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Nellie Drops a (Small) Bomb

If the season started today, the starting five would look like this:
PG DeMarcus Nelson
SG Stephen Jackson
SF Corey Maggette
PF Al Harrington
C Andris Biedrins

That’s right. DeMarcus Nelson, as of right now, is the starting point guard. If Chris Paul was in town today, he would be matched up against the undrafted rookie out of Duke. Does that spell doom for the Warriors? Or is DeMarcus Nelson the best chance the Warriors have at this point?
He certainly maybe the best chance defensively. He’s big and physical and defensive-minded. When’s the last time the Warriors had that at point guard.
How would you like to be Marcus Williams and C.J. Watson right now, having the coach exalt a training camp invitee over you?

* Well, with the Marco Belinelli-at-point experiment nixed, Nellie all but put an end to the Stephen Jackson-at-point experiement.
“Since he’s been a turnover machine at the two, I’m a little reluctant at the one,” Nellie said.
He did, however, open up another point guard experience. Andris Biedrins-at-point. Check out this exchange between Nellie and Matt Steinmetz.
Would it be a totally ridiculous suggestion to put Andris at point?
“Well, we’re going to be going through him more than we did last year, that’s for sure.”
Could you use him to break pressure?
“Yes.”
Can he initiate the offense?
“Yes. Both our centers can do that.”
Is that what you have to do to be called a point-center?
“I wouldn’t go that far, but pressure release is the main thing and then have a couple of plays that they can actually initiate, which we have. I feel comfortable that, that will work out fine.”
Certainly much more of an endorsement than Nellie gave Marcus Williams on Monday.

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* Twice, Biedrins went up for two of his flip shots right at the rim. Twice, rookie Anthony Randolph swatted it away. The lanky rookie has a knack for blocking shots. He can get up there quickly and he’s got the length to get to shots.
Maybe Randolph is closer to Brandan Wright than most thought. Because of his turnover problems, Randolph may be best suited to play power forward and not small forward at this point in his career. At least his best chance to stay on the court might be at PF.
Sure, he’s skinny, but he’s not weak. He is willing to get down there and he can impact the game on defense because the Warriors desperately need someone to protect the basket. He won’t have to handle the ball as much or make decisions on offense. He’s probably better creating against traditional power forwards than against small forwards.
Randolph at the four takes minutes away from Wright. But, oh well. Randolph is the best young talent (other than Monta Ellis) on the team. He’s the asset the Warriors most need to groom. It would probably be best for his confidence and for his overall production if he plays at PF, where he can be a garbage player and defender who has the ability to create offense in certain occasions. Just my two cents.

* Kelenna Azubuike is looking like a beast in practice. He was all over the court Monday. Rebounding. Scoring. Creating. Once again, he has separated himself from Belinelli and is clearly the back-up shooting guard. If this is any indication of how he’ll play this season – haven’t we seen these flashes before? – don’t be surprised to see Nellie play Jax, Mags and Buike together, with Biedrins at center (or even Al) and the PG. If Jax stops kicking the ball around, he may be the point and Al and Biedrins could be on the floor together with Buike and Mags.

*One spot left. Who will be cut? Rob Kurz or Anthony Morrow? Either way, Nellie said neither will get much of a chance to make one-last pitch to stick around. Nelson said the focus for the last preseason game will be to get the main guys jelling together and ready for the season. Everyone else will just have to rest on their laurels and hope they’ve proven what they can do enough.

Marcus Thompson

  • The Seer

    This team will be fun to watch at home, but on the road, they are going to suffer..38 wins is about what you can expect from this bunch in the west..

  • Ewok, the new mascot.

    Competition within the team is fine. It’s bringing out the best in everyone. It’s making the team flexible, it is enabling every player become multi-dimensional and eventually, it is enhancing the versatility of the team.

    What if, Biedrins can really handle the ball? That would be awesome. I doubt if he could do it on a daily basis, but then again

    What we need now obviously is a big time scorer and a big defender.

    Im a little disappointed with Bellineli’s weak mental approach. He has the physical skills but his mental toughness is very questionable. He has to have confidence with himself.

  • Ewok

    Competition within the team is fine. It’s bringing out the best in everyone. It’s making the team flexible, it is enabling every player become multi-dimensional and eventually, it is enhancing the versatility of the team.

    What if, Biedrins can really handle the ball? That would be awesome. I doubt if he could do it on a daily basis, but then again

    What we need now obviously is a big time scorer and a big defender.

