Nellie’s got a pretty significant problem on his hands. How does he keep Stephen Curry and Anthony Morrow off the floor?
Morrow joins Corey Maggette as the Warriors’ most efficient scorers. But Morrow has the added benefit of scoring points 3 points at a time. And his scoring – because it stretches the floor – opens things up for others. He scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 34. He was 3-for-6 with 7 points at the half.
Curry is proving to be the best PG on the team. He had 10 assists Thursday and looked in control until the end (38 minutes may be too much). Unlike Monta Ellis, who sees people when he has to, Curry is looking for people – especially Morrow, which is why Nelson wants them two on the floor together.
But how can he get those two on the floor since he HAS TO play Ellis and Stephen Jackson a chunk of minutes?
I didn’t think Nelson would be able to resist starting Curry because I think he prefers Curry running the point over Monta. But Curry, because of his court vision and passing ability and unselfish nature, is really good at finding Morrow and feeding him in a timely manner. That is a good thing for the Warriors offense.
Morrow is at his best when he gets the ball knowing that he will get it again. Otherwise, he gets so hype when the ball gets in his hands, that he gets tunnel vision and wants to jack up a shot. With Curry, he knows he’s going to get looks, so he can be more selective.
There is no question Morrow needs shots. But the others don’t look for him like they should, too busy looking for their own shot. Morrow and Curry already have a connection. Nellie isn’t ready to break that.
Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Curry started on Oct. 28.
Question: Do you Like Curry and Morrow together?
NELLIE: “Oooh yeaaaah. That’s a natural. That’s a natural. … The quality of our subs, our B unit that have played together and played well together, I think is really important, especially if you’re young. Those two play great together and they will play together.”
The only option is to bring them off the bench together. He can’t start both, because then either Ellis or Jackson would come off the bench, which would start a riot in the locker room, or Jackson would start at PF, which probably not that far off.
No, Anthony Randolph didn’t get demoted to the bench.
Though he’s been inked in as the starting power forward by coach Don Nelson all summer and preseason, Randolph said Nelson’s announcement that Corey Maggette will start at PF is not a set back.
RANDOLPH: “I haven’t been running the floor how I can or rebounding. There’s something wrong when I get one rebound in 20 minutes. That’s all it is. I don’t look at it as a bad thing or a set back.”
Randolph actually said he understands. Even he isn’t arguing with his lack of production lately. Over the last two games, he totaled 13 points (4-for-8 shooting) and 5 rebounds in 50 minutes of action. Randolph said it was because his back has been hurting. How did he hurt it? This is how …
After Baron put Randolph on his back – he didn’t return and his sat out the next couple of practices – he hasn’t been the same. Randolph was hesitant to talk about it. When I asked him why he didn’t practice, he said nothing was wrong, he was just getting a day off.
So, he kept playing and didn’t look good. He was categorically outplayed by Kings PF Jason Thompson (no relation). He was absent in the Lakers game on Tuesday, and re-aggravated his back during a first-half spill while fighting for a rebound.
RANDOLPH: “I was just playing with my back a little hurt and I really wasn’t saying nothing so when I get back healthy, I’ll get back to how I was at the beginning of preseason and over the summer. I’m just right now, not explosive or able to move how I want to because of my back. So, right now I’m just taking as much time as I need until I get to be 100 percent. It was already hurt. That’s the only reason why, cause ain’t no way – not to say nothing bad – most of the guys we’ve been playing against are going to out jump me for a rebound. Because that’s what I do. It’s just that I’m not able to explode like I can because of my back.”
Randolph may be onto something. Over the first four games, he averaged 15.3 points and 10.5 rebounds in 33.3 minutes. He outplayed Amare Stoudemire and Pau Gasol/Lamar Odom in Anaheim. He had 8 points and five rebounds the first 10 minutes of the game at the Los Angeles Clippers.
And then this happened …
Nellie sounded like he couldn’t care less what reason Randolph had for his subpar performance.
NELLIE: “He’s going to have to play a certain way to be effective with us. He knows how he needs to play. He did that the firs two or three games, then he kinda got away from it. I don’t know if it was injuries or what, but he wasn’t as productive. When he does the things that we need him to do, and plays at a high level, he’s going to be playing time. It’s hard to keep him off (the court). But he’s going to have to be evaluated by his number of rebounds as probably the main thing. His running and his defensive presence, shot blocking, things that he does very well, is what we want him to do.”
So, the starting five tonight is as follows: C.J. Watson, Monta Ellis, Anthony Morrow, Corey Maggette and Andris Biedrins.
Nelson said he chose C.J. to start at SG because Watson is the best among the guards at defending two guards (swingman Kelenna Azubuike is still battling a bone bruise in his left ankle). Not only is Watson able to guard shooting guards, which means Ellis won’t have to, but Watson gives them another point guard on the floor.
MY OPINION: Nelson doesn’t think Monta is ready to play point guard, so he desperately wants a second point guard on the floor.
It’s not like it’s a secret or anything. Nelson practically said it himself.
NELLIE: “The main thing is he can guard the 2s better right now than anybody else I have out there even though we’re small. C.J. is a good defender. That puts Monta guarding the 1s and (C.J.) can guard to 2s. We thank he can guard bigger 2s as well. That helps. And then it gives me another point guard out there so we can run our offense, run Monta off the ball. I think that’s kind of a natural 2, that’s where he’s most effective. And we hope that whole thing works out.”
Nelson said he’s starting Maggette at PF because Anthony Randolph belongs in that mix, too. He wants the veterans to get the game going, then bring in the exciting youngsters to take it up a notch. So Curry, Morrow, Randolph, Buike and Turiaf is a B team Nellie wants to go with.
NELSON: “I’m trying to play my veterans so we can get a good start and follow our game plan. (I want to) have those guys playing together more than our young guys going in and you know they’re going to make errors and mistakes. Let that second unit maybe have an identity to themselves. I think that will be a real positive. They played together in summer league so they know each other and they play very well together. That’s kind of what I’m hoping. We haven’t had enough time really except for this game to figure all of this out because CJs been hurt. Well, anyway, we’re going to look at it tonight and have five days to practice.”
Of course, this all could change come Tuesday or whatever. Randolph thinks so, if he’s healthy. Monta Ellis said he expects Randolph to be healthy in a couple of days, and Nellie will set the lineup for real after this game.
UPDATE: Watson didn’t play much on Thursday. He was at 16 minutes through the first three quarters. He checked in for the second half of the fourth when the game was over, the Warriors up by 20-plus. He didn’t do bad guard the shooting guard, though it was Morris Peterson.
Watson did run the point, with Ellis playing the two. One thing is for sure, Watson can put the ball in the whole. He’s starting to get his groove back.
He finished with 12 points, four rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes.
But guess who most of the PG minutes went to? Curry. He looked good, too. His outside shot was sketchy, but he created offense by getting to the basket. He’s not bad at finishing in the paint.
Still most impressed by his passing and defense. Not lockdown defense, but his peskiness. He plays that Iverson-in-his-hey day type of defense. Quick hands. Anticipating well. Scrappy. Irritating. Unafraid.
Nelson wasn’t completely disappointed in the big lineup. He still has some plans to play Ronny Turiaf at power forward. But it sounds like he still prefers Turiaf behind center Andris Biedrins.
NELLIE: “There will be match-up situations where I’ll probably start him at the PF. Certainly going to play him there some during the course of the game. He can play two positions for us. And we’ll just have to kinda see how that works. I’m a little concerned about playing him too many minutes. He’s got that torn cartilage we have to be careful not to overplay him. And I love him as the back-up, he and (Biedrins) splitting the time.”