Monday, February 28, 2011

Warriors open road trip with a loss

Are the Warriors still on All-Star break vacation? Someone needs to tell them school is back in session as this team has lost all three of it's games in the virtual second half of the season.

A loss to the Celtics is forgivable, at least the Warriors competed admirably in the first half of that game, only to get shut down by Boston's defense. Everyone thinks the Celts are this old station-to-station type of team, but they are one of the best transition offenses in the NBA. The Warriors play some of the ugliest transition defense in the NBA.

Getting beat by Atlanta was no shocker, as the Hawks are better than the Warriors, but it was the lack of fight the Warriors put up that disturbed me (and disappointed the fans who paid to get into Oracle to watch a competitive professional basketball game).

The most recent loss in Minnesota on Feb. 27 is a sign that the Warriors are in a bad way right now. Sure, the T'Wolves had lost six straight and were hungry and at home. Again, the manor in which the Warriors lost is almost as bad as the loss itself. They collapsed. The Warriors scored 72 points in the first half then went 5-27 in the third quarter. A cold shooting stretch is understandable, happens to everyone at some point, but the Warriors stopped putting effort into getting stops.

Their only chance is to play scrambling defense, embodied by Monta Ellis creating havoc in the passing lanes. Ellis' hustle tends to ignite the Warriors team energy and start the fastbreak. That's how this team wins because they sure as heck can't get to the free throw line. I have a feeling Monta Ellis is not emotionally right because his intensity has fluctuated during this three game losing streak. Hopefully he hasn't been watching D-Will and Carmelo on Sports Center this year.

The way the T'Wolves out-rebounded, out-worked, and man-handled by Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, and Wes Johnson. Former Warriors D-League sensation from last year Anthony Tolliver inflicted some damage to his former club, too. The Warriors have lacked urgency and lacked heart. I am embarrassed for using the term playoffs in previous posts.

If this uninspired type of play continues, Keith Smart is in trouble. I don't see him coming back next year. It's not because he is a bad coach, but the new ownership is ambitious and will look to shake things up. There has been observable disinterest on the floor during this losing streak, ultimately that falls on the coach.

Coach Smart is risking his job by starting Andris Biedrins, as the overpaid center has regressed back to being a liability when on the floor. He seems more interested in fidgeting with his armbands than going after rebounds.

The Warriors are not a good team, they're a rebuilding team. That shouldn't be a surprise. But running back on defense and giving maximum effort should be a requirement.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Warriors thrashed in their own house

The fans who paid to get into Oracle last night to watch the Hawks eviscerate the Warriors should get some of their money back. Maybe a free beer, a discount on another game, or an apology letter from ownership.

Atlanta jumped on a pathetic Warriors team who continued to attempt jumper after jumper and miss. When their jump shots didn't fall, this group of players didn't make any legit attempts to get to the free throw line and they didn't play transition defense.
The Warriors have shown moments of brilliance during the stretch where they beat the Bulls, Hornets, and Thunder. This isn't last season's group of rag-tag D-League misfits, this group can win against good teams, especially at home.

The poor play last night was a lack of heart, it was visible through the television screen, and it was shameful to watch.

I realize these players are human beings and there are infinite variables that could effect the performance on any given night, but the fans pay to be entertained. The whole marketing strategy with the Warriors has always been, "Hey, we might not be good, we might not make the playoffs, we don't play defense, but your gonna get a wild west shootout for that $70 you spend on Stub-hub." It doesn't work when they roll over and refuse to compete.

This game could be game that owner Joe Lacob looks back on when he considers whether Keith Smart keeps his job next season. I'm not saying he is to blame for this, but it is the nature of professional sports.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ellis & Curry stay put at trade deadline

The tectonic plates of the NBA shifted mightily at the trade deadline with some interesting and puzzling moves, headlined by superstars of the Western conference going East. Will these moves bring more balanced between conferences? During the past decade, the Eastern conference has been collectively inferior to the West.

