2

Surgery for Troy Hudson; out 3-4 months

There will be a full story up on the Web site momentarily, but in the meantime, T-Hud told the Times exclusively at this morning’s shootaround that he’s going to undergo arthroscopic surgery after Jan. 1 to repair a small labrum tear in his left hip, and will miss three to four months with the rehabilitation. Given that there’s less than four months remaining in the regular season (which ends April 16), it’s almost certainly a season-ending procedure for Hudson — and most likely the end of his Warriors career, which is a shame because he’s a solid guy who deserves better.

UPDATE: Story is up on the site.

– Geoff

2

Monta’s magic mid-range

As Monta Ellis took two quick-step dribbles and pulled up to drain another 18-foot jumper, you couldn’t help but wonder if somewhere in Mississippi, a former high-school opponent of Ellis’ was yelling at his TV, trying to tell New Jersey’s Richard Jefferson — or Minnesota’s Sebastian Telfair, or Cleveland’s Daniel Gibson — “Now you know how I felt!”

That’s how dominant Ellis has looked lately with his mid-range game. My Dean Mob colleagues Glenn Reeves and Adam Lauridsen have already covered this ground, but it bears repeating, especially because it was the topic of the day at practice this afternoon: Ellis is just killing people from 15 to 20 feet.

I asked Ellis if he thought the guys he used to torment in the Jackson Public Schools league could commiserate with Jefferson, Telfair or Gibson.

“Anybody that really knows me, and knows basketball in Mississippi, they’re not surprised at all,” Ellis said.

And as for the scoring (24.0 points per game) and field-goal percentage (59.7 percent) over the Warriors’ last five games, Ellis deferred the credit to the guys working with him in pick-and-roll situations, such as center Andris Biedrins.

“Him, BD, Al (Harrington), everybody who comes and sets a screen sets it so good I have that shot open all the time,” Ellis said. “The gap is so big, you don’t have a choice but to take that shot. And that’s my shot. It just takes the concentration and confidence to knock it down. . . . If you look at it, it ain’t nothing but the high school 3-point line. That’s it.”

That’s important, because Ellis — a career 29.1 percent shooter from distance — has stopped jacking up treys, averaging just over one per game. That’s a almost 50 percent decrease over the previous two seasons.

“Our team, we’ve got a lot of great 3-point shooters,” Ellis said. “They don’t need for me to shoot the 3 when I’ve got the ability to get past the guy and go to the basket and finish. That just allows me (to take) an 18-20 foot jump shot or get to the basket. That’s it. I get my 3-point plays like that.”

It doesn’t hurt that Ellis is showing simply phenomenal quickness with the ball right now.

“I think Monta’s the fastest guy in the league on the open floor,” Warriors forward Matt Barnes said. “Tony Parker is fast, and there’s a couple other guys that are fast, but in the open court, (Ellis) will start at half-court and he’ll beat someone from the free-throw line to the basket. He’s a hard guy to cover.”

Nevertheless, teams have got to find a way to stop Ellis if they want to derail a Warriors team that has won 17 of 23. Are double-teams the answer? Or will they come up with some other plan?

“They might (double-team), and when they do, trust me, we’ve got a counter for it,” Ellis said. “I can’t let you know what the secret is, but we’ve got a counter for it. We watch film just like they watch film.”

– Geoff

9

How Much is Monta Worth?

A friend of mine, who watched Monta’s performance live Wednesday, called me with a little anxiety about the Warriors ability to keep Monta.
I explained to him Monta will be a restricted free agent and that the Warriors will have the upperhand. Not only can they match any offer, the fact that they can should scare most bidders away.
Still, he persisted, “What if someone does offer? What if a team signs him to a fat offer sheet? Can the Warriors lose him?”
Of course they can. But I got to thinking (“Uh, oh!” My grandmother used to say. “Marcus is thinking.”), what number would be too much? If you were Chris Mullin, and Atlanta or whoever signs Monta to an offer sheet, what’s the number that makes you say, “Nice knowing you Monta”? $10M per year? $12M per year?
Or, do you match no matter what, even if he gets a max deal offered to him?

