» Blog Archive » Thoughts on Game No. 26: Pacers 127, Warriors 120
  • Dec

    By Geoff Lepper

    Warriors center Ronny Turiaf has an easy fix for Golden State’s problems when it comes to securing defensive rebounds:

    “Plain and simple, go get the ball,” Turiaf said. “That’s it.”

    Except that hasn’t been it, of course. Not by a long shot.

    Including last night’s horrific 20-offensive rebound performance for the Indiana Pacers in their 127-210 victory, Golden State has chalked up a defensive rebound rate (DRR) of just 67.0 percent through its first 26 games.

    The DRR — a team’s defensive boards divided by the sum of a team’s defensive boards and the opponents’ offensive rebounds — is a rough ratio of how many defensive rebounds a team gets (it doesn’t include team boards, so it’s not as exact as you would want).

    At 67.0, Golden State ranks last in the NBA by a wide, wide margin. There’s a chart to illustrate that point below, but here’s some specifics as well: The Kings are 29th in the league at 70.5 percent and the league average is 73.1. The top-ranked Spurs are at 77.8.

    Chart of all 30 NBA teams' Defensive Rebound Rate

    Consider: Even if the Warriors closed half the gap between their DRR and the league average . . . they’d still be the league’s worst, at 70.05. So the data begs the question:

    How bad are the Warriors, historically speaking?

    Well, how about this: They’re the second-worst defensive rebounding team this century.

    OK, I realize the 21st century is only in its ninth year, but still, the last time a team posted a DRR lower than 67.0 was in 1999-2000, when the Dallas Mavericks — put together and coached by familiar, white-haired adherent of small ball by the name of Don Nelson — pulled down 66.1 percent of their opportunities.

    In an attempt to solve that team’s failings — both on the floor and at the ticket office — Nelson and new Mavericks owner Mark Cuban brought in a 38-year-old Dennis Rodman. Though the Worm helped somewhat — Dallas’ DRR in 12 games with him was about 3.5 points better than in the 70 without — it wasn’t enough to make it worth dealing with his particular brand of crazy.

    I’m sure that Rodman would be game to pull down more NBA coin, but let’s assume for the moment that a washed-up, 47-year-old ex-husband to Carmen Electra isn’t the answer for Nelson & Co. this time around.

    What can the Warriors do to solve this problem, which keeps biting them at critical junctures (such as the possession Wednesday where Jeff Foster simply bulled over Jamal Crawford, collected his own miss and allowed Stephen Graham to give the Pacers a second-chance layup for a five-point lead)?

    “Well, it’s a very complicated thing,” Nelson said last week. “It’s not just one thing. There’s lots of different coverages, there’s lots of different assignments. It takes a while before it’s a natural thing for young players.”

    It’s interesting to look at the Warriors’ individual DRR numbers this season compared to last season, when Golden State still ranked last but had a 70.3 mark that was at least within hailing distance of the rest of the league.

    In 2007-08:

    Defensive Rebound Rate for Golden State Warriors in 2007-08

    In 2008-09:

    Defensive Rebound Rate for Golden State Warriors in 2008-09

    A few things that stand out: Harrington’s dramatic slide (-5.2) reiterates just how little he cared to toil in a Warriors uniform this season.

    That was just one piece of the across-the-board decrease for returning players, such as Wright (-2.7), Azubuike (-2.3) and Jackson (-1.1).

    Turiaf attributes some of the team’s problem to a habit of standing around and watching Biedrins (third in the league at 12.0 rpg): “Because Goose gets so many of them, sometimes we’re like, ‘OK, Goose, just go get it.’ We become somewhat complacent; ‘You average 13 a game, so we’ll just box out for you.’”

    Yet even Biedrins is down 1.3 percent.

    It’s been fun to watch the Phoenix Suns play this season and witness, even as they’re disintegrating because of Steve Nash’s disenchantment with new coach Terry Porter, Matt Barnes having a career year. Much like Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” where you “don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,” Barnes’ tenacity on the glass has become so much more noticeable now that it’s not here, replaced by the pale imitation that has been Corey Maggette’s work as a “power” forward.