What is the future of the Nuggets and Jazz after losing two of the best players in the world in Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams? Both teams, especially Utah, have impeded the Warriors path to the playoffs (when the Warriors weren't doing it themselves).

The Warriors made a small move by swapping Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric for essentially a second round draft pick, as they will likely buy out Troy Murphy's contract, much to the disappointment of "pre-we believers" who still have that number one jersey in the closet. More important, Larry Riley refrained from moving Monta Ellis or Stephen Curry, which was a great non-move. A mid-season trade is for a team that is in contention to win a title or an awful team that wants to have a garage sale and rebuild. The Warriors are somewhere in between. They are slightly out of playoff range, but they are not awful.

NBA trends and the Championship Formula

The NBA is a league of "big three's", popularized by the Celtics in 2007 when they forged the super team of Garnett, Allen, and Pierce. The Heat took the next step with Bosh, James, and Wade. Now the Knicks are slowly, but steadily establishing a constellation with Stoudamire and Anthony. Will they be able to lure/afford Chris Paul in 2012? There are many conspiracies happening now and tension with the possibility of a lockout next season. This way of team building is fragile, as it means a team must sacrifice depth to afford contracts of multiple superstars. The Celtics won a title in 2008, but it was the supporting cast that lifted up the "big three". Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo, Eddie House, James Posey, Glen Davis...

In recent years, the Lakers have won back-to-back titles with the formula of Kobe Bryant, a stable of lanky bigs (Gasol, Bynum, Odom), physical swingmen who defend and knock down shots (Ariza, Artest, Barnes). And of course D-Fish, the old general who stays the hell out of Kobe's way, plays physical, and hits big shots. To win a championship in the NBA you first need length, big lankly players to clog the lane and rebound. Second, you need depth, a competent group of players who have roles and consistently preform so your superstar(s) don't get overworked. Third, and most important, you need at least one superstar. The bigs and the depth give a team the chance to win any game, and the superstar closes it out. There has to be a player who can hit the big shot or make sure he gets to the foul with the game on the line.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kia Dunk Conest as Lame as Advertised

The All-Star game...who cares, it's a joke. Monta should have been there, but it's a marketing ploy (as seen in the Kia showroom, oops I mean dunk contest). It's a popularity contest aimed toward fifth grade boys, not logical basketball fans, but good fun.

The real news is Carmelo going to the Knicks. His wife Lala is actually calling the shots and they are going back to NY. Since this is a Warriors blog, I'm going to talk about how this effects Golden State and the Western conference. The Nuggets will not make the playoffs this season. They get Danilo Galinari, Raymond Felton, and Wilson Chandler who were obviously not good enough for the Knicks, but they have some good pieces. Aaron Afflalo is a very nice shooting guard, but now J.R. Smith will have to start and the bench will be compromised.

Nuggets fans are surely disapointed in the fact they lost a superstar, but it's not all bad for you Denver. Carmelo is obviously a cancer wherever he goes and he will not win a championship in New York. The Knicks already couldn't stop anyone, and now they are extra non-committed to defense. The Knicks, even over the next three or four years, have the same chances of winning a title as the "WE BELIEVE" Warriors of 2006-07'. The Nuggets will have the chance to build a cohesive team with role players, like Afflalo, Galinari, Chandler, Smith, Felton, and hopefully they will be able to retain Nene. But this year, sorry Nuggets, it's not happening.

That leaves the door open for the Warriors if they can get it together. I still hope they don't trade Curry or Elllis, and let it play out. But if the Warriors survive this upcoming raod trip, they have a puncher's chacne at making the playoffs. The Grizzlies, who have been one of the hottest teams in the leage since Christmas and are gunning for one of the bottom playoff spots, will be hindered by the loss of Rudy Gay. The superstar small forward will be sidelined for about four weeks with a separated shoulder. That will help teams like the Suns, Warriors, and Rockets, as the Jazz are also on the decline. I suspect Deron Williams will be the next Carmelo. D-Will is a free agent in 2012 and there is no way he stays in Utah (Maybe they'll draft Jimmer Fredette?).

