Dawn of an Era: Warriors 117 Thunder 91

And the dawn comes up like thunder outer China crost the Bay.                                            — Rudyard Kipling

Somewhere in the middle of this game I became convinced that the Warriors are a championship contender. I’ve known for some time that they had the players — I called their roster the best in the Western Conference before last season. But I’ve never had the confidence that they had the right coach, and the right basketball philosophy, to get deep into the playoffs. Until right now.    

Unlike the previous two Warriors coaches, Steve Kerr and Alvin Gentry and Ron Adams understand what they have in this Warriors roster. And they know exactly what to do with it. Their performance this season has been incredible, never more so than in this game. This is a championship caliber coaching staff, and they’re leading a team into the promised land. Not just this season, but for many seasons to come. A new era has dawned in the NBA.

The Warriors Era.

THE STEVE KERR BAND

With apologies for what I’m about to inflict on regular readers, here’s a list of some of the major changes Kerr and his staff have made this season, that have turned the Warriors into championship contenders.

Pushing the Pace: Relentlessly, all game long. You could have counted the number of times the Warriors ran after a made basket in their years under Smart and Jackson on the fingers of one hand. They exceeded that number in their first game this season. Gary St. Jean said after the game that the Warriors have the best fastbreak offense in the league. Yes, because they have the finest passers and the finest shooters in the league, right? For some reason, that wasn’t obvious to coaches Smart and Jackson. Or as I like to think of them, “the sins of the past.”

Nellieball: Opening the floor by getting the stretch-four Draymond Green into the starting lineup alongside Bogut. A move that did wonders for Stephen Curry.

Getting Barnes minutes at his best position, the stretch-four, with the second unit. A move that did wonders for Barnes in this game at the very least, giving him the opportunity to get going while being guarded by Anthony Morrow.

And even more extraordinary for a Warriors team in the Joe Lacob era, the forays into all-out smallball. The Draymond Green at center lineups, where the biggest player on the floor is 6-7″. Note that when Kerr and Gentry set this trap for the Thunder, Kendrick Perkins was still in the game. This never would have happened under Mark Jackson. Never. And as usual, Scotty Brooks was slow to react. He didn’t yank Perkins until he’d taken two straight straightaway threes to the face.

Blowing teams out in the second quarter with smallball traps was a hallmark of Don Nelson teams. Do you remember that with RunTMC? When Rooney and Elie would come in, and then Mully would come back to play the four, or even the five, and the young and unschooled feltbot would sit up on his couch and think, What the hell are you doing Nelson, are you nuts, and then Boom and then Oh.

The Warriors have had the personnel to do this from the moment Joe Lacob acquired the team. Ever since they acquired David Lee and Dorell Wright, in fact. And for four long years I have waited. Despairing.

Until Steve Kerr hired Alvin Gentry.

And until I watched the last two games.

Is this something that will end with the return of Bogut and Ezeli (assuming their return is even sustainable)? Will the Warriors be forced back into the standard mold of two bigs on the second unit?

No. I’ll bet my life on it.

The great Alvin Gentry is here, ladies and gentlemen. And Steve Kerr has empowered him.

The Iggynobility of the Showcase: I remain convinced that the Warriors must and will part ways with Harrison Barnes in the near future (probably next summer). His extension before the season was done, I believe, in order to turn him into a trade asset. And it was done, I believe, with knowledge that Kerr would be showcasing him this season with the starting unit.

I have, however, come around to recognize the pure basketball reasons for putting Barnes in the starting unit, and moving Iggy to the bench. Iggy’s great strength in the halfcourt offense is his ability to facilitate. To play point-forward. But that ability is almost completely redundant in a starting unit with Bogut, Green and Klay in addition to Curry. All four of those players are great initiators in their own right. And Kerr wanted to put the ball in Bogut’s hands, in particular.

What Kerr needed in the starting unit was a FINISHER, not a facilitator. A player content to wander the wings, waiting to be fed open threes, and make judicious cuts to the rim, hoping to be fed open dunks. A player, in other words, content to have the lowest usage rate on the starting unit. Which Harrison Barnes does.

Conversely, the Warriors second unit has been (and remains) badly in need of playmakers. Guys who can make something happen off the dribble. And who can create for others. Barnes failed miserably in this role last season — that’s simply not his game. Did you catch the quote from Ron Adams regarding Barnes in this game? “If you keep it simple for him, he’ll give you a sophisticated performance.” There it is.

Another interesting way to look at the Barnes for Iggy swap is from the defensive side. If you’re playing David Lee at the four, with a Curry and Klay backcourt, you need a great defender at the three to balance the lineup, right? A stopper. Iggy.

But if you’ve got Draymond Green at the four? Well then, Iggy at the three is practically overkill. Now you can play Barnes at the three and get away with it.

I have jested about this swap, but the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized that this is just one more thing that Kerr has gotten right.

The Livingston Effect: Watching Steve Kerr run a little post-up play for Shaun Livingston when he comes into the game is starting to make me feel a little sad. Livingston on this Warriors team reminds me of the kid the Little League coach puts in in the last inning. It’s gotten so bad, that SL is starting to press, as we saw several times in this game.

It’s not completely his fault. He is a very limited and peculiar point guard, who was played in a system tailor-made for him by Jason Kidd last season. Not only is he not being played in that system this season, but he’s being played in a system that is literally guaranteed to make him look horrible. A passing offense, in which the ball is rarely in his hands, and even when it is, it’s in a position where he has no choice but to swing it on along.

Except, of course, for when Kerr breaks his offense to get SL a post-up.

It helps SL’s plus/minus to run with the Draymond at center group. Even if he’s not actually playing point guard, he is surrounded by four three point shooters, as he was in Brooklyn. And a passel of great defenders who can pick up for him when he gets beat by the opposing point guard.

So what is Kerr getting right with SL? Well, he’s starting to limit his minutes, at the risk of embarrassing his bosses. The fact of the matter is, in the current role SL is filling, defensive wing, he doesn’t belong on the floor. The much more gifted Justin Holiday does.

The only hope I see for SL on this Warriors team is if Kerr starts letting him run the point in pick and roll with David Lee. We haven’t seen much of this yet. Maybe we will once Lee gets his legs back, if he ever gets his legs back.

That would be nice. I could start calling Livingston a good player, and the bite wounds on my ankles would have a chance to heal.

Defense: I think quite a few people have been startled out of their wits by how good the Warriors have been defensively without Bogut on the floor. I don’t think Fitz mentioned Bogut’s name once in this game, did he?

Ron Adams, I presume, has made some fabulous adjustments with Bogut and Ezeli out. No more funneling to the big man in the middle. That doesn’t exactly work with Speights and Lee, does it? No, the Warriors are now bringing their more mobile centers out of the paint to hedge the pick and roll , and also to help build the strong-side “defensive shell” that I heard Holiday refer to in the post-game. Wing isolations are being funneled baseline, unless the player isolating is Kevin Durant, in which case he is being TRIPLE-TEAMED.

If you want to understand how the Warriors held Durant to 3-16, start by re-watching the first defensive possession of the game. It’s really all you need to see. With speed to recover at virtually every defensive position, and with the Thunder having so few real shooters on the floor, the Warriors coaches realized they could double and triple Durant with impunity.

And if you want to know how the Warriors held Westbrook to 5-21, it was by switching interchangeable 6-7″ defenders. No more Klay Thompson chasing the point-guard around picks. Now the Warriors simply zone the picks. Particularly when Green is at center, how can you possibly free Westbrook with a pick against this defense?

In back to back games, the Warriors have destroyed Kyle Lowry and Russell Westbrook, without the aid of a center. How can you not be impressed by that?

The genius of the Warriors’ coaching staff is not restricted to the offense.

PLAYERS

Green: Astonishing how great a player he’s become, just since Bogut went out. His assist totals have absolutely exploded, running the high post. He had a couple of touch passes in the last few games, that made it clear he knows exactly where he’s going to go with the ball, before it even reaches him. He’s a true basketball genius, on a team with, by my count, five others. We could be witnessing the birth of the highest IQ team in basketball history.

On another topic, I need to clear something up for those who are determined to misunderstand me. My opinion that Draymond’s true position is small forward does not mean that I want or expect him to be moved there this season. Nor does my opinion have anything to do with an agenda surrounding David Lee.

Unfortunately, David Lee may no longer be David Lee. Like Iggy last year, he’s had a bad hamstring injury from which he may never totally recover this season. He has before this year had three essentially season-ending injuries in a row (even if his toughness didn’t allow him to quit). All of which were basically for the same thing, in the same area, and all of which required surgery to repair. It is a pipe dream to think that he is still in his prime, and possibly even to think he could ever play full-time and enter the playoffs healthy again. I voiced these concerns even before this latest injury, in the pre-season.

So if injury is a concern for both Lee and the undersized Green, would it be better to move Lee back into the starting lineup to battle the behemoths of the West? You see the conundrum.

There is also the fact that Green has now played a third of the season at the four, and played superbly, and the team around him. The team has acclimated to playing Nellieball with a stretch-four all game, every game. Sticking Lee back in at the four, and reverting to a more Lacobian old-school brand of basketball at this point, would make no sense. What makes sense is for the Warriors to run with what they’ve been doing.

And run.

Lee: Lee at backup center, if he ever gets his legs back, will also help the Warriors run. It’s where Don Nelson always wanted to play him.

It’s pretty sad to see Lee struggling right now. The guy has had incredible bad luck. Struggling for years in bad systems with rookie coaches. Now he’s on the best team in the league, with championship caliber coaches who could run the perfect system for him, and his career might be over.

The Lee and Bogut story lines add a tremendous poignancy to this season. What a thing it would be to see them both healthy and rolling in the playoffs. Grumpy old feltbot might even shed a tear.

Klay: If he hadn’t gotten unlucky on foul calls, he might have had a game for the ages. He had that look in his eye. My favorite sequence was when he missed that driving dunk, then came right back the next play and thundered it home.

OVER DURANT.

What a player this kid is going to be. He’s got Hall of Fame written all over him.

Curry: Westbrook is no joke on defense. But Curry had him on a string. When it’s all said and done, Curry’s ballhandling is going to be discussed in the same breath as that of Earl the Pearl, Pistol Pete and CP3. The love of the crowd poured out of my TV with every dribble.

But he’s not a point guard. Right?

Barnes: A beautiful shooting night, and a solid defensive effort, with a little help from his friends. You could almost hear him exhale in his post-game interview. He needed this one. It’s been a rough couple of weeks.

Hopefully, this will be the start of another nice run for him.

Justin Holiday: Two memorable plays for me tonight. First, that walk-up three. The fact that he’s in a system that would allow that shot, nay, encourage that shot, brought tears to my eyes. Bless you, Steve Kerr. And Alvin Gentry. Both of you.

Two, the defense he played on Kevin Durant at, was it 10:10 2nd Q? Check it out.

Another interesting point about Holiday, beyond the fact that he’s going to be a really good two-way player, is that he might be the Warriors’ best defender against small guards. I believe that’s why Kerr went with him against Lou Williams in the Raptors game.

Ibaka: I’ve been saying it for weeks now, he ain’t right. I don’t know what it is, but he’s injured. That’s a big reason why I’m no longer afraid of the Warriors meeting the Thunder in the first round.

Bogut: And what of the Warriors’ own crippled big man? If this is the dawn of the Warriors era, then I must be sanguine about his return to health, right? No, sadly, I am not. I put the chances of Bogut reaching the playoffs healthy at roughly…

zero.

Not that I’m not pulling for him. I am. I admire his talent and fortitude and heart and genius for the game, and I want to see it on display on the biggest stage in the world. And, as with David Lee, I empathize with the suffering and frustration he must be feeling to be on this team, at this time, and not be able to play. But feelings and sentimentality have no effect on reality. I just don’t think he’ll be there for the Warriors, in any meaningful way, in the playoffs.

So that means the Warriors really aren’t going anywhere this season, right? As we all know, the conventional analysis right now is that the Warriors can’t win without Bogut in the playoffs. In fact it’s surpassed conventional wisdom at this point, if that’s possible, to become a full-blown meme.

So you won’t be surprised to learn that I disagree with it.

Do you remember last year’s playoff series against the Clippers? That was with an injured David Lee and a less fit Draymond Green and… no one else on the front line. Oh yes, Mo Speights was there, but Mark Jackson had no idea how to use him, and no confidence in him, and hardly played him. Preferred the crippled Jermaine O’Neal.

If you ask me, if the Warriors somehow get to the playoffs with a healthy Festus Ezeli, Mo Speights, David Lee and Draymond Green, with this team, and this coaching staff, and this system… I think they could go far. Very far.

As Scotty Brooks told us after the game, we’re looking at the best team in the NBA.

As constituted.

407 Responses to Dawn of an Era: Warriors 117 Thunder 91

  1. Great overall recap. I’m keen to see where Kerr/Gentry/Adams takes Livingston and if they can do something good with his limitations.

    Draymond is great. He ripped into Mo after Mo had a major defensive lapse and then spoke to him for a lengthy amount of time after coming out of the game, most likely to run over what he did wrong and what he needs to improve on.

    Barnes’ game is slowly improving – I saw him stay close enough to a driving Toronto guard and attempt to block the shot during the Raptors game. He missed. If he learns how to time his jump to block shots by the end of the season, I’d be mighty impressed because right now, his insistence on not leaving his feet when defending is frustrating.

    Does anyone know if its possible to keep Holiday? Do Bird rights apply to him?

    Also, J O’Neal is having treatment again. Does Dallas pick him up or will he return to the Warriors for sentimental reasons? His family is in Dallas so I’m guessing he’ll head there.

    • holiday is on a free agent (i.e. non drafted), rookie minimum deal that becomes guaranteed for the rest of the season in about a week, and ‘bird’ rights cannot apply when his contract expires in June. the team can make him a qualifying offer, essentially one year at the vet’s minimum, about $4-5 k. more than this season, and if he accepted he’d become a restricted free agent in June ’16. he and his agent will probably see no reason for him to accept that little, leaving myers to decide how much they want to retain him. assuming they do not succeed in excising contracts by June (team option on speights, who would be nearly impossible to replace at his salary, while rush has a player option to get another guaranteed year), and re-signing ‘mond-G. takes them past the lux tax line, myers would have to expend the tax payer’s exception and pay additional penalties to re-sign holiday for the rate he is likely going to command on the market. of course myers might consider the alternative, finding a suitable reserve on the market to replace holiday, just as expensive for an equivalent but unfamiliar player and get lacob to pay holiday.

      if they don’t ship out a contract or two with a net reduction in their payroll by June, their best chance to get holiday to stay is the offer sheet, while talking up the benefits of staying with the gang and continuing to develop under kerr. they’d need to sell him the notion that his market value would be all the greater for it in ’16 when he reaches restricted free agency.

      • cosmicballoon

        What if they are able to ship out Lee’s expiring? Does that open the door for Holliday and Green while also staying under the lux tax?

        • there are very few teams below the cap who’d want to use that budget room on lee, and for the rest, they’d be unloading similar contracts on the lacobites to fit the trade under the c.b.a. NY is one possibility, with lee’s ties to the area and triangle compatibility, and they will have lots of budget space.

          • Or any tanking teams that need to add salary to reach the minimum threshold like Philly took AK47’s salary this year, I think.

          • Thanx again Moto. It’s essential Green and Holiday are retained.

      • thanks for the analysis, moto.

      • Thanks for the explanation moto.

        Lets hope we dip into the luxury tax for the right players & reasons.

  2. GooseLosGatos

    Excellent analysis. I have my disagreements with Felbot (mostly on issues relating to giving ‘credit’, player potential & some bigger-picture issues) but his scouting ability & in-game analysis is ‘always’ spot-on and on a world class level. No analyst, website or scribe in the Bay Area comes even close (with the exception of Barnett & Tolbert neither of whom can speak anywhere near as freely). I come to this site because I usually expand my own knowledge of the intracasies of the game.

    I believe the Warriors will attempt to trade several players (Barnes, Livingston, Lee & possibly Iggy) in that order & within the next calander year. Feltbot has been highly critical of GM Myers but rarely mentions his greatest strength – that of being a former player/agent.

    I believe Myers will find a way to move a few of these players in cap-friendly deals (with the primary emphasis on resigning Green) & ridding themselves of unnecessary ‘weight’ & redundancies.

    Myers has proved himself to be a smart & savvy negotiator. One of the least discussed and impressive trades in recent NBA history was acquiring the 2013 first rounder for 400k. Myers by all accounts is an exhaustive ‘phone burner’ (a lot of GM’s are known to be quit lazy in this key area) & maintains ‘open’ & ‘positive’ relationships with other team’s front offices – another undervalued GM skill. I believe Jerry West instilled in him the importance of the latter.

    On a side note, I am not as convinced the Warriors are a sure-fire Championship contender. Their style of BB is much better suited for the regular season than playoff half-court basketball in the playoffs. Nellieball works great theoretically in the post-season but winning a title with it has been another matter entirely as history has born out. Only time will tell.

  3. GooseLosGatos

    To follow up on my last point, basketball systems like Nellieball are much like muscle memory – one reason that teams simply can’t turn it on defensively in the post season – they’re out of sync with their normal habits & tendencies.

    So it boils down to two questions neither of which I know the answer to…

    1) Could the Warriors effectively adjust in the post-season to a slowed-down tempo (Miami Heat hybrid)?

    2) Do they need to adjust in the first place and as a result simply ‘run the tables’ even on teams like Memphis?

    • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

      Please name a few teams that could beat the Warriors in the playoffs. I currently see none.

    • On a bad shooting night warriors can still score 95 pts. If defense remains same and it would under new coaching staff, they have chance to win even in slow tempo game. Warriors are 5-2 in the games they scored less than 100 pts.

  4. Your observation about Holiday’s defense against small guards was interesting. To be a little more specific, I would say he might be the most effective against small shooting guards. Jamal Crawford always seems to light up the Dubs but I never saw him look more uncomfortable than a couple of possessions where Holiday checked him last time out v Clippers. By contrast, I’ve seen a couple of pure, very quick point guards make him look silly. Still, that ability to guard the smaller two’s was a minor chink in the armor that Holiday fills nicely. Not to mention a versatile and expanding offensive game.

    Other than Curry, Livingston is the only player on the roster who can bring the ball up against hard pressure and get the team into its offense. That makes him curiously indispensable. In every other way, Holiday is a more valuable and effective player. The “Quiet Architect” might earn his moniker if he can figure out how to keep Green and Holiday this offseason.

    • ++ for this comment

      “Other than Curry, Livingston is the only player on the roster who can bring the ball up against hard pressure and get the team into its offense. That makes him curiously indispensable.”

  5. cosmicballoon

    Great analysis Feltbot! I’m surprised that you didn’t touch on Curry’s many drives to the hoop in the first quarter. The Thunder overplayed all the Warriors out to the perimeter, and it left Curry with open lanes to the bucket. Adams and Ibaka as rim protectors are negated when they are having to guard Green and Speights on the perimeter.

    This game would not have even been as close if Westbrook hadn’t continually bullied his way into the lane, drawing bogus foul calls.

    The one weakness with the Nellieball strategy in this game is the risk of smaller players getting beat up in rebounding battles. There were a number of plays where Perkins, Adams and Ibaka crashed the offensive glass for multiple rebounds at the physical expense of the Warriors smaller players. In a 7 game series, these encounters would likely take a toll on the Warriors players, namely Green, Barnes and Curry (who magically always knows where the ball is going when it comes off the rim).

    • “Adams and Ibaka as rim protectors are negated when they are having to guard Green and Speights on the perimeter.”

      +1 Thus Speights’ game wasn’t as poor as it looked. The Thunder picked their poison, and Steph and Klay made them pay with layups.

  6. Draymond is the Warriors toughest player, but Steph is not far behind. Scrappy is not an adjective I would have used in describing Curry’s D his first couple years. Now it sometimes seems he’s in two places at once.

    Some Maravich-like moves last nite!

  7. Feltbot, I had not read your post prior to my previous comment. Now I have.

    –Pistol Pete! Great minds think alike.

    I used to give you flak on Klay, but he is now a legit All-Star, if he’s so honored.

  8. I’m finally where I’ve wanted to be the past 5 years, watching coaches make good decisions and having someone explain them. Thanks, Feltbot. Here’s hoping the men upstairs finally get the message.

    This would have been an entirely different game had the Warriors not come out running and firing from the tip off to complement their defensive pressure. OKC would have stayed in the game and could have gotten into a rhythm, dictated the tempo, and put a strain on the offense. It’s not wholly an accident Westbrook and Durant had bad nights.

    My concern was that the Warriors would have been forced to play their starters more first half and would have gotten into worse foul trouble, with disastrous consequences 2nd half. Kerr didn’t panic but put the subs in, and look who held the line 1st half—Green, Iguodala, and Holiday:

    http://popcornmachine.net/gf?date=20150105&game=OKCGSW

    A playoff encounter with OKC is not unthinkable, and it would be fascinating to watch the adjustments game to game. Coaching would tip the scales for the Warriors. And with playoff reffing, fouls will be less an issue.

    We didn’t know Green could step in and be such an effective facilitator. Then again, until the past weeks, he hasn’t had a chance. I’m not sure there’s anything he can’t do.

