Exhibition #6: Ws at Kings

Swingman Stephen Jackson has been willing to share his true feelings with whoever asks — starting with a DJ at a summer block party in New York.
Now, Jackson is ready to ease off the gas a bit. With the season approaching, and him seemingly realizing he isn’t helping his trade prospects, Jackson told reporters at practice Saturday that he’s going to tone down the rhetoric.

JACKSON: “Me saying something isn’t helping anything, and you all asking me questions isn’t helping anything. It’s time to be quiet and see what happens.”

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Notes from shootaround

Some tidbits from the Warriors’ shootaround this morning at Oracle.

It looks like the team will once again dress less than 10 players. Corey Maggette (head contusion) was not at shootaround as he was being checked out by a physician Monday morning. He will be a game-time decision. Andris Biedrins (left ankle) said he would like to play again this season, but it looks like he’ll be out for at least one more week. According to Biedrins, Don Nelson has told him that there’s no reason to rush back if there’s a chance he could make the injury worse.

Same goes for Brandan Wright (left shoulder), who went to see a doctor after shootaround. Hopefully, we’ll have an update on him just before tonight’s game. Marco Belinelli (right ankle) also saw his doctor Monday afternoon.  

Monta Ellis had cold-like symptoms earlier today and was not at the shootaround, but he is expected to play tonight.


And then there were eight…

Hey everyone. Just filling in for Marcus while he begins his five-day “vacation.” Of course, he went ahead and broke all kinds of rules with a blog post this morning. Just shows his level of dedication. 

Many of you probably saw this Stephen Jackson video yesterday on hoopshype.com, where he basically said that it’s time to ”shut it down and get (his toe fracture) fixed” and begin the process of getting ready for next season. According to a Warriors’ spokesperson, Jackson is seeing a specialist today. An update on how that appointment went may be forthcoming later on.

Corey Maggette (head contusion) has returned to the Bay Area, joining Andris Biedrins and Marco Belinelli. Brandan Wright (left shoulder pain) will not play against the Nuggets on Saturday. The team also reported Friday morning that Jermareo Davidson had successful surgery to repair the stress fracture in his left foot. He’ll be immobilized for the next month.

In case you’re counting, that leaves eight players available for Saturday’s game (Azubuike, Crawford, Ellis, Kurz, Morrow, Randolph, Turiaf, Watson). Should be a great time.


Stephen Jackson – Stay or Go?

Debuting a new feature here. The Warriors are going to take inventory this offseason, see what moves they need to make and how they can get better. Over the next few weeks, we are going to do some evaluating ourselves. Here is your chance to give them your opinion (yes, they do read this blog). I will make the best case I can as to why a player should stay or go this offseason. Then you sound off.
Who better to start with than Stephen Jackson.

Thanks due to Tony.psd for the hot graphic


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The Monta Saga

Monta Ellis has been a magnet for drama since he signed that $66 million contact back in July. His story just took another twist, but also came closer to a conclusion.
The Warriors announced that Ellis will make his season debut on Friday.

Let’s look at this whole situation as a timeline:

July 24, 2008
The Warriors announced they signed Ellis to a contract. It’s a six-year, $66 million contract.

August 21, 2008
Monta, in Jackson Mississippi, injures his ankle. He informs the team. But he tells the team he sustained the injury working out. They keep it hushed while they wait to see if it requires surgery.

August 27, 2008
ESPN reported that Ellis is out for three months after injuring his left ankle, making the news of Ellis’ injury public. He had surgery this day in Birmingham, Alabama to repair a torn deltoid ligament. The initial diagnosis was that he would be out 12 weeks (six weeks off the ankle, then six weeks of rehab), then would be evaluated again.

August 29, 2008
A team source informed me that the team didn’t believe Monta’s story for how he injured his ankle and were investigating his story.

September 3, 2008
ESPN, citing league sources, reports that Ellis had cuts and abrasions on his left leg that weren’t consistent with his working out story.

September 6, 2008
A team source informed me that Ellis came clean to the league that he lied about how he was injured.

September 24, 2008
The San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing a source close to Monta, that the Warriors’ guard sustained the injury while riding a mo-ped.