The balance of power has shifted after this trade and Warriors fans shoul welcome it. It's about time. Dnever and Utah should get a taste of what Warriors fans have experienced for 16 years, but both of those franchises won't staty down long, at least Denver. This is a sign, a step toward the Warriors becoming a consistent playoff participant.

Please, be patient Larry Riley. Don't break up our back court just yet. You did well to land Dorell Wright and David Lee will prove to be a good pick up in time. Keep acquiring quality players the old fashioned way and build a deep roster with a quality second team like the Spurs and Mavs. It takes good draft picks, free agent role players, and a time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dunk Contest is shameless Kia plug

Steph Curry won the skills competition and showed that accuracy beats speed in this event. Dorell Wright came up short in the three point shootout. His shooting stroke is not quite suited for the event, as the uptempo fashion threw D-Wright off his natural rhythm.

I expected more out of the dunk contest, although I knew I shouldn't have. I thought Blake Griffin would be a savior to this event which has declined over the years. The last legit dunk contest winner was Jason Richardson in 2003. Nate Robinson was a Napoleon phenomenon repeat to Spud Webb and Dee Brown and Dwight Howard started a stupid trend of gimmick
riddled acts, lacking the substance of Jordan, Dominique, Vince Carter, and Jason Richardson.

The dunk contest has been reduced to a live commercial for Kia. I felt embarrassed for Blake Griffin, as that car took center stage over the dunk itself (which wasn't spectacular). I don't blame Griffin for his part and I hope he was properly compensated by Kia. That event was the most shameless corporate plug I've ever witnessed and I felt ashamed for being an NBA fan when I witnessed the way that rigged event played out.

Good or the sport coats who made out big on this, but that dunk contest was the biggest waste of time.

I like the idea of a game of 21 for an NBA All-Star event, with the fans voting for the three players they want to see. A one-on-one game would really be the most attractive event, but there are egos and a grocery list of other excuses that would prevent that from taking place. a game of 21, with three players would showcase individual skills and make it less adversarial. It would have a nice playground feel and be highly entertaining. Imagine: Kobe, LeBron, and Wade. I think Monta would do well, even against those guys.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Warriors first half report

The Warriors went 7-2 in their last nine games to get just three games below .500 and are 26-29 going into the All-Star break. They currently are 11th place in the harsh Western Conference and still are a long shot to make the playoffs. It's not likely, but it's possible. The Jazz look to be on the decline and the Nuggets would be in trouble if a Carmelo Anthony deal actually materializes.

Power is shifting in the West as the Memphis Grizzlies, like the Oklahoma City Thunder, have built a young, deep, and talented roster and are in a good position to take the place of Denver or Utah for that seventh or eighth spot.

So far, this season has been an improvement from last year, the most injury stricken season I can remember witnessing in any sport. The addition of David Lee has given the Warriors some presence in the front court. There are many Lee critics that get down on him for his lack of rebounding so far in proportion to his $80 million contract and what he has been able to do in the past. Lee is not a disappointment at all and acquiring him was a step in the right direction. He's not dominant, but he's a really good complementary guy and much needed leader.

Dorell Wright has been the most pleasant surprise in the Bay Area and around the NBA and should get serious consideration for most improved player of the year. Warriors fans who watched most of the games this season can see how D-Wright grew just over the course of this year, from deadly catch-and-shoot three point shooter, to confident driver to the rim and pull up for mid range shooter. Also, he has learned to run the floor on transition offense and gave the Warriors solid defense. D-Wright has done a great job triggering the inbound plays and shown he can do the dirty work of rebounding. He still has a lot of areas to improve on, but the good news is he looks capable of meeting his potential. Winning teams, playoff teams all have a guy like D-Wright.
"The Warriors don't have enough depth," the critics have said. It's true, they don't. They need a solid back up point guard. Eric Maynor, who backs up Russell Westbrook on OKC, is a nice backup point guard. The W's need a player like that. Also, they need a back up small forward to give D-Wright some more rest. The Shane Battier prototype: defender and knock down shooter.