    Lee still looks tentative taking outside shots, though he’s not being set up for many. Here’s hoping Adams is working with him as well. It would be a way for him to be effective in his late years without so much strain. And we’ve see what an outside shot from a big can do to a defense. OKC sure took Speights seriously last night, sending Adams out on him and taking him away from the rim.

    I’ve come to these conclusions: The Warriors are really good, and no one else is that good.

    Have you ever driven down a street when all the lights were green? That’s what this season feels like. So many teams are godawful. Keys starters have been out everywhere, until last night. And I’m not complaining at all. The Warriors have had a chance to find themselves and develop. Open road ahead.

  9. Felt,

    I really enjoyed this latest entry. It was filled with excellent insights and interesting analyses—and well-written to boot. I had been disappointed with your “uneven” offerings thus far and was hankering for the Feltbot I remembered to return. All I can say is: Welcome Back!

    I do appreciate that you’ve kept an open mind about Barnes moving into the starting lineup. At times, it seemed like your disapproval of this was an idee fixe that was, well, “fixed” for good (NB, rgg: please pay attention to what your master has said!). I, too, was not in favor of the move when I first heard of it but by about the 10th game realized it made so much sense given the variable needs of the first and second units. I have made many of these same arguments in posts and those you bring up that I didn’t articulate, I heartily agree with.

    I’m glad as well to hear that you’ve fully embraced the Draymond at 4 role. I was in favor of this as early as last year and never thought it would happen given Lacob’s loyalty to DLee. I also hope you’re wrong about DLee as he’s a true warrior and I sincerely wish that he can regain much of his old form.

    I’m glad you’ve walked back your calls to move Draymond to the 3, his natural position according to you. Perhaps as he gets older—and adds more perimeter skills—this will be the best position for him. But not now and not on this team as presently constituted. It was clear in your last two blogs that you were talking about moving Dray to the 3 *this year* but in any event, I’m truly glad that you’ve abandoned this madness. Also, I don’t know exactly to whom you were addressing the comment about a supposed agenda to get DLee in the starting lineup—but I did suggest that as a possible motivation (completing the two step of getting Barnes out of the starting lineup). Nevertheless, I was truly befuddled by your take on this and felt that there must be something deeper going on. I did come up with a possible explanation but now that this is all cleared up there’s no need to mention it.

    But speaking of Dray—and especially with Bogut out of the lineup—he’s the second most indispensable Warrior. I have no doubt of that; he plugs so many holes, does yeoman’s work on the glass, stretches the floor on offense, allows the W’s to switch on nearly everything, is a brilliant distributor on the high post, provides toughness, is extremely versatile, and goes and gets every ball he possibly can. Truly remarkable (BTW: some absolute idiot “analyst” gave him a “B” as a grade for the game!) But, perhaps most important, he’s a warrior in the truest sense of the word. Analytics can’t capture this–not matter how “advanced”–which is a shame because anyone who has played high level hoops knows how vitally important this quality is. He’s also the team’s leader on the court–another vital quality that stats don’t pick up. As Justin Holiday asserted without hesitation in his post-game interview, it is Draymond that sets the entire tone for the entire team. These last two qualities are what most set him apart.

    I do have a few quibbles with some of what you had to say, as is natural with any interpretation of a complex topic. But in any event: great work Felt! Thank you…

  10. What will be interesting is to see what Kerr does with Bogut when he returns. Kerr said early he planned to close with Bogut, and he played him heavy minutes the first 19 or so games—25+ and often over 30. Also he built the offense around him. While Bogut is a good passer, his offense has been spotty, and most, almost all of the wins were against inferior teams. If he can’t score, the defense will tighten elsewhere. I’m guessing, too, that his knee bothered him earlier. He just wasn’t making the run towards the hoop the last games that he showed earlier.

    I’m still skeptical that scheme will work against the better teams. It was noted here often seasons ago that the offense suffered with Barnes on Bogut on the floor because of the lack of offensive options. The problem was solved with Iguodala, and the Bogut, Lee, Curry, Thompson, Iguodala unit was very effective, this with less than effective coaching.

    But with Green’s improvement, Lee’s injury, and the need to put Iguodala with the subs, that lineup probably makes little sense now.

    And it may be a moot discussion. The minutes obviously took their toll on Bogut. The incentive from here on out will be to preserve him in some shape or form.

    If possible.

    • cosmicballoon

      What I like about Kerr so far are that there are no absolutes in terms of lineups and combinations. He does what works. He seems to have an uncanny ability for a rookie coach to get the correct players in the game at the right time. He coaches the score well and he calls timeouts when something’s feels off. Most of these things are huge upgrades over Jackson.

      As for your question about Bogut, he will certainly work him back into the lineup with low minutes, and then play him bigger minutes when the Warriors need to bang (which always happens at some point in a playoff series).

    • rgg,

      Warriors offense was better with Bogut and will be better when he comes back.

  11. Great stuff Felt. Your analysis drives thoughtful and insightful discussion, you’ve become my favorite Dubs-centric destination on the web. Thanks.

  12. @ 9 & 10

    What happens when Bogut comes back obviously depends on the game situation, and the health of Bogut, Lee and other players.

    I think we can expect to see a Bogut/Lee/Green front line sometimes. According to NBAWowy, that was the most effective lineup last year (small sample size, but awesome at creating point differential, by far the best of any combination of bigs).

    In other words, when Bogut returns we may see Green playing “small forward” sometimes. Of course the typical designation doesn’t really apply here – Green is atypical – but if we had to name his position in that case it would be “the 3.”

    • We are spoilt with choices but think, Green+Bogut+Iguodala will be better than Iguodala+Lee+Bogut and Green+Lee+Bogut.

  13. Felt,

    Great recap. I won’t agree with 100% but very well written and well reasoned excellent piece.

    On Nellieball, Nellie would put anyone at PF as long as they can shoot a 3(Devean George, Corey Magette). Kerr’s staff though have Green at PF because he can rebound and defend followed by 3 shot, huge difference.

    Barnes also helped his friends with his hustle. Would Green play only 29 minutes if not for Barnes ?? Also, Mo Speights is backup C and Lee is backup PF. I don’t see dubs play Lee as backup C, not with Bogut, Ezeli and Mo there.

    Another thing you said about what Nellie would do with Lee, Nellie is on record that he would not play small with this team with Bogut at C though he will play some minutes of Lee at C. With the new rule that do not allow hacking over last 2 minutes, I could see that Nellie would have closed the game with Bogut.

    My 2 cents.

  14. Felty, you wouldn’t even predict
    The Warriors would exceed the
    over predicted wins set by
    las Vegas this year. Give it up.

    • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

      He never claimed that he did. In fact during the preseason he said due to the fact he didn’t know what kind of offense the Warriors were going to run he wouldn’t bet on them. Nobody not even Steve Kerr would have dreamed that the Warriors would be playing as good as they are. In fact Felty stated that after watching the last 2 games he realizes they are real contenders.

    • Not sure what to make of D-League defense. He can come off a screen, shoot off the dribble, and get the ball up quickly. He still looks a step or two slower than his brother and ball handling (here) looks wobbly. Pretty sure there isn’t a YouTube of his defensive highlights.

  15. Felty said he didn’t if they would exceed
    the over number. Most posters said we
    would exceed the over. It should not have
    taken him till now to conclude we’re
    contenders as some of us recognized
    that a long time ago.

    And Felty’s criticism of Jackson’s use of
    Speight’s last year was that he did not
    Shoot enough three’s last year a skill
    he sucks at. So Felty is basically praising
    Kerr, without saying so, for not following
    what Felty advocated last year. Should
    we diagnose this as amnesia?

    Only someone with blinders on would
    criticize a back-up (Livingston) who is
    shooting 53 percent from the field.

    • Um, Frank,

      a) It’s a lot easier to fire off opinions than lay down bets. Since the Kerr regime was a complete mystery, betting on the Warriors would have been a shot in the dark. Rookie coach, remember? A good bettor knows when NOT to bet, too.

      b) Last year there was some discussion on this blog of Speights being a stretch 4 attempting 3s, but not much of that was by Feltbot. Felt went on record early (and often) to advocate playing Speights at C. Something Jackson rarely did, but Kerr always does.

      c) Livingston is a fine player, but he’s stuck in the wrong system. A bad match for the Warriors style of play. Check out the team’s ball movement with Livingston on and off the floor. It moves much faster and better with Livingston on the bench. That’s unfortunate, but it is a fact, which is almost certainly why Kerr has been reducing Livingston’s minutes lately, and using a rookie instead. The ball movement problem happens to be something Feltbot warned about even before Livingston moved to CA. We all love Livingston, Frank. He’s a nice guy, good ballplayer, etc., yadayada. But not a good fit for the Warriors.

      So if you want to cheese on Feltbot, at least get your facts straight, alright?

      • On Speights, felt did see him as 3 pt shooting C, calling him mokur. No big deal though we all were wrong on many occasions.

        • And I still do. He’s an incredible midrange shooter though, one of the best in the league at any size, so maybe that’s his niche.

          • That he is this year, excellent mid range shooter won couple of games with that jumper.

          • Speights apparently disagrees with your opinion of his 3-pt shot, Feltsie.

            Your good idea about Mo was to make opposing Cs cover him.

  16. Felt, great piece. Read it 3 times already and still not fully digested.

    Still having trouble getting my head around this Warriors (Kerr/Gentry/Adams) success. I think the reason Barnes is starting alongside Green is more rebounding and some size/strength to go along with Green than a guy who can shoot the open 3 and drive/dunk an open lane when assisted, because Kerr et al already know Green is a natural 3 and already know Barnes is a natural Stretch-4. You might have noticed lately Green is guarding a Wing more and Barnes a PF more. Remember awhile back Kerr said Barnes is a very strong guy, look at the size of his chest. And during the game last night, Barnett or Fitz related that Kerr told Barnes after a time out he was the biggest guy the Warriors were going to have on the court and to act like it. Right after that, Barnes successfully challenged, it was Durant or Ibaka, at the rim with a perfectly timed jump, and aggressively. I remember against the Clips he grabbed an offensive rebound, went up in traffic, and muscled it in. Kerr or Gentry obviously told Barnes his job (along with hitting an open 3 and slashing an open lane off passes) is to get physical and rebound, again in consideration of Green. Igoudala cannot provide the under-sized Green that same support. The other mystery to me is why have Bogut handle the ball on the perimeter? Well, Kerr did know know for sure Green could, probably wanted to keep Bogut out of the lane, and reward Boguts defensive effort. That line-up also worked well, but I have no idea how they will mesh that with the recent developments (assuming Bogut returns healthy).

    • I don’t want to endorse every detail of this comment, but its core point highlights the bizarre illogic of some of Felt’s pet contentions.

      GS, Felt insists, “must and will part ways with” Barnes, apparently to accommodate playing Green at his “true position” of SF. We must ignore, apparently, not just Draymond explicitly and publicly disagreeing with this assessment, but how well Barnes and Green have complemented each other, with each being able to take on the “stretch four” role on offense & switch assignments readily on defense. (Felt’s newfound obsession with Draymond as a “stopper” overlooks how the W’s switching philosophy & effective execution of it — rather than relying on a single defensive hero — has been the core of their league-leading D.)

      But now we learn it’s even worse than that. Not only does Felt reject what clearly is working now, he maintains that moving Green to SF full-time is unrelated to David Lee’s (allegedly dim) future at PF. In other words, Barnes must be exiled to make way for… apparently, whoever GS can pick up for mid-level exception next summer.

      If Lacob and Myers actually made a decision like this, they’d be every bit the amateurs Felt likes to depict them as. Fortunately, they seem to be much more sensible.

      • I should add the weakness of HB is defense, although his defense on 4s seems to be better than on 3s. I look forward to HB improving his defense and believe he will, if he continues to listen to Adams. Barnes seems to be a slow learner, although he’s still only 22.

  17. FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

    Detroit Pistons now 6-0 since dumping Josh Smith. They just took out the the mighty Spurs in San Antonio. The Spurs are clinging to the 7th seed at an unimpressive 21-15. They have looked old and tired all season hardly a threat to the Warriors. Two straight trips to the NBA Finals has taken its toll.

    • They’ve been playing without TP, Kawhi, Splitter and Patty Mills all season. And Pop could care less about seeding, so he’s not overplaying any of his other players to compensate.

      If they are at full strength by the playoffs, they will still be an extremely formidable opponent.

      • I seriously think Spurs are in danger of missing playoffs this year. OKC will storm to top 8 so who is going to be out??

      • a simple illustration how the so-called ‘impartial’ schedule favors some teams and others not so much — SA, not a particular favorite of the national broadcast megacombines who significantly dictate the scheduling, had eight back to back games in Dec., with at least one of each pair a road game. and coming next month they’ll start their 4+ weeks of games completely away from their home venue, which hosts a rodeo every mid winter.

        • cosmicballoon

          I watched the final two minutes of the Spurs game last night (It was on NBA TV). I was shocked at how the Spurs lost the game. After splitting 2 consecutive trips to the FT line, they went up by 3 and decided to foul the Pistons which sent Meeks to the line. He made both and SA called timeout to advance the ball on the inbounds. Duncan then made a poor pass to Mills who mishandled it with 5.5 seconds left. Jennings took a pass, dribbled into the lane and lofted a floater off the glass for the game winner. Manu and Duncan were in the game at that point, along with Green, Mills and Diaw.

          SA is finding ways to lose this year. Having Parker and Leonard back will boost them, but they aren’t a title contender. The Rodeo trip won’t go particularly well because of the missing pieces and because Duncan has played too many minutes in the early part of the season.

        • I have had discussions with others who have perceived a pronounced softness in the Warriors schedule the last two seasons. Seemingly always receiving the league’s toughest coming off a road back-to-back for instance. And having far fewer back to backs themselves than in years past. It is possible for the league to exercise quite a bit of preference by this means, that goes completely unremarked upon.

          8 back to backs for the Spurs in December? That is completely absurd, and it’s hard to not feel that there is an agenda there somewhere.

        • That is brutal, feel for Spurs, especially for an old team like Spurs. Interesting if Warriors get Spurs in 1st round, only this time with warriors having home court and a better coached team.

    • Art Vandelay

      I thought the Spurs looked “old and tired” last season. And the season before that. And the season before that.

    • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

      Pistons knocked off the Sours and Mavs in back to back nights. That is quite impressive.

  18. This would have been entertaining too:

    https://vine.co/v/OpWnEmnIKBi

  19. Quick association drill -I’m just curious. Not trying to disparage. Or beat a dead horse. HB played a nice game. Hope they keep coming.

    Stephen Curry: Excellent player, MVP candidate (short list), #1 PG
    Klay Thompson: Very good -to-Excellent plyr, All-Star, top 3 SG
    Draymond Green: Very good-to -excellent plyr, worthy of , not All-Star
    Mo Speights: Average NBA player (coaching matters)
    Harrison Barnes: ———–

    • The Black Falcon.

      See? Branding works!

    • “To be determined.”

      Barnes is a legitimate rotation player at 22 (the youngest player on the W’s, IIRC), and he’s improved substantially over last season.

      As such, he’s likely to improve even more over the next couple of years. How much? I’ll be happy to sit back and let him determine that, based on his work ethic and (hopefully) continued good coaching.

    • cosmicballoon

      HB’s peripherals are still not very good. .3 blocks, 1.4 assists and .7 steals in 30 minutes per game!? He shoots 74% from the line. He is a role player whose best quality is shooting the 3 and not turning the ball over. He has improved his rebounding and toughness (Feltbot, you should give him some credit there, because two years ago, you were saying he had no heart), but has yet to make a true impact on the game defensively or as a playmaker.

      He is filling a role nicely on this team. Nothing less, nothing more.

      • @cb I agree with everything in this post, including giving him credit for improved toughness and rebounding, which I have already done.

      • It’s worth noting just how valuable a player like Barnes could be in this system, given his size, speed, and projected skills.

        I’m not going to take a stand here, but any evaluation should be based on an understanding of who a player is and what he has. Some things, I suspect, are innate, though can be improved—court vision, reflexes, basketball CPU. Other skills have to be learned early and developed as a player matures—ball handling, shooting, and so on, just so a player has later experience and the confidence he can move around the court and do something with the ball.

  20. Fun with numbers:

    The Warriors are now 27-5. If they win half their remaining games—and I feel pretty safe here—they’ll have 52 wins, which should be good enough for the playoffs. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s good enough for a #6 seed again. The top teams in the West will beat up on each other.

    What this means is that they can think about managing the rest of the season without playing all out to get in. They can protect players, try to bring others up more, maybe weather a storm.

    Where I feel less safe is guessing how many wins will put them at the top and how much effort it will take to get there. The way things are going, even playing a 6 or 7 seed may be a challenge. Think if OKC or the Spurs come in low but finish the season strong.

    • cosmicballoon

      Kerr is already managing minutes pretty well. No one is averaging more than 33 minutes per game and the team legitimately has a 9 man rotation right now (10 or 11 when Ezeli and Bogut are healthy).

      • The other thing I’m pretty sure about is that Kerr doesn’t have to worry about his job next season. The uncertainty and pressure of MJax’s tenure, up through the playoffs, spoiled last season for me, helped push him into bad management decisions, and put unnecessary strain on the players.

  21. Wow. The Pistons win streak is a pretty damning indictment of Josh Smith. Though its early, its ugly both ways. I thought it would be a plus move for Hou.

    I distinctly remember an early season game at Oracle (on TV) where Smith, Horford, Joe Johnson, and it seemed like minions tore through Mike Dunleavey, Troy Murphy, et al. Its sobering when you realize theres no chance for the immediate future.

    • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

      Not sure why you thought it would be a good move for Houston. He is an awful fit. He can’t shoot. So having him on the floor with Howard clogs the lane for Harden.

      • I’m not sure why now either. Guess I thought that goin from a bad team to a good one would help him. I really haven’t seen him play much lately, just remember his Atl days, and wondering why GS could never draft a guy like him or KG out of high school.

        I think OKC and SanAntone still prevent challenges to the Ws. but they don’t cow me anymore as a fan. I look forward to it. Nice perspective change.

  22. The problem with Mo and the 3 point shot is that it’s too close for his range. See YouTube, below. Look at this shot. His form is good and he hits dead center. And he’s strong enough to one-hand it.

    Mo has to be in place and show the ability to drive 15 or so feet away from the basket. Putting him out on the 3 point line would take away the possibility of that drive. He can motor and handle fairly well, but being that far out will make a drive iffy. Also, except on rare nights, he’s going to have limited shots and he needs to start with something more certain. His 3 points stats are meaningless. He just doesn’t take enough. He can hit it, and if they gave him enough shots to get into a groove he could be effective there.

  23. Interesting perspective on Harden & the Rockets uglyball offense:

    “…Morey and Harden have designed approaches to maximize success within the framework of the league rules. The NBA has legislated this brave new hoops world into existence — promoting the worth of the 3-point shot and free throws over other forms of scoring.

    For those of us who grew up watching Bird, Magic, and Jordan, there’s an increasing dissonance between what we perceive to be dominant basketball and what actually is dominant basketball.”

    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/future-of-basketball-james-harden-daryl-morey-houston-rockets/

    • Their excellent D, kudos to McHale, is keeping them relevant despite ugly offense. Ugly and Boring style.

      • Ugly but effective with Harden initiating the offense. Can the Rockets teach the old dog Josh Smith some new tricks?

        • Josh Smith can do everything but shoot, but problem is he is more interested in shooting than do all the other things like Draymond or Iguodala. Think, Josh Smith have little interest playing ball.

    • Their excellent D is kudos to Morey. Howard. Bye bye Lin, hello Beverly. Bye bye Parsons, hello Ariza. Now Brewer and Smith, both excellent defenders.

      This team would be excellent defensively with one of us coaching.

  24. Since I began reading Feltbot’s blog I treated his take on “Nellieball” as kind of a black box; something that, while I didn’t have a deep understanding of exactly what that meant, I was still interested in how he unflaggingly applied the concept to various iterations of the W’s. I thought that I had a general enough understanding of what it meant but now I’m not so sure. I had assumed that it principally meant playing “smallball” whenever possible and exploiting mismatches. However, Felt’s insistence that the current version of the Dubs is playing “Nellieball”—and how he seems to be applying the term—has me confused.

    I began to question the usefulness of ascribing playing “smallball” as being “Nellieball” in great part because most teams play smallball at some point—sometimes out of necessity, sometimes not. Yet, many of these teams clearly employ very different coaching philosophies. Moreover, such a take on Nellieball is so broad as to lose meaning. It’s kind of like claiming that all high powered passing offenses in the NFL are playing “Coryellball.” Similarly, Felt’s recent insistence that the W’s are playing classic Nellieball by trapping players with “smallball” wings had me scratching my head, not least because nearly every team that the Warriors face employs a very similar strategy (writ large) against the Dubs.

    Assuming that “Nellieball” reflects more than simply smallball and heavy trapping I began to wonder about the extent to which this broader definition applies to the current Dubs and decided the following: not terribly much. Indeed, the similarities between Nellie’s W’s teams with the current team concerning…:

    –the types of players Nellie sought out (and rejected): not much. See Felt’s less favored players for examples [hint: Livingston, Bogut, Iguodala, and the early Green)

    –the pace at which his teams played: maybe a bit. But is playing up-tempo a unique trait in this regard? What if they were playing according to the D’antoni’s “7 second rule” (someone who likely has influenced Gentry) would that be “Nellieball”?

