Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where Does Maggette Fit?

Warriors' swingman Corey Maggette completed successful surgery on his wrist in Los Angeles today. Maggette began the year in coach Nelson's starting five, but made himself into an efficient "point a minute" scorer in the sixth man role over the course of the season.

The addition of Stephen Curry creates more complication to Nelson's guard impacted roster and begs the question: how will Maggette get his minutes this season? Granted, he had some terrific games where his scoring off the bench carried the team through some poor shooting nights and his rebounding gave the undersized line up a boost, especially with Biedrins sitting for a few stretches.

While Maggette brings scoring and rebounding, he also has some tendencies that negate his productivity. Maggette is one dimensional. He is most effective when he takes his man off the dribble and goes strong to the rim, as he looks to create contact and shoot free throws. This can be good when the Warriors are doing that thing where they try to live on the perimeter. The other side of the Maggette coin is a player that clots the circulation of the basketball. I hate to use the example, but look at the Lakers on offense. They constantly set up passing options, the ball doesn't stop unless it's in Kobe's hands, and even Kobe has a back up plan when the double comes. Maggette has no passing capability or any kind of knack to create for his team mates. When he gets the ball, there is no reading the defense, he just lowers his head and tries to beat the defender to the spot.

The other part of Maggette's game that killed the Warriors last season was his terrible three point shooting, an example of bad shot selection.

I would much rather see Azubuike, Belinelli, and Morrow get playing time over Maggette. Maybe Belinelli could build some trade value and the Warriors could pad the front line. Magette would be perfect for playoff contender, like the Cavs, Spurs, or Hornets, coming off the bench to provide instant scoring.

The Warriors don't need Correy Maggette, they need someone who needs the ball less.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Curry Part of Future

This just in! Stephon Curry is here to stay, or at least Nellie is playing up the cards in his hand to possible trade partners. Those potential partners are the Suns and, less likely, the Knicks.

I hate the idea of giving up Biedrins, even if its for Amare. Stoudamire will produce on offense, but who will grab defensive boards? Turiaf?

The other concern about integrating Curry into the Warriors offense is working in with established scorer and quasi anointed point guard Monta Ellis, who understandably feels insecure and threatened by the skilled young new comer. It's not offense, but defense that will be in trouble with Ellis and Curry in the backcourt.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Warriors Get Curry at 7

The NBA draft finally arrived Thursday, and in the midst of trades happening left and right, the Warriors actually stayed put at 7, and grabbed a guy who plenty of experts thought they'd end up with.

The only question going forward, is whether or not Stephen Curry will actually ever suit up for the Golden State Warriors. Apparently, Curry wasn't too excited at the prospects of going to Golden State and the Warriors could be trying to move him as the draft goes on. One potential partner could be the New York Knicks, who grabbed big man Jordan Hill at pick 8, one pick after the Warriors took the guy they wanted in Stephen Curry. The W's may have grabbed Curry, knowing that the Knicks wanted him, and planning to make a move to get more from New York than just Hill. With all the talk going on about Ellis wanting the point-guard job and to ultimately control the ball, it didn't make much sense for the Warriors to grab another guard, if they are indeed planning on having Ellis run the offense. Though Curry and Ellis could theoretically play in the same back-court together, both are more offensive minded ballplayers, while playing them together at the same time could make for an amazingly up-tempo offense, it would likely be a kiss of death on the defensive end.

All that being said, I fully expect the Warriors to deal Curry within the next few days, and I really think that the New York Knicks are the team that's going to pay the biggest price for the lean combo-guard out of Davidson. After trading Jamal Crawford for a couple of point guards in Acie Law and Speedy Claxton, it would seem like the Warriors now have bit of a log jam in the back-court. The first round pick was the Warriors only selection in the 2009 draft, so they could look to attain another pick in the second round before this things all said and done. Stay tuned, much more draft coverage to come!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NBA Mock Draft: Picks 11-30

The NBA draft is just two short days away, so today, in likely our last post here at the Warriors Rundown before the good guys make their selection Thursday evening, we're going to break down how we think the draft will round out. For Picks 1-10, just scroll down to the previous post or click here.

11. New Jersey Nets: Tyreke Evens, SG, Memphis: Evans could give Devin Harris a solid young back-court mate for years in New Jersey, and they need the offense. Although he may not last this far.

12. Charlotte Bobcates: Terrence Williams, G/F, Louisville: A lot of people things Williams could end up being one of the best in this draft down the line, so he'd be a steal at 12 and could fit nicely in Charlotte in the back-court with Felton. Amazing strength for his size and position.

