Saturday, December 1, 2012

BogusGate in Golden State

By Justin Taylor

The Warriors had the longest five days between games ever this week.  The glow of Harrison Barnes dunk over Mount Pekovic and the team taking over first place in the Pacific Division at the expense of the #LOLakers and #FlopCity didn’t even last half of that time.  You would think the two biggest highlights of the last five years could bridge the five day gap between games.  Since we’re talking about the Golden State Warriors and the misguided PR machine that goes with it all we get is turmoil.  One key difference this year is that the team on the floor can cover for the mistakes in the control tower by coming out and getting a huge win in spite of the refs best efforts to screw them.

There are nothing but good vibes at Oracle Arena right now but that doesn’t mean the issues in downtown Oakland don’t need to be addressed by the fans.  Some will say that I should just enjoy our recent successes and believe me I will but I refuse to allow a winning streak be the the wool covering my eyes.  The news that Andrew Bogut will be out indefinitely because his “clean out” procedure in April was actually a “clean house” microfracture ankle surgery.  The brass and Bogut held the company line for seven months until the team kept calling the procedure minor while raising expectations for the center’s return.  He got pissed that they were raising hopes among fans so he called bullshit and set everyone straight.  Had they just told the truth from the beginning or just laid off on the timelines and bold statements they probably wouldn’t be cleaning egg off their faces right now.  If the cover up is always worse then the crime, shouldn’t rule number one be don’t cover it up if it isn’t a crime?

The buck for BogusGate stops here

I wonder whose idea it was to make us angry three times a week with the abbreviated setback announcements as opposed to just saying it would be 2013 at the earliest, which was more realistic anyways.  In doing that there would have been a chance that things get ahead of schedule and we could be pleasantly surprised for once.  I guess that would just make too much sense.  Instead they ended up alienating the entire fan base and their most important player on multiple fronts for no good reason.  Anybody who watched the first four games and has at least one half decent eye could see that Bogut’s ankle was not even 80%.  If I was thinking they were treating us like a bunch of assholes before I knew they were lying I’m not sure what we’re supposed to feel now.

Countless instances like this that have created a massive amount of distrust towards any team issued statement or press release over the years.  I look at any good news they put out as a diversion from what is really going on and any bad news as just a sugar coated version of the truth.  If the Warriors front office wasn’t so hell bent on making sure that every single piece of press be positive it would probably make many of their jobs much easier.  It isn’t just losing games that inspire twitter accounts like @WorseThan_Cohan and the corresponding Joe Lacob Sucks blog.  If the team is all about spinning EVERYTHING that happens in a positive direction these sites are dedicated to reversing that spin even if it goes so far the other way it’s more of a parody than anything else.  One thing I know for certain is that there would be no Trapped in Golden State if fans weren’t treated like ignorant third graders who can’t handle the truth. 

The problem is not Andrew Bogut's injury, the problem is managements handling of it

After years of suffering it’s safe to say Warriors fans have pretty thick skin and are going to keep packing the arena every night regardless of what is contained in the latest press release or marketing campaign.  When are they going to learn that isn’t the lipstick they’re putting on the pig that’s selling the place out?  Then again, they’d rather sell out their luxury suites then fill up Club 200 with real fans so I guess that pretty much explains everything.  Please correct me if you saw a commercial proclaiming It’s a Great Time Out or maybe the one that promised Big Things Are Coming and decided you needed to run out and buy tickets.

In the end, the BogusGate isn’t about ankles, doctors and therapists like it should be.  It has more to do with the team’s higher ups carrying on the legacy that was left behind by Chris Cohan and Robert Rowell.  Seeing GM Bob Myers step up and take full responsibility for the stupidity was nice and all but the damage has already been done.  Unfortunately, we may see them play this game again because it is hard for them to learn their lesson when us fans continue showing up night after night.  It’s even more unfortunate that some of the players in this fiasco who deserve a slap on the wrist at the very least will end up with a pat on the back.  One day, hopefully, these people will realize that our love of the game and loyalty to the team has absolutely nothing to do with the marketing campaigns, the music blaring DURING the games or the lies that uninformed people think we want to hear!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Season Same Story (So Far)

By Justin Taylor

Hello and welcome to the opening week of the We Believe Warriors season 28!  Or was it 29?  It’s the start of a new era of Warriors basketball and through one week it has been pretty much status quo in Oakland.  Andrew Bogut, our most important player is back on the shelf with a Stephen Curry sized ankle.  Brandon Rush, our most versatile player off the bench and the guy who should probably be the starting small forward, is gone for the season with an exploding knee.  Now Mark Jackson is coaching a team with more excuses built into it than the arena in San Francisco has parking spots planned.

The saying goes that that those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it and most of what the Warriors front office has done over the last year seems to show they’ve learned a thing or two.  Even if this team isn’t a contender (or maybe even a playoff team) they will surely be counted on to be the squad that breaks the cycle of mismanagement, misguided PR campaigns and general dysfunction.  The only real reminders left of our tortured past are Bob Fitzgerald and Gary St. Jean on the TV side, Steph Curry’s ankle on the court and the cadaver of Andris Biedrins on the bench (making two free throws won’t change that). 

Now the season is finally rolling and low and behold it’s the same old storylines emerging and I’ve outlined what I think are the main ones here today.

Andrew Bogut

How awkward was it to see a legit 7 footer who can walk and chew gum out there on the court in a Warriors uniform even if it was only for a few minutes.  If you blinked you might have missed it but Andrew Bogut got about 60 minutes of court time before shutting himself down for 7-10 days.  My question is why did he have to shut himself down in the first place?  If I’m running a team and I see my 28 year old franchise player out there moving like a 35 year old Arvydas Sabonis I’m going to be the one pulling the plug.  Don’t get me wrong, an old Sabonis is better than anything the Warriors have had at center in decades but Bogut is being paid $13 million a year to be an all star or at least something resembling one.

The idea that a week off is going to make a difference after being out almost all of last season is ludicrous.  Now that timetable has been extended through the upcoming road trip but why keep extending it by days?  Call it a month and let people be happy if he can come back earlier already.  If everyone involved could do it all over again, Steph Curry wouldn’t have played another game after that first ankle tweak until it was fully healed last year.  See what listening to the player did in that instance?  Now it looks like there is a similar situation brewing whether anyone on the teams payroll wants to admit it or not.  I may be alone in my opinion but I say shut him down for months if that’s what it takes to get the guy we traded Monta Ellis for.