September 29, 2008
Monta makes his first public comments about the incident. He’s riding a scooter designed to keep him off that left ankle.
“We’ll address it next week when my agent speak with the team and till then I want to tell you, but you just have to wait it out and see what they say and when it’s time for me to address it then ill address it.”

October 11, 2008
Team president Robert Rowell announced before a preseason game against Oklahoma City that the team was suspending Monta Ellis for 30 games. But that wasn’t it. Rowell the disagreement between himself and Chris Mullin.
“Chris Mullin made it perfectly clear to both Mr. Cohan and myself that he didn’t think this was a big deal at the beginning, and we happen to think it’s a very big deal. We happen to think that it’s a big deal for our fans, it’s a big deal for our season ticket-holders, it’s a big deal for our business partners, it’s a big deal for the Warriors organization.”

He also confirmed that the team will protect itself if Monta can’t be Monta again.
“I’ve given so little thought to that that I don’t even know if I can give you a real intelligent answer, other than preserving our rights and reserving our rights, which we have. We’ve asserted that. As far as how it gets done . . . Nobody wants that scenario to happen. If it happens, you’ve got to deal with it.”

October 14, 2008

The blogsite Monta’s Moped had its first post, taking the Monta Ellis saga to commercial status.

October 27, 2008
Monta Ellis, through his agent, released a statement announcing how he disagreed with the Warriors’ ruling.
“While management and I do not agree on their actions, I want to be clear that my injury is based on my mistake in judgment. And I always accept responsibility for my actions.”

A source close to him said he would be filing a grievance to block the Warriors ability to go after his contract.

October 28, 2008
Monta, wearing all black, including a fur Yankees hat, gets a standing ovation at the Warriors’ open practice when he was introduced with the team.

November 19, 2008

Monta has his second surgery, this one to get the screws taken out. It took place in Dr. Angus McBryde in Birmingham, Alabama.

December 11, 2008
Monta showed up at practice again, this time he’s wearing a practice uniform. He didn’t participate, but he spent a lot of time talking on the court with Jamal Crawford, his new backcourt mate.
“Now, everything’s peaches and cream. You know, I’m walking again, back around my teammates, shooting, about to get back to doing what I love doing.”

January 6, 2009

My man Tim Kawakami blogs that Ellis is upset with the team and he is “not pleased about rejoining a Warriors universe that is ruled by Don Nelson and Robert Rowell.” Warriors do not like that.

January 7, 2009
The Warriors put out a release before the tip-off of the Lakers game saying that Ellis is ready to take the next step: more strenuous activity.

January 9, 2009
Monta works out with his teammates. Nellie called it the lightest form of practicing possible.

January 13, 2009
Monta returns to practice for the first time. He goes all out, even more than he probably should have, according to Nellie. After practice, Monta talked about being pain free, in need of conditioning, and his love for the Warriors.
“Listen, whatever it is about me leaving, wanting to go, I don’t want to play for Nellie — that never came from my mouth. I don’t know where they got that from, but I’m here for the next six years. I’m a Warrior. I’m going to always be a Warrior. Whoever put that out there did it because they wanted a story. I’m making it known right now that I’m a Warrior. I love playing for Nellie. And I never said that, not one time. So you don’t have to worry about that…I’m here for the next six years. Only thing I’m worried about is getting back on the basketball court.”

January 19, 2009
Monta comes to the arena expecting to play, but he is told no, according to a team source. Not only did he have to wait even longer to play, which is agonizing, but he couldn’t wear the Martin Luther King Jr. editions of his signature shoe with And1. The same day, his agent, Jeff Fried, met with the Warriors’ management.

January 22, 2009

The Warriors announce after practice that Ellis returns. Hours later, my colleague posts on his blog, citing Monta’s agent Jeff Fried, that the Warriors are still “reserving the right” to go after his contract later.

The saga continues.


Monta: Unplugged (Kinda)

I’m baaaaaack. For a little while, anyway. Thought I’d get things going again with Monta’s first interview since rejoining the time.

