» Blog Archive » Game 2, The Wrapup: Are we back on the same old Randolph-Nelson treadmill already?
  • Oct

    By Geoff Lepper

    The Warriors looked slow and befuddled Friday while the Suns zoomed past them for a 123-101 victory, but Golden State is getting faster in one area, at least:

    Last season, it took several weeks before people started wondering what was going on between coach Don Nelson and prized rookie Anthony Randolph.

    This year, it only took three days.

    In the space of two games, Randolph has gone from a bench afterthought to a starting power forward to a “cleanup on aisle 9” fourth-quarter-blowout specialist.

    Hell, I’m dizzy just from typing that.

    After the game, according to Brett Pollakoff of NBA Fanhouse, Nelson declined to answer questions about his usage of Randolph, who replaced Ronny Turiaf in the starting lineup, was pulled after 7:15 and not seen again until the second half, when he was made to finish off the dispiriting defeat by playing the entire fourth quarter.

    Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to mollify the folks who see Randolph as the savior of the franchise.

    Getting yanked early and disappearing was the modus operandi employed on both Randolph and Brandan Wright last season. It was not especially appreciated by either player, which is why it’s interesting that this time around, the team appears to be trying to inoculate itself to criticism by dropping hints (via Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle) that Randolph is bollixing up offensive sets by being in the wrong place.

    (Some would point out that calling what the Warriors ran Friday against Phoenix “offensive sets” would be perilously close to perjury. Unless the set is called “gimmie the ball and get the hell out of my way.”)

    Whatever the reason, it clearly doesn’t help Randolph’s growth, which is why I don’t mind the fact that Randolph played out the string in the fourth quarter. I actually support it. I likened Randolph recently to a friend as a golden retriever puppy: boundless energy, limitless enthusiasm, has no idea of what his own ceiling is.

    For an example, look at when Randolph crashes the offensive glass. He’ll come leaping in from so far gone on the perimeter that he’s not even in the frame when the camera tightens on the basket. Suddenly, just as the carom starts to rise off the rim, there’s this swooping blur making a play for the ball.

    Frankly, it’s a decidedly low-percentage play. I’m sure that, to Nelson, it looks like a wild stab from a know-nothing youngster, exactly the kind of thing that makes Don grind his molars to dust. But when you’re blessed with the speed to chase your man down if he does try to leak out and the hops to jump over almost any box out, why not go for it? Even if nine times out of 10 it doesn’t work, you have the speed to catch up to your guy and prevent a breakaway layup.

    The only way that Randolph is going to learn what will work in an NBA game and what needs to be put away is to get out there on the floor and do it. The faster that can be accomplished, the better.

    Morrow getting crushed defensively
    Not going to go too in depth on this, because I’m planning on writing more for tomorrow or Monday on the Warriors’ defensive struggles as a whole, but Anthony Morrow’s defense was exploited time and again by the Suns on Friday. Leandro Barbosa literally just left Morrow behind screen after screen. If Morrow’s not going to get open looks at one end and is going to give them up at the other . . . well, that’s an untenable combination.

    Inside The Warriors/Contra Costa Times (Marcus Thompson II):
    Here’s the money quote of the entire wasted Phoenix trip, courtesy of Stephen Jackson: “It’s a new team, so guys have to figure out how I want the ball.”
    Almost hard to believe this is the same guy who once said, “I know it ain’t me” when asked where the fault lay for a Warriors losing streak.
    (Hard to believe on opposite day, maybe.)

