Sunday, November 25, 2012

Warriors Hanging in Without The Big Man

Since the consensus towards the Warriors' seasons was that they'd go as their new fragile center Andrew Bogut goes, I'm sure I'm with anyone when I say this has been much better than expected.

Now, the Dubs couldn't pull off their 3rd straight in Denver on Friday night, thanks mostly to early foul trouble to their key outside threats, Steph Curry and Harrison Barnes, they still have to feel pretty good about where they are. Especially considering they've now played the better part of the season without their top defender and anchor in the middle, Andrew Bogut. It's still not clear when exactly Bogut will be back, but I was guessing mid-December when they sat him down and I'm sticking with that guess, just hoping I'm not coming up short. However, in Boguts absence the guy who has pretty much saved the W's season thus far has been Carl Landry. I know we've mentioned him here and there before at the Rundown, but this guy just continues to produce with the minutes he's being granted. I know the Warriors would like to have a beefier front line than Barnes-Lee-Landry, but until Bogut returns, that's probably what we're going to be seeing more often than not. That said, I can't finish out this segment without giving props to Festus Ezieli. Not only has he outplayed Andris Biedrins and given the W's a solid effort on the court, he actually looks like he's developing before our eyes and I very much see the comparison with Epke Udoh, though Ezieli looks to have more talent,

Out on the perimeter, Steph Curry has been all the Warriors were hoping for to start 2012, and some. The 4th year point guard has averaged 19.3 points per night to lead the Warriors and what's impressed me as much as his quickness and efficiency on the court, has been his actual minute total. He was instrumental in the overtime victory over Dallas a few nights back in which he logged 44+ minutes. Honestly, he looks like a totally different player than the guy we saw limp and ease his way through those few games in January. He's got his swagger back, and it's rubbing off on Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. We've talked much about Barnes here lately, so you can just scroll on down for our thoughts on him, but he just continues to play better than we were hoping, faster than we were hoping (minus that foul-out game vs. Denver). Then Klay Thompson hasn't quite taken that big leap we were hoping for from year 1 to 2 yet, but I think it's only a matter of time. Thompson averaged just 8.2 ppg over a four game stretch leading up to his last two, in which he's gone off with a 23 point night vs. Brooklyn, then a 16-point effort in the loss vs. the Nuggets. Thompson needs to go to the rim more (he's better at it than he shows) and it'll create more FT opportunity and open looks for teammates. He could average 17 PPG and 5 APG easy with his skill-set. Right now everyone seems to be doing their job. Just would like to see some better shooting out of KT and better decisions from Curry (shot selection).

As for the other rookie, Draymond Green, I'll just say this; Green's particular stat sheet doesn't stand out, but the Warriors aren't 7-6 through 13 games without their rookies. Barnes had has had some huge contributions as the starting small forward. Ezieli has filled in admirably (for a rook) for Bogut vs. some of the better big men in the league. As for Green, he's held his own playing both the 3 and 4 spots on occasion and is showing to be a consistent rebounder. His shot should come., but until then, the W's should be looking at wing players to maybe replace Brandon Rush as snipers off the bench for quick scoring. One name that comes to mind is Michael Redd. Not sure of his health, but the 32 year-old finished off nicely in Phoenix last season and could be used for points.

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