December 31, 2009

Lost Decade, Part 4: The Aughtie Awards

Best Player Of The Decade: Baron Davis
There is no other defensible answer. He was only around for three years and change, and missed more than half a season's worth of games due to injuries. His work wasn't MVP-level or All-NBA level; even at his very peak, he was probably never one of the best dozen players in the league. But when healthy, he played at a much higher level than any other Warrior even approached. The Aughts Warriors were a .551 team with Baron Davis on the floor, and a .331 team without him. Our few bright moments of the decade came about mostly of one man's basketball genius, and that man is not Don Nelson. Thanks, Baron... it was fun.

Worst Player Of The Decade: Adonal Foyle
I love this man, I truly do. And he did some things very, very well... in his prime, he'd have made a splendid backup for a playoff team. But we gave him too many minutes, too much money, and too many chances; his defense, while brilliant, couldn't make up for his bottom-tier offensive skills and horrible rebounding. He can write a poem, he can heal a village, he can light up a room with his smile, but Adonal Foyle can not help you very much on the basketball court. We spent a decade pretending otherwise. Our futility in that decade was not coincidental.

Most Underrated Player Of The Decade: Andris Biedrins
He may have contributed more in the decade than any Warrior except Baron, he single-handedly kept us viable on the glass in our only two competitive seasons, and he remains on pace to hold the NBA career record for field-goal percentage... there are few records that are more significant from a winning standpoint than that one. And yet even now, when people talk about who the best player on the Warriors is, Andris Biedrins's name rarely gets mentioned. Wake up, people: this cat is the best thing we've got going.

Most Overrated Player Of The Decade: Jason Richardson
J-Rich was a decent shooting guard, but no better... his defensive weakness negated most of his offensive value. Most years he was not even an above-average player at his position, the least important position on the floor. There is no worse type of player to give star-level money to than a middling shooting guard. We traded J-Rich to the Bobcats; we got better, they got worse. The Bobcats traded J-Rich to the Suns; 'Cats got better, Suns got worse. Jason Richardson is simply not a winning player. And while he was a charming and proud Warrior, I'm really, really, really not sure he's a great guy... it's time to stop mourning his loss. (Stephen Jackson was in the conversation for this award, but we didn't delude ourselves into thinking he was a star for as long as we did with J-Rich.)

Lost Decade, Part 3: Player Records, '00-'09

Games Played

1. Adonal Foyle, 515

2. Jason Richardson, 438

3. Troy Murphy, 359

4. Mike Dunleavy, 356

5. Andris Biedrins, 324

6. Mickael Pietrus, 310

7. Erick Dampier, 293

8. Antawn Jamison, 282

9. Monta Ellis, 263

10. Baron Davis, 217


1. Jason Richardson, 8008

2. Antawn Jamison, 5946

3. Baron Davis, 4567

4. Monta Ellis, 4507

5. Troy Murphy, 4024

6. Mike Dunleavy, 3778

7. Stephen Jackson, 3478

8. Andris Biedrins, 2711

9. Mickael Pietrus, 2669

10. Larry Hughes, 2443


1. Troy Murphy, 2957

2. Adonal Foyle, 2678

3. Andris Biedrins, 2641

4. Jason Richardson, 2363

5. Erick Dampier, 2201


1. Baron Davis, 1845

2. Jason Richardson, 1394

3. Monta Ellis, 967

4. Mookie Blaylock, 923

5. Stephen Jackson, 896

Lost Decade, Part 2: Single-Game Records, '00-'09

Team Highs

Most Points Scored: 146 (Warriors 146, Timberwolves 105, 11-9-09)

Most Points Allowed: 154 (Suns 154, Warriors 130, 3-15-09)

Fewest Points Scored: 65 (Rockets 83, Warriors 65, 1-05-04)

Fewest Points Allowed: 71 (Warriors 90, Knicks 71, 11-10-11)

Most Rebounds: 72 (Suns 106, Warriors 102, 2-13-05)

Most Rebounds Allowed: 66 (Kings 117, Warriors 91, 3-18-03)

Most Assists: 39 (Warriors 122, Grizzlies 117, 4-1-07)

Most Assists Allowed: 42 (Nuggets 140, Warriors 129, 11-24-06)

Most Blocks: 18 (Nuggets 108, Warriors 92, 4-13-01)

Most Times Blocked: 24 (Raptors 109, Warriors 92, 11-7-01)

Most Steals: 22 (Warriors 146, Timberwolves 105, 11-9-09)

Most Steals Allowed: 17 (vs. ORL 11-12-00, vs. DEN 4-12-02)

Most Turnovers: 31 (Kings 115, Warriors 84, 11-8-00)

Most Turnovers, Opponent: 29 (Jazz 100, Warriors 78, 1-23-01)

Most Fouls: 41 (Wizards 129, Warriors 124, 2-8-06)

Most Times Fouled: 42 (Jazz 117, Warriors 108, 2-27-06)

Most Threes Made: 18 (3-12-05, 4-8-05, 1-3-07)

Most Threes Made, Opponent: 16 (Magic 113, Warriors 81)

Biggest Margin Of Victory: 43 (Warriors 135, Magic 92, 11-16-02)

Biggest Margin Of Defeat: 40 (Spurs 129, Warriors 89, 12-4-06)

Longest Game: 63 minutes (vs. NOH 11-23-04, vs. SAC 1-14-09)

December 30, 2009

Lost Decade, Part 1: The Warriors' Record, '00-'09

Tuesday night's loss to the Lakers represented not only a heartening sign, but a closing chapter... the Warriors have completed their Aughts assignments. A grotesque decade's worth of basketball, spanning from a 1-3-00 loss in DC to a 12-29-09 loss in LA, is now in the books. And while many will wait till season's end to view NBA teams through an "end of the decade" lens, we Worriers will not hold off our reckoning any longer. Let's take a look at the damage here, starting with the overall performance of the team.

