Friday, February 12, 2010

Warriors at the All-Star break

No need for an All-Star break report card for the Warriors. It's safe to say they would be on the wrong side of a pass/fail grading system, although an incomplete would be more fair. No other team in the NBA has been more injured than the Warriors, putting them at a disadvantage from the beginning of the season.

The Warriors enter the break with a record of 14-37, third worst in the league. The Warriors fell below pre-season expectations, yet they were expected to have more healthy players. The injuries not only hurt the Warriors record, but they slow the development of a team in the rebuilding process. We still don't know if Brandon Wright can be productive. If he played this year, good or bad, at least the front office would have been able to move forward. The jury is still out on Randolph, as the 20 year old has shined at times, but still lacks fundamentals and any post moves. Kelenna Azubuike was getting off to a great start, until he fractured his patella in November. Every player on the team has been out with some ailment, except rookie Steph Curry.

Curry's last game against the Clippers has sparked multiple conversations regarding the future and philosophy of the Warriors. When Mona Ellis sprained his knee in the loss to the Mavs on Feb 8, it was the injury to insult. It was the ninth game in a tailspin of losses, in a pathetic season soon to be worse with no Ellis. The Warriors entered the Feb 10 game against Clippers with no Ellis and no Corey Maggette, the top two scorers on the team. Most Warriors fans expected Baron Davis, Chirs Kaman, and Eric Gordon to take advantage of the shorthanded W's.

Like many Warriors games this year, the game was not very competitive. Unlike many Warriors games this year, it was the Warriors doing the damage. Steph Curry scored 36 points, dished out 13 assists, and grabbed 10 boards for his first career triple double. With Curry as the primary facilitator, the ball moved freely and the Warriors set a season high for themselves in assists with 36. They shot 62 percent from the field and 59 percent from beyond the arc. It was a break through performance for Curry and the Warriors.

Voices of Warriors Nation, pro writers and drunks in the 200 section alike, shouted toward the direction of GM Larry Riley. Those voices advocated trading Ellis while his value is at it's peak. The ball doesn't move with Ellis and Maggette on the floor and Curry should be the primary ball handler.

I strongly disagree with trading Ellis just because Curry has a brilliant game. The Warriors still don't know what they have with a full healthy roster, a trade right now would be guess work. It's almost certain Riley will make a deal before the Feb 18 deadline while he can deal the expiring contracts, but don't expect Ellis or Curry to move.

I strongly agree that Curry should facilitate the offense and Ellis should develop his off the ball game. Curry has earned that privilege over the course of the year, punctuated by his triple double game.

It will be intriguing to see how Don Nelson integrates Curry into a role of higher responsibility and if Monta Ellis can allow Curry to facilitate. Ellis said he just wants to win, and that will take sharing more shots with Curry.


Trevor Cole said...

What a Bob Fitzgerald-type opening paragraph! LOL.

Darren Charles said...

well said. i think it'd be idiotic to trade Monta. in monta and curry, you have (already) one of the more dynamic backcourts in the NBA. with a healthy roster/perfect world, stephs scoring goes up, montas comes down a lilttle bit and both get more assists.

ive been sayin this:

give me Ellis, Curry, Magette, Randolph and Biedrens with Watson, Morrow, Azebuike, Wright and Turiaf off the bench and i'll give you a playoff team...