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And the (Flip Camera) Winner Is …

2011 NBA All-Star Flip Camera

2011 NBA All-Star Flip Camera

Our panel of blog comment critics have decided on a winner. It was close. But the prize goes to …

JFish (comment #24)

He edged out Michael (Comment #74). Honorable mention: BringBackTheChrisAndTimBurger (Comment #83), Jet Set Dave (Comment #92-93), Joe Suspect (Comment #48) and JWagner (Comment #40).

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Special shout out to JScrilla (Comment #37), who nearly won on humor alone. And to my friend, Haastheman (Comment #72), who is a closet Phoenix fan and, judging by his suggestions, are clearly trying to tank the Warriors to benefit the Suns!

Anyway, here is the winning post.

An attempt to answer the QUESTION…. What’s needed to make the W’s a serious contender for the title? Wow! Therein lies the problem, the question is premature. The only way for the W’s to contend quickly is for them to get VERY, VERY, LUCKY. That is NOT a strategy and may not be sufficient! Winning the Lottery would be lucky, but there does not appear to be a Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, John Wall, LeBron or Kobe in the next few draft classes, even if there were, as great as those players are, it takes a while to adjust to the NBA and make their teams contenders. Trading a Star for a different Star is not likely to happen and getting the better in a trade also requires LUCK and probably a connection (Ainge, McHale – Kevin Garnet for Al Jefferson). You might get LUCKY betting on a healthy Yao, Oden or Bynum, but looking at this chart would indicate the odd are against you. http://www.blazersedge.com/2011/2/17/1999729/simmons-oden-will-probably-never-be-healthy

To CONTEND FOR THE TITLE, The management and the W’s fans need to focus FIRST on being a competitive playoff team. They must have a game plan (see below) to become a consistent playoff team. They must manage the expectations of their long suffering and loyal fan base, so reactionary trades or coaching changes aren’t demanded/forced by disgruntled fans. If you think disgruntled fans can’t lead a revolt, you haven’t been paying attention to the Middle East lately.

The W’s must make some upgrades to their roster (step 1 below). Define their game plan internally, and to their fans. With 26 games left, it would be an aggressive statement for the W’s management to let it be known (not a formal announcement, but a “leak” to reporters) that although the W’s would have to leapfrog four teams (Utah, Memphis, Phoenix, Houston), we feel that with Memphis hurting, Utah and Denver in some disarray and New Orleans and Houston sliding a playoff spot may be possible. With our new roster (step 1 below), we will try to make the playoffs for the invaluable experience it will provide for our young players.

We will assess the likelihood of making the playoffs after our seven game road trip (several winnable games, but on the road). The assessment will be realistic, rather than hopeful. If it is determined we are not likely to make the playoffs, we will focus on evaluating our existing roster and coaching staff. Missing the playoffs is the more probable case. The W’s have more back-to-back games left than any of the teams ahead of us, and all the teams with the exception of Memphis have recent playoff experience.

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Regardless of the outcome of this year, we will strive to configure our roster and game plan to be COMPETITIVE in the playoffs NEXT year, with the expectation of being in contention for a title in the NEXT THREE years. San Antonio, Dallas, Boston and the Lakers will continue to age in that time and will have to revamp their roster in those years under what is likely to be a more restrictive CBA, (the Lakers/Mavs have some large long term contracts which could greatly impact their flexibility). Miami will have six players earning $65Mil in two years, while there are three great players, filling out that roster will be difficult. Can we position ourselves to beat the future title contenders like the Bulls, OKC, Orlando.

Once W’s management sets that basic target, The following steps should be taken:

Step 1. Upgrade this year’s roster ASAP. Gadz, Bell, Radm were acquired to get out of the Maggette contract and move a disgruntled Jackson. They should not be part of our future, and are hurting our chances of success. AC Law was a “stop-gap” hire when Lin showed he wasn’t ready and Bell didn’t appear to be interested in playing. There is better, cheaper talent in the D-League, who have the potential to be part of the W’s future, (C.J Watson, R. Williams, A. Tolliver, C. Hunter). While I appreciated Law’s defensive effort against Ray Allen and Boston, his lack of shooting ability meant we were playing at best 4 offensive players against 5 very good defenders. In this league, wings and guards need to hit the open jumpers. When the ball moves crisply to the open man, but the man left open can’t hit the shot, it discourages ball movement next time.

