Author Archive

Warriors Games 1 & 1.5

October 31, 2008

I’ve watched one and a half games of regular season basketball for the Warriors, and I gotta say I’m really encouraged. It looks like everyone predicting 35-37 wins for this time didn’t count on them making notable progress on their team defense. These Warriors, minus Baron and plus Turiaf and Maggette, are suddenly much bigger and hit the glass much harder. For stretches when they were able to create turnovers and a little bit of up-and-down chaos, which plays right into their offensive strengths, they looked like the better team against both the Hornets and Raps.

My prediction: With a little luck and a few losses by the Nuggets and Blazers, the Warriors will fighting for that 8th seed when Monta comes back — if they keep playing D like this.

Predictions

October 29, 2008

Not that these are worth anything, but here’s what my gut’s saying going into this season:

  • New Orleans will win it all.
  • I have no idea who will come out of the East. Probably whoever wins game 7 between the Celtics and the Lebrons.
  • The Lakers are built only for the regular season.
  • This feels like a first-round exit for the Spurs, unless Ginobili comes back in near MVP form.
  • The Clippers will be worse than you expect, way worse.
  • But Milwaukee might be the worst team in the league, not counting the OCK Barons.
  • The Knicks will be better than people think.
  • The Wolves are the best candidate to be this year’s Blazers-2007-lite.
  • The Heat will be a mess unless they make a trade.
  • The Bobcats still look destined to be pathetic.

And finally, even though this Warriors season is shaping up to be ultimately disappointing and makes me sympathize wholly with these poor tortured fans out here, at the end of the year I won’t regret buying season tickets because Nellieball will always be Nellieball.

Players who shot worse than Kevin Durant last year

October 14, 2008

The rush early last season to label Durant a chucker — which led to the Horford for ROY campaign — always bothered me. Even today someone in Hollinger’s chat derisively called him a “machine gunner.” But he ended the season at 43%, better than:

  • Shane Battier
  • Baron Davis
  • Tracy McGrady
  • James “Cashin’ In” Posey
  • Kirk Hinrich
  • Mike Bibby
  • Jamal Crawford
  • Jerry Stackhouse
  • Stephen Jackson
  • Rafer Alston
  • Malik Rose (sorry, Hengst)

Why Does Sean Marks Keep Getting Signed?

August 28, 2008

I’m too depressed to even think about Monta Ellis’ injury, so I’ve got nothing substantive to say except I’m totally confused as to why Sean Marks keeps getting signed — this time with the Hornets — instead of a young, athletic guy who might surprise you with his development. C’mon, seriously, someone pick up Rod Benson.

These Clippers Couldn’t Throw It in the Ocean

July 28, 2008

I’m half-convinced Golden State matched the Clippers’ offer-sheet for Azubuike just to get a laugh out of watching L.A. scrape up a roster from the dregs this free-agent class. Today provided the punch line: “Clippers sign G Ricky Davis.”

To recap that’s Baron and Ricky Davis in L.A., playing for a coach who’s not exactly known to wear his collar loose. Should be fun.

They might also challenge for the record for worst team FG% in the modern era. Check out the shooting on this roster (last season’s %):

Camby — 46%
Baron — 42%
Eric Gordon — 43% (in college)
Kaman — 48%
Mobley — 43%
Quentin Ross — 39%
Tim Thomas — 41%
Al Thornton — 43%
Jason Hart (their backup PG?) — 32%
and now, Ricky Davis — 43%

And if I were to weight those shot attempts according the guys who will take most of them … it could get real ugly, real fast down there.

That Josh Childress Video

July 24, 2008

Couple different sites have been passing around this video, which is supposed to show Josh Childress partying in Greece just hours after signing his contract with Olympiacos. But it doesn’t look right to me. Isn’t Childress like 6’8″? Maybe his listed height includes the fro. Or maybe he made some new, really tall friends.

Throwdown with Carmelo Anthony

July 22, 2008

Just in time for Team USA’s ramp-up to Beijing, I got around to digging this up out of my photo archives. It’s from a qualifying tournament for FIBA Americas held in Las Vegas in the fall of 2008.

You also gotta see the guy he’s dunking on for Argentina, on the left, with The Moustache. Easily my favorite player for the Argentines, he was straight out of Prefontaine. If you can’t see it on this version, click through to Flickr for higher-res.

Settling Down

July 19, 2008

This weekend, in spite of all the wackiness with the Warriors, my friend Sean and I upgraded our season tickets. I don’t think anyone knows what to expect from this team, including the guys calling the shots, but hell, it’s the Warriors. It’s going to be fun.

For a blow-by-blow rundown of the trauma since Baron’s opt-out, Tim Kawakami’s blog at the Merc is your go-to source. But three big questions still haven’t been answered by anyone in the media:

1. Why throw $67 million at Maggette and Turiaf without using that money to take a shot at Josh Smith?

Yeah, you’d have to overpay to get Smith since he’s restricted, and he’s got a bad rep about his attitude, but wouldn’t someone that young, talented, and athletic fit this team much better than another wing and undersized back up big man?

