Thursday, January 19, 2012

Warriors End up Splitting on Road Trip

Things were looking up for the Warriors after beating the Cavs in Cleveland while getting almost nothing for star scorer Monta Ellis. Monta surprised me by playing just a night after taking an Anderson Varejao elbow straight to the nose, but even his 30 points, 5 assists and 6 steals couldn't push the Warriors over a reeling Nets team that absolutely dominated the glass.

I don't know why but the Warriors team free-throw shooting this season has been putrid and it was once again below par Wednesday night. They shot below 70% as a team and you aren't going to win many games when your team shoots under 70% from charity stripe. Ellis was much better vs. the Nets but was something like 4-10 free-throw shooting the previous night, and David Lee, who's normally money from the line, shot just 50% there Wednesday. Also, the Warriors were exposed in another area that's really killing them. No real post presence in the middle. They were out-rebounded as a team, 48-25, and I don't care who you are, if you shoot poorly from the line and get dominated on the glass to that extent, your going to get beat. So the Warriors gave a Nets team that was struggling worse than they were an opening and the Nets jumped right through it. The now infamous Kris Humphries, was going to call him Mr. Kardashian, but he put the Lee to shame after Lee looked like he was finally gaining some consistency. Humphries ended up with 18 points, 15 boards and 4 blocks, while Lee struggled horribly from the field and line and ended up with only 12 points, though he did have a double-double with 10 boards. As much of an impact player Ellis is, the team kind of goes as David Lee goes right now, and if he dominates, this team tends to play well. Essentially, in other words, they're getting very good guard play win or lose, but it's when they actually get some post scoring and out-rebound teams that they win ballgames. Proving, as the previous NBA champions have, it's really tough to win in the NBA without at least a quality center on one end of the floor, either a defensive wizard (a la Tyson Chandler) or an offensive juggernaut (Gasol, Shaq, Duncan, Garnett).

This Brings me to my next topic. I said in my last post that this time around I'd present a different Eastern Conference center that the Warriors should take a long, hard look at. Let's face it, Dwight Howard isn't coming to town folks, he doesn't even want to. The next guy I'd look at is Mr. Javelle McGee, who's show-boating ways have him in Flip Saunders dog house in Washington, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a better, 23 year old 7-footer. McGee's a guy who could dominate the glass, dominates defensively and can score inside. All three areas which the Warriors are struggling at. I'm not sure what Washington would want for McGee or if they'd even consider parting with him. Although things haven't materialized for the Wizards, they do have a very solid young nucleus there. One spot where they're pretty set though is in their backcourt with guards John Wall, Nick Young and Jordan Crawford. They really don't need a Steph Curry or Monta Ellis. They also have Andre Blatche, who they could easily slide into the center spot should they deal McGee. It just all comes back to what he Warriors would have that Washington would want, and an uncertain status with their upcoming first rounder isn't helping things.

I know Warrior fans hate to hear it, but I'm going under the assumption that the Warriors won't end up with a top-7 pick, especially if Curry comes back soon, which is looking likely. Again, I see this team finished right around the middle-to-low end of the pack, but not the bottom 1/4 of the NBA. And since they likely won't have one in 2012, I doubt they consider toying with their 2013 draft pick. Meaning, if they are to make a move for McGee or any center, it's going to have for players they have on their roster right now? Would Udoh, Thompson and Wright be enough? Doubt it, but I'd try like heck if I were Larry Riley!

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