    Talking Points (Tim Kawakami): A two-fer from Tim today, and I’ve got to side with him when it comes to the first entry, detailing how Mike Montgomery beat the team at arbitration (as it should be; the team had no real case) and still hasn’t been paid the nearly $1 million by the Warriors. Tim argues it’s another sign of the pettiness of a team whose operating mantra is “salary protection,” and I can’t disagree. Montgomery worked hard, did what was asked of him, got put in a difficult situation (the arrival of Baron Davis, who was never going to respect Monty) and served out his time without complaint. If anyone deserves to get paid at 1011 Broadway, it’s him.
    It’s worth noting, however, that while Tim compares the W’s recalcitrance at coughing up the cash to the Raiders stiffing Mike Shanahan, Lane Kiffin, et. al, it’s also very similar to Mark Cuban’s continued refusal to pay up the outstanding millions owed Don Nelson, even though Nelson won in arbitration. That is to say, unlike the Raiders, who are the clubhouse leaders in terms of paranoia among NFL teams, the Warriors are bad but not any worse off than some of their compatriots.
    For the second half, Tim casts the Warriors as an old vs. new issue for the media and fans — everybody loving Stephen Curry and Anthony Morrow and lining up to take shots at Monta Ellis and Stephen Jackson.
    I can’t get behind Tim here, although I certainly understand that the team would like to promote Curry and Morrow because they don’t have any bad acts to their names and don’t carry the baggage that Ellis and Jackson do.
    But then again, I don’t know anybody who thinks Curry is a superstar. Is he overhyped? Sure. But no one (well, no one I’ve seen in the media) thinks he’s going to win Yes, he’s already the Warriors’ best passer, but that’s much more a byproduct of Golden State’s unbalanced roster laden with I’m-getting-mine offensive players than it is a signal of Curry’s stardom. Yes, he can score off the dribble with mid-range jumpers, but he hasn’t shown the kind of 3-point range he had in college. Yes, he’s been a better defender in some areas — most specifically his quick hands — than was expected, but the bar was set pretty low to begin with.
    especially from the fan’s perspective. Jack has already made it clear he wants out, and Tim himself is reporting that Ellis is not too far away joining him on that path. Why, then, should a season-ticket holder not get interested in two younger players who will presumably be here long after Jackson and Ellis have been shipped out of town?

    Golden State Warriors/San Francisco Chronicle (Rusty Simmons): Takes from halftime and post-game. Ronny Turiaf, who left with a sprain in his already damaged left knee (he has torn cartilage, according to Don Nelson), is considered day-to-day, leaving the power forward spot in flux.
    My darkhorse selection? Kelenna Azubuike, who has played well as a reserve in his games so far. I can’t see Nelson putting Randolph back out there on the heels of Friday’s performance, and using Maggette might push the Oracle crowd into getting out their pitchforks and torches.

    YouTube (cflip2287):
    The nightly Corey Maggette lowlights package. Kudos to cflip — this could truly blossom into a season-long feature unto itself.

    Warriors.com: Highlights package, such as it is.

    San Jose Mercury News (Elliott Almond):
    All the deets about the Warriors welching on their debt to Mike Montgomery.
    (BTW, how hard is Monty laughing right now? The Warriors are in arguably worse shape than when he was there, he’s got Chris Cohan’s money — most of it, anyways — in the bank and now coaches a Cal team that’s favored to win the Pac-10 this season. Too funny.)

    Contra Costa Times (Marcus Thompson II): As Marcus puts it, “The team will have to improve on offense — its foundation — if it is to capitalize on what many consider an easy schedule to begin the season.”
    Having already lost twice to 2009 lottery teams, the chances of doing that are slipping away rapidly.

    San Francisco Chronicle (Rusty Simmons): Nice jab from the US Airways crowd: “Take some notes, Curry.”

    San Francisco Chronicle (Rusty Simmons): I’m going to have to admit it: I hadn’t even thought about the fact that the Warriors could extend Acie Law’s contract.

    San Francisco Chronicle (Bruce Jenkins): No offense to Michael Crabtree and Stephen Curry, but lumping Tim Lincecum (winner of one Cy Young and due another top three finish, at least, this season) in with those unproven rookies . . . well, let’s just say Timmy deserves better.

    NBA.com (Mike Tuleumello):
    Writes Mike, “As for the Warriors, they are basically stuck when they play the Suns.
    They play a similar, though more extreme, sort of small, race-horse basketball. They just don’t have the same talent stockpile.
    So it’s not surprising that the Suns have won 38 of the past 52 between them.”
    Sadly, not surprising at all.

19 Responses to “Game 2, The Wrapup: Are we back on the same old Randolph-Nelson treadmill already?”

  1. As long as cflip posts these Maggette on youtube, please please please make sure you put these on your blog.

  2. Curry is nothing special and Randolph is no Webber.
    Warriors fans are desperate.

  3. It is not Nelson’s job to mollify fans. His job is to win basketball games, and to develop basketball players into winning players, not selfish players.

    It is not Nelson’s job to be appreciated by his players for taking them out. No coach is appreciated by his players for taking them out. Bynum was upset with Phil Jackson for taking him out in fourth quarters last year. Should Jackson have given a crap? Should he have apologized to Bynum’s agent?

