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Exhibition #7: Ws vs. Lakers in Ontario

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.”

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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.

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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
with him?

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.

Maggette ready

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.

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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.

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Oh yeah, you want to know about the Jackson v. Bryant match-up?

Marcus Thompson

  • taffy

    The game didn’t start off so hot… :X

    Hey Marcus, do you think Acie Law is going to take Buike’s minutes? I read from Rusty’s blog that Nelson has deemed Kelenna the backup SF… Does that mean Morrow gets the nod to start at the 2?

    I guess you never know with Nellie…

  • GSWFan24

    For the record, that BIG line up was a disaster!!! Randolph needs more time…be patient, he’s not quite ready

  • samuraaaaiiiiiii

    Randolph’s whole game was a disaster today. He didn’t rebound at all, big or small lineup.

    Curry looked like our best player on the floor tonight, minus a few lazy passes.

    Morrow was solid as well.

  • Big Vic

    good lord that was bad. bye bye big line up.

  • http://Yahoo! PeteyB

    Thanks Marcus!
    Expiring contracts for Claxton, Law, George – I’m “hoping” Nellie/Riley use them to acquire another piece. I don’t forsee them being on the roster at seasons end. Question is – who else besides SJAX will be shipped out with them?

    It’s going to be nice if and when Morrow plays passable defense/handle – and becomes a starter as opposed to a Dell Curry type of hired gun/specialist.

  • Earl Monroe

    With Randolph the only issue is the turnovers if he had that line 12 points (6-for-12 FGs), 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 TOs and 3 blocks in 33 minutes consistently and a few breakout games once in a while that would work out, his true position is small forward so the sooner he starts playing there the better.

    Curry really does need to be on the floor, and the turnovers by Jackson need to basically stop.

    I doubt wether Nelson can really stick to a big lineup though, his tendencies are towards smaller lineups, his biggest problem is going to be how to keep Curry out of the lineup, since he is the best point guard the team has. Bad shooting or not, just have him shoot less if that is an issue. We need someone controlling the ball and making good decisions, and Jackson and Ellis are not the people to do that.
    Eventually Ellis will probably be traded, even before Jackson.
    Ellis reminds me a lot of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (formerly Chris Jackson) not a point guard more of a small shooting guard, great scorers but hard to find positions on the floor for, hard to win with these type of players. I hope he proves me wrong because I enjoy watching him play despite his lack of passing skill.

  • Burke

    What a great post, Marcus.
    Hopefully Moore has enough in the tank so that he is seen as a viable player. That would allow them a little more freedom to play Turiaf.

  • fotd

    Nice summary, and timely, too. I go right here after the game to read about it. Thanks.

    Ellis and Randolph. What to do? One is who he is. The other needs to grow.

    I loved the game when Curry was on the floor. I agree he is going to be hard to keep off. And I agree with Ellis that the two of them together isn’t the best for all the obvious reasons. Last night, Ellis missed a lot of shots that used to be money for him. Is he thinking too much? I don’t know but, now, more than ever, I see the writing on the wall. Curry will have the PG spot within a year and Ellis will be moved.

    Randolph has a lot to learn yet. If I’m Nellie, I’m tempted to start with Andris and Randolph, to keep the kid learning. But I’m going to be giving Ronny BIG minutes with Andris on the floor. I loved that combo last night. I don’t think AR is a three. I don’t want to see that again soon.

    Forgetting issues like player development and keeping trade value high, my egalatarian rotation looks like this:

    Curry
    Morrow
    Jack
    Ronny
    Andris

    with Ellis, Randolph, Maggette and Azubuike coming off the bench according to matchups and how the game is going.

    Unfortunately, bringing Ellis off the bench is a no-go for trade and chemistry reasons and Randolph is too special to not give development minutes to.

  • feltbot

    Good stuff, Marcus. Interesting that you think Nellie will start Curry. I thought he had already hinted it would be Morrow? And Morrow, not Curry, was first off the bench to replace the injured Randolph last night.

