By Geoff Lepper
Warriors coach Don Nelson said Wednesday that he wants to treat tonight’s exhibition finale against the New Orleans Hornets as if it were a regular-season game, with a typical rotation and a closing lineup meant to procure a win.
So when Nelson listed his expected starting lineup — which already featured Corey Maggette in place of the injured Anthony Randolph — it came as a bit of a shock when C.J. Watson was the first name out of his mouth.
C.J. Watson? A guy who strained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee three weeks ago? Really? Over a healthy Anthony Morrow, who’s been the Warriors’ best player in this exhibition season? Over a healthy Stephen Curry, who is already after three weeks as a pro Golden State’s best facilitator of ball movement?
Sure. This is Don Nelson, after all, whose motivational techniques never lack for bluntness. (Recall the Rob Kurz-over-Randolph situation early last season.)
I think there’s a two-fold dynamic in play here. Watson said Wednesday that his right knee is only back to 75 or 80 percent of full strength, and he’s logged less than 100 minutes of play in three exhibition games this season, so there’s a question of conditioning and using the last chance to really get Watson back into game shape.
There’s also certainly a component meant to keep expectations for Curry from getting out of control. There are going to be struggles for any rookie point guard, no matter how highly prized he may be — Steve Nash, for example, shot 42.3 percent from the floor as a backup to Jason Kidd in 1996-97, and committed a turnover just less than once in every four plays.
So to throw Curry out there on Opening Night as a starter, alongside Monta Ellis and (if Randolph still isn’t ready) Maggette in a lineup that will get slaughtered defensively, may not be the wisest course of action.
The Warriors’ best local story of the season has come to an abrupt end: DeMarcus Nelson, the Oakland native and former Vallejo High star, was cut today to make room for forward Jermareo Davidson — a 2007 second-round pick of Golden State who was traded on draft day as part of the Jason Richardson-Brandan Wright deal — to be signed to a 10-day contract.
The move could save the team approximately $200,000, since Nelson’s contract wasn’t set to fully vest until Jan. 10. It would actually be an increase in salary outlay if the Warriors choose to keep Davidson, who can be signed to a second 10-day and then must be released or given a minimum-level contract for the remainder of the season. Since Davidson is a second-year player, a minimum-level deal for him from Jan. 25 on would cost roughly $350,000.
Dec18Filed under: News; Tagged as: Al Harrington, Andris Biedrins, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Randolph, Austin Croshere, Baron Davis, Brandan Wright, C.J. Watson, Chris Webber, Corey Maggette, DeMarcus Nelson, Dennis Rodman, DJ Mbenga, Don Nelson, Jamal Crawford, Jeff Foster, Kelenna Azubuike, Kosta Perovic, Marco Belinelli, Marcus Williams, Mark Cuban, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, Monta Ellis, Patrick O'Bryant, Rob Kurz, Ronny Turiaf, Stephen Graham, Stephen Jackson, Troy Hudson
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.
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…
Dec14Filed under: News; Tagged as: Anthony Morrow, Brandan Wright, Chauncey Billups, Corey Maggette, DeMarcus Nelson, Don Nelson, J.R. Smith, Jamal Crawford, Kenyon Martin, Manny Pacquiao, Marcus Williams, Michael Marks, Monta Ellis, Nene, Oscar De La Hoya, Rob Kurz, Robert Rowell, Ronny Turiaf, Stephen Jackson
By Geoff Lepper
At a Warriors practice last week, Golden State captain Stephen Jackson stood on the sideline talked for roughly 10 minutes with team president Robert Rowell and minority owner Michael Marks.
I have no idea what the gist of the conversation was, but Rowell needs to have another meeting with Jackson, with one simple message:
Sit down until you’re healthy.
Like Oscar De La Hoya’s cornermen after watching him get pummeled for eight rounds at the hands of Manny Pacquiao last week, someone has to step in and say it, because Jackson refuses to admit what’s obvious to everyone — that his injured left hand is crippling his effectiveness on the floor right now.
