What I Saw …

Observations from the Nuggets game:

* The Warriors are so much better when Nelson uses his bench. It’s not just because they were at home that it worked, too. The Warriors’ key players had juice in their legs at the end, even without Maggette and Al Harrington. Jackson worked his way to the line for 10 free throws in the second half instead of only jacking up shots (he did chuck his fair share).

* Out of nowhere, PG C.J. Watson got 42 minutes of action off the bench: 14 points (7-for-16), 4 assists, five rebounds and two steals. The starter, DeMarcus Nelson, played just over six minutes and had four points. DeMarcus wasn’t hurt, it’s just one of those Nellie whims. He rode Watson Wednesday night. Friday, Watson might see six minutes. Or, did Watson just become the starter and the Nelson experiement is over. Is it a coincidence the Warriors scored a season-high with Watson getting the bulk of the minutes? Is Watson’s ability to nab a few steals enough to sit Nelson, who is the better defender? Is his offense that much better than Nelsons?

* Marco Belinelli needs more time. I know, his defense is suspect, and he doesn’t rebound. But he can change the course of the game. He is a legitimate long threat. Him being on the court prevents teams from sagging off. Who else on this team makes the defense say “I can’t leave him”? Marco got 4 minutes and made 1 of 2. He should be getting like 10. If he catches fire for a stretch, it can literally change the game. That’s worth some playing time.

* Andris Biedrins and Brandan Wright each played 32 minutes and combined for three blocks (five by Biedrins). Turiaf got 2. And Anthony Randolph seems to be a good shot blocker. Look out! The Warriors can protect the basket now.

* Though Azubuike is playing some good ball right now, I think it’s a good move to keep him off the bench. Even if Maggette is out for an extended period of time, Azubuike still should ne a sub. Not only does he give the Warriors legitimate scoring punch off the bench, but I think he’s more comfortable in this role. His issues are consistency, so he doesn’t need to go in and out of the lineup. He needs to develop a rhythm and get comfortable. Putting him in the starting lineup, even because of injury, may put too much pressure on him and could ruin his peace of mind. He also can’t be a primary focus of the defense if he’s coming off the bench. He had 22 points, 8 rebounds, a career-high 4 assists in 43 minutes as a reserve. He’s feeling good right now. Switching him around too much might disrupt that.

Marcus Thompson

  • ACC

    I totally agree that W’s reserves were key to last night’s win. Its what the W’s need, fresh legs to finish off a game.

    Here are my observations from last night and past games:

    1. W’s freethrows need to improve a lot. Last night’s clip of 69% is not good. They should jack it up to at least 72%…mathematically speaking shooting 3 to 4 more shots does make a lot of difference than missing them all. It would have accounted for a win against Toronto in regulation had they may 3 or 4 more shots.

    2. Last year’s problem…rebounding, I think has been solved. W’s at this point has a 1.2+/- advantage against opponents in the rebounding department. A very big improvement from last years -3 to -4 deficit (correct me if I am wrong). The addition of Turiaf and the emergence of Andris did wonders. If Don Nelson can give BW and AR more playing time, rebounding problems will be a forgotten issue.

    3. As with the past games, opposing teams seem to have an upper hand in terms of assist. Last night the W’s were at -5 assist.

    4. Al harrington seems disinterested to play and should be a signal for him to be traded. To answer No. 3 observation, a deal that will send Al and maybe MW and throw in MB for an above average PG should be in the works by now. The W’s despite having a lot of youngsters, are more or less complete in their front court and wings. Its the PG that’s missing right now. As with my past blogs, several players come to mind. Acie Law from Atlanta, Kyle Lowry from Memphis, maybe John Lucas III who was recently waived by the OKC, maybe even Steve Blake of Portland, etc.

  • nah

    the key was that the nuggets play no defense.

  • manhattanproj

    the advantage watson has over nelson is he can shoot. there were several shots and runners that watson took looked pretty impressive. nelson also doesn’t seem to have the speed and quickness to get to the rim like rondo and that really hurts his and w’s offense.

    belinelli looks good playing 1-on-1 defense. he stayed in front of dantay jones or j.r smith on one drive. it’s just that he gets or looks lost after he gets screened. we haven’t really seen him play. i want to see him play in extended minutes and let him play through mistakes. his confidence isn’t there because he’s afraid of making mistakes.

  • Wilson

    Great analysis, Marcus. One other reason to limit Azubuike’s minutes is that his knees have a better shot at lasting the season if he isn’t overused – and Nelson tends to grossly overuse his favorites.

    Personally I’d make CJ Watson the starter. He’s a good defender and a much better scorer and his only deficiency is a low assist total. If DeMarcus ever becomes a decent shooter, he could be a long time pro, but his free throw percentage in summer league, training camp, and the regular season is horrifying and unless it improves, you can’t use him at crunch time.

  • petaluman

    Actually, I think Nelson said the PG starter might change game to game, depending on match-ups. However, in the short term, I think CJ’s injury (that’s why he’s wearing the arm brace) has more to do with his minutes. As he becomes more used to the brace and physically recovers, he will become more effective.

  • Rizzo

    Manhattanproj what are you talking about? Did you see D Nelson finish two layups at the rim ??? Who says he doesn’t have the speed? He gets inside much better than CJ does.

  • Peter

    Maybe your best blog yet Marcus….Nail/head.

  • drubin

    Morrow reminds me of Gilbert Arenas. Size wise, undrafted, talented, can shoot and, athletic. I hope the Warriors hang on to this guy and not let him get away like they did Agent 0.