Baron Davis’ homecoming will have to wait. Dan Martinez of the Warriors’ PR staff just sent out a note saying that Davis will not be at Sunday night’s Clippers vs. Warriors game. Davis will be staying in Los Angeles to continue working out and getting treatment for his bruised tailbone and hamstring injuries.
Archive for January, 2009
Monta Ellis has been a magnet for drama since he signed that $66 million contact back in July. His story just took another twist, but also came closer to a conclusion.
The Warriors announced that Ellis will make his season debut on Friday.
Let’s look at this whole situation as a timeline:
July 24, 2008
The Warriors announced they signed Ellis to a contract. It’s a six-year, $66 million contract.
August 21, 2008
Monta, in Jackson Mississippi, injures his ankle. He informs the team. But he tells the team he sustained the injury working out. They keep it hushed while they wait to see if it requires surgery.
August 27, 2008
ESPN reported that Ellis is out for three months after injuring his left ankle, making the news of Ellis’ injury public. He had surgery this day in Birmingham, Alabama to repair a torn deltoid ligament. The initial diagnosis was that he would be out 12 weeks (six weeks off the ankle, then six weeks of rehab), then would be evaluated again.
August 29, 2008
A team source informed me that the team didn’t believe Monta’s story for how he injured his ankle and were investigating his story.
September 3, 2008
ESPN, citing league sources, reports that Ellis had cuts and abrasions on his left leg that weren’t consistent with his working out story.
September 6, 2008
A team source informed me that Ellis came clean to the league that he lied about how he was injured.
September 24, 2008
The San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing a source close to Monta, that the Warriors’ guard sustained the injury while riding a mo-ped.
September 29, 2008
Monta makes his first public comments about the incident. He’s riding a scooter designed to keep him off that left ankle.
“We’ll address it next week when my agent speak with the team and till then I want to tell you, but you just have to wait it out and see what they say and when it’s time for me to address it then ill address it.”
October 11, 2008
Team president Robert Rowell announced before a preseason game against Oklahoma City that the team was suspending Monta Ellis for 30 games. But that wasn’t it. Rowell the disagreement between himself and Chris Mullin.
“Chris Mullin made it perfectly clear to both Mr. Cohan and myself that he didn’t think this was a big deal at the beginning, and we happen to think it’s a very big deal. We happen to think that it’s a big deal for our fans, it’s a big deal for our season ticket-holders, it’s a big deal for our business partners, it’s a big deal for the Warriors organization.”
He also confirmed that the team will protect itself if Monta can’t be Monta again.
“I’ve given so little thought to that that I don’t even know if I can give you a real intelligent answer, other than preserving our rights and reserving our rights, which we have. We’ve asserted that. As far as how it gets done . . . Nobody wants that scenario to happen. If it happens, you’ve got to deal with it.”
October 14, 2008
The blogsite Monta’s Moped had its first post, taking the Monta Ellis saga to commercial status.
October 27, 2008
Monta Ellis, through his agent, released a statement announcing how he disagreed with the Warriors’ ruling.
“While management and I do not agree on their actions, I want to be clear that my injury is based on my mistake in judgment. And I always accept responsibility for my actions.”
A source close to him said he would be filing a grievance to block the Warriors ability to go after his contract.
October 28, 2008
Monta, wearing all black, including a fur Yankees hat, gets a standing ovation at the Warriors’ open practice when he was introduced with the team.
November 19, 2008
Monta has his second surgery, this one to get the screws taken out. It took place in Dr. Angus McBryde in Birmingham, Alabama.
December 11, 2008
Monta showed up at practice again, this time he’s wearing a practice uniform. He didn’t participate, but he spent a lot of time talking on the court with Jamal Crawford, his new backcourt mate.
“Now, everything’s peaches and cream. You know, I’m walking again, back around my teammates, shooting, about to get back to doing what I love doing.”
January 6, 2009
My man Tim Kawakami blogs that Ellis is upset with the team and he is “not pleased about rejoining a Warriors universe that is ruled by Don Nelson and Robert Rowell.” Warriors do not like that.
January 7, 2009
The Warriors put out a release before the tip-off of the Lakers game saying that Ellis is ready to take the next step: more strenuous activity.
January 9, 2009
Monta works out with his teammates. Nellie called it the lightest form of practicing possible.
January 13, 2009
Monta returns to practice for the first time. He goes all out, even more than he probably should have, according to Nellie. After practice, Monta talked about being pain free, in need of conditioning, and his love for the Warriors.