(Warning: this series will mention many names, games and moments you have tried very hard to forget. Proceed with caution, if not outright dread.)

The Warriors played 822 regular-season games in the Aughts, and a mere eleven playoff games, all of which you probably remember. Our final regular-season record for the decade is 322-500... Tuesday night's loss, in other words, was quite a milestone. Our .392 winning percentage was the lowest in franchise history for any decade, topping the previous .405 low of the '80s. No matter how you count it, in fact, this was the Warriors' worst decade: most losses, worst record, fewest playoff appearances, fewest playoff wins. Our feeble record also extended a cold streak that reaches back to Truman: we've registered a losing record in five of the last six decades.

We were the fifth-worst NBA team of the Aughts, behind only the Bobcats, the Grizzlies, the Clippers and (how things change) the Hawks. The Bobcats have not made the playoffs in their five-year existence... every other NBA team made the playoffs at least once in the decade. The only two teams to make the playoffs only once were the Clippers and Warriors, and the Clippers stretched their second-round playoff appearance to seven games, while we only stretched ours to five. It could be argued that nobody made less of an impact on the '00-'09 NBA landscape than we did.

No West, Young Man

A brief note on the recent rumblings that the Warriors are interested in acquiring David West. Many fans have praised the idea of going after him, arguing that West is the exact kind of skilled power forward we need to get to the next level.

David West's '09-'10 stats, per 36:
17.6 points on 15.4 shots, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.2 turnovers, 0.7 blocks, 0.7 steals, 2.7 fouls

Anthony Randolph's December '09 stats, per 36:
17.2 points on 13.7 shots, 9.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.1 turnovers, 2.8 blocks, 1.0 steals, 3.9 fouls

Trading for David West would be a mistake for a number of reasons, but the biggest one is this: he's not as good as our current power forward. Right now, Anthony Randolph is not only better than David West, he's better than David West at just about everything.

GSW @ LAL 12/29/09: PostThoughts

Is there a purer possible distillation of good vs. evil than Anthony Morrow vs. Sasha Vujacic? Anthony Morrow should not get a technical just because he realizes what a boner Sasha is. Sasha should get a technical for every breath he has the audacity to take.

Anyway, this was our best performance of the season. Bar none. Not even close.

We didn't have the Oracle faithful to buoy us; no Warrior had a career night; the whistles did not tilt hugely in our direction; we were not significantly more rested than our opponent. There was no "Bad News Bears" vibe to our early lead. We faced the world champions in their building, on a night when they were determined to wash the taste of a bad loss out of their mouths. We took them to the limit, with no asterisks.

The level of basketball we played last night is sustainable. We're not going to shoot 55% from the field every night, but if we pass that intelligently, and compete on defense and the glass as we did, we will be a real basketball team, night in and night out. The Golden State Warriors didn't look like a bad team having a good game; they just looked like a pretty good basketball team. This was the most mature and impressive performance we've given since the Baron days.

I'd predicted that this game would be more interesting on an individual level than a teamwide level. That could not have been more wrong; just about every Warrior played well, and they played so cohesively that singling anyone out seems beside the point. (Best stat of the night: seven of the nine Warriors who played recorded at least three assists.) There is only one personnel specific that I'll point to... I've beaten it into the ground already, but apparently further beatings are necessary.

December 29, 2009

GSW @ LAL 12/29/09: PreThoughts

The Lakers... ew. These guys are dicks.

This is a road game, the second half of a back-to-back (there really should be some helpful abbreviation for that), against the league's best team, which is also the team we're least-equipped to combat. And with these last two thrilling wins, we've done our good deeds for the week. This is one of the lowest-pressure games we'll play all season... no shame in going quietly tonight. Any intrigue will come on the individual level.

The main things to look for: decent stamina and touch from Biedrins and Turiaf. A touch of poise from Randolph in the face of the league's premier front line. Some type of bounceback night from Curry. A commitment from Nellie to competing on the glass all night, even if our larger lineups go down early (it's not like our smaller lineups won't).

Above all, it'd be nice to see a disciplined game from Monta Ellis, our Warrior to Watch. He's coming off of a brilliant showing, and will be eager to do make noise, given that he's going head-to-head with a living legend... all the elements are in place for one of his eight-turnover nights. If Monta can avoid trying to do too much, despite all the recent accolades and the fun of testing Kobe, it will be a sign of real growth. Learning when to do less is important.

