» Raymond Felton

  • Dec

    By Geoff Lepper

    Warriors coach Don Nelson has admitted on multiple occasions that his team’s small lineup couldn’t match up, talent-wise, with what the opposition put on the floor on a given night.

    Against Charlotte on Saturday, that equation was flipped on its head: it was the Bobcats who couldn’t hang with the Warriors’ two-tower configuration of Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf and three wing players.

    For one 6 1/2-minute stretch in the third quarter, the Warriors outscored the Bobcats 23-6 using a lineup of Biedrins, Turiaf, Kelenna Azubuike, Jamal Crawford and Marco Belinelli (replaced near the end by C.J. Watson). That was the turning point in Golden State’s 110-103 win; the stretch ended with the Warriors up 81-69, and Charlotte never got closer than five points after that.

    The Turiaf-Biedrins lineup played a total of 10:37 on Saturday, after getting some (less successful) run against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday:

    Lineup data for Golden State's game No. 27: Hawks 115, Warriors 99

    Lineup data for Golden State's game No. 28: Warriors 110, Bobcats 103

    Those two games represent the fifth- and sixth-highest total of playing for the Turiaf-Biedrins configuration this season, and you have to wonder how much of that is due to any added influence has gained Keith Smart as the team’s defensive coordinator.

    Smart has no problem using the young bigs — recall the game in Houston when Brandan Wright didn’t sniff a second of playing time until Nelson was ejected, and then Smart brought in Wright almost immediately, helping spark one of the team’s only decent stints on the evening — and dumping small ball when necessary.

    Of course, it might just be simpler than that. During most of the 23-6 stretch, Charlotte’s Larry Brown, who never met a 12-year veteran he didn’t like, was trying to get by with Juwan Howard at the 4 alongside Emeka Okafor, and the Warriors pinpointed that spot as something to exploit.

    Howard was overmatched by Turiaf at both ends of the floor; in 12 offensive possessions, the Warriors ran their screen-roll with Turiaf as the big four times, scoring a total of eight points on those plays. Turiaf also handed off the ball twice in the high post to a curling Crawford, who knocked down an open 3-pointer off one of them with 5:17 left in the third.

    There are distinct differences in the Warriors’ S/R with Turiaf as the screener versus Biedrins. Since Turiaf’s own offensive arsenal features much more mid-range jumpers (as opposed to Biedrins’ game, which is much more based on rolling through the lane), he’s able to sell out…

  • Oct

    Warriors forward Al Harrington is finally telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, apparently.

    After claiming early Tuesday afternoon that he “wasn’t at that point” of demanding a trade, Harrington hours later did in fact march into executive vice president Chris Mullin’s office to demand a trade, according to his own testimony in other outlets.

    Not much I can add to that. Obviously, my earlier report — while accurate in terms of quoting Harrington — was proven inaccurate because of the underlying deceit. Mea culpa.

    One thing I will be asking Al later this morning is why he didn’t go public over the summer to try to force the Warriors’ hand. Doing it the day before the season makes him come off as the bad guy, his team-first claims notwithstanding; a concerted effort in June and July would have allowed him to hold the upper hand in the PR war at this point.

    Until then, here are some possible trade partners and targets for the Warriors:

    CHICAGO: Kirk Hinrich
    He’s a superfluous hybrid guard on a team that also has Larry Hughes, Ben Gordon and No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose. Of course, he’s also got $36.5 million remaining on a deal that runs through 2011-12, and a defensive pairing with Monta Ellis would be akin in some ways to laying a welcome mat to the hoop.

    MEMPHIS: Javaris Crittenton
    Long of arm but short on accomplishments, Crittendon is probably the biggest reach in this group, although there are other bonuses to be had: Because the Grizzlies have so much room under the salary cap, the cost-conscious Warriors don’t have to take any other contracts back, although Memphis will presumably try to foist a Marko Jaric or Greg Buckner on them.

    CHARLOTTE: Raymond Felton
    This might be the best fit of these choices. Not only is Felton available because of the presence of D.J. Augustin, but the Bobcats are desperate for frontcourt help because they chose Augustin over Brook Lopez, and don’t want to play Emeka Okafor out of position at power forward.

    OKLAHOMA CITY: Earl Watson
    Another situation where a highly touted rookie (Russell Westbrook) has been brought onboard, making Watson more sellable. With the addition of a second player to balance out the salaries, longtime potential Warrior Chris Wilcox could also be discussed.

    ATLANTA: Speedy Claxton
    When Josh Childress was still in the fold, there wasn’t that much need for Harrington in Atlanta. With Childress plying his trade in…

  • Oct

    There’s no denying it: Anthony Randolph has star power. The only question is how quickly he can learn to harness it.

    Friday night (Saturday afternoon in Beijing), Randolph looked a bit like the NBA’s answer to Amy Winehouse. To be sure, there were lapses in judgment (the traveling call for no good reason and the wild, off-balance 17-footer come to mind), but there were also plenty of instances of an incandescent raw talent on display.

    Foremost on that list — even better than the ridiculous hops that led to putback dunks or the defensive rebounding, which has historically been such a weak point for this franchise — was Randolph’s shot-blocking ability.

    He had four on the night, the first three in rapid succession during a 2 1/2-minute stretch of the first quarter.

    Randolph kept his feet when Bucks rookie Joe Alexander — who was selected six spots ahead of Randolph in June’s NBA draft — tried to shake him on the box, and totally snuffed Alexander’s 5-footer.

    He zoomed in as a weakside help defender when Andrew Bogut tried to flip up a hook shot, and quickly deposited that attempt behind a row of camerapeople arrayed along the baseline.

    Finally, he blasted a scoop runner from Luke Ridnour as though this was beach volleyball and he was trying out to be Kerri Walsh’s new partner. The ball crossed midcourt on its first bounce, whereupon Corey Maggette scooped it up for a breakaway dunk.

    Last season for the Warriors, of the nine players who got more than 400 minutes on the floor (i.e., at least 5 per game), Andris Biedrins was the most prolific shot-blocker at 2.17 per 48 minutes. This year, he could easily end up fourth behind Randolph, Brandan Wright and Ronny Turiaf. And that would be fantastic news for Golden State.

    ** As much as I liked several things Wright did at the offensive end Friday, the fact that he was one of the Warriors’ worst scorers on the +/- scale (-8, tied with Richard Hendrix) for a second consecutive game is a little worrisome. Wright did not seem comfortable defensively when matched up with Alexander. I think we’ll see is Randolph playing against smaller guys he doesn’t have to worry about defending in the low block, while Wright gets the heavier defensive assignments.

    ** Anyone who thinks Al Harrington is not going to play is deluding themselves. He’s the only power forward the Warriors have who…