» Patrick O’Bryant

  • 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.

    Read the rest of this entry…

  • 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

    OAKLAND — Warrior fans were treated to a tantalizing glimpse of the future Friday — at least until a couple of deficiencies dredged up from the past blotted out the landscape.

    The sight of second-year player Brandan Wright and rookie Anthony Randolph holding down the power forward slot in the absence of veteran Al Harrington (sore back) was a welcome one to fans who want to see the team build around those two potential stars.

    But a 55-41 rebounding deficit and 13 missed free throws — hallmarks of Warriors losses from throughout the 2000s — cost Golden State in a 109-104 loss to Memphis.

    “That’s a game we could have won,” guard Kelenna Azubuike said. “We’ve just got to take care of the little things down the stretch. We’ve got to knock down free throws, play defense. You can’t win like that. It’s that simple.”

    Fourteen offensive rebounds and 11 second-chance points in the first half served as a lifeline for the Grizzlies, who shot 37.5 percent from the floor but still were down just 50-48.

    That half nevertheless featured the first significant playing time for Randolph, who made his NBA debut Monday in Memphis with a meaningless 87 seconds. He came on with 4:24 left in the first quarter in place of Wright. He missed his first shot, a 19-foot jumper, and was called on the next possession for a foul trying to push Hakim Warrick off the block.

    “I was over excited,” Randolph said. “I’m not even sure how to describe it. It was more than excited. . . . I was probably having a little panic attack.”

    Randolph calmed down enough to collect eight points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes. After struggling with his outside shot for much of the exhibition season, it was gratifying for Randolph to gather all four of his buckets between 17 and 21 feet from the basket.

    “I thought he looked pretty good tonight,” Warriors coach Don Nelson said. “He had some nice moments, and he definitely has a presence to his game. . . . He got some consistent minutes and made his presence felt a little bit.”

    Wright, making the first of what’s expected to be many starts as the Warriors hand him the keys at power forward, finished with only six points, two rebounds and one chipped tooth in 21 minutes.

    Nevertheless, the framework was laid in place for a Wright/Randolph partnership.

    “I think once me…

  • Nov

    One of my favorite pieces from any NBA writer last season came from ESPN’s J.A. Adande, sizing up the Suns in the wake of their February acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal, and what it meant for Phoenix.

    Under Mike D’Antoni’s theory of basketball, a team should need only 7 seconds to get a shot off. Under Shaq’s theory of basketball, 7 seconds is the bare minimum to creep his way past the half-court line. The two views were patently incompatible, a fact Adande — spinning off the revolution once promised by D’Antoni’s system — wryly noted by saying, “La revolucion esta muerta.”

    There’s a little bit of that same “end of an era” vibe to the Warriors’ decision not to pick up the fourth-year option on point guard Marcus Williams.

    It’s not that Williams is likely to blossom into an All-Star next season for another team. But ridding themselves of Williams in this fashion, with no regard to salvaging even the slightest hint of value, highlights the fact that the apparent tug-of-war between team president Robert Rowell and executive vice president Chris Mullin for control of the franchise’s direction is threatening to take the team on a road to nowhere.

    It’s one thing to have a coach come in and decide that he doesn’t like a certain player. Happens all the time.

    To decide that a player whom you’ve just acquired a few months earlier — at the probable cost of a future first-round pick — is not worth a single season at $2.1 million is unusual.

    To decide that without seeing the player participate in a single regular-season game on your behalf is just ludicrous.

    Even Patrick O’Bryant, whom Nelson had no use for from the jump — and vice-versa — had a full season to prove himself before the team decided to deep-six him by similarly declining their option.

    It’s kind of astounding to look back at the volume of players who have failed, in two short years, to live up to Nelson’s standards. One item from Al Harrington’s various pronouncements on Tuesday that I really do believe is something he told Marcus Thompson II:

    “We all know how Nellie is. We all know his history. If you’re not one of his dudes, you ain’t never going to be one of his dudes.”

    O’Bryant can back that up.

    So can Ike Diogu.

    And Troy Murphy.

    Or Adonal Foyle.

    Even Sarunas Jasikevicius.

    And Kosta Perovic.

    Heck, even some guys who started out as Nelson favorites — hello, Matt Barnes…

  • Oct

    By Geoff Lepper

    The annual talk in Warriors camp of improvement on defense begins to sound a bit like the NBA’s version of Chicken Little after a few years.

    But the patter grew in importance this time around because of the absence of injured guard Monta Ellis. Not that Ellis was a particularly sticky defender; he was far too easily rubbed off on screens last season, and despite his quickness, rarely put intensive pressure on a ballhandler before the mid-court line.

    But without Ellis’ innate scoring talents, the Warriors figure they’ll need to lock things down tight defensively to compensate.

    “Most Don Nelson teams aren’t teams that have had to hang their hat on defense,” Warriors forward Al Harrington said earlier this month, before his rift with the coach was brought to light. “But we’re going to have to, in order to hold the fort down until Monta gets back.”

    The results were mixed in the Warriors’ 108-103 loss to open the season on Wednesday. With Stephen Jackson playing all 48 minutes, primarily at the point guard position, Golden State was able to switch with impunity, as Nelson wanted. But the Hornets still shot 50 percent from the floor, and the Warriors only generated 14 turnovers, down from their average of 16.9 last season.

    Golden State had come in with reasonably optimistic expectations after a solid set of exhibition games.

    “I think we had one game that I wasn’t pleased, but with our defensive grade system, if you get in the 60s, from 60 to 65, you’re probably going to win,” Nelson said. “And our total grade point was 59 for the preseason. It was pretty strong.”

    That’s a change. There’s no point comparing raw scoring totals, since the Golden State’s pace of play skews that data so heavily, but a look at other benchmarks, such as opponent field-goal percentage, shows that Warriors of recent vintage have not fared well. Only once in the last nine seasons have they finished higher than 20th on that list.

    “We have guys that can play defense here,” newcomer Ronny Turiaf said. “Maybe the writers are not talking about it, or didn’t talk about it in the past, but I think that’s going to be a surprise to everybody, to see that somebody else can really play lockdown defense.”

    During the preseason, the Warriors were better at providing help defense than they had been last season, but began to suffer breakdowns when the player…