    I completely agree with you that Curry will be no worse defensively than Morrow, however. Possibly better.

    For those interested, I’ve recap’d the game at http://feltbot.com/

  • GSWFan24

    #8-Fotd- you hit the nail on the head…

    Curry
    Morrow
    Jack
    Ronny
    Andris

    Thats the best line up this team can field…too bad Ellis doesnt work, he’s a wonferful player but Curry just understands the game better and uses less effort to get similar results…plain and simple he’s a playmaker

  • Lufty455

    Now I know why Baron left… it was either him or Nellie.
    Management chose Nellie like they did against Webber.
    Bad choice Rowell and Cohan.
    You guys suck!!!!

  • some guy

    biggest defensive problem with the big line up is that their transition defense suffers. especially on the 2ndary break. gets exacerbated by the 3 crashing the offensive boards & a slow 2 get back SG in Jack.

    if you want to play Turiaf, it’d probably be better to play Buike or Maggette at SF – but that means less minutes for AR. And Ronny has a foul problem – which is why last season was his 1st above 20 min/g (21.5).

    actually, even in 07-08 Monta was only a 43% jump shooter. that season, he got almost 1/3 of his offense on fastbreaks which lead to his high FG% that year. fans just remember that insane month where he shot 60%, but that’s unlikely to ever happen again. as a PG, he’s unlikely to generate those kind of fastbreak numbers seeing as he has ball responsibilities.

  • fotd

    Good points, #12 SomeGuy. If Ronny or Andris picked up some quick fouls, I guess I’d put in AR fast. Starting Maggette or Azubuike makes sense, for the reasons you say but, assuming we still have Jack, that puts Morrow on the bench and his +/- tells me I don’t want to do that too much.

  • Marcus Thompson

    To be honest, I was so focused on chronicling the Jackson-Kobe match-up that I didn’t pay much attention to the big line-up in the first half. Though I think Some Guy’s transition defense analysis is spot on.

  • Gizzm

    Morrow only gets open looks when Curry is on the floor.
    Monta and Jack don’t want him getting more pts/shots than they do. Problem is Morrow is so pure a shooter, he should.

  • goingforthemoney.com

    Marcus, When its all said and done the W’s have to make some adjustment to truly be competetive in this league. I like small ball to a point, but they have to start making the adjustment to playing big to get acclimated to playoff style ball. They will always be able to play small, but it must be the exception instead of the rule. Had Brandon not gotten hurt he would have been the starting PF with AD at the small, AB at center and RT coming in to relieve the 4 and 5 spot. The Big lineup must be featured much more. The fire power off the bench would become the spark they need from CM, KA, AM, and the rest of the gang. They have enough talent. they just have to change their style a bit and stay committed to it.Fans need to realize something else. If you haven’t played big and you suddenly make the change it will take some time to get used to it and you have to be commited to it for the long haul. For anyone that thinks AR is going to be a pure power forward you’re sadly mistaking. With his skill set he would be better served at the 3 with some limited time at the 4. He just needs to keep his confidence high, shoot more and let the game come to him. It time for change, and we all have to come to grips with it if we want to have a competitive franchise.

  • Perry

    Anthony Randolph cannot hold Lamar Odom, Richard Jefferson, Josh Howard, Trevor Ariza, Travis Outlaw and some of the better 3s in the West…..no chance.

    You have to play “on the ball” defense against some of the quicker, more agile 3s in this league. Anthony does not play disciplined defense,…… instead, he likes to jump straight in the air like a wild kangaroo and try to block every shot known to mankind. You can bet your life that Anthony Randolph would be in major foul troulbe playing the 3.

    Look, …….we just don’t have the guns to compete in the West. Look at ESPN.com’s West Preview, not even 1 West Coast writer has Golden State in the top 9.

    Style of play is very important in this league. But even more important, is a basic offensive and defensive philosophy. We don’t have either. Our offense focuses on putting up as many shots as possible and scoring as many points as possible. That usually amounts to 1 or 2 quarters of horrible shooting from the field…….

