Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Warriors Blown Out in First of Five Game Roadie

There's no doubt that the Indiana Pacers are the superior team over Golden State, especially with the Warriors again without Steph Curry, but they looked like an NCAA team going up against an NBA team vs. the Pacers for much of the night Tuesday in Indy. And they better get their act together and soon cause they have 4 more road games in the next 7 days, after which I think we'll have a much clearer idea of where the Warriors stand with the trade deadline looming.

Now, there isn't a whole lot to say, because the Warriors are playing the way they do so often when they lose games. They're turning the ball over, allowing easy shots and aren't getting off good ones on their offensive end. Those weren't the only reason they lost this game, though each of those reasons played a big role. But it was the lack of rebounding, especially offensively, that put them behind the 8-ball early and by a large margin. I think Roy Hibbert had 9 boards in the first quarter alone or something stupid like that. Once again, Andris Biedrins was just dead weight out on the court for his 10 minutes or whatever he's gotten. Udoh has been OK, but even he's had a tough time with David West and Hibbert. The game is still finishing up while I'm posting this so Biedrins could re-surface for some garbage time, but this is the exact time the Warriors should be playing Thompson and Udoh! There's a quarter of play left, and I'd love to see the Warriors go at them with Jenkins and Thompson as the guards with Wright, Udoh and Jeremy Tyler on the front line. Again, Tyler mush have done something to get in Mark Jackson's dog house because he's one of the few guys they have over 6'10" tall and is a young kid with some big upside? Why not throw him into the mix? Especially in a game when your getting blown out by 30 points in the 3rd quarter.

There's two things that really suck about what's going on right now, I mean, besides the fact that this team isn't a playoff team, but also is likely looking at next July's draft minus their first rounder. Speaking of which, there are some guys in that lottery that could likely come in and impact the Warriors front-court like Andre Drummond and Anthony Davis. But besides those facts, the two things I'm talking about is Steph Curry's annoying injury issues that are going to haunt him the wrest of this season. It's almost to the point where it may be wise for the Warriors, if they're planning on keeping Curry long-term and not including him in a deal, just sitting him the rest of this shortened season! I mean, even when he does come back from his latest foot sprain, you know it'll only be a matter of time before he re-aggravates it, and not only that but it's obviously impacted his play in a negative way. He can still knock down the shots and bring the ball up the floor but has no burst, and his signature quickness, which helps him get by with that frail body, is just not there. Let the kid take the rest of the year and heal, like the Hornets appear to be doing with Eric Gordon.

It goes hand in hand with the second part that is irritating me as a W's fan. And that is the stubborn front-office that seems close minded to trading away veterans that could potentially bring them back young pieces or even maybe a late first rounder. I mean, unless they dealt away Ellis and Curry and didn't get anything in return, this Warriors fan-base is there, huge and will not waver, regardless of the team's record or how they finish this weird, shortened season. Brandon Rush seems like the guy with the most value, do to fact that he's one of the best scoring-per-minute players in the NBA, and the top 3 point shooter. I'd try and package those two to the Lakers and try and pry their first rounder away from them. I know it'll likely be pick 23-27, it still gives them a first rounder and one of the big guys that could help them may end up falling, you never know!

Final Score: Indiana 102, Golden State 78

The one bright spot I saw at the end of the game though, as Jackson finally played the youngsters, was the return and play of Chris Wright. The uber-athletic rookie forward played 12 minutes and filled up the stat sheet for the best night of his brief career. He scored 9 points with 8 boards and 4 blocks and a steal in those 12 minutes and didn't turn the ball over a single time. That's some production, and I don't care if it was against Indy's 2nd unit either, and may catapult him ahead of Dominic McGuire on the depth chart, though he's got to do it for another few games to show consistency... Also, got word that Jeremy Tyler won't be an option for the Warriors any time soon as he was just assigned to the to the D-League. Hopefully he tears it up like Wright did and get's his shot in a few weeks once the Warriors are pretty much out of it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Warriors Cast: "The Warriors Rundown"

Hey guys, with the All-Star break upon us, I thought I'd mix things up a little today at the Rundown, and post our first ever Warriors Rundown Video Cast! WRD creator, editor and webmaster, Trevor Cole, has been with UnifySports.Tv for almost a year now and is the sole contributor, producer and voice of his shows there. It's a brief segment-like video, but talks about the Warriors first half, and what needs to be done in the 2nd half if they want to contend! Hope you guys enjoy, as we'll be posting more and more of these over time here at the site:

Click on speaker button for sound (office friendly)!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Warriors Head Into the Break, 3 Games Out

Well, as bad as the Warriors looked there for much of January, they managed to turn things around a bit in February, and are surprisingly withing striking distance of the 8th seed in the Western Conference playoff tree.

The latest big win came on a Monta Ellis game-winner over Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns, who themselves had been finding their groove, to give the Dubs the victory, 106-104. Ellis has had a few up and down games during February, but all-in-all, he's shown up every single game, whether it's as a creator, a scorer or just providing energy when the team needs it the most, the guy continues to show why he is the true leader of this squad. Perhaps the most intriguing breakthrough in these last few games though has been the play of Ekpe Udoh, who is finally looking like a top-10 pick. Udoh got his first career start vs. the Clippers and Lob-City, and helped keep them at bay as the W's pulled out that win. All Udoh did in the game was score a career high 19 points, add 8 boards, 2 blocks and an assist on 9-14 shooting. It's an element that nobody knew Udoh really had, as his peak had previously been in the 8-10 point range and he wasn't a dominant scorer in college. However, he did follow up Monday's performance with a forgettable affair in the Suns game, but he too has now been bitten by the injury bug. He's got a banged up wrist and knee which he hurt Monday but really aggravated Wednesday, so hopefully this all-star break gives the kid enough rest to heal that up.

