Feb12Filed under: Commentary; Tagged as: Allen Iverson, Amare Stoudemire, Andris Biedrins, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Randolph, Bryan Colangelo, C.J. Watson, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Chris Quinn, Corey Maggette, Daequan Cook, Don Nelson, Dwyane Wade, Erik Spoelstra, Joel Anthony, Joey Graham, Kelenna Azubuike, Kevin Garnett, Louis Amundson, Monta Ellis, Richard Hendrix, Shaquille O'Neal, Stephen Jackson, Steve Kerr, Udonis Haslem
By Geoff Lepper
OAKLAND – With Kelenna Azubuike, C.J. Watson and Anthony Morrow all playing critical roles to this point, the Golden State Warriors are one of only two teams in the NBA this season to have three former D-League or undrafted free agents among their top eight players (in terms of minutes played).
Even though 2008 second-round pick Richard Hendrix was cut loose months ago, Warriors coach Don Nelson doesn’t think that qualifies as a sign of bad scouting. Rather, it’s an indication of the specificity that teams can shop with when cruising the D-League aisles.
“I’ve felt for a long time that the D-League is better than most second-rounders that you get,” Nelson said. “You can get a guy in the D-League (who is) a specialist because you can zero in on positions there more than the draft. The draft, you’re taking chances on talent and what you’re gonna get, not what you get (immediately). In the D-League, you pretty well can tell what you have.”
“The first round has been diluted here the last 10 years, but still, if there’s some greatness there, that’s probably where you find it.”
The only other team that has three or more D-League/undrafted free agents among its top eight players this season is the Miami Heat. Rookie coach Erik Spoelstra has ridden the likes of Udonis Haslem, Daequan Cook, Joel Anthony and Chris Quinn to a 27-24 record that’s put the Heat in a tie for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. (That figure also ranks 10 games better than the Warriors’ current 18-35 mark, if you’re scoring at home.)
The difference, of course, is Dwyane Wade, a four-time All-Star (in only his sixth season) who’s light-years ahead of any Warrior in terms of individual ability.
By Geoff Lepper
The frontline void for the Warriors is kind of like the U.S. school system: You can throw however much money and manpower you want at it, and it just doesn’t seem to make a whit of difference.
The latest attempt to stem this tide is Jermareo Davidson, who was originally selected 36th overall in the 2007 draft by the Warriors but was traded before the night was out to the Charlotte Bobcats, along with Jason Richardson, for Brandan Wright.
Davidson, brought in today on a 10-day contract, essentially replaces Richard Hendrix, who was cut loose on Dec. 18 when Monta Ellis had to be transferred back from the suspended list to the inactive squad. It’s a funny coincidence, since they played together at Alabama for two seasons and were the two leading scorers on the Tide’s 2006-07 team. Here are the stats from that season (and remember that Hendrix was a sophomore, while Davidson was a senior):
By Geoff Lepper
There’s been a fair amount of statistical data collected that shows the Warriors have fared better in the short stints where they’ve played their two centers, Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf, together on the floor.
That’s why, in Golden State’s 131-112 loss to Houston on Friday, Rockets center Yao Ming tried to break that pair up as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, Turiaf helped Yao push him to the six-foul limit.
Turiaf lasted only 22 minutes, and Biedrins 32, before they both fouled out. In the 17 minutes and 35 seconds Biedrins and Turiaf were able to team up, the Warriors outscored the Rockets, 39-34. In the remaining 30:25, Houston topped Golden State, 97-73.
Warriors coach Don Nelson made clear earlier in the week that he wanted to use Biedrins (who is not very effective when giving up a large weight difference) on Yao only as a last resort. So it was no shock that Turiaf earned his second start of the season and drew the unenviable duty of serving as Yao’s speed bump.
But the fact that Turiaf had five fouls in the first half — and was done for the night with 21:30 still to play — was not entirely attributable to the bulk of Yao. Some of it was Turiaf — who averages 5.7 fouls per 36 minutes over the course of his NBA career — not being able to contain himself.
Here’s a breakdown of Turiaf’s six infractions:
First quarter, 6:08 remaining: Turiaf defending on the right block behind Yao, who takes an entry pass from Rafer Alston. Corey Maggette and Stephen Jackson both come on a double/triple, but Turiaf it whistled for bodying up too hard.
First, 1:49: Alston loops around the backside of an inattentive Jamal Crawford to steal the ball, setting off a 3-on-2 break with Crawford and Turiaf as the defenders. Turiaf fouls Carl Landry on the trial layup try.
Second, 7:54: Von Wafer rebounds Crawford’s missed 3 from the left corner and dribbles into the frontcourt. With Crawford (who toppled backwards into the Warriors bench after the miss) late getting into the play, no one steps up to stop the ball and Wafer slices straight down the middle of the lane. Turiaf eaches in with a no-hope swipe at the ball and gets caught. Turiaf was pulled at that point, but came back in after a rest of only 2:15.
Second, 3:00: This was probably the one foul Turiaf could most legitimately complain…
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…
The changes for the Warriors aren’t just limited to the front office.
Brandan Wright will start this evening at power forward, replacing veteran Al Harrington, who was set to see a doctor Friday afternoon for an MRI on his sore lower back, which he said has been hurting him since training camp.
And Kelenna Azubuike will open on the wing in place of Corey Maggette, who still holds out some hope that he might be able to go Sunday in Sacramento. Maggette’s right hamstring, which he originally hurt in China, is now healed. The left one, which he strained in Memphis last week, is still questionable.
(As a funny aside, Maggette can practically qualify as an M.D., at least in hamstrings, after injuring them twice last season and twice more this season. “I’ve learned how to read my own MRIs,” Maggette said. “The doctors come in, and I say, ‘Those white lines (micro-tears in the muscle fiber) don’t look good.’”)
Harrington said he tried to keep his own injury quiet early on so it wouldn’t jeopardize any potential trade opportunities, but “since the trip to Toronto (Oct. 31), it’s been killing me.”
It also wouldn’t shock me to see C.J. Watson, who played 42 minutes in the 111-101 win over Denver on Wednesday and provided 14 points, five rebounds and four assists, replace DeMarcus Nelson in the starting lineup, although coach Don Nelson has declined to discuss any potential changes there.
Don Nelson did allow that guard Marcus Williams has “made weight” and will suit up, so the inactive list looks like it will be Maggette, Harrington and mostly likely either Richard Hendrix or Anthony Morrow.
After the 7-1, 265-pound Marc Gasol just toyed with the Warriors in the paint on Monday, this seems like the right time to finally deploy Hendrix. After all, if you’re going to have a (team-high) 255-pound plodder on a high-tempo team and you don’t use him in this situation, then why on Earth is he here?
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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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