Thursday, March 29, 2012

Warriors incompetence finally paying off

By Justin Taylor


There is no way to sugar coat the fact that if the Warriors want to get better for the future they need to suck and suck bad.  Picking late in the lottery has killed us over the last however many years and getting top picks in crappy drafts has just been our kind of luck.  Not that a pick in the 8-14 range would really help us even in a halfway decent draft but giving that pick to Utah is going to hurt. As much as I love Monta Ellis for being a guy that would make at least a couple plays each game that would make you glad you tuned in, he would have single handedly kept us from sucking our way into the top seven while also making sure we came no where near the playoffs.  Trading him for a guy who can’t help us till next year, shutting down Steph Curry and continuing to trot out Dorell Wright in the starting line up over Brandon Rush and Dominic McGuire are the best thing we could do to insure maximum suckage.  It’s painful to watch in the meantime but it’s all for the greater good.

Games like Tuesday’s Laker game or the Thunder game earlier this year are the best of both worlds.  We see a great game that ultimately equals an L in the standings the next morning.  That game against the Thunder was a thing of beauty the way Durant and Monta exchanged haymakers for the better part of the game and I loved every second of it including the final one where we walked away losers.  That Phoenix game where Monta hit the fade away was legit but I would have liked it more if Channing Frye hit the three from the corner with one second left.  At this point every game counts and it looks like we are in for a hell of a fight the rest of the way.

Management has done their part to make sure we give ourselves every opportunity to fail miserably depending on your definition of failure.  I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I see the steps being made as our only chance to succeed. Dorell Wright, or Dorell Wrong so far this season (I need a better nickname for him if anyone has any suggestions) is definitely doing his part to make this season a success.  His fear of attacking the basket, his indecisiveness and the fact that his 3 point shot has fallen off a cliff has made him one of the stars of our tanking efforts.  It makes me laugh hysterically when he drives and is looking to pass the ENTIRE time even though the defense is begging him to finish the play.  He gets all the way to the rim and is still looking to give it up forcing him to awkwardly brick an easy layup.  How he led the league in 3 point field goals last year is beyond me.  I don’t know what’s changed in his shot but it looks like every attempt is being shot out of a cannon and he’s aiming to put a hole in the backboard or make a dent in the rim.  Throwing bricks has never been a more true statement. It looks like there are weights in the ball and the shot has the trajectory of a lead Frisbee.

The biggest bright spot in this year’s sandbagging efforts could be seen as yet another shrewd move by management.  Most people have trashed the move by the brass to amnesty Charlie Bell’s expiring $4 million contract instead of Biedrins in their efforts to sign Tyson Chandler or DeAndre Jordan.  In a normal season I’d be in agreement with that assertion 100% but this is no normal season, it’s an all out effort to bottom out.  Obviously getting Andris Biedrins rotting corpse off the books was the move to make if you want to win.  Someone with unbelievable foresight knew that his soft natured, defeatist attitude could play a major role on this year’s team.  Have we ever seen a guy so afraid of his own shadow that the thought of shooting a free throw made him want to stand at half court to wait for defensive transition? I don’t know how many examples there are in the history of the league of a guy who was a better NBA player at age 22 then he was at 26.  If there is another one I’d be willing to bet it involved heavy drug use and happened somewhere between ’78 and ’84 when cocaine was more prevalent than Gatorade use is now.  Mark Jackson’s decision to continue starting him over someone with a pulse was ingenious in my mind.

A guy playing a MUCH smaller role but one that cannot be overlooked is Nate Robinson.  His pursuit of the spectacular play before the right play is, well, spectacular.  I’ve never seen a guy who tried to either bring the house down or win the game on every single (Ill advised) shot.  His sense of the moment is uncanny but he has balls that measure up to anyone in the league.  I do think he has a role on a potential winner but it’s more like the 3rd guard off the bench.  Next season we need a true point that can run the team in Steph’s absence. Only when everything is falling apart do you need someone with no conscious to come in and that’s when you inject a little Nate into the mix.

Main players in this years tanking efforts.

I’m watching the team get shelled by the Hornets of all teams right now and I’ve never been more confident in our ability to finish this debacle of a season strong.  When a team like New Orleans can render our amazing crowd impotent you’re really firing on all cylinders on the road to the lottery.  It’s obvious that all of the ingredients of our crap cocktail are come together beautifully.  Normally it pisses me off but hearing Bob Fitzgerald’s signature line, “AND THE WARRIORS HAVE CUT THE LEAD TO SINGLE DIGITS,” is music to my ears until late April this year.