    –the preferred offensive schemes: I don’t think so. Kerr is open about his indebtedness to Pop (who famously replied “Nothing,” when asked how much influence Don Nelson had on his coaching) and Phil Jackson. Are they Nellieballers? And what of Gentry’s links to D’antoni?

    –defensive schemes: not much. Nellie did not emphasize playing hard defense the entire game over the entire season, like this Warrior team. And even if we were to grant “smallball trapping” as being a form of Nellieball, what of the myriad other defensive schemes that a team can deploy? Are the current W’s consistent with Nellieball in all of these aspects? I would think not.

    –the “culture” he created for teams: not much. Think of the fiery mindset that Mark Jackson instilled in the W’s, which still resonates and is vastly different than typical Nellie teams.

    In any event, I was hoping to gain some clarity on—and a more complete understanding of–what Nellieball” means to Feltbot as it would help me understand his (and other devotees) perspectives more thoroughly. At present I’m more confused than anything.

    • … Pop (who famously replied “Nothing,” when asked how much influence Don Nelson had on his coaching) …

      Popovich and Nelson are extremely good friends, so I would wager that Pop was being sarcastic with this comment.

      • I know they are–Nelson was even going to have Pop as his GM at one point. Pop can be very surly at times, so if someone asked him at the wrong time (or in the “wrong” manner, according to him) he might have been some what serious.

        But in any event, does Pop play “Nellieball”?

    • You have a lot of questions Longtimer. Sometimes its healthiest to just trust your own intuitions.

      To me the only veritable “Nellieball” teams started at TMC and ended with We Believe. (Obviously) because of the coach, 4 relative smalls on the floor almost 100% of the time, and the consequent slant towards quickness and versatiliy on offense. Anything else is a permutation, and its a very nebulous thing to define. The deeper you want to go the more more worms you find. Its really a matter of opinion
      in the end.
      Your point regarding D’Antoni crystalizes this. Theres no right answer.
      But Feltbots take is always sharp and interesting.

      I was alittle worried I helped to drive you off this site..

      • rzz,

        Thanks. I do think Felt’s takes are interesting–agreed. That’s why I wanted to get a sharper sense of what he means when he uses the term in his analyses. It is nebulous but there must be some common threads to tie together.

        The Run TMC to We Believe era had some exciting teams but they all were, on the larger scale of things, pretty different from this year’s team.

  25. Don Nelson on “Nellieball”

    OK, now I’m REALLY confused! I decided to look around and see if Nelson had anything to say about it and found this interview by Marc Stein (ESPN, 2012; http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/8341678/nba-don-nelson-luckiest-guy-world). It doesn’t seem that Don really has a firm idea of what “Nellieball” is. Moreover, he seems to differ greatly from Felty in this regard who seems to treat the concept as if it is a sharply defined analytical tool that has consistent properties. It seemed clear from Felt’s use of the term that there were philosophical precepts that Nellie followed, and yet Nelson says he’d always preferred NOT to play what Felt terms “Nellieball” if he could in any way help it. Wow, confusion abounds here!

    Q: What’s your reaction when you hear people talking about Nellie Ball? How would you define it?

    A: “I suppose it means small ball, fast and exciting, point forward, players playing out of position … all those kinds of things. It’s kind of funny to me when people talk about stuff like that. I don’t necessarily think it’s accurate. You only play Nellie Ball when you don’t have a very good team, or when you have a bunch of good small players and not many good big players. When you have bad teams, you’ve got to be creative to win games you’re not supposed to win.

    I was innovative when I had to be, but I wasn’t innovative when I didn’t have to be. When I had good teams and big teams, I didn’t play small ball. When I was in Milwaukee and we had Bob Lanier, we went inside. What I did really was evaluate the team and play the way that I thought we had to play to be the most competitive. If I had a big center, I wouldn’t have played so fast. I would have waited for Lanier to get down [the court] like I did in Milwaukee. Those teams were defensive-oriented and those were my best teams, too, by the way.”

    • the great nelson simply built his teams around the skills of his best players. in Mil, moncrief, marques johnson, Dal, nash and der dirkster. when mullin replaced montgomery w. nelson, davis was by far their best player, richardson next. nelson developed role players like pietrus, azubuike, barnes who were a better fit than lottery picks murphy, diogu, dunjr. this is why the b.s. about kerr and the triangle (mostly a con on kerr’s part, a cover for his novice status while getting a maximum coaching contract) has largely subsided — he is not having players adhere to a system their skills won’t fit, nor their strongest points be obscured.

      • Agreed. Nellie did seem to tailor his schemes to fit his players best. He also had a genius for getting the most out of certain types of players (but if you were in his doghouse–watch out!). Conversely, I wonder if a player like Draymond would have gotten the type of chance he did with Jackson and developed in the way he did. I sense that there’s a decent chance he wouldn’t have.

        In any event, Nellieball really represents an ability for a coach to adjust to the needs and abilities of his team, rather than a specific coaching philosophy as Felt clearly seems to feel. From reading the transcript I get the strong sense that Nellie would agree with this take.

        He listed his five greatest players. You mentioned four of them…

      • To accuse Kerr of “a con” regarding the triangle seems quite ignorant.

        This breakdown by a coach (and triangle advocate) identifies numerous triangle elements/concepts that Kerr used during summer league, as well as his modifications and use of some Spurs sets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY6_bHropV8

        I’m not a coach, so I can’t say specifically how heavily the current W’s offense uses the same elements — though some changes may obviously have occurred due to the injuries to Lee and then Bogut. (Also, Curry has said that Kerr simplified the offense after the early problems with turnovers.) But the “con” accusation seems baseless.

        • used a subjective characterization, which is rather different than an accusation. you of course know that ‘con’ is derived from ‘confidence’, which was extremely important for the new coach both to project and to gain from his bosses and the public. kerr had very recently been in a dialogue with the icon elder jackson and probably felt fairly fluent in the triangle dialect of coach-speak. the media can take partial credit for the ‘con’ as well ; using tropes and labels has a directness and requires less nuance or detail. the reporters have to come up with plausible sounding stuff, and can’t count on getting access or editorial approval if they really wish to dissect the dynamic process of a new coach working with players he barely knows.

          • With all due respect for your evasive verbosity, yes, you were accusing Kerr of dishonesty (particularly since “a con on Kerr’s part” was referring to “b.s. about Kerr and the triangle”).

            But even taken at face value, your claim about name-dropping the triangle to project confidence is nonsense. If anything, Kerr was defensive (rather than gloating) when the subject came up with reporters — and for good reason, since the failure of Rambis and other PJax assistants causes most modern hoops media to cringe when coaches talk of running the triangle.

            But in any event, my point was that Kerr’s actual coaching (as evidenced by the video I linked) has in fact incorporated triangle elements as he stated it would. So to call those statements “b.s.” or “a con” (however you wish to retroactively define those terms!) is simply an ill-informed claim on your part.

          • swopa, in re. to the triangle ‘elements/concepts’ you perceived in your video analysis, won’t argue with what you saw. reminded me of the dialogue in Hamlet about what the clouds resembled.

          • Excuse me, but it is neither my video nor my analysis, but that of a coach who knows the triangle in detail.

            I certainly don’t, and it’s increasingly apparent that you don’t, either. In fact, I’m guessing you didn’t even look at the video.

            Which is a pity. You seem to enjoy posing as an intellectual, but actual knowledge can be more fun.

          • Coach Nick, Swopa? Coach Nick? Seriously? Kerr tried things out summer league, and a few things were highlighted here, but that doesn’t represent well what has followed since. And a youtube of triangle attempts there was run here that looked like blooper outtakes.

          • That youtube got ripped here last summer when it first appeared.

          • rgg, I guess I need you to clarify what your point is. Moto’s contention was that Kerr used the triangle as some sort of PR cover to make him seem like a serious coach deserving of big bucks.

            If you agree that the video shows Kerr running triangle-influenced sets, then you’re backing me up and disagreeing with moto. Is that your intent?

            (Note: Sneering at Coach Nick for other reasons — e.g., his comment on Bogut shooting midrange jumpers — is irrelevant. I’ve already noted above that there are obvious reasons why the W’s current offense would differ from Kerr’s summer-league sets.)

    • -Q: What did you think of the deal the Warriors actually did make later–Monta for Andrew Bogut in March 2012?

      -NELSON: Oh, that was a way better trade than the other one. That was an incredible trade.

      I still can’t believe Milwaukee did that. Getting a center for a 6-2 two guard? I don’t care how good you are, you’re still 6-2 you know?

      -Q: Would you have liked coaching a team like this—built to shoot so many 3s?

      -NELSON: When you have a good team, and I think they do, you don’t want to be that kind of team. They’re good enough where they don’t have to shoot all those 3s.

      I think they’ve got the whole deal. I do wish Bogut would be a little more aggressive offensively sometimes.

      But they’re very unselfish… They don’t have to shoot that many 3s all the time. Bad teams need to do that to win sometimes. I had some teams like that, probably shot too many 3s, but we had to take gambles to try to win.

      When you have a really solid team like they do, you don’t need to do that.

      BTW, Nellie said he would have picked Jordan Hill if Curry is gone.

      -Q: If Curry was gone, would you have taken Jordan Hill?

      -NELSON: He was the second pick. We would’ve… I wouldn’t say we loved him, but he was, I thought, a pretty solid pick.

      http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/2014/02/04/don-nelson-interview-part-1-on-monta-ellis-the-bogut-trade-and-watching-the-warriors-hoist-all-these-3s/

    • After following Nelson’s coaching career for over 30 years, I think there’s no single roster or offensive style we can call Nellieball. He did the best he could with what he had, end of story.

      Nelson was an innovative coach. When he had Manute Bol, he found a way to use Bol to distort the game in his team’s favor. When he had a Mullin or Stephen Jackson, ditto. Tim Hardaway and Baron Davis were both very different from normal PGs, and he put them both in position to take maximum advantage. Nelson took advantage. Every advantage available.

      Nelson would change starting lineups from game to game – in many seasons, he led the league in the number of different “looks” his team had. Whatever gave his team an edge. For Nelson, the only constant was trickery. He was a “6th player” in most games he coached.

      So any attempt to “define” Nellieball as a set of rules, or a single style of play, or a consistent offensive v. defensive philosophy of basketball, is doomed to miss the mark.

      Nelson played to maximize point differential, using what he had, capitalizing on every trick in the book, by any means possible. When playing against the unstoppable force of Shaq, he invented hack-a-Shaq, throwing expendable bodies against Shaq’s massive frame. Against Dirk, he had Stephen Jackson crowd and bully the man all over the court.

      Along the way Nelson invented smallball, because sometimes that was the roster he had available that had the best chances. But small ball isn’t Nellieball, because he didn’t always play that way. When he had the best bigs in a game, he played big and forced opposing teams to slow down and play against their strength and size. When he had great smalls, he had them run opposing bigs off the floor. Whatever worked.

      I really admired Nelson’s coaching. He won a lot of games for his teams that they “should” have lost. But what’s Nellieball? There’s no single answer to that. From what I can tell, “Nellieball” was “whatever gives your team an edge.” Sometimes that was small ball. Sometimes it wasn’t. Whatever worked.

      • Nicely put. He was a great coach in many ways–especially his versatility. His willingness to be innovative (and go against conventional wisdom) is probably his greatest asset.

        I still love picturing him up in the boiler room(?) smoking cigars (because his wife forbid him doing that in their house), drinking scotch and cooking up crazy plays and schemes to befuddle the Mavs.

        Memories….

  26. Sorry to spam With Nellie interview, lot of talk on Nellie would do and felt not accurate.

    • Thanks for posting, I caught this live while driving. Extremely informative. Listen closely when he describes the players in the front office. It’s all there between the lines.

    • it sounds like west is joking in there about getting fired, because he dared to oppose gutting the team to get love, but he never names the guy who scores lots of points for a bad team.

    • It’s hard to believe the whole division within the front office over the Love deal wasn’t a piece of theatre, that they weren’t promoting “transparency,” “team coordination,” “decision dynamics” of the organization. Also to promote the players in the team to the world. West, in an earlier interview, said he was “just a piece of furniture” in the FO. Lacob, in a later interview, undercut West’s importance. This image has been changed. This was pure PR.

      Maybe it was staged to influence the Wolves, vainly. Also hard to believe they didn’t know exactly what they were going to do, wait for the Wolves to cave in and take the offer they wanted, probably Lee + Barnes + a pick maybe, which wasn’t going to happen.

  27. Hawks crush the Grizzlies. Let me know when it’s ok to celebrate.

    • Atl is excellent at home, 10-2 vs. the west, and Mem played without randolph. the top four eastern teams have nearly the same records as the top four in the west.l

    • I didnt know you could make the reply buttom disappear. Youve been judicious.

    • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

      Yes you can celebrate but you can also chalk up the Timberwolves over as a loss while you are at it.

  28. Klay and Steph deserve a better nickname. Maybe individual ones will grow organically. Splish Splash says nothing about their toughness.

  29. The other reason they need Lee (healthy) at 4, or 5 if they go small, is that he is the only front court player who can present an offensive threat, either off the pick and roll or a post up move (and hopefully an outside shot), except Speights to a lesser extent, especially against a sizable defensive team like Indiana. Green could only find open 3s, where he was and will be inconsistent. Barnes and Iguodala couldn’t find anything, except in Iguodala’s case the 3s he missed. Steph and Curry were tremendous, of course, but without the 31 points by Lee and Speights, this game could have gone the other way.

    • Agreed on Lee’s impact but I think Speights mostly shined when the game wasn’t up for grabs (unless you think a 14 pt lead with 2 mintues left isn’t garbage time).

  30. Long time reader of Feltbot. Just wanted to say I love the basketball discussion here from Felty and others, and learning as I go along.

    I’m glad Felty has come around on putting Barnes in the starting unit and Iggy on the second unit. It’s the right move for Barnes, he’s playing well but Iggy is still not at his best. His three has not been falling for a while, and its making him hesitate when he gets the ball.

    The other thing is that they’ve essentially got the same player in Lee and Speights and there’s only so many second unit minutes at the 5. In the Indiana game they were running with Lee and Bogut in the second unit but it didn’t look like it worked out, particularly in the first half. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they were rusty.

    Also the last few weeks Draymond has been playing at an elite level. I’d like to see him in the All-Star game though I know that’s not happening. Maybe we can start a twitter campaign or something. I mean the All Star game bores the crap out of me because nobody plays defence, so it would be great if they had some guys like Draymond that are real competitive and took it seriously.

    And Justin Holiday! Wow! Exactly what the team needs.

  31. Any thoughts on that lineup that closed out the 1st?

    Livingston
    Klay
    Igoudala
    Lee
    Bogut

    It didn’t look pretty to me. First time in a long while I was unsure about Kerr’s substitutions.

    • No point guard.

      Only two scorers.

    • I guess the plan was that Bogut and/or Iguodala would distribute. Maybe Bogut is rusty, but I don’t think it will work. And Bogut didn’t have anyone to guard, or whom he could guard to effectively. I guess he was just trying to get him going in a less contested environment?

      • Bafshar,

        That group only played one inconsequential minute at the end of the first but they had an extended run in the second half with good results.

        Rgg,

        No point guard? (Sean Livingston). I think the second half run was what the coaches had in mind. Lee scoring on the inside with a little support from Bogut. Klay scoring on the outside with a little support from Andre and Livingston. Facilitation from everyone except Klay. Bogut and Lee inhaling rebounds. Bogut shutting down the rim, defensively, and Livingston, Andre, and Klay stifling the perimeter.

        It is amazing how many different ways the Dubs can beat a team.

  32. Continuing my thought—

    It was obvious Kerr was trying to get the rest of the players going on offense last night, first half, in a game he thought they could manage. It was just as obvious it wasn’t working. Against defensive teams, this lineup will struggle unless they get front court scoring. They have to have alternatives when the 3 point shot, which the system can open up for the 4, isn’t falling. The other example would be the Chicago game—but Draymond was hitting his 3s that night, 7-13. They can’t count on that.

    They had to have Klay’s 40 points last night (in 40 mins), and they had to have the front court scoring because they weren’t getting it elsewhere. It doesn’t matter what the system is, at some point someone has to make a charge, someone is going to get the ball down low and have to go up, else they’re hoping the 3 point shot drops, and it wasn’t for the other players. Was it under Nelson they had the rule that if you missed the first two shots you drove and drew a foul just to score, get to the free throw line and maybe get your shot going?

    The Curry/Lee pick and roll last night worked to perfection, like clockwork, in a flash.

    I’m waiting for OT to tell us about HB’s dunk. It will certainly hit the highlight reels and YouTubeLand.

    • cosmicballoon

      Last nights game was a blip on the radar. Curry came out extremely sloppy passing the ball (3 turnovers in the first quarter — all on poor passes). He sets the tone for the team, and there was not a lot of focus in the first half last night. When Curry and Klay realized what was happening, and started playing hard, they turned the tide and won the game handily. Regarding Klay’s 40 minutes…Kerr left the starters in the game until the end…not sure why, but the last 4 to 5 minutes of the 4th were unimportant/garbage time and could have been handled by the subs.

      Barnes showed his limitations in this game — he was the player guarding Solomon Hill during the first quarter when Hill hit two threes on his way to scoring 10 points. The funny thing about Barnes personality is that he gets toasted on defense and then disappears on offense. Most NBA players, if they get beat on defense will try to atone for it on offense. Barnes just doesn’t seem to have that competitive streak. The result last night? 4 points, 4 TOs, 4 rebounds and 1 assist in 24 minutes. 0 steals, 0 blocked shots. He is a role player, but he’s not consistently making the extra effort to actually impact the game.

      I don’t mean to start the Barnes firestorm again, but he is starting on the best team in the NBA — and the rest of the starters are killing it EVERY NIGHT.

      • Sounds like it’s time to shake things up!

      • The inconsistency is of the things that frustrates me with Harrison. Klay made steady, albeit slow at times, progress over his first 3 years. Harrisons inconsistency has been a constant now for three years.

        I know HB is a starter on a 28-5. It’s an irrefutable statement that is also very lazy. Tim lincecum (for a half a yr) was a starter for the ’14 Champs. Doesn’t make him Madbumian..

      • The first and third ‘turnovers’ should have been caught andm were not Curry’s fault. Just ask Dreymond. Steph was unselfishly getting the ball to DG (it was Green’s bobble head night).

        For stupid turnovers, watch the Pacers during the first minute of the second half.

      • I don’t think it was a blip on the radar at all. If you study many games on this wonderful run, you’ll find they struggled on offense, even against inferior teams. In many, they depended on phenomenal scoring from a few players, obviously Klay and Steph, but several games Speights and, as I said, Green’s shooting performance against Chicago. They can’t count on that and shouldn’t have to. In many others, they won because they could come out running and jack up the score. They won’t be able to do that against the better defensive teams.

        San Antonio, at full strength, is the obvious test. And they lost that game early in the season. They couldn’t get scoring from the others, except Barnes, who, as in the playoff series years back, was conceded and shot nicely. Bogut was not effective at all with scoring or rebounds, this well before his injury, one reason I am skeptical they can depend on him to run the offense.

        http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=400578400

        It’s not just Barnes. I don’t understand why the system can’t find more shots and better openings for key players—only 4 for Barnes last night, but not much for the others, and often nothing more than 3s, which were missed. And it’s not an indictment of the system or Kerr. As much it could be the players. There just aren’t enough versatile scorers, and Lee and Speights are the only front court scorers, who need to be exploited according to their skills. Curry’s turnovers don’t bother me at all, as there just wasn’t much there.

        The test is against the better teams, in the case of Chicago and Indiana, large, defensive teams. And it’s what they’ll face in the playoffs. It’s often been said in playoffs, with starters neutralizing each other, it’s bench players who step up and tip the scales. In the Chicago playoffs a few seasons back, Nate Robinson kept the team alive, almost singlehandedly. The Warriors just don’t have anyone comparable on the bench.

        • Rgg,

          Your reference to the San Antonio game is misleading. The Dubs had no trouble scoring. Their true shooting percentage was 64%! This despite poor shooting from Steph and Draymond that game. It was 19 turnovers against 9 for SA and allowing 8 offensive rebounds to SA, who doesn’t rebound well as a rule. I believe the Dubs are better than SA this year but not 18 possessions better.

          Also, your take that some games rely on great scoring from a few people is puzzling because of course they do. The best defenses don’t let everyone score their average, they take something away, leaving something else open. Sometimes it is Draymond hitting open 3’s, sometimes Barnes, sometimes Speights. Sometimes Steph and Klay are so hot that it doesn’t matter what else is going on and they get 40+. There are two final points I’d like to make about the offense: One, the Dubs have 10 players who have scored 15+ pts on a given night this season Steph, Klay, Speights, Barnes, Bogut, Iguodala, Barbosa, Holliday, Livingston, and Ezeli, and 11 if you acknowledge that David Lee is more than capable as he rounds into shape. More than enough fire power to draw from as the record against a variety of opponents and defenses would suggest. Two, the above is especially more than enough given that the underpinnings of this team are defensive and not offensive.