The Laker to watch: Pau Gasol. All of our bigs -- hell, all of our players -- should take notes on his sophistication and precision in the post.

Housekeeping, Simmons

It has been asked how one might contact the makers of this blog. A reasonable question, indeed... our computerin' is not yet up to snuff, and you'll have to bear with us on certain details. For now, feel free to direct any questions, comments, suggestions and criticisms to goldenstateworriers | at | gmail | dot | com. We would love to hear from you. And Twitter? Oh, yeah, you can find us on Twitter. BIGTIME. Better jump aboard this train before it leaves the station; we are gaining a new follower every five or six days.

Down to business. A commenter has asked us to weigh in on Bill Simmons's recent weighing in on the squad's direction.

Now, we Worriers read the Sports Guy with the same pronounced ambivalence that most Americans do. We want him to hold himself to a higher standard joke-wise. We want him to settle down about Larry Bird. Above all, we want him to never, ever write about poker again (yeah, nothing shows you're a true-blue veteran card player like quoting "Rounders," you fucking chickenhead). A lot of the time, Bill Simmons annoys us something fierce.

But he's also a funny and perceptive writer, and we respect those who, like us, care more about the NBA than the stupid amateurs in the college game. More to the point, when Simmons pops in on the Warriors, he almost always has a solid handle on the state of play, and his most recent piece is no exception.

(We'll quote most of the Warriors section. This may anger ESPN, but it's not like they're going to sue us... those milquetoasts don't have the balls.)

Tuesday Potpourri: Plus-Minus, Monster Monta, Lucky Sevens

• An 82games update has come down the pike. These stats are updated through the morning of the 26th, so consider this a snapshot of the team at (what will hopefully be) its nadir:

Corey Maggette is finally the proud owner of a positive net plus-minus... no Warrior has done more to earn one. Other than that, and the pandemic tinge of extra crappiness four additional losses will add, there haven't been many big changes since the last time we looked. The on-court plus-minus numbers are getting pretty scary here, with only CJ and Hunter still in the black as of this update, and every other player rating -3.0 per 48 or worse. Monta's net number is a bit less horrifying than previously, but only because we've played less scorchingly well without him; we still (even factoring in the last two games) play like a 60-loss team when he's on the floor.

BOS @ GSW 12/28/09: PostThoughts

Another win! Fun!

Must be acknowledged early: a ton of bad calls in our favor tonight. If the zebras tilted against us that hard in a game, we'd be screaming bloody murder; we got damn lucky here. Still. Fun.

Good performances aplenty. Monta gave the kind of mature, strap-your-team-to-your-back superstar turn he's often incorrectly credited with... he was spectacular tonight, with no asterisks. CJ did great with a brutally tough assignment. Morrow had his second solid all-around game in a row, which is nice to see from a supposedly one-dimensional guy. Turiaf provided the passing, fire and blooper-heavy rim play that defines him; Maggette contributed despite a rare off-kilter scoring night; Vlad did his job nicely. And man, Randolph had himself a run or two. Only two bad games from Warrior players, and I'm not worried about the first, as it's reasonable to assume that Andris Biedrins will start making a couple of those. Curry... well, Curry stank. He probably didn't deserve to be put in the deep freezer for the night, but it was certainly one of those games where you see just how far a young guy has to go.

Nellie's coaching performance was not without its weirdness. He made two substitutions at center in one three-minute stretch, and yet only one substitution in the backcourt all night. He rode several guys for too long, gassing them badly, and his Radmanoviciophilia still disturbs me. But a deal is a deal: he gave us 66 minutes of honest-to-God big men on a night where Biedrins had a low minutes ceiling, and as such, Nellie gets an automatic thumbs-up for tonight. He also went with our best starting lineup so far this year (the optimal one would sub in CJ for Curry, but no matter), and Morrow's cuts and passes seemed Nellie-generated, and were very good ideas. And we once again fouled when up three, like all good Christian teams do. So yeah, great stuff from Slim.

Tomorrow does not figure to be pretty; we'll be tired, away from home, and facing a team with literally thousands of skilled nine-footers. But our Oracle swagger appears to be back, and the importance of that can not be overstated. If we're a competitive team half the time, we can only sink so low.

December 28, 2009

BOS @ GSW 12/28/09: PreThoughts

Holiday travel
Limiting your blogging time?
Preview in haiku!

Boston Celtics? Yikes.

Saturday was fun,
but let's don't get crazy here.
Celts win this by nine.

Warrior to watch?
Andris Biedrins, quite clearly!
Welcome back, greaseball.

The Celtic to watch:
Rajon Rondo, backcourt fiend.
Good luck, tiny Dubs.

Franchise Fix #8: Perfect Your Pitch

So that Phoenix win has you feeling all warm and gooey about the Warriors again? Wake up, Pollyanna! One hot-shooting survival of a road-weary team does not a Fixed Franchise make; the Suns even shine on a dog's ass some days. We are still 14th in our conference, still 8.5 games out of the eighth seed, still one of the sorriest teams in all the land. Now is not the time to get excited. Now is the time to get smart.

