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Exhibition #8: Ws vs. Hornets

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.”

Marcus Thompson

  • http://cctimes ECJ

    Nice job Marcus..

    If the Warriors could just land themselves a true, strong PF, they could be pretty damn good. Playing Randolph at the 3 would change their game.Even without a great perimeter shot, his size, speed, handles and athleticism would be such a nightmare for opposing 3′s. He is long and can defend on the perimeter, and break them down in the post.

    Even if the W’s just play Ronny and Beans together, the Warriors would rebound and defend so well. Ronny could guard the other team’s strongest post player, and this would free Beans up for rebounds and keep him out of foul trouble.

    We’d still score plenty, with a guard combo that can hit outside shots (Jackson, Morrow, Buke, Curry) and Ellis slashing to the hole.

    M. Moore is ok, but the W’s need to acquire 1 more serviceable PF/C to back up Beans, so Ronny can play more at the 4.

    ECJ

  • http://Yahoo! PeteyB

    Thanks Marcus!
    I enjoy watching our 2nd team play. I don’t worry about pre-season noise/drama regarding lineups. The youngsters will get plenty of opportunities to show what they can do. Long season. Starting is over-rated on a Nellie-coached team. Lots of minutes to go around (Especially with upcoming injuries).

    RE: Baron “pack” – Hopefully Randolph will stand his ground with Baron later on in the season – or even fight back – Baron threw him down and taunted him for sure – you got posted picture – I watched the game. I thought Randolph was just working the refs by staying down – but he must have really gotten hurt… Randolph was playing nice when you interviewed him. I’d rather see him get pissed off and look forward to the next game with Baron and the Clips – instead of a deer caught in the headlights…

  • Optimus

    You have to start either Curry or Morrow. There is no way you start both. Curry is definitely feaible w/ Monta. Morrow provides some serious fire power off the bench.

    The Baron play on AR was a clean block. He was actually arguing with the Ref. AR simply took an awkward spill.
    Take your time and get right AR. Its a long season and we definitely need you healthy.

  • feltbot

    WHAT TORN CARTILAGE??? Uh oh.

    Nice coverage, Marcus. I don’t think its that important which player winds up in which lineup. What will tell the tale is the amount of minutes they get, and who is on the floor at crunch time.

  • Earl Monroe

    We are re building folks-same story, start Randolph at the 3 as soon as he is healthy,
    start Curry now so he can get all the errors out of his system, Watson is a journeyman a spot player on a good team not a solution for this team, begin playing Azubuke at the 2 some so he can get adjusted there, he is a perfect 6th man he can play the 3 and the 2 and rebounds a bit, start making the move to get rid of Jackson, think about moving Ellis in the future, Morrow should be the starting 2 guard, so let him prove himself there. Keep looking for that elusive big man that can rebound and score and play defense.

    Rebuilding is painful, but when it works it can be very rewarding

  • 8Easy8

    You ask about Nellie’s problem, “How does he keep Stephen Curry and Anthony Morrow off the floor?”

    Easy bench the ‘Lame Duck’ Jackson, make that the SLOW Lame Duck!!!

    Who cares if he starts a riot, he already has!

  • Oregonguy

    Very nice post, Marcus.

  • Tdubb

    Curry and Morrow need to play together, the ball moves so well with them. Buike needs to be the SF with Randolph/Andris and Turiaf on the floor.

    Let Curry run that pick and roll with the bigs and Morrow as the kick outlet. If you want more inside punch, put in Maggette. Nellie will probably never do it. Ellis and Jackson, won’t make Morrow a star. He has the talent to be the next Reggie Miller or more!

    Moore is a servicable back up center but how strong would they be if B Wright was back, Get rid of one of them damn guards and find a forward who can bang!

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  • John Starks

    I’m juiced for the season, I dont care what any of you say. I think these guys are going to be a lot better than anybody gives them credit for. Will it show in the win/loss record? I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure no other NBA team is going to look forward to playing these guys. No matter what, the W’s could put up 140 on you any given night. That’s really something to think about…

  • Earl Monroe

    I am with you Starks, I look forward to watching this team play, its at the very least going to be exciting!

  • John Starks

    Go Dubs! Get Busy! Go Dubs! It’s ya’ birthday!