    What I mean by philosophy is what the Lakers, the Spurs and the Jazz have……….Lakers with the Triangle, good team defense, the Spurs with excellent team defense and the Jazz with their pick and roll offense.

    We don’t have any idea what we want to do on the offensive or defensive end…….none.

    You have to have the right players to incorporate a philosophy. The only “right” players we have are:

    Stephen Curry
    Roni Turiaf
    Andris Biedrins
    Kelenna Azubuike
    Corey Maggette
    Brandan Wright

    Every other player on our squad is either too stupid or too young to be able to incorporate themselves within any offensive or defensive scheme.

    Can you guys picture Monta in the Triangle?

    Can anyone picture Anthony Randolph in a disciplined Spurs defensive scheme?

    I sure can’t.

    But I CAN picture Stephen Curry running the Point in a Jerry Sloan offense. I CAN picture Turiaf playing in a Popovich defense………

    It’s all management, Don Nelson and terrible scouting and drafting………all these years and we never could get a decent European player besides Biedrins while other teams are scoring guys like Nowitki, Ginobili, Parker etc..

    All these years and we couldn’t get 1 single “go to” option besides Davis…….

    Don’t you guys ever wonder how other teams get these players and how in the Hell we never do?

  • Perry

    Correction on my last post……Ginobili is Argentinian, not of European descent………

  • deano

    Sensible posters have suggested that both AR and ME come off the bench, and that Turiaff and Morrow start in their place. That would throw the marketing guys for a loop. I would like to see Nellie try it, but I doubt that he will. Nevertheless, an SC-AM-SJ-RT-AB lineup will probably get significant minutes during the first 20 games — if all of those players are still with the team. Let’s not forget that Jack’s good behavior is a new and temporary condition. The man wants to go, and will make it happen by whatever means necessary.

  • goingforthemoney.com

    Perry,
    You’ve made some excellent point especially in regards to a philosophy. They do need to adapt a better one but it will have to be centered around a bigger lineup. As for Randolph it may be true at this time that he would have trouble playing against the likes of odom jefferson howards etc, but given more time and experience playing the three he would become more comfortable and confident and eventually with his talent and athleticism would have some matchup advantages himself.

  • Marcus Thompson

    Perry is on fire!

  • petaluman

    Jazz just cut their 2nd round draft pick, Goran Suton. He’s a PF/C at 6’10″, 245#, and has a solid jumper (44% last year on college 3s). I doubt we cut a guaranteed contract, but he might be worth a look. If not now, maybe once 10-day contracts can be signed (assuming he doesn’t go international).

    http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Goran-Suton-5692/

  • danikil49

    The best player on this team will be AR.If as Nelson has said the Dubs are not going for a championship, but rather are playing to be an 8th seed, cut the crap and start AR, SC, AB, RT and SJ as long as he is around. These guys can be around a while and the sooner they get experience the better we will all feel.One game does not decide a good or bad lineup.

    BTW Nelson will ruin it all in the end anyway with his no defense style of play. How disgusting to have endure Nellie again.

  • deano

    Danikil49: I agree that the W’s focus should be on player develpoment, but I do think that AR’s growth will be at SF. He will always be too tall and too slow to keep up with the better SFs. He will not always be too skinny to handle the better PFs. When he puts on some bulk, he could be dominant at 4.

    Also, Jack at SG is trouble. He is not a good enough ball-handler, and he is a quality SF. This puts AR on the bench, and Morrow or Ellis as the starting SG.

  • Gizzm

    Um, most Argentinans ARE of European descent.

  • Tdubb

    The big line-up is the best defensively with just a little tweek.

    Andris
    Ronny
    Jax
    Buike/Morrow
    Ellis

    Bench
    Buike/Morrow
    Randolph
    Curry
    Moore
    Maggette
    Watson

    The problem is the offense because Jax is a blackhole with the ball in his hands. Mark my words when he is on the the floor the ball slows down. The second unit can score, a Morrow Maggette inside out game could be nice if Corey learns to pass :) ha ha ha.

