This blog is intended to provide solution based commentary on the Golden State Warriors and other NBA teams. I could always complain, but what would that do for the Warriors and other teams that lose?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Are the Warriors an Illusion?

Tom Haberstroh of (insider only) wrote an article that caught my attention. He argues that the Warriors' 7-4 start is an illusion. Naturally, I beg to differ. 

The schedule has played a big role in the Dubs best start in years, as pointed out by Haberstroh. What he neglects to mention, though, is that the Warriors have played more road games than at home and haven't lost one that they shouldn't have, save for their first game on the road against the Pistons. They've won games without Stephen Curry and David Lee. Even the acquisition of David Lee was downplayed, as previously chronicled here on this blog.

What's the idea behind pointing out the Warriors' easy schedule? Did anyone expect them to be title contenders? If the playoffs started today the Dubs would be the 6th seed, just ahead of the Thunder and Trailblazers. No one is expecting them to beat the Lakers, Celtics and Heat.

The teams they need to stay in front of aren't powerhouses, are they? The Nuggets, Suns, Rockets and Grizzlies certainly all have flaws. Last I checked none of them have improved their defenses, and a couple of them have their best players on the trade block. It's safe to say that the Dubs can stay ahead of these teams and maybe even the Blazers due to the recent news about Brandon Roy and Greg Oden's health.

The Utah Jazz were cited as a quality victory, but the Dubs were also discredited for beating the Rockets. A team who was thought to be playoff worthy before the season started, the 5-0 home record was neglected information as well.

Finally, Monta Ellis, who an anonymous western conference GM states is "overpaid", was suggested as trade bait since this would be the perfect time to cash in on Monta's talents. If $11 Million a year is too much for the second leading score in the league and your best player, then I don't know who isn't overpaid.

So should Warriors fans take this early season start with a grain of salt and fall back to being cautiously optimistic? Personally, I felt the Warriors proved they can make the playoffs when they beat the Utah Jazz. They're playing real basketball, something that very few teams are doing. You know, rebounding, running when they can, and as mentioned, playing defense. 

They don't need to beat the Lakers on the road to prove they're a playoff team, they just need to continue beating the teams that they should and that continue to be conveniently placed in front of them. Like the Knicks on Friday. As it stands right now they're doing a pretty good job of staying ahead of the "contenders" for that 8th seed.

Warriors 7-4
Nuggets 6-5 (Will most likely trade Carmelo Anthony before February.)
Suns 6-6 (May trade Steve Nash and start rebuilding.)   
Grizzlies 4-8
Houston 3-8
Sacramento 3-7

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Appreciation Of David Lee

When David Lee was signed and traded to the Warriors last summer, the move wasn't received well by many Warrior fans. In asking my friends and casual fans about the the trade, most of them didn't even know who he was. Many Warrior fans were upset that the Dubs gave up Anthony Randolph in the trade and then gave Lee a 6-year $80 million contract. Some even compared him to Troy Murphy while his numbers (20.2 points 11.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists .545% FG's in 2010) were brushed off as being inflated due to the system he played in with the Knicks. Some even argued that the Knicks were a better rebounding team when Lee was off the floor.

Compare that to the other offseason signings of Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh and Amar'e Stoudemire. All of which were met with great fanfare and media coverage while David Lee was simply pushed to the side, just like his numbers. Why? Seriously, leave a comment if you have an idea.

Now that the season has started we can take another look at those other signings in comparison to that of Lee's. Chris Bosh comes to mind as he and Lee's numbers were quite similar in 2010. When the Warriors signed Lee I tried to explain to others that he was just as productive as Bosh, and if the Dubs were signing Bosh everyone would have been excited, but none of that got through. Now that Bosh is struggling in Miami, no one seems to remember those once proud opinions of him.

At the time of writing this Bosh was averaging 14.8 pts and 6 rebounds a night while shooting .480% from the field, with his play being considered a disappointment by most. He has been criticized for lacking mental toughness, defensive presence and rebounding. His post game or lack thereof has also come under fire because now the whole country can see that he is purely a face-up power forward. 

Lee was similarly criticized for not having any low post moves and not being a go-to scorer down on the blocks. Like Bosh he also wasn't known to be a good defender. Now that Lee is playing in the Western Conference against tougher competition, his numbers have come down in the scoring department but his rebounding is still the same (14.3 points 11.3 rebounds .464% FG's). Who knew that less than 10 games into the season David Lee would have been a better fit with Miami? That may sound crazy now, but it shouldn't have been back in July. 