As such, we alternate-universe G-State GMs are sticking to our '11-'12 time horizon. And to maximize the potential of that shining season on the hill, we will now implement Franchise Fix #8: rehabilitating the team's image with fans, advertisers, the media and the league. In this world, it's not enough to develop a great product... you also have to market that product correctly. And if we ever want to pack Oracle on a consistent basis again, attract a top-tier free agent, or help Chris Cohan sell the team on terms he finds acceptable, we are going to need to fix this brand. Two primary directives will help us do it.

Play Nice
Before anything else, we gotta class things up a little. It's one thing to be a bad team; it's quite another to be a bad team that treats people shabbily. The Wizards have been terrible many times over the years, but thanks to the generosity and loyalty of Abe Pollin, they've never inspired hatred from their fanbase or the world at large. It will take a lot to get the Warriors good again. It wouldn't take much to make them likeable again.

So the first thing we do: a few splashy charitable donations and involvements. The Warriors are already a solidly generous team (something for which Cohan never gets credit), but a new giving campaign or two couldn't hurt... there's no shortage of worthy charities in the Bay Area. We need to trumpet the idea that "the Warriors care," louder and more consistently than ever. Maybe that sounds craven to you. Well, what did I tell you about being Pollyanna, Pollyanna? Folks in need get some help, a basketball team gets a facelift, everybody wins... so what if there's cynicism behind the gesture? We're not playing paper dolls, here.

December 27, 2009

Sophomore Sunday: A Tale Of Two Anthonys

Douglas ably covered last night's dazzler, and we've got plenty of time to anticipate being re-Biedrinsed tomorrow night. Let's take a quick breather and check in with our second-year men, who have seemingly been heading in different directions of late. How are the Anthonys doing, and how can they improve from here? Fill us in, clumsily-pastiched screenshots:

On a per-minute basis, Morrow's second season has not been wildly different from his first; he's passing a bit worse, picking off a few more passes, actually scoring a bit more efficiently (he's still 24th in the league in TS%, despite his recent struggles). The main differences: he's shooting fewer twos, getting to the line even less often, and grabbing offensive rebounds only half as often.

The Dubs fan CW is that Morrow hasn't been getting enough open looks from beyond the arc. And there's something to that -- it'd be good if he, Nellie, Monta and Curry could figure out a way to get him a few more threes. But part of the story here is that Morrow's not doing anything *else*... he's shooting midrange jumpers, driving and drawing fouls even less often than last year. It's possible that he's just too targeted of a weapon this year, and that he'll get more open threes if he can convince his opponents that he might try to hurt them in some other way.

Randolph has gone in the opposite direction... his FG% is even weaker than it was last year, but thanks to increased aggression and improved accuracy at the line, he's more of a scoring asset than he was a season ago. That's not to say that he's a big scoring asset -- his TS%, though improved, is still a tad below league average. But the combo of improved efficiency and increased usage is a heartening thing, as is the jump in Randolph's passing numbers; he still creates a bunch of positive defensive plays, and his foul rate, though high, is still normal for a young big. The only bad news here is a dip in his rebounding totals. This may have to do with his increased passing duties on offense and his tighter man assignments on D. It may also be that last year's numbers were a bit fluky high. At any rate, ten rebounds per 36 is no tragedy.

The easiest way for Randolph to improve? Rediscovering his solid touch near the basket; he's gotten blocked and spooked a ton down there, and a pump fake or two would do wonders. But it's worth noting that Randolph *doesn't* need to fix anything to be effective. His current warty approach is enough to make him a very good player; any meaningful improvements will make this Anthony an All-Star.

December 26, 2009

PHO @ GSW 12/26/09: PostThoughts

1) Great game. Great game. 48 minutes of pure fun. 57% from the field. 87% from the line. The Warriors simply outplayed the Suns.

2) Golden State scored 132 points despite only hitting four three-pointers. Anthony Morrow was 0/5 from behind the arc.

3) Corey Maggette was nearly perfect in 35 minutes: 13/17 FG, 7/7 FTs, with good rebounding and acceptable defense.

4) The Warriors overcame a vintage performance by Steve Nash, who nearly sent the game into overtime.

5) Great to see Monta Ellis finally get some support. Randolph was Randolph, and I loved seeing him be efficient, with 17 points on seven shots.

6) CJ Watson was Corey Maggette lite off the bench, with a hyper-efficient 14 points on five shots, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and zero turnovers in 29 minutes. And he hectored Nash in the final seconds to ensure the win.

7) Ronny Turiaf deserves loads of credit for shutting down Amar'e Stoudemire. He was a a very significant +8 in 14 minutes off the bench.

8) I'm very impressed with how the Ws closed this game out. They looked like an actual NBA team tonight.

PHO @ GSW 12/26/09: LiveBloggin'

7:50 - Everyone's playing well. I have a good feeling about this game. Weird!

7:59 - Randolph looks under control. Biedrins looks saucy on the bench, as always.

8:05 - This game is outrageous. GSW and PHO on pace for a 170-160 final score.

8:22 - Monta Ellis has a real good chance for the first triple-double of his career.

8:25 - Maggette's hustling, playing strong defense and working. Hooray!

8:28 - Ronny!

8:30 - Maggette picks up his third foul, in comes Vlad. This is huge.

8:34 - The Warriors are holding their own without Randolph.