13. Indiana Pacers: Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse: Flynn is projected to be a top-10 pick, and likely won't last this long, but could come in and give the Pacers their point guard of the future. Could be the most polished all-around point guard in the draft, just doesn't have typical NBA size.

14. Phoenix Suns: Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina: Hansbrough fits the Suns mold perfectly, as he's a bright offensive talent with defensive deficiencies. Could fit nicely in Phoenix's run-and-go offense, as he's very good on the perimeter.

15. Detroit Pistons: DuJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh: Blair could come in and provide Detroit that physical power forward presence that Jason Maxiel has yet to develop into. A little undersized heighth wise, but extremely stong.

16. Chicago Bulls: Earl Clark, SF, Louisville: The versatile and athletic Clark can play either 3 or 4 and immediately make in impact in the Bulls front-line rotation.

17. Philadelphia 76ers: Austin Daye, PF, Gonzaga: Daye is a big time defender and could help Elton Brand and Sam Dalembert inside. He's got 3-point range as well, a lot like former-Warrior, Troy Murphy.

18. Minnesota T-Wolves: Jeff Teague, G, Wake Forest: Teague has been compared to Monta Ellis by some scouts and he could end up being a tremendous offensive player in this league, with Kevin Love and Al Jefferson up front, the T-Wolves need to bulk up their back-court too.

19. Atlanta Hawks: Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina: Lawson could give the Hawks a true point guard who could learn behind Bibby, and eventually take over for him.

20. Utah Jazz: James Johnson, F, Wake Forest: Johnson could develop into a nice power forward with an all-around game for Utah in a year or two, after they deal Carlos Boozer.

21. New Orleans Hornets: BJ Mullens, C, Ohio State: It's highly doubtful he'll last this long, but Mullens would make perfect sense for the Hornets, as they look for a their center of the future.

22. Dallas Mavericks: Eric Maynor, PG, VCU: Maynor his a big time scoring point guard, but also can set-up his teammates. Could give the Mavericks their ball-handler in the post Jason Kidd era which could start after next year.

23. Sacramento Kings: Sam Young, SF, Pittsburgh: Young is a scoring wing player, who could eventually take over a thin small forward position in Sac-town.

24. Portland Trail Blazers: Darren Collison, PG, UCLA: Not a star, but a solid player, Collison should be a good potential point guard to take over for Steve Blake after 2009.

25. OKC Thunder: Marcus Thornton, SF, LSU: Thornton is a scorer, averaging 20.5 points in his 2 seasons at LSU, and should translate into an above average scorer in the NBA.

26. Chicago Bulls: Chase Budinger, SF, Arizona: The athletic Budinger averaged 18.8 points per game as a Jr. for Arizona and could be a Brent Barry-type wing in the NBA.

27. Memphis Grizzlies: Omar Casspi, F, Israel: The Grizzlies may take a shot on this international sensation. Casspi hasn't don't a whole lot yet, but has the potential to be a contributor in due time.

28. Minnesota T-Wolves: Nick Calathes, PG, Florida: At 6'5", Callathes would give the T-Wolves a nice counterpart to the undersized Randy Foye at the point.

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Wayne Ellington, PG, North Carolina: The Lakers could find their next point guard in Ellington, who's got a knack for shooting the ball.

30. Cleveland Cavaliers: DaJuan Summers, F, Georgetown: Summers would give the Cavs another athletic forward, who they could play along side LaBron at the 4.

: Check in after the Warriors selection on Thursday for a full breakdown and analysis on the newest Golden State Warrior!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

NBA Mock Draft: Picks 1-10

With the NBA draft right around the corner, I wanted to mix some things up in today's post, and do a mini-mock draft, projecting out the NBA draft's first 10 picks. So here we go:

1: LA Clippers: Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma: This is pretty much the only sure thing of the draft, much like Steven Starsburg was a couple weeks ago in the MLB draft. Griffin was the most dominating player at the college level in 2009 and should become a stud in the NBA right away.

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ricky Rubio, PG, Italy: A lot of people think they are going to take Hasheem Thabeet here, but Rubio is really the second best player in this draft. He and OJ Mayo could give the Grizzlies a set back-court for the better part of the next decade.

3. Oklahoma Thunder: Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn: The Thunder/Sonics have been looking for a dominant big man ever since Shawn Kemp left many years ago, and Thabeet could be that next franchise big man. He, Kevin Durant, Russel Westbrook and Jeff Green would give the Thunder a nice core to build around.