          If plan A doesn’t work, as long as the team maintains defense and care of the ball, Kerr can work through combinations and most nights there is enough there to push the team over the top.

          • I’m thinking playoffs now, YT, and the only thing I feel certain of is that there isn’t enough evidence to conclude much about how they’d manage an entire series against top teams, even against OKC. OKC will make adjustments, and Durant and Westbrook won’t have horrible nights as they did Monday. And as I said, they won’t be able to run against everyone. They couldn’t last night.

            We’ll see the Spurs again. This will be another test.

            My general concern, which is suggested throughout the course of the season against inferior opponents or teams without key players (at least half a dozen), is that they aren’t getting enough offense or opportunities for many players. Again, see my thought on the game last night.

            David Lee is one obvious solution, used correctly, and he will help out Livingston’s shortcomings. We saw it in Livingston’s second stint last night.

            If Holiday could show a spurt, unlikely, I’d be a lot more optimistic.

            I’d like to see this team make a deep run.

          • But to repeat, Barnes put up 4 shots last night, Green 8, 5 of them 3’s, of which he only made 1, and Iguodala 5, 3 of them 3’s, all missed (plus some free throws for Green and Iguodala and none for Barnes). The rest of the roster, other than the starters and Lee, almost nothing.

            Why was that, especially with Barnes hitting 3’s well now recently? And it’s not the first time that has happened. My theory is that it’s because none of them can drive or create a shot well enough for themselves and usually they pass off. That won’t create the dynamic this offense needs. It doesn’t bode well for later.

            Indiana, for comparison, though not a great team has 10 players with 9+ ppg, 12 with 7+.

          • Indiana also has no one who averages more than 12.2 ppg (except for George Hill, who’s only played five games, at 14.2).

            If everyone was OK with Klay and Curry slicing 10 points per game off their scoring averages, then there would be plenty more shots to go around for Barnes, Draymond et al.

            Is that really what you want?

          • Rgg,

            I don’t follow your argument at all. Your reference to last night is a case in point and partially addressed by Swopa. Let me elaborate. The Dubs lead the league in Pace at 98.5, last night 99.8. The Dubs lead the league in points per game at 109.2, last night 117. More to the point, the Dubs average 85.2 field goal attempts per game, last night was 91. The majority went to Klay (27), Steph (17), Mo (12), Lee (10), Draymond (8), everyone else was 5, 4, 3. Would you suggest taking shot attempts away from those top players? When people are hot, good basketball dictates they keep getting shots. That means less for others.

          • I’m not seeing any continuity of thought from my comments to yours and may have to punt. Indiana is not good without George, but with varied scorers they can still show threats from many angles and players, as they did last night, which kept them in the game for a while.

            My general comment was key players—Green, Iguodala, and Barnes—are not getting many openings or good shots, last night only 3s, and most were missed. The system depends on enough players testing the defense. If they can’t, the pressure goes back on Klay and Curry, which means they may be forcing shots and not getting good looks. Klay HAD to hit 40 last night to win. And he had to play 40 minutes. They should have been able to get help elsewhere and didn’t.

            No one has answered my question. Why did Barnes only get 4 shots last night and, since he’s shooting well, no 3’s? And why could it largely only create 3’s for Green and Iguodala, where combined they were 1-8? This is not high percentage strategy. Again, I say it’s because none of these players can drive or score in the front court unless they are set up well. They can’t present the threats that open up slots elsewhere.

            As I keep saying, front court scoring is essential, and it has to come from Lee, and Speights if he is hitting, their only front court scorers. They also need reliable shooters other than Klay and Steph, and just don’t have them, unless Speights gets open and has a night.

            And in the playoffs, Klay and Curry can be shut down and likely will be without enough help. We saw it against San Antonio. Good teams need help elsewhere, players who can shoot and do other things. It may have to come from several other players as teams make adjustments in the series. A minor but significant case is Patty Mills. Look here, in the playoffs last year:

            http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/4004/year/2014/patty-mills

          • Things might be easier for you to figure out, rgg, if you looked at a replay of the game rather than trying to imagine from the box score. Then you might see how the W’s fast pace combines with the high FGA totals for Steph, Klay et al. to essentially freeze out the other players you mention.

            For example, I just looked back at the first 7 minutes of the IND game (until the first substitutions were made). GS had 18 possessions… and on the final 15 possessions, they made a total of 11 passes in the frontcourt.

            Yes, that’s right — less than 1 pass per possession. Especially when Curry brought the ball upcourt, either he would shoot it himself or he would pass to a teammate (most often Klay or Speights) who would shoot.

            So in that case, the answer of why Barnes didn’t get any of those corner 3s he made vs. OKC is that everyone else was too busy putting their own shots up to get him the ball.

          • 41 minutes more to go. Did watch the game. And—

        • cosmicballoon

          Klay actually played about 36 minutes of real basketball and 4 minutes of garbage time. The game was well in hand midway through the 4th quarter, and Klay stopped attacking on offense. Your take on this game is totally mis-aligned. The Warriors basically played down to an inferior team in the first half and then stepped on the pedal in the second half. Nothing more, nothing less.

          Additionally, Klay could have scored 30 and the Warriors still would have won.

      • Barnes 4 TOs? Ahh blind bias!

  33. Hat: You seem to indicate that Livingston
    hinders ball movement and therefore
    is a bad fit. Such is not so as the Warriors
    run specific plays.

    • Evidence?

      • Frank,

        Here’s some evidence from NBAWowy:

        FGA’s per minute, Livingston in game: 1.64

        FGA’s per minute, Livingston not in game: 2.4

        QED. Livingston slows down the game.

        • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

          Hat the only evidence that proves is that you know how to manipulate stats. The 2nd unit is not as good as the 1st unit. So obviously there will not be as many assists. Come up with something better. While you are at it do some more research on AAU basketball.

          • OK, to be perfectly precise, the offense has run slower when Livingston happened to be in the game. But he’s supposedly the friggin’ point guard, so let’s blame him.

            Beyond that, go find you own stats to make your own case for whatever it is you’re trying to prove here, FFG.

            Re the AAU, do your own homework on that too. I’d be interested to see what you come up with.

          • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

            I did I provided a link to an article that showed AAU is about as far from people having fun with no desire to get a scholarship or play professional basketball. If it was I can guarantee you Nike, Adidas and Under Armour would not be pumping the money that they do into it.

            There is not a single team in the NBA that has a 2nd Unit that is as efficient as their 1st unit. So to put the blame on Livingston is stupid and ignorant. I will stick with what matters 28-5. So apparently Livingston and Barnes don’t suck as much as you like to think they do. But keep spewing the ignorance.

          • Wow, that’s really hostile, FFG. What’s the matter, your mother never loved you?

            Livingston is a fine player, in the right system for Livingston. His style of play is not the same as the preferred style for the Ws. He’s the so-called “backup PG,” but absolutely NOT a stand-in for Curry. Nothing could be more obvious, so what part of that is difficult for you?

            FFG, you’re trying to abuse to an artificial personality, an online avatar. The author of that false personality thinks you might have deep psychological problems. Think about it. Please. For your own sake.

            Re the link you provided earlier, here’s a heads-up for a thinking person: It was a garbage article. A repetition of unattributed claims. A couple of bucks worth of online filler, assembled by a lazy person who doesn’t even bother to report the funding behind the AAU. Not facts, just copy-and-paste crap.

            If you can distinguish between facts and hype, I’d be delighted to read any facts you can contribute. Until then, go talk to your mother. She’d probably like to understand her crazy son.

          • My problem with Livingston is that he is a point guard that will thrive in a system where a player “runs the offense”.

            But I think Kerr is developing a system where the “system runs the offense”, not a single player. Yes, Curry makes the system work amazingly, but he’s not “running” it in the sense that a Rondo or a Paul do. And that’s ok.

            Curry doesn’t necessarily have to be involved in every play for the system to work around him, but that is absolutely not true for Livingston. He literally *can’t* play off the ball on offense, so everything either runs through him or he’s useless.

            And when he’s playing with other playmakers like Iguodala and Green, it’s the *system* that will generate scoring opportunities, if it’s working well. They don’t need Livingston to muck up the works and dribble 360 degrees around the court.

          • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

            hat since you are not bright enough to figure out my screen name let me connect the dots for you. Have you heard of Manti Te’o? Google his name and maybe you can figure it out.

          • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

            Hat here you go buddy educate yourself.

            *********FACTS*********

            The first 10 players in the 2014 NBA Draft ALL played AAU basketball. Next to each player is the AAU team they played on.

            1. Andrew Wiggins AAU (CIA Bounce)
            2. Jabari Parker AAU (Mac Irvin Fire)
            3. Joel Embled AAU (Florida Elite)
            4. Aaron Gordon AAU (Oakland Soldiers)
            5. Dante Exum Australia AAU (Australia Institute of Sport)
            6. Marcus Smart AAU (Texas Assalt)
            7. Julius Randle AAU (Texas Titans)
            8. Nic Stauskas AAU (Grassroots Canada)
            9. Noah Vonleh AAU (Mass Rivals)
            10. Elfrid Payton AAU (Panthers Select)

            Pull your head out of the sand hat. If that is not proof that AAU basketball is not about fun with no desire to play professional basketball I can’t help you.

            AAU is all about the money. The sneaker companies pimp out the players and coaches hoping that when they turn pro they will be loyal to them. The colleges pimp out the AAU coaches when they recruit the players often giving the AAU assistant coaching positions when they help them land top prospects. That is how Frank Martin got a job at Kansas State. He packaged himself with Michael Beasley.

  34. Warriors have played 3 fewer games than the league average. Shortly that will be rectified. They have two 4-in-5 night stretches coming up before the ASG.

    The good thing is this team has the depth to handle it (hopefully).

    • cosmicballoon

      The Houston game is setup for failure. Second night of a back to back, and the 4th game in 5 days. W’s can take the loss, but they need to avoid injuries.

  35. Feltbot: Any quick takes on the game?

  36. On the road and learning from you guys. I’ll be missing the weekend games.

  37. Hat: first and for most you should
    You should look at FG percentage.
    Livingston has a good one. That’s what
    I want from any player. And this may
    surprise you, the assertion that he
    does not into the Warriors system
    is a ruse as the Warriors have no
    offensive system as both you and
    Felty claim, but rather run separate
    and distinct plays that exploit the
    strengths of each Warrior player
    on the court.

    At least we all agree that Livingston
    is a good defender.

  38. Frank, Hat, FFG @ 36

    I dare say you are all arguing apples and oranges. Livingston does not hinder ball movement as he is a more than willing (probably too willing) passer. However, the team also plays slower when he is in. The stats and the eye test are irrefutable. Why the team plays slower is the question and there are multiple reasons. One, he isn’t Steph so no early offense 3’s. Two, he is a mediocre and not confident shooter so at times in the offense where you hav an open shot, he won’t take it, prolonging the possession. Additionally, his inability to space the court causes the team to have to run more offense in order to generate a good look for teammates. The good side of Two, is that he won’t rush bad shots and is always looking for his teammates which fits in well with the team DNA. Three, the second unit is a defensive headache for other teams so the other team must play slower which slows down both teams. Four, even though Kerr staggers rotations, he is playing mostly with non-starters who are frequently not rushing shots either (Iguodala, Ezeli, Rush, early Holliday). Lastly, you are comparing him to probably the best pg in the game, the most explosive certainly, who happens to play with the best starters in the game. Exactly which backup pg wouldn’t be found wanting?

    • Re your last point, yeah, right on, Steph is uniquely excellent.

      Re the rest of it, how about this: Show me another 2nd unit with so many (other teams’) starters on it. Show me another 2nd unit with the total salary of the Ws’ 2nd team. Show me another backup PG who can’t even approximate the starter’s playing style. Show me another PG in the entire NBA who never even attempts a 3-pt. shot.

      Or this, per NBAWowy:

      Opponent eFG%, Livingston on: 46.0
      Opponent eFG%, Livingston off: 45.7

      So with Livingston on court both teams get fewer shots, but the opponent’s scoring efficiency improves slightly, while the Ws scoring efficiency drops significantly.

      Hey, I like Livingston, but he doesn’t play Warriors-style basketball. Maybe that’s why Iggy is now leading the 2nd team, and a good chunk of Livingston’s minutes are starting to go to a rookie instead. Especially with Lee on board, I think we can expect to see Livingston’s minutes reduced even further. No reason to have an extra paint-only scorer on the floor.

      • Hat,

        I don’t think I’m arguing most of the points you make but perhaps the severity of the consequences. Case in point, you ask for what other backup pg fails to approximate the playing style of the starter. I could say Steve Blake and Damian Lillard or Jordan Farmar and Chris Paul but the best comparison is probably Rajon Rondo. And forget JJ Barea. Go to the Celtics championship in 2007-8 where the primary backup was Eddie House. Nothing alike. I’m just saying, the differentiation isn’t a death sentence.

        • Good point, good examples.

          OTOH, the Ws can’t use Livingston to run the 1st unit, because he disrupts the offensive system that makes them successful. If Curry went down, Iggy would move to starting PG. Blake and Farmar don’t have as big an impact on their teams’ offensive systems as Livingston.

          Also, while Livingston is a fine defender, the Ws 2nd unit D is not noticeably better than the 1st team. To date this season, it’s slightly worse. The difference is probably the relative D of the bigs, not Livingston, but still, there’s no evidence of Livingston being a defensive difference-maker.

  39. At this point I see Livingston’s role on this team as emergency starting point guard if Curry goes down. Now, maybe that’s worth paying $5.5M for, I don’t know. I hope we don’t have to find out.

    • + a bazillion. The one injury from which the current team could not recover. Maybe a .500 team and a first round exit? Even if Livingston wound up being passable, there would be no one on the second unit to get the ball across half court against pressure. My blood turns cold at the thought.

    • Doesn’t sound like a backup point guard to me.

      • He absolutely is a backup point guard. And a decent one too. What he isn’t is Steph Curry. Does Miami go to the Finals, much less win, without Lebron? How will OKC fair without KD? Is any backup going to approach Harden’s production in Houston?

        • How are the Spurs doing without Parker and Leonard (and others) but with Joseph and Mills? Livingston wouldn’t come close. He isn’t coming close even as a backup.

          • Thank you for proving my point. SA is exactly .500 without Parker and substantially better with. This despite the fact that Joseph and Mills have each had four years in the Spurs system and with the other Spurs’ players to perfect their roles. I’m not going to oversell Livingston; he is a limited player but he does most of what you need a backup point guard to do, plus fit in well on the defensive side of the ball, plus fit in well with the unselfish nature of the team, and as I’ve pointed out above, there is plenty of scoring available on the team to where his shooting weakness needn’t define him.

  40. I find Felty’s analysis very shallow. For
    me, Gentry’s real genius is mentioned
    nowhere in his post. As
    Gentry’s genius lies in the fact that he
    designs original plays that exploits the
    paint. That allows for mostly uncontested
    shots at the rim. Most coaches run copy-
    cat boring plays as they have no creativity.
    In some future post I explain what he is
    doing in more depth.

    I am presently designing plays for a
    high school team.

    Plays run in high school and college
    are antiquated. To much crash
    and burn and plays that result in
    contested shots. Most big time coaches
    are not very good. Calipari is a good
    example. Wins by recruiting best players
    and wins by overpowering teams
    even though he has little knowledge
    of basketball.

    Best coaches in small schools and Ivy
    League. Not surprised that Columbia
    University was leading both Kentucky
    and UConn well into second half. If they
    would have had a bench they would
    have won both games.

    But I’m enjoying designing plays for
    the first and proud that team now
    ranked in top 25 in country.
    Thank you Mr. Gentry.

  41. PS: if you know a good HS player send him
    to an Ivy league school. Will receive first rate
    coaching and will have better chance to
    succeed in NBA.

  42. Have you heard of Bill Bradley?
    Bad competition? Columbia played
    the two two teams in the
    NCAA finals last year.

    • Bill Bradley joined the NBA in 1968. A fine player 40 years ago.

      • Frank, there are 340 Division I colleges in the US. If they all have bball teams, that’s 6800 players, 3/4 of whom are eligible for the NBA draft.

        In any single year, maybe 60 new players will try out and stick with an NBA team. That’s 60 / (6800*.75), or about 1.1% of all the available D-I bball players, but of course the NBA draws players from D-II and D-III, Euro leagues, and everywhere else in the world too.

        Given the odds of any college-level player joining the NBA, I totally endorse your recommendation. If you have a chance to get an Ivy League education, take it. But not because it’s going to get you an NBA job.

  43. I didn’t realize Lebron was out Fri nite. In the past I would’ve been happy but now I’m bummed. For me real evidence of a new era. Not only to gauge the team and staff a little more by playing against the best, but to see him and Steph possibly go mano-a-mano at least a couple times. Stephs a bit of a bulldog, and showman, he might take it a little personally and I think we’d see him try to school the King, Curry-sytle.
    I will be watching Kevin Love with interest. His Cle numbers are as pedestrian as they were great in Minn. The truth obviously lies somewhere in between. I want to try and pick up on his intangibles. I wouldn’t think you’d call him a better Bball player than Draymond right now. Actually, I wouldn’t do that trade straight-up. And I’m glad the trade involving Klay fell thru. At the time it was proposed, I was mulling it over hard like many here.
    Dubs need to go 32-17 for 60 wins. Very nice.

    • And Toronto has lost 4 straight, including a loss to Charlotte tonight. Takes the bite out of the rout. Cruise mode.

  44. My point is that if the top players
    decided to attend Ivy League school
    they would come-out more prepared
    for the NBA than if they attended a
    big time program. Unfortunately these
    very talented players decide to attend
    big time schools and the Ivy League
    Therefor don’t have many players to go
    to NBA.

    Does anyone doubt that if
    Bill Bradley attended Princeton today
    He would be a lottery pick in the next
    NBA draft? I do.

    • That question is a basketball koan, Frank.

      I’m a few new moons from 50, and can’t recall Bill Bradley on the court, but know who he is, of course.

    • Frank, your hypothesis does not really stand up to the historical realities, specifically, how much ncaa athletics have changed since bradley’s days, and how much tougher the competition has become both in div. I college hoops and in the n.b.a.

      after bradley’s day, the ivy league essentially dropped out of div. I because they didn’t want to make the compromises necessary to compete with bigger schools where academics and meeting stringent degree requirements did not have the highest priority. have you spent much time at, or studied in an ivy league school, Frank.

    • bloodsweatndonuts

      Robert Greene on how Bill Bradley achieved “Mastery” at his craft. According to this at least, Princeton had little to do with it.

      http://mixergy.com/interviews/robert-greene-mastery-interview/

      “Probably around the age of eight or nine . . . what Bill Bradley did was to initiate the most intense, ridiculous, insane, obsessional, practice schedule that, I think, any athlete has ever devised. He did what is known in the field as deliberate practice. I call it resistance practice. Where everything that he wasn’t good at, which I just mentioned, dribbling, passing, rebounding, almost all of the skills in basketball, he practiced on. And so, for instance, he practiced dribbling in between chairs like we’re all taught to do. Then he put on these glasses which made it impossible for him to look down and see the ball, so he would always be looking up when he dribbled. He did this hour after hour, after hour. When he would be at home in his bedroom, he would be practicing different pivot moves, that kind of thing. He would practice every day for this amount of hours. His family goes on a vacation on a cruise ship, he’s dribbling the ball up and down these narrow corridors with those glasses, so he could practice dribbling in that environment. And slowly, he transformed himself into this incredibly graceful, amazing, basketball player who is known for the fact that he could.”

      • Yeah, but would he have become senator had he not gone to Princeton? Actually, I wonder if he would have become senator had he not played basketball.

        • bloodsweatndonuts

          I think wearing those glasses that intentionally blinded him to certain perspectives was what prepared him for congress.

          But to your point, the connections he made through Princeton likely gave him the needed political connections and his success in basketball certainly gave him name recognition. That combo pretty much elects itself.

  45. Checkin the box scores. Tank city in NY. Their 3 leading scorers were in the NCAA last year (I think. I never heard of Galloway). I saw Ware in college but didn’t know he was in the League.

    Phil Jackson has a lot to offer, but more than coaching & the FO, players matter. Bet SKerr doesn’t have any regrets.

    Just another twist of fate, like the Klay trade that didn’t materialize, turning out nicely.

    • If Reagan was the teflon president, Jackson is going to be the teflon GM. His system should have been able to work out something better than what we’ve seen. But his system is not under fire.

      Yet I don’t think anyone gave D’Antoni or his system credit during Linsanity, all those wins when Melo went down. Hard to believe he wouldn’t have done better now. Instead, they focused on Lin, who has been moved where he belongs, to a backup point guard.

      Fighting received wisdom is an uphill battle, maybe a Sisyphean task.

  46. “In end, Warriors unanimously opposed Klay-for-Love”

    “Lacob, according to a second source, placed his trust in West and Kerr. The CEO was reluctant to ignore the wishes of a coach he’d hired only weeks earlier, in the wake of his controversial dismissal of former coach Mark Jackson.

    “That would not have gone over well at all,” said a league source. “I don’t know what Steve would have done, but he would not have been happy at all. He might have thought he’d made a mistake.”