    Watson deserves praise for his concentrated effort on rebounding, which has been rewarded with greater numbers, and so to a lesser extent does Belinelli. And, not to beat on a dead horse, while Randolph may have his problems in making the transition from teen-ager to NBA pro, going up and securing loose balls is not one of them.

    But Crawford is as bad as he was advertised to be. And Turiaf, the Warriors’ alleged answer to such bangers as Utah’s Paul Millsap (20.4 career DRR) and Dallas’ Brandon Bass (17.4), is at a career-low number, continuing a slide that has not stopped since his rookie year: from 19.0 to 18.3 to 15.4 to 13.6.

    There are a number of factors that lead back to different causes. That Golden State’s guards are doing a remarkably poor job at keeping opposing ball-handlers from turning the corner seemingly at will means that Turiaf and Biedrins are constantly pulled out of prime rebounding position to provide last-line-of-defense help around the rim. Nor is it helping that wings are supposed to be heading downcourt, seeking out early offense in Nelson’s system, rather than dealing with the heavy lifting of defensive rebounding.

    Turiaf claims it’s all mental, and doesn’t blame even the Warriors’ near obsession with a small-ball setup that the coach keeps saying didn’t work because the opponent’s small squad was just flat-out better.

    “It has nothing to do with not being strong enough, being small, blah-blah-blah,” Turiaf said. “It has nothing to do with that. . . . Regardless of what happens, just go get the ball. I’d rather have a turnover — I don’t think coach is going to agree with me on that one — but I’d rather have a turnover with two guys going to get the ball than not getting it. That’s pretty much it.

    “Just go get it.”

    Hendrix goes, Williams stays
    The Warriors couldn’t bring themselves to pay Marcus Williams almost $1 million not to show up for the rest of this season, so they cut rookie forward Richard Hendrix instead to make room for Monta Ellis’ move off the suspended list. The decision saved the team costs the team roughly $600,000 less than losing Williams and makes sense from one perspective: There is no way Don Nelson was going to use either of those two players the rest of the way, so the team simply chose the option that represents less wasted money.

    The Lineup Project
    I don’t want to give anyone a stroke, so I’ll just point out that the 7:15 in the Medium line encompassed Brandan Wright’s entire evening.

    Lineup data for Golden State game No. 26: Pacers 127, Warriors 120

    Without Monta. . .
    So it’s 7-19, then. I thought I was being pretty good at tamping any optimism when I wrote that the Warriors would be 9-17 by the time Ellis’ suspension ended. Guess I was wrong.

    Contact: geofflepper@48minutes.net

19 Responses to “Thoughts on Game No. 26: Pacers 127, Warriors 120”

  1. Damn, our small ball is pretty good

  2. Nice catch, Tre.

  3. We got hella suck. We need to cut rebounders and get more volume shooters. I’m sure of it.

  4. Nice job Geoff. I was really depressed when Adam started his blog a few days ago by saying Cohan isn’t selling (he’s making a bundle, at least the last few years–but wait till next year); Rowell isn’t getting replaced and Nelson isn’t getting fired. I guess I’m just too numb to get even more depressed by your analysis because I’m believing Adam that no matter how many “facts” get presented it won’t make any difference at all to the owner of the Dubs. Everyone on every blog is besides themselves; no one is now saying the season is still young or give it time or wait until Monta gets back. They are all saying it has already gone from bad to worse with no hope in site.

    To me the biggest problem is there is no accountability. Nelson doesn’t seem to be held accountable to Rowell and certainly not to Mullin. Jax is not accountable to Nelson for his horrendous start and stats. Crawford and Maggette is not accountable for their total lack of defensive effort and motivation and ad nauseum. So no matter how impressive your analysis is, I don’t think it means anything in terms of making anyone more accountable. It only makes me more depressed knowing nothing is going to change. We probably win a few more games when Monta returns and may play better, but fundamentally there is no long term hope as long as Nelson is the coach; which, if Adam is correct, isn’t going to change. The only thing that will change is folks like me won’t be renewing their tickets next year. And, to me, that is a very depressing thought.