I have heard Larry Riley and Joe Lacob both say that they are negotiating with Utah to make sure we get to keep our pick this year.  I imagine that means they are trying to pay them to push back Utah’s rights to the pick to next year or the year after.  We have no tradable assets that would work for both teams to make such a deal happen.  If that’s the case I commend them for making sure all bases are covered and contingency plans are in place to make sure that we will be adding a young player who can be a real contributor in 2013.  Some might say that it would render all of this basketball sewage pointless but again, for the first time in a long time, we don’t have all of our chips in one basket.

Our crowd has been my biggest concern in our push for the lottery this season because they insist on willing crappy teams to victories that routinely have us finishing in the middle of the pack year in year out.  Every team plays better at home and I don’t know the year over year stats but I’d be willing to bet that the disparity between our home and road win percentage is one of the higher margins in the league most years.  When the switch flips at Oracle it rivals any other experience in sports.   I was at the Pac Bell (yes, Pac Bell) for the World Series in 2010 and if the Warriors were to close this 15 point gap against the lowly Hornets in the 4th quarter and pull this game out tonight it will be a similar atmosphere.  Oracle is a place where Raiders, Niners, Giants, A’s, Sharks and all 20 Earthquake and Sabercat fans unite to blow the roof off the joint.  That is probably the most enjoyable thing about being a Warriors fan and teams across the league have more respect for our home floor than the team itself.  Lines that are drawn in the sand 7 or 8 months out of the year get blurred like a 4 year old is drawing them during basketball season in Oakland. 

So bottom line, after all the bitching, moaning and cynicism it’s the same old story.  Wait till next year.  Something feels different this time around.  There seems to be a plan for next year, a tangible plan that accompanies this abomination of a basketball team we’re forced to watch every night.  Literally in the case of this lockout shortened season.  I just hope we didn’t kick off Tankapalooza too late in the year to work.  Maybe I’m just drinking too much crap flavored kool aid but I think that this time next year things will be dramatically different.  All of those Giants/A’s Niners/Raiders Sharks/Spiders (if the IHL still exists) rivalries along with the racial divides that make the Bay Area so great will melt away once again in the form of Oracle Arena going off like a bomb as the Warriors make a legitimate push for the playoffs.

18 comments:

  1. nice write up...

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  2. You have a problem. Have you noticed that the other bad teams are also losing? Why would you beat Sacramento the other night?! Both Sacramento and Cleveland are keeping the Warriors from the top 7 at this point. But both teams are at least 3-4 losses ahead. With less than 20 games to go, GS would literally need to only win 2-4 games the rest of the year to have a chance of catching them. GS has NO chance to catch the top 6 losers right now. Portlands recent victories has assured GS that Por will not fall far enough. But I believe it will be impossible for GS to catch both CLE and SAC in the loss column now. Pretty much locked into #9 - maybe #8 at best. Plus, Utah still has a late season game with GS. If they threw it on purpose, it would all but guarantee their right to the pick. Of course, draft lotto night will still be really interesting. Imagine GS finished 9th, thereby giving to Utah, but low and behold, they jump into the top 3, thereby converting the pick into a GS pick. Drama.

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    1. I agree 100%, this is an uphill battle for sure but at least we're fighting fire with fire when it comes to losing...Did you see that Hornets game the other night?....lol...hopefully this whole mess will be mitigated with Lacob's wallet buying the rights to this year's pick back but in the meantime they just need to keep fighting the good fight! Thanks for reading.

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    2. the jazz dont get the pick until AFTER we see where it lands officially, so it wouldn't keep turning hands. if we finish 9th, Lacob stil goes out to the lottery placement. if it ends up officially being the 9th pick, Lacob hands it off to the jazz.
      i just hope it doesnt land 8th. that would really piss me off because thats the best case scenario for utah.

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    3. GREAT POINT...but the Warriors don't exactly have good luck when it comes to bouncing balls...lol...only makes me more nervous...

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    4. i was the Anonymous who made the comment above TGS' last comment

      its really going to be a taxing April for the front office. they need to evaluate the ending stretch of games and predict what our final record will be, compared to the rest of the bottomfeeders. that's tough already, but they also need to analyze this data and determine how much projected worth the pick they'll most likely get holds. they also need to pay close attention to the draft stock of players in the pick's range. who fits? who can they get? is it worth trading up or down with it? then, depending on who they could (probably) draft with this pick, they need to evaluate who they can retain in free agency, to see who they need to draft to fill holes. are there good options avaibable with this pick? do they have the upside worth this pick? if it looks like all things click, then management needs to find a way to retain the pick through trading/negotiating/plain buying it.
      one thing that gives me hope is this draft is top heavy with pfs in the lottery. if beal and lamb play good in workouts, and their stocks rise past the 10-ish range, utah may not be that interested in our pick.

      one last thing: yes, we do have piss poor luck with ping pong balls... but maybe thats to our advantage. maybe in some freak one in a million thing, our pick ends up being the last in the lottery. hahaha then utah will have two consecutive picks in the middle of the first round, a proverbial no-man's land where star players rarely crop up and its not enough to trade up but too valuable to trade down.

