Remember how people were pointing out how well the Warriors played without Baron against the Knicks? It looked good then, huh?
Tonight, they are showing why they can’t win without Baron.
The shots aren’t falling (through three quarters, they’re shooting 39.7 percent, 3-for-16 from 3-point range), fast break isn’t producing, and the Warriors have nowhere to turn. Memphis is playing every man straight up, switching on screens, and forcing the Warriors into a one-on-one offense. No one can score consistently enough to draw a double-team, or at least prevent their man from helping.
What do you do in times like these, when you’re getting outboarded, outshot and outexecuted? That’s when you need a star to take over.
Here we go again. How does Mike Miller get anything open, let alone back-to-back open looks from 3-point range? It’s not as if he’s hard to spot with that skinny headband.
Let’s see how many times Miller’s man will get sucked in, only to run back out too late to prevent a 3-pointer in his eye!
We know you are a big BD fan, so I ask you what many people in Warrior Nation are asking: is he worth his $15 million salary for roughly a half of season if you look at his last few years of playing. Or to put it another way, should the Warriors try to trade him for our greatest need, a defensively oriented PF? Maybe it’s not that simple, but if it came to trading BD as all or part of getting what we really need to improve for the future, what is your call? And if your answer is to keep BD, what about J-Rich as trade-bait (in spite of how much we love him and all he brings)?
Make that $15.7 million. Either way, the answer is no. Especially when players like Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups and Gilbert Arenas are making less than he does.
That said, you can’t look at keeping or adding players based on production-per-dollar. If you day, very few would be worth keeping. You have to look at it more from a needs-of-the-team perspective. Once you figure out what kind of team you want to be, the more important question is who provides what the team needs?
One thing is for certain, and Nelson has said this, he needs a good-to-great point guard. In Nellie’s system, the point guard is like the quarterback in a run-and-shoot offense. It’s the one position where you can’t be subpar or the system won’t work. If you trade Baron for a “defensive-oriented PF”, then you will need to find a point guard.
Nellie needs a playmaker who can facilitate, or, at the very least, a facilitator who can make plays. If you can find a better option than Baron for this system, heck yeah you move him. The problem the Warriors face is identifying such a player and being able to acquire him – especially if the PG you identify is cheaper. But how many are out there?
To me, it will be harder to move Baron and find another capable point guard than it will be to put capable talent around Baron. It will be easier to somehow get Baron to play the way you need him to play (the only major adjustment, other than stay healthy, is to take fewer bad shots or not as many shots), than to find another Steve Nash.
So, the more important question is, “Is Baron the best available option at point guard?” If you can find a better fit at point guard, you do it.
As far as my opinion, Monta isn’t that point guard yet, and it is no certainty he will become that point guard. If you can sign-and-trade for free-agent-to-be Chauncey Billups this offseason, I wouldn’t be opposed to that. But unless you land a point guard who can run this show and in the process add another piece you need, I say keep Baron.
As far as J-Rich, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to move J-Rich, especially if you can land a star such as Vince Carter or Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett. I like Jason because he’s good value, but he may not be the kind of player Nellie needs for this system to work because of his ball-handling problems. If you can upgrade at the shooting guard, with Ellis backing up both, that would be a good move. It would have to be a certainty, because you know what Richardson brings.
J-Rich said before the game that he is looking to go 18-10 the rest of the way. That would give them a 43-39 record, and he figures that will be enough to get the Warriors into the postseason.
But is that feasible?
Here’s a breakdown of the Warriors’ remaining schedule:
13 home games
15 road games
Which means if they won all of their remaining home games, they would need to win five on the road. If they win 10 of those home games, they’d have to get eight on the road, which is more than half. The Warriors are currently 6-20 on the road.
11 games against losing teams
17 games against winning teams
The Warriors are 14-14 against losing teams, 11-15 against winning teams. If they swept the losing teams (which includes the Clippers), they would have to beat seven winning teams.
6 games against the Eastern Conference
22 games against the Western Conference
The Warriors are 12-12 against the Eastern Conference, and 13-17 against the West. If they beat the remaining Eastern Conference opponents (which includes a game at Detroit, Chicago and two games vs. Washington), they would have to go 12-10 against their remaining West foes.
8 games are the second game of back-to-backs
9 games on two days of rest or more
The Warriors are 1-13 on the second night of back-to-backs, and 8-4 on at least two days of rest. If the Warriors won all their games on at least two days rest and won half of their back-end games, they would need to win 5 of 11 games on one day of rest.
So, again, is it feasible?
I’ll be bloggin’ live from the Oracle tonight. Feel free to join me.
Aside from going cold for a stretch and nearly blowing a 31-point lead, and 11-for-19 shooting from the free throw line (57.9 percent) the Warriors played a nearly flawess offensive game. They were shooting 60 percent with one minute remaining. They were 11-for-21 (52.4 percent) from behind the arc, taking smart shots from distance and making them count.
The biggest stat, the one that illustrates how well they followed the game plan, was the 29 assists. What made that total so special was that 16 of them didn’t go to Baron. Stephen Jackson had 8, Monta had 7, Harrington had 3, Foyle and Kelenna had three each. That’s a product of ball movement and unselfishness. That’s the sign of a team not relying on one player to make it happen for everyone. They had 29 fastbreak points and 52 points in the paint, which means they pushed the tempo and they weren’t settling for jumpers.
That’s how the Warriors have to play top have a shot at winning, especially while Baron is out. Of course, they have these type of games here and there. The question is can they do it consistently. Guess we’ll find out after the All-Star break.
Before you start with the “Why didn’t the Warriors get Ely?” rant, ask youself this one question: why would Charlotte give him up for Eric Williams and a second-round pick? The answer to the second question should be the answer to the first question. If it’s not, your answer is wrong.
Ely is good, but he’s not the answer. He’s not going to supplant Biedrins. He may not be better than Josh Powell. He just wasn’t worth a draft pick or another player on the roster.