“Welcome to my nightmare/I think you’re gonna like it.” – Alice Cooper
My twitter feed is aflame with the news that Ekpe Friday “The Nightmare” Udoh will take the court tomorrow against the Miami Heat. Udoh practiced with the team and looked ready to multiple observers. Marcus Thompson tweets: “Ekpe looks ready. He’s blocking shots, dunking, even making midrange jumpers.” Matt Steinmetz tweets: “Asked Reggie Williams to tell me something about Udoh. He said: ‘He’s long, and he blocks everything.’”
I haven’t been this interested and excited in a Warriors rookie debut since…, well since last year’s clear-cut — but defrauded by media ignorance — Rookie of the Year, Stephen Curry. But before that, you’d have to go back to Chris Webber. Continue reading
No sense in recapping this game, so I’m just going to use this space to exorcise a couple pet peeves. Beginning with the biggest pet among my peeves, who goes by the name of Brandan Wright.
“You are doing the defense a favor when you post up Lee or Biedrins.” — Mark Jackson
I couldn’t agree with Mark Jackson more. We were told by the commentators to last night’s game that Keith Smart and his staff were raving about David Lee’s “surprising” abilities in the low post. (Surprising to whom? Matt Steinmetz et al? They weren’t surprising to feltbot.) Jackson went on to explain that despite Lee’s talent in the post, he is one of the greatest pick and roll players in the league, and that is how the Warriors should deploy him. I couldn’t agree more, as readers of this blog know.
And yet last night we were treated by Keith Smart to four quarters of watching the Warriors trying to post up Lee and Biedrins in the heart of the Lakers defense. Why? For well over three quarters, Smart ran literally no pick and rolls with Lee that were designed to get him a shot. Instead Andris Biedrins was used almost exclusively to set the high picks, with Lee standing uselessly on the wings waiting for the ball that never came. Why?
Posted in Golden State Warriors, Keith Smart, Player Analysis, Predictions, Recaps, Wagers
Tagged Andris Biedrins, Brandan Wright, David Lee, Golden State Warriors, Jeremy Lin, Keith Smart, Monta Ellis, Vladimir Radmanovich
Winning in fantasy basketball is not just a matter of lucking into one of the top two picks in the draft, although that certainly helps. And its not just a matter of sticking to the discipline of the published draft rankings, rather than drafting your favorite players, although that certainly helps too. A large part of winning fantasy leagues involves doing your own scouting and independent thinking to find value where no one else — not even the fantasy experts — expect to find it. In other words, it involves finding and scooping up “sleepers” — players that for different reasons are greatly undervalued heading into the season.
As I prepared for my second and final expert league fantasy basketball draft to be held later today, I realized that I had in mind a whole list of sleeper candidates that fantasy basketball enthusiasts might be interested in reading about. So, at the risk of boring the pants off my regular readership, here it is:
For any fantasy freaks out there who might be interested: I drafted my first fantasy basketball team of the year earlier tonight. It’s a CBS Sports Platinum league that costs $100 bucks to enter, and pays $600 for first. So I guess this is my first NBA bet of the year. There will be more.
In the surest sign to date that Don Nelson does not intend to play small this season, the Warriors just signed the 6-9″ 240 lb. Lou Amundson to a 2-year $5 million deal. There will be no more reliance on 20-year-old matchstick men to hold off the behemoths in the paint. There will be no more courting of injury disasters such as befell the Warriors front-line last year, when both Brandon Wright and Anthony Randolph disappeared for the season. There will be no more Corey Maggette at power forward. The Warriors are going to play big this season, even when they go to the bench.
And they are going to play with veterans. High basketball IQ veterans.
The Warriors signed Rodney Carney today, a 26-year-old 6-7″ swingman who played for the Sixers last year. Not exactly “The Next Big Move” I had been anticipating, but an interesting move nonetheless, and at the position I expected. Carney is that quintessential Nellie chess piece, the long, athletic defensive wing, that I have written about recently. Think Matt Barnes, Adrian Griffin, Raja Bell, Josh Howard, Latrell Sprewell, Mario Elie. (Carney is far less talented offensively than Howard or Sprewell to be sure, but the offensive capabilities both of those players showed in the pros came as something of a surprise: they were drafted by Nellie for their special talents on defense.)
Yesterday, the Pistons signed Tracy McGrady to a 1 year deal. Today a massive 4 team deal was announced:
In the proposed deal, the Houston Rockets will send Ariza to the Hornets, who in turn will send Collison and James Posey to the Pacers. The Pacers will send Troy Murphy to the New Jersey Nets. And the Nets will send Courtney Lee to the Rockets.
Here are my thoughts on these deals as they potentially impact the Warriors’ quest to fill out their roster:
No, I’m not referring to today’s invitation of Vernon Goodridge to training camp. It’s tough to know what to make of this move: I think its probably a standard invitation to someone who’s unlikely to make the roster. Perhaps it also increases the pressure ever so slightly on Anthony Tolliver. But Goodridge is something that Tolliver is not: a guy who can give you a couple of minutes at center, a shot blocker, and a defensive player with athleticism and quick feet. From his tape I don’t see much offensive potential at the NBA level, although he does run the floor and catch alley oops. My chief thought on this invitation is “What in the world has happened to Chris Hunter?” Anyone know? I thought he proved he was an NBA player last year.
But let’s get back to The Next Big Move. I sense one coming. My spidey sense has been tingling ever since the Warriors signed Jannero Pargo, just like it tingled when the Warriors moved Corey Maggette, and I immediately predicted a blockbuster move for a power forward. (I thought it might be Stoudemire, but I’m ecstatic that it’s David Lee.)
Two years, $2.4 million. Does that meant $1.2 million per year? If so, this is an incredible pickup for the Warriors, one that makes giving up CJ Watson at $4 million per a no-brainer.
Jannero Pargo is a quintessential Nellie backup point guard, quick as a dart, nice three point shot (35%), great at the free throw line (86%), good handle.
He is also a savvy veteran, and a clutch shooter, who had a great playoff run backing up Chris Paul with the Hornets a couple of years ago.
Here are three possible ramifications of this deal off the top of my head: Continue reading