The biggest rumor talk for the first half of the Warriors season has been looming trade rumors: "The Warriors can't have Steph Curry and Monta Ellis play in the same back court, they must trade one of them." Why and for who? The Warriors are not going to win a championship this year and are likely to miss the playoffs. Warriors fans don't want to hear it, but they are still a year or two away from playoff caliber. And that's okay, just as long as they continue to add pieces and move in a positive direction. It takes time. Why not let this team build chemistry and see what you have with the players on the roster? Why not add talent through the draft and free agency, without splitting the nucleus in place?

Look at players like Manu Ginobilli and Jason Terry. Both play for championship contenders with deep rosters and both have sacrificed to come off the bench as the sixth man because it's best for the team. Maybe the Warriors can find an Aaron Afflalo type guy or Shane Battier to start the game and bring Monta Ellis off the bench as a sixth man? Or Steph, but Monta could be very successful if the Warriors had enough depth and utilized him like the Mavs do Terry. Still far off, I know.

I don't see Larry Riley giving the rest of the NBA the satisfaction of trading Ellis or Curry, at least not this season. Let the core players (Ellis, Curry, Lee, D-Wright) build chemistry and continue to add depth. It would be foolish to take a step backward. I know Warriors fans don't want to hear this after enduring 16 years years of darkness during the Cohan era, but be patient. The new owners sank $450 million into this team and they're going to do all they can to protect their investment.

Be patient Warriors fans, it's not going to happen overnight, but the ship is headed in the right direction and they just need a little luck in the draft and a few free agent pick-ups for depth, then this team will be in the playoffs. For now, take this team for what it is: fun, frustrating, young, and rebuilding. Let them finish out the year, see what we have, and then decide.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Warriors look to win last game before All-Star break

Outside of some ugly losses to the Suns, the Warriors have played well over the past ten games, with statement wins against the Bulls, Nuggets, Thunder, and Hornets. Home court advantage was a factor, but it shouldn't detract from wins against quality teams. In the win against the Bulls, the Warriors held Derrick Rose to 14 points and forced him into nine turnovers. The Warriors forced the Thunder into 20 turnovers.

When the Warriors play with energy on defense and make a point to rebound, they hold teams to a low field goal percentage and have a good chance to win. Putting forth energy on defense means the bench has to play well enough to stay on the floor, so the starters can go all out and not have to think about saving energy for the fourth quarter.

The win over the Hornets last night was sparked by the energy off the bench. Vladamir Radmanovic scored all of his 13 points in the first half and Ekpe Udoh continues to improve every game and has been rewarded with more minutes. It's almost to the point where Keith Smart could start Udoh over Andris Biedrins. Udoh doesn't foul as much and is not the offensive liability Biedrins can be. Biedrins should still start, as coach Smart must factor in Biedrins fragile level of confidence. Udoh deserves the minutes and looks to be the rim protector the Warriors have lacked for years.

The Warriors should be able to handle a depleted Jazz team who is without Andre Kirilenko, Ronnie Price, Raja Bell, and Memo Okur. Plus Deron Williams has a hurt right wrist, his shooting wrist. Both teams are on the second game of a back to back and the Warriors outstanding bench play allowed the starters to save some energy for the game tonight.

As Bob Fitzgerald said, "the Jazz are leaking oil and could be on the way down."

It appears the Jazz are leaking the proverbial oil, as they are 0-2 after the resignation of 23 year head coach Jerry Sloan. The Warriors need to lure the Jazz into the up-and-down game and run Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap off the court. Also, D-Will struggling on ouside shots with that bad shooting wrist. The Warriors guards need to give play him like Rajon Rondo. Embarrass him into shooting, and don't let him beat you with dribble penetration.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Suns beat Warriors in embarrassing fashion, again

The Suns are on a roll and are a team who gives the Warriors (and a lot of other teams) match up problems. The way they space the floor and knock down catch-and-shoot threes is similar to the Orlando Magic. The Magic have Dwight Howard and can defend better when they are engaged, but Steve Nash gives the Suns a one up at the point guard position, at least on offense.