8:38 - Steph Curry! Having himself a fine game. The Suns' TV people are obsessed with his sweet stroke.

8:40 - Perversely, part of me is just rooting for points.

8:44 - Well, it's a barnburner. The Warriors are out-rebounding the Suns 20-18 at the break, but if there's one game in which we can lay down our arms on rebounding, this would be it. Channing Frye hasn't irrupted into my reality yet, but it's coming, I can sense it. I'm sort of dazed and pleasantly buzzed by this game. Would it be too much to ask for a double overtime Golden State Win? On NBATV, the info-graphic about the Cavaliers' road trip was brought to you by...DRUNK DRIVING: OVER THE LIMIT. UNDER ARREST.

9:02 - Bit of a ragged start to the second half, but here come the points again.

9:04 - Randolph draws the fourth foul on Stoudemire and Golden State has a strong opportunity to pull ahead.

9:05 - And as quickly as it appeared, the lead is gone.

9:09 - Nellie burns another timeout as the Suns rip off 11 points in a row.

9:11 - I love me some Monta Ellis post-up game.

9:15 - What a fantastic game by Corey Maggette.

9:17 - Steve Nash or Monta Ellis: who wants it more?

9:21 - Randolph 6/7 on field goals. Luv it.

9:25 - I really can't praise Corey Maggette enough. He's got 27 points on 15 shots.

9:26 - I take it all back.

9:31 - Nothing pisses Alvin Gentry off like a shot clock violation. Warriors lead by one with 10:28 to go.

9:37 - Ellis gets lazy with his passes, but never seems tired when he drives.

9:42 - This game has ground to a halt, and the Suns will be in the bonus with the next Warrior foul. Will Randolph see any more minutes?

9:50 - Ellis commits his seventh turnover of the night and Stoudemire gets a jam on the other end to tie the game at 123 with 2:25 left.

9:53 - CJ Watson is a terrific scorer, with 14 points on only five shots. Second shot clock violation of the quarter for the Suns. Coach Gentry is steamed.

9:56 - Maggette powers home an Ellis miss, and the Suns desperately need to score with 1:25 left.

10:01 - Morrow splits free throws and the Suns have a chance to tie with a 3-pointer and 10.7 seconds left.

10:03 - Steph Curry hits two free throws to ice the game.

PHO @ GSW 12/26/09: PreThoughts

1) The Phoenix Suns, who play the Warriors' game of outscoring opponents far better than the Warriors do, carry with them a special kind of pique as a Warriors opponent. A final score similar to what we saw back in the Ides of March is not out of the question. This one will probably smart.

2) I've said it before and I'll say it again, folks. I don't want no Dudley. Jared Dudley leads the league in three-point shooting at a cool 50%, and as such he's earned the title of Morrow of the Moment.

3) Amar'e Stoudemire sure can jam, but he doesn't play defense, and he rebounds far less than he reasonably should...willya tell me again why he's not on the Warriors?

4) Sideshow Rob Lopez makes Anthony Randolph look like Ben Kingsley. The gulf in skill between these two players is massive; it's funny to think back on their draft proximity in 2008.

5) Monta Ellis needs to be mindful of Steve Nash and his shifty, floppy defense. The only thing between Ellis and 40+ points tonight is early foul trouble.

6) Channing Frye.

Suns Player to Watch: Channing Frye.

Warriors Player to Watch: Vladimir Radmanovic, as he fails again and again to close out on Channing Frye.

December 25, 2009

Sizing Things Up

As the din of Christmas songs mercifully lessens, the Warriors appear poised to start a new chapter of their season. Both Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf are due back shortly, possibly as soon as tomorrow night's game against Phoenix; a bigger and healthier roster could lead to an improvement in our fortunes.

It could... it certainly should. It may not, because our coach has been impervious to basketball logic for a good long while now. Don Nelson has coached the last 110 games as though he'd be fined for fielding a quintet with an average height above 6'5". He has treated ironclad rules of basketball as aesthetic trifles. He has opted out of the sport's one battle, the one on the glass, that you truly can't opt out of. Simply put, Nellie has been killing us with smallball. And while he's been saying all the right things about committing to a regular-sized lineup in recent days, he's made similar noises before, only to return to smallball within days and sometimes hours. Chris Hunter's DNP-CD on Wednesday night, in a game where size yet again beat us, speaks volumes.

Nellie is addicted to a loser of a strategy. It's unprofessional. It's embarrassing. It is, in a word, fireable. But you know what? In the spirit of the season, let's forget all that. Let's say that if he wakes up on Boxing Day, regards our predicament with fresh eyes and starts coaching decently again, that we'll let bygones be bygones, and love and defend him forevermore. Seems fair, right?

Okay. So you're Fresh-Start Nellie. You wake up with whatever Christmas hangover you accrued, stumble to your desk and start reading about this 7-21 team of yours. Why are your Warriors are so terrible? Three factors should pop out at you pretty quickly:

December 24, 2009

Is There Lemon In This Curry?

In a chaotic disaster of a season, we can at least point to one unmitigated bright spot: rookie whiz kid Stephen Curry, who has thrilled coaches, teammates and opponents alike. He's fun to watch... he knows the game. A fast learner. A natural. A talent. He's like a streak of silver, racing off the court and into my heart. He's... of the worst starting point guards in the NBA.