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    5. if we dont get our pick the most important things will be signing Rush and McGuire (if the price is right) Working to get Biedrins off the cap (if we can do it without eating another bad contract) and trying to trade Dorrell Wright to get a true back up PG...if we can do that and draft someone with potential or even a Euro we can stash for another year i think we'll be in good shape...That probably only gets us an 8 seed but once we've got a balanced roster and the ability to trade a 1st rd. pick we'll have the flexibility to go out and get one more REAL contributor if not an impact player...

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    6. i dont get why people arent satisfied with charles jenkins as a backup to curry. he brings a nice midrange j and doesnt turn over the ball a lot. he's shown an ability to set up players in transition and from what ive seen has a good if not great basketball IQ. he's a low-cost solution as a backup, as hes on his rookie contract.
      i read in the SF chronicle mcguire wants to resign, so i think we've got him in our pocket. which brings up an idea ive seen bounced around on the web: starting mcguire next year to bring more of a defensive presence to our starting lineup. memphis does that with tony allen starting and has oj mayo come in off the bench as an extra scoring punch. i feel like klay's development is making wright's abilities less valuable. if i were GM, i'd package his expiring contract, biedrins, and one of our second rounders in some kind of deal to salvage some cap space to sign mcguire and rush, who has also expressed to desire to resign.
      i originally wanted to use our first rounder to draft fab melo. then we'll have a second unit of pg: charles jenkins sg: rush sf:??? pf: jeremy tyler c: fab melo, which i feel like isn't a very bad lineup. scoring primarily comes from jenkins and rush. rush is definitely the leader and there's a hole to be filled in sf (chris wright maybe??? his explosiveness could wear out his defender). that would be filled through the draft as well. that is, until we resigned gladness. idk where he fits in in the dubs long term picture but if melos still on the board when SA's pick comes up, i dont see management being able to pass him up.
      but really i'm curious what you see in jenkins that you dont think he could be a serviceable floor general.

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    7. That's just it, I don't see Jenkins as a floor general. I really like him and I'm actually glad we kept him over Jeremy Lin but I just don't see a true PG on the roster. Curry, Jenkins and Robinson (who I don't expect to be back) are all undersized 2's in my opinion. Curry's a good passer but it doesn't make you a 1.

      I'm all for using D. Wright to help dump Biedrins since we'd all take Rush and under sized Thompson or McGuire's D over him at the 3. I don't know much about Melo other than his big body and bad grades but I'm sure there won't be much to choose from at #26. Even though he can't shoot a lick from what little i saw this year I think Marshall from NC would really help that second unit with Jenkins at the 2 and Rush or McGuire at the 3.

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    8. maybe floor general is the wrong term for jenkins then. but what makes him a good BACKUP 1 is that he has a good assist to turnover ratio. so, with the ball in his hands, hes not gonna turn it over a lot, which means we wont have to worry that the other team is gonna go on a run forcing the starters in b/c the pace will be where we want it and we'll get a good shot off each time down the floor.

      hmm im not quite understanding what your saying in the second paragraph... thompson and rush are both 2 guards, and at 6'7 thompson is WAAAY oversized at his position, and he'd be an about average 3, but thats regardless... anyway, the draft's strength is its depth, its supposed to run well into the second round before its just scraps. all of our picks can pull in talent.

      robinsons gone, and i'll be glad of it. interestingly enough, he's supposed to be a nomad because of his lockerroom issues, but i want him out because he makes horrible on court decisions. curry may not be a photogenic 1 but he's improving. his assist-to-turnover ratio has gotten better each year. he missed out on this year, when most budding pgs really blossom, so he'll have some catching up to do. regardless of what you or i think, management seems to think its solved its pg question for the long term. they're giving jenkins a crash course in pg 101 this season and of course curry will be inserted right back into the lineup upon his return, so with two pgs on pay role i dont see themselves drafting a 3rd, especially if its with that 7th protected pick.