“Listen, whatever it is about me leaving, wanting to go, I don’t want to play for Nellie — that never came from my mouth. I don’t know where they got that from, but I’m here for the next six years. I’m a Warrior. I’m going to always be a Warrior. Whoever put that out there did it because they wanted a story. I’m making it known right now that I’m a Warrior. I love playing for Nellie. And I never said that, not one time. So you don’t have to worry about that…I’m here for the next six years. Only thing I’m worried about is getting back on the basketball court.”
January 19, 2009
Monta comes to the arena expecting to play, but he is told no, according to a team source. Not only did he have to wait even longer to play, which is agonizing, but he couldn’t wear the Martin Luther King Jr. editions of his signature shoe with And1. The same day, his agent, Jeff Fried, met with the Warriors’ management.
January 22, 2009
The Warriors announce after practice that Ellis returns. Hours later, my colleague posts on his blog, citing Monta’s agent Jeff Fried, that the Warriors are still “reserving the right” to go after his contract later.
The saga continues.
The team announced earlier that guard Monta Ellis will return. I’ll come back with more later.
The talks regarding Miami Heat forward Shawn Marion won’t die. Toronto, Dallas, even Charlotte, have been mentioned as possible suitors.
The one team we haven’t heard is the Warriors. Let’s see, the Warriors need a PF who fits their style of play, who rebounds and who can score inside. Marion fits (though he doesn’t have a traditional back-to-the-basket game).
Plus, Marion is a free-agent to be. So the Warriors can try him out and if they don’t like him, don’t re-sign him. Obviously, Miami would have to be interested, and there is a very real chance the Warriors don’t have what Miami wants, which is a big man.
But provided the Heat is interested in the Warriors’ roster. Who would you give up for a chance to fill that hole? Or, would you even want Marion?
Wasn’t much out of Tuesday’s practice. Watson and Belinelli didn’t practice, but worked out. Brandan Wright was no where to be found. There was one interesting play when Monta took a hard body check from Anthony Randolph. Monta didn’t just pop back up, but he did get up.
Much of the talk was about the inauguration.
“What a great time for our country. Real exciting. How about that speech? I wrote that for him.”
“I didn’t watch it. I know he’s president. I don’t need to watch TV to know he’s president. I’m happy for him. Today is a beautiful today. They’re going to be playing it all day, so I’ll probably get a chance to watch it this evening. I’m going to an inauguration party, so I can watch it there. But I didn’t wake up to watch it.”
“I caught some little clips here and there. It’s a great day, especially for minorities in general. Having Obama becoming president and being inaugurated today, it’s a big step, man. It’s a big step in history. No one ever expected this type of thing to happen. But this shows how much our country has grown. I think that’s what we’re trying to do, become as one – unity, togetherness, spreading opportunity.”
“Obama has a lot on his plate, man. The only thing you can do for him is pray for him and hopefully he can do the job most people want him to do.”
“I watched a little bit of it. I didn’t know it came on that early. I heard Obama speech. That’s about it. It felt good. Actually, to me, he was saying pretty much the same thing that Martin Luther King was saying. And he sounded just like him when he was speaking. I just look at the picture of how many people were there, it was just like when Dr. King was speaking. It was a great feelling. It was like history repeating itself.”
Check this out. I was investigating the All-Star returns, looking to see if Warriors fans had Andris at least somewhat close to the top. I hadn’t looked the entire time, figuring no Warrior had a shot. But tonight I looked.
Sure enough, Andris was not even close. According to the fourth returns, put out Jan. 8, Biedrins had 170,732 votes. He was behin Yao Ming, Shaq, Andrew Bynum, Mehmet Okur and Greg Oden.
But guess whose name I did see? Jamal Crawford. He was sixth among West guards!
Immediately, I thought “He must’ve got a lot of New York votes. Wrong.
The first returns came out Dec. 11. Crawford was traded by New York to the Warriors on Nov. 21. He didn’t make the top 11 for either conference. Houston point guard Rafer Alston was 11th with 73, 614 votes. Gilbert Arenas was 11th in the East with 64,450.
I checked the second returns, which came out on Dec. 25. Still no Crawford in the East or West. Denver’s Chauncey Billups was 11th with 170,645.
On to the third returns, unveiled on Jan. 1. Still no Crawford. We know he had fewer than 205,554 votes, which is how much Billups had at he bottom of the top 11.
