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!!!!

15 comments:

  1. I notice you didn't make mention of Jeremy Tyler. Do you see a non-crisis situation where he can obtain decent minutes as a back-up this year, or is D-League material at best?

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    1. He may be more than D League material but I do think he'll be spending some time there this season. I don't think Ezeli is ready day 1 but I do think his defensive capabilities will get him more opportunities then Tyler. Even Biedrins will get more chances to prove he's not dead yet.

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  2. I don't see D.G. as a tweener! If he executes the knowledge he shows spells production. I'm all in for him. As far as Jack & co I like what I see. A big improvement in bench personnel & talent capacity. I feel GS made great strides on our bench play. Biedrins? Hmm...what is there to say that wasn't already stated. If he gives them 20 decent minutes this season we're better off than we thought. If this dude wanted to play I believe he could show decent #'s again but that depends on desire & Biedrins hasn't shown any of that stuff for ages! Small forward? Well I have to agree that Rush showed me he has one of true winning ingredients which is bringing the "D". This is first need & if the game plays out as it should Rush"s(others) buckets will be from very open shots especially when Bogut returns to the court. I throw the word Thompson into the mix because when I hear him setting goals tells me he's preparing to put on a show for us. His summer league results show me he's hungry & this spells nothing but good for GS. His few moments with Team USA won't hurt! As far as GS the issue seems about the time we start to show progress then we come to the dilemma of signing players for the future & it just seems we never seem to gain the true chemistry as each season's player changes set us back again. Now to the real action whose writing the pages here in Oakland. Bogut? Will he,won't he? Well reality is based on his playing time but I still have faith from listening to the man himself. He states things somewhat on track. Again left at the mercy of a few words to base this season lol. Yet as stated I like worrying about something other than if Monta can play in the same back court as Curry. We'll see what happens in a few days. I'm looking for improvement not victories. You have to learn how to play correctly before you can win big games & we have quite a bit of learning to do before we play the real teams! I still see a few butt kickings in store prior to us taking the trophy lol. Nevertheless,GS could & should be entertaining to watch but hopefully they learn a few lessons from the bumps & bruises. We have +'s but what -'s will show up is the issue. Intelligence wins out usually over effort. How intelligent will GS be? Well Jackson has his diapers changed & Malone seems to be around for the ride so lets see what these two praised leaders show in 2012. I sure hope the show something different than 2011. Last season's performance sucked! Hopefully they use a little of Pete Meyers theory of "D" & playing "O" off of that D performance. I look for lay up's not 3's but reality is I want to live on the Free Throw Line!!! Last I saw we had a few players who should be able to shoot them so dominate where your opponent can't touch you. At the Foul Line!!! Should be interesting & entertaining if Jackson & Malone orchestrate things correctly! I also agree with your evaluation of Ezeli above but he seems like a smart kid & should learn quickly. S

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  3. In my opinion, starting Rush means losing him next season. He'll put up good numbers so he'll opt out at season's end to go play elsewhere.

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  4. No arguments DK. Seems GS just rent's a few players to patch the holes. Sad part is that he may not be the only one leaving. It's tough to be new management in a failing business then straighten out mistakes from previous ownerships especially in this place in time. This has plagued us in GS for ages. Poor past management decisions linger here. My buddy laughs at me when I sit at the back of the bus. He says "why here?" I'm used to it(GS fan). Just another day in life but I still don't plan to jump ship anytime soon lol. Maybe a little luck comes our way this season with the healing of Bogut. If so many good developments are on the horizon so keep your shirt on as I DK. Let's see what happens with this luxury tax. As usual optimistic but true GS fans always carry a shield. It takes luck over brains sometimes to bail out a failing business so lets see what gives with this Lacob management group. As usual,what other choices are there if you're a true GS fan? I guess jump ship but it's too late for me lol. S

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    1. I agree with you guys but aren't we all hoping that it's Barnes taking over next season? I assume that Rush and Jack are gone And Barnes Jenkins takes over Those spots. It's a contract year for both of the veterans so expect them both the Have career years So they can cash in next year.

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    2. One thing stood out! We gave up only 83 points! Then won the battle on rebounding! If we keep this up possibilities exist. Yes we played the scrubs but reality is when you get into good habits to start & begin with an intelligent game plan winning is easier so why go backward. I didn't see the game but I liked the box score.I always look for the +'s & looks like something worthwhile is happening. Hopefully Bogut gets into the mix sooner than later. Dominated the stats department in nearly every category. Have to like what you see! Lets see what happens with Utah! As a bud at Comcast said "I'm Stoked!" No arguments with Barnes but I want him to start out learning the right way even if we loose a few. Learning to me is more important than the playoffs! I want to win championships over getting to the dance just to be turned away again! Had plenty of that in the past and attempting to break the mould from past seasons.

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  5. Looking at the first night of box scores of Ezeli vs Andris, it's looking like the rotting corpse has not improved.

    I'm really hoping that Jackson and Malone are cooking up a press. Barnes, Green, Bazemore, Jack and Ezeli looks like the kind of lineup that could unleash that kind of four minutes of hell press that can every now and then break open a game. In a press, you want a mix of smart players and athletes. Show me any team in the league that could do that with their bench like it looks we should have teh ability. Or at least, any four of those guys together with one of the current starters

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    1. You ain't kidding...The Dubstitutes are going to be wreaking havoc this year...They'll win some games for us on their own when the starters come out flat. It'll be interesting to see how the rotation shakes out cause we cant go 11 deep very often. Biedrins is falling faster and faster but can Green and Bazemore rise?

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    2. I'm waiting for full court pressure but do we have the talent to do this? I sure as hell hope so. I like the possibilities of Bazemore! Yes Green & Bazemore will get P.T when they show results. I like who we have so lets play pro basketball style & win for a change!

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    3. No doubt we have the depth to bust out the press for 10-15 minutes a night provided the rookies pan out enough to earn minutes this year. It may be the only way to get everyone playing time really.

      PG: Jack SG: Jenkins/Bazemore SF: Barnes/Jefferson PF: Landry/Green C: Ezeli/Goose/Tyler

      Unfortunately it looks like Bazemore is headed to the D league because that's alot of guys even after Tyler gets shipped to Santa Cruz...

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  6. You must be busy at work,understood! Well I like what GS did vs Sac. 23 turnovers & 33% from the field looks great! When you look at your opponents scoring line & no one scored over 15 points! Force the guppys to beat you! Of course what changes & adjustments will have to be made when Bogut shows but I like what I read. Can't wait to see GS vs Portland Friday! Again we hold someone below 90 points. This is my game when control comes to play. Force your opponent to play your game not theirs! Looking at your latest response I see the name "Bazemore". His height? Wingspan? Get him on his opponent when they inbound the ball! I understand the #'s game & true realization is he needs PT minutes but when he ends up at S.C get him doing what he will be doing when he returns! Curry seems to have things going & hopefully Bogut sooner than later. I see our prospects playing out well. GS management: Great Job!! Ezeli has true potential & I still think he stole the show at #30. No different than life situations,enforcement of proper technique works & appears our youth's learning curve is right on track! I can't wait. Wish I was still playing lol! Wish the best to ya & hopefully see another column sooner than later. Yes work in life is #1 & playtime #2. If it's not somethings wrong. Were here for the long hall J.T. & follow the writings of our loyal GS fan at T.I.G.S.! Best GS thoughts & wishes to your family & yourself & thanks for the extra effort spent to satisfy our GS desperation needs. S

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  7. Taylor,

    Any idea why they have yet to can Fitz?

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