Phoenix whipped the Warriors with their depth. The Warriors starters logged heavy minutes in a nice win over the Nuggets just the night before and probably didn't get to bed until 3:00 A.M. Still, the Suns would have won, but the game wouldn't have been over before halftime...(wishful thinking?)

If the Warriors don't create fastbreaks off turnovers, they are susceptible to going long stretches without scores and allowing big runs like the Suns have ripped off over this past week. The Warriors need to be able to play good team defense due to the constant match-up problems with Ellis and Curry on the floor simultaneously. Phoenix lives on the three point line and the Warriors still left shooters wide open. Channing Frye killed the Warriors on Feb. 7 at Oracle and still, no one can make an effort to chase him off the three point line. Granted the players were tired and the hectic schedule of NBA life doesn't allow much time, but the Warriors coaching staff should take some blame for the Warriors being ill prepared to compete.


NBA News

Jerry Sloan stepped down as the head coach of the Utah Jazz after 23 seasons. I associate Sloan with my earliest basketball memories dating back to when I first started following in 1991. Karl Malone and John Stockton were pick-and-rolling everyone to death and beating teams up on defense. Utah Jazz fans from my generation, the original "Dream Team" generation, have never seen another coach for their team, as Sloan started in 1988.

After the Warriors lackluster performance last night, I had to flip over to the Lakers at Celtics. Ray Allen is now the all-time leader in three point makes, as he surpassed Reggie Miller's 2,560. Miller witnessed Allen break his record as a TNT analyst. "Are you kidding me?" (I would still put money that Cheryl wins the Thanksgiving one-on-one driveway games).

The Lakers won by locking up the Celts on defense and finished the green men off with Kobe nailing shot after shot. Yes, there was fist pumping.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Warriors hang on to beat Nuggets 116-114

The Warriors showed the loss to the Suns was a hiccup and reestablished themselves as the best three point shooting team in the NBA.

The Nuggets have weapons galore and they managed to hurt the Warriors, Chauncy Billups sat out with a strained left knee and it affected the ball movement in the half court offense. Carmelo scored 29 points, but he was 11-21 and only took only seven free throw attempts, which is low for him. Dorell Wright played a great game. No he played perhaps the best game of his career.

After the horrendous basketball he demonstrated against the Suns, Dorell scored 23 points, pulled 11 rebounds, and was two assists away from a triple double with eight. And on the other end of the floor, he did a solid job defending one of the best scorers in the world in Carmelo. D-Wright stayed down, closed out, and didn't foul.

David Lee did well to move the ball on offense and shows he is the fulcrum the the Warriors lever. Lee scored 16 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 6 assists. Biedrins had 12 boards and Reggie Williams gives the Warriors a great chance to win when he's feeling it. Here's a stat: Reggie has made 13 of his last 14 three point attempts spanning the past few games.

Monta Ellis had it going from the beginning. When he is feeling his three point shot, it gives him a surge of confidence to burn defenses in a variety of ways. He scored 37 tonight with only one point from the free throw line.

It's been a joy to watch the progression of Monta Ellis since he started getting playing time in 2006. He started as a deadly shooter from high school three point range. He didn't shoot too much, but he shot at a high percentage and got out on the fast break. Just last year he added the NBA three point range into his arsenal and was top 10 in scoring. This year Monta has developed a confidence for the big shots at the end of the game and has delivered on multiple occasions. The final step of his progression will be getting to the foul line.

Certain players like Kevin Martin, Paul Pierce, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony have a way of initiating contact and selling it to induce a whistle. It's not a flop like Derek, but there can be some theatrical flare. It all starts with beating your man on defense (something Monta does just about every touch).

