Game #1: Houston 108, Warriors 107

You are all so cliche. Not all of you. Just those who booed Stephen Jackson.
You didn’t even analyze the situation. You took the easy route. You heard a player express his desire to leave and you automatically blamed him. Because he gets to play basketball for a living and makes millions at it, and anyone who has such a set-up should never be found complaining or unhappy.
You didn’t consider that Jackson may have a point. You aren’t acknowledging his right to go for self since the organization clearly takes the same approach. You just condemned him for taking a three-year extension for some $28 million, like signing that extension negated his right to an opinion or to be critical of an organization. You act like the Warriors gave him charity, and beggars can’t be choosers.
So you booed him. How original.

JACKSON: “Fans are so predictable about that. Any time you say you want to leave, that’s going to happen. I was prepared for it. They can do it all they want. I’m going to go out there and play hard for the fans that do support me.”

You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Booing someone who just wants to win.

Let me stop. That was me reading between the lines, saying what I bet Jackson really wanted to say. That was my opening statement in the case of GSW Fans v. Stephen Jackson.

(For the record, I say boo all you want. You are paying the money. You make this entire thing click. Boo to your heart’s desire. Jackson is making millions. He will be all right. And if it turns out he isn’t all right because you booed him, then that’s on him. Boo whoever you like.)

Nellie said he hoped it didn’t happen. He said that is behind them, so he hopes its behind you. But fans don’t owe anything to not a single person in the organization.

The Warriors are coming off a 29-win season. They have changed course and went into rebuilding mode two years after building a playoff team. The only major acquisition, which was the plan heading in the offseason, was a rookie point guard in the draft. Yet, the opener was a sell-out.

Boo as much as you like.


So Morrow played 22 minutes and 28 seconds, and he took 7 shots.
Ellis took 29 20 shots (making 10). Jackson took 16 shots (making 7). Maggette took 14 shots (making 3). Even Curry took 12 shots (making 7).
Why is it the best shooter on the team gets only seven shots?

NELLIE: “And we have some work to do to get Morrow more involved. … But if you don’t get him the ball when he’s open, it doesn’t do him that much good to be in the game. We have to do a better job of understanding he’s our best shooter and you’ve got to know where he is at all times.”

This is quandary Nelson has. Ellis and Jackson mostly pass to each other or Biedrins (that’s not all the way fair to Jax, I admit). Maggette and Azubuike don’t pass to anybody unless something opens up while they are trying to score. Biedrins, Turiaf and Randolph don’t touch the ball enough to make a difference.
Curry is the only guy who promotes passing with his style of play. He’s the only guy who is reading angles, and temperatures of his opponents. He’s the only guy driving to set up a pass, with his shot being a secondary option. So Nelson has to start him.

But, that leaves no one to get the ball to his offensive weapon in Morrow. Remember, he wanted to bring Curry off the bench so he and Morrow can play together. Curry and Morrow have chemistry. Curry makes sure Morrow gets his shots.
The two got their first action together when Curry checked in with 4:49 left in the second quarter. At the 4:42 mark, Morrow’s 3-pointer was splashing the net on an assist from Curry. The next time down, Curry turned the ball over trying to sneak a cross-court pass to Curry, a pass Shane Battier snuffed out. They played the rest of the second quarter together. Morrow took two shots. Curry assisted on both.

But because Curry is starting, and Morrow is not, the rotation doesn’t allow for them to spend that much time on the court together. Wednesday, they got 10 minutes, seven seconds together. All in the second and fourth quarters.

Why is it important that someone finds Morrow? Because the dude can get 30 easier than anyone on the team if he gets a rhythm going. But when he’s taking one shot every three-plus minutes, he can’t be so dangerous. He started the fourth quarter and played 5:11. He got two shots and was pulled at the 6:49 mark because he missed them and wasn’t really doing much.

So, with 6.6 seconds left and you need a 3-pointer, it makes sense to go to Morrow. But he has no rhythm. Teams know about Morrow now, so it will be harder for him to get looks. He needs his teammates to help.


Anthony Randolph sat the first 20 minutes, 52 seconds of the game Wednesday. He had 4 points, two rebounds, a block and an assist over the final 3:08 of the half. He played well enough for Nelson to start Randolph the second half, over Biedrins, who with Turiaf had 3 fouls in the first half.
Randolph played the first 6:50 of the third quarter, posting 4 points and 2 rebounds in that span. He was taking out and never returned.
So, in 10 minutes, Randolph had 8 points, 4 rebounds, a block, an assist and a turnover.

NELSON: “I thought he did pretty well when I put him. Started him the third quarter… he happened to be in there when we didn’t do very well.”

Sounds like somebody is in the dog house. Again.


On the Jax trade front, I am hearing nothing has really changed. The Warriors still don’t want to take bad contracts in exchange and they don’t want to give up too much with Jax to sweeten the deal (I’m told Ronny Turiaf is off the table).
Here is another thing. The Warriors would love to just let their expiring contracts (Speedy/Law/George), which equal $10M, to just come off the books at the end of the year and give the Warriors some cap space to work with. So there is naturally some reluctance to include a Speedy in a deal with Jax. They would prefer to use those expiring contracts in a trade if it means getting the difference-maker they want.
What does that mean?
Say the Warriors trade Jax and Claxton for Peja. Peja is making $15.3 for next season. Jax $8.45. So, as of July 1, when this coveted free agent season start, they will have added some $7M in salary.
(Sure, Jax has two more years for $19.3 after Peja’s deal would expire, but what is most important is the impact it would have this coming offseason). That’s not good. Everyone is trying to dump salary, which is why Jax is hard to trade.
If you throw Speedy in the deal, that $7M jumps to $12M added to the cap because Speedy’s $5M would not be coming off the cap. So even though the Warriors would be shedding more money in the long run, it would hurt their chances to land an impact player next offseason. Why add $12M to cap and not land a difference maker? They are better off holding serve, keeping their options open for next offseason, and try to trade Jax at a later date.
The Warriors would, I think, be willing to take back a salary close to Jax’s salary. That way, it wouldn’t hurt the plan they’ve currently got in place to be a player on the market. Other than that, they are looking to cut salary like everyone else.
The most likely scenario, I am convinced, is the Jax to Cleveland. (Denver has nothing the Warriors want; the Warriors probably want New Orleans to take Maggette, too;) But it won’t be until Cleveland gets desperate and become willing to give up Ilgauskas to get the piece they need to win now. If LeBron starts making noise about needing help, the pressure would really be on the Cavs to get Jax.
The Warriors might even be willing to throw in Speedy because they’d be getting back an $11M expiring contract and free themselves of Jackson.
The Warriors don’t have to move Jackson, which is their best chip. Something else could pop up (Portland? Washington? To Phoenix for J-Rich? Just brainstorming). But they know Jackson doesn’t want to lose money, and with Jackson playing hard they can be decent.


Marcus Thompson