Brandon Rush
After all of the tanking in 2012 there were three focus points for the team’s brass in the offseason.  Add an asset through the draft, add a back up point guard without ankle issues and bring back Brandon Rush.  The front office did great job of scaring off any potential suitors for our top reserve and got him back (as well as Carl Landry) at a great price in the process.  I was one of many who thought that Rush should have began the season as the starting small forward because Harrison Barnes should be forced to earn every minute he gets. He is also the better player (right now) if that counts for anything.  None of that matters anymore now that Rush’s knee is resting in pieces.

The loss of Brandon Rush hurts but it shouldn’t affect the outcome of this season one bit.  If you think you’re a playoff contender an injury to your 6th man cannot be the reason you’re proven wrong.  If you want to describe yourselves as a deep and balanced team then you’ve got to go out and prove it when the inevitable injury crops up.  As great as Brandon Rush fit on this team, every single one of his talents is replaceable.  Even if they aren’t, it’s time for this group of guys to show they’ve got the kind of depth and toughness they’ve been talking about for months now.

David Lee and Carl Landry
I’m not sure if there is a better one two power forward punch in the league.  Sure, one superstar is better then two really good players but we’re getting 48 minutes of solid production out of our 4 spot and not many teams can boast that.  You know what else I’m not sure about?  Who the Warriors best power forward is!  I know which one is overpaid and which is underpaid.  I know which one is on all of the billboards, which one is on the all star ballots and which one the owner jocks but I honestly can’t tell you which one should be starting right now at least.

Did anyone see this argument coming three weeks ago?  Nobody has mistaken David Lee for an all star since he was mistaken for an all star in New York and even though I predicted a big (contract) year from Landry I didn’t expect to wonder why he’s not starting.  Mark Jackson has been taking a lot of shit for being an anti-small ball coach who’s being a poor man’s Nellie in Bogut’s absence but what is he supposed to do?  I’ve got one thought, start Carl Landry and let David Lee outhustle guys in the second unit until he gets his act together or permanently if Landry can keep this up.  This needs to be explored further even if Joe Lacob might fire Coach Jackson for pulling Captain Lee from the starting lineup.  Hey, this might be a better idea then I thought.

Full Disclosure: Advanced metric stats are not my thing.  I like traditional numbers and the age old tradition of the eyeball test because I spend too much time yelling at my TV when I watch the Warriors to do that kind of research but for this argument I’m pulling out the big guns. 

Traditional stats through 7 games:

David Lee: 14.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 42% shooting, 1.1 steals, .3 blocks, 2.3 turnovers, 37 minutes

Carl Landry: 16.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 60% shooting, .3 steals, .4 blocks, 1.9 turnovers, 26.7 minutes

Advanced stats through 7 games:

David Lee: PER 13.3, True shooting % .474, Rebound % 14.3, WS/48 = .085

Carl Landry: PER 24.5, True shooting % .628, Rebound % 16.5, WS/48 = .231

WS/48 - Win Shares Per 48 minutes: An estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player per 48 minutes (league average is approximately .100).  Please do not ask how in the hell these numbers are calculated and if anybody has the numbers on our best statistical lineup combinations please educate me below...

Mark Jackson

I already mentioned the mini controversy surrounding his small ball lineups but that is just one of many things Jackson is taking heat for after losses.  He doesn’t call timeouts to stop runs, he just stands there with his hands in his pockets and Mike Malone is still calling the plays!  Those are among the tweets I’ve seen accompanied by the #FireMarkJackson hash tag on Twitter in recent days (I may or may not have tweeted a couple of those myself).  I honestly don’t know that any of these things matter and do believe that Jackson deserves a shot with a real roster but the fuse is getting shorter that’s for sure.  Everybody around the Bay Area and across the country knew that this wasn’t a playoff team without a healthy Andrew Bogut so nobody should be surprised that we’re sucking wind out there right now.  Pastor Jackson has no control of that no matter how good his relationship with god is and it really doesn’t matter what crappy plays Mike Malone is drawing up if the shots aren’t falling.

After careful consideration and intense, angry eyeball analysis this team currently has two fatal flaws and won’t be cracking the top eight in the west until they’re corrected.  The first is our 7 foot Australian on a bum ankle. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.  The other is that this team has zero penetration or aggression on offense.  This team is playing slow, there are no drive and kick opportunities, no easy buckets in the lane and no prospects of fixing it anytime soon.  Bogut will help the inside out game but he won’t fix everything.  Until somebody decides that attacking the rim and getting to the foul line is a priority this is going to be just another jump shooting team.  #FireMarkJackson might pick up steam as the season roles on and I’m not opposed to the notion but Bob Myers has bigger fish to fry in the short term.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top 5 Warriors Preseason Storylines

By Justin Taylor

I hope everyone enjoyed Media Day and the first day of training camp as much as I did.  It’s so nice to actually see something instead of hearing and speculating on stuff that won’t matter in a couple of weeks for what felt like a year.  This is when the rubber meets the hardwood and guys can start sinking or swimming.  I had to go silent because there was literally nothing to talk about.  Now I’m back for my first training camp as an irrational Warriors fanatic “blogger” with my top five preseason storylines to over examine and sweat over until things get real.

Andrew Bogut’s Ankle

Three weeks ago I would have made the two top stories Ankle One and Ankle Two.  Stephen Curry (Ankle Two) has been medically cleared to play and all of the PR coming out of Oakland is positive; I know I’m shocked too.  That’s great news but it isn’t the critical story that Bogut’s ankle is. With Jarrett Jack on board we could have afforded to ease Curry back in.  I couldn’t be more nervous about going into the season without seeing this teams centerpiece in uniform even once, unless you count media day of course.

I’ve been turning blue from holding my breath and I have no nails left from biting them while waiting to SEE any good signs that Bogut is ready to go.  Optimism is a fleeting concept when you’ve been a Warriors fan long enough to remember the Joe Barely Cares trade but not long enough to remember our championship season.  I’m hoping for the best but bracing for the same old shit.  That would go something like this; Bogut isn’t ready for opening night, works like hell to get back but isn’t in shape and aggravates the injury because he tried to rush it.  That scenario sounds all too familiar but I’m still hoping for hope's sake that this is the year the mold is broken.

