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Camp Day 1: Monta-Curry-Nellie Triangle

Warriors world was much more tame Tuesday as training camp opened. Obviously, the hot topic was Monta’s comments. Nellie and Curry’s reactions were the most coveted.
It was very clear that the Warriors sought to nip this in the bud as everyone was ACTUALLY ON THE SAME PAGE, save for a few opportunities to extract some read-between-the-lines, conspiracy theory type of drama. All three held their ground without really dissing the other. Monta was the strongest, though much more toned down. He still doesn’t sound like he’s planning on being best buddies with Curry. It sounds to me like (and this is some read-between-the-lines analysis I’ve conjured up) Monta just wants some respect.


Why should he have to kiss up to this rookie? Why is everyone regarding Curry with all this awe? You can understand why Monta feels this way (if he even does) considering his entrance into the league. He slipped to the second round, the doubts heaped on him outweighed the praise he received, and he rode the bench for the first half of the season. Curry’s road into an NBA career has been much smoother.
Anyway, the transcripts.

DON NELSON

Good first day?
Yeah. Good, uh, good first morning.

What did you like about it?
Good enthusiasm. We got our board work done. You know, you’re not allowed to have contact in the morning. They ran their tests. So, we got a lot done.

Monta was talking yesterday about playing with Curry, how he doesn’t think the two of them can play together on the court at the same time.

I don’t know if that’s exactly what he said. Certainly match-ups will determine that. We know we’re pretty small in the backcourt. We wouldn’t expect them to play together when we play the Lakers, for example, and have to guard Kobe or something like that. There are plenty other times they will be able to play together. But that’s a match-up situation. There are a lot of teams that don’t post their two guards. There are a lot of teams that have small two guards that play together. So, it’ll be a match-up situation. But they definitely will be playing together some. Not always, for sure.

Have you talked about that with Monta?

You can ask Monta, if you liked

How do you see these guards working out?
Our backcourt is small. I’ve already mentioned that. So I think there will be times where we will have to have a bigger backcourt. Buike’s able to play the two spot as well as the three. When that happens, he’ll play there. Then Morrow is 6-5. He’s not a giant two guard but, you know, he’s certainly average. So he’ll be playing there.

How important is it for Monta to help the rookie? Is it important for them to have a relationship?
I don’t know that they really knew each other before, you know. But it’s just like anything else. They’ll bond. They’ll become friends. They’ll learn how to play with each other and they’ll sub for each other. It will be a great relationship.

Are you encouraged by the fact that the potential starting point guard is thinking cerebrally about basketball?
“Well, he didn’t say anything that was not true. There will be plenty of times where they won’t be able to play together. There’s a lot of big guards in this league, guys 6-8, 6-9 that play the two guard in this league. That’s a little bit too much to ask for anybody that’s 6-4 or 6-2 to play the big two guards. But there’ll be plenty of other opportunities.”

Monta was saying you can’t win with those two playing together.
Again, it all depends on match-ups. I wouldn’t put them in a situation where they couldn’t succeed. But yeah, they’re both winners. They will be able to win together.

Question inaudible
Good. We’ve got a couple guys that are out, off operations and a little hobbled, a couple guys. But for the most part, everybody seems to be in pretty good shape and, uh, ready to go.

Morrow appeared to be practicing with the starting five. Was that a sign that you’re leaning that way?
I’m not leaning any way.

Could you see how when you look on the court, you could think that?
I didn’t notice it.

You had Randolph, Monta, Jack and Biedrins – four likely starters – with Morrow.
You can ask Keith Smart. He put the teams together. It doesn’t matter who plays with who. I wouldn’t make too much out of anything like that. Normally we’ll publish the starting lineup on opening day, which I know is hard for you to wait.


STEPHEN CURRY

How was your first practice?
It’s fun. Had a little conditioning test. Got that out the way. Got right into the defensive strategy. I think that’s something they’re going to work on this year. So it was fun to get out there in front of the whole team with all the coaches.