We can talk about lack of good defense, but I think most will agree that defense is more about effort, energy and focus than it is about athletic talent. Defense is played more with the feet, i.e., position than with the hands, blocks or reach-in-steals (versus passing lane steals). When you are fatigued, your effort can be there, but energy, focus, and speed may not be. Tired players play defense with their HANDS instead of their feet, resulting in more FOULS. The Warriors have the worst “foul differential” in the league.

Look at the top 10 defensive teams in the league (points scored) they all have solid rotations and with only two of the ten teams having players averaging over 39 minutes per game (Deng 39.1, Aldridge 39.4). The Warriors have two Monta 41.1, Wright 39.2. Without the talent, rotations are a crap shoot, starters end up playing too many minutes and defense suffers. Rebounding can also be viewed as an “effort” stat, again we have one of the worst differentials in the league. Poor rebounding leads to more work on the defensive end, more fatigue, and fouls (let alone injuries).

You will NEVER have a quality defense without a DEEPER bench and better rotations.

Last year, every player on the roster had potential and was working hard to make it in the NBA, and they were hopeful their best years were AHEAD of them. Now we have players who’s best years are probably BEHIND them and are unlikely to last in the NBA much longer (Gadz, Vald, Bell, even Law). Yes, Bell’s played a little better since the DUI, hopefully it was a wakeup call to him that he’s lucky to be “playing” basketball for a living and even luckier to be owed $4Mill next year (I’d rather pay it to keep Brandon). I believe we’d be better off if we could replace those contracts with hungry D-Leaguers or trade them for low cost unused rookies/second year players at the end of someone’s bench.

Smart has been accused of having poor rotations, but what were his choices, particularly at the start of the season. Williams wasn’t hitting shots, Lin wasn’t ready, Bell wasn’t healthy and then not playing well. Udoh Amundson out, Lee injured, Radmonovic not shooting well. B.Wright not healthy or not playing. We must have players who compliment our five starters (which is not a bad starting five).

It is acceptable to have a “defensive stopper” who guards a Ray Allen, but the minutes have to be limited to “cooling off” a hot hand. Law, Udoh, Radmonovic were a combined 3 – 16. We are too limited offensively, to give big minutes to rotation players unless Rad or Williams are hot. I don’t know whye we’ve given up on Brandon Wright, he’s younger than Udoh, with NBA experience. His trade value is minmal if he’s going to get injured again the seasons almost over anyway, but I think he MIGHT be the second most offensively gifted player on our bench. I’m not sure if he’s in a dog house, or has bad practice habits, but use him or get someone you will use.

Step 2. Enter the modern age by hiring and developing a first class analytics department to evaluate talent on both the NBA, College and International level. Teams with analytics departments do better than those without. (See: http://www.red94.net/rocketscience-analytics-teams-nonanalytics-teams/5698/). Develop metrics to evaluate your talent objectively (not with emotion). Determine where the team is getting beat, and what you need to do to improve (stop guessing). Evaluate what your TALENT is worth so you don’t overpay. (see Maggette, Jackson, Dunleavy, Murphy and offers to Elton Brand, Barron Davis, Gilbert Arenas).

Step 3. Determine what you have and what type of team you’ll need to be competitive in the playoffs. Blend in a vet with playoff experience that has played in the style you wish to pursue. The quickest way to build given what we currently have is probably a speed/matchup game ala Phoenix in the D’Antoni years, Nelson We Believe. It is also very entertaining. To contend for a title you will have to develop a half court game, continue to improve your defense and run opportunistically. Don Nelson had success because he knew what he wanted and how he wanted to play, consequently he instructed Mullin to get rid of Dunleavy and Murphy after 6 months since he knew their games didn’t fit his style. These days we seem to trade and hope and guess at what we need.

Step 4. Evaluate Keith Smart carefully, he should probably have an older coach on the bench with a lot of NBA experience, the bench looks a bit young and could use a gray beard. If you decide he’s the one, commit to him. Winning teams seem to have more consistency at the coaching spot, the team needs to reflect the personality of its coach. There are only a few NBA coaches that I know I’d replace Smart with. Nate McMillan is one of the most underated coaches in the league, Popovic, Thibodeau, Dantoni maybe Brooks.