Even if I know better then to expect the best here’s how I see the Bogut situation to playing out; The Aussie is 100% healthy as advertised, gets 25-30 minutes opening night and gradually adds to that workload until he’s averaging 35 minutes a night by about the third week of the season.  Around that time he starts reclaiming his spot as a top five center in this league and allows us fans to finally feel like we’ve got the big man this team has been chasing since before Reagan was President.  All I can say in this scenario is that Dwight Howard has had his last 40/20 game in Oakland which means a whole lot more now that he’s a Laker.  It also wouldn’t be a best case scenario if it didn’t allow the next top preseason storyline to unfold…

Andris Biedrins Funeral

Speaking of rotting corpses…I’m wondering if the Warriors are finally going to schedule memorial services for Andris Biedrins.  It’s only right and it has been a long time coming, he did die almost three years ago after all.  Once the Warriors finally bury Biedrins body six feet under the depth chart they can finally start moving forward with younger, hungrier and more talented options.  If Ezeli isn’t ready to assume those minutes then it will be on Mark Jackson and his staff to base the game plan on the personnel and prove they are in fact NBA caliber coaches.  Andrew Bogut might be the best thing to happen to Biedrins since Baron Davis.  He had the single best quote from media day when he said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Andris just needs to realize that he’s not a terrible basketball player.” 
Watching Biedrins start another game might be more then I can stomach at this point.  I might recommend that we start passing a hat at games to collect donations that management can use to buy him out if that happens.

Starting Small Forward 

I still think that it should be Brandon Rush in the starting lineup come opening night.  Harrison Barnes should be forced to beat out Richard Jefferson for back up minutes before he is handed anything.  As of right now Rush is the best shooter, defender, rebounder and decision maker of the three and the competition within the second unit will be good for the whole team in my mind.  Handing anything to the rookie is counter productive when you have the kind of NBA caliber depth that we’re showing on paper right now.  If Barnes can come in, send Richard Jefferson out to pasture and push Rush for that starting job we’ll all be better off for it.

Jack Jenkins and the Dubstitutes

If you’re a regular reader on this website just let me know when you get tired of me pumping up the Jarrett Jack-Charles Jenkins combo coming off the bench.  For those coming to the site via Twitter get ready for the rollout of the #JackJenkins hash tag because I’m expecting big things from these guys.  They are the most solid, tough and interchangeable bench backcourt duo in the league and it might be one of the things I’m most excited for in 2012.  Between them and Carl Landry we’ve got three players in our second unit that many teams in the league probably wish they could trot out with their starting five.

The Warriors biggest addition last year was a bench that actually had NBA players on it.  We went from having a second unit that featured Reggie Williams as the first guy off the bench to one that Greg Papa dubbed the “Dubstitutes” after they outplayed the starters in a lot of games.  We’ll miss Dominic McGuire and his “bring your hard hat and know your role” mentality but if your bench is good enough to say that there isn’t room for one of the best defensive specialists in the league someone is doing something right.

Draymond Green, rotation player?

There has been a good amount of excitement surrounding Green ever since we stole him in the second round of the draft.  Anybody who isn’t on board the Draymond bandwagon are no doubt selling tickets on the “He’s a tweener with no position” train.  I’m all in on the former as opposed to the latter because I remember a guy named Antawn Jamison even if they aren’t fond memories.  The difference is that I think Green is a better player who comes into the league without the additional pressure of being a top five pick. 

As much as I’d love to see Draymond force all those naysayers to eat crow all season I just don’t see it happening.  Who’s minutes are going to suffer as a result of Green’s presence in the rotation?  Carl Landry? Doubt it.  Will he outplay Rush, Barnes, and Jefferson to get minutes at the three? It’s possible but unlikely.  The most likely scenario that would benefit his chances of cracking the lineup is a heavy dose of small ball while Bogut recovers, plays his way into shape and gets babied when he does return to full strength.  He can back up Landry when Lee inevitably ends up playing a lot of center in that case.  If and when he does kick down that door it’s going to be another one of those icing on the cake situations right up there with Harrison Barnes being a legit starter at small forward and Festus Ezeli outplaying Andris Biedrins’ decaying carcass to assume the backup five spot.

If I’ve left out any headlines that you’re watching closely let me know in the comments or on the Tapped in Golden State Facebook page where we’re up over 700 strong before the season has even started!  As always, Go Warriors!!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The future in Golden State gets brighter

By Justin Taylor

For the last 20+ years I’ve grown accustomed to talking myself into a patchwork Warriors lineup every summer and getting roasted by other fans, friends and family for trying to talk them into the into it too.  In general I usually get some version of the following quotes: ‘It’s baseball season, we’ll talk about how much the Warriors are going to suck in October”; “Football is about to start, stop torturing yourself”; “You know damn well the Warriors aren’t going anywhere this season”; “I feel sorry for you” and “This shit again?” 

Now with the new ownership, the Monta Ellis/Andrew Bogut trade and this year’s perceived offseason success it’s funny that some of those same people are bringing the conversation to me now.  This is the best (on paper) roster we’ve seen in about two decades and everyone; including some of the national media for once; are reserving their seats on the Golden State Bandwagon for 2012-13.  This isn’t a roster that only Nellie could coach, it’s not a Raymond Ridder Production and it’s surely not a Robert Rowell creation.  There are no hideous Chris Mullin as GM type contracts and there are no locker room cancers; unless you feel Andris Biedrins’ “scared of his own shadow” disposition is at risk of spreading. 

No matter how good a job the front office did during the summer we all know that this whole house of cards will come crashing down if the ankles it is built on can’t hold it up.  If there was one question I could ask Bob Myers it would be not how he thinks the team will perform this year, it’s been asked and answered hundreds of times in some way shape or form already.  My question is…How does this roster connect to a future of sustained winning and what type of moves are necessary to continue shaping the team?  All he can say is that he hopes he can keep everyone in the fold and even my wife knows that isn’t going to happen.  She hates having to learn half a roster worth of names every season especially considering that she thinks the whole thing is fixed anyway.  At this point I can’t really blame her for either point.