In our new SCORE system, we rank guys by win percentage, PER, positional opponent PER and net plus/minus, and then average their rankings to get a quick snapshot of their relative effectiveness. Here's where Curry rates among starting PGs:

December 23, 2009

GSW @ NOH 12/23/09: PostThoughts

I mainly think that... I only saw the last six minutes, in an airport bar.

Writ large, it looks like a respectable enough loss for a tired, crappy team on the road; another strong game from Maggette, and as long as Anthony Randolph keeps getting 36 minutes (and eight blocks) a night, I'll be hard-pressed to complain. On the other hand, I'd like to complain. The Hornets outrebound us by 14, and Chris Hunter, a ginyoowine big man coming off the game of his life, gets zero minutes? Big men garnered a total of 46 minutes, and that's only if you fudge things and call Vlad a "big"? We had to have three tiny gentlemen on the court for over 75% of the game, despite the fact that CJ (going from the box score here) had trouble getting open, let alone scoring?

Feh. I'm not buying this "Nellie's dying to go big once he has the right guys" malarkey. For the last 110 games, he has pressed the smallball button as often and frantically as a lab rat presses the possibly-food-but-more-likely-a-body-rattling-electric-shock button. Under engaged coaches, smallball is an occasional countermove, and it can yield excellent results when used that way. Under Nellie, it is not the transition but the default, and as such it is a haggard, trite, zero-upside strategy. What a silly and thoughtless waste of a basketball team.

Tuesday Potpourri: Lameness, Lineups, Let's Trade C.J. Watson

• Last night's Zach Attack kicked our crappiness up a notch. Our winning percentage is now .259... the last time we were that bad after December 1st was in late 2004, just before Baron showed up. And while we've certainly had our struggles in recent years, this is the first time we've lost 10 out of 11 since March of 2002.

• On the other hand, if Biedrins and Turiaf return this weekend as, things could brighten quickly. We could really hold our own with a minutes allotment like this:

PG: Steph Curry (30), CJ Watson (18)
SG: Monta Ellis (36), CJ Watson (12)
SF: Corey Maggette (30), Anthony Morrow (18)
PF: Anthony Randolph (30), Ronny Turiaf (18)
C: Andris Biedrins (32), Chris Hunter (16)

I don't expect anything like this... it precludes smallball and Vladimir Radmanovic, two of Nellie's favorite things. Still, it's purty, ain't it?

The Jazz gifted Eric Maynor to the Thunder in a salary dump yesterday. At first glance, this would seem to have nothing to do with us, other than to cruelly point out how clever front offices can acquire talent for a song. But if you look again, at the Utah side of things, the relevance to the Warriors becomes clear. The Jazz shoot threes poorly and rarely, and now have a really weak backup PG. There's a C.J.-Watson-shaped hole in their roster, basically, and we should talk to them about filling it. They'll need a little more firepower to assure themselves of a playoff spot, and he's super-cheap, so they should be receptive. If Larry Riley offers CJ for Kosta Koufos and a '11 first-rounder, I don't think Kevin O'Connor hangs up on him.

May be a slow posting day, due to Christmas travel. More like happy holidaze, am I right?!?!?!?!

December 22, 2009

GSW @ MEM 12/22/09: PostThoughts

An Occam's razor game here: pretty evenly played from an execution standpoint, but the Grizzlies outrebounded us by eight and had a 72-48 edge on points in the paint. That's not to criticize any Warrior player or coach... we just didn't have the horses tonight. But let this game be a reminder that in this league, size does tend to prevail.

As such, we should do what we can to keep Chris Hunter around. He is neither a great player nor a good player... he may not even be a decent player, and on many NBA teams he'd serve no real purpose. But he's the only guy we can currently slap a jersey on who's comfortable hanging and banging down low. He played a spectacular game tonight. And if there's any justice in this world (which I doubt), he'll be Biedrins's primary backup going forward, with Randolph and Turiaf splitting the power forward duties. Really fun to see a nice, hardworking, unheralded kid make as big of an impact as Hunter did tonight.

There's not much to say about the other individual performances, as they most fit neatly into the wheelhouses of the players that gave them. Maggette was excellent and efficient; Monta was both impressive and maddening (every offensive foul he was whistled for was deserved); Randolph did some great stuff while often looking totally overmatched; Curry looked great with less-than-great results. CJ was a bit less effective than usual, but on the plus side, Morrow looks to be waking up a bit. And Vlad played a very smart game. Warriors fans should applaud every three-point shot he takes; if he's going to play starter's minutes for us, he had better be letting it rain from out there. He didn't convert much, but he focused on threes and drives and worked hard on D. That's all we can ask for from a limited player like him.

The brightest spot here, by far, was a second straight defensible coaching performance from Nellie. He looked fully engaged on the bench, which is a positive... we also played with teamwork and fire, two things which have not been series regulars with Nellie at the helm. We had at least one big man on the floor at all times, and more often than not, we had two; that wouldn't be cause for celebration on most teams, but here, that merits in-the-Chuck-E.-Cheese-ball-pit-on-mushrooms-level glee. And as Fitz pointed out with awe, Nellie played Corey Maggette at small forward. (What a quirky, unconventional idea! This Don Nelson is a madman genius, I tell you!) If we have the man's full attention, things might pan out okay.

