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  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Warriors Offseason Success Won't Kill the Demons

By Justin Taylor

With Landry and Rush officially in the fold the roster for 2012-13 is set barring an 
unforeseen trade or Andris Biedrins getting put out to pasture

The Warriors roster is finally balanced in a way that we haven’t seen since the days that Joe Barely Cares roamed the paint.  That doesn’t mean that the minds of some tortured fans have found that kind of stability yet.  If you’ve seen the message boards or comment sections on Warriors Facebook posts you’ll see that there are plenty of people who don’t believe that all of the positive movement over the past year means a damn thing.  There is no disputing that the roster has improved dramatically but I still can’t fault anyone who doesn’t see this as a 50 win team (god bless anyone who does) or anything more then an 8th seed in the Western Conference.  Until we see our starting five walk onto the court on opening night (and pretty much every night thereafter) the doubters will have plenty of ammunition.  No matter how great the picks, trades and signings have looked nobody can be right until October at the earliest.

As excited as I am for this season there is a lot of scar tissue on my heart and on the ankles of Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut.  We’re tougher and we’re deeper but we’re also still young and fragile.  I’m trying my hardest but my own ankle problems make it impossible to jump in with both feet.  I’m warming up but we’ve been to the second round of the playoffs twice since 1990 and have been derailed by injuries, egos and idiots more times then I care to count.  It seems like we’ve weeded out the idiots and the egos but the triage unit is still open for business and thriving.  

I was having this conversation with a life coaching guru and Warriors fan that said your conscience is what keeps you positive and moving forward while your sub conscience (what is referred to as your Gremlin) is the voice that tries to remind you why things can’t or won’t be done.  I thought that analogy applied to my own internal struggles as a Warriors die hard so I tried to add up all of the points from my conscience and my Gremlin.  It wasn’t pretty but part of growing is recognizing what is holding you back.  Check it out:

Don't get your inner Warriors Gremlin get wet or let him control your thoughts

Conscience: This is the deepest, most balanced team we’ve had in as long as I can remember.  We’re two deep at every position, we've got experience, we’ve got youth and we’ve got character.  This is easily the most likable team since the We Believe Warriors!

Gremlin: I’m glad you’ve got likable guys at every position but that isn’t going to get you anything more then an 8th seed in the playoffs if that!  Having great character doesn’t trump all of the talent that’s still out west.  When anything goes wrong, and things always go wrong for this team, you’ll be crying about Utah owning your lottery pick next year.

Conscience: The perimeter of the offense is absolutely lethal!  With David Lee and Andrew Bogut; two of the best passing big men in the game; down on the blocks, teams are going to have to pick their poison when we get the inside out game going.

Gremlin: Typical Warriors fan.  I’m glad you’re so excited about the offensive side of the ball but don’t forget about the other 50% of the game.  You’ve got exactly one above average defender in the starting line up and you’ve never even seen him in a Warriors uniform but you have seen him in the training room a lot.

Conscience: Bogut and Steph Curry have had a ton of time to properly heal and every report I’ve heard to this point has them being ahead of schedule in their recoveries.

Gremlin: You must have gotten hit in the head with a Hoop Troop T shirt cannon!  Has there ever been a report of a guy being behind schedule?  You think the PR department would tell you if they weren’t?  Ever heard of a chronic injury? Cause that's what Curry has got; the guy can’t even slide his feet on D without rolling over his ankle and ending up back in rehab.  Bogut’s injury may have been a freak accident but 7 footers usually aren’t the same after multiple surgeries on their feet and ankles.  Right now they’re trying to sell you season tickets and mini plans so don’t expect anything but glowing news coming out of Oakland for about a month and a half.  Even Andris Biedrins will be showing “major improvement and incredible dedication” until the cameras turn on and they can’t bullshit you anymore.

Conscience: I’ve seen videos of Steph looking great in workouts and tweets from Bogut saying he is feeling great.

Gremlin: You’re a bigger sap then I thought.  Did you see the tweet about the lingering swelling in the Aussie’s ankle?  I would forget about that one too if I were you.

Conscience: Klay Thompson spent his offseason working out with Team USA and got a ton of praise from Kobe and LeBron afterwards.  The following week he made everyone in the Summer League look like a bunch of scrubs before the Warriors shut him down to avoid an injury…He’s going to be a STUD.

Gremlin: First of all, he spent five or six days playing with those guys and I’m sure those gushing Kobe and LeBron interviews were Raymond Ridder Productions.  I bet the Kings, Wizards and Pacers posted similar videos about DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Paul George the same day.  It’s called NBA marketing 101.  Second of all, the Summer League is a bunch of scrubs!

Conscience: I don’t care what you say about the competition, Harrison Barnes and Charles Jenkins looked great this summer.  We had a great draft and even if it doesn’t happen right away all of these young guys will contribute this year.  Barnes will start at small forward, Festus Ezeli will start taking Biedrins minutes immediately and the team just gave Green a three year guaranteed contract so they must see something good there.

Gremlin: So let me get this straight, you’re pinning on your hopes on a couple of overrated injury prone guys and a bunch of guys who aren’t even 23 yet?  Let me know how that works out for you.

Conscience: This team is so deep that we’re not really even relying on the rookies.  With Jarrett Jack, Brandon Rush and Landry coming off the bench our second unit is as deep as any in the league before you even get around to the kids.  You may have had a point if Jeremy Tyler was our back up power forward but he’ll most likely be getting his minutes in Santa Cruz.

Gremlin: Your whole bench is essentially playing on a one year deal so enjoy it while it lasts. 

The Gremlin doesn't think we can hold on to our bench since we couldn't even keep our mascot

Conscience: One year deals mean these guys will be playing there asses off like Rush and McGuire did last year.  I’d rather have guys playing for their next contract then bunch guys playing not to get hurt.  The fact is that the crowds at Oracle this season are going to push these guys higher then any of them have ever been while management continues to pull strings and make sound decisions.  I do plan on enjoying it and I appreciate your concern!

Gremlin: It’s obvious that I can’t kill your spirit just yet but when the season starts and they are under .500 at the All Star Break you’ll be right there with me begging them to fire the coach, bench the rookies and trade Curry.  You’ll be back and I’ve got nothing but time…

I think that pretty much sums up the debate in my head and the one taking place on the internet between other members of the Dub Nation.  This is a battle between the angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other.  That means the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle where the head is and it’s too early to get overly excited.  I’ve liked preseason rosters in the past and gotten burned, badly.  I’m so hyped for training camp to start that little gremlin in the depths of my mind has been getting his ass kicked.  From what I hear the key to keeping him down is to acknowledge his existence but not to let him control your thoughts because he will always be there.  All I know that is going to be easier said then done if Bogut and Curry aren’t ready…ahhhh, it never ends!