» Matt Barnes

  • Sep

    By Geoff Lepper

    OAKLAND — In the aftermath of the conflagration set ablaze by Stephen Jackson and, even more so, Monta Ellis, now is as good a time as any to note this fact: Just because a player has an obvious agenda when talking to the press doesn’t mean that he can’t still be correct while doing so.

    Jackson wanted to use his 20 minutes to reiterate and emphasize his desire not to waste his final NBA years toiling for a team that seems destined for eternal 34-48 damnation. And Ellis took 15 minutes to press the fact that whether or not you want to call him the point guard, he expects to play 35-plus minutes a night and to have the ball in his hands for pretty much every single one of them.

    But in making those points, the Warriors’ captains revealed some deeper truths that the organization doesn’t want to acknowledge: Namely, that they’re on the wrong track. In every sense.

    I understand why the Warriors did what they did. Bobby Rowell wanted to avoid salary-cap strangulation such as the situation that led to Gilbert Arenas being able to walk out the door. Additionally, no president of any organization keeps their job without being in the black, and in nine seasons with Rowell at the helm, the team has cleared (according to Forbes, at least) an average of $4.7 million in profits each year.

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  • Sep

    By Geoff Lepper

    I’ve been wondering for a few months now when I should emerge from my hiatus and kick off the 2009-10 season of 48minutes.net.

    Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis made it clear for me on Monday afternoon.

    How could one not post about the Warriors’ Media Day truth-telling, where Golden State’s two best players came out and basically trashed the franchise’s biggest moves, both past and future?

    Not only did Jackson refuse to back down from his trade demand of last month, but he also lambasted the team for slipping backwards with every move they’ve made since the “We Believe” crew made it to the Western Conference semifinals in 2007. Jackson ticked off the list of departed players from that team — Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Al Harrington, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus — and admitted at one point that, “It felt like I’m next.”

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  • Mar

    By Geoff Lepper

    Things have gotten so ridiculous in the Jamal Crawford-Don Nelson power struggle that it’s prompted a first in the (admittedly short) history of this site: The retraction of an earlier entry.

    Back in November, when the Warriors swapped unhappy forward Al Harrington to the Knicks for Crawford, I wrote that it was the best deal Golden State could have made at that time.

    My position was that since the Warriors had already cashed in their future salary-cap space by giving a maximum-allowed contract extension to Stephen Jackson, throwing away Harrington’s expiring deal wasn’t a horrible move it would have been for some teams.

    [Sidebar on the Jackson deal: It still boggles the mind that the Warriors agreed to that extension some 18 months before a decision needed to be reached. There still has not been any adequate explanation (check that, no explanation AT ALL) by anyone at 1011 Broadway (including, most notably, team president Bobby Rowell, who hashed out the contract details with Jackson) about why Golden State abandoned two years’ worth of tough-as-nails negotiating stances with every member of its roster, then threw a pile of cash in Jackson’s lap.]

    And exchanging someone who had no intention of playing here again for a guy in Crawford who can create off the dribble and shoot from distance could only help in the short term.

    But after four months of watching the Jamal Crawford Era in Oakland, I can say this with certainty:

    The Warriors should have eaten Harrington’s contract rather than pull the trigger on that deal.

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  • 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…

  • Nov

    By Geoff Lepper

    When the Golden State Warriors put together Stephen Jackson with Matt Barnes and Baron Davis almost two years ago, skeptics wondered how long it would take before three players with those kind of combustible on-court personalities totally lost it in an emotional outburst.

    As it turned out, the triumvirate worked surprisingly well. Certainly, there were hiccups in the playoffs — the ejections in Dallas, the bitter ending in Salt Lake City — but in general, when one of the three started to have his blood boil because of a blown call or a cheap shot, the other two were there to turn that fire into constructive motivation, rather than destructive rage.

    Sixteen games into the 2008-09 Warriors season, it’s becoming clear: Jackson needs an equal to provide him the leadership he’s being asked to give the rest of the team. There is no calming factor in place when Jackson starts to get his dander up, and that helps neither him nor the Warriors.

    Without someone to talk in Jackson’s ear and focus his indignation, it seems like whenever he feels wronged by the referees, the next possession is practically guaranteed to come down to him going mano y mano, as if to say to the officiating crew, “You think I didn’t get fouled last time? How about now?”

    The Warriors’ 112-97 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday gave us yet another example.

    With the Warriors holding a 38-34 lead, Jackson dribbled into traffic, created contact but didn’t get a call. The next time down the floor, Jackson went on what I described in my notes as “a frustration drive,” although this time it worked out in his favor, with a foul called on Anderson Varejao.

    It didn’t stop there. Jackson dominated the next possession, posting up Mo Williams and drawing another foul. The next time down, he posted up but found Corey Maggette for a 3-pointer. (Maggette promptly airballed it, but that’s a whole other topic.)

    Finally, Jackson posted up Daniel Gibson and, while working with his back to the basket, had the ball stolen by LeBron James, who went coast-to-coast for the dunk.

    After Andris Biedrins missed in the lane, Jackson deliberately hacked James. Then he yapped at a referee (I believe it was Tom Washington, but can’t be sure) on his way to the bench after being pulled for Jamal Crawford.

    I can empathize with Jackson’s frustration. I don’t think this isn’t just about…