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Somebody Guard Chris Duhon?

Here’s my one knock on Baron. He turns it on and off.
Part of it is because he’s so good. The game really does come “Too Easy” to him. Part of it is because he carries such a big load for this team, and it’s practically impossible to have it “on” all the time. But part of it is because he’s not mature enough of a point guard to not overlook lesser opponents.
Duhon has 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting. He scored his season high in 10 minutes. Monta was matched up with him. But I give Baron some of the blame for that. Monta loses focus on defense. He gets lost in the shuffle when he’s competing against a less heralded guy. He spent the first quarter losing sight of Duhon, waiving at him instead of running out to contest his shot. Remember Monta was a pesky defender? He is when he wants to be. Assuredly, he can turn it on in a blink just as Baron. But it’s a bad habit for such a young talent.
Baron is the king of that. B.D. lifts his play against the best PGs, and coasts against the lesser ones. From eyes, Monta is picking up that habit.
Baron should go for 40 regularly against some of the other point guards in this league. He should be averaging double-digits in assists. He is undefendable one-on-one, and against many double teams. But he coasts when he’s not motivated, and he bails out the defense too much with jumpers. He relaxes on defense against the no-name PGs in the league.
When Baron gets to the point where he can play at an All-Star level no matter who he’s going against, he’ll be in the Hall of Fame. Let’s hope that starts while he’s playing alongside Monta.

Marcus Thompson

  • Andrew

    and Smith and Thomas….?

  • Gary

    Exactly. Most opposing point guards are blowing by whoever is guarding them, whether it is Monte or Baron. This constant penetration creates easy baskets and lots of fouls. This game was one of those complete stinkers where the offense is horrible and still, it is light years ahead of their defense.

  • TokyoD

    Just watched the Chicago game and have seen the light. It became very clear to me that Baron has not decided that he is an All Star. I’m glad he didn’t make it. It is very clear to me that he has the ability to take anyone to the hoop anytime he wants and dish to others if they stop him, which they seldom can. Now he seems to wait till it is absolutely necessary and starts games quietly (sleepily), as if this will involve others. The others get involved when he leads, not when he watches. In fact, all of the Warriors are good players when he leads and average when he doesn’t. Ellis and eventually Biedrins might be better than that, but they need a leader too. Nellie should tell Baron that the first 5-10 plays of the game are his responsibility and he must take it to the hoop…the other teams will panic..he is so unstoppable…if he decides. Then Nelson should tell the other team he is going to do this. Baron is that good……Nash good…but Nash has decided. If Baron can’t decide, find a team that needs a non-leader and send him away and find someone who has decided…even if he isn’t as good. Decide…Baron!

  • EJ

    marcus,

    why wasn’t harrington in the game in the final minutes? it always seems that when he starts to get hot, nellie pulls him or jack tries to go one on one and force up his own shots. he knocked down two straight 3′s in the fourth and then he got pulled. and why didn’t they go to a zone defense with noah, thomas, and smith on the floor against a small front court of barnes, jackson, and pietrus? they should’ve been forcing the bulls to shoot from the perimeter rather than getting to the line, right?

    there was situation late in the fourth with the warriors down by 2 where baron drove in and kicked it out to pietrus for an open 3 in the corner. he missed. i’d much rather have harrington in the game taking those shots.

    we’re definitely going to be looking back at this game in april.

  • chris

    You may be right about Baron, but this was unconvincingly argued. Monta’s getting reamed by Duhon but it is Baron’s fault?

    People think Baron can get inside at anytime, but I wonder if they are considering:

    – what the coach is telling him to do.
    – how passive that might make the rest of the team.
    – how much energy it takes for Baron to take it to the hole with authority; anybody who’s played even street ball knows that it takes a concentrated burst to get that first step going.
    – issues with injuries we don’t see.

  • Marcus

    Chris,

    I said I give “some of the blame” to Baron. If you think part of his job isn’t bringing Ellis along, you are mistaken. He is the leader of this team. They take his lead. You can see how Monta is taking after Baron in many aspects, especially when it comes to dealing with the media, much like any young point guard coming up under an established point guard. You don’t think Marcus Williams is learning from Jason Kidd, Shaun Livingston learned from Sam Cassell, Nate Robinson from Stephon Marbury and Jamaal Crawford. Even the team’s management expects the the stud PG to help in the development of the young PG. Just like BD gets the credit for Monta’s improved smart decision-making on offense, much better passing, willingness to pass the ball up the court on the break, etc. BD gets the blame for showing Monta how to turn it on and off, especially defensively.
    And you should know by now that Nellie isn’t telling Baron what to do. Also, I don’t know how pulling up for 3-pointers and contested 20-footers is making the rest of the team aggressive.
    There’s no question it takes a lot to get to the hole, but it takes a lot for every great point guard.
    Yet Baron, who has attempted 319 3-pointers, has taken more treys than Steve Nash (225), Chris Paul (143), Allen Iverson (160), Deron Williams (116), Jason Kidd (223), Tony Parker (40) and Chauncey Billups (260). Among the great point guards in the league, only Kidd, Nash and Baron have taken more 3-pointers than free throws. But Nash and Kidd don’t get to the line as much because they are pass-first point guards, which is why they rank 1 and 3 in assists.

  • chris

    Ouch! I give! I just got crushed. Clearly you know a million times more about it, and I say that with no sarcasm.

    And no, I guess I am really naive — I thought a couch as bigtime as Nellie WOULD have some control over his players, even the stars.

    I guess it just seems unfair sometimes that players who can make it look easy sometimes get questioned for not playing at that level ALL the time. Think: Rickey Henderson. Maybe it is not as easy for them as it looks? Except when the adrenelin is REALLY pumping?

    I know I find it hard to do my job equally well all the time…

  • chris

    On the 3-pointers, though: The key seems to be percentage, not volume. The point is to maximize your points per possession. I don’t care how many he takes if he is making them.

    The percentages for those you mentioned:

    Nash:47
    Paul: 35
    Iverson: 34
    Williams: 40
    Kidd: 34
    Parker: 40
    Billups: 40
    Baron: 35

    So, Baron is mediocre in his percentage, but right there with all-stars Kidd, Iverson and Paul.

    Nash’s percentage is sick.

  • Marcus

    Chris,

    Oh, I for sure feel you.
    First off, Nellie’s style is freedom. It’s not that he can’t have control, he doesn’t want to. That’s why he wants skilled players, so they can play free, which he thinks keeps the defense off balance.
    As far as Baron, you’re right, it is extremely difficult to play at your best all the time. I’m only talking about the difference between being a great player and being an all-time great. I’m talking about Hall of Fame caliber of play, a level of consistency that only the likes of John Stockton, Magic Johnson and those types managed. You won’t see that out of Baron until they get better players around him, so everything isn’t on his shoulders.
    Stockton had Malone. Isiah had Joe Dumars. Oscar Robertson had Jerry Lucas. Baron has …

  • chris

    Thanks for the insight.

    Just a general prop: The actual interesting commentary and attention you and the other hotcoco bloggers put into your blogs for the past couple years has really set you apart from the other newspapers around the Bay.