14

Another Good Roadie

By any standard, a 3-2 road trip out east is a good roadie. Per the Warriors standards, it’s even better.
No doubt, they had should-wins against Memphis and Minnesota. Sure, Cleveland is strugglig right now. But pulling those type of games off is still a feat for the Warriors, formerly a get-well visitor for struggling squads. Throw in the fact they shoulda won at New Jersey — had Monta Ellis seen the numerous STAY ON THE SHOOTERS posts, he wouldn’t have left Vince Carter all alone — and it was a really good road trip.
Want to see how much this team has grown? Check out their road resume.
They are 9-7 to date. Only Orlando (13) and Phoenix (11) have more road wins. Detroit and New Orleans also have nine road victories. Of their seven losses, they were in the game late against the Clippers, Lakers, Portland and New Jersey. Their blowout losses were at Detroit, Utah and Boston — three of the league’s best teams.
If they can just get it together at home (7-5 so far), they’d be able to get comfortably above .500

1

Jackson hyperextends knee…

Quick note from The Q: While harried beat writers were trying to chronicle the last frantic minutes of the Warriors’ come-from-behind, lose-from-ahead 100-95 defeat to New Jersey on Saturday, Stephen Jackson hyperextended his right knee. Jackson said he suffered the injury trying to slide to his right while tracking New Jersey guard Richard Jefferson, taking a mis-step as he tried to get over someone else’s foot.
Although he finished the game, Jackson was hurt badly enough that his presence in uniform tonight was in question until he finished his pre-game warm-ups. He said he will play and is expected to shoulder the heavy duty of guarding Cleveland star LeBron James.
“It just feels real weak,” said Jackson, who was trying out a sleeve on his knee as the media’s pregame session in the locker room came to a close. “I just don’t want to hurt it worse than it is.”
Jackson was asked the natural follow-up: So, can it get worse if you play on it?
“They basically put it in my hands, so I’m going to give it a shot,” Jackson said.

– Geoff Lepper

7

Poor T-HUD

Troy Hudson, in the little time I’ve dealt with him, seems like a really nice guy. Very approachable and cool. I kind of feel bad for him. After battling the ankle injury for years, now the hip. That’s a pretty bad run for him.
But the fact remains, the Warriors need a back-up PG. Neither Baron nor Monta can keep it up at this pace, and I’m not comfortable with Belinelli (or Jackson) at the point for long stretches. Here’s who I’m looking at (and not looking at) as point guard options.

FREE AGENTS:
Earl Boykins – He is a true shooter, which the Warriors need. He doesn’t play defense, and he’s really the world’s smallest shooting guard, but he can shoot and he brings energy. He may be cheap, considering he’s making no money at this point. I would worry about how his minutes affect Monta, and how Boykins would react to watching MOnta and Baron in the fourth quarter. All three can’t play.

John Lucas – He isn’t as good a shooter as Boykins, but he’s more of a pure PG. Lucas can get to the basket, he’s a really good playmaker and has some experience. He’s quick and fast, which fits the Warriors’ system. He’s a gamer, so he’ll come up big in big situations. He may disappear for stretches though and he’s undersized, which would be a problem on defense.

Jay Williams – He’s been at Warriors games. He’s certainly talented. I doubt he’s healthy enough to play an NBA season, otherwise another team would have him, is my guess. But if he’s healthy, I’d try him. He was a baller before the motorcycle accident.

Gary Payton – Offensively, he’s lost a few steps. But he can be a floor general. He’s a steals guy, too, so that fits the Warriors’ defensive focus. He’s a veteran presence and would be a fan favorite. He’s also cheap. I wonder if he’s in the condition for Warriors basketball. But he’s one of those guys who are always ready to go.

IF WE’RE TALKING TRADES:
Carlos Arroyo – a true point and great playmaker; he’s used to being a back-up, though he doesn’t like it, he’s been ready to move on from Orlando; he’s an expiring $4M contract, so he’ll be playing for something and, if he doesn’t work, he’ll be gone in a few months; With Jameer Nelson and Keyon Dooling, Orlando doesn’t NEED him.

Tyronn Lue – Atlanta has a bunch of PGs. But Joe Johnson is the star, Acie Law is the future and Anthony Johnson is the cagey vet they like. Lue is a really good 3-point shooter. He’s a veteran with playoff experience and he wouldn’t threaten Monta’s development. He’s not a true point guard, but good enough to give Baron a rest. He’s also a free-agent to be, making $3.5M

Nate Robinson – He’s a long shot, but Zeke loves Marbury and Mardy Collins. Nate is a head case, but that means he’d fit right in. Because he’s so little, he’ll be a fan favorite. Plus he’s a high energy player, exactly what the Warriors need off their bench. He’s an exciting player, so he’d fit with perhaps the NBA’s most exciting team. Not a true point guard and his 3-point shot has diminished, but he has been playing for the Knicks.