What I really want to see is the Warriors “road map” extending beyond the next couple of years now that they actually have one.  It must exist at this point right? We now have a competent front office that seems committed to modeling itself after the elite teams so I wonder how the inner circle views the current roster.  The truly great franchises in all sports always have some sort of long term plans that they are trying to maintain while they put together their team’s immediate future.  In the Cohan era long term goals revolved around hope.  Hope for a free agent to sign at some point, hope to strike it rich with the imminent lottery pick and hope that fans continue to pack the stands when plans A and B don’t pan out.  

There’s no doubt that the short term will be dedicated to developing the youngsters and evaluating how the veterans fit into the long view scheme even if the stated goal is to make the playoffs this year.  If we look all the way past 2012 and even 2013 based on what we know now what can we see?

1.  The Warriors will be paying David Lee a shitload of money ($15 million in 2014-15 and $15.5 in 2015-16.

2.  Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green, Jeremy Tyler and Kent Bazemore are all playing on rookie deals and fighting for an extension with a hefty raise attached to it.

3.  Charles Jenkins is an unrestricted free agent unless he shows enough to get his extension after this season.

4.  Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson are either retired or someone else’s problem.

5.  Brandon Rush, Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack are all finishing their careers elsewhere.

6.  After Utah finally gets their number one pick from us after this season (at least they better, being in the top six of the lottery will not be an acceptable out come this year) that means there will be a 2014 mid first rounder who’s more trade bait than rotation guy on the roster.

The things you don’t see are Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut (or their respective ankles) and it is a great situation to be in.  That may sound kind of moronic to reference a team minus it’s two best players as a good thing but what I’m looking at is $25.5 million out of about $70 million committed to seven players.  That means that even if the ankle twins are healthy and resigned for a combined $30-$35 million that still leaves the team with nine players and $15-$20 million to spend for a stud and a couple of scrubs to fill out the roster.

This is also when the timeline for the new arena is going to start coming into focus which will give ESPN and NBATV a reason to mention the Warriors as a potentially appetizing destination every time a star comes on the market; exactly the way Brooklyn has been in every conversation the last couple of years.  That means that if CurrBogut doesn’t fully recover from the ankle woes or just doesn’t pan out it’s not crazy to think that you could swing a trade for a guy who’s set to enter free agency and actually have a shot in hell of getting him to sign an extension without getting the Dwight Howard treatment for a year and a half.  You know, LeBron James will be unrestricted at the end of 2013-14 now that I think about it…just kidding, I may be completely biased and even irrational when it comes to the Warriors but I’m not stupid.

The main thing that Corey Maggette taught us during his stay in Oakland was that no contract is untradeable.  Keeping that lesson in mind let’s consider what our financial situation would be like if David Lee wasn’t making more than the other 6 guys on the roster combined based on the figures above.  It’s too far out to know how current all stars and Olympians will be performing in three years but humor me for a second.  If you were going to spend $45 million dollars after the 2014-15 season for three guys would you rather have Stephen Curry (27 years old in three years), David Lee (32) and Andrew Bogut (30) OR Rajon Rondo (29), Kevin Love (26) and Marc Gasol (30)?

Whether you think the Warriors should be building the team for the next five or six years on top of our brittle ankles is irrelevant at this particular time.  The whole point of this column is to say that for the first time in forever the franchise actually has options that can be exercised from a position of power if executed like an elite team executes.  They have time to evaluate, time to develop the assets already in tow while continuing to collect them, time to make deals that will continue to improve our salary cap positions and time to let the dead money finally die. 

Less than four years ago the window into the future had images of Warrior fans being water boarded while loud annoying marketing slogans were played on loop until they’d crack and buy tickets.  Almost every move made was motivated by the need to move disgruntled players or the need to sell more tickets.  Now you can actually see how the motivation from the top down revolves around the need to win.  It’s a simple theory that was somehow lost on Chris Cohan and the great basketball mind he had making the decisions, Robert Rowell.  Now when you peer off into the distance you may see a borderline playoff team (and Biedrins decaying corpse collecting flies) but if you look just past that you’ll see something different. 

If you’re wondering what I think (and nobody asked but here it goes anyway) I’d say that I see a (Joe Lacob should love this) piece of pristine waterfront property that’s being zoned to build something great.  Papa Joe and many readers might draw a direct line to San Francisco with that metaphor but the truth is I don’t give a shit where I’m attending games.  I only care that the uniform says Warriors and box score results start with W’s more often than L’s.  The fact is that the engineers behind the project I’m concerned with are Bob Myers, Jerry West and Joe Lacob’s wallet instead of the CFO and the PR/marketing departments.  It’s safe to say that the team will continue to get its fair share of my hard earned money (maybe even more than usual) as long as the maneuvers they make continue to make today’s team better without leaving the future of the franchise hamstrung.  In the meantime I’ll be scrutinizing every weld and screw that goes into this venture the way CalTrans has watchdog groups watching them build the Bay Bridge.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Three ways the season can play out for the Warriors

Warriors fan and friend of Trapped in Golden State Eli Pearlman, whose work has been published on The Sportz Blitz, will also be an occasional contributor for the Warriors fans on this site now!  Thank you for contributing to Trapped in Golden State and we hope to see more great work from you soon.

Three ways the season can play out for the Warriors

By Eli Pearlman

The Warriors have high expectations going into 2012-13 (not to say they don’t often begin the season with these expectations, they just seem a little more warranted this year).  Nearly everyone agrees they had a great offseason, and it seems as though it may very well come down the health of the team (Warriors fans haven’t heard that one before).  So what should we expect?  Here are the three possible scenarios I see playing out for Golden State this year:

If the season starts like this (again) it's going to be a long year

Scenario 1:

In the first game of the regular season, an exuberant Draymond Green sets a pick for Stephen Curry near the top of the key.  It’s the Dancing Bear’s first playing time of the year, and in his excitement he pops out a second too early.  The results are disastrous: Curry stumbles over Green’s left foot, simultaneously spraining both ankles while throwing the ball up towards the rim.  Andrew Bogut – who has looked superb in the first couple quarters of the season – leaps to catch the errant pass, smashing his head against the side of the backboard and incurring such severe head trauma that he is sidelined the majority of the year.  In a span of 5.3 seconds the entire season is lost.[1] Golden State goes into tank mode 2.0 as management decides to keep David Lee sidelined with a dubious gluteal pull.  Meanwhile, midway through the season, Harrison Barnes decides to take a hiatus from his basketball ball career to market his new brand of sneakers, “the Black Falcons.”  Andris Biedrins plays 35 minutes a game and the Warriors finish 20 and 62.  Bob Fitzgerald still finds a silver lining.[2]

If the Warriors makes the playoffs will Fitz be comparing Bogut and Ezeli to guys like Bill Russell?

