Ronny Turiaf, in his preseason debut, started at power forward Tuesday, next to center Andris Biedrins and with Anthony Randolph is starting at SF. He finished with 12 points (6-for-12 FGs), 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 TOs and 3 blocks in 33 minutes.
His performance, especially the offense, gives some credence to the Warriors’ big lineup, which includes the aforementioned front court with a backcourt of Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis. I have thought the Warriors should go with that lineup since they did it at Toronto in 2008. (Randolph may be replaced with Corey Maggette or Kelenna Azubuike). The Warriors went with Biedrins and Turiaf together a few times early last season with success, but Nellie nixed it because of the decline in offense and because he likes having his center position secure.
However, the players love the line-up and is undoubtedly the Warriors’ best defensive team. That’s three shot blockers to protect the rim. Three players who can compete on the blocks for rebounds.
JACKSON: “Man, this is what I’ve been dreaming of. That lineup can play with any lineup in the NBA. I feel real confident in that lineup, and having our young guys come off the bench and add energy will be a good look for us. It looked great to see Goose and Ronny play defense together and clean up every rebound. That makes it easier on us, because, once they get the rebound, we can run and we want to be a fast-paced team.”
Turiaf and Biedrins playing together and playing off each other. So that’s a big plus right there. And any time we have a chance to stay close in the rebounding category, you’re going to have a chance to win the game.”
Some things I’ve been meaning to put up but haven’t (my bad):
Buike off bench
Nelson said expects Kelenna Azubuiketo be a significant contributor for the Warriors. But at this point, he will have to do it as a reserve.
NELSON: “I’ve got him penciled in to be a player, to be a back-up 3.”
So, with one guy out of the running for the fifth and final starting position (with Jackson, Ellis, Biedrins and Randolph), who starts?
I think this means Nelson is planning on Curry being his opening day starter. The only other option is Morrow, but that gives him the same defensive problems as starting Curry alongside Ellis without the extra playmaker on the floor. Nelson, and this is just me (over)analyzing the situation, wants Curry on the floor. He just doesn’t want to come flat out and say it for whatever reason (because he wants Curry to earn it; he wants to appease the other players, etc.)
Claxton assistant coach?
Speedy Claxton’s return to action has created a weird situation on the Warriors bench. It looks as if the Warriors are going to keep all five point guards for now – Ellis, Curry, Watson, Law and Claxton – and that means someone isn’t going to play. Likely two of them. Claxton is almost guaranteed to ride the bench.
NELSON: “I have too many point guards and he’s obviously lost something with his injuries. … He wants to go into coaching, and we’re hoping that he can help us there with our young point guard (Steph Curry). He can make him aware of a few things and talk to him one-on-one about things. He’s been a very willing player that way. He’s good to have around, for sure.”
Problem is, Claxton is thinking of becoming a coach in a few years. He wants to play. He thinks he’s still pretty good, and he certainly hasn’t looked terrible in the little time he’s seen. So what do they do
Keep him around as a $5.2 million locker room presence and insurance policy in case there’s an injury?
Waive him and eat the $5.2 million while getting rid of a logjam? (Speedy would love that, but Warriors aren’t so much as leaning toward that route)
Buy him out and let him go else where? (Warriors would love this, but Speedy isn’t giving back money)
I am almost certain they will keep him until February at least, and probably to the end of the season. He’s most valuable as an expiring contract.
Corey got the game off Tuesday. It’s not because of his right wrist – which he had checked out in Los Angeles on Monday, as a precaution – but because he’s ready to go in Nellie’s eyes. This camp, Maggette has not only been an offensive force (17.2 points on 54.2 percent shooting in 25.3 minutes), but he’s ranked among the Warriors’ best in it’s team defense grading.
NELSON (on Sunday): “He’s definitely ready to open. He’s going to have his wrist looked at down there anyway. … He hurt it in practice once. But he looks fine in the games and stuff. I didn’t notice anything. I think they just want to see how its going. I think it’s fine.”