4. Sacramento Kings: Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy: The Kings could also nab Stephen Curry here, but I think they want a young, true point guard who they can build around. He and Kevin Martin would be a fine duo in the back-court and Jennings is pretty much ready to come in and play right away.

5.*Golden State Warriors: Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona: With the Warriors leaning towards giving Monta Ellis the point guard position, they're going to try and find a way to either trade up or down to get a big man. Jordan Hill, outside of Thabeet, is the best big in the draft and could line up with Biedrins and Randolph to give the Warriors a nasty defensive front-line. Only issue is, Nellie would need to run a different kind of game with all those bigs on the floor.

6. Minnesota T-Wolves: James Hardin, SG, Arizona St.: Hardin Could go anywhere from #2-6, and I think he'll end up closer to 6. He's an excellent wing player with all-around offensive ability.

7.*Washington Wizards: Stephen Curry, G, Davidson: Curry is a bit of a tweener, as he's a little small for the 2, but he's probably the most offensively refined player in the draft. Both he and Gilbert Arenas could handle the ball for the Wiz, which would make Arenas' job a lot easier coming back from his leg injury.

8. New York Knicks: Jrue Holiday, PG, UCLA: The Knicks could have interest in Holiday cause he could learn a little bit playing behind Chris Duhon to start with. Holiday is more athletic and has more size than Jonny Flynn, another option who could fall to them at 8, but I think they would rather have Holiday's upside.

9. Toronto Raptors: Gerald Henderson, G/F, Duke: Henderson can score in a number of ways and his shot is getting better each year. He's got incredible rebounding ability for his size, but the only thing is he plays like a forward and has a guards size.

10. Milwaukee Bucks: DeMar DeRozan, G/F, USC: DeRozan could be the most athletic guy in this draft, and that's saying a lot because this particular draft is packed with them. He's probably going to end up at small forward, where he could be a lot like Ron Artest. Still a project, but could be an star in 2-3 years.

*Warriors trade Jamal Crawford, cash and their number 1 pick (7 overall) to Washington for their number 1 pick (5 overall)

Note: Picks 11-30 coming Tuesday! NBA draft on Thursday with up-to-the minute coverage on the happenings with the Warriors here at The Warriors Rundown.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Time for Change: Players and Coach

The Finals have ended and now it is time to shift attention from the league's best back to the NBA's lower percentile as the NBA draft takes place next week. The Warriors have the 7th overall selection, but need get a boost in more than one position, point guard and power forward.

A recent post in Tim Kawakami's "Talking Points" discusses a recent visit paid to Monta Ellis in Memphis by coach Don Nelson and GM Larry Riley with the intentions of quelling Ellis' discontent with the direction of the team. The bottom line, according to Kawakami's post is that Ellis will throw a hall of fame hissy fit if the Warriors draft a point guard in with 7th pick, a distinct possibility. I say let him.

I'm a Monte Ellis guy. I love Monte's game, but he lost some respect last year after getting injured. From Monte's perspective, he probably felt cheated for getting fined $3 million by team president Robert Rowell after the moped incident. I don't care what Nelson told Ellis in his visit ("we won't draft a play-making point guard, pinky promise"). Nelson is going to draft who the heck he wants despite how the young star feels.

As the Warriors players have changed, so has the need for a change in this team's philosophy. As Bob Dylan once said, "Oh the times, they are changing." Let me be more specific: Don Nelson is not the right coach for the Warriors current personnel. I know there are still a bunch of 'we believers' out there still romanticized by the 2006-07 Warriors team that made the playoffs and thrilled the basketball world. Wake up! Those days are history. No Baron, no J-Rich, no Harrington, no Barnes...

The Warriors need to get tougher on defense and get stronger on the front line. If they could pick up Jordan Hill or Hasheem Thabeet, the front line would lead the league in blocks. The Warriors need to bring in toughness, not another offensive weapon who plays soft defense like Jamal Crawford.

Championship teams are anchored by a dominant big man, a scorer who is un-guardable one-on-one, and a group of tough role players to compete on defense and hit open shots when called upon...(Gasol, Bryant, Ariza) The W's are far from this Championship composition and will not make progress toward it, that is, until the Nelson era is done.

Be Sure To Check out The Bay Area Sports Journal For Draft Prospect Reports!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lakers Net 15th NBA Title

The Los Angeles Lakers dynasty just got a little bit bigger on Sunday night, as the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic by the score of 99-86, giving the "Lake Show" the 2009 NBA championship.