  5. Thank you, Geoff, for first rate work. Incredibly insightful and fairly presented.

  6. Cohan owns the sole NBA franchise in a large urban area and can make a profit without much effort. This is bad for the NBA. Imagine LA with only the clippers. The NBA would lose most LA fans if that guy was the only act in town.

    The Bay Area needs a franchise in San Jose. Larry Elison has enough interest, money and ego to afford a team. While I’m not sure Stern would lobby for an additional team, I don’t think he’d oppose it.

    MLB and the NFL have two healthy franchises in the Bay Area. The NBA requires a much smaller fan base for success. Why is Cohan’s crummy franchise the only show in town?

    The NBA runs the risk of losing a large number of disinterested fans who have had it with a horribly run franchise and spend their attention elsewhere. They’re losing money with Cohan in charge.

    With a 2nd team competing for fans, Cohan would not have been able to profit off the the last 15 years of suck. We’d have a healthier franchise, more NBA coverage and more revenue for the league.

    NBA teams flourish in metropolitan areas serviced by Horizion Air and United Express. San Jose, 2nd largest city in CA, is a hub airport. There’s a stadium. It’s time for Cohan to lose his local monopoly.

    I’d love to see him fight it. He’d sue the NBA. You know he’d do it. It would be laughable.

  7. I’m italian, I found this website searching for information about Golden State Warriors… and Marco Belinelli, sure!
    Well, this is a very interesting site; what I can say is that Warriors’ defense is really embarassing, and that Beli in Italy was a GREAT player, not a benchwarmer… Is Don Nelson implicated in these troubles???
    Beli is not the one who will solve all Warriors’ problems, but he can help.

  8. I meant to say “he was a GREAT player in Italy and Europe, too”

  9. There’s too much emphasis on blocks, which young players in particular buy into. Bigs need to learn to hold their position, influence the shot without committing, go for the block judiciously, and be prepared to hit the boards.

  10. How do you dump Hendrix when you have no idea what he can offer?
    Especially when his game is supposedly one of the areas that we lack the most???
    I like Marcus Williams- but it is obvious that they are not going to play him and even if they do- he is going to be lost. Rob Kurz could have been cut as well. Are we that worried about losing him?
    I don’t get it. Hendrix should have been retained until we saw what he could bring in an NBA game for a few weeks. Ridiculous.

  11. Death. Destruction. Chaos. Mayhem… the team is over.

  12. i say fire nelson and anyone who agrees with him and hire Rick Barry head coach with Al Attles defensive coach…..

  13. nelson doesnt want any low post players so im suprised that biedrins is still on the floor instead of riding the bench or maybe in the d league….nelson wont allow low post players on his teams and thats why he wont ever coach a NBA championship team…..he is way past his time!!!!!!! PLEASE QUIT!!!!!!!

  14. It’s pretty bad to even have these rumors flying around. Maybe a trade primer flurry of bad press to get the vultures circling and the talks moving?

  15. Is Monta ever coming back? He sounds at least a month away from a game. Probably more, right Geoff?

  16. could you update the small vs big lineup based on the season?

    also, here’s another stat worth noting, if you could be bothered, except it might be too late now that Monta should be coming back soon: Missed fastbreak opportunities and how many of those are layups and how many are jump shots.

  17. CC: My best guess on Monta is Jan. 15.


    Lineup GSW/48min OPP/48min +/- Total mins
    Large 99.7 92.5 +7.2 73:10
    Turiaf-Biedrins 107.1 97.4 +9.7 88:42
    Medium 104.7 109.9 -5.2 606:33
    Small 106.5 116.8 -10.3 494:35

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