    Geoff writes: “The only way that Randolph is going to learn what will work in an NBA game and what needs to be put away is to get out there on the floor and do it.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Young NBA players learn the game in practice, and by SUCCEEDING with the minutes they are given in games. How long was Jermaine O’Neal on the bench before he was given a chance? Phil Jackson kept Vujacic on the bench for three years before he cracked the rotation. Tyrus Thomas. Trevor Ariza. Rodney Stuckey. Forced to earn their minutes. I could go on and on. It took Steve Nash FOUR YEARS to become a full-time player.

    Please, let’s keep it real.

  4. “No offense to Michael Crabtree and Stephen Curry, but lumping Tim Lincecum (winner of one Cy Young and due another top three finish, at least, this season) in with those unproven rookies . . . well, let’s just say Timmy deserves better.”

    Sorry. I have to side with Bruce on this one….

  5. Coach Nelson has me worried. I thought needing 24 wins for the all-time-winning-coach record would motivate him to have this team in better shape.

    Right now 24 wins isn’t a given.

  6. Boycott the warriors,Their not real NBA this year………… wait until Larry E buys………. Fan revolt: no cash for trash

  7. @feltbot: Yes, please, let’s keep it real. It took Steve Nash three years to become a full-time player (he started 40 of Dallas’ 50 games in the lockout season) and you fail to mention that the biggest reason he didn’t have a chance to start during his first two season was because he was playing ON THE SAME TEAM AS JASON KIDD.

    I must have missed the Hall Of Fame-bound player the Warriors have currently holding down the PF position.

  8. Media & fans who think Randolph is (or purport him to be) some sort of savior need a reality check. He’s no Durant & the Westbrook/Krstic tandem has had more to do with OKC’s 2-0 start than Durant has.

    AR is a taller, skinnier version of Tyrus Thomas. His ceiling is a PF version of Kirilenko minus the passing skills, but that’s not how he sees himself.

    There’s a reason he’s never been on a winning team even at the high school level when most high school teams with NBA players are competing for state championships.

    Curry looks more like Bibby than Nash. Monta may very well be the worst non-rookie starter on defense in the league (Brandon Jennings is the only guy who looks worse, but at least he tries) - this includes the likes of Baron, Nash, Shaq, Steve Blake, CDR, Bargnani. Andris is an energy role player. Morrow is a Kapono like role player. This franchise is doomed.

    Trade anything the Jazz want for that Knicks unprotected 1st round pick. Take all their bad contracts, whatever. Need as many chances at John Wall as possible.

  9. Geoff, Nash didn’t become a full time player until his 5th season, his third under Nelson. He played 27 minutes a game in his 4th season.

    Randolph was behind Brandon Wright last year, another player you complained on behalf of. Remember?

    Just because there is no hall of fame player ahead of you does not mean you should play. Randolph, at least in his current condition, is clearly not ready right now. He has not done much with his minutes.

    Nelson is coaching to win right now, because his team wants and expects to win. Randolph will have to earn his minutes, just like any other 20 year old, on any other team in the NBA, since the league’s inception.

  10. feltbot;

    I agree that players need to earn minutes and show progress in practice, also must execute on the fundamentals.

    Bulls drafted PF Taj Gibson 24th. He’s got great habits, focused, fundamentally sound and been getting minutes over athletic, Tyrus Thomas, 4th year vet effectively selected #2 in the draft.

    My worry is that Nelson is coaching to be sent back to Maui with pay. I know he need 24 games to set a record but I’m now skeptical he’s trying to win.

    In this environment, Randolph’s development is at the whine of Nelson’s whims and erratic line-ups.

  11. @feltbot: Nash played 31.7 MPG his third year, the second-highest level on the team, trailing only Michael Finley. Kind of the definition of a full-time player.

    Also, Randolph has spent the majority of his time — last season and this — sitting behind Corey Maggette. If Randolph was sitting behind someone who was producing, that would be one thing.

    You argue that Randolph should sit because he “at least in his current condition, is clearly not ready right now. He has not done much with his minutes.” Yet the guy playing ahead of him has done less.

    Playing Maggette at the 4 and “giving him his head” instead of yanking him after any one of a dozen egregiously selfish plays and/or bonehead mistakes is not winning basketball.