Carlos Boozer-who also has similar numbers to that of Lee-has yet to play a game for the Chicago Bulls after breaking his hand in a fall at his house.

Amar'e Stoudemire and the New York Knicks just gave up a 30 point, 30 rebound performance to Kevin Love, the first of it's kind since 1982. That resulted in a loss and dropped the Knicks to 3-6 in the process. While Stoudemire has outproduced Lee so far this season, he has not proven himself to be an upgrade over Lee in the same system that the Knicks run.

The Warriors have a better record than all of these teams through the first 9 games of the season and are reaping the benefits of Lee being able to fly under the radar. Has there ever been a more underappreciated player in the the biggest city in the world than David Lee? He had proven to be mentally tough having played very well in New York for 5 straight seasons, amidst chaos, turmoil and the most unforgiving media market in the NBA. 

What about the other teams that should have gone after Lee but didn't? The Phoenix Suns are still trotting out Hedo Turkoglu at power forward where he continues to struggle for his new team as well. Grant Hill is their leading rebounder at 6.5 per game.

The Milwaukee Bucks were very concerned with Andrew Bogut's health heading into this season so they decided to spend their money on Drew Gooden, John Salmons and trade for Corey Maggette. Any thoughts on how a Lee, Bogut and Brandon Jennings trio would look now?

Even the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz should have gotten into the mix. Both had gaping holes at power forward and while the Jazz have been successful with Big Al, it is safe to say that Lee's passing and ability to play the pick-and-roll with Deron Williams could have improved the Jazz a bit more.

For the Thunder, imagine a starting lineup that featured David Lee at the four and Serge Ibaka at the five with Jeff Green sliding over to the small forward spot. With such great length at every position, the Thunder would have greatly increased their chances at contending with the Lakers this year.

David Lee is only averaging 14.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game this year, but he clearly has had the biggest impact on his team when compared with the other power forward signings thus far. The Warriors are off to their best start in years and the best part about it is that Lee hasn't even started to show his scoring prowess yet. Sure he's not the most glamorous name and you might think he's a bit overpaid, but, why? I have no idea and no one else has been able to give me a good reason. I'm just glad everyone besides Larry Riley and the Warriors felt the same way.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Warriors Improve to 5-2, Monta Ellis Injury Not Serious

According to, Monta Ellis' back injury is "not serious" and is being classified as a back strain. 

The Warriors lost Ellis to a hard fall in last night's win over the Toronto Raptors, after he had scored 28 points in helping lead the Warriors to their first road win of the season. Stephen Curry finished with 34 points and plenty of big shots in the 4th quarter to finish out the victory.

The Warriors don't play again until Wednesday when they will face the New York Knicks.

Game Time: 4:30p.m. Pacific Time.

TV: CSNBayArea

Monday, November 8, 2010

Warriors Stall In Detroit, Lose to Pistons

Stephen Curry had an opportunity to send the game to overtime but missed his 3rd attempt from the three point stripe which led to the Dubs second loss of the season, 102-97 to the Detroit Pistons. 

The Dubs looked a little flat in this game but still had plenty of opportunities to win it. Their defensive rotations were not as crisp as they have been at home. They surrendered plenty of open jumpers and the Pistons made them pay. A few careless mistakes late in the third quarter and an inability to put together a string of baskets in the fourth is what ultimately did them in.

The Warriors continued to struggle from the perimeter in this game and their rebounding didn't save them like it has early on this season. They finished tied with Detroit at 46 rebounds apiece and the Pistons also shot better at 45.1% to the Warriors' 42.9.

Curry is visibly laboring, showing limited quickness and mobility while still trying to play with his sprained ankle. A healthy Curry probably would have been the difference in this game as he finished with only 10 points on 3 for 12 shooting.

David Lee also continues to struggle in finding his rhythm within the Warrior offense, scoring only 11 points and still not having much of anything drawn up for him. As one of the best finishers off of the pick and roll, we still have yet to see the Dubs truly run it with him on a consistent basis. In a game where the Warriors were struggling to put up points, this would have been the perfect opportunity to do so.

Nonetheless the Warriors are still 4-2 and will play in Toronto against the Raptors tonight at 4:00p.m. pacific time. A very winnable game.  