Steve Blake – A real long shot since the Blazers are battling the Ws for a playoff spot (surprisingly) and they’d rather give up Jarrett Jack. But, if and when they fade, they’ll probably get a PG in the draft. Blake is the short-term solution at PG. For the Warriors, though, he’d be perfect. He’d have to get used to not starting, which he’s done regularly the last two seasons. He can shoot, he’s a solid PG and a good leader.

Jannero Pargo – Not sure the Hornets would be willing to trade with the Warriors, being in a playoff race with them and all. But he’s struggling this season, and with the way Chris Paul is playing, they don’t really need him. He’s No. 3 behind CP3 and Bobby Jackson. Pargo is cheap, at $2M with a player option for $2M next season. This season aside, he’s a good outside shooter, a clutch 3-point shooter and he fits the Warriors style. I liked him with the Bulls, and I still like him. He would be a nice low-key acquisition.

I WOULDN’T GO AFTER:
Smush Parker – Sorry, E.J. He can’t shoot well enough. That wouldn’t be that bad, but his attitude is terrible, which is why he wasn’t re-signed in Los Angeles and he’s no longer wanted in Miami. Plus he has a player option for $2.4 million that he’s sure to pick up, so he’d be around next season, too.

Andre Miller – First off, he’s on the books for $9.4 million this season and $10 million next season. What’s more, he’s too good. He’s a starter, and that would enfringe upon Monta. You would end up wanting Miller to play in the fourth quarter with Baron. But where does that leave Ellis? Or, he would be on the bench in the fourth quarter with Monta playing with Baron? How would that impact Miller? Someone won’t be happy, and that’s not good for team chemistry.

Chris Duhon – He’s Smush Parker without the attitude. The last thing the Warriors need for its second unit is a PG who can’t shoot. He’s more of an man-to-man stifling defender than a turnover creator, which doesn’t fit the Warriors defensive scheme. He’s better in the halfcourt set. I wouldn’t be mad if they got him, because he is a pretty good player and he’s cheap (one year left, $3.25M). But I wouldn’t be excited.

11

Troy Hudson’s career finished?

A little note-gathering went a long way at the Target Center this morning. Reporters who were initially looking to grab some quotes about Troy Hudson’s return to the arena where he spent the last five seasons were told by coach Don Nelson that the 11-year veteran may have made his final NBA appearance because of recurring problems with his left hip.

Hudson, who has played in only nine games as a Warrior, is expected to miss at least a month — if not far longer.

“I think Troy’s probably done. I don’t think he’ll play again,” Nelson said. “I’m serious. It’s unfortunate, but he has a hip problem, and I haven’t heard a second opinion, but it doesn’t look good for him. . . . We’re quite concerned that he may not be able to play again. Right now, we’re talking maybe four to six weeks off, and then check again, but he has some (bone) spurs on his hip and arthritic conditions, and it’s just not a positive thing.”

Hudson initially had a flare-up of pain in his hip during the first week of the season. After sitting out 12 games for rest and treatment, he tried to play through what pain remained. That comeback lasted for seven games over two weeks before the pain grew too intense to continue.

“After you wake up day after day limping a different way, you start thinking, ‘Man, I’ve got to make sure this is right before I’ll be walking funny at 35,’” Hudson said.

Hudson has not played since Dec. 12 against Portland. He will see a specialist in New York this week, and plans to see another one in Colorado in the near future, although an appointment is not set.

When Hudson had his initial consultation and MRI scan in November, doctors broached the idea of surgery to repair the hip. But that option would probably cost him 12 to 18 months — a tough prognosis for a guy on a one-year deal.

“If I did have to get a surgery, it could be a surgery where it takes a year and a half to recover,” Hudson said. “A guy who’s 31, 11 years in the league, can’t really take a year and a half off. You would basically have to say, ‘OK, my career could be over.’ Not from the standpoint that I can’t play any more, but the fact that a lot of teams wouldn’t take a chance on a guy who was 33, who had a hip surgery, who’d been out a year and a half.”

– Geoff