  12. As others are acutely beginning to point out, “winning basketball” is not in Nelson’s recent past and certainly future. He truly doesn’t care and I believe does want to get canned after we limp to 24 wins and suck down whatever in Maui. It was like there was never a pre-season to prepare this team for the NBA; no leadership, no vision, no chemistry, and of course no wins. The only thing going for the Dubs (at home) is still the fans to get them to play hard. Incidently, I can’t imagine this loser’s culture is doing anything to help the young players want to do anything more than get the hell out like Jax and Ellis clearly they want to do. Virtually every player who has had any value has dropped in value under Nelson (in the last couple years). It is sickening to buy high and sell so low. It must really Nelson, Jax, Rowell and Ellis to cash those paychecks every week or whenever they paid (laughing all the way to bank on the back of the loyal fans who are left to watch the atrocity of a coach and “team” at this point in time). Well, maybe some day I’ll tell you how I really feel……

  13. Geoff, Nash failed miserably in his third year, because he WASN’T READY. Have you checked his stats? 8 pts 5.5 assists on 36% shooting. I actually watched the games. He was miserable, and was getting booed by the hometown fans. He was cut back to 27 minutes in his 4th year.

    But this is quibbling isn’t it? What about all those other talented rookies around the league that are fighting to earn their spurs and get on the floor? That’s the way it is in the league, not just here.

    You may not like Maggette at the 4, but he at least he knows the plays and knows what Nellie wants from him, even if he struggles in some games.

    And why are you not mentioning Turiaf? I think it is he, not Maggette who was given AR’s minutes in the first game. Jackson and Monta made it clear that they at least favor Turiaf over Randolph at the 4.

    Randolph is still learning what Nelson wants from him, and what he needs to do to stay on the floor. You need to get a grip. Nellie may be an evil monster in your eyes. But he’s not an evil monster in all things, 24 hours a day. He wants to win basketball games, and he’s pretty good at putting together teams that know how to win. And he’s got as good a record as anyone in the league at developing all-star players.

  14. Commish

    “Virtually every player who has had any value has dropped in value under Nelson (in the last couple years). ”

    It’s called scapegoating.

    Remember when Jamison was given a max contract so he could be the guy that turns the team around? Everyone buy those season tickets and t-shirts. We fixed the GSW!!!

    Then they trade Jamison and reboot with the next guy, each time dishing out stoopid [sic] contracts to coverup the last mistake.

    All this on and on and on.

    Nelson knows what’s broken and he’s got aplce to cobble together a few more wins, blow a few games to make a point about some slight or show who is boss.

    The only think that could keep Nelson from getting booted to Maui is Cohan’s refusal to pay the guy to retire. Cohan might keep him around to save a few bucks rather than put a new coach under contract.

  15. Couldn’t agree more. Only thing is I think it will cost Cohan millions more to keep Nelson through what looks to be a horrific season than risk losing complete fan support. Not to mention the fan’s negative reacton to Nelson and the team on the floor. It could be very, very ugly, especially since now all the media is on to Nelson, Cohan, Rowell and so on. No one believes anything excpet we suck and will do so until Nelson is gone–maybe even beyond that if too much harm has been done.

  16. Feltbot

    You are 100 % wrong. You say that Anthony Randolph hasn’t done anything in the minutes he has been given.

    Game 1 vs. Rockets - Randolph enters late 2nd quarter and sparks a Warriors run to close it out. In 9 minutes, Randolph puts up 8 points and 4 Rebounds. How much more production do you want in 9 minutes of play? Meanwhile Maggette is a blackhole that never ever EVER passes the rock and goes 3-14 from the field.

    Game 2 @ Suns - Randolph plays six minutes with hustle and energy but gets yanked in the first quarter even though he had 4 points on 2-3 shooting, 3 boards and 1 assist. He doesn’t see any game action until the second half after being replaced by Corey Maggete who finishes the first and plays all of the 2nd quarter. Maggette finished the game 2-7 with 9 points in 19 minutes and of course 0 assists because he is a ballhog.

    Should I keep going or are you sick of being owned? You should stop posting because you are starting to sound like Raymond Ritter or some other 1011 Broadway plant trying to make something good out of these pathetic coaching decisions.

  17. Feltbot = spin machine.

    Spinning like maggette’s head on a flailing floptastic drive into the lane.

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