Monta. And we’d get back Brandan Wright who obviously you would not call “insurance” for Bogut at all, but the kid can score around the basket like nobody’s business.

    That, and BW is an expiring contract. I don’t care how soft he is, he could be useful on this team in more than one way.

    • BW is softer than overboiled spaghetti. Check out his playoff stats.

      • Last season he shot 80% TS and had a PER of 22 in the playoffs.

        • Boston thinks Wright is a PF. He isn’t, so he may be available again shortly.

          EZ, Wright’s offensive #s are truly amazing, and a real testament to Rick Carlyle. But even Carlyle wouldn’t play him for more than 5-10 minutes at a time, because that’s about how long it took opponents to adjust and keep Wright away from the rim. As soon as that happened, Carlyle yanked the guy.

          “Great numbers in spot minutes” is VERY DIFFERENT from “great numbers.”

          • We don’t actually need him more than 5-10 minutes at a time. I mean Ezeli can’t go more than 2-3 minutes these days.

    • Wouldn’t Wright and Speights kind of duplicate off bench. Though Wright and Speight’s strengths are different. May be Speights for Wright, I would do that. However trading Livingston would leave a big hole at PG. You don’t lose a versatile guard like Livingston, who btw, is going to be huge in playoffs. Against thunder, he was the one who was ending OKC’s run.

      • “However trading Livingston would leave a big hole at PG.”

        Does it? What role does Iggy have coming off the bench?

  69. The Bogutmobile (scroll down and click the picture):

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/warriors–andrew-bogut-likens-refurbishing-cars-to-caring-for-battered-body-020928090.html

    I must confess, I like this car. Imagine Bogut motoring down the highway in it or cruising city streets.

    • From Spears’ piece, Bogut two years ago:

      Bogut’s injury woes reached a boiling point during the middle of that season, telling his agent David Baumann that he planned to retire at season’s end.

      “I called him midseason and said, ‘I’m done, ‘ ” said Bogut, whose Warriors are an NBA-best 21-3. “My back was so bad at the time. After every game it was like a balloon and it was like catching my tail to get back to the next game. If we had two games in three days, my ankles were really swollen. I had to get around the clock treatment, anti-inflammatories. It got to the point where it just wasn’t responding.

    • bloodsweatndonuts

      Based on that analogy, he’s the last person anyone should want restoring his/her car.

    • Lacob is paying for both of Bogut’s hobbies.

  70. Once Felty decides a player is bad he’s not going to change his mind. Even though B.Wright went from shooting 65 percent from to 75 percent this year and 80 percent in the playoffs. Surely the Warriors don’t need such a player with those stats. Remember, he’s soft.Also soft when he blocks shots.

    With the Warriors going 20-3 for season with Livingston, of course, he never should have been signed. Our bad for thinking otherwise.

    Felty, stick to criticizing faulty match-ups.