    Myers also concluded that the addition of Love would not offset the subtraction of Thompson. Lacob was persuaded and, after studying basketball and considering team chemistry, it was not particularly difficult.”

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/sources-end-warriors-unanimously-opposed-klay-love

    • “Myers was open-minded.” lol

      Not the GM.

    • bloodsweatndonuts

      Monte Pool is a founding member of the “Vacuum of Insight Triad”. Along with his columnist comrades Carl Steward and Ann Killion, he has waged a multi-decade war on the concept of interesting or unique points of view. This is textbook “VIT” cud as it regurgitates a completely exhausted topic into our quivering little eye holes.

      I will, however, give him partial credit for his unapologetically sycophantic take on this tired topic by framing this hindsight in the most flattering possible way for Team Joe.

      • +1

        I avoid Poole as much as possible, but as I recall his major insight early was that they were turning over the ball, probably because he understands this. Of course they were turning over the ball. They were getting used to a new system that relied on heavy passing. Yet turnovers caught the media’s attention and the coaching staff has gone to lengths to say they are addressing the problem. Yet I have yet to hear Poole say anything that explains the team’s wins since, probably because he doesn’t understand it. And many of the reasons contradict much else he has said.

    • The timing is intriguing. You have to wonder what the report would have been were the Cavaliers 28-5 now with Love scoring big, as many predicted. Again, this is theatre.

  47. My son just told me this. Someone tried to rob Speights at gunpoint last Monday morning, before the OKC game. I would have been rattled, in fact might have stayed home from work.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2324464-marreese-speights-victim-of-armed-robbery-attempt-latest-details-and-comments

    • Why was Speights out clubbing on a Sunday night?

      • Why was he wearing gold chains?

        The Cellar, near Union Square:

        http://cellarsf.com

        • Thanks for the link. i looked at google street views because I was curious and that was a place I went to a couple times 20-25 yrs ago. pretty sure it was called the Cellar even then.
          It was a lot less swankier, I do remember a very eclectic crowd because the bldg also housed a TEFL school and cafe. It went kinda hiphop and got a little rough. The Holy cow on Folsom was my spot..

        • Dress code at The Cellar:

          Please make sure all your guests are in dress code or entry will not be granted. Please wear upscale nightclub attire.
          No baseball caps or beanies; No tennis shoes, sneakers or boots which include the likes of jordans and timberlands; No sandals or flip flops; No t-shirts or sweatshirts; No tank tops; No sportswear; No baggy clothing; No Excessive Jewelry; No shorts. Jeans accompanied by dress shoes and a collared shirt, Bucket Hats and Fedoras are acceptable.

  48. Article in the Chron this morn re Mjax return to Oracle. It’s fluffy stuff but interesting.
    Bogut: “His job is to commentate basketball games and to talk, so I think he’ll do a good job. ”
    Apparently Klay wants to hug him and Steph would like to see him honored.

    Kerr had nothing but classy stuff to say.

    I would imagine Mos probably out clubbin for the same reasons most 30 yr old guys go out clubbin;)

    Caves Dellavedovas got a great nose for the game. Saw him numerous times at McKenna and memorial gym. He’d be a great fit as backup PG to Steph. Notice him tonite.

  49. Preview of tonight’s unveiling, the Curry One:

    http://www.si.com/nba/2015/01/08/steph-curry-under-armour-release-latest-signature-shoe

    Note the cushioning and ankle support, as well as the spiritual support inside. Someone could build a culture on these shoes alone and will probably try. Has anyone made a cultural study of our obsession with shoes that are hideous looking and horribly expensive?

    I can’t find a price, but I’m guessing three figures, on the high end. I’m glad my son is grown up. Otherwise I’d have to buy them. I must confess, however, I’m tempted to get a pair myself. I could use a bit more support and show.

  50. I work with my bro and his best friend is the boss so I have time to do this stuff:
    You mentioned Mo being rattled RGG. It reminded me of a bsketball story from my life.
    It involved a 3on3 game on aplayground in Mexico city. I honestly don’t remember how I ended up there, but remember the competition was surprisingly good, especiallty the guy guarding me. We lost the game and i remember not being happy with the way I repped USA BBall. During the game a crowd gathered towatch, and after the game they gathered around me. Pretty soon I was grabbed and my 4 pockets were inside out. I used to carry a shell wallet in a “secreet” pocket I had sewn into the indide of my pants, becuz I had been relieved of my wallet on the Metro. (They sliced it out with a razor and I didn’t even notice)They were trying to rip it thru my pants, so I got it out and gave it to em. Then they told me to lose the zapatos an socks, followed by mi pantalones.
    I was very happy to hi-tail it out of there clothed and intact. Then i rmembered i had no pesos for the metro. I was thinkin I would circle back around the playground and appeal for alittle $ since I knew they knew I had nothing left(I only needed the equivalent of maybe 50 cents)
    Before I got there I ran head-on into one of the guys I played with. He gave me a bunch of “sorry, amigo”s, and when i explained I needed un poco de dinero para el Metro, he gave me a couple bills. We slapped hands and he told me return Domingo por la manana because it would be less peligroso!

    • like this story.

      • Glad you did. Thanks for this forum.

        Also, it came to me, the place of the Mo-frontation was called the “Beer Cellar” back in the 80’s. The Acadamy of Art owns tons of property in the neighborhoo now with lots of student housing and its pretty safe at night. Theres a narrow parkin lot across the street between two tall buildings and I could definetely see someone alittle unaware being held up in there at night..

  51. Another time in Puerto Escondido I stumbled into an interesting pick-up game. It was maybe a 15on15 and it was probably 95* I was head and shoulders above everyone, and if I brought the ball down below my head it would get raked out of my hands in a mass of humanity. It was like lowering a nice rotessrie chicken into a pack of wolverines. I had to kick off my flipflops because they impeded my running. after 5 minutes my feet were scorched and trampled and I hobbled off the court. I gave a kid a US quarter and he came back with an ice-cold Corona(not my fave but it was good) with a lemon wedge and salt. Soon I was giving him dollars and he got quite a workout running back and forth wherever he went because iprobly spent $40 with all my new amigos..
    I’ll stop now.

  52. Defining expectations—how good is this team and organization?

    OK ladies and gentlemen, we can do this now.

    This season has been frustrating to evaluate because but for a few exceptions we haven’t gotten much evidence on how the Warriors stack up against the other top teams, largely because of their injuries. We’ll see that again tonight.

    We should get a lot of wins this season and barring the unthinkable should make the playoffs, but it’s the playoff performance that gives a season meaning and tell us how good a team and organization are, as they play top teams in top form and are tested to make adjustments over a long series. Regardless of the number of wins, going out early in the playoffs will be a disappointment.

    I’ll set the benchmark: making it to game 7 of the Western finals. I don’t want to set expectations too high, and that would be a significant achievement. I won’t even say who wins that series.

    So step up to the plate now and make predictions, if so moved.

    But first, before mine, qualifications and assumptions:

    You can’t argue it depends on whom they play, as they should be able to meet all challenges. Also it’s hard even to predict now who the top teams are—I’m guessing Portland will wear down—as so much is uncertain. To be a top team, the Warriors have to beat a healthy Spurs team, regardless of when in the series.

    All bets are off if the Warriors sustain a major injury to Klay or Steph. This would just be a bad break. Similarly, the results will be negated if a top player on the opponent’s team goes down—Durant, Randolph, etc. But a team should be good enough to weather the loss of a minor player or a minor injury from any player that puts him out a game or two.

    An injury to Bogut or Lee doesn’t count however, as this risk is part of what has gone into the makeup in the team, that the FO has accepted (or should have recognized and accepted). The odds of Bogut entering the playoffs healthy and making a sustained effort over 20+ games are not good. Lee’s odds probably aren’t good either, although he has been durable for about a decade, up until the last few years. Bogut’s risk is the FO’s fault; Lee’s is not. Also they found backup centers, but no backup scoring 4s.

    I’m also thinking they’ll need a healthy Iguodala, and I don’t know what to expect here.

    Assumptions about a great team:

    1. Should have superior talents. The Warriors have this.

    2. Should have a system and coaching staff that makes use of that talent. I’m optimistic.

    3. Should be deep enough and good enough to sustain the health and stamina of the players during the season so they are fresh for the playoffs. This should happen.

    4. Should have a roster deep and varied and versatile enough to meet the challenges of the playoffs. Opponents will adjust, and key talents can be hindered or even shut down. There should be one or two bench players who can step up and make a difference a game or two, as we have seen so many times elsewhere. Here I’m skeptical, especially when it comes to scoring, as I have been saying. The bench is short of scorers, especially in the front court, unless Speights and Lee come through. Also no backup point guard. Curry will have to play heavy minutes.

    5. Should be deep enough to manage the health and rest of the roster throughout the series so they don’t burn out. Again, skepticism.

    6. Should be able to make a few minor trades or acquisitions during the season to strengthen the club and stack the deck. This isn’t going to happen.

    7. Be able to compensate for the loss of a significant but nonessential player during the course of the season. They don’t have the means. No cash, no trade pieces good enough or who are expendable or who can be shipped. No developing bench players, except maybe Holiday.

    So, given the above, using my benchmark, my predictions:

    1. With Lee and Bogut healthy, they make it. Odds of health not good here.

    2. With Lee and Ezeli healthy but no Bogut, they make it. Still not good odds, but this result is quite possible.

    3. With Bogut but not Lee, they go out second round in a close series.

    4. With Bogut and Lee out, they go out second round, but only maybe they get that far, and break their necks to make it a close series.

    The thing that sobered me two seasons ago was how worn out and banged up they were by the end of the series against the Spurs.

    The more ifs you have to make about an organization, the weaker it is.

    The other test is how many years an organization can sustain its quality, but I’ll put my skepticism aside for now.

    • rgg, your excessively wordy posts are worrisome, uninformative, and pointless. No fun, no insight, no information. Just tiresome repetition of the obvious ways things might not work out for your team.

      You say you evaluate writing for a living. Take some feedback from a professional communicator. You need to step up your game.

      • Hat, I stopped reading your comments a long time ago. Often they are incoherent and superficial. You never examine anything you say. It’s rare they show direct link between what you’re saying and what you’ve read. You are easily the most abusive poster with your insults, most childish and artless, my real concern. More often than not you just make things up without thought or research. I’m happy, however, you can make a living doing this, and am somewhat amazed.

        More worrisome are your repeated attempts to censor content on this blog. It’s Feltbot’s blog, not yours. Many points of view made here are supported and not said elsewhere. If you don’t like what’s said, start your own. It’s free and easy. Just go to WordPress.Com. If Feltbot has problems, I’ll listen.

        So if you have problems, feel free to pass through yourself. If you ever say anything intelligent, please put a *star* at the top, and maybe I’ll give it a look.

        Otherwise—

        K.M.R.I.A.

        • “I stopped reading your comments a long time ago.”

          Oh, really. What’s this then?

          “You never examine anything you say. It’s rare they show direct link between what you’re saying and what you’ve read.”

          Shucks. I thought I read and reported statistics, numbers, facts. Unlike you, who only examines (and endlessly reports) your emotional concerns.

          “You are easily the most abusive poster with your insults, most childish and artless, my real concern.”

          Your real concern is my anonymous online identity’s childishness and artlessness? How terribly sad for you.

          “More worrisome are your repeated attempts to censor content on this blog.”

          Just calls ’em as I sees ’em. Your miles of commentary about your “concerns” are NOT about basketball, they’re about YOU, rgg, and this is a basketball blog. When you have something to contribute on the topic of bball, please jump in the discussion. Otherwise, skip it. No one here is your pal, rgg, you’re just another anonymous poster like all the rest of us, no matter how many miles of verbiage you throw onto the site.

          Enjoy the ride, let the rest of us enjoy it, and please stop endlessly repeat “your concerns. ” They’re not about basketball as much as they are about you.

          Up your game, rgg.

    • considering the uncertain availability and capabilities of both bogut and lee, and how much of the team’s success comes from their defense, green is at least as essential to them as thompson. my standard for achievement will be a bit more modest than yours ; they need to surpass seven post season wins. even having their top eight players healthy into the third round would be surprising.

      from my view can’t really assess the team relative to the other quality competitors yet, with considerable scheduling and player health variables. will wait ’til there’s about four weeks remaining in the regular season.

      • Meant to add Green. I’m just curious to see if anyone has a better take, based on what assumptions. I want to learn something here now that might guide my watching now and set expectations. It’s been an odd season and I’m not sure how to evaluate it or the team. Everything has changed. Thus set some standard. And I tried to factor in the variables.

        2nd. round would be a disappointment, though.

  53. YouTired

    I would be ecstatic if the Warriors could go .500 with Livingston and without Curry and whatever equivalent you want for Leonard, beating Washington and Houston, as the Spurs did. The main thing I want to say here, however, is that it never gets put to the test.

    • “The main thing I want to say here, however, is that it never gets put to the test.”

      So fucking what?

    • cosmicballoon

      We have an expectation because of 40 years of failure that this team is not good enough to win a championship. Right now they are on pace to win in the mid to high 60s in the regular season. They have a KILLER point differential and they have an MVP candidate, MIP candidate and 6th Man of the Year candidate. I don’t understand where your consternation comes from (outside a Curry injury). You should lighten up and probably savor every game. Seriously.

      • I’m just gearing up for the playoffs, cb, the point of my comment above (only one taker). Most of the wins won’t tell us much here. The team will have to make changes to get in tournament mettle. Van Gundy said it last night, and of course the staff knows this.

        I think I’m trying to be Draymond Green in my comments. I’ll fall short, of course.

        • Again, rgg, while you may have a point, you’re not expressing it. First you’re a worry-wart coach, then you’re Draymond? The context doesn’t change the incessantly negative message.

          For example, you say “most of the wins won’t tell us much here.” That is absolute nonsense, and here’s the proof: “most of the losses won’t tell us much here.”

          Regular season losses v. wins absolutely do say different things about the potential for playoff success.

          You got “one” response? Idiot. In actual fact you got two responses, both with the same message:

          Quit being so negative.

          Winning is better than losing. Your repeated attempts to make regular-season winning a “nothing” or a negative are inaccurate and annoying. Also, now, boring.

  54. Yes, talented players at big time colleges
    play against other talented. But by playing
    for so-so coaches they leave college not
    only to early but with really bad habits.
    Committing turnover via traveling, making,
    bad passes, crash and burning, taking
    contested shots, and not finding open
    Players as team has limited options on
    most plays. At Ivy League school a player
    learn those things. Kentucky and UConn
    were for most part of two games because
    they we’re playing against better competition,
    but not better athletes. and if better athletes
    went to Ivy League schools they would
    Demolish the big time programs and be
    Better prepared for NBA. And Bill Bradley
    was a smart player because he played at
    Princeton. Can’t say that about many players
    in big time programs.

  55. MJax was nothing but gracious in praising his former players—

    —and I got really bored but stayed with ESPN anyway.

    Van Gundy was of the opinion that the FO wanted to make the Klay/Love trade but that the Wolves asked too much. I think what he meant was that they would have traded Love/Martin for Klay/Lee, but then the Wolves asked for more—a draft pick? I’ve forgotten.

    He also said the Knicks need to find a tough, get-it-done player such as Butler, Leonard—or Green. Next summer should be interesting.

    It’s not a bad lineup Blatt has without Lebron. I’m curious to see what he could do with it. But for the life of me I can’t figure out what he’s doing with Love.

    I’m not sold on Green as a stretch 4. He’s 1-11 on 3s the last two games. He’s got to find some other offense other than camping out on the arc—and he did 4th. quarter.

    We’re going to see changes in the lineups soon—Kerr has said as much. Curious to see how he works it out. Mo’s obviously going to leave the starters. Not a good game tonight, though he picked it up. Need mo’ bodes from Mo.

    Holiday just looks better and better. I want to see more Lee.

    • Warriors have no one else at 4 who brings the intangibles that Green does. I love Lee and it’s hard to see him returning to quality of play two years ago with increasing frequency of injuries. He is wonderfully overqualified on the second team.

      I’m calling it…Holiday is our backup 2. No need for Allen or anybody else.

      • I didn’t say take Green out of the lineup, just get him off the arc if he isn’t hitting. And they did that 4th. quarter, when he found openings inside and made a midrange or two. They stayed in the game first half with fast break points—last total I recall was 30—which was great, but they won’t be able to count on that. Half court offense first half otherwise was iffy.

        Kerr’s got a lot of pieces to work with and it will take a while to figure it out. Most he’s got to figure out how to work the front court scorers in, Lee and Mo. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of early substitutions.

        No argument on Holliday. Allen would only take his minutes.

        • RGG:

          I get it. It can be incredibly frustrating watching Green go 0-6 from the arc. However, basketball is not accounting. As Kerr has said, it is a fragile game. So much has to do with the players’ confidence, how the player is feeling that day, an early make to fuel the rest of the game, etc. What Green brings to the game is art. It cannot be completely computed not matter how advanced the metrics.

          If Green does not shoot from the 3, why pull his man off on Curry or Klay when they are driving? It’s like the butterfly effect…each seemingly random action has a great many reactions. All this being said though…if the opposition doesn’t honor Green’s three because he is not making enough of them to keep them honest, you have a whole set of other actions/reactions you have to deal with.

          • Nicely put, LM. You’ve been holding out on us. Have to respect anyone in touch with chaos/complexity theory.

            I’d give anything to hear Kerr and the other coaches talk. And now that they have all the pieces, it’s going to be fascinating to see how they play them. No one is a true anything, except maybe Klay is a model 2. Making the odd, but in several cases brilliant, pieces fit is the challenge.

            What Green does vocally and Curry does silently, what they both do with their actions and their demeanor just thrills me. If I had to give one reason why the Warriors don’t lose, it’s because both won’t let them.

      • Me too on Holiday.

    • MJax was nothing but self-serving in his discussion of the Ws players.

  56. I know the big trade in the summer was for Klay/Lee for Love, but would anyone trade Klay for Love at the minute? I wouldn’t. When Klay gets hot, he’s just so hard to stop. Before he got hit in the face, Klay was looking in the mood to go off again.

    Secondly I wouldn’t even trade Green for Love based on the way they played. Love isn’t in the same league as a defender, and the warriors have more than enough shooters that Green as a third/fourth spot up 3 option works.

  57. MT profiles Draymond:

    http://blogs.mercurynews.com/thompson/2015/01/08/draymond-green-lives-formula-hasnt-failed-yet/

    Surprised by the quiet little shot at Barnes.

    • cosmicballoon

      Haha, not developing his brand. Love it.

      How about the blatant potshot at Jeremy Tyler. Maybe well-deserved, maybe not.

      Also, I didn’t realize that Green was a better defensive rebounder than Boogie and Griifin. If he doesn’t make the all-defensive team, that would be a shame.

      • When last heard from, Jeremy Tyler was in the Lakers’ training camp this season. They dropped him. He was rumored to be seeking a pro contract in China.

        I’d say Draymond accurately identified the fact that Tyler could not guide him toward NBA success. Right on.

    • The bit about his bouts with Speights is intriguing too. Green may deserve a lot of credit for bringing him out. MJax praised Speights’ talent last night, which, of course, is ironic as he didn’t use it. Part of the reason, however, is O’Neal.

  58. Been reading a lot of hints that Barnes doesn’t like Mark Jackson. Anyone have more on this?

    • barnes wants to distance himself from his former pastor to reinforce what a different player he is this season, and probably more important, he understands his views need to reflect and reinforce his employers’ expressed positions.

      • Probably true enough as far as you go, there, moto, but Barnes is fully aware that Jackson put him in position to look like a failure, while Kerr et. al. have given him a clearly-defined role within his reach, and in which he is a contributor to the team’s success.

  59. By the way I retweeted Sam Amico for reaction, not agreement.

    • If they don’t exploit Klay and Steph’s outside shots they don’t stand a chance. But I somewhat agree, the point of my comment about Green @61. They need to push their front court scoring to open up the court and shots for the guards. With Mo and Lee, it will come from midrange shots—all they got—and inside scoring: drives, pick and rolls, and plain old post ups. I question relying on 3s from average to below average shooters though—Green and Iguodala. If they’re hitting, fine, but they need to have alternative routes to the hoop. If Holiday keeps his shooting up, I’m a happy camper.

      • your emphasis and repetition rgg re. green’s shooting exaggerates how critical it is for the team’s success, because he contributes on offense by other means when his shot isn’t falling. o.t.o.h., speights is the player with limited other means to contribute on offense, with high usage and shot attempt rates, which makes his efficient scoring essential. the other guy who makes but limited contributions on that end other than shooting is of course lacob’s Wunderkind barnes.

        the offense successfully re-booted when bogut went missing because green seamlessly took over the secondary ball handler role on offense, and surpassed bogut in one aspect — taking and making sufficient shots of his own to pressure the defenses. j.kidd was a worse shooter than green but got wins for his teams while shooting poorly in plenty of his games.

        • I’m not arguing at all Green’s value at the 4 or his minutes at all. And there’s no question that he has fueled the offense in Bogut’s absence, for the better. He offers so much more. This factor alone should help Kerr rethink the offense.