This comes as little surprise to people outside of the Florida area, as the Lakers were the big time favorites to win this thing. I do think the nation expected the Magic to put up a little bit better fight though. The one game they did win, they barely hung onto in game three and won by just 4 points. It's too bad Dwight Howard could never get into a real offensive groove, cause that would have spiced things up for sure. The Lakers, though, were just on and they truly were the best team in the NBA in 2009. Kobe Bryant's 32.4 ppg average in the finals was good enough to earn him the MVP of the series, but Pau Gasol's outstanding performances can not be overlooked. It's going to be an interesting off-season LA, as they have some personnel decisions to make, but as long as they keep Kobe, Pau and Phil, they should be just fine.

Note: Now that the NBA season has officially ended, the focus will soon shift to the NBA draft as will we here at the Warriors Rundown. There really hasn't been much Warriors talk to discuss lately, as they have just been going through some pre-draft workouts and doing internal team-assessment. They still have some things to sort out before the NBA draft next month, and one thing on the agenda is what to do with Jamal Crawford, who can opt out of his remaining 2-year contract. Stay tuned... Plenty of Warriors talk on the horizon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mickael Pietrus Shines in the Lime Light

If not for Mickael Pietrus, I would look like I know what the hell I'm talking about. When this series began, I expected the Lakers to sweep the Magic on their away to the title. I hate the Lakers, but I just saw this as a mismatch. I was wrong.

In a must-win game 3, the ex-Warriors guard's contribution were the most underrated in the 108-104 victory for Orlando. Stan Van Gundy chose to give Pietrus most of the minutes at two guard over rookie Courtney Lee, who has been likened to a poor man's Monte Ellis by Bob Fitzgerald. Lee is quick, athletic, and get to the rim as easily as he can pull up and nail a mid range jumper. Lee was very effective against the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals, but now Pietrus is the two guard who gives the Magic the best match-up against the Lakers.

In the Cleveland series, Pietrus was assigned to guard LeBron James. He fared pretty well, playing smart, and never backing down. Now his defensive assignment is Kobe Bryant, an opponent more equal in size, but no less of a challenge than containing LeBron. Van Gundy likes Pietrus for the length and athleticism he brings, rather than the smaller Courtney Lee. An advantage to having Pietrus on the floor offensively is his knack to hit the sideline three and spread the floor for the pick and roll. Lee can shoot the three, but not at the high percentage that Pietrus does.

Watching Pietrus hit sidelines three pointers has been a surprise to everyone outside of Oracle Arena. Its a small victory to see an ex-Warrior playing at a high level on basketball's biggest stage, especially if it leads to thwarting the Yankees of the NBA: The evil empire known as the Lakers and Darth Kobe.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Magic in Trouble Against Hungry Lakers

The Lakers are going to sweep this boring series. I've seen this kind of mismatch watching Warriors games. The Lakers will allow the Magic to take all the mid-range jump-shots they can heave, just no three's and now slips on the pick and roll. The Lakers have too many big bodies (with athleticism) for Dwight Howard to go off like he has up to this point.

I'd like to see the Magic win their first championship, but they will be hard pressed to win a game. They matched up well against the Cavs, but this Lakers team is simply kryptonite 'Superman' Dwight and his Orlando team.

The Cavs would have been a better match up against the Lakers. The only way to slow down Kobe is to have a shooting guard that can wear #24 down on defense and hope he loses his legs down the stretch. The Magic have no one on offense that will force Kobe to work. He will play free safety and use every ounce of energy carving up the Magic's halfcourt D.

I bet Kobe is disappointed the Lakers don't get to face LeBron and the Cavs. Beating the Cavs and outplaying LeBron would prove to the world Kobe is the true MVP...When he went off in the third quarter of game 1, there was no player on the Magic to go toe to toe with the Momba. It's like the Lakers punched the Magic in their collective face on the playground. Instead of getting up and fighting back, the Magic stayed down and played dead. The close games of the playoffs are in the past. The only thing worth watching will be Kobe striving to stop the overused comparisons to Jordan. Now that I mention it, here's mine: Jordan had a flair for the dramatic, winning with last minute buzzer beaters. Kobe has a flair for taking care of business. He'll get his 30 plus points before the third quarter and comfortably watch from the bench. If the Lakers need 40 from him, he's back in there doin' work. Lakers in 4...boring.

So...NBA draft anyone?