Harrington, Jackson voting for DeMarcus
About that post where I said DeMarcus Nelson was the player least likely to make the Warriors’ roster? Just go ahead and delete that from your RSS feeds, please.
Barring a tumble off the Great Wall this week or some other injury catastrophe, the Vallejo product who grew up watching the Warriors should be a Warrior when the regular season begins Oct. 29.
Nelson drew uniform raves Saturday after starting at the point and proceeding to knock down eight of 10 shots, record seven assists and create four steals against just two turnovers in 33 minutes against Oklahoma City.
Don Nelson started off his postgame remarks with a remark to those doubters in the audience (“Well, now you know why I like the guy”), and teammates Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson both gave him unqualified support in his bid to beat out fellow guards Dan Dickau and Anthony Morrow in a bid for one of the Warriors’ last roster spots.
“I’m not surprising myself, because first I have to have confidence in myself before anybody else can believe in me,” DeMarcus Nelson said. “And the things that I’m doing now are the things that I’ve been doing all my life. I think now it’s just people are starting to get a better understanding of how good or how effective it can be at this level.”
It started on the first on the Warriors’ possession of the night, when Marco Belinelli kicked a pass out to Nelson on the left wing and he knocked down an open 18-footer, a jab at those folks who don’t believe in his shot (don’t know who that could be…). It didn’t stop until he rocked a pair of dunks in the second half that brought the house down.
“He has my vote to make the team,” Harrington said. “Hopefully he did enough tonight to show that he wants to be a Warrior. And I think that he’ll bring a very interesting dynamic to this team, something very different than what we get from most point guards. To me, he plays like in his mind he’s 7 feet tall. That’s big. He’s a guard that could not only distribute the ball, but he’ll help with rebounding and is definitely going to be a presence defensively, so I think that’s definitely a guy that we should have around for 82 games, because we’ll need him at some point.”
Since Nelson is officially listed at 6-4, I asked Harrington what he meant about playing like he’s 7 feet.
“How aggressive he is, how he rebounds,” Harrington said. “How he’ll go in there with the trees and come and make plays all the time. That’s why I say he plays like he’s 7 feet.”
Jackson wasn’t enamored enough to necessarily put Nelson into contention for the starting role alongside C.J. Watson, but echoed Harrington’s call to keep the Duke product around.
“As far as his play, he’s making it known that he needs to be on this team,” Jackson said. “As a teammate, I’m happy with the way he competes. A lot of times, you get young guys that go out there, they’re real tentative in what they do. They worry about making mistakes. This kid goes out and plays hard, and he’s definitely paying well.”
** If you assume that Nelson is guaranteed a roster spot at this point and that rookie forward Richard Hendrix has been made safe by his 12-point, 13-rebound performance, that leaves only one spot remaining for forward Rob Kurz, Dickau and Morrow. I’m betting on Morrow, but we’ll see after the two games in China.
** Belinelli was impressive in all facets of the game, from his shooting to his passing to even his defense on Thunder star Kevin Durant, who tried hard to take advantage of the apparent mismatch by posting up Belinelli but went 4-for-16 from the floor with six turnovers.
I understand now why Nelson says Belinelli isn’t running the point, even though he’s often bringing the ball upcourt and initiating the offense; he’s doing those things, from the 2 spot, playing alongside either Watson or Marcus Williams or DeMarcus Nelson.
Also, given that Belinelli played 45:28 without a break, I guess the coach’s comments about Belinelli’s improved fitness are not just another Nellie smokescreen.
** Don’t read anything into Morrow’s only getting 2:32 worth of playing time. Nelson planned on giving him significant burn, but just couldn’t bring himself to pull Belinelli when Belinelli was having such a dominant game.
** I’m no big fan of the Suns’ “P-H-X” jerseys, but if ever an NBA team’s uniform is crying out for that three-letter abbreviation treatment, it’s “O-K-C.”
** The Warriors are probably just landing as I post this, but they shouldn’t have been too bored on the nearly day-long journey to China.