          My observation may be simplistic, but I’m not clear of the answer. Putting Green on the arc takes him away from his playmaking abilities and possibly away from scoring if he isn’t hitting. I use the evidence of last night’s game. He was ineffective from the 3. But second half he was much more involved in a much more active offense. It was then he got 4-5 assists and his scoring came—3 two pointers and a drive. I don’t know why that couldn’t have been tried earlier.

          And I would like an explanation—I don’t know how all this works out.

          • I’d also like to get Feltbot’s take here. Trying to figure this out.

          • what you observed was the superior hoops mind at work. green assimilates the court data the entire game, on the floor or from the sidelines and adjusts what doesn’t work. that might include berating speights — kerr and staff would have no problem in sharing credit for speights’ revival with green, and das Wunderkind barnes has also benefitted.

  60. rgg @61,

    “I’m not sold on Green as a stretch 4.”

    I think you are over-reactive to the ebbs and flows of shooting over the course of the season. Stephen was 0-7 from the arc against San Antonio earlier this year. Were you not sold on Steph’s ability to shoot the three? Probably not. Draymond has proved his competence at stretching the floor effectively over the course of the season.

    I would further suggest it is off base to limit the narrative on Draymond to stretch 4. There are not three power forwards in the league I would take over Draymond. This made me curious and I went to Boxscoregeeks.com to compare power forwards against the advanced stat of Wins Produced. The results show that Draymond is fourth most productive amongst all power forwards.

    The moral of the story is be sold on Draymond as a stretch 4, be sold on Draymond as a 4, be sold on Draymond as a player. Believe it or not, the cup is half full!

  61. rgg not be negative? Would be hard
    to adjust too.

    • Now, now folks. Play nice. :)

      Embrace our diverse and occasionally maddening point of view. A blade is only sharpened by a rough stone.

  62. I have argued against what I thought was an overreaction to Livingston’s effectiveness as a backup point guard. However, I basically agree with FB’s tweet that there is no insurance against a Steph injury. However, I probably feel that way for a different reason. There is no one who can bring the ball up on the second team against pressure if Livingston has to start. We saw that with the Douglas, Bazemore, Iguodala experiment last year before Blake and Crawford joined the team. I think the lack of a third point guard is potentially a big problem.

    I still think they are a .500 team without Steph but they would be toast in the playoffs. That is less of a knock on Livingston than it is that one must acknowledge the drop off in going from the league MVP (imho) to any backup.

    • Don’t look now, but Draymond brings the ball up and/or initiates the offense about half the time.

      • Not against concerted pressure. If he does, it won’t go well. It is not his forte. The Dubs tried to make do with Iguodala last year and he was an utter failure in that role. Draymond does not exceed Iguodala’s handle at this time.

        • Re Dray, of course you’re right, he doesn’t have Curry’s handle, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose the ball off the dribble. He regularly played point in college, and he does it often now.

          Re Iggy: new year, new system. Last year’s offensive plans weren’t as good.

  63. moto and Feltbot @65

    In other words Green did adjust, maybe later than I wanted? Still not an explanation. I want to learn something.

    I assume Kerr had a hand here. My other thought is that Green will be valuable as a stretch 4 in the playoffs, when he will be drawing key defenders, so all the better to get him going now.

    But he was dead open all his shots last night. I’m just wondering if they can get more offense out of him. For example, in some of those 6 shots, why not dribble in, draw a defender and kick out, since he is a good facilitator, or take a higher percentage shot? Also you have to get going on the 3. I said this earlier—wasn’t it Nelson who said if you miss your first 2, drive and draw a foul so you can find your touch on the free throw line? And Barnett is always saying step in for the better shot until you get your touch.

    But the 3 might be a better bet for Green in the long run. He’s not going to drive often unless a lane opens up—he’s not great at this—and I’m not sure about his accuracy on 2’s, especially off the dribble.

    I’m also trying to understand the stretch 4 concept, how it works. But it seems to me you need really good shooters to make it work, and there are degrees here. What is baffling is why Love doesn’t play out, a superior 3 point shooter. But I wonder about less certain shooters—35% and below is iffy territory. It can represent several bad games and slumps. Green is at 32% this season, shot 28% in the playoffs last season (but 39% the previous playoffs).

    Similarly, Iguodala is at 33% for the season. Is there no way to get him more offense? Barnes, however, is shooting the 3 well. Why isn’t he getting more shots? And this may not be his fault. (I don’t know the answer here.)

    Holiday, however, is dropping them now. I see skies clearing.

    It would be nice if Lee shot the 3, but I suspect at best he would become an iffy shooter himself. Also this would take him out of his most effective range—too far to drive away, away from his playmaking ability. I argued something similar for Speights.

    I understand the general principle that having players take 3s stretches the floor and gets 50% more bang for their shot, and that having bigs play out opens up the lane. But if those players aren’t hitting, they won’t be defended and they’ll be taken away from their other strengths.

    Curry and Klay, of course, are superior shooters and should shoot at will.

    My general concern is how to get more certain offense from the whole team. I could be completely wrong in all of this. I just don’t know why.

    And for the last time, I want Green on the court!

    Kidd was a point guard. He had to show the 3.

    HEY FELTBOT! WHAT’S THE ANSWER HERE?

    • Some answers, like seasons, unveil themselves over time. They cannot be cajoled, pushed nor even shouted into the light. Some answers never unveil themselves.

      And therein lies the pleasure of watching.

      • Phil Jackson gave the same answer in defending the triangle.

      • That is beautifully put, however, FB, and I may take it into my advancing years. There may be wisdom here.

        I also understand the stat you’ve cited about the inefficiency of the midrange shot, but that only gives aggregate results and doesn’t tell us what individual players should do on individual teams. It would be great if Lee and Mo shot the 3, but it’s not going to happen and I’m not convinced doing so wouldn’t take away from their other skills, especially if they are only marginal shooters.

        A better way to stage the analysis may be to look at Houston. They well lead the league in 3 point attempts, 34 per game, 8 more than the Warriors. Yet they are 17th in the league in 3 point %, at 35. The Warriors and Clippers are close to the top, around 38%. Washington is on top because they are more selective.

        So, is their 3 point strategy helping them or hurting them? Several of their shooters are around 30%.

        It should be noted, however, that almost all their guards and, what is relevant to the previous discussion, all their point guards shoot well, around 40%.

        More relevant to the tweet and this analysis would be to see how their 3 point strategy holds up in the playoffs, if they keep it. (I would think a team average of 35% then, however, is pretty good.)

    • you have expressed the outcomes you’d prefer to the choices green makes on the court. those choices are made in fractions of seconds, applying a calculus that involves the other nine players, their positions, direction, velocity, and their capacity to execute their respective tasks. the ball handler has to instantly reject the options most likely to end in failure or a turnover, though some of those options might render the ‘better’ results you’re looking for. from watching video even trained hoops minds can’t pick everything up from one look at real speed.

      • No, I’m pretty sure Green is following a plan: if you’re open on the arc, shoot it. It’s the green light that makes it work. I’m just trying to figure out the plan. And my point isn’t about Green but the whole team.

        I won’t put anything past Green, however. Maybe his average will climb.

    • I’m convinced Green will much improve driving and finishing, he has already.

  64. 51 buttons on my remote and not one is “mute fitz”

  65. Also, trade barnes, start iguodala, livingston pnr with lee on 2nd team plus holiday and mo

    • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

      29-5 is unacceptable!! Drastic changes must be made immediately. What are you going to trade Barnes for? It makes no sense to mess up the chemistry of a team winning 85% of their game.

  66. FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

    The grass isn’t always greener. Quite a few people here love to complain about Livingston and Barnes. Well you simply cannot argue with 29-5. Yet several people seem to enjoy playing Monday morning quarterback. Chemistry trumps everything and the Warriors have some unbelievable team chemistry. Everyone on the team seems to have bought in to what Steve Kerr is trying to accomplish. Some people have suggested the Warriors would be better off with a backup along the lines of Reggie Jackson. Well ask OKC how that is working out. Reggie Jackson thinks he is better than he is and wants to get paid this offseason in free agency. He is putting himself above the good of the team. So go ahead and replace Livingston and Barnes with selfish players that put up better numbers and see how that works out. Sometimes the 5 best players don’t make the best team. Selfish players can disrupt team chemistry.

    • I strongly agree with you about Reggie Jackson. I wonder if Westbrook’s own disregard of his teammates is making Jackson act the way he is. It is incredible that Presti thinks adding Waiters to this mix will help.

      I also agree with you that chemistry is incredibly important. And that chemistry is very fragile. Where I would disagree with you is if you believe the team has shown chemistry with Livingston on the floor. Although it’s possible that David Lee might change that, if Kerr gets it right.

      • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

        As a whole this team has bought into the concept of each player doing his part. Where the problems arise is when you bring in a different player who may not fully buy in. You might find a better player than Livingston but if he doesn’t buy in and he complains about his minutes or is more interested in stats than winning you disrupt the chemistry. What we are watching unfold before us this season is something extremely special. The only team that I think could give the Warriors a challenge is Portland. There will be nights where the shots are not falling. They play such great defense that even on those nights they are still able to compete in those games.

        • There are differing ways of defining chemistry. Felt is talking about how well the players play when Livingston is on the floor–which is really just a comment about how effective a player for the W’s he deems him to be, and not chemistry as you use the term. You seem to be talking about chemistry the way most people understand it: i.e. in regards to team chemistry on a larger scale (i.e. getting along with each other on and off the court; being unselfish; suppressing egos; etc.) Livingston is widely considered to be one of the top “character” guys in the whole league.

          The second unit has experienced a lot of changes so it’s difficult to judge a new addition–and single him out. If one insists on doing this, why not Iguodala, who’s been a real disappointment so far–and who didn’t have to adjust to a new team or play himself back into shape after a long injury–like Livingston?

          Felt has declared that he’s in favor of dumping Iguodala and he’s also expressed his disapproval of Livingston many times. However, I think Felt also seems to be saying that we should give give them time to develop some cohesion. I would agree with that.

    • Most likely your argument will be with Kerr, FFG, not posters here. He announced a long time ago he anticipated changes in the lineup, though didn’t specify. And recently he said he’s still trying to figure things out now that players have returned. He has a lot of odd but intriguing pieces.

      As for Livingston, his minutes have declined in direct proportion to the increase in Holiday’s. And increasingly he’s playing off the ball, not initiating offense.

      And I would be disappointed in Kerr if he didn’t experiment. He doesn’t strike me as having a rigid mind.

  67. Strong points about chemistry. I don’t feel the need to add a reggie jackson, though isaiah thomas might have been nice for the inevitable nights when the splash 3s dont fall for whatever reason.

    I’d like to see iguodala start, get more run with the first 5 against the leagues best. Thats what he’s being paid for and I remember that first half okc durant explosion vs barnes.

    Not only durant either, Barnes can’t hang with the leagues best 3s. As much as I’m happy to see barnes hustling, I’d like to see it on the 2nd team. I still buy the showcase theory.

    Lee can be the ‘steadying influence’ dre has been with the 2nd team, put dre back (assuming his knee is better, he looks ok) making it tough on the leagues best without requiring 2x and 3x teams from his teammates.

    • Yes–the Dubs need to shake things up desperately!

      Iguodala’s been amazing so far:

      In 27.1 mpg: 6.9 ppg [43 fg%; 32.6% 3 pt!!!!]; 3.3 rpg. and 2.9 apg. He’s also been reliable at the ft line: 53.6%

      Barnes, by contrast, is a disaster:

      In 30.4 mpg: 10.7 ppg [50.6 fg%; 44.4% 3pt!!!!]; 6.3 rpg and 1.4 apg.
      He’s also a disaster at the ft line: 74.1%

      And the Warriors’ starters have been playing just HORRIBLY with Barnes so far. Although they lead league in virtually every category they’re only 29-5!

      So the Dubs do need to make some changes–and fast. Good call!

      • cosmicballoon

        Longtimer, I am with you, no need to shake things up in the starting unit unless Barnes really starts to falter. The one advantage of having Barnes on the floor over Iggy is that he actually hits open 3s. Iggy only sometimes does.

    • Although I agree Iguodala (one of the best defensive SFs in the league) is a superior defender to Barnes, I don’t think that OKC game is a good example. Barnes was the first victim, but Durant scored just as easily & as often over Iguodala and Draymond before spraining his ankle.

      (Since the regulars on this forum are obsessed with Barnes, I doubt anyone noticed the latter point, but the game is available for online replay on NBA League Pass if anyone wants to check.)

      And incidentally, Roberto, if you “still buy the showcase theory,” you might want to adjust the dials on your mental receiver just a bit. Because several teams have already made trades for help on the perimeter, desperate enough that they dealt for established mediocrities (or worse) like Corey Brewer, Jeff Green, Iman Shumpert/J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters(!).

      Any of those teams would have been ecstatic to get Barnes instead… but he wasn’t on the trading block. Wake up.

      (Incidentally, an amusing bit of revisionism in Felt’s “showcase” theory above — since Barnes clearly isn’t going to be dealt in February — is that he now expects any trade to be made in the summer, adding that “His extension before the season was done, I believe, in order to turn him into a trade asset.” Of course, if GS hadn’t picked up Barnes’ option, his contract would have expired this summer, so there wouldn’t be any need to trade him. And Felt’s original theory was that the W’s just wanted to get rid of Barnes, even for a 2nd-rounder. So the backpedaling is entertainingly obvious.)

      • Yes, Felt’s been backpedaling quite a bit recently (e.g. on removing Barnes from the starting unit and arguing that Draymond should be moved to the three. He also admitted that David Lee is a poor defender and that he’s in favor of dumping Iguodala). It will be interesting to see how he handles the fact that Don Nelson himself disfavors the style of play Felt has been clamoring for in the name of “Nellieball.” I expect him to handle this situation well.

        Why?

        Because he’s shown an admirable (and somewhat unexpected) willingness of late to change his mind and admit he was wrong. And that’s far better than sticking with ideas that don’t make sense or were proven to be wrong. If i wrote as voluminously about a subject I’d have to do a good amount of backpedaling as well.

        The real hope is that his devotees and henchmen fully absorb his revised views. They don’t need a “dog whistle” to signal this–it’s all in black and white on this blog.

      • I forgot to mention another, admirable example of a willingness to change his mind: Felt’s evolving take on Kerr–all of which can be traced in his blogs.

        At the beginning of the year he treated Kerr as a tool of management and suspected that he had little actual power and would simply toady up to his bosses. His starting Barnes (and the “Showcase Theory” Swopa capably dismantled) was but one example supposedly confirming this. He then began to (somewhat carefully) praise Kerr and detected some promising signs. This was very short lived as he next excoriated him as coaching like the second coming of Keith Smart.

        Shortly following that take-down Felt was simply euphoric–exclaiming that the W’s were playing glorious “Nellieball” (sic) and that he fully trusted Kerr’s judgement. Shortly thereafter he was on Kerr’s case again, blaming him for the debacle in LA.

        Now, he’s back to over-the-moon praise for Kerr.

        While readers may have experienced whiplash trying to keep up with these abrupt about faces, Felt’s willingness to change his mind–radically at times, and very publicly–is a positive thing. Unlike Felt, the vast majority of public pundits shovel out the same garbage over and over in the face of whatever facts disprove them. As Stephen Colbert memorably eulogized George Bush, these tyoes of people, “believe the same thing Wednesday that they did on Monday….NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED ON TUESDAY!”

      • @Swopa In the game you referred to, Durant scored 16 points in the first 6 minutes of the game, while being guarded by Barnes.

        While Iggy was in the game, he scored 6 points on two long 2s, and 2 FTs.

        After Iggy left the game, Durant scored the remaining 8 pts of his 30.

        While being guarded by Iggy, Durant made 0 3s. I’m not sure he even attempted one. Iggy did his job, which is to force Durant off the three point line, and make him take long 2s.

        While Iggy was off the floor Durant made 5 3s, including three straight to open the game.

        Now carry on with whatever point you were trying to make.

        http://espn.go.com/nba/playbyplay?gameId=400578674&period=1

        • You want to know the most important point? Even before Durant sprained his ankle the Warriors TEAM overcame a nearly-20 point deficit built largely in the first quarter to take the lead. Durant may have scored 60 that game…quite possibly in a LOSING effort. Respect the Big Picture. All the rest is BS.

        • Oh, Felt. As I mentioned, the game is available for online replay, so it was easy for me to look up the plays you mentioned — and Iguodala didn’t “force Durant off the three-point line” at all.

          In fact, both plays were the same basic set, where Durant came up from the baseline to catch the ball at the top of the key. He then faced up and shot over Iguodala from there, without ever going outside the three-point line.

          So why the added bit of fiction, Felt?

          I’m also intrigued that you apparently forgot to mention the name of the player who was guarding Durant at the end of the quarter — including when Durant nailed two more 3s within thirty seconds, as easily has he had over Barnes earlier.

          Could it be because the player was Draymond Green, whom you’ve labeled as a “Stopper” at that position? Why, yes, the replays show that was indeed the case.

          As I acknowledged above, Iguodala is a better defender than Barnes (and so is Green). But my quite accurate point was that against Durant in that game, the difference was marginal at best.

          • I’m sorry, I mistook you for the guy who wrote: “Barnes was the first victim, but Durant scored just as easily & as often over Iguodala and Draymond before spraining his ankle.”

            That is a blatant mistruth, in more ways than one. I haven’t had the leisure to rewatch the game (I’m in an airport right now), but I distinctly remember Jim Barnett saying “I like what Andre has done on Durant since he came in.” I’ll have the grace you seemingly can’t spare for me to assume you just forgot that.

            And did you also fail to note how often Durant was open at the three point line with Iggy on him?

            It is a truism in basketball that once a great shooter catches fire, it’s all over. And that is what happened in this game. This is why coaches like to start stoppers like Tony Allen, Bruce Bowen and Andre Roberson, instead of bringing them off the bench. The Warriors have reversed that this season, because they’re already starting three great defenders, and for other reasons which will unfold in time. Harrison Barnes was wretched guarding Durant in this game, which is why he lost his assignment before the second half started, and the Warriors changed their defensive gameplan (to triple team) in the next game. He is one of the worst defensive small forwards in the NBA, and definitely the worst among the Western Conference contenders. Why else is he routinely benched in fourth quarters?

            I have more on this subject coming.

          • LOL. Poor, angry Felt. I love how, having corrected the record on a couple of points in your previous comment, I become the bad guy because… because, um… I didn’t memorize everything Jim Barnett said during the broadcast. How dare I!!!

            (Actually, I doubt I forgot what he said, because I probably didn’t notice him saying it in the first place. I usually watch the games with music playing and the TV muted. Having been spoiled by Chick Hearn in my youth, most announcers annoy me.)

            I don’t know how many times I have to point out that I think Iguodala is an elite defender. I’ve previously endorsed his return to the starting lineup (which I had earlier expected would happen, but now it appears may not), and it’s no surprise that Kerr has him close out tight games — especially since he’s already sacrificing by coming off the bench, it would be a notable insult to make him sit at the end.

            Moreover, Andre would be my first choice to guard Durant. As a guess, I’d imagine Barnett’s comment had to do with him denying KD the ball, which is something Iguodala does very well.

            All that said, Felt, your imagination (and anger) might be running away with you on some of your other points. It’s simply a fact that KD scored roughly half his points vs. Barnes and the other half vs. Iguodala/Green, shooting over all of them easily. (And, by the way, Draymond guarded KD at the end of the 2nd quarter because Barnes was on the bench with 3 fouls.)

          • (P.S. My curiosity piqued, I did start to check the replay for Barnett’s comment… only to be reminded that it was a TNT game! Was there a separate CSN broadcast?)

          • I sense you and longtimer would enjoy each other’s company.

          • Oh, it’s not exclusive to us, Felt — lots of people enjoy comedy where some pompous type falls on his face, then huffs around haughtily, hoping that no one noticed.

            You’re really good at it.

      • Swopa, from what I remember both Green and Holiday had successful defensive sequences on KD. Overall, KD just went off and as Felt analyzed, Adams triple teamed his ass the next time.

  68. We’ve talked about Gentry’s influence on the offense. Here are two brief analyses about his days with Phoenix. I’ve forgotten the exact years of Kerr’s tenure as GM, but if he was there then, I assume he was in on the discussions.

    This link discusses Gentry’s preference for the fast break, along with its mechanics. Basic, but illustrative. It’s not clear what distinguishes his from D’Antoni’s.

    http://coachingbetterbball.blogspot.com/2009/02/phoenix-suns-run-and-gun-offense-is.html

    And this link talks about Gentry’s corner offense. Pretty good analysis.

    http://www.brightsideofthesun.com/2012/10/15/3508062/phoenix-suns-2012-nba

    Note the discussion of pick and roll, the use of 4s. I see some similarities in the YouTube. We don’t see 4s playing high post much, however, I assume for a reason.

    “Of course, Morris even at this point in his career, and certainly Luis Scola, are far better passers and decision-makers than Amare. With both those guys in the high post, defenses face a true triple threat (pass, shoot, drive).”

    (They got Scola for a song. I’d love to see him on the bench.)

    • I see a lot of that corner offense in what the Warriors are doing. I also think it’s what the Spurs run a lot with Duncan in the high post. Thanks for the link.

    • Everything old is new again….