Not a loss that should provoke despair; as currently constituted, we're just not going to beat bigger teams in their buildings. A bad team loses this game by exactly 13 points, so we were right on schedule here. Onto New Orleans. Our goal should basically be to avoid embarrassment, so we can hit the ground running when Biedrins and Turiaf come back on Saturday (so excited) (dear god i hope you aren't rushing them) (but mainly excited).

The glass-half-full spin on the current state of affairs: it doesn't feel like we're hitting new lows so much as scraping laterally along a very low floor. We will dip farther below .500 than this (all of our next six opponents were winning teams last year), but we've pretty much maxed out on grimness and despair. The players still seem to enjoy themselves and each other, so this is far from our most depressing season.

GSW @ MEM 12/22/09: PreThoughts

1) Memphis was our first victim this season, but does not figure to be our eighth. Our road wretchedness continues unabated, plus while nobody was looking, the Grizzlies turned into a basketball team. After starting 1-8, they've won 11 of 18, a sustained stretch of decency the likes of which we haven't seen since March of '08. These kids can play, particularly at home, where they're 8-5.

2) The Grizzlies are not only playing well, but extremely well-suited to take advantage of our smallness. Thanks mainly to Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol (both of whom are having excellent, reputation-changing seasons), the Grizz are the best offensive-rebounding team in the league; we are, needless to say, the league's weakest defensive-rebounding team. If you take a tequila shot every time we grab a board off of a Memphis miss tonight, you will be, at worst, slightly buzzed.

3) It would be a good night for us to shoot a ton of threes (these guys give up their share) and run our undersized hearts out... the Grizzlies' bench stinks, particularly on the offensive end. Come to think of it, we should probably root for a Memphis playoff push. If they stumble into a "win now" mentality, a Corey Maggette/CJ Watson offer will strike them as mighty appealing.

4) Per MTII, Monta has sat out the last two days of practice with a right thigh contusion. He's planning on playing tonight, but if there was ever a game to cap the guy at 28-30 minutes, it's this one; there's not a reason in the world to ride him hard tonight. A few stretches from a Curry/CJ backcourt will not change the outcome of this game.

5) A return to form from Anthony Morrow might. The Grizzlies are undermanned on the wing, and neither Gay nor Mayo is known for glue-tight D... this would be a perfect game for him to get back on track. Would be nice to see Nellie call his number a couple times early.

Warriors Player To Watch: Randolph's the easy answer, but for tonight, let's go with Li'l Steffy Curry. Randolph will again be playing point-center, lessening the rook's playmaking responsibilities; will Curry show the same aggressive scoring mentality he did against Washington?

Grizzlies Player To Watch: Some people are very high on him, but Rudy Gay has always struck me as the kind of shoot-and-that's-it swingman that only dumb teams (like us) fall for. I'm calling you out, friend... let's see what you got.

Fans Vs. Cohan... Vs. The Warriors

A new strident voice has joined the Golden State blogosphere. is insisting that our much-maligned owner sell the team, and they're trying to foment a pair of economic rebellions to make this happen: they're calling for an immediate freeze in purchases of any Warriors merchandise, and an attendance freeze starting the day we are officially eliminated from playoff contention (a day that has, oddly, not yet come).

As oust-the-owner movements go, this one ain't bad. Tying an attendance freeze to our playoff elimination is a pretty canny gimmick, and they have some nice, grim-looking merch. I also find it amusing that they're calling for the heads of Chris Cohan, Robert Rowell, Don Nelson... and Bob Fitzgerald. Fitz is unquestionably the acting press secretary for this miserable administration, doing his best to paper over managerial incompetence on each Warriors broadcast, and I enjoy the optics of identifying him as a culprit. I have a number of quibbles with their list of Cohanian sins -- Mullin was not actually fired, our injured power forward's first name is Brandan, and Jason Richardson just wasn't the significant loss that some seem to think -- but overall, the execution here is pretty decent. As long as the site's proprietor (a "Steven") shows some transparency in backing up his claim that all donations will go towards the cause, hey, God bless.

But while I enjoy the site's style, and I'd be perfectly happy to see all four named co-conspirators bounced out of Oakland, I can't really muster up much enthusiasm for this venture. In all the excitement over these variously aggravating trees, the forest is being lost. We need some perspective here. And to find it, we'll turn to two of America's quintessential pastimes: party politics and professional wrestling.

You may have heard of the health care bill that's crawling through Congress. In the past week or two, anything that looks, quacks or provides competition for private insurers like a public option has been stripped from the bill, thanks primarily to the intransigence of my former Senator, Joe Lieberman. The substantive impact of a public option would be minimal, and yet as a result of its demise, many progressive groups and pundits are now pushing for the demise of the overall bill. Lieberman has enraged some liberals so much that they would now let health care reform fail than pass it with his help... they have forgotten why they wanted health care reform in the first place. None of the progressive goals of health care reform -- expanding coverage, increasing affordability, etc. -- will be achieved if this bill fails, and yet many on the left have let their anger obscure that. Many are now embracing spite over the principles they've spent years espousing. Emotion has overtaken reason. In the current mood they're in, many liberals would rather hurt Joe Lieberman than help millions of Americans.