    Im a little disappointed with Bellineli’s weak mental approach. He has the physical skills but his mental toughness is very questionable. He has to have confidence with himself

  • Niners in 2009

    This is all good, imo. I love seeing DeMarcus stepping up and taking the starting PG spot from CJ. I love Randolph and BWright battling out for back-up PF mins. I love our bigmen Biedrins/Turiaf getting their hands on the ball more. This is all good, baby.

    I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Kurz and Morrow hit the chopping block. There could be a good player available on the Waiver Wire, ya know.

  • Tim1234

    Without ME and BD 38 wins would be a miracle. Look for 18 wins. BD by himself is worth 20 games. Without ME for 30 look or a 2-5 wins in the first half of the season.

  • saltwatertaffy

    Marcus!!

    Thank you for the abundance of good information.

  • GSWFan#24

    I like the line up but Al Harrington might not last, after a few terrible rebounding games, expect he and Nelli to “fall out”. I doubt he’ll be around in Feb. DeMarcus did earn the job, CJ doesn’t have what it takes, Williams is slow but he does have good court vision, that could be a plus for 15-20 minutes a night.

  • ds

    If Demarcus Nelson is outplaying Watson and Williams, why not let him start. I am sure Nellie will play the hot hand with these 3 guys anyway. This team still needs a legitimate power forward, Randolph might be the future, but Al Harrington does nothing that we need him to do (rebound, defend power forwards, or score from the low post) He is just a decoy who shoots 3 pointers. Look for the Lakers, Jazz, and big front line teams to continue to pound the Warriors inside, while the running teams will outclass the Warriors at the point. This could be a tough year, maybe low 30′s in wins.

  • Robo

    Rob Kurz or Anthony Morrow? How about cutting Marcus Williams instead? What if anything has he done since the Warriors signed him? Both Kurz and Morrow can shoot and each guy has made the most of his opportunity this offseason with the Warriors. I say keep Kurz and Morrow until Monta comes back; they each deserve a longer look. Morrow may make Belinelli expendable (tradeable) or at least put pressure on him to improve his game. And in Kurz, the Warriors get another big guy who can shoot the 3, who is also not afraid to take a game winning shot. How many players in the NBA can you say that about?

  • Ewok

    This is very disappointing…

    From Janny Hu of the Sfgate.com,

    ‘….Again, the simplified background: Davis and Chris Mullin agree to a three-year, $39 million extension that Rowell doesn’t sign off on. Davis opts out, bolts to LA. … Not hard to figure out whose side he’s on here….”

    This is very alarming.

    Is Cohan and Rowell really serious about winning a Championship? I have to wonder.

    Who’s next to leave? Mullin? Nelson? Monta, Jax?

    Sad to let Baron go. I thought Baron all along was the wrong one. I was wrong.

    Sad.

  • EDHWarriorsFan

    I second Robo’s suggestion.

    I think Kurz can be a contributor to this team with his toughness & outside shooting skill (The 2 shots against the Bucks weren’t an abberation, where they?).

    Morrow seems like another determined player (What’s the scoop on his defensive & passing skills- I haven’t seen much info about those attributes of his game?)& we know he can shoot (at least in summer league).

    Marcus Williams hasn’t shown much so far, couldn’t get minutes with the Nets in spite of being a first round pick. I could be wrong but I think he’s a bust in the making.

    Let’s cut Marcus, keep an eye on other team’s cuts (Kevin Ollie? Perhaps another team’s PG cut is better than anyone on our roster?) & go from there.

  • JustPuked

    Welcome back Marcus. It’s not a bomb if you’ve been watching the preseason games. Nelson has grown into the role and he’s got the trust of his teammates. He’s Nellie’s next great diamond in the rough, the type of Avery Johnson guy that gets Nellie fired up about coaching again that that’s exactly what this team needs: Nellie excited about coaching again.

    They should platoon Randolph and Wright at PF behind Harrington until one of them consistently out performs the other. They both have tremendous upside and a host of youthful mistakes in front of them. Neither is ready to start at this point but they both need to get minutes if they’re going to develop, not just one of them.

    On paper, at the beginning of the pre-season, it looked like Nellie might finally have a deep rotation. Even with Ellis shelved and Nelson at PG, you’ve got CJ, Williams (ugh) Az, Bells, Randolph, Wright & Turiaf coming of the bench. When Ellis gets back, CJ and Williams can mercifully drop out of the rotation. But that’s that great! On paper you still have to wonder if CJ, Williams, (and more importantly long term, if) Belinelli, Randolph and Wright are actually ready for consistent minutes. Barnes and Pietrus are no longer in the way and yet it looks like we’re in for another year of frustrating up and down bench play from everyone except Kelenna & Turiaf. Until Belinelli, Wright and Randolph prove otherwise, this isn’t a deep team…again.