Then, suddenly, on Jan. 8, when the fourth returns are released, Crawford has 462, 039 votes? That’s more than 255,000 votes he’d accumulated in that one week! What happened? Did he hold a ballot punching party somewhere, or are Warriors fans falling in love?
Crawford won’t get voted in, and he probably won’t be added by the coaches. Still, these All-Star stats have some interesting tid bits in them:
* He has more votes than Steve Nash (even though the All-Star Game is in Phoenix), Jason Kidd, Rafer Alston (who has the China vote by virtue of playing with Yao), Brandon Roy, Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams and, yes, Baron Davis.
* He is sixth among guards, but the ballot doesn’t break it up into point guards and shooting guards. If you go by position, he’s third among point guards – behind Chris Paul and Tony Parker – and fourth among shooting guards – behind Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady (who also has the China vote) and Manu Ginobili.
* Of the five people ahead of him, only Kobe and CP3 have played at least as many games as Chris Paul. McGrady has hardly played and Giniobili and Parker missed chunks at the beginning of the season
* The only East guards with more votes after the fourth returns were Dwyane Wade, Allen Iverson, Vince Carter, Ray Allen and (barely) Devin Harris.
*This has nothing to do with Crawford, but how does Joe Johnson have just 236,883 votes – fewer than Luke Ridnour!
* Baron had 499,186 total votes last year total. Remember, Crawford had 462,039 when they announced on Jan. 8. The voting ended today. So Crawford was 37,000-plus votes behind with 11 days to go. But Crawford has been here for seven weeks. Baron had been here for three years and had led the team to the playoffs the year before for the first time in 13 years.
* Swingman Stephen Jackson, the team’s leader, is nowhere to be found. He was on the ballot as a guard. The fourth returns had Roy as No. 11 at 267,053. So Crawford had some 200,000 more than Jackson!
Why is Crawford getting so much love from Warriors’ fans? Was it the 40 in the home opener? Was it the 50-point game? Was it the game-winner against Indiana? Is it the good-guy personality?
Someone explain this to me.
(Note: We’ve had some technical issues with our blog. Somehow, the last post, and all the comments, disappeared. The Raiders blog is having even more problems. I am recreating the post for those who didn’t see it. For those who did, there will be some differences as I didn’t have it saved anywhere).
After watching the Hawks game, and how Crawford closed it out efficiently, I was thinking the Warriors will have a dilemma on their hands. Who are they going to designate the go-to guy.
Before I break down the options, I must say that I go into this with the belief that the closer-by-committee thing doesn’t work in basketball. In the NBA, you need to have the one guy who is THAT GUY. No matter who is rolling. No matter how bad he’s been playing. He gets the rock. Obviously, it won’t be 100 percent of the time. But for the most part, I believe, you need a guy who you go-to down the stretch, who has the skills to make something happen for himself and others, and even after the plans go awry. You win and lose with him. Doesn’t mean he has to take the shot, but he needs to be involved, the center of what happens down the stretch. Hopefully, this guy is good enough to get it done. Because if you don’t have that guy in this league, you’re not a very good team. Or if you have the wrong kind of guy in that position, you’re not a very good team.
The Warriors had that guy in Baron, now they need to deem someone his successor. So, who would you give that job, too. The options:
Pros: His midrange is money and he’s a good 3-point shooter when he gets a good look. He can post-up, which gives you another option. He is a pretty good passer for his position, so you can have faith he can set up a score for someone else. He also has experience hitting clutch shots, the often others created them for him. He’s also a good free throw shooter.
He isn’t a good ball-handler and he’s prone to make poor decisions, so he’s a high-risk for a turnover.
Pros: Because of his superior athleticism and midrange jumper, he is sometimes impossible to guard. He’s excellent at finishing his drives and he’s a solid free throw shooter. He has a scoring knack, so he can find multiple ways to put the ball in the hole – jumper, drive, offensive rebound, finishing, pull-up, free throws, fast break. Also, Monta has a killer instinct. He plays aggressive, determined and hungry.
Cons: He’s handles, though improved, still limit his ability to improvise. His court vision is limited and his passing, though improved, makes you wonder if he can consistently make plays for others. He didn’t shoot the 3-pointer well, which means you’re in trouble if you need one. Of course, all this is based on last season and it doesn’t take into consideration any improvements he may have made. With his history, it’s highly likely he’s gotten better.