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    9. I would just like to have one guy on the roster who's role it is to get everyone involved and gets otherwise limited offensive players easy shots. I think Jenkins will actually be a better player when he's not saddled with the point responsibilities. Same actually goes for Curry, he's a defensive liability either way so if you had a REAL point he could play his Davidson/Reggie Miller role for stretches, the guy is an amazing scorer but we're asking him to the lead the team first. Monta had the SAME problem, with no one to set him up he became inefficient the day Baron walked. Imagine the we believe Baron at point with Curry running off screens...i'd love to see that ( i know it aint happening but someone who could give us even 12-15 minutes a night in that role to let Steph and Jenkins be scorers) It just hit me!!!!!Let Jason Kidd retire a Warrior...12-15 minutes a night, teaches both these guys the point while letting them be scorers for stretches...i actually really like the thought...

      I was referring to those guys as 3's...McGuire is a three and rush can play 2/3...Thompson would be a small ball 3...Draft questions: Is MKG a 3 in the league? I was just thinking if we got our pick and a team would make the deal we trade #7 + #26 +Wright to move up and get him or T. Jones or whoever you think is the best 3 out there?

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    10. that would be a picture perfect scenario for the warriors. with deron williams going to dallas this offseason (maybe), we might be able to scoop up kidd for chump change. i can see him bumping jenkins down to 2 with rush also playing wing. that would be a smaller lineup, but thats warriors DNA.

      MKG would be perfect for the warriors: he rebounds great, lockdown defender, scores off the ball, and is a vocal leader. by far the best 3 in the draft. waaay out of our range though. he wouldn't slip outside of the 3rd pick. however, drummond's stock slipped a few meters. if we lose tonight we're tied at 8th place with the pistons (if cleveland hadn't gone on a colossal meltdown we would already be in 8th, tied for seventh... dang...). its possible we actually get that 7th or 6th pick. i'd look into drummond at that point, even though he's a 4/5. lee's getting older and while everyone complains about andris' production versus contract, lee's is just as bad a comparison. i love the big lug but i mean a max contract? imagine a drummond/bogut lineup in a few years.

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  3. Justin, I have enjoyed your two blog entries thus far. They have been well put. I agree with your points of feeling "Trapped" and that we are improving on our chances to keep our pick at 7 or higher. Warrior fans love the drama that is the Golden State Warriors. Year after year, it has been the same old team fighting for an 8th seed playoff spot (at best) or a late round lottery pick. None of which have pushed us to become a better overall team. This is coming from a fan stemming from the Run TMC days to the additions of Billy Owens, Chris Webber, Joe Smith, Donyell Marshall, and Rony Seikaly. Yet every year, I continue to look forward to "the next year" only to be utterly disappointed and disgusted. I've been starving for the Warriors to move in the right direction. This is why I like where we are headed with this ownership group. The trade from a future perspective is great because it gives us a legitimate 5 for a few years and it allows us to get ever so close to possibly keeping our pick (assuming the lottery balls are in our favor). Of course this is granted that Steph and Bogut stay healthy. I cheer for every win that the teams above us in the lottery produce. I look at the standings on a daily basis hoping that we inch closer to the 7th worst record. It doesn't guarantee us the pick but it puts us in a much better position to do so. To sum up the Trapped in Golden State theme being a dubs fan...the Warriors, for me, are like a crazy addiction I can never get rid of. Keep up the good work, Justin.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback...I'm a little pre-RUN TMC and if you agreed with any of my first two posts I think you'll definitely enjoy my next post coming tomorrow titled: The tortured life of a fan Trapped in Golden State...thanks again...

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    2. Great piece you've written :D I couldn't disagree with you more about Steph Curry being an undersized 2 rather than a point guard. In terms of point guard IQ I wouldn't put him second to anyone, he is one of the best passers in the league, he's a pure shooter and he's no slouch in the lane. Despite his lack of explosiveness, in my opinion he is one of the top 5 point guards in the league, and his name belongs up there with Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and Derek Rose. I would much rather have Curry as my starting PG than any one of those highly overrated turnover machines like Russel Westbrook and Rajon Rondo.

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  4. I agree with you on Westbrook but I think I'd take those Rondo triple doubles over Curry. I just don't see him breaking down the D like a Rondo or a Chris Paul, just feels very perimeter oriented. Obviously he needs to be respected on the perimeter a thousand times more than Rondo but as a change of pace I would like to see a true point somewhere on the roster to come in and set other guys. I do think that I might change my mind when we've got Bogut in the post and we can play a more inside outside game.

    Thanks for the read and the feedback!

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  5. The new Warriors are heading in a good direction. Check out NBA Today Podcast - star players improve a team, but teams can improve a star player too. http://espn.go.com/espnradio/play?id=7755610

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