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Warriors-Pistons Preview Featuring Piston Powered

I don't know too much about the Pistons aside from the fact that they took Greg Monroe in this year's draft and they have had problems with their coach. So I enlisted the help of the hardworking folks over at specifically, Patrick Hayes. Here's his take on the Pistons and how they might fair against the Dubs. 

What is wrong with the Pistons?

Lots and lots of things. But rather than bore you with all of the dirty details, I'll give a top three.

- Rebounding: The Pistons have only two guys on the roster (Ben Wallace and Greg Monroe) who average more than seven rebounds per-36. They are starting a small forward (Austin Daye) at power forward because the frontcourt is so thin and their backup PF, Charlie Villanueva, is allergic to rebounds.

- Chemistry issues: The brunt of the coverage of this had to do with Rodney Stuckey getting benched for ignoring John Kuester on the court, but stories of coach-player clashes have trickled out the last two seasons under Kuester. Tayshaun Prince and Kuester had a yelling match last season, and Prince had some comments earlier this season suggesting all was not perfect in their relationship. Ben Wallace bristled when he was asked about Kuester's comments about the team needing more leadership. Villanueva and Kuester had a rocky relationship at times last year. And making things worse, the Pistons have most of their high priced and/or big name players spread at two positions. So virtually every game, someone from the Rip Hamilton/Ben Gordon/Prince/Tracy McGrady group gets squeezed out of minutes.

- Injuries: Jonas Jerebko was the Pistons second best player last season, and without his offensive rebounding and hustle in particular, the team has had a hard time finding a similarly energetic replacement. Jerebko was also improving -- he put up monster numbers for the Swedish national team over the summer. Not great competition, I grant you, but he became a more confident offensive player and he's a big part of the team's future. Less notable, Chris Wilcox has yet to play. Wilcox is not very good, but he is 6-10 and strong and could help against some of the bigger front lines that have pushed the Pistons around.
The Warriors will lose if. . . ?

They turn the ball over. The Pistons have had late leads in five of their six games. They didn't play great in all of those games, but at times, they have been a pesky and opportunistic group than can create occasional matchup issues and take advantage of mistakes. Opponents are shooting 48 percent against the Pistons. In the Pistons lone win of the season, Charlotte shot 55 percent against them. Expect the Warriors to shoot well, but if there are turnovers or defensive lapses, the Pistons can steal a game even if they get out-played.
I saw your post about T-Mac continuing to play the point, is that likely vs. the Dubs?

It depends on how fully out of the doghouse Stuckey is and how healthy Will Bynum is. McGrady originally got minutes at the point backing up Stuckey because Bynum missed a few games. Stuckey sat out Friday's game as punishment for his hearing problem, but Bynum returned to the lineup. If Stuckey just moves right back into the starting lineup and Bynum doesn't have a setback, McGrady probably won't see much time at PG. If they want to make Stuckey sweat a little and earn his job back, maybe McGrady will still get a few minutes there.

Thanks again to Patrick for the info (far more than I had bargained for).

Friday, November 5, 2010

Warriors Beat Jazz, Because They're Good

Bad headline? Maybe, but it describes what the Warriors are now. A good team. In a game where they shot 37.6% as a team, made only 2 three pointers, and shot under 60% from the line, they still improved to 4-1 while beating a team that hadn't played the night before.

Stephen Curry returned from his ankle injury but was still only 80-85% in my estimation. He  played great in the 4th quarter though, scoring 11 of his 20 points and making free throws down the stretch to put the game away. Monta Ellis, well, he's a star now. Stars switch over to the other team's best player and hold them to just 6 assists and force them into 8 turnovers. Deron Williams still scored 23 points, but Monta matched that output and Deron didn't have the kind of impact he normally does, which of course affected his teammates. All of this allowed Stephen Curry to guard Raja Bell, give Keith Smart credit for this defensive game plan.

Monta also had a big hand in putting the game away on the offensive end, hitting a big jumper with under a minute to go and tying a career-high in steals with 7. While we're here, this is where the Warriors showed continued growth and development as a team. On the possession where Monta hit that jumper to put them up by 5 with 54 seconds to go, it was the typical stand at the top of the circle-make something happen play-that you see from every team in the league that thinks one guy can win it. It worked on this occasion which was great, but on the next possession we saw something different.