    The second unit will move the ball better because Curry looks for the open man and he is confident Morrow will make his shots, when Ellis and Jax are trying to get theirs when Morrow is with them.

    Get ready for the ride because you’ll see three or four different starting line-ups in the first month. You can quote me. That’s Nellie BALL!

  • sartre

    Based on pre-season trends I like the idea Monta featuring more in the first two quarters when his efficiency is generally at its highest, with Curry’s superior passing skills and court vision getting more PT in the second half. I’d actually use Speedy as the third PG. He’s looked good in the scant minutes given to him and is more of a natural PG than Watson is ever likely to be. I like Watson playing some off-guard. I also welcome Law’s Mini Me riff off Maggette – it offers something different to the mix. Not saying he should get lots of PT, but he could prove useful here and there. Ideally Law & Speedy are part of a trade that brings us another strong front-court player – ideally a quality defender who is at least a useful rebounder – wouldn’t that be a novelty?

  • Earl Monroe

    Randolph is hurt, has been playing hurt, the kid is special, playing hurt he still gets 12 rebounds and 3 blocks, his desire is unquestionable, you can build around this, writing that he cannot be part of a “philosophy” is silly, ask Jerry Sloan or Popovich if
    they would like to have Randolph on their team. All of the players the Warriors have are playing to Don Nelson’s “philosophy”
    right or wrong, but yes it does help to have John Stockton, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, David Robinson etc etc to build your “philosophy”. Without these players Sloan and Popovich are just average or below so in the NBA is it coaching philosophy or the players? As far I can tell the NBA is a players league.

  • Earl Monroe

    And another thing, you really believe that Maggette is more of a “philosophy”
    kind of player? did you see him play defense last year?

  • Earl Monroe

    Of course I can picture Monta in the triangle, the whole point of the triangle is to put players in position to best use their skill set,
    Monta would flourish in the structure, the triangle values mid range jump shooting, in fact before the 3 point shot the triangle basically
    featured back door cuts and mid range jump shots, and it was built to work that way.

    The Lakers are not running the same triangle that the Bulls ran or that Carrill used at Princeton. The triangle is modified because in a real triangle you have excellent motion with the Lakers once Kobe gets the ball most of the technical triangle motion stops and because he is such a good finisher they get away with it.

  • deano

    Tdubb: I like your starting lineup, especially Buike at SG. He’s a good shooter, and I think he’s the best perimeter defender on the team. Buike is a good choice to pair with any of our diminutive “PGs”. I hope he gets healthy soon.

  • http://dontdoit@dontdoit.com don’t do it

    Fools, AR4 not only wears #4, he is a 4. NOT a 3. He might be ok at the 3 sometimes, and maybe one day he will get there. But he needs to be close to the basket, his advantage is speed over a typical 4, and he isn’t as effective defensively if he is on the perimeter. We have a few 3′s already, (14 of them since Nellie likes Law at the 3 too). AR needs another 10lbs and he is a lock down at the 4. 3 is the easiest position to draft, maybe next season (when Jackson is playing in Greece), we can draft a 3. But all you doorknobs pining for our stud PF to play out of position, you just think about LeBron, Pierce, Artest, Melo, Thorton, Jefferson, Durant, Josh Howard, Redd, there is no way AR4 is going to be consistent in defending those guys. And after he gets run into the ground, he might start hating Nellie. And, he would make Nowitzki cry while he swats his little fade aways into the stands.

  • Earl Monroe

    Eventually Randolph is going to be a 3 and mostly because of his body type plus his ability to handle the ball, being a 3 does not mean he isn’t going to rebound or block shots, the kid just has a knack for being around the ball. His game is not suited for the classic power forward spot. He is better facing the basket, and once his jumper settles down a bit……..