  • JustPuked

    oops, that’s NOT that great.

  • Phil

    After the last game in China, ball handling is the premium. So if DeMarcus can play D and not turnover the ball, he’ll do OK. Wright and Randolph have shown some good spark. I like Kurz, but you can’t keep 5 PF’s and none of these guys can play the 3.

    Bellinelli and Marcus Williams have been disappointing and I don’t see them getting minutes. Marco may do OK against slower players, but don’t even dress him against quick athletic guys. I’d like to see more of Morrow, but he hasn’t shown anything yet.

    Without Baron, the W’s will turn the ball over more. If they can limit it, they’ll compete, but if they play like they did in China, they’ll struggle into the low 30 wins.

    But I’m still optimistic to see the starters work together and see how they control the ball.

  • Jaysohn

    Let me kick some basketball knowledge for you, Baron was not going to EVER take the Warriors to the promise land or anywhere near a championship. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the guy and he made Warriors basketball relevant again but I think we rode him as far as we could. As good as he was he was maybe the 5th best point guard in the West behind Paul, Williams, Nash and Parker. He was great in Nellie’s system but he is a lazy defender, a shoot-a-holic (horrible shooting %) and an awful free throw shooter for a point guard. Spending 12 – 13 million on him for 3 more years was only going to keep the Warriors at best at status quo just good enough to miss the playoffs. This team desperately needs one of their young players to turn into a superstar to go along with Monte then maybe the Warriors can truly build something lasting. My hopes are on Randolph. He seems to be the only guy with a little something special. As far as Mully is concerned I would like for him to stick around but honestly his track record hasn’t been that great. Beidrins has been the only decent first round pick he has made. Diogu, O’Bryant, Wright, Bellinili.. thats pretty bad. When was the last time the Warriors drafted an all-star quality player? Webber?? Spreewell?? Its all about talent and so far Mully hasn’t done that good of a job at drafting star talent.

  • mm

    If anyone has been watching\listening to the preseason games, Demarcus Nelson is the better option at PG at this moment. I’m not surprised.

    I’d like to see more of Anthony Randolph though

  • Phil

    Jaysohn,

    I agree with the facts, but not necessarily the conclusion. Nellie is too good at overachieving, so he never gets top draft picks.

    With Monta (if healthy), Andris and Randolph, they have a great nucleus and lots of other talent. If these guys develop into superstars and others develop, this is a very deep team opening lots of possibilities for this group or for trades.

    I like Nellie with that many options, so I’d like to see where he can take it. Besides, there aren’t a lot of other coaches available I’d trust to be better.

  • Phil

    They have the nucleus, they’re missing the superstar.

  • Ewok

    Jaysohn,

    I think your opinon is bright and you do have a great point. However, I still disagree.

    Baron makes things happen. It’s that simple. Sure he has his flaws, his bad habits and inconsistencies, but who’s to say they can’t be corrected, Who’s to say he won’t adjust his game? who’s to say he won’t compromise with the other great talents of the team?

    While we were seeded to lose against Dallas for obvious reasons, we beat them. Even Avery Johnson conceeded it was Baron Davis as the great factor why they lost.

  • goingforthemoney.com

    Hey everybody, the W’s are who you think they are. They have some interesting parts to work with and will if nothing else be entertaining. It really doesn’t matter to much who they keep or let go. The future is difficult to predict. They are all talented player however the only one that has star quality is Anthony Randolph. With that said It would behove Nelson to start Randolph’s learning curve immediately or risk messing with young Randolph’s phyche. I too originally though that D. Nelson would be one of the odd man out however he has the make-up to be star in this league. I know that is a stretch but if you pay close attention he can pretty much do it all as long as his confidents stays up and he doesn’t let people get into his head and he start to think he’s not a good shooter. As for Belinelli, the W’s can let him go. Morrow is a as good a shooter and a better player period. Also the W’s don’t need Williams cause he lacks the mental fortitude. Anybody who can’t pick up the W’s offense obviously has some mental deficiencies. Just my casual observation.

  • Ewok

    I think what we are witnessing now is the result of competition among these players for their positions.

    CWatson and DNelson emerged as legits and they will remain this way for as long as they are hungry to remain this way.

    The real question is, In the absence of Monta, Who will be the next big time scorer for the team? Certainly, its not Bellineli with his inconsistentcy! and since its quite noticeable that we only have two centers in Biedrins and Turiaf and non of them are stoppers, Is this healthy for the team for a grind of 80 games?