18

So Long, Adonal

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In another example of how character takes a back seat to production in sports, the Warriors parted ways with its long-time big man. If personality and brains and heart was currency in the world of professional sports, Foyle would be a max player.
Seriously, I can’t say enough about how different and good of a guy Foyle is. If he ran for office, I would vote for him.
From what I was told, Foyle is desperate to play. He has no desire to do the cheerleader at the end of the bench thing again. He doesn’t see himself as a locker room guy whose major contribution is mentoring Andris Biedrins. Foyle wants to contribute on the court, that’s why he was willing to take much less than he was owed, so he can go somewhere he can play.
Sources have told me Foyle has interest from Orlando (GM Otis Smith is a fan of Foyle, and Orlando was the one team Foyle would’ve played for if the Warriors hadn’t signed him) and Utah. My best guess is he will end up on the East Coast, where he fits the style of play better.
Foyle’s departure makes me think how I/we choose which athletes to elevate. We expect and demand star athletes to be role models, to be character guys. Why don’t we make character guys the stars we cherish?
Sure, Kobe Bryant is a jaw-dropping talent, but is he worthy of the praise and admiration? Obviously Michael Vick wasn’t deserving of the status he received. Or maybe he was, if the standard is talent alone.
It seems to me like players of Adonal’s ilk should be more celebrated. Instead, he gets bought out for cheap and sent packing on a boring Monday. No farewell. No exaltation. No recognition for being more than a jock. It just doesn’t feel right.

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10

Poor Elton

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Elton Brand is one of my favorite people in the league. He is such a down-to-earth and sincere cat. Really nice guy. So he’s one of the last people I want to see something like this happen to.
Nonetheless, this is a break the Warriors need. Brand and the Clippers were on a mission to hunt down the Warriors. I was in their locker room the night the Warriors eliminated them. They couldn’t believe they were beat out for the eighth seed by the lowly Warriors. Brand, who was upset about his role and kept it all in to avoid more distraction, gave me one of those it ain’t over looks, you know, like the villain gives the good guy while the police arrest him and take him to jail.
If Mike Dunleavy is worth his weight, he would realize that Corey Maggette is a beast and Elton Brand is the focus of the offense, and the Clippers would’ve been a better team. That’s not good news for the Warriors.
Now that Brand is out until February, you can count the Clippers out. No way they survive in the West going six months without their best player – especially not with Sam Cassell (who is sure to miss 30 games) as the starting point guard. Stick a fork in the Clippers now.
That’s good news for the Warriors because that’s one less team they have to worry about.

15

Blog Question

“For fervent fans there is a feeling the mighty Nellie and Mully (Mulson) has struck out. The lack of any significant movement is deafening and now we find out that Austin Croshere and Kosta P are signing. That takes us to 14 of the 15 allotted slots with nothing happening so far with MP or Barnes. As the ex-beat writer and current NBA scribe for the CC Times, what do you make of what is and is not going on? Are you as frustrated as the rest of the Warrior Nation or do you think, once again, Mulson has something sneaky up their sleeves?” — Commish

I think they did strike out, but I don’t think it was a bad offseason. I just think the chances of them making that significant move was slim because there weren’t that many options out there. The Warriors need a pretty special type of player. He has to have size but be able to run the floor. He has to be able to rebound, block some shots and defend the post, but he also has to be able to give the Warriors something on offense.
That was their major need going into the offseason, and there aren’t too many players who fit that. KG was perfect, but they didn’t get him. That was probable.
The problem is that while they were trying to get KG, some of the other options signed, such as Darko Milicic. But, you have to wonder if the plan Bs and Cs are the right player, too. Darko fits the athletic and offensively capable part, but he’s not a rebounder or defender. Other than KG, the players out there fall short in some way, shape or form.
There were only a couple players in the draft (Kevin Durant, Al Horford) who could give the Warriors what they need now, but the Warriors couldn’t move up that high. So, in hindsight especially, what chance did the Warriors have of making a significant improvement.
Since the Warriors lost Game 4 at home to the Jazz, I’ve been racking my brain for the addition they could get that would help them get to the West Finals. The list is slim, because of Nellie’s system and the Warriors’ needs. Actually, in the end, I think they ended up doing the next best thing — get more athletic and more efficient on offense. It may not payoff right away, but Belinelli is a serious shooter and Brandan Wright is a special athlete. If both of those guys turn out to be something, the Warriors will be even tougher to defend. If they can’t get stops, their best bet is to be unstoppable. That’s why I was in favor of going to get Ray Allen or Paul Pierce, but those are expensive options. If Belinelli turns into a 20-point scorer, the Warriors made out good. If Wright can get them 15 and 10 eventually, the Warriors turned out great. Plus, you have to remember the salary cap flexibility.
I know it looks bleak based on the expectations. But realistically, it was KG or marginal improvement, if not a step back. I always thought that if the Warriors didn’t get that really good four, they would take a step back because that run last year was magical. That’s not happening twice. But the chances of them getting the player that was going to make them better next year was slim because there aren’t that many — unless they revamp the roster.
I don’t think it was a great offseason (it would have been had they gotten KG). But I don’t think it was a bad one. Realistically, especially from a long-term perspective, they made out all right considering the circumstances.