Pros: Because of his excellent ball-handling ability, he can create easily for himself and others off the dribble. Can get to anywhere on the floor. Can knock down any shot on the floor. Can knock down different types of shots, especially difficult ones. His midrange is water and he has 3-point range. Really good free throw shooter. Underrated passer.
Cons: Settles for tough shots too much and takes too many unnecessary 3-pointers. Was once an explosive athlete but doesn’t finish above the rim much anymore. Isn’t as good finishing with contact as you’d like.
Pros: Excellent at getting to the basket and the free throw line, which is the kind of high-percentage opportunity you want down the stretch. Good free throw shooter. He has a nice midrange jumper and the size to post up. Handles are good enough to get to where he needs to go. Can stick a 3-pointer when he gets a good look.
Cons: Doesn’t pass well, nor does he see the floor well. Prone to offensive fouls because of his head-down drives. Decision making can be suspect (i.e., takes a jumper over a smaller defender, rushes the shot when running clock is best, etc.)
So, who gets your vote.
* Jackson is expected to play tomorrow. He was in his practice uniform and on the court.
* Maggette had his hand taped. Apparently, he sustained some kind of injury Wednesday. Maybe that’s why he missed 8 of 12 free throws.
* Monta practiced again at full speed, though many of the big-minutes players practiced lighter. Ellis got through his second consecutive practice without incident. Still no word on when he returns.
Nellie: “It’s doctors and trainers. Not his call. Not mine.”
Nelson continued to express nothing but positivity about Monta’s recovery.
Nellie: “I was worried that he wouldn’t get back to where he was. He had two tendons severed so it was a major operation. But I’m not worried about that anymore. I think he’s going to get back and I see the same quickness and explosiveness. But he’s not there yet.”
*One interesting topic came up: Andris Biedrins seems to practice every blue moon. Andris is fourth on the team in minutes per game (32.1), but his minutes are the hard-earned kind, as he’s down there banging and running. Plus, remember, Biedrins played this summer for his national team.
Still, there is a fine line between resting and killing energy. Nellie said he thinks he crossed it when he gave Biedrins the day off Tuesday.
Nellie: “I’ve given him a couple of days, but maybe I shouldn’t have given him that second day (off) because I thought his start was pretty poor last night. He missed two or three baskets right at the rim. I probably should’ve given him one day and worked him a little bit the next. I thought he’d been playing a little tired so I decided to give him two days off. He picked it up in the second half. He’s fine.”
* A lot of talk after the triple-overtime L the Warriors took Wednesday was about whether to foul or not foul. The Warriors had a foul to give, but didn’t take it and Kevin Martin drove to the basket for a game-tying dunk.
Nellie: “It would’ve been a good time to use the foul. No question about that.”
Then Kevin Martin was left long enough to nail a 3-pointer to steal victory.
Nellie: “He should’ve been chased off the line. That was a mistake that we made. There were 11 seconds. You don’t foul at 11, you foul at 5. When it hit five, he was at the three. You don’t want to foul. If you foul there he’s going to go up and get two free throws. That was a tough play for a rookie (Anthony Morrow). He gave up three 3s that hurt us (the other two by Francisco Garcia from the corner), but those are rookie mistakes. I’m going to have to live with those. It’s not that he did anything wrong, but he should’ve moved — he could play on the other side of him. Give him the two, it doesn’t matter. You don’t give the three. And he did. He’s trying to do the right thing, nobody’s blaming him. But that’s a rookie mistake.”
* Funny moment that may have went overlooked Wednesday night. When C.J. Watson fouled out, Nelson walked down the bench looking for someone to replace him with. Crawford was already on the court. Belinelli is hurt. Morrow was already on the court. There was one guard left on the bench.
That’s who Nellie put in after he whisked right past Marcus Williams. The question begs: if he can’t get in the game for an injury depleted team, with three players fouled out in a triple-overtime game, then when can M-Will get in???
Nellie: “When Monta comes back, it will be harder. He’s kept a good attitude. He’s done the right things. He wants to play. He just has a lot of guys playing ahead of him.”
The Warriors’ Jamal Crawford will be on hand to answer your questions today at around 12:45 p.m. (or, after practice).
Thursday at 12:45 p.m., after the Warriors’ practice, Warriors guard Jamal Crawford will be here to chat with you. Come with questions. From what I know about Crawford so far, he’ll definitely have answers.