Scenario 2:

The Warriors stay healthy for the entire 2012-’13 season; that includes Curry and Bogut.  And it’s everything management dreamed of and more.   They’re unstoppable – like Bane in the Dark Knight Rises, that is, before Batman realizes all he has to do is hit him in the face instead of attacking his giant, impenetrable torso.  Bogut and Lee have a field day finding Klay Thompson, Brandon Rush, Barnes and Curry on the perimeter for open jumpers.  Even ol’ Dick Jefferson shoots better than 35% from three in limited playing time.  As Bogut regains his touch offensively, his defensive presence, coupled with his passing and rebounding show why he was one of the top centers in the league before the elbow injury.  Rush continues to improve, accomplishing what Dorell Wright couldn’t before him, and cementing himself as the starting small forward.  Thompson avoids any sort of sophomore slump, we prove to be one of the deeper teams in the NBA, and the Warriors win 52 games, good enough for the 6th seed in the Western Conference.  In the first round of the playoffs Golden state gets an aging Spurs team (of course people have been saying that about the Spurs for a few years now) and they shoot them out of the building before falling to OKC in the second round.  Bob Fitzgerald begins to sound more and more like a west coast Tommy Heinsohn, at one point even comparing Festus Ezeli to Bill Russell.  Andris Biedrins plays 35 minutes the entire season.[3]

In any scenario it's easy to see Rush continuing his solid play and Landry becoming a fan favorite

Scenario 3:

Admittedly the most likely scenario of the three, (although I like to think the upcoming season will be most reminiscent of scenario 2) this scenario falls somewhere in between the first two.  I don’t think anybody would be surprised if Curry and Bogut miss a few games due to lingering ankle/knee issues.  However this year, as long as neither misses any extensive time, it looks as if Golden State might be deep enough to withstand a few injuries (especially at point guard with Charles Jenkins and the addition of Jarrett Jack.) Carl Landry will quickly become a fan favorite providing physicality and depth at the power forward spot, and Thompson looks as if he’s just going to keep getting better.  Under this scenario, the Warriors win between 45 and 48 games and hopefully enough to sneak into the 7th or 8th spot, but you never know with an extremely deep Western Conference this year.  Funny to think, though, last year we were hoping to sneak into the 6th or 7th spot in the opposite direction.

[1] After the game, reports come out that Joe Lacob has suffered a similar injury to Bogut; speculation is that it’s from banging his head repeatedly against a wall. 

[2] Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those Fitz haters that seem to be in abundance; in fact I actually like the guy as a broadcaster and a radio host.  But seriously, ‘overly optimistic’ is an understatement.  He’s like the Goebbels of Golden State: the man can put a positive spin on everything!

[3] I think one way we’ll be able to measure the success of this year’s Warriors team will be how much playing time Biedrins gets.  There will be a direct correlation between his minutes and our success: the more minutes he plays, the worse our team will be doing, and vise-versa. I’m going to start a sort of odometer as the season progresses which will track the relationship between the two.  Right now I’m deciding between calling it the KBOB meter (Keep-Biedrins-On-the-Bench meter) or the KARP meter (Keep-Andris-Riding-Pine meter).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Warriors Roster Rates High on the Motivation Scale

By Justin Taylor

Stephen Curry will have much more then his health motivating him this season

I’m not going to lie, it’s great to see the Warriors finally getting some respect around the league or at least in the media and around the blogosphere.   Respect is a relative term because even the writers who are picking them to have a breakout year act like they’re making some sort of crazy, mind blowing prediction.  Every single one of those stories includes the caveat that Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut stay healthy and even then they are placing them seventh or eighth in the Western Conference.  Way to go out on a limb with your bold statements there fellas.

We all know that the draft, free agency and the Jack trade balanced the roster and made us a deep team but there has got to be more to it right?  This isn’t the first time we’ve had a good team on paper and it’s time that someone looked past the Name/Position/Height/Weight/Career Stats columns.  As pretty as that box score looks before the games are played I’m going to look between the lines to see if the roster can be greater than the sum of its parts.

I’m going to gauge the motivating factors on a 1-10 scale for everyone on the team.  I’ll do that by scoring their need for money, what this season means to their career arc and the pride they take in their craft.  The goal is to score each individual’s overall motivation and use that irrelevant mark for one reason; predict the chemistry of this year’s team.

Mark Jackson: A few weeks ago GM Bob Myers came out and let it be known that the coach won’t get to take a mulligan this time around.  For Myer to come out and try to back track on those statements was pointless.  If Coach Jackson doesn’t go at least .500 he’s going to be competing with Chris Mullin for his old job.  That’s the type of extra motivation I’m looking for.

Money: 3 Career: 10 Pride: 10

Mike Malone: After going out for head coaching interviews all offseason and coming back with his tail between his legs (I’m sure he’d rather be an assistant in the Bay Area then the head guy in Charlotte anyway) Mike Malone desperately wants to shed the title of One-of-the-Most-Respected-Assistants-in-the-NBA.  He got a lot of credit for the few things that went right in Mark Jackson’s first year as a coach and not much blame for the things that didn’t.  If things go south this season there will be plenty of blame for everyone to get their fair share.

Money: 6 Career: 10 Pride: 8

Stephen Curry: When Monta Ellis was traded it was obvious who the Warriors valued more.  Curry may be the better player but Ellis did offer good value at $11 million per year.  Since you can bet his agents are selling him as a sure fire future all star as we speak let’s look at the yearly salary comps...

(Dollar figures are in millions per year and average the remaining years whether they ascending or are flat rates)

Russell Westbrook: 5 yrs / $15.7
Deron Williams: 5 yrs / $19.75
Rajon Rondo: 3 yrs / $11.95
Derrick Rose: 5 yrs / $18.86
Chris Paul: 1 yr / $17.779
Tony Parker: 3 yrs / $12.5

Soooo… Needless to say this is a BIG year for Steph and his breakaway ankle.  If he earns the right to be paid like those point guards the team is going to be happy to pay him and we’re going to be an ecstatic group of fans.  How is that for motivation?