Heavy minutes doesn't bode well for starters on a back to back, but there is rest ahead during the All-Star break and there is some self respect to earn back from a Phoenix team that embarrassed the Warriors last time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Warriors stink in loss to Suns

Wow, the Warriors win over the Bulls was incredible. It was a beautiful basketball game all the way around with a low amount of fouls called and an uptempo pace. Monta Ellis, Steph Curry, and the other Warriors starters were all on fire. It was the best win of the season.

The most frustrating loss of the year was to the Bobcats, but this loss to the Suns is no less frustrating. The Suns came right out and punched the Warriors in the mouth, as the Warriors never put their guard up. And when I say never put their guard up, I mean the Warriors played awful defense. The type of defense that could cost Keith Smart his job.

They were pathetic. They were soft.

They let Grant Hill, Steve Nash, and Vince Cater get anywhere on the floor and didn't seem to watch any film. If they did, they would have ran out to Channing Frye on the three point line. They would have realized everyone in a purple jersey has undergone multiple surgeries and attacked their lack of lateral foot speed.

Dorell Wright shot the Warriors out of the game in the first quarter. Wright seemed content to squander his pump fakes and continues to show he is unable to draw free throws. Disappointing.

This game shows why the Warriors will not make the playoffs, why Monta didn't get into the All-Star game, and why every Warriors player is on the trading block.

The Warriors lost the game in the first quarter as Phoenix outscored them 33-17.

The Warriors shot 2-17 from three and with this loss, proved why they are truly irrelevant this year. Not much more to say, pitiful basketball.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Warriors win ugly against Bucks

The Warriors beat the Bucks on "Beat the Bucks" night at Oracle. It was ugly, just how the Bucks like to play. Nonetheless, the Warriors made the shots at critical moments to offset some really poor basketball. The Bucks grabbed 20 offensive rebounds to the Warriors eight, which resulted in 91 field goal attempts the Warriors 77. The Warriors turned the ball over 17 times, Steph Curry committed seven of them! The Warriors bench, Reggie Williams and Vlad Radmanovic, scored 23 points combined and gave the Warriors a final push in the fourth quarter to get this bumbling win, a win that would not have come if Andrew Bogut was healthy. The Warriors were also lucky to miss Deron Williams in the previous win over the Jazz.

Steph Curry had an awful game and he knows it. His seven turnovers were the result of sloppy ball handling, but not so much his overambitious one handed pass attempts. Curry is extremely talented, but he is not a natural point guard. Curry also played sorry defense. He was incapable of staying with his man and blundered more than one pick and roll switch. The pinnacle of Golden State's defensive underachievement happened around the eight minute mark in the third quarter. Curry's man Brandon Jennings slipped a screen to make a lay-in of pre-game warm up ease. Keith Smart emphatically called timeout and his frustration was audible through the telecast:
"We're not talking!" Smart shouted at a dejected bunch of gold jerseys.

The game had, what Bob Fitzgerald called, a "Rec center feel", as there were few fouls called on either side. Eventually the Warriors tightened up on defense and got somewhat serious about defensive rebounds. They also survived 12 consecutive points from Correy Maggette down the stretch. Monta Ellis hit a pull up jumper with 17 seconds in the game to put the Warriors up 96-92. On the next play, Correy Maggette made a driving layup and was fouled by Dorell Wright.

When that happened, the Bobcats game flashed back. Here we go, more mistakes in the critical moments. Maggette missed the free throw, the Warriors rebounded, and the game was essentially over.

Over the past three games, something has been different with the Warriors, mainly Monta Ellis. He hasn't been terrible, but his jumper has been off and his three point shooting has vanished. Monta is well rounded enough to realize he needs to drive more to get higher percentage shots and also find team mates on drive-and-kicks. But he's not attacking like we've come to know, hesitating somewhat, and his field goal percentage is down.