      The “Corner” offense is 80%, if not more, Triangle. The only difference in floor positions from traditional Triangle positions is instead of the post playing in the mid-post, you have a high post. The dribble handoffs coming out of the corner are all Triangle. With the post up high you get more driving and cutting action underneath going to the hoop like you often see with Princeton. The Dubs have modified this further by spacing the weak side wing out behind the arc to take or threaten the three on swing or skip passes.

      I think we are back to what Kerr originally referred to as “Triangle Principles”. Not quite Triangle but borrowing heavily from that toolkit.

      • Why is this Triangle, or 80% Triangle?

        My understanding of the Triangle is that it is a dynamic system of player movement where the ball goes to a focal point, somewhere, and often not the point guard, where that player considers options of passing or shooting or driving, and two other players open up for passes, hence the triangle. The system is a dynamic flow of focal points and the two options, shifting triangles, until something good opens up.

        But I have to confess, I don’t see the Triangle until an announcer freezes the play and draws a triangle on the screen, pointing out the three players. Jim Barnett did this once, against the Lakers years ago. Maybe Swopa has this on tape.

        I have heard the word “Triangle” used so loosely that I suspect it has lost meaning—it has been used to describe any system that encourages passing and motion.

        The Triangle is a full blown scheme, designed by Tex Winter for college. The problem is, we have never seen it employed successfully in the NBA, except by Phil Jackson, and there we have to qualify its success by the fact he had the super players at Chicago and LA.

        My objection, and I believe Feltbot’s, is that when Kerr talked about the Triangle last summer, I assumed we would get something like PJax’s scheme, which presented all kinds of problems, amply discussed. But we’re not getting that now, or much that resembles it. Kerr, of course, was just giving preliminary talk for the media. He had to wait to see the players and get together with Gentry to figure out what he was actually going to do. And so far, I am quite happy. Feltbot has registered his praise as well.

        • FWIW, Kerr’s always said he wasn’t going to run the full-blown triangle:

          http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/2014/05/14/steve-kerr-on-taking-the-warriors-job-his-offensive-style-steph-curry-saying-no-to-phil-jackson-and-much-much-more/

          Q: So do you think you’ll be running the Triangle with this team? Maybe this personnel isn’t best suited for that? Will you run a different offense than the Triangle?

          KERR: It will be influenced by the Triangle but it will not look like the Bulls of the ’90s, I can tell you that.

          The game has changed and I think my philosophy would reflect that. For instance, I would be crazy to do away with screen and roll with Steph–he’s devastating in it. We’ll do plenty of that.

          But we have the opportunity to make some strides offensively and I think that will be reflected in my influences–which have been Popovich and Phil and Lenny Wilkens…

          They’ve all been coaches who emphasized ball movement, spacing and flow and having a system to rely on and that’s what I’m looking to give.

          • We didn’t know what Kerr was going to do and had to make best guesses. But some see Feltbot as being a hypocrite for his early remarks, which I don’t understand.

            But you still haven’t answered the question. Why and how is the corner offense and Kerr’s present system Triangle? I don’t see any analysis or explanation here.

      • Triangles are a fundamental of basketball spacing. There are triangles in almost every motion offense. That doesn’t make them “Triangle”, or anything close. There is a very major difference between the “corner” offense we see here and from the Warriors, and Triangle. The Triangle is a back to the basket post-up system; the corner, or any high-post action is not.

        In the Triangle, the man in the mid-post is a post-up scoring threat. A threat to back his man down, with his back to the basket, and score with post-moves. When you move the location of the post up to the corner or above, that threat completely disappears. And the entire style of the offense changes. In corner and high-post, the post man is almost strictly a facilitator (esp. when that man is Bogut). In the triangle, the post-man is your best player, and he’s looking for his shot, no matter what the Zen Master Big Chief Triangle says.

        This is what had me so worried about the triangle. It’s a garbage low-post system that most often devolved into a strong-side attack for Phil Jackson, in an era when the defensive rules prevented opponents from overloading the strong-side. That era is over. And the Warriors don’t have a superstar, or multiple superstars, to play the mid-post, like Jackson did. The Warriors superstars are not post players. They are pick and roll players, passers, and outside-in rather than inside-out players. A completely different system is required.

        High-post? Hell yeah. The Warriors high-post players aren’t like Jordan, Kobe or Shaq. The Warriors high-post players like to screen and pass.

  69. Guys on 73: it’s not really about that one game about OKC it’s about a playoff series vs Durant.

    And similarly a playoff series where Barnes is matched up against Batum, Ariza, Kwahi, Crawford at crunchtime, now Jeff Green…

    Dre is going to hold those players in check more, and offer more help defense overall, than HB.

    I suspect thats going to be a lineup change youll see in the playoffs anyways, health permitting.

    • if given the opportunities and minutes to learn on the job, holiday will probably prove to be a better wing defender than barnes. he also has more to contribute on offense ; barnes will have to shoot well and rebound to bring something different than holiday, or different from speights and lee at the 4.

      • Holiday has already proven a better wing defender than Barnes. And those who can’t see that can take Jerry West’s word for it, in the interview posted above.

        • holiday’s superiority is clear to some of us and west, but opinions might differ on how large the sample size must be to constitute evidence of proof.

  70. There’s no player that would be a
    replacement for Curry if he becomes
    Injured. Yes, we have some fine players,
    But we are nowhere without him. Come
    up with another fantasy argument for
    why Livingston not a good back-up. Can’t
    do it.

  71. In my peanut-sized primitive mind one concept is pretty clear.
    The FO needs to lock up Dray. If they don’t it is an egregious dereliction of duty. They should be marched down to the pillory in Jack Londonsquare (except for the Logo. Pure class.) and abused by an angry public. I don’t know how all this works or who really wields the power; I just hope they realize this and get it done. It may take some wiggling but it will make their jobs alot easier over the coming years. And the fans will be happy too. Hack off whatever other body parts are necessary and ignore the bloodshed . Splish, Splash, and Dray have already taken the team as far as RunTMC ever did, and are the outstanding young core of a winning basktball team.

    I’m alittle scared that Lacob and Co. may botch this somehow.

    Draymond made a play in the 3rd qt vs. Cle that summed up his skillset so well that I noted the time, 5:40 to go. Its worth watching if possible. He slipped off Love and stole the interior pass, started to push the ball up the floor, avoided Kyrie with some excellent ball-handling, came to a pivot near the 3pt line as other players sifted through, and led HB with a nifty bounce pass for a lay-in. All HB had to do was catch the ball and lay it in. Mond actually gave HB 3 of these, one ending with the nice catch-and-pump dunk by Harrison. Dray evoked images of a certain MichSt alumni in my head again..

    I am certain the Warriors have the parts to win it all this season, but there is one serious chink in their armor. They are extremely vulnerable if Steph goes down playoff time. The FO can stand pat, & gamble that Steph will be healthy, or they can be proactive and hedge their bets regarding this. Title chances don’t come around often. Actually I would say this is their best shot in 40 yrs. Sans Steph their pants will be down at their ankles with Liv, Iggy(!), and Leandro(!!) to run the team. This will not win a champoinship. Chris Paul, Westbrook, john Wall, Rondo, and opposing coaching staffs will be licking their chops on D. After a decent Nets team bounced Tor from the playoffs last year Liv played point with DWill hobbled and the team got bounced. He’s a skilled player but a bad fit for GS if things come to this. I would love to move Barbosa and Kuz for a quality PG, but as this is a pipeload, if it takes Liv and HB so be it. Then you can always pick up a swing man somewhere as it is the easiest NBA position to fill. Someone who can D up a bit, board, hit an ocasional 3 and open lay-up..

    Just my humble $.02. I am writing this fully cognizant that the team is 29-5.

    I’m burnt toast. Shnighters all

    • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

      Show me any contending team that isn’t toast if there star goes down. There isn’t a single one. Ask OKC what happens when Durant or Westbrook goes down. Look at the Cavs without Lebron. The Cavs without Parker not doing so good. To think you can trade for someone that can replace Steph without a hitch is idiotic when nobody in the NBA has that. You are asking for something that is impossible.

      • Why don’t people understand this simple fact that FFB brings up? Unbelievable….

      • Re-read my post sunshine. My point is that I believe the Warriors CAN overcome an injury to steph if they are proactive and make a move to address this possibility.
        You’ve already told me my posts are idiotic. Have a great day.

        • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

          Please name someone they should trade for. Saying they should just package some players for an upgrade doesn’t work. The Warriors are already capped out so it would have to be someone cheap. If a team has a cheap backup there is no reason for them to trade away the asset.

          • Jarrett Jack, Patty Mills, Brandon Knight, Keemba Walker or George Hill. We’d be moving Liv, of course , and his $. If it takes HB also to get a player like this so be it.
            I don’t like enjoy playing armchair GM that much. I just like to watch the games on the tube. But I feel that the team can protect themselves a bit better going into the playoffs. This is a very good team and may actually survive if Steph (God fordbid) goes down.
            I don’t feel real confident with Liv and Co. against the best teams and coaches..

      • @FB: All teams have an Achilles heel. Of course when Steph’s out the team plays much worse. And of course it would be better to have a very high level point guard backing him up. I’d also like to add LeBron to the team to shore up the lack of a second superstar Achilles heel.

        But this is all highly unrealistic. All teams have Achilles heels because of such practical things as salary caps and lack of access to acquire quality players–among other things–that prevent them from being bulletproof. You get something here and give something else up there. Pick your poison (or whatever the preferred cliche is). Quick question: what team has a bona fide superstar with a back up so good that there’s not much of a drop off when he’s out of the game? Well….I’m waiting….

        The W’s clearly brought on Livingston because Iguodala failed to deliver as the backup PG last year.

        Here’s the calculus I think they used for Livingston:

        –has prior playoff experience
        –is widely known to be a great and unselfish teammate
        –is a true point guard
        –can run the pick and roll effectively
        –can create his own offense
        –is yet another very long and high quality wing defender

        No one knew exactly how this team was going to be run (NB: see Felt’s early musings–along with Kerr and the management to confirm this). Now that that’s sorting itself out there are some obvious ways in which he’s not an ideal fit for the “Feltyball”(1) style of play the team has adopted (i.e. very uptempo with a need for spacing). Livingston plays at a slower pace and is used to having the ball in his hands more–and likes iso post ups. Indeed, he’d be a much better fit under Mark Jackson’s W’s (event though, contrary to popular opinion, last year’s team had only two [count ’em: t-w-o] reliable 3 point shooters on the entire team!).

        But there are still many things he can do well (see above list) and Kerr might consider having the second unit play a different style and tempo when Livingston’s in the game. This not only forces opposing teams to have to adjust to two different styles, it also might make for stronger play for the W’s 2nd unit.

        1 Let’s retire the highly misleading and inaccurate term “Nellieball.” I vote for “Feltyball” because, at the end of the day, (2) its his interpretation of what this means. In fact, his relentless and dogmatic application of this b-ball philosophy is what brought me to his blog sin the first place–even if I didn’t always agree with him.

        2 Mark Jackson reference (and I just wanted to not only footnote–but footnote a footnote….

    • My concern is not being able to win in the playoffs without Steph, where the odds aren’t good at all, but that a backup can step in and hold the club during the regular season if Steph goes down or just give him some rest. The Clippers did this last year when Paul was out 18 games. The Spurs have managed Parker’s health and age for years, spelling him often.

      But apparently Livingston is more than adequate to step in for brief or long stretches.

      • The real concern for me is whether the Warriors can function at all in the playoffs with Curry on the bench and Livingston running the team, or whether that will prove to be their Achilles heel.

        That’s why I’ve put Livingston under a microscope, and will leave the microscope on him regardless of the Warriors regular season record.

        A Mavs team we remember entered the post-season with the best record in basketball, and were overwhelming favorites to win the title. Nellie sent them packing in the first round.

        Because they had an Achilles heel.

        • That, too, of course. But Livingston is an adequate backup.

          I’m curious. Is there any PG potential in Holiday? I don’t know how to assess that.

        • Why don’t people understand this simple fact thatFB brings up?
          Unbelievable!

          • People understand it just fine… they just don’t necessarily agree with it.

            It’s true SL is not a perfect fit for the roster, but his value is going to get much higher if the old adage that things slow down in the playoffs holds true. Our 2nd unit hangs its hat on Defense, often with 3 long wings who can switch the perimeter without creating any mismatches. We don’t need a “scoring point guard” specifically now that Lee is back and Holiday has started to emerge (we’ll see if he maintains, but it looks good).

            Rotations will get shorter, too… probably go from the 11 deep now to mostly 9… Curry is going to get 38-40 per come playoff time.

            We have a ton of wings that play “position-less”… Both SL and Iggy can handle the ball under pressure if need be. Our offense relies on motion and passing, not a “floor general”. I just don’t see the reason for the PG obsession.

          • This positionless offense is what they’re doing. But it absolutely depends upon having scorers and it concedes they won’t get points up top from the PG. Holiday will be the only reliable shooter, if he keeps it up. The only other two scorers will be Lee and I guess Speights. That doesn’t sound like enough offensive options to tax a defense.

          • warriorsablaze

            … and yet our bench has held things together just fine this season. No, they aren’t going to have the point differential of a line up with Steph, but we aren’t consistently losing first quarter leads like we did last year.

            Come play off time, there will be very few minutes with a full “bench squad” on the floor.

  72. Swopa @73

    “I don’t know how many times I have to point out that I think Iguodala is an elite defender. I’ve previously endorsed his return to the starting lineup. . . .”

    Sorry I missed this. I didn’t realize you had a point of view. But you are in disagreement with most of the board here, Kerr at the present moment, and many, if not most others in Warriorland. How do you defend this, where would you put Barnes and why, and how would you work the substitutions?

    Sorry to requote, but it’s way up there.

    • No problem. Back in mid-November, Kerr said this about David Lee’s return:

      http://www.mercurynews.com/warriors/ci_26941530/warriors-coach-steve-kerr-keeps-starting-options-open

      “We have to find out when David comes back what combinations work,” Kerr said Friday. “Does it mean changing a couple guys in the starting lineup? It could.

      I took that to mean he might start not just Lee but Iguodala, with both Draymond and Barnes coming off the bench. And that was fine with me. IMO, that would give Kerr the most flexibility in terms of substitutions — depending on foul trouble/matchups, Green could come in at SF, PF, or even C, and Barnes at SF or PF. It would also lessen the risk of wearing down Draymond from too many minutes.

      Not only that, I think the much-noted spacing issues of Livingston & Iguodala on court together get even worse if Lee and Speights are the 2nd-unit frontcourt (and IMO the Lee/Speights combo is asking for trouble defensively as well). In comparison, I feel like Draymond’s ability to set screens & his/Barnes’ 3-point shooting would help open up the 2nd-unit offense.

      Now, though, Kerr seems locked in to starting Draymond at PF, and clearly there’s good reason for that. So I suspect that means Barnes remains a starter, too (for continuity, and also because IMO Green/Barnes complement each other well). This leaves open the various issues I mentioned above, but you kind of have to give the coach of a 29-5 team the benefit of the doubt. :)

      • Nicely put. You’re still going against the grain here, but I have to agree on most points and, in fact, have said similar. Your suggestions still leave questions with the subs. How the current system works against the better teams, how it might work in the playoffs remain an open question. My question, above, is whether or not they’re getting efficient offense with the current roster. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

      • Agreed that Barnes and Green seem to play well together, although that’s probably more a function of Green’s greatness and protean adaptability than anything else.

        @Feltbot: Felt, West (the man whose thoughts you’ve claimed you didn’t care about) stated that Holiday is the team’s best athlete (however he might define that?) and probably–with apologies to Klay–the team’s best on-man perimeter defender. He did not say he was the team’s defender in all respects and, as you well know, there are many facets to defense. Because he is spindly thin and shorter I would suspect that he would not be as capable as Barnes in defending bigs on switches. Nor would he be able to rebound as effectively–both of which are very important concerns when playing the current “small ball” lineup.

        I love Holiday’s game and wouldn’t be surprised if he eclipses Barnes in the near future. And Iguodala–despite his very disappointing play beginning last year at this time–is still a better player than Barnes for sure. But, as I’ve said before, coaching decisions about lineups do not occur in a vacuum and take under consideration a range of factors.

        I’ve been surprised how well the team has played with Barnes as the starter. This does not mean that I think he’s improved his game tremendously. Rather, he’s been able to gel with the starting unit and provides them with strong rebounding, reliable 3 pt shooting, and strong free throw shooter as well. Iguodala is considerably worse in each of these important areas. Where Iggy’s stronger (i.e. in passing and perimeter defense) are not as need commodities in conjunction with the the current starting 5 for obvious reasons.

        Furthermore (and this should appease Barnes haters somewhat) Barnes works better as a starter in many ways because he’s NOT as good as Iguodala, whose versatility and other skills allow him to play more successfully on the 2nd unit.

        Now can people please get off of this ridiculous Barnes fixation?!?! I thought Felt had abandoned it but it sounds like he’s gonna break out the rhetoric and use the FFI (Feltbot Fantasy Indicator) to stoke the anti-Barnes fever again. I’m hoping against all hopes he abandons this silly idea…

        • Gosh, LT, if you think Feltbot is an idiot what are you doing here? Why read Feltbot, let alone troll the site?

          The “Barnes fixation” is yours alone. No one here is arguing that Barnes is useless. Kerr found a way, gave him a role, to make him useful. Feltbot has said as much. What’s the issue, exactly?

        • I think you almost have to start Barnes if you are starting Green just to get some size, strength, and rebounding to compliment Green, which Iguodala or Holiday won’t as much. Probably Kerr/Adams/Gentry have solved Lacobs puzzle pretty well so far with more adjustments/combinations to be seen as guys get healthy. Would love to see Dante Cunningham coming off the Warriors bench to spell Curry. He would compliment Livingston very well.

  73. No one has answered my question. Barnes IS shooting the 3 well. Why isn’t he getting more looks? He doesn’t take very many. There’s no criticism of him at all here. It seems to me that that the team would want to find their best percentages. But I don’t exactly know the answer here, though assume it’s related to who picks him up at 3.

    I wasn’t damning him with faint praise when I said he stays within himself and manages the skills he has.

    My playoff question has been about finding enough offense, especially when the guards are covered. And they can be shut down. In one Spurs playoff game, a few years ago, Curry and Klay were held to 32 points, with bad percentages. This opened up Barnes, essentially conceded, who became a volume shooter 9-26, with 26 points (7-7 at the free throw line—again he kept his cool). For playoffs, that isn’t bad. And they won.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400464459

    In another game, he went 10 for 18, 25 points, same situation. Curry and Klay were completely shut down, 13 points total, 6-22. And they lost big.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/boxscore?id=400464460

    I wonder if it is worth noting that their backup point guard, Jack, scored 24 and 20 in those games.

    • I’m assuming he doesn’t get more looks for the reason you alluded to…that he is “playing within himself”… both on his own accord and dictated by the offensive scheme.

      Barnes is probably the ultimate diminishing marginal returns player. Maybe he could maintain his current performance with a small uptick in usage, but I imagine he’s not more than a few upticks away from an efficiency free-fall.

      I think the “guards getting shut down” is more difficult for teams this year… both Steph and Klay have made huge strides in attacking the basket. Two years ago, poor shooting nights took them out of the game… that doesn’t seem to be case any longer.

      • Thanks. None of three, Green, Iguodala, or Barnes create 3s for themselves or shoot on the fly. But all he has to do is get open. And he plays long minutes, with starters and subs. It’s the current scheme I’m trying to figure out here—why can’t they get him more looks.

        We’ll see about the guards. It’s why I want to watch closely the games regular season against the top teams, especially San Antonio.

        • Why would the Ws want to get Barnes more looks? He’s the 4th or 5th shooting option among the starters. His best role among the starters is to make Curry and Thompson better.

          C’mon now, rgg, we know you “worry” about things, but this is nonsensical even for you.

        • warriorsablaze

          Green and Iguodala are both facilitators in the offense… their roles, movement, and positioning on the floor are completely different than that of Barnes.

          As Hat says below, why get more shots for the 4th-5th option? In most cases, if Barnes is taking the shot, it means the defense has succeeded in their goal of stopping the big guns. Barnes is suited for his current role, and we have too many good players to need for him to exceed that role.

          • cosmicballoon

            +1
            Barnes has not proven he can make a shot while being defended. Thus, he only takes wide open shots, which he is making at a pretty good clip. He is certainly a better shooter than Iggy, and it’s debatable if he is better than Green.

          • Because Barnes averages 29 minutes a game.

            Because Barnes starts now, and will start with Bogut. And Bogut isn’t a scorer, nor presents any scoring threat when playing up top. And if Green isn’t hitting, that leaves the starters with only two other scorers, other than Barnes.

            Because he also plays with the subs, who have no three point shooters, unless Holiday keeps hitting, or when Klay or Steph are in. Or Green, if he’s hitting and in (the rotations get complex).

            Because there’s a chance he might move to the subs and not be starting. This isn’t definite yet.

            And while Green did a nice job hitting him on the run against Cleveland, the subs won’t always have that luxury. But we have, we’ve been told, a point guard who can handle pressure well in half court sets but who can’t shoot a three, so all the more need for an outside shooter.

            Because, in general, the team only has two 3 point shooters other than Barnes and Holiday, if he keeps it up, who shoot over 33%.