Money: 11 Career: 10 Pride: 10

We're about to find out just what makes Andrew Bogut tick

Andrew Bogut: Even if he doesn’t fully recover from that ankle injury Bogut will still be the better Warriors big man since Chris Webber but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have anything to prove.  He still has to justify the Monta Ellis trade to the fans, show everyone he’s not injury prone and convince teams that he’s worth the risk of one more long term contract before he calls it a career.

Money: 6 Career: 8 Pride: 9

David Lee: This guy has already proven himself to be a world-class worker, teammate and human being so what else is left? He has spent the last 6 years proving he’s been (in order)…worth a first round draft pick, worth his roster spot, worth his minutes, worth a starter’s role, worth the title of (alternate) all star and even though he conquered all of those doubters the hardest part has yet to come.  The $11.6 million he got paid last season was money well spent BUT he is getting older and his salary will be $12.74/$13.88/$15.01/$15.49 million over the next four years.  Earning his paychecks is going to get harder and harder which is probably a good thing for someone like Lee who actually thrives on proving people wrong. 

Money: 1 Career: 10 Pride: 10

Jarrett Jack: It’s hard to imagine Jarrett Jack not having a career year this season. He’s basically got an 82+ game long audition for the other 29 teams in the league.  Everyone knows that Jack is going to play his ass off this year to convince another team to overpay him for the next four.  That’s one hell of a carrot he’s got sitting in front of him and having a big hand in pushing this team to the playoffs will only make it bigger.

Money: 11 Career: 10 Pride: 10

Brandon Rush: I expect Rush to be a man on a mission this season.  He’s got to be pissed that no other team forced the Warriors to hand over more dough in the free agency period.  Personally I’d start him at small forward on opening night to give him every opportunity to prove he’s worth more.  The last thing anyone involved can afford is for him to get off to a slow start and resign himself to the thought of just settling for the player option he’s got for next year.

Money: 10 Career: 10 Pride: 10

Carl Landry: Getting Carl Landry for the price we paid for him was an absolute steal.  Not only does he fill a need but he is another guy that is going to play like a man possessed every single night because of his contract status.  He has a player option for next year and he’s hoping to give himself more options in the offseason.

Money: 10 Career: 10 Pride: 10

Richard Jefferson: He’ll never justify his contract but the team already got everything they wanted when they traded for him…Festus Ezeli.  The quiet hope in the front office (whether they would ever admit it or not) is for him to show he has enough left in the tank for another team to take notice and offer a snow globe and/or a song for him.

Money: 1 Career: 7 Pride: 7

Charles Jenkins: I love the Jack Jenkins second unit backcourt.  It’s two interchangeable tough guys that can handle and shoot so I’m referring them as one guy until I’m proven wrong about this pairing.  Charles Jenkins needs to make a big leap forward this year to make the Warriors do better then just offering the  $1 million qualifying offer he’s due for next offseason.  I’m pulling for him and am confident he’ll put in the work necessary to force the front office’s hand.

Money: 10 Career: 10 Pride: 10

Jeremy Tyler: I couldn’t be happier that we won’t be relying on him to play big minutes or provide consistent contributions.  Sending him to Santa Cruz will hurt his trade value so he’s going to have to show progress or risk getting sores on his ass from riding the bench.  The ball is in his court and the hope is that he doesn’t let it slip through his fingers like so many passes in 2011.

Money: 8 Career: 8 Pride: 6

Andris Biedrins:  Speaking of low expectations…I don’t know that anyone has lower expectations of Andris Biedrins than Andris himself at this point.  I was joking when I said I hoped he gets held in Latvia on those tax evasion charges (unless the Warriors could void his contract of course) but that is how bad it has gotten.   

Money: 1 Career: 2 Pride: -4

Draymond Green: Even though he’ll have the smallest role out of our draft picks Green has the most to prove.  He doesn’t need to prove he has the skills to play in the NBA but rather a position.  Armed with a three year guaranteed contract he’s got some time to show his stuff but he’ll have a lot of eyeballs on him until he does.  He won’t be handed anything, which is just the way he wants it.

Money: 4 Career: 10 Pride: 10

Festus Ezeli: It’ll be unfortunate if Bogut can’t start the season on time because it’s going to thrust Ezeli into a role he’s not ready for in my opinion.  In a perfect world he’d be able just replicate what Ekpe Udoh did off the bench his rookie year and be allowed to grow into a bigger role as Bogut gets closer to the end of his deal. 

Money: 6 Career: 10 Pride: 10

Harrison Barnes has been going after the money since high school but now it's showtime

Harrison Barnes: All Barnes needs to do is show us he is a starter in this league over the long haul and can offer more then Richard Jefferson’s carcass in the short term. If “The Black Falcon” (somebody needs to tell him you can’t coin your own nickname unless you’re a perennial MVP candidate and a completely self involved D bag like Kobe Bryant) can grow into that description I’m fine with it.

Money: 9 Career: 8 Pride: 8

Klay Thompson: Stay aggressive and improve his defense while avoiding a sophomore slump is all Thompson needs to do.  If he can do that I’m willing to give him a couple more seasons to develop some facial expressions.

Money: 6 Career: 10 Pride: 9

Kent Bazemore: Kick everyone’s ass in practice. Period.  That alone will get him his shot when Rush and Jack move on in the next two years.  The minutes will be few and far between but anything he earns this year will be icing on the cake for him and us.

Money: 8 Career: 10 Pride: 10

Usually rookies need to learn how to act in the league but this class has real character from the start

As long as nobody is out there trying to pad their stats to pad their future paychecks this should be a great season (if healthy).  That’s usually a symptom that rears its ugly head on bad teams but with the playoffs or bust mentality that has already been established that shouldn’t be a problem.  Our veterans and young guys all seem to have a great deal of character and pride in their approach to the game.  Mix in all the guys with so much money on the line and so much to prove it is safe to assume that the effort and intensity will be consistent all season.  That is music to this fan’s ears after watching half of the team half ass it year after year.  Now its just Biedrins and I can live with those numbers.