December 21, 2009

Warriors SCORE Board, 12-21-09

It's official: this blog is a wild, raging sucess. We are averaging over thirty visitors a day, no more than a third of whom are ourselves or our parents. We have over six followers on Twitter. We have been viewed by somebody in Slovakia (love you guys!). If anything, we're burning too bright, too soon; there's a real risk of a "Snakes On A Plane"-style post-hype lull here.

But for now, we're lodged firmly in the silicone bosom of the zeitgeist. As such, it seems like a good time to invent our own Golden State Worriers statistic. We don't have a deep understanding of statistical analysis, nor a unique insight into the subtleties of NBA player value, nor even anything fresh or interesting to say. But you don't need any of those things to make a statistic. You just need a blog and an acronym.

As we've discussed before, one of the most maddening things about these maddening Warriors is the difficulty in figuring out who our best players are. For most teams, good or bad, this isn't a difficult exercise: the Cavs' best player is LeBron James, the Knicks' best player is David Lee. The Warriors? Well, Monta is probably our best player, except that he may actually be unbelievably horrible, which probably means Maggette's our best player, except that we don't do better when he plays, which means it's Morrow, except Morrow might not actually be any good at all, so then I guess it's Curry, except Curry's one of the worst starting point guards in basketball, so maybe it's Randolph, but WAIT DID RANDOLPH JUST DRIBBLE WHILE INBOUNDING, so, crap, I guess our best player is, what, C.J. Watson? It's a friggin' mess, is the point. All of these guys help us in many ways and hurt us in many others... it's hard to figure out who's actually contributing and who isn't. Even the various statistical metrics of player value can't agree on how to rank these Warriors; plus-minus statistics disagree with PER, which disagrees with Win %, and so on.

But you know what? We can make these metrics agree, by squashing them together. If we take all of the most credible rating systems, record their rankings of the effectiveness of various Warriors, and then average those rankings, we should have a pretty good aggregate list of who's helping and who ain't. A guy who rates well by plus-minus and PER and Win % is not likely to suck; a guy who rates poorly by all those measures is not likely to do anything else.

If we combine these ratings, we can find order in all of this chaos. We can come to a decent consensus about the contributions of our guys, not by out-analyzing the industry's best nerds, but by lazily piggybacking on their work. So we're gonna wisdom-of-crowds this bad boy, and create a ranking worth believing in: the Stathead Consensus On a Roundballer's Effectiveness. From this day forth, we Worriers will be keeping SCORE.

December 19, 2009

Franchise Fix #7: Work The Margins

Franchise Fix #6: Clear The Decks

Franchise Fix #5: Know Your Star

On November 13th, the Rockets waived Pops Mensah-Bonsu, a guy who'd played a total of only 13 minutes in their first eight games. The Raptors, Mensah-Bonsu's former team, picked him up off of waivers four days later; Pops hasn't made much more of a splash since returning to Toronto, averaging just over five minutes a night.

This pair of transactions, moving a player from the end of one team's bench to another, made nary a ripple in the unfolding season. Many hardcore NBA fans may not have realized that Pops Mensah-Bonsu had ever left Toronto in the first place; some moderately invested NBA fans may have never even heard of the guy. And yet, his return to Toronto was perhaps the season's most damning example of the Warriors' incompetence.

This is a story about paying attention to detail. This is The Ballad Of Pops Mensah-Bonsu. This is Franchise Fix #7: getting value out all of your roster spots.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu played 283 minutes for the Raptors in '08-'09. That's not a ton, but it equates to about nine games' worth of starters' minutes... that's enough to give you a sense of what a player can do. And in those 283 minutes, Pops left no illusions about his tendencies, grabbing 113 rebounds. He averaged 14.4 rebounds per 36 minutes. That's more than Anthony Randolph averaged, that's more than Andris Biedrins averaged... that's more than Dwight Howard averaged. In fact, had he had enough minutes to qualify, Pops Mensah-Bonsu would have ranked as the best rebounder in the entire NBA last season. And in the thirteen minutes he gave the Rockets this year, he grabbed another four. On the day that Pops cleared waivers, it seemed pretty safe to say that this guy could rebound.

It also seemed pretty safe to say that we couldn't. When Brandan Wright went down on October 4th, our frontcourt was already woefully thin and in need of addressing; the situation not only went unaddressed, but deteriorated further. By November 17th, Biedrins had been already out for four games and Ronny for seven, Azubuike, our best-rebounding swingman, had just gone down for the year, and it had become clear that Mikki's foot issues would prevent him from giving even the mediocre rebounding help he'd historically given. Our only true rebounding asset was Anthony Randolph, and he was (and may still be) in Nellie's doghouse. The upshot of all this was predictable: on November 17th, we were the worst-rebounding team in basketball, and had been outrebounded by at least 15 by each of our last four opponents. We remain on pace to be the worst-rebounding team in league history.