Step 5. MAXIMZIE the use of your draft, Know which players will fit with the style you play. (See San Antonio Spurs http://www.foxsportshouston.com/01/22/11/Secret-to-Spurs-success-lies-in-drafts-s/landing.html?blockID=396073&feedID=4519). Decide what you want in the Free Agent Market, and what you will pay…. Avoid crazy long term deals for middle of the road players. See STEP 2 – STOP GUESSING! Want another big man to go along with Biendrins – Which one best fits your style of play and what you give to have them? Dalembert, Speights, Thompson, Marc Gasol, Kamen, DeAndre, McGee, Blatche…

Step 6. GET LUCKY….GET VERY, VERY LUCKY! See GREG ODEN/KEVIN DURANT? David Robinson injury leads to Tim Duncan.

Marcus Thompson

  • WFan

    He is basically saying that we should stop the strategy where the front office throws poop at the wall full of names. Whichever name has the most poop is who we will go after. Then they start throwing poop at a wall filled with the names of the people on their roster and whichever one has the most poop there is who they will trade. Hey it’s worked for 2 years out of 16 going on 17 years.

  • HollywoodCharles

    Great stuff… don’t you find it a little depressing that our fans are literally smarter and more informed than our GM? He was on KNBR and trying to make an analogy to baseball… trading two .275 hitters for one .300 hitter, he of course was talking about Value Above Replacement (VAR) trends, but the depressing thing was… he clearly didn’t even know that was a much studied, researched and accepted concept… to him it was an “old saying”… ugh…

  • Nicolai

    You seriously picked THAT post as the winner?

    What did he propose that actually fixed the Warriors? Literally all he said was:

    1) Get a deeper bench
    2) Get better defensively
    3) Get a Center
    4) Evaluate the coach
    5) Get a department that analyzes stats

    Its just writing a bunch of theoretical ideals to get a better team but it does not propose actual realistic ways to get those things done.

    Its a given that we should evaluate the coach. Why would our FO not evaluate the coach? Thats obvious.

    The idea of having a department that analyzes statistics is cute for those that believe in Mark Cuban’s unique ways of improving his team. The truth is that Cuban can add statistical marvels to his team and create one of the largest payrolls in the league, but the Mavs always lose because THEY DONT HAVE HEART. Stat nerds can’t measure that factor and Dallas always gets upset in the playoffs as a result. So big whoop in listing that as a way to make our team better.

    What we need are GOOD PLAYERS. And anyone that even remotely knows this team can tell you that we lack a center and we lack a bench. What most people cannot do is tell you how we can actually acquire the guys that would take care of our issues.

    Of course, I proposed some deals and some signings which actually address these issues specifically, but they were overlooked likely because I skipped over the part which blabbed on about why we need these things since I figured that people already knew the “why” and wanted to know the “how” part of the solution.

    Too bad. I figured that you were a bit more astute in your observations. Maybe that’s false credit just because I compare you to Tim Kawakami.

    Count me out of your next giveaway of free stuff you get from the NBA.

  • http://www.ispithotfire.com Michael

    Congrats!

  • GSW

    Is that best post or longest post? Where are the trade ideas? Who should the Warriors go after in free agency? I didn’t compete in the contest so this isn’t sour grapes post. I was just hoping to read a good winning post with specific ideas to improve the team.

  • haastheman

    not surprising the winner went to a “company” type answer. You couldn’t exactly give the prize to anyone who said trade Monta, or trade Steph, especially since they weren’t traded. Although not surprised, i’m really dissapointed. What you’re saying, is the same thing the rest of the league is saying, “you’re the warriors, you’re not contenders”. I don’t buy that. Anybody can be a contender, if they want to be. There is no way from a trade standpoint we are more attractive in the offseason then we were before the deadline. Countless teams made moves while our GM sat around doing nothing. I’ve heard Riley on the radio several times and he sounds like someone the game has passed by. What good is a puppet wihtout the puppet master pulling his strings. How much do the warriors pay you guys to take these baby soft lines.
    Really interesting that the winner of the question of “What’s need to make the Warriors a serious contender for a title”, doesn’t actually mention any moves, just concepts. That’s cause we didn’t make any moves, and the front office couldn’t have been wrong for not making any moves. Company answer. I expect more from you Marcus. Wheres the integrity. I know you know better

  • haastheman

    Another thing we fail to realize is that when teams “get lucky” it’s because their GM’s are putting them in a position to get lucky by working the phones, talking to coaches, and talking to other GM’s. The warriors are really pissing me off. All i heard from the analysts after the deadline was how all the teams were trying to drop salary, HELLO. We had expiring contracts at a time when all teams are trying to drop salary and all we can get for it is a second rounder? I’m sorry a second rounder in 2012, not even a second rounder next year. I hope you know that this is what your defending. You don’t have to tear things up to make moves for all of those who say be patient. Be patient and wait till we get lucky is like telling a child don’t study, work hard, or go for internships, just play the lottery and hope for a winner. Only in California

  • mac

    Well deserved win for that post. Luck is so important. Our the Spurs the same team if they don’t win the lotto and grab Duncan? Is Sam Presti a genius if he doesn’t get the 2nd overall pick and grab Durant? These picks were absolute no-brainers.