Team Totals:

377 out a possible 510 motivation points

Thursday, August 16, 2012

2012-13 Warriors Preview and Predictions

By Justin Taylor

This sums up the Warriors season preview and now for the predictions...

Every year within weeks of the release of the NBA schedule (and still months from training camp) the “experts” will go ahead tell you who the playoff teams are going to be and who’s going to be left out in the cold.  At this point I barely see the need to play the games since about 50 writers on Bleacher Report already told me who will be playing in May and June (I won’t ruin it for you if you haven’t seen for yourself yet).  All I can think when I read the articles is that they know about as much as my favorite weatherman while they claim to be related to Nostradamus. 

Knowing that I’m no better I think that’s exactly what makes this forecast more realistic right of the bat.  I don’t even need to say that my opinions are biased and that I only care about the Warriors prospects.  I can also come right out and admit that when they go ahead with the formality of actually playing the games I’ll probably be proven not to know shit.  Instead of trying to call every game as a win or a loss (which I’ll probably do with my wallet on more then a few times during the season) I’m going to breakdown our opponents based on the contenders, pretenders and rear enders in each conference.

Western Conference

The Contenders

Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs (4 games each):

These are the true contenders in the West that we play four times each.  With Finals and Olympics experience under their belts the Thunder’s trio of stars aren’t going anywhere.  They are going to continue stepping forward and even if the Spurs take a step back (as expected) they are the two teams that worry me the most.  Maybe my Laker Hater ways just have me seeing red, I just like the way we match up with them.  Once you get past Nash and Howard’s bad backs, Kobe’s bad knees and Pau’s ugly mug their best players are RonMetta ArtestPeace and Antawn Jamison.

Is it possible to hate the Lakers anymore?

Verdict: 3-9 • We can take at least one home game from each of these teams but I see a bloodbath waiting in OKC.  If we’re healthy this prediction could be considered conservative but if we’re not it’s probably going to be worse then nine losses in twelve games.

The Pretenders

Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers (4 games each):

Our matchups with the Clippers are going to be interesting only if Chris Paul’s knees hold up; hopefully he didn’t hit Germany with Kobe while they were winning gold in Europe.  Blake Griffin will be working through a knee issue of his own but I think it’s his lack of skill and LO-K’s (Lamar Odom-Kardashian) lack of heart that give us the advantage here.  Overpaying a past his prime Jamal Crawford to be a poor mans Monta Ellis isn’t going to sway my opinion on this one.  I’m more worried about Denver to be honest because they are athletic, fast and deep.  Those three little Nuggets (lame pun intended) coupled with their Mile High advantage are a deadly mixture.

Verdict: 4-4 • I’m going out on a limb to say we split these games and I’m predicting we take the season series against the Clippers and drop an extra contest to the Nuggets.

The Competitors

Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Portland Trailblazers (3 games each):

This is going to be the most important 12 games we’ll play this season.  The tiebreakers at stake here won’t be for a lottery pick this time around.  Some combination of these three teams and the Warriors will occupy the five through eight spots on the playoff tree.  I think we can actually own three of the four matchups but the Grizzlies still scare me.  If Golden State can own the Mavericks and split with the others or just go 2-1 against all of them we may just come out of this group with a playoff spot.

Verdict: 8-4 • I’m going to get crazy by assuming that we have a healthy roster this season (if I didn’t I could have cut this article off after a paragraph or two) and giving the Warriors the edge against all of the teams in this dogfight.

The Rear Enders

New Orleans Hornets, Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns (4 games each):

These are the teams we should be expected to beat on a regular basis.  People say that Minnesota will be our main competition for one of the final playoff spots but I don’t see it.  If Ricky Rubio isn’t back and ready to start the season (and he won’t be) they’re sunk.  Luke Ridnour wasn’t a starting point guard on a playoff team before he was washed up.  Sacramento is hanging by a thread on all fronts; the Hornets are years away with or without the Unibrow; the Rockets are a bunch of spare parts assembled for a trade that didn’t happen and the Suns are just going to suck.  Pheonix did win the Luis Scola Sweepstakes but they also added Jermaine Oneal’s corpse which evens that deal out.

Verdict: 15-5 • If we don’t feast on these inexperienced and mish mashed teams we’re the ones that are going to be rear enders.

Eastern Conference

The Contenders

Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls (2 games each):

Last year we stole one early in the season against the Heat that really just masked what needed to be done for a couple of months after…an all out tank job.  We should take one of our two meetings with them this season.  That statement alone is progress.  We can spread them out and burn them down low like few others can.  These are going to be fun games, unless Bogut isn’t ready for them.  As for the Bulls and the Celtics, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t split our games with them at the very least.  This whole confidence in the Warriors thing is really starting to grow on me.  I better tone it down a little.

Verdict: 3-3 • We are taking two of the three home games against the East’s three best teams and right now I’m assuming we can steal another one or two on the road.

The Pretenders

Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks (2 games):

This is where Bob Fitzgerald exclaims, “If the Warriors played in the East they’d be a shoe in for the playoffs!”  Out of the remaining Eastern Conference playoff teams the Sixers and Pacers probably present the biggest challenges.  They are young, deep and hungry…sound familiar?  The Knicks can probably beat anyone on any given night and will also beat themselves nearly as often.  The Hawks and Nets can both match up pretty well to start the game but a Jay-Z / Kanye West diss track won’t help them against our second unit.

Verdict: 5-5 • In many ways some of this group presents more problems for the Warriors then Boston or Chicago.  Even though they aren’t contenders they are deep.  On paper it seems like there might actually be eight legitimate playoff teams in the east this year.

The Rear Enders

Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Washington Bullets, Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors (2 games each):

Expect this duo to shoot the Bucks out of a lot of games this year

The bottom half of the Eastern Conference is like the floater in the toilet that just won’t flush.  If the Warriors don’t use these games to pad our win loss record we’re going to be in trouble.  Our big Western Conference wins will be meaningless if we don’t take full advantage of these 14 dates.  I expect Monta Ellis to put up a fight against his former team before he and Brandon Jennings ultimately shoot the Bucks out of those games.  The Raptors and Bullets are terrible and the Pistons, Raptors or Cavs are at least a season away from being mediocre.  Orlando and Charlotte will be the fighting for the number one pick this year and if any of those contests end up in losses (like the Bobcats game last year) I’m going to be sick.  I still can’t believe we were one of the six wins for the worst team in history last season.  If they I’m going to call Latrell Sprewell and ask him to “talk” to Mark Jackson for us.