Monta stood in the same place but then dished it off to Curry, who drove left and gave it to Dorell Wright in the corner who (didn't shoot well tonight but did things like this) drove baseline and found Andris Biedrins for a contested layup. The layup attempt failed but David Lee was there to tip it in because Utah had to react to all five of the Warriors moving on the court. It wasn't drawn up to work this way but that was the personification of what we have seen from this team during this 4-1 start. Teamwork, ball movement and rebounding.

Speaking of Lee and Biedrins, they combined for 35 rebounds with 14 of them being offensive. One of the many reasons the Warriors were able to grind out a win against a team that has dominated them for the better parts of this decade and the last. 

Now the Warriors will go on the road for the first time this year with reason to believe that they can and will beat most of the teams on their schedule. 

I'm shocked at what I have seen from the Warriors thus far, but at the same time we shouldn't be. This is the kind of basketball they have always been capable of playing and now finally are. Because they're good.  

Warriors-Jazz Quick Preview

Stephen Curry will be a game time decision tonight as the Warriors will host the Utah Jazz at home. This is not a game the Warriors are supposed to win with or without Curry, but at 3-1 there's reason for optimism. Monta Ellis is playing great and continues to lead the Warriors to victories with his scoring and excellent perimeter defense. Those factors give the Dubs a fighting chance even if Curry can't go tonight. 

Deron Williams will have to work to stay in front of Ellis which might help limit Williams' production on the offensive end. Utah's will allow team's to score on them which the Warriors have been doing quite well this season. The battles on the front lines between David Lee, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson and Andris Biedrins will be key to whichever team wins tonight as neither has offered much deterence in the paint this season. Hopefully Brandan Wright will be healthy enough to play after missing Wednesday's game with a stomach virus. If so the Warrriors will have the edge against Utah's bench. 

Tonight looks to be a good  matchup at the guard positions no matter who suits up for the Warriors at point. If it's Monta we know what we'll get, if it's Curry hopefully he's freshe enough to make Deron work.

Game Time: 7:30p.m.
TV: CSNBayArea
Radio: KNBR 680

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A New Starting Five For These Struggling Teams

Evan Turner-Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers are 1-4 and have started Jason Kapono and Andres Nocioni over the number two pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. I always question the logic of teams who are in the lottery and then don't start who they draft. If the player isn't good enough to start right away, why did you draft him? Either way, this case doesn't need to be made based on his draft position, his production alone is deserving of the starting slot at the one, two or three positions. Turner is averaging 9.2 points on .488% FG's and 5.6 rebounds a game in only 26 minutes a night. Everyone knows that Turner will need the ball in his hands to be successful in this league so why not just give it to him now when you're 1-4? Nothing against Jrue Holiday but I still don't get why there is so much hype about his game. He plays good defense and looked like he had improved his shot in Summer League, but thus far his .396% shooting and 5.4 assists per game aren't doing Philly any favors.

Lou Williams-Philadelphia 76ers

I think we're starting to figure out why Philly is 1-4. Williams leads the team in scoring with18 a night and is still dishing out 4 assists per game in only 26 minutes. At the very least, starting Lou at shooting guard with Evan at the point and Iguodala at the three would make them one of the best perimeter trios in the league in terms of production. Now that Elton Brand has got his groove back the perimeter play needs to compliment his 18 points per game and wildly impressive shooting (.561%).  Louis launching from deep would do that. Jrue Holiday would be a nice compliment to Thaddeus Young off the bench and just imagine if they played Mareese Speights as well.

Hakim Warrick-Phoenix Suns

This one is easy. Amar'e Stoudemire is gone and so are his best qualities, namely, athleticism and his play on the pick and roll. So why has Hedo Turkoglu been the man to replace him? His best qualities are passing and shooting. He's not passing, (1.5 assists per) scoring, (8.5 points) rebounding, (3 a night) shooting, (.379% from the field but .400% from three to his credit) or fitting in (24 minutes per, Suns 1-3). Hakim Warrick on the other hand is athletic, can play the pick and roll and has produced with 12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds on .571% from the field in his Yao Ming like, 23 minutes per game. With career averages of 17 and 7 per 36 minutes, who knew? The Suns did at some point, that's why they signed him to replace Stoudemire but apparently, things change.