    Where Luck doesn’t come in …Kobe Bryant for Vlade Divac…Drafting Amare Stoudamire #9 or signing Steve Nash on the brink of a serious breakout.

    That being said, a stud GM helps…We’ve missed on way too many drafts. Not just missed, but struck out. I loved Mullin as a player and an early GM, but he made some horrible moves, post Baron.

  • W’s in 2010

    Every single team in the West made a significant trade, besides the top 3 teams(because they didn’t need to).

    OKC got Perkins/Nazr
    NOR got Carl Landry
    POR got Gerald Wallace
    MEM got Shane Battier
    PHX got Aaron Brooks
    MIN got Anthony Randolph, draft pick
    SAC got Marcus Thornton
    HOU got Dragic, Thabeet, two 1sts
    LAC got Mo Williams, dumped BDs contract

    Utah and Denver started the rebuilding process because it was necessary, despite both currently being top 8 teams. That’s funny, because the Warriors are scared to make a move because.. ZOMG, we’re within 3 games of the 8th! So Sad.

    I don’t care what plans they have for the future because I have ZERO confidence in THIS front office making the right moves. None, zero, zip. These guys are the same guys who worked for Cohan, WTH!! Bring in Jerry West, or the former GM of Portland, somebody who can fix this team.

  • W’s in 2010

    GS got a 2ndR pick. WOOHOO!

  • jacadocious

    LMAO

  • WetLunGz

    How did he wn did he even suggest en trades?

  • What?!?

    Man, that is one vague answer. Decide the style you want, then get players that fit that style? Draft well? Have a plan?!? Upgrade your bench so the starters play less? Are you kidding?

    Is this really the BEST answer? How could this possibly be the winner? It was like listening to a politician talk about campaign financing!!

    Anyway, when it comes down to it, ACTUAL decisions have to made. WHICH players will we move (aside from 4 bench guys)? What style WILL we play? WHO will we go after? I thought the winner would ANSWER those questions, not ask them!

    This post is a bunch of empty hot air, and picking it as the winner just shows how easily people can be fooled by folks who don’t really say anything at all.

  • JFish

    Couple of points…

    1. I did not mention trades since they are the pure speculation. I saw posts suggesting we trade Andris and Wright for Nene… great! Not realistic. No one suggested we trade for Deron Williams, but it turns out he was available, I don’t think there is anyone on our roster I wouldn’t have traded for D Will, but would he have been available to the W’s since we’re in the same conference?

    2. Haastheman @ #5, I was actually suggesting the W’s need to do MORE home work. Develop an analytics department. The W’s moves have been reactionary and lacking a game plan. We overpaid for Maggette in response to losing Baron, after we thankfully had ridiculous offers for Elton Brand and Gilbert Arenas turned down.

    3. I am disappointed that we still Bell, Law, Rad. We need to strengthen our bench before we can even look at what we need. Swap them for some D-league players who can take some minutes. Our first half rotation versus Min… Curry, Ellis 24 minutes each, for that we have a 4 point lead. Being out rebounded by 10, 9 on the offensive glass.

    For all those saying we need to play Udoh more, he doesn’t rebound like someone his size should. First half, Amundson & Udoh have a combined 2 rebounds in 9 minutes. Sure a strong post presence would help, but if Monta/Curry others have to play heavy minutes we’ll never be a good defensive team.

    I think our biggest problem is lack of depth, poor/no set rotation. As long as we’re carrying 3 bodies for their expiring salaries, not because we think they’re part of our future, we will “Lack Talent” to really compete.

  • jclay09

    Definitely agree about the D-Leaguers. Lots of talent there that could be signed to replace a bought out Bell, maybe even a backup SF to spell Wright.

    Joe Alexander is an athletic freak who is tearing up the D league. Was a bust at #8, but also means he has the potential to be a stud.

    Point being, a low risk/high reward type like that who provides something on the roster the team doesn’t have would be the best use of that roster spot.