Jackson showed reporters this week how his middle finger is misaligned, and said that the ligaments had been pushed out of place when he originally incurred the injury against Boston on Nov. 26 (his hand got caught in a Celtic’s jersey as Jackson tried to fight through a screen). Nevertheless, he steadfastly refuses to ask off the floor in games, even after he takes a shot and can clearly be seen between plays rubbing the hand to try and ease the pain.
The team has not given any indication that Jackson needs anything other than rest to get better. If that’s the case, then the rest should start immediately.
Jackson was 1-for-13 from the floor in the Warriors’ 123-105 loss to the Nuggets on Saturday. Teams are overplaying his right hand now, knowing that he can’t get anything going on a dribble with his left.
That’s bad enough, but let’s be honest: Even if Jackson had been playing at his 2007-08 level against the Nuggets on Saturday, does anyone really think that would have turned the tide? On a night where Don Nelson’s top three possibilities at power forward — Corey Maggette, Brandan Wright and Ronny Turiaf — are all off the floor? Maybe an 18-point defeat becomes an eight-point margin. But there’s not much more to it than that.
The only way the Warriors are going to make the playoffs — assuming you’re not joining the Tank Brigade after a quarter of the season — is if they win a stunning proportion of the games once Monta Ellis comes back. We’re talking a 65, 70, 75 percent proportion.
Running Jackson out for 31 minutes on back-to-back nights in games where the Warriors already have next to no hope because of their myriad other…
By Geoff Lepper
On Sunday in the cramped visitors’ locker room at Arco Arena, a reporter told Warriors guard Anthony Morrow: “You’re going to be the new flavor of the week.”
We might have to adjust that expiration date a little bit.
Morrow got his first NBA start Saturday in Los Angeles and put on a true show: 37 points on 15-for-20 shooting, including 4-for-5 beyond the 3-point arc. For a team that came into the game ranked 25th in team field-goal percentage (42.6), it was like finding a wheelbarrow of grout in amongst a brickyard.
Oh, this is the way an offense is supposed to work.
““I’ve been in the league for 30 years and I have never seen a performance like that,” coach Don Nelson said.
Said Morrow: “Today was just one of those things. I mean, you don’t shoot 15-for-20. Sometimes, I don’t even shoot 15-for-20 in drills, man.”
Often times, though, he does. You can always tell when Morrow’s shooting in a practice situation; not only will he reel off a couple dozen 3-pointers in a row, but he’ll also pure probably 75 percent of those through the heart of the basket, not even thinking of brushing the iron on the way by.
That honeyed jumper is all most folks Warriors fans be talking about today, but there were two highlights of the game for Morrow that had nothing to do with shooting.
The first: His hard foul on center Marcus Camby with 4 minutes left in the first quarter, which sent a message to the Clippers that — undrafted rookie or no — Morrow was not going to be cowed by the situation.
And with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. Kelenna Azubuike misfired on a long 2 from the top of the key, but Morrow — the only Warrior below the free-throw line — tipped the ball not once but twice, scoring on the second try, while four Clippers stood in an impotent semi-circle around him, just watching.
That brings up another point that must be made: This happened against the Clippers, in an afternoon game, which in the late-night world of the NBA is the best equalizer of all.
(Quick aside: The early start was necessitated by the fact that the Kings were playing Saturday night; I thought Baron Davis was supposed to be a big draw in L.A., no? Yet he can’t even outrank hockey in his own hometown?)
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TagsAcie Law Al Harrington Allen Iverson Andris Biedrins Anthony Morrow Anthony Randolph Baron Davis Brandan Wright C.J. Watson Chris Cohan Chris Hunter Chris Mullin Corey Maggette Dan Dickau DeMarcus Nelson Devean George Don Nelson Gilbert Arenas Jamal Crawford Jason Richardson Jeff Fried Jermareo Davidson Keith Smart Kelenna Azubuike Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett Kobe Bryant Larry Riley Marco Belinelli Marcus Williams Matt Barnes Mickael Pietrus Mikki Moore Monta Ellis Patrick O'Bryant Richard Hendrix Robert Rowell Rob Kurz Ronny Turiaf Stephen Curry Stephen Jackson Stephon Marbury Steve Nash Troy Murphy Vladimir Radmanovic
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