Popovich on Monta Ellis

Interesting quote from Gregg Popovich told the San Antonio Express-News:

“Being such a young guy and to show the confidence he shows now is really impressive to me. He’s exhibiting no fear, an awareness of who he’s playing against, which is tough for a young kid to take at that in with all the players and all the games there are. I think he’s become more and more confident and more and more aggressive as I’ve seen him through the season. I think he’s pretty special.”


Thanks for Nothing, Kobe!

The one time we needed you to come through, you choke. The one time you get the entire Bay Area on your side, you let us down.
Yeah, you got 50. But it was a bad 50.
What’s the point of getting 50 if you only score six in the fourth quarter? What does it profit to make 17 of 33 shots if you miss the last six you take?
Dog, how can you get only one assists in 48 minutes, especially after the Clippers were keying on stopping you from scoring? If you’re not going to put the ball in the basket, put your teammates in position to!
Now, the Warriors have to finish a game ahead of the Clippers to get in the playoffs. Now, the Warriors have to worry about tying with the Lakers for the eighth spot, a tie-breaker the Warriors will lose.
Dang it, Kobe! You’re killing me!


Blog Question

Q: “Why do you think Pietrus has become such a non-factor in games? Or am I missing his contributions? Particularly over this final push, I don’t get the sense that he comes into games and makes a difference. With his athleticism and energy and years in the league, I’m disappointed. I’m wondering if the open game Nellie plays hurts him because of his limited decision-making skills.” — Jim

A: I think it does have something to do with his inability to create for others (or for himself), and his relatively low basketball IQ (How many times is he going to get called for traveling on that jab step?). I think earlier in the year, when athleticism was scarce, Pietrus was needed (the Warriors had Dunleavy and a hobbled Richardson on the perimeter). Now that the Warriors are fine in the athleticism department, now that Richardson and Jackson are providing offense and defense, Pietrus’ significance decreases. When he’s knocking down his 3 and focusing on defense, he is valuable. But with Jackson, Richardson and Barnes playing small forward, if Pietrus isn’t providing, Nellie has options. They don’t NEED Pietrus. They can use him when he’s on, but when he’s not, they’ll be fine. That wasn’t the case in November and December.


Who Would You Take at No. 1?

Texas star Kevin Durant announced he’s entering the draft. No surprise there. It will be even less surprising when Greg Oden announces his entry pretty soon.
But the question is out there, looming for whoever is fortunate enough to land that top pick. Who do you take?
Oden has been the consensus prediction for the top pick. A 7-footer who is a force on defense, has potential on offense and all the tenacity and hunger you’d want in a big man.
Durant is the best basketball player in the country. He’s a walking mismatch that probably comes around less often than a legitimate center.
If it is me, I’m taking Durant. Yes. I’d pass up on a true center. But I’d prefer the most proven commodity. Durant is a baller. Oden can be. In a league that favors offensive stars, a defensive center’s impact is limited. So, one would be hoping that Oden comes around on offense. Otherwise, he’s Theo Ratliff.
But Durant is as close to a sure thing as you’re going to get. As tough as it would be to pass up on a talent like Oden. I think I’m taking Durant.
And you?


TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!!

I seriously don’t want to talk about the Don Imus situation. In my opinion, giving him air time and print time is exactly what he wanted. He’s a shock jock. His job is to make waves, obviously at all costs. I really don’t want to participate in this game of ratings Red Bull. But I can’t help but drop a line about MSNBC’s “punishment.”
TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!!
For saying what he said on a nationally syndicated show?
For humiliating innocent women for absolutely no reason?
For steering the country’s attention from important matters — such as the second Vietnam and the preface to one of the most important presidential elections ever?
Let me get this straight. You spew insensitive remarks about helpless kids, women, and for that you get vacation time? Somewhere, Michael Richards is having a cow. He’s being blackballed from the business for his racist remarks. Imus goes racist and chauvinistic in one sitting and he gets a trip to Cancun.


Blog Question

Q: “Can the Warriors live with Stephen Jackson for the whole season? He’s been producing on the court, but even with the little time he’s had with the Warriors. He’s been a big distraction. How many outbursts has he had and cost the team a win? That’s even after he has been trying to keep himself under control for the playoff push. I’m not even talking about the off-court issues. I just can’t imagine him playing 82 games without being a distraction. His value right now is as high as ever. W’s should look to trade him in the offseason. Gerald Wallace can be a good fit for the W’s. He’s a free agent, I think. He’s a slasher, a pretty good defender, and he doesn’t shoot 3s, which is good. Jackson and the rights to this year’s draft pick for Wallace and their draft pick (Noah or Wright?). Will charlotte go for it?”
— manhattanproj

A: Handling Jackson is a tougher task when you add it to dealing with Baron’s propensity for injury. But the alternatives aren’t aplenty. First off, Jackson is making $6.12 million this year. He’ll get $6.6 next year. How many players out there can you get who are as good at that price? Usually, 16.5 points and 4.7 assists costs you much more than that. A player with those numbers who is also a defensive stopper and a strong locker room presence is definitely more expensive.
Usually, getting good talent at a good price comes with a catch. Either it’s a young player who you have to be patient with and deal with his growing pains. Or it’s a player with off-court or attitude issues that you have to nuture and coddle. Or it’s an injury prone player who you have to do without for stretches.
Sometimes, you live with the risk to get the reward. Gerald Wallace would be perfect (If you can find a second player to create for others, because the loss of Jackson would leave Baron alone in that department. Again.). But he’s going to have to pass on $6 million next season to become a free agent. Why would he do that? Because he is expecting more than $6 million. Charlotte wouldn’t go for it anyway. They would be giving up the better player (I’m assuming they’ll think he’s better than Jackson; they at least think it’s a tie) and the higher pick. I don’t think they would do that.
Unless it’s a steal of a trade, I think the Warriors are better off keeping Jackson at that price and hope he keeps himself under control. It will more than likely take two players to bring what Jackson brings (defense, creating, distributing, locker room presence, scoring threat, championship experience) — and that would cost a lot more than $6 million.


Isn’t This Fun?

I was at a youth retreat with the congregation I attend all weekend. It’s an annual event every year on Easter weekend. Being a youth counselor, I am consumed with teaching and hawking a group of high school boys all weekend, tucked away in the Santa Cruz mountains with no television in never more than two bars on my cell.
Last year during this retreat. I remember coming back on Monday thinking, “I wonder how the Warriors did against the Pistons?” I had went the entire weekend without thinking about Warriors basketball (they were already out of it by Easter), easily.
This year, I was walking through woods, trying to find a signal so I can get online on my phone and get an update on the Warriors games against San Antonio. I broke away from the group and went into this lounge where they had wi-fi, and I followed the last quarter of the Memphis game on game tracker.
What’s more, there were several other Warrior fans there who were eagerly awaiting my updates. There were points we would’ve given our right arm for a glance at sports ticker.
I don’t even remember the last time the games were so meaningful this late in the season. Even in 1994, the Warriors were a done deal to make the playoffs at this point. The only question was seeding.
But this, this is intense. Teetering on the edge of elimination but one step from history. Being stuck between the ultimate disappointment and a rare sports high.
I have my doubts about the Warriors making the playoffs. I can see them playing down to the sorry Kings and losing at Sacramento. I can see the Clippers running off six straight to make the Warriors’ results meaning less. Still, this is so fun. The uncertainty. The potential. Even if they don’t make it. I’m having a ball following this drama. It sure beats the alternative to which we’ve grown accustomed.