  • W’s in 2010

    I’m sick of Dleaguers…

  • http://superdeville.com JayPrzy

    I almost passed out that was so boring…

  • haastheman

    @ jfish Trades are speculation? The whole question is speculation! And how can Biedrens and Wright for Nene be not realistic? How can you say who’s not available, anyone is available for the right price, this IS america. It seemed to me that the question was asking for your game plan, not what we needed to do to get a game plan. You’re right if Monta and Curry have to play major minutes we’ll never be a good defensive team, THAT’S WHY WE SHOULD TRADE ONE.
    @MTII You did put the word “moves” in the question. you do realize this right. I swear the more i read the winning post the more dissapointed i am in you

  • GSW

    If you were Joe Lacob, what MOVES would you try to do to make the Warriors a serious contender for a title.

    That was “supposed” to be the question the winning answer is based on. Haastheman is right, maybe he should get the prize :) The question is based on speculation, what MOVES would you do to make the Warriors a serious contender for a title. To be clear, I’m not upset at all with JFish, its not his fault MT asked a question and then picked a winner that has nothing to do with the original question. I liked the #10 post, may not be realistic to get Smith and Bogut but its ideas to improve the team, that’s what I thought this was about.

  • jacadocious

    Sometimes the best move is no move, or to retreat… Moves could mean a variety of different things. Such as hiring an analytical specialist, or bringing in D-leaguers, or trading for players or picks. J-Fish’s response is well thought out, and seems as if he did some work here. I may not agree with him totally, but he obviously spent some time and thought on his post. Congrats J-Fish, you did that!

  • haastheman

    just wanted to make it clear that i’m not upset that i didn’t win the prize. I read most of the entries, and there were a lot of really good, well thought out ideas. I’m just pissed the warriors are so inept, and bay area sports analysts are giving them a pass.

  • JFish

    Jacadocious #17, thanks for the support. I think the model franchise in the NBA is the Spurs who have been described as “boring”, not a lot of splashy moves, or big trades. The team takes its cue from Tim Duncan “The Big Fundamental”, they out-execute you. I don’t think the management needs to get bolder, they need to be smarter. It seems we spend half our time making poor trades, and the other half making one-sided deals to unwind our bad trades.

    Haastheman #15, GSW #16, I agree trades are speculation as is the whole exercise. I was trying to communicate that some of the trade speculation seemed very unlikely to me. When Denver says they want to keep Nene, I don’t think you’re going to get him for Biendrins.

    I do feel that I suggested “moves”, I just didn’t mention trades. I also think I tried to answer the second part of the question, which few people tried to answer i.e., “… serious contender for the title”. I think you need at least a three year plan and that’s being aggressive.

    Looking at your suggestion #72 or #10 cited by GSW, I think those are two of the more reasonable “trade possibilities”. I don’t know why LA Clips would have swapped an often injured, but productive Kamen who’s contract is over by the end of next year for Biendrins, with 4 more years left.

    I’d worry about Kamen or Biendrins being considered part of the core of a championship team. On this chart

    http://www.blazersedge.com/2011/2/17/1999729/simmons-oden-will-probably-never-be-healthy

    Kamen falls somewhere between Ralph Sampson and Chris Webber, great when healthy, but tough to build a consistent winner around (385-107-1). Biendrins would be worse unless you throw out his first year where he didn’t play much, but was available to play (351-241-2), (eliminate 1st year, assume he makes it to 82 games this season 433-59-3).

    ———– meh —-
    I like basketball, Warriors are tough to watch and root for. We are in a rebuilding year, but carrying expiring contracts and players who are not in our future…. Without a CBA, players may stay in college a year longer making this an extra thin draft…

    Management hasn’t articulated a game plan… You don’t have to tip your hand (i.e. “we’re going to release Murphy”, gee I wonder why no one will trade for him)

    From Washington’s Owner… Apology to fans, game plan, candor….
    http://www.tedstake.com/2011/02/24/as-a-part-of-a-rebuild/

    Houston’s Morey… Some candor, an honest assessment
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/justice/7441527.html

    P.S. – don’t really care about the camera, my niece will enjoy using it. I’m just a long time, local fan who wants to see a better brand of basketball.

    Go A’s, Go Giants…

  • W’s in 2010

    Just say it. Looks like MT awarded the guy who typed the most. lol

  • Bill

    gobbledygook…enjoy the camera….a fourth grader could have written a better plan for the future of this team

  • D. Cash

    Are you kidding me? What’s wrong with blowing up the Warriors squad? They have been in rebuild mode for 17yrs!!!!!