How do you envision your relationship with Monta?
He has a lot of experience. I can definitely learn a lot of things from him. We’re different players. Same size, but we have different strengths and I think we can both learn something from each other. I’ll definitely be looking up to him for some leadership this year. I think he’s a great talent who’s going to to where we need to be.

Are there certain match-up situations in which you two can play together?I think the pace of play needs to be high. If it’s a great strength for us in that particular game, then putting us both out there might be something that the coach needs to do. It depends on the match-ups with different games, the different set-ups. I think it just depends on what coach Nelson wants on a particular night.

Has coach indicated what he wants?

No. It’s early. We haven’t really played together much so he hasn’t seen us work together. All that will come down the road when we get more into training camp and get comfortable with each other.

How much interaction have you had with Monta?

A little. I mean, through the drills, encouraging each other. In the locker room, you know, joking around and stuff like that. It’s been limited action, so I’m sure it will get stronger as the year goes on.

Did you read Monta’s comments?
I did. Something that he particular feels coming in and he wants to win. If that’s what he sees, that a bigger lineup is better, then that’s his opinion. I know coach will take that under consideration when he’s picking out lineups and different strategies. Like I said, it’s early. Who knows what our best lineup is going to be, and I know coach is going to put the best five out there. So, we’re just going to have to take it how it comes.

Were you hurt by his comments?
Not at all. No. Like I said, he’s been here. He has experience. I don’t anything about what it’s like to play in an NBA game or anything like that. And he knows how to win, what it’s going to take. So if that’s what he sees, then there’s got to be some validity to it. It all comes down to what coach Nelson wants.

Did he talk to you about the comments?
Not yet. I’m sure if need be he will explain it. But I don’t need an explanation right now.

Sounds like coach talked to him about it. Notice anything different about him?
Not really. Once practice got started, we kind of left all the stuff that happened yesterday aside and start playing and having fun on the court. When we get into real action Sunday when we play the Clippers and we find a set lineup that is going to make us the best team, coach Nelson will do it.

MONTA ELLIS

How did it feel out there today?
It felt good. My first day back. Lot of excitement. Lot of enthusiasm. You know, all positive. Just glad to be back on the court.

Coach talk to you about your comments yesterday?
Basically, what it is, is that the only way we’ll be able to play together is match-ups. That’s the only way. Point blank.

So there is a certain situation where you can see you two playing together?
Coach makes them calls and I just play basketball.

Question inaudible
Nothing to do. He just asked me about them, told me the interview was good up until that point. And, hey, it’s over with, put it behind us and move forward.

Question inaudibleIt’s no problem. It’s no problem at all. We had a great day at training camp today. Come back tonight. See what we do and just get the ball rolling.

Have you interacted with Curry?
We speak. (inaudible) It’s a job. This is what you do in training camp, you compete. It’s nothing against him. Nothing that I have a problem with him. I don’t know him. He don’t know me. But we’re teammates. We’re going to get to know each other and we’re just going to be playing basketball.

You going to help him out as a rookie?Yeah. Same way when I was here with Baron Davis and Derek Fisher. They didn’t come in here and butter me up, pat me on my back or nothing. It’s basketball. It’s serious. That’s what we do. We compete and we just make each other better. That’s all it is. We’re going to do that, make each other better, put all the pieces together and we gone roll with it.

Do you feel the effects of the turmoil in the francise?
We’re OK. What’s handled off the court is going to be handled professionally, quietly. Everybody’s on the same page. We have no problems. We don’t have no worries. Like I said, we’re just going to come in here and bust our tails to get back to the playoffs.

You prepared to deal with media all season?
Answer questions? (Laughs). I’m willing to answer whatever questions. It doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve been around the media all my life. So, it comes with the job.

So you don’t think twice about comments you make like yesterday?
Never have second thoughts on what I say or nothing. If I don’t get it out, then it’s going to build up. So, just say it, get past it and move on.

First thought about captainship?
I was very excited. Willing to take on that role. He told me he wanted me to be the guy in the locker room for him to back him up and I’m willing to do that.

Marcus Thompson