7

Get Used to the Patch

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It seems like many people are hatin’ on Drew Gooden’s patch. Some have even said they wouldn’t want Drew coming to the Warriors unless he gets rid of the patch.
So you guys won’t grow a patch if the Warriors get Drew? That would be a great give-away, now that I think about it. Drew Gooden Patch Night. The first 10,000 fans get a patch of hair they can stick to the back of their neck, or anywhere they’d like. Or, the Warriors can do a play on the Mullin Buzz Cut Night and have Gooden Patch Night, where any fan who gets shaved bald and leave a patch gets two tickets into the game.
I have some bad news for you patch haters out there. Gooden still has the patch, and he’s going to be keeping it for a while. What’s worse, it’s growing.
The patch has become Gooden’s calling card, his identity.
“It’s like fly paper for the ladies,” said a source close to Gooden. “But if every bankable athlete has to have a hook, I’d much rather him have that hair patch than gold teeth, illegitimate babies or a rap sheet.”
See, from that perspective, the patch is a good thing. You should embrace the patch. The patch is your friend.

10

So Who Won? Boston or Minnesota?

Now that KG is in Boston, the question being tossed around is who got the better end of the deal. To recap:
*Boston got a Hall of Fame power forward in his prime to pair with their two perimeter stars.

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*Minnesota got a potential All-Star in PF Al Jefferson, a consumate pro in PF Ryan Gomes, an incomparably athletic but way overrated prospect in SF Gerald Green, an $11M expiring contract in C Theo Ratliff, a bust of a PG in Sebastian Telfair (who still has a lot of talent) and two middle-to-late first-round picks.

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Boston gets talent that can help them compete now. Minnesota gets some young talent and future salary cap relief. Which team won?
I can’t argue with the win-win response, but that’s kind of weak. Pick a side. There are no ties in basketball. I was thinking Minny, because they got the young talent and cap flexibility, which is exactly what they wanted. But the more I think about it, the more I lean toward the Celtics. They are in position to win now. They put their best foot forward for this season. And they have three bonafide All-NBA caliber players. Not very many teams can say that. San Antonio (Duncan, Ginobili, Parker), Phoenix (Nash, Amare, Marion), Detroit maybe (Chauncey, Tayshaun, R-Wallace when they’re at their best), Denver (Carmelo, A.I. Camby) … now I’m stretching it. Notice the trend there? Three of the four teams I mentioned are in the West.
I say Boston got the better of the deal because they are now one of the top four teams in the East before the season even starts. That’s not debatable (Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago). But I say they are better than Chicago and Cleveland now, which means they are at least even with Detroit.
Some people ask how will they divide the shots. But I say KG doesn’t require a lot of touches, and Paul Pierce can use a break on the gunning. Rivers is a respected enough figure to where he can cut back on their touches without much resistance. Plus, all three have been the man for so long now. If taking a back seat means winning, I think they are all mature enough and hungry enough to swallow it.
Seriously, how are you going to guard this team?
Rajon Rondo is quick as ever and can get to the basket at will. He’s at his best as a distributor, now he has three all stars to set up.
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Ray Allen has made a career as a frontline scorer without ever having a legitimate big man to take away the pressure. How good will he be in a two-man game with KG?
The last time Paul Pierce faced single coverage was when Antoine Walker was good. Teams can’t afford to double-team him with Allen and KG on the floor, and he’ll be fresher down the stretch because of the help.
The Cs do need some bench help, and Kendrick Perkins is a stiff , so they need a center. Preferrably a rebounder/defender type. But I do like Tony Allen, though between injuries and legal issues he can’t stay on the court. You may even see Leon Powe get some of Gomes minutes because they’ll just need a rebounder and physical presence, which is his strength. Don’t forget, Boston also has two pretty highly regarded rookies in Big Baby and Gabe Pruitt out of USC. They still have some young players who can grow around the Big Three.
I like Jefferson playing with Randy Foye and Corey Brewer and Craig Smith.
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They also have Rashad McCants (talented but a head case), Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, rookie Chris Richard out of Florida and even Sebastian. That’s a lot of young, promising pieces to either develop or move. They have Ricky Davis, Juwan Howard and Trenton Hassel for some semblance of a veteran presence. They aren’t going to win the Northwest Division, but their future looks promising.
Still, Boston got the better end of the deal. They’re going to win right away, where as Minnesota just has potential at this point. Disagree?