            Just seems to me that his shooting is vital and the offense would find more openings for him.

          • warriorsablaze

            And yet we have a top 5 offense in the league.

            You’re obsessing over a problem that doesn’t exist.

            Barnes is doing just fine in the role he’s in.

          • The test is how well it works in the playoffs, the whole point of this post.

          • warriorsablaze

            If Kerr and company can’t figure out how to create opportunities for Steph and Klay, we’re toast regardless of who our 5th option is and who is the back up PG.

            Barnes has already shown the ability to step up a bit in the playoffs when teams successfully limit our top options… but, again, if our success relies on Barnes playing beyond himself we are not going far.

  74. My brother just stumped me with an obscure hoops question. (I’m good at this stuff). Wanted to throw it out there. Moto, perhaps?

    If youre under 45 or so, don’t bother. But if you can get this you got a great memory. Pat urself on the back.

    Can you name the nBA player who had the nickname ‘the Whopper?”

    I couldn’t, but i remember the player. Hint:

    -He was a big (heh-heh)

    -I always thought he looked like he had some American Indian blood in him. My brother said that never ocurred to him.
    -He had a funky build, almost like Frankensteins monster. He kinda lurched around and crashed into people. But he was a good player becuz I know he used to tic me off when the W’s faced him.

    • paultz, another st. johns NY alumnus. started his pro career in the a.b.a., at the time quite a big man’s league [gilmore, marvin barnes, caldwell jones, mcginnis, issel, et alia]. his pro teams [a.b.a.NY, SA both a.b.a./nba in separate tenures, Hou, Atl, UT] reached the post season in every one of his fifteen seasons. big repertoire of non-legal tricks and tactics, beloved in UT for his one late career season there (w. rookie point guard stockton) for inciting olajuwon into punching him, contributing to UT eliminating Hou in the series.

    • Great memories of watching BillyPaultz play for several years with the ABA Nets at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. He played with Rick Barry and, later, Julius Erving. The Big Whopper was one of the top centers in the league and played in a style similar to Bill Lambier.

      • paultz’ second pro season was barry’s final year in the a.b.a., and their team reached the finals vs. Ind. woeyr fans can bemoan their long hiatus without reaching the finals, but this was Ind’s second of three championships, and they haven’t come close since the takeover/merger, with the icon bird unlikely to fare better in the future. in the finals paultz and barry had to face a front line consisting of all stars mel daniels, roger brown, mcginnis, plus darnell hillman of San Jose St., and finishing his career as a reserve, Gus Johnson, the 6’6 powerhouse who played above the rim for Bal and had a celebrated rivalry with debusschere’s NY teams.

        reflecting on Ind, there truly are small market teams that will never be able to compete in the long term, though vogel should get credit for keeping them in the conversation through last season. when they played in Oaktown recently as a bottom feeder on a mid week date, low retail for tickets was $50.+ ; at home, vs. non marquee teams like Min on weeknights, seats start at $3-5. retail.

        • Kudos Moto.
          Really interesting stuff. Didn’t know he played with Barry. I was lucky enuff to the see the Doctor play with Phillie.

      • laimbeer, apt comparison. quick feet, good touch on mid range shots, team player, knew how to get under his opponents’ hides.

    • Great post, rzzz. Also liked the stories above, meant to say. Good smack talk (also above). Art is everything.

  75. There are no 4th or 5th options
    on Warrior plays.

  76. If one play doesn’t work they
    abort the play and go to a
    different one.

    • Not sure what you mean. Getting Barnes or Green the ball for an open shot “works.” They’re obviously the last two shooting options on the starting 5, but Barnes has been shooting GREAT, and Green firing 3s is good for the offense in general.

    • cosmicballoon

      Frank, I am not sure what you are saying. The Warriors are one of the top 3 offenses in the league…they are succeeding at playing NBA basketball. Would you rather see the Princeton offense run over and over again?

  77. Tom Meschery on the state of the NBA, and another great poem:

    http://mescherysmusings.blogspot.com

    • First time I’ve looked at this. Knowledgeable and no-nonsense stuff re Suns, Wiz, Mavs, pretty much all..

      I’m not a poetry guy but his reminded me a bit of a someones’ of whom I am a fan, and would highly recommend (especially if you never liked poetry) – Charles Bukowski. Check out “mockingbird wish me luck” Brilliant in its own way

      • “with each broken shoelace
        out of one hundred broken shoelaces,
        one man, one woman, one
        thing
        enters a madhouse”

    • Strong praise for Jeff Green. Why did Boston let him go?

  78. cosmicballoon

    Kevin Love, not a max player, according to Blatt: https://twitter.com/BlakeEllington/status/554503568795787264

    Glad that West and Kerr recognized that.

  79. Zach Lowe on the great Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks (am I allowed to mention them?) and much much more:

    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/al-horford-atlanta-hawks-superstar/

    For those of you who think that Bogut is clearly a better ball screener for Curry than David Lee, there is some information in here.

    • warriorsablaze

      There is some information about a player who apparently does not set screens like Lee… who slips the majority of the time.

      Bogut is a better screener to get Curry the shot, Lee is a better screener to slip and dive to the hoop and get himself a shot. Both are useful plays, but only one gets Curry the shot. The vast majority of 5’s simply can’t hedge far enough out to even begin to trap Curry….he turns the corner or hits the shot right over them.

      Despite your narrative, I see Curry get blitzed more successfully with Lee as the screener. Lee may be more of an offensive threat as the escape valve, but that doesn’t matter when a PG and athletic 4 already have Steph in a trap and he has no angle to make a successful pass.

      • kerr came up with countermeasures to the blitzes/traps on curry after bogut went missing, with green regularly assuming the role as secondary handler as part of the process. considering his lower usage relative to curry, the forward has a couple of pluses over the demigod curry — he’s not looking for his own shot foremost, so his ‘mates are aware of it and how quickly he makes his reads and fires the pass away, plus his reach and screening capability. lee and green were effective together last season in the other system, with lee seeing the higher usage, but at present we should expect green to get the ball more when both are on the court.

        • warriorsablaze

          This is probably true, but unfortunately takes away one of Lee’s primary strengths. He’s a pick and roll player…. far less effective on the low block.

          • this is a movement offense. nobody needs to set up in the mid- or low post. that would be a resemblance to the triple post, conspicuously absent since pre season. an element of the flex (motta/sloan) is how any player can set a screen and make a cut to the hoop, and lee is quite suited for it.

  80. I don’t know if the Jazz are a jump up and bite you on the ass team or not. In the last games, they played OKC close and routed Chicago, 97-77. Coach has them fired up. Quin Snyder is a dog from hell.

    The Warriors may need to keep the scoring up tonight, from the guards.

  81. If the Warriors like losing the first
    Quarter to decent teams keep
    Speights in the starting line-up playing
    Center, as his defense is laughable.

  82. The butterfly effect, from the article Feltbot tweeted:

    “Every time Anthony Tolliver hits a 3-pointer or bodies up a power forward on defense, and every time Joel Anthony emerges from mothballs to block shots or absorb minutes in the instance of foul trouble, Stan Van Gundy the executive is validated.”

    Which I assume is a partial answer to my questions above about Green at the stretch 4. I’m still trying to figure this out. But Tolliver is a minor player. What matters is the correctness of all the pieces and their coordination. Van Gundy on building a team:

    “A lot of times all people focus on is major moves, but if you really look at the way people build teams, it’s little by little,” Van Gundy said. He thinks players such as Jodie Meeks and Augustin, players signed via free agency last summer, can be helpful pieces while in Detroit but also collateral for a bigger deal should it present itself.

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/nba/pistons/2015/01/12/title-teams-start-small-moves-says-van-gundy/21675363/

  83. Some plays to Green or Barnes are
    designed plays. But sometimes when
    plays breakdown the Warriors go
    quickly into another play or improvise.
    I’ve already said that Gentry’s plays
    the best in NBA.

  84. The importance of spacing and why the Pistons are thriving after getting rid of Josh Smith:

    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2015/1/9/7517125/detroit-pistons-winning-streak-josh-smith-released

    • Great find, mugsee. This guy is very good. I wonder what parallels can be drawn with the Warriors, in terms of spacing and movement, plugging our players in.

      I like this question:

      “Are the Pistons making more shots because of all the factors above, or does their ability to make shots give them the pep in their steps necessary to execute properly?”

    • And if Lee is going to be healthy, they have to work him in more. He is a leader and offensive force. If he can get that shot going.

  85. The Great Al Harford is right: 21 on 8 for 10, 10 boards, 10 assists.

    Bazemore off the pine for 17 on 7 of 14 with 5 boards.

    (Against the 76ers)

  86. As I’m sure Felt will discuss here, a notable development in tonight’s win over Utah was Shaun Livingston getting a DNP-CD (in favor of Barbosa).

    Whatever the motivation, it certainly seemed to result in Iguodala playing a more engaged game knowing the 2nd unit was his alone to run. And as some here noted, in recent games he had been playing point-forward more, with Livingston taken off the ball — which now looks like foreshadowing (assuming SL stays out of the rotation).

    • Kerr talked about it postgame. He said he wanted to reward Barbosa for his spirit and effort in practice. Against Utah, it worked.

      What a difference scoring bigs make. Utah doesn’t have the talent on the perimeter, but their bigs could go inside against either center or hit from outside. They kept them in the game for a while. More talent, they could be trouble.

    • And if Lee is going to be healthy, they have to work him in more. He is a leader and offensive force. If he can get that shot going.

    • Does Barbosa have sufficient handle and vision to be the b/u PG? I always figured Livingston more valuable as a Wing.

  87. FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

    The Warriors are the 19th team in NBA history to start a season 30-5. The last 10 won the NBA Championship.

  88. Guvnor felt mentioned his intention to enlarge a bit on barnes’ shortcomings as a wing defender. had a chance to watch a bit more than my usual ration of the game vs. UT with its early start, and it only confirmed my bias, doubts nurtured for some time due to his unusually low rate of fouls.

    from the the ten players in the rota who’ve had the most minutes, barnes has the second lowest foul rate per time on the floor (2 personals/36 min.). his positioning playing the perimeter reminded me of k.love — the opponent looks like he has a force field around him that could hurt if love or barnes got too close. they shadow their assignments as if they had great length and reflexes to mitigate the free space at will (which is true to a degree for iguodala, the only player in the top ten rota with a lower foul rate). when his opponent is away from the ball, barnes often takes a static position shading near the paint, making it easier to provide help inside but also making things simple for the offense if they move and pass fluidly.

    somehow barnes is accumulating a reputation for good defense, illustrating the coattail effect, but if anything his offense benefits more from riding his ‘mates’ proficiencies. he’s now among the assoc. leader in 3 pt. pct., and his advocates are sure to cite this as a significant contribution to keeping the defenses extended. a necessary function for a perimeter guy, no doubt, particularly since he might be the weakest handler and passer among the top eight in the rotation, depending on how he and speights compare.

    with the owner’s plus his marketing dept. and the media’s biases pulling for das Wunderkind, we’ll probably end up hearing how he’s part of the team’s young, long term core, and the team couldn’t afford to keep either holiday or iguodala or both, when June comes around. let no one dismiss the importance of luck in a professional career.

    • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

      Somehow you continue to whine about a 30-5 team. Lucky for us Steve Kerr knows more than you.

      • They aren’t going to face some 80% of the teams they’ve beaten in the playoffs. Think large.

        • FeltbotsFakeGirlfriend

          The Warriors are playing the same teams that everyone in the Western Conference is. They have the best record of any team against the Western Conference. They have the best home and road record in the NBA. They lead the NBA in point differential and all you want to talk about is flaws in the team.

          • They still won’t see the teams they are blowing out. If there are flaws I want to see them identified. Then I want to see how Kerr works them out. I seriously doubt he will stand pat just because he’s winning.

        • Warriors won against every team they played except Memphis and Spurs. If you are frustrated with 30-5 team, guess you will never stop whining.

          • I’d like to see them beat Memphis and the Spurs. I guess you will never get the point. Not sure why you are setting your expectations so low.

        • Your expectation is warriors be better than 30-5 ?? The fact is warriors can beat any team this year and they are still improving. There would be days warriors will not play their A game and lose, surprisingly it happened only 5 times out of 40 games this year so far. Spurs may not even make playoffs this year, the way they are struggling with injuries etc.. I will take this year’s team in a series against any team if they stay focused and stay healthy.

          • Still not seeing any connection here, but I should finish my thought. I’d like to see them beat the Spurs or OKC or Houston or the Clippers or Portland or Memphis or Dallas in the playoffs.

            One thing I’m pretty certain of is that Kerr & Co are not congratulating themselves on the wins but rather are being critical and are debating lineup changes and are contemplating just that.

            Likely there will be rough stretches ahead, especially against the emerging teams. I will not be disappointed if that happens.

    • +1 I can’t ever recall a middling player being so blessed by management, marketing and circumstance. I’m finally watching the Warriors play the style I’ve advocated since starting this blog, and literally headed towards a championship, and yet I’m sidetracked by a horrible fascination with this situation. Will Kerr, Gentry, Adams and West once again be able to prevent Lacob and Myers from making a terrible offseason mistake?

      • middling player is getting paid like one, getting touches like one, not sure the problem you see. Unlike last year, he is +ve for warriors this year and also better fit next to Green as PF than other options.

    • I’m not clear at all why it has been decided Barnes is a good defensive player, yet many say this and I guess it’s because he looks like one and they want to believe this.

      The Warriors have a $35m bench, and it’s frustrating not seeing the talent there fully exploited, notably Lee, who has so much to offer, and Iguodala. Kerr, of course, is managing the course of the 48 minutes game as well as the whole season, and it’s hard to argue against their record so far.

      Van Gundy praised Tolliver, a minor piece. Tolliver is limited because of his size and athleticism, but he is a good all around player with all the skills and a good head. But look at what Kerr has to work with.

      Curry, Thompson, and Lee all have good all around skills, especially for their positions (and Lee’s defense looked good last night—I’m not clear why many have decided he is a bad defensive player), good heads and good leadership qualities. Let’s hope Holiday gets there. I still hesitate with Green on ball handling and shooting, but his other qualities are off the charts and I’m waiting for him to prove me wrong. He is driving better, looking less like the bug in MiB, and last night he hit his 3’s. Note he started inside, first half, which maybe helped get him going?

      But the rest?

      Bogut, a center who does have a good head but who has limited range (rim protectors are overrated), who has almost no offense two feet out and cannot shoot a free throw. It’s hard to be impressed with his dribbling skills when he brings the ball up court unguarded. It’s a blue moon that that he dribbles into a layup.

      Speights just mystifies, both ways. He will fumble the ball and can look clueless and inept, especially on defense. He’s not getting into position for rebounding, certainly not the last games. Yet the next moment you’ll see him hustling up for a board or drawing a charge or getting a block. He looks like a chucker, yet shoots with touch and precision and may be the third best shooter on the team. And we’ve seen him dribble, drive, and score with the lurching grace of a grizzly (grizzlies are graceful).

      moto has amply noted Barnes’ limitation, at 3 or 4, on both sides of the court, and I won’t repeat them as it upsets some here.

      The backup point guard’s limitations both as a shooter and PG have also been amply noted, and I won’t repeat them, as it upsets others.

      It’s almost numbing to think how valuable Iguodala would be if he just shot a little better and could knock down his free throws. But he isn’t and he can’t.

      Barbosa plays like a bat out of hell, which actually can be useful in spots, as we saw last night, and I like Barbosa and bats out of hell.

      We’ll have to take Ezeli as a promising project and hope he returns as a good defensive replacement for Bogut, plus maybe a little more. Kuzmic and Rush have us scratching our heads.

      That’s everybody. Hey, we’ve still got a roster spot open.

    • “the team couldn’t afford to keep either holiday or iguodala or both, when June comes around.”

      Barnes contract not up for one more year, so not sure how Barnes contract has anything to do with Holiday’s, a free agent next year or Iguodala who probably has untradable contract. Ideally, warriors ownership should pay tax and extend Green or would be able to dump one of the contract of Lee or Iguodala to be able to extend Green.

      • if holiday is worth keeping (clearly he is), the only way to secure him would be a multi year guaranteed deal, which would take his contract into the period of barnes’ post rookie re-signing. the other means is outlined above, a qualifying offer (vet minimum salary), after which he’s a restricted free agent, at the same time barnes enters that status in June 2016. he’ll of course have lots of rea$ons not to play for the vet minimum.

        • I think you are little bit off. In June this year, Green and Holiday will be offered a qualifying offer and they will be restricted free agents, Holiday and Green will be restricted free agents summer of 2015 and Barnes would be restricted free agent in 2016. If any, Green’s contract has impact on retention of Holiday. Even if it is true that Holiday and Barnes will be RFAs at the same time, that is one more summer later at which time David Lee’s contract will come off the book too.

          Holiday is only backup SG in the team, and what a find he is, so hopefully he stays and Barnes stays too for a reasonable contract. Depth is critical and having young guys who will only improve will do wonders to the franchise.

          • read up on the c.b.a. a bit before placing green and holiday in the same category. holiday wasn’t drafted, and is on a rookie minimum free agent contract. there are two exception categories under which second round picks are signed, minimum exception for two seasons, mid level exception for three seasons. holiday becomes an unrestricted free agent this July if he doesn’t take the offer sheet ; green enters restricted free agency.

        • Quite a bit was written on how team will chose Barnes over Green which was false since they don’t even be RFAs at the same year and they both are doing well as starters, complementing each other.

          Now, I see that you have moved on to use Holiday as an excuse to ship out Barnes. Seems like some guys just don’t want Barnes on the team, even for 3+ millions he is earning. A lot can change from now to 2016 summer, no need to take decision on Barnes already. Hopefully, warriors front office give a reasonable contract offer as extension to Barnes so that he will still be valuable player or a trade asset. His new contract also will start the year the luxury tax is expected to go up.

  89. Really impressed by Holiday. 17 min., 5 steals without gambling. Competent offense, fine team player. This guy is (or will soon be) first-team NBA quality, a real keeper.

    Felt, you’re right, Barnes seems like some marketing guy’s pet project, but I wouldn’t worry to much about it. The Warriors FO has to trust Kerr’s judgment more than they did Jackson’s, and we’re starting to see Kerr & Co. fine-tuning the rotations for best effect, not hype. Iggy finishes tough games, not Barnes.

  90. Wade strained his hamstring again last night and likely will not play tonight.

  91. Warriors becoming the bullies on the block

    Should overwhelm tonite

    Then 2 nice contests

    Don’t crown them yet

  92. Anyone else get the impression that Kerr was sending a message to Livingston last night?

    • Kerr said as much, he wanted Livingston to watch the game. May be Kerr would want Livingston to push the ball more, wish he was specific as what he wanted from Livngston. That said, he can only play 10 and Barbosa deserved some minutes, wonder who he will sit today, Bogut ??

  93. felt, apologies for my response the other day, I knew you were joking but was having a rough day.

  94. From Bay Area Sports Guy:

    “Barbosa played because Shaun Livingston sat, and for good reason. Livingston has sort of gone through the motions for a couple weeks now, and as someone who isn’t going to start or put up numbers, he may be in a mood to coast until he’s needed in the playoffs. Kerr needed to remind Livingston that, if he isn’t playing well, he won’t see the court during the playoffs.”

    http://www.bayareasportsguy.com/warriors-flatten-jazz-with-stephen-currys-yeah-im-the-mvp-third-quarter/

    That’s how I saw it too.

  95. I only remember the ABA as it was on its last breaths and the majority of its useful parts were being assimilated into the League. Fascinating maverick org that really brought excitement and novelty and challenged Big Brother for awhile, with colorful characters and great names – Kentucky Colonels, Virginia Squires, Oakland Oaks, Pacers, Nuggets and all. As a kid something about the league suggested an outlaw nature. They had some unique rules to spice up the game; if i’m not mistaken I believe the 3 pt shot had its origins in the ABA.

    The Warriors remind me in ways of an ABA team. Exciting, part renegades, part flash, just a breed apart challenging the old guard. Just entertaining. Imagine watching a team like the Brooklyn Nets or Sixers 82 games a year. It would’nt be easy, or very enjoyable.
    Also, (as I learned from Alex Trebec), GS the only major US sports franchise that has a state nickname in place of a city, state, or actual geographical locale in its name. Maybe they should break out the red white and blue balls for a night..

    On a side note, i was just googling an old player. One of the links was for Wikipedia. They have nice capsule summaries for players, with stats, some #s, and some editorializing/trivial stuff on the player. Nice quick reference.

    • Didn’t they use red, white, and blue basketballs? I grew up in North Carolina, and for a while they had the Carolina Cougars. They rotated home games in Greensboro, Raleigh, and Charlotte. I went to one game, and I gotta say they were ragged. But in 1971-72, their head coach was—

      wait for it, wait for it, wait for it—

      Tom Meschery!

      Everything comes around, eventually.

      The brief history of the NBA is described in the book Loose Balls, by Terry Pluto. Haven’t read it, but with a title and author name like that, how can you resist?

      • Forgot about the Cougars..
        Yesterday i learned Meschery was a poet, today a coach!

        Iggy looks more engaged. I like what SKerr is doing with the rotations, and in general.
        A short poem:

        Bogut makes 4
        steph misses 2
        just another game