Unlike the first game, there was a lot to like in this Warriors win. Let me start with what I liked the most: Keith Smart, the Warriors’ coach. This single game instilled a lot of confidence in me that Keith Smart gets it — that he has absorbed a lot of the lessons that he learned under Don Nelson, that he understands what he has in his roster, and that he knows how to get the most out of it. My concern that he might be one of the many coaches who insist on pounding square pegs into round holes is all but gone.
So what did I see that suddenly filled me with confidence? Let’s go down the list:
I am a firm believer that there is nothing wrong with an ugly win. That belief was tested a bit in this game, in which I was unable to discern many signs of cohesive team play on either side of the ball. In my eyes, this game was won by the extraordinary individual efforts of a few very talented Warriors players. I think you know who. But it was a win.
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.)