Monday, November 21, 2011

Charity Games Give Bay Area Quasi-Pro Basketball

Earlier this month, it was the "We Believe" charity game held in San Jose to the tune of 4,000 spectators. Sunday, it was the "Make-A-Wish" game, and although it didn't have as many Golden State Warriors in the mix, it was still another glimpse at professional basketball for NBA-starved Bay Area.

The We Believe game was actually very entertaining from what I hear, and according to the score board, lived up to it's hype. The current W's, led by Stephen Curry, Dorrell Wright and David Lee, barely squeaked by the "We Believe" generation led by Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, Corey Maggette and Antawn Jamison, by the score of 158-153. Wright, the only Warrior to play in both charity games, led all scorers with 41 points vs. the former W's, while Curry chipped in a triple-double, 34 points/13 rebounds/12 assists. David Lee also stood out with 23 points and 16 rebounds. As for former Warriors, Gilbert Arenas looked pretty good in the video I saw, and ended with 26 points. The leader for the ex-Warriors though was Corey Maggette with 34, but the guy who was getting all the buzz after the game was Jason Richardson. Richardson will be a free agent when the NBA starts up again, and the Warriors, who haven't been the same team since they lost the physical 2-guard, could be in the mix. Right now, they are over-stocked with potential 2 guards though, after drafting Klay Thomposon with their top pick in June's draft. However, it's been no secret that they could be open to trading one of their guards, most likely Monta Ellis, for help in the front court. If that were to happen, I'd be all for adding J-Rich to split time with Thompson there.

There weren't as many Warriors for Drew Gooden's "Make-A-Wish" charity game this weekend, but Dorrell Wright was a starter for one of the teams and again excelled. I know it's just basically rec basketball, but Wright was one of my favorite players on the 2010-11 team and I really think this kid has a bright future ahead of him. For the first time in a while, the Warriors have themselves a true, legit young small forward who can really do it all. Another guy who came on strong at the end of 2011 and someone I would have liked to see compete in one of these games is Epke Udoh. The Warriors have really swung and missed on a lot of the picks they've used on forwards/centers and I'm hoping it ends with Udoh. He didn't shine in his rookie year, but showed that at the very least, he can be a serviceable backup center good for 20-30 minutes per night. All in all though, his rookie season was less than stellar, and it would have really helped this kid to have played in the summer league or play overseas until the lockout ends, just to get some experience. Speaking of underacheiving big men, I'm also a little surprised Biedrins didn't make it out to the We Believe game. He was/is a big part of both teams and certainly could have used the work.

As for lockout news, it really looked as if the players and owners were going to hammer something out earlier in November, but talks again fell through, and it appears we're no closer to an NBA season on November 21st than we were on August 21st. Now it's getting to the point where even if they did hit an agreement this week, We wouldn't see regular season basketball until the beggining of 2012. This has drawn on longer than I was expecting, and if it keeps up through Christmas, which is entirely possible, the threat of losing the entire year becomes the most likely scenario.

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