  • Perry

    Yeah….that’s all you guys look forward to…….excitement and 50 losses……you don’t care about winning, you dont’ care about Championships…..all you care about is 50 losses.

    Bunch of homers.

    Boozer and Bosh and maybe still Stoudemire are the only 4s that may be available by trade….

    Who else is there?

    Al Jeffersn – not going anywhere
    David West – not going anywhere
    L. Aldridge – just re-signed, staying put
    P. Gasol – no need to even comment
    Blake Grifiin – not going anywhere
    Luis Scola – not going anywhere

    Anyone else is not really a traditional 4 who can provide rebounding, low post scoring and defense……you got guys like Troy Murphy (not a traditional 4).

    All that being said, I like Chris Bosh the most on that list. Bosh is agile, athletic, can run the floor, play with his back to the basket….face up and play off of our back-court players and defend the rim.

    Here is what I would like:

    Monta Ellis, Brandan Wright and Speedy Claxton to Toronto for Chris Bosh.

    They won’t take Stephen Jackson, they just picked up Turkoglu on a big contract.

    But maybe this trade shuts Jackson up in providing him and the squad with a “go to” option.

    Here is what we go with:

    1. Curry
    2. Morrow
    3. Jackson
    4. Bosh
    5. Biedrins

    2nd unit:

    1. Watson
    2. Azubuike
    3. Maggette
    4. Randolph
    5. Turiaf

    Toronto goes with:

    1. Calderon
    2. Ellis
    3. Turkoglu
    4. Wright
    5. Bargnani

    2nd unit:

    1. Banks
    2. Belinelli
    3. DeRozan
    4. Evans
    5. Nesterovic

    The Claxton contract comes off the books at the end of this year and Toronto could use the space. That still leaves them with a pretty deep squad.

    Will Bosh re-sign with the Warrios and will they have enough money? Further transactions will tell.

    That’s it……….50 wins and a playoff spot.

  • commish

    All of what will transpire will, as usual, so depend on Nelson’s whims. If he holds true to form and overplays Jax and Monta, the younger players minutes will suffer a little to alot. And although the young players can provide very exciting offense, we are still going to killed on the boards at both ends. But I do have to say, being at the game last night, it was really fun to see Curry and Morrow and Monta on the floor together. I think there is zero doubt, unless something too bizare to thinking about, that Curry is the point guard we have been waiting for. And Law is an excellent backup, much better than Watson from what I’ve seen so far. I don’t have a lot of data but like what I saw last night, even tho part of the time he was the 4. LOL.

  • Harp’s Dubs

    Perry, I know you love Bosh, as does every team in the league. Toronto knows they have a stud and would need more from the Dubs than Wright, Ellis and Claxton. Substitute Randolph with Wright and they do it. The problem with that is that if Bosh doesn’t re-sign with us, we’ve lost a potential all-star in Randolph.

  • Harp’s Dubs

    This team may be exciting, but is nowhere near a playoff team. Here are two trades that rid us of disgruntled players with bad contracts and put us in much better long-term financial situation with not much of a win-loss differential from this year:

    Monta and Acie Law to the Grizz for Marko Jaric (FA in 2011), Steven Hunter (expiring contract), Darrell Arthur (interesting, young strong PF)and Memphis’s 2010 first rounder (lottery pick, most likely).

    Jackson to Denver (rumors are that they’re interested) for JR Smith (FA in 2011) and Renaldo Balkman (good perimeter defender and rebounder at the SF).

    Memphis’ starting team:
    PG – Mayo (perfect PG to go with Ellis)
    SG – Ellis
    SF – Gay
    PF – Z. Randolph
    C – Thabeet

    Denver’s starting team (championship caliber):
    PG – C. Billups
    SG – S. Jackson
    SF – C. Anthony
    PF – K. Martin
    C – Nene

    09-10 Warriors:
    PG – Curry/Watson/Claxton
    SG – Smith/Morrow/Jaric
    SF – Balkman/Maggette/George
    PF – Randolph/Wright/Arthur
    C – Biedrins/Turiaf/Hunter/Moore (waive)

  • feltbot

    WHAT TORN CARTILAGE?