2. Ok, even if you decide Maggette’s the guy you want, why give him $10 mil a year?

Here’s one of those situations where, as a fan, I feel like there’s something going on behind the scenes that I must be missing. Because from what I’ve read, after the Brand-Baron fallout, the only teams with cap space to offer Maggette more than the mid-level were the Warriors, Grizzlies, and Clippers. The Griz sure as hell weren’t going to sign him. His relationship was soured with the Clips, so the only threat from them was a sign and trade. Maybe that threat was bigger than we realize, but it sure didn’t seem like it was in the offing.

That means that Maggette was likely staring at going to a contender for the mid-level — starting at about $5.5 mil a year — or taking the Warriors’ offer. So what was his leverage that got the Warriors up to $10/per? Did they bid against themselves? I’ve read thousands of words about this signing, and still no one has explained why the deal wasn’t in $7-8 million/year range.

2A. If you’re going to overpay for Maggette, why not front-load the contract?

With the Warriors sitting on cap space now, it would make sense to really overpay Maggette for 2-3 years in case they need to trade him at the end of his deal. This becomes an even bigger problem if Anthony Randolph develops into the player they think he will be, because Don Nelson has already said Randolph is also a ‘3’.

3. What’s going on with Sean Livingston?

We all know his injury was devastating, but the last report I saw on him back in April said doctors were expecting a full recovery. Since then: not a word. He’s a 22-year-old, former top 10 pick, who was just starting to come around before getting hurt, and this is a market starved for point guards — so why no news?

Some Good News

Everyone knows the Warriors need another PG, and that led to terrifying (and baffling) speculation that they would take a shot at Marbury after the Knicks cut him. Thankfully, Stein is reporting today that chatter in Vegas has Golden State going after a young, score-first, Baron-lite point guard, like Philly’s Louis Williams or undrafted free agent Bobby Brown, who tore up the summer league. Whew.

Why? WHY???

July 9, 2008

So Baron and Brand both get their contracts and get to go home, and now the Warriors are going to overpay for Maggette, who’s a questionable fit in their system at best, which leaves the Spurs settling for Roger Mason Jr., which in turn means that Brent Barry’s likely gone. On top of it all, no one here in the Bay Area can figure out why you would pay Maggette $10 million per and also throw $4 mil/year at Rony fucking Turiaf, without first offering Josh Smith like $16 mil and seeing if Atlanta has the stones to match. I mean, he’s only a 22-year-old power forward who can defend a little and was built for Nellieball. Better not make a run at him. So not only did I just watch my favorite team miss out on the dynamic fourth scorer they’ve wanted for damn near half a decade, but his snub was the direct result of the team I just bought season tickets for screwing up their roster with a desperation move.

Unless, gracious God willing, there are more trades coming. Please, just bring us Josh Smith. That’s all I ask. Or hell, even Hinrich. I mean the only point guards on the roster are Monta Ellis and CJ Watson. But, hey, Anthony Randolph looks great in practice. Awesome. Actually this is pretty awesome: “Q: Have you spoken to Baron since he left? NELSON: Oh yeah. We spoke several times on the phone. He came over to the office to say good-bye. We had a cigar together, sat in my truck for about two hours and talked.”

Anyways, as you can see, I can’t make shit for sense of all this, but my gut feeling right now is leaning towards unmitigated disaster.

On Results; or, When Good Luck Goes Bad

July 3, 2008

John Hollinger’s column today ties in nicely with the book I’m reading right now, Fooled By Randomness:

In three seasons with the trio of Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler, the Wizards have won 43, 41 and 42 games and haven’t made it past the first round of the playoffs. The three players are 26, 28 and 32, respectively [sic], so it seems likely that we’ve seen about the best we’re going to get from them. They’re an average team, and without an infusion of vastly better players around them, they’ll keep being an average team.

Yet instead of blowing that trio up, the Wizards took a Bob-Beamonesque leap of faith this week. First they extended Jamison for four years and $50 million, and then they offered Arenas a monstrous six-year, $127 million package. … For better or for worse, the Wizards are stuck with these guys

Contrast this go-with-the-girl-who-brung-ya approach, which is predicated on four straight playoff appearances and a firm belief that a healthy Wizards team can make the Finals, to the chaos in Oakland. Out here, Baron has opted out because — besides going home to L.A. — he wants so badly to play in the Finals. And the Warriors refuse to break the bank for him precisely because they don’t think he can lead this current roster there.

Funny thing is, by every measure — win loss record, point differential, etc.– the Warriors were a better team. Especially since the Warriors were about even with the Wizards the year before, and with the improvement of G.S.’s young players and the (squandered) chance to add an impact role player in the draft, could’ve expected to get even better in 08-09. Given the similarities between the two teams and Washington’s injury problems, it’s easy to chalk up differences in past performance to, basically, luck, and consider them both not quite championship material.

In reality, the only surefire difference is that the Warriors were unlucky to be stuck in the Western Conference, where for the first time ever 48 wins weren’t enough to make the playoffs. But that one result, that one fact, has colored nearly everyone’s perception of 07-08 as a failure and the team as one that’s talented and exciting but not good enough.

(UPDATED FOR CLARITY:)Now, Golden State’s management did make that max offer to Arenas, so they the potential to swap out high-scoring point guards and keep building. But fans out here are despondent, Baron Davis took off, and Brand won’t come up here. Meanwhile, for the Wizards, the feeling from management and fans is that they’re right there. So that perfectly justifies committing to a half decade of decent but not great teams, when really you were just lucky enough to play out east.