Pruitt odd man out
Nelson said after Thursday’s game he will make cuts. That means Shaun Pruitt’s 2 points and 2 rebounds in 4:50 at Sacramento on Saturday will be his last game. He didn’t play Tuesday in Ontario. And if Nelson is making cuts, he’s the only guy without a guaranteed contract.
The Warriors have locked him. He’s big and physical. He works hard and he’s a nice guy. He definitely needs to head to the D-League to develop his skills, especially on offense.
NELSON: “He’s done well here. He’s done well here. He wouldn’t be around if he didn’t impress me.”
Offense completely installed
Nelson has focused on defense all camp. But, oddly enough, he said they have already installed the final piece of the offense. In the past, Nelson has folded in various elements of the offense throughout the season.
But last season, Nellie had to take it slow because he had so many rookies on the roster (Anthony Randolph, Anthony Morrow, Rob Kurz and DeMarcus Nelson). This season, he felt more comfortable
putting in all the offense in camp because he only has one rookie in Curry.
NELSON: “I thought he had a high IQ and he could handle it all. And he has. But, it could be one of the reason’s he’s not shooting the ball too well. He could be thinking too much.”
Back to current stuff …
Nellie and his family are still struggling through the family tragedy. He’s in and out of the hospital in Southern California visiting his brother-in-law (Mark Van Kampen, 54, who had a leg amputated after a motorcycle accident on Sunday) and comforting his wife.
As of now, the Warriors are still anticipating Nelson’s return tomorrow.
KEITH SMART: “When your wife hurt, you hurt. Joy is hurting really bad. Coach has always been big on family. So he’s doing as well as he can.”
Another guy who will get a lot of minutes – C.J. Watson. He said he needs to get a rhythm and get his feel back. Smart will give him a longer run than usual. With Acie Law out of action (sprained left ankle), this is Watson’s chance to secure his spot as the third point guard.
Oddly enough, Watson spends most of his time off the ball and not at point guard. That was the case his first year when he played most of his minutes next to Baron Davis. Last season, Watson also played some alongside Jamal Crawford (though he did run a lot of point, especially when the Warriors were laden with injuries).
WATSON: “I’m experienced at it. It’s a little difficult. I will still try to be aggressive when I’m off the ball. If I’m playing off the ball, I have to take my possessions more seriously. I have to make the best of it when I get the ball in my hands. I have to make all my shots and make plays.”
Randolph has been struggling lately. The last three games, he’s totaled 21 points on 10-for-23 shooting with 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. He just hasn’t looked himself. Why?
He’s got a lot on his plate. He’s no longer just a guy who can run around like his Nike’s are on fire. As a starter, he’s got things he needs to know on both ends of the floor, and grasping it all is tough. Even on defense, where Randolph is a somewhat of a natural.
RANDOLPH: “I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m making a lot of little mistakes I’m making out there that I’ve got to correct. But I’ll get it over time. Mostly, last year I was relying on my athleticism really. Being in the right spots at the right time. Getting lucky. Being able to jump and block shots with my long arms. (With) coverages, defenses, knowing who I’m guarding, all that, it’s a lot tougher.”
Jackson said Randolph would be better as a SF because it gives him less to think about.
JACKSON: “(Playing SF) is good for him because he don’t have to do that much thinking. All you have to do is space, take the open shot and run the court. At the four, he has to know when to pop and roll, showing on screens. It’s a lot of thinking he has to do for a young guy. At the 3, all you gotta do is space out, find a spot to get his open shots and make the game simple for him.”
Part of the reason is maybe his sore back. He injured when he it the ground after a mid-air collision with Los Angeles Clippers guard Baron Davis. He sat out a couple of practices, but he hasn’t been the same since.
Curry through another eye-popping pass. Just under eight minutes left in the second quarter, C.J. Watson came up with a steal and the ball ended up in Curry’s hands. On a fast break, Curry dribbled down the left side of the court. Before he got to half court, out of nowhere, he launched this long, errant pass. Only the pass wasn’t errant.
Morrow was in the right corner wide-open. Judging by the ooh’s in the arena, few saw what Curry saw. He got the pass across the court, through the defense and on the money to Morrow, who nailed the 3-pointer.
Oh yeah, you want to know about the Jackson v. Bryant match-up?