I think it's more than lingering injuries or tired legs. From the lack of communication on defense, it looks like there might be some tension between players, tension caused by not knowing where they will be in the near future. Tension from Monta's comments a year ago. The players know better than anyone else that it's not working. This mix of players is not going meet the "We Believe" hype and it's frustrating, especially for a guy like Monta who's had a small taste of success. This is a tension Warriors fans have come to know well over the years.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Biedrins' Lack of Growth is Costing The Warriors

At first, he was a little known Latvian giant with quick feet and hands and was a force on the block. Problem was, he wasn't a great scorer as a teenager when they drafted him and they knew of his shortcomings which are surfacing now.

Biedrins belongs in the "No More Mr. Mice Guys" era, cause he's as soft and easy going on the court as they come. I really think the lack of his development took this team from a perennial playoff contender, to a a mediocre at best, 30-40 win team. And sorry folks, if you want to blame it solely on Baron Davis' departure down the coast to LA, that's onlyu a small part of it. Baron certainly was the main reason why basketball came to life in the Bay Area in 2007, but he had the supporting cast to do so, none more important than the 21 year-old Biedrins. In fact, all due respect to JRich, SJax and Harrington, you take Biedrins away, they aren't the powerhouse they were. Now Andris just seems lost. I don't think it's any coincidence that his game really took the big hit when his good buddy's, starting with B-Diddy, left town. BD was instrumental in Biedrins' growth and Baron made it no secret that he was trying to push Andris to becoming the player he ought to be.

Now, it sounds as if I'm almost making excuses for Andris that he's lost the talent around him, but that's not the case whatsoever. Sure, every center would like to have a '07 version of BD delivering them the ball and driving and dishing, turing a 6-8 ppg player into a 12-15 ppg player as he did so well in his prime. However, Biedrins is being paid over $10 clams a year to learn how to play without star guards surrounding him. He's being paid $10 Mill to be that double-double force he was in 2006-2009. I'm having trouble believing the fact that he's just getting worse as he's entering his prime years. Baron was great during his season in Oakland and yes it did make things for Biedrins easier offensively, but Steph Curry is quickly gaining that same type of notoriety and rep, yet Andris still cannot seem to string together a good stretch of basketball.

So the W's are trying a new approach now, and he's got a new big man in town to help share some of that responsibility and the W's are definitely that ends up working (though it hasn't yet), one much more fundamentally sound and overall "Harder 'n da Paint" (that ones for you Waka Flocka Flame). Throughout his career, Biedrins has relied on highly skilled passing guards to get him the ball in scoring situations, but since his scoring has plummetted, his confidence has shattered. Steph Curry isn't the ball-slinger Baron is and Andris has yet to adjust to playing to that style, but just don't know that he'll ever evolve in that way. Biedrins certainly has his strengths, and is a valuable NBA big man, but right now, only about 50 percent of the time he's playing like an NBA-capable center. In my eye, Biedrins seemed to lose his confidence when Baron left, and his weaknesses were magnified because Baron wasn't there to cover 'em up (and Nelly stopped caring, but that's for another post). Offensively, he doesn't move well or create without the ball and has spotty hands to say the least. Oh, and that free-throw shooting is Shaq-like... Defensively, he's not bad, and when his heads in the game and healthy, he's a pretty good rebounder.

Now, I know a lot of your are thinking, "man, he's got it out for Biedrins today", but that's not the case. I know he's still young, but he's no longer basketball young, and 5 years is plenty of time to establish yourself. I'd wait and see how this year plays out, then absolutely entertain the idea of packaging up Andris. Again, without Andris, the Warriors don't make that run in '07, but with Monta, Steph, Lee and Wright, he just isn't fitting in. Again, his contract is no small obstacle, as the W's would likely need to take on salary too. Flat out though, in my opinion, Biedrins has been a collosoul dissapointment since 2007, it's like he's all the sudden turned into Todd Fuller or Patrick O'Bryan.

I still have faith in Andris though, and I don't think he's done. With the trade deadline approaching though, I would certainly be open to dealing him in the right situation and wouldn't think twice about it.

Trevor Cole