Verdict: 11-3 • Every loss against any of these teams will be just as devastating as a win against the Lakers, Thunder or Heat would be encouraging.  I’ll just leave it at that.

I predict a Finals rematch but Kevin Durant just might need to go through the Warriors to get there

Recap: It’s quite simple really.  Stay healthy, beat the teams you’re supposed, handle business against your closest rivals and steal a couple at home against the cream of the crop.  That is pretty much the recipe every year but this is the first time since 07-08 that we can really be expected to do that.  If Stephen Curry’s or especially Andrew Bogut’s ankles are not up to the task I will be issuing full refunds for this column and removing it from the site by January.

Final Verdict: 46-36 • The Warriors have a playoff roster but so do about eight or nine other Western Conference teams.  I tried to be optimistic (mostly on the health front) and realistic at the same time.  All I know is that everyone, including the fans, will need to be ready to do their part this season.  I was encouraged after I predicted 46 wins before looking at the schedule and then landed on that number in this exercise.  Now I’m taking that number to the Sports Book!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Day at the Gym With Golden State Royalty

Since Chris Mullin's birthday just passed a couple days ago a good friend of Trapped in Golden State, Rohit Ghosh, from and passed along this personal story.  I'd like to thank Rohit for being a reader and now a contributor for this site and for passing along this awesome story exclusively for our readers.  Thanks again to Rohit and the gang at Metta Chronicles and happy 49th birthday to Mully!

A Day at the Gym With Bay Area Royalty

By Rohit Ghosh

Happy Birthday to a Hall of Famer and Bay Area Legend!

November 2010- It was just another Thursday morning at the Calabasas/Agoura rec center. Mark Jackson, Bryon Russell, and Mitch Richmond (the usuals) were there at 7AM, just like any other Thursday, and just like any other Thursday, were joined by 10-12 of their friends, all of whom can hoop. I was taking a semester off from school, and had become a frequent spectator on these early morning runs, mostly because it was a thrill for me to watch some good pick-up ball. I even had the chance to join them for a few games when they needed an extra player to fill out the teams, and I'm still pretty thankful for Mark and Mitch asking me to play those certain times.

This Thursday, however, things felt a little different. Some [slightly] old left-handed white guy had joined the group. I hadn't seen him in any of the previous pick-up games, and I'd been watch for almost three months straight, so he definitely stood out. As I stood on the side dribbling a ball and waiting for them to get their games going, this white guy was raining threes from almost half-court. And let me add, the three-point line was at regulation distance, and this guy was just making a mockery out of it.
The game got going and Russell was matched up with this left-handed assassin. The game was to 11, by 1s and 2s, and both teams traded baskets until 8 points. Nothing spectacular had really happened until this point, with baskets coming from most of the other [non-NBA] guys. This new white dude, the one I'd never seen at any of the games before, only had a basket up to this point and it came on a fast break. Again, nothing special. Yet.

It was tied 8-8, and I heard Bryon Russell say "Let's go, I got Chris". It was at this point things clicked in my head (it was early in the morning, give me a break), and I realized that was CHRIS MULLIN. He had a nice dribble drive the following play, finishing with a left-handed lay-up after a nice in-and-out dribble move with his strong hand. Not bad, I thought. The other side went and scored soon after, and it was tied at 9-9. Mullin came down the floor, drove left, pushed off on Russell, stepped back and drilled a three from 4-5 feet behind the line. Game. Most of the players started celebrating and howling in approval, but I think Russell was complaining about the push-off. By this point, I had moved closer to the players, and heard Mark Jackson say, "Come on Russ, you let everybody push off on you". Everybody laughed for a few seconds, and then just started the next game. 

To them, it was just another game. To me however, just a college kid watching some ex-NBA players hoop, it was more than just a game. I had played with Mark Jackson and Mitch Richmond a few weeks earlier, but for some reason, watching Mullin play was something special. This was a member of the Dream Team in my rec center! 

How would you like to get in a game with a couple of these guys?

Mullin was a problem for the opposition his whole career. In fact, I might even say he might be the most underrated player in NBA history. 25 pts per game at 53% ... he could and still can shoot lights out. There was a time in the early 90s where Mullin was considered the best SG/SF in the league. Okay, let's not talk SG since Jordan was at that position, but we'll say SF.  Pippen hadn't quite become the player he would soon be, Bird was injured, and people just didn't think that highly of Dominique. Mullin took advantage of all that, and was at his peak in the early 90s where he joined the Dream Team and was also a member of the All-NBA first team.

His jumper was smooth as butter. He was very crafty with the ball, and had the ability to hit runners, floaters and finished really well with contact due to his focus. In my opinion, the best part of his game was his consistency. Every single night, you knew what you were going to get from the guy. In the 91 playoffs, I think it was game two, he absolutely murdered Magic in the Warriors/Lakers series. Magic went on to compare Mullin to the great Larry Bird. That right there should tell you enough about the guy. 

Nowadays, Mullin is often seen on TV, providing some commentary and analysis to NBA games. There's no doubt about it, he has the best voice/accent in the business - that phenomenal Brooklyn accent is music to my ears. 

Always a gym rat and always a sharpshooter

As someone who spent my younger years in Southern California with Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers I grew up a Faker fan (Trapped in Golden State edit…HA!) but I always had a soft spot for the flat top after their 1991 duel in the playoffs.  It was one of the greatest shooting displays I’ve seen to this day.  I started following the Warriors even closer after moving to the Bay Area during college and I wish we could have seen more playoff battles between my teams.  With all this said, I'd like to wish the legendary Warrior a happy 49th birthday!  Keep doing your thing Mully.

Note from Justin Taylor: First of all I'm jealous.  What I wouldn't give to get in a pick up game with Mitch Richmond, Mark Jackson and/or Chris Mullin!  If any readers your own personal stories of encounters with current or former Warriors (whether they are of a great meeting like Rohit's or someone who was a jerk, I'm sure there's a great Rick Barry story out there please post them in the comments for everyone's enjoyment.  If you think your story should be considered for its own post on Trapped in Golden State email me at