Greg Monroe-Detroit Pistons

As the number seven pick in the draft, we can apply the Evan Turner logic here as well. Although the production is lacking in comparison. Jonas Jerebko who was going to start at power forward is out for the year so. . . Greg Monroe is still not starting for an 0-5 Pistons team that is beginning to tune out it's coach. Lest we forget that Monroe fell to the Pistons because my Warriors didn't draft him, offering a glimmer of hope for the franchise. Sitting at 0-5 it is safe to say that glimmer is not coming from within the current rotation. It could come from Monroe and his 14.5 rebounds per 36 minute average, and perhaps with more time on the floor his passing would benefit the shooting touches of Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. Perhaps a breath of fresh air in the form of Greg Monroe will excite everyone on the team! This is not a likely scenario, but it would be better than what we have seen so far.

Eric Bledsoe-Los Angeles Clippers

This one is easier said than done. Baron Davis, who has admitted to not being in shape and has a contract that cannot be easily traded, despite his sunny disposition, puts Vinny Del Negro in a tough spot. If the Clips bench B-Diddy it probably wouldn't go over to well, further complicating a delicate team chemistry. The Clips might even have to Jamaal Tinsley him. After one game, many people are jumping on the Bledsoe band wagon, but really it's about the wheels falling off of Baron's. Since he has been in L.A. he hasn't produced as expected and this year it's even worse (10.3 points, 5.7 ast, .324%FG's). What team wouldn't be confident that their point guard could produce better numbers than that? After one game, Bledsoe has proven he can, against Russell Westbrook no less.

Monta Ellis & Good Basketball Lead the Way In Win Over Grizzlies

So much for Jeremy Lin playing more minutes but either way the Dubs pulled out another victory over Rudy Gay and the Memphis Grizzlies to improve to 3-1 on the season. Monta Ellis continues to impress, scoring 17 of his 39 points in the 4th quarter when the Warriors needed it most. He also finished with 8 assists, 9 rebounds and played all but 5 minutes of the entire game.

David Lee bounced back with a huge performance on the boards as he and Andris Biedrins continue to outrebound and outwork their opponents, a big reason as to why the Warriors have gotten off to their great start.

While the defensive improvement hasn't been as pronounced as Keith Smart said it would be, he is making a case for himself as Coach of the Year. The Warriors are making plays when they need to and are finding ways to win games, characteristics of a good team. The Grizzlies shot 51.3% from the field as a team while the Dubs struggled at 41.2%. Yet they got to the line nine more times then the Grizz and outrebounded them 48 to 39 with 19 offensive rebounds.

Late in the game Keith Smart designed an inbounds play to get Monta Ellis the ball, the formation completely fooled the Memphis Grizzlies and Ellis was wide open for the simple pass. This is the kind of execution the Warriors were missing last year, actually the past few years. These are the subtle diffferences that are leading the Warriors to victory. They won the 4th quarter, hit free throws down the stretch, withstood a big performance from Rudy Gay and so on and so on.

Sure the defense could be better and will need to be, but for now their fundamentals are carrying them through and that is good enough to beat the team's they're supposed to. Ball movement, rebounding, and hitting open shots. Dorell Wright and his 25 points fit in perfectly with tonight's game and everygame thus far. Reggie Williams had a career high 8 assists off the bench and others contributed as well. The Warriors went 8 deep tonight and even though Dan Gadzuric only played 6 minutes, his presence was felt. The Warriors are a real team again. They aren't just trying to sell tickets or win with gimmicks right now, they're playing real basketball and winning. Keith Smart is the reason for that and he ought to be commended over and over again.

Now a look at the Warriors "Division Standings".

Warriors 3-1

Kings 3-2
Nuggets 2-2
Grizzlies 2-3
Suns 1-3
Clippers 1-4
Timberwolves 1-4
Rockets 0-4

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stephen Curry Out against Memphis, More Minutes for Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin should play early and often tonight as the backup to Monta Ellis while Stephen Curry rests his sprained ankle for the second straight game. This move comes on the heels of Lin's energetic performance in the Warriors loss to the Lakers on Sunday.

The Warriors will be taking on the Memphis Grizzlies at home tonight 7:30 p.m. on CSNBayarea. The Grizz are coming off of their own blowout loss to the Lakers last night so the Dubs should have the edge from an energy standpoint at the very least. Mike Conley has been surprising some with his play this year so Monta will have his hands full tracking his presence on the court. This will be a great opportunity for Lin to prove his worth on the defensive end as he has been known to pressure the ball a bit more than most on the team.

The Warriors should not lose this game even without Curry as the Grizz will be without Zach Randolph. This game will have a direct bearing on the playoff aspirations of both teams so this is a must win for the Dubs. At home, rested, with time to prepare for the opponent this should be a good game.