Photo courtesy of Matt Steinmetz

What’s it like to be back with the team?
I see everybody’s progress. I see how they’re practicing, see what we got coming in this season and I’m just excited to be here to support my team.

What’s the toughest thing about not being able to be out there?
It’s kind of hard to explain, but I’m here in spirit and anything I can do to help them, I’m here for it.

You ever been through anything like this?
I have but, you know, whatever it is, it is. You just got to move forward now.

How long did it take you to get used to your new friend there?
Not long. (Laughs)

Did you pick that color?
Nah, he just gave it to me. (Laughs)

Going to put some rims on it?
Nahhh, I’m just going to get some spray paint and spray paint the spokes.

How do you think you’ll recover?
I’m recovering great. Everything’s going good right now and we just have to wait it out.

Can you put any pressure on it yet?
No, not at this moment there isn’t.

What’s going to keep you mentally coming back early and pushing it too hard?
I really do but at the same time it’s a process and we got 82 games and you know, just take it day by day and hopefully I get back out there soon. I’m going to take my time and make sure I’m 100% before I jump back out and then have to sit back out by coming back too quick. So it’s, it’s really just play it by mouth.

What’s your role now while your out? What are you going to bring to the team?
Whatever it is. Leadership, good spirits, lifting players up who are down, just give them what I see being on the sideline.

Did you wanna get back here for media day?
It’s kind of hard, when your trying to get on a plane with a cast and you’re trying to fly from Mississippi and change over so, that’s what it was. I wanted to be he’re but I’m just glad to be back and be my team support ‘em and move forward.

How’s you relationship with the team? How has it grown through this?
It’s been great. Everybody’s being on task, everybody stayed in contact, everybody’s on the same page, everybody wants to get past this. You know, they want me back on the court but at the same time they want me to be 100 percent. So it’s been good. They’ve been supportive and that’s what I needed and that’s why the process is going the way it’s going, so smoothly. They’ve been terrific.

Why not come out and say something?
We’ll address it next week when my agent speak with the team and till then I want to tell you, but you just have to wait it out and see what they say and when it’s time for me to address it then ill address it.

What will you be like after this?
Um, I can’t predict three years from now, but I could say that in three years, it’ll be way beyond 100 percent . That’s all I could say.

Are your doctors telling you that you can fully recover?
It’s going to be 100 percent. It’s just going to be playing it by mouth.

You have a reputation for being a fast healer. Does that make you more confident?
With this type of injury and what I had to go through, it will probably take a little bit longer and really cause you not to come back too son. I’ve never dealt with it but like I said the team, Chris, everybody in the organization, has been with me 100 percent. We all feel good about it and just move forward.

What is the best-case scenario for your return?
I can’t tell you. Who knows? I can’t put a time frame on it. Like I said, it’s something that you’ve got to make sure you’re 100 percent before you come back.

Are you looking forward to taking advantage of the different view of the game?
I’m definitely going to do that. Not just for me, but to make our team better. To give them the input on what I see from the sidelines and what I think we can do to improve and get better as a team.

Any idea what rehab will be like?
We haven’t gotten to that point yet, but whatever I need to do. I know its going to be hard. No one said it was going to be easy. But I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get back 100 percent to help this team win.

You once said you were the fastest guy in the NBA with a ball in your hand …
I’m still gone be the fastest guy in the league with a basketball after all this.


You Had Questions, Jax Had Answers (Part II)

Sorry. It was just too long for one post, IMHO. Carry on …

Would you call the Warriors a soft defensive team? – Eastern Europe Warriors

“They were ‘til I got there.”

Win now or build for the future? – Mr. B

“Win now because tomorrow is not promised to nobody.”

MY FOLLOW-UP: Their offseason moves suggest the Warriors are building for the future. You happy with management’s direction?

“I’m definitely happy because we’re better than last year. Obviously when you have a season like we had and we didn’t make the playoffs, obviously the team needs to get better. We’ve made strides every year from the time I got her until now. The stuff that the management’s done this summer has done nothing but make the team better. As long as we keep going up and not going down, I can’t complain.”

