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.
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.”
Mar24Filed under: News; Tagged as: Aaron Goodwin, Adonal Foyle, Al Harrington, Anthony Randolph, Brandan Wright, Don Nelson, Jamal Crawford, Marco Belinelli, Marcus Williams, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus, Mike Dunleavy, Monta Ellis, Monte Poole, Patrick O'Bryant, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Stephen Jackson, Troy Murphy
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.
By Geoff Lepper
The departure of assistant coach Sidney Moncrief — who took leave of the Warriors on Thursday so he could join the Beijing Ducks as a consultant — should prompt a second look at Golden State’s stats from the free-throw line, since Moncrief was in charge of raising them to seldom-reached heights this season.
Golden State is converting 76.0 percent of its foul shots through 37 games (823 of 1,083), a mark that, if it holds up, would be a 4.3 percent jump from last season and the team’s second-best free-throw figure in the last 11 years (the Warriors of 2002-03 knocked down 77.8 percent).
But a closer examination of the numbers shows the increase is due more to roster moves than anything else; adding Jamal Crawford (99-for-111, 89.2% this season, career 83.9%) and Corey Maggette (130-for-155, 83.9%, career 82.0%) while subtracting Baron Davis (318-for-424, 75.0% last season) and Mickael Pietrus (66-for-98, 67.3%) will provide a spike in any team’s success rate.
That’s not to say Moncrief did a poor job. Comparing the six players who have spent the last two seasons with the team, four of them have increased their FT% from 2007-08, although some of the sample sizes from last season are so small as to make the comparisons silly.
Dec31Filed under: News; Tagged as: Andrea Bargnani, Andris Biedrins, Brandan Wright, Bruce Bowen, Chris Bosh, Derek Fisher, Don Nelson, Greg Willard, Jason Kapono, Jason Richardson, Kevin Garnett, Leon Powe, Leon Wood, Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, Mickael Pietrus, Monta Ellis, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Tony Allen
By Geoff Lepper
In 18 months as an NBA player, Marco Belinelli’s stock has gone through more roles than a TV character actor: Summer League star, Jason Richardson replacement, defensive sieve, bench ornament, unhappy camper, trade bait.
So is Belinelli’s latest turn — reborn playmaker — just another phase, destined to vanish like the next full moon?
It’s still too early to tell for certain, but in the 13 games since Don Nelson refocused the Warriors’ attack, Belinelli has already weathered one dip and ridden it out. I figured that after back-to-back poor performances in Florida — combined 7-for-24 shooting with four turnovers against five assists in Orlando and Miami — Belinelli’s run was at an end, and that he would go back to being a pumpkin, metaphorically speaking.
Instead, he had one of his two best games of the season in the Warriors’ 117-111 win over Toronto on Monday: 23 points, 6-12 FG, 5-8 3FG, 6-6 FT, 6 AST, 2 TO.
After that game, Warriors coach Don Nelson said Belinelli was succeeding in the team’s revamped, Euro-style offense — 47.5 FG, 40.0 3FG, 16.0 PPG, 3.3 APG — because “he’s a much better shooter on the move than he is stationary.”
I disagree. Belinelli has tamed the wild leg kick that used to punctuate his shooting motion, but he still often twists his lower body to the left when he fires while moving, both off the dribble and situations where he catches and shoots on a cut.
In the Toronto game, for example, Belinelli was 1-for-6 off dribble-drives, 1-for-2 while catching on the move, and 4-for-4 (three of those from deep) on standing shots. All three of those treys came on plays that began with Stephen Jackson driving and drawing multiple defenders, then kicking out, either directly to Belinelli or through an intermediary.
The bigger surprise on offense has been Belinelli’s emergence as a passer. He’s never going to be a straight point guard in the NBA, not unless he significantly upgrades his open-court ballhandling, but as a half-court initiator, he’s just a half-step behind Jackson and Jamal Crawford in terms of finding open shooters.
The style of Belinelli’s passing makes it seem as though he’s cavalierly throwing the ball around. Just as many Italians would find speech without the punctuation provided by their hand gestures to be unacceptably bland, Belinelli seems to use a two-handed chest pass only as a means of last resort. Witness Belinelli’s behind-the-back…
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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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