“Everybody went and bought PSPs with the same games,” Harrington said. “They didn’t have (NBA) 2K9 for the PSP. We got (NBA) Live, we got Madden 09, and we got poker. And the poker we can play with up to 6 guys, so I think we’ll probably end up playing poker more than anything. . . . For free.”
** Harrington started shaking out his right hand noticeably after slamming down a sweet alley oop pass from Nelson in the third quarter, and went to athletic trainer Tom Abdenour for some quick relief at the next break in play. Turns out Harrington suffered sprained ligaments in his hand two weeks before training camp. Team doctors have told him there’s nothing to do but play through it, so that’s what he’s doing.
“I can’t make it any worse,” Harrington said. “It’s just whenever I get a hit, it’s going to take two or three minutes for it to just feel a little bit better.”
I couldn’t resist: “You weren’t riding a moped, were you?”
“No, I was blocking a shot, which I had no business doing,” Harrington said. “I don’t block shots.”
10 Responses to “Harrington, Jackson voting for DeMarcus”
Re: the PSPs…
There are also decks of cards, you guys!
Those OKC jerseys are just hideous. Makes you wonder if Knick fans will think the Knicks are playing themselves when the Thunder visit. They’ll probably be about as bad.
Hopefully Belinelli can carry some of this over to the regular season and Nelson probably cemented his place on the team after last night.
Son of Ahmed October 12th, 2008 at 6:10 pm
I’m glad you’ll be staying on the Warriors beat in this new format; I will be a daily visitor. Too bad the Dubs couldn’t give you a spot on the plane. Would’ve loved to get your insights from China.
Keep it up.
Mylie10 October 12th, 2008 at 6:38 pm
I told you so regarding DeMarcus. He fills a need (as in defender at the 1). Just kidding.
Tell Al that we wish he’d play like he was 6′9″.
Nitpicker October 12th, 2008 at 10:46 pm
Thanks for the informative post! Slight correction on Beli’: all the box scores I read (espn; nba.com) said only 1 turnover, not 6–maybe you meant 6 assists.
Geoff Lepper October 12th, 2008 at 11:53 pm
Son of Ahmed: Thanks, welcome aboard.
Nitpicker: It was Durant with six TOs, several of them while being guarded by Belinelli.
Youth Movement October 12th, 2008 at 11:53 pm
Great to have you back Geoff. Your blog just became a daily must read. Keep up the great work!
And much as I want to get excited about the OKC game, you still have to take into account that the team that we blew out is pretty awful. Now if we put up numbers like that against the Lakers, then I’ll be one happy little fan. Still, it was awfully nice to see one of our PG’s get some assists for a change. I like CJ, but why can’t he find the open man?
Son of Ahmed October 13th, 2008 at 8:49 am
I’m relieved to see that the young’ns have made an impact in the last two games, one against the Trailblazers. While I don’t see the team making the playoffs (too young), I am looking forward to seeing the development of the young talent. Seeing them get play time IS something to get excited about.
Here’s looking at you, kid.
Like Son of Ahmed, I too will be checking your 48minutes.net site daily. Hopefully you will be able to address the following issue in the very near future.
Since Monta’s 30 game suspension will end well before Ellis is projected to ready to play NBA basketball, his 30 game suspension barely qualifies as a slap on the wrist. Yet USA Today is reporting Ellis’ agent Jeff Fried is seriously considering appealing the 30 game suspension imposed by the Warriors. To me that makes about as much sense as Ben Gordon continuing to demand a max contract from a NBA team based solely upon his averaging 18 points per game as a sixth man.
JustPuked October 13th, 2008 at 11:20 am
Geoff, I second SOA’s post #1. Sorry to see you leave the paper but as a frequent reader of your stuff, we’re blessed to get your take in another format. Thanks!
** Love all the little extra’s.
Lol @ “you weren’t riding a moped were you?” I couldn’t tell from the typed response whether or not Al was amused or not. Keep up the good work, Geoff.
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