Is Monta ready to be the spokesman for the team both in and out of the locker room? – Petaluman

“Vocal leader … That’s not his personality. That’s my personality. I think Monta’s ready to be the leader on the court as far as being the point guard. I think he’s ready for that role. But as far as the vocal leader, that’s not his personality.”

MY FOLLOW-UP: Can a team thrive without the point guard being the vocal leader?

“Yes. I can name a couple teams that was successful without vocal point guards. Dallas, the year they went to the NBA Finals. The Lakers. Rondo with Boston. Their vocal leaders were Paul and Kevin Garnett. So the vocal leaders don’t have to be the point guard, but at the same time, (point guards) have to be leaders on the floor. That’s what Rondo is. Rondo’s a leader on the floor.”

MY FOLLOW-UP TO MY FOLLOW-UP: What makes you think Monta is ready to play point considering he’s never done it at this level before?

“I’ve been with him all summer. That’s what he’s been doing all summer, working on his point guard skills. He’s naturally a scorer, but I think with the ball in his hands, it’s going to be good for us because we need him to score and we need the ball in his hands. Being a point guard will just come naturally. And not having B.D., he should embrace that role of knowing that he has to step up more. Monta is a competitor, he’s young and he’s happy now that he’s got his contract. So we should see a good year from him.”

As the veteran leader, what do you feel are your most important contributions? – Petaluman

“I have to be stronger this year. I know my minutes are going to be more. And I know that – if they can go up any more (laughs) – and I know my body is going to take more of a banging knowing that B.D.’s not going to be there. So I’ve got to get stronger, man, get mentally tough. It’s not anything I’m not prepared for. I’ve just got to get used to it.”

Favorite album of all time? – No Fillin

“Super Tight. UGK.”

How is your freestyle flow? – Thurston Hunger

“I’ve been contemplating doing an album. I really feel that I’m better than at least 30 … 40 percent of the rappers out now.”

Who from around the league would you put on your “ultimate teammate” starting five? – Thurston Hunger

“Starting point guard … I’mma say guys I played with. Point guard I’mma say Baron Davis. Two guard, I will say Manu Ginobili. Three guard, I would say Al Harrington. Four I would say Tim Duncan and five David Robinson. So it’s three from San Antonio. That’s a good team right there!”

How do you remain motivated and driven when you don’t know from one year to the next what team you’ll be on, who your teammates will be and what your role on the team will entail? – JustPuked

“I think that comes from your love for the game and not playing for yourself, but playing for your teammates. That’s how easy it is to stay committed and stay focused on the main goal, and that’s winning. If everybody on the team has the same idea, that winning is the only thing important, than it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Are you friends with Bun B (of rap group UGK, from Port Arthur)? – Dennis

“That’s my (play) uncle.”

Given the changes to the roster, what do you see as your role on offense this year and what can you do to bring the team together? – Phil

“Instead of going into the season with three captains, its one now. Instead of having another guy with balls to hit big shots, I’ve got to take more of the big shots now, which I love. As far as making plays, I was second in making plays on the team behind B.D. So I have to take more of a role in not only being a scorer but making plays for other guys, because that was a big thing that Baron did. Baron was close to getting a triple-double almost every night. I’mma have to pick up more assists. I just put it like this: I’m going to have to average five more points and about three more assists to make up what Baron did.”

MY FOLLOW-UP: How are you preparing for that increased role?

“I had less of a vacation this summer. I worked out a week after we loss. I went back to the Arena and worked out. I think total I took off about a month-and-a-half this summer. I’ve been working all summer. I played in Houston Monday, this tournament in Houston where all the pros play. I’ve never played in that. I went to a tournament with 36 teams in Louisiana. I did that this year. I hadn’t done that in three years. I just took less time off and took more time to work on what I need to work on because not having B.D. is going to take a lot of work and a lot of energy and I’ve just got to come in camp in better shape.”

Are you healthy? – Niners in 2009

“Yes. This is the first year in four years that my season was over early. I didn’t have to play (in the playoffs), so my body had time to heal. My injuries were nothing big where I needed surgery or anything. My injuries were all nagging injuries from the years and years of playing basketball. So I think I just needed the time off and I think it helped.”