Another aspect that Udoh's semi-breakout has provided is a major increase in his trade value. I also found it kind of funny that he completely outplayed a guy the W's were about to break the bank on in DeAndre Jordan. If teams see he's got the ability to score double digits with that defense and rebounding, he's going to be a sought after asset. Which brings me back to my originally wanted big-man, JaVale McGee. Washington is in one of the worst situations in the NBA right now, and seem to have 5 players on 5 different pages out there on the floor. They have this pure shooter in Nick Young, who knows nothing but catch and shoot the ball. They drafted Chris Singleton, who I do like but I'm surprised that, in a lost season, they aren't starting him at SF. But other than that, they are paper thin and need to be broken up to get some new blood in there. McGee continues to clash with Washington coaches, which has the big man playing roughly 25 minutes per night, despite him being one of the best young centers in the NBA and needing all the PT he can handle. It's becoming quite obvious the W's aren't going to finish in that bottom-7, especially if they keep winning, or even if they have a 2nd half like their first, they'd end up more towards the middle of the pack than the bottom. There's a way to go for it this year while still helping the future of your team and that's committing to McGee. He's going to be a restricted FA after the season, but it's hard to believe Washington will want him back after all this drama. However, as I said, 7-footers who score, defend and rebound at elite levels don't grow on trees, so they won't just let him go for free.

Now is the time the Warriors should make the move. Give them Klay Thompson and Epke Udoh and take back McGee. This works for a number of reasons. A) The Warriors look like they have their guard situation locked up, especially with Rush and Robinson in rotation now (unless they figure Curry is too fragile to count on and may want to deal him eventually). B) If the W's got McGee, they could offer him 10% more than any other team this summer under the new CBA, urging star free agents to stay in town. C) Give the W's a useful center with Steph, Monta and Lee and it's a legit team! I mean, I like Thompson, and I think he's going to be a good player, better than I thought after they drafted him, and I'm growing on Udoh, but this deal is a no-brainer for both teams if you ask me! Washington could immediately insert Udoh into their center spot until Blatche comes back, at which they could move him to his more comfortable PF spot. Also, Washington would be getting a shooter who actually makes his shots, unlike their current SG, or they could play Thompson at SF with Singleton for the offense/defense combo! Will it happen, no way, but it sure does make some sense on the surface of things as McGee makes the W's a playoff team and Udoh and Thompson give the Wiz their two top-10 picks of the last two drafts.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

WRD Interview with "The Phil Naessans Show"


Trevor Cole of The Warriors Rundown recently sat down for an interview with Phil Naessans' cool sports show recorded out of Greece. Because of the long-distance interview, it was done via Skype and the connection was rough on my end as I was on speaker on a tablet instead of headphones on a PC. Also, you'll notice there was a ton of background noise where I was for the interview which was interfered with the noise a bit, but all in all it was a really good interview and I thought it'd be something Rundown readers would like to listen to. It's a ton on Warriors, obviously, and the team's direction, as well as Steph Curry and Monta Ellis' future, but also some general NBA stuff like championship predictions as well as Trevor's take on the NBA's current top-5 players. Be sure to take a listen and just click the the link below to do so:

http://phillyflash.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/golden-state-warriors-basketball.mp3

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Six Moves Contending Teams Should Consider

Now, I had planned for a few days to do a Trade Deadline post involving a few key moves I think could reshape the face of the league. However, the Warriors also happen to be playing their best basketball of the season right now, and because of it, I'll now have to add a trade scenario outside the six I had planned, should the W's ponder whether or not they're serious about contending in 2012. Anyway, here we go.

Move #1: Dwight Howard out of Orlando: Now, wherever he ends up, that team obviously becomes a contender automatically, but there are a number of teams he could end up with and he may very well stay put in Orlando. This is why I say this is the number one move as far shaping contending teams' rosters down the stretch. With a Howard, a healthy JRich, Anderson having the year he's having and Jameer Nelson continues his February comeback, then Orlando's legit. Again though, unless they deal Howard to some team for a draft pick and a project youngster like, say a DeAndre Jordan for example, then they should be able to attain enogh in return to keep them contenders in the East. There best bet was the Howard for Bynum deal, I mean, the general consensus is Bynum is center #2 in the NBA, younger and cheaper than Howard? He'd give them someone to really build around who they know wouldn't be asking out in a year or two. Or, if he goes to Jersey and Orlando can milk MarShon Brooks and Brook "BroLo" Lopez out of the deal, then I think they end up fine there as well. He'll be the most watched player as the deadline approaches.

Deal #2: Steve Nash or Ramon Sessions to LA Lakers- The Lake show need a point guard that wasn't playing in the 1980's (no offense D-Fish, you've had your time), but seriously, how they expect to keep winning and keep Kobe fresh with him orchestrating the offense is asking for trouble. They've been focusing on Howard, but they have two twin-towers in Gasol and Bynum and don't need Howard! They need a ball handler and a guy who can hit a 3. Nash would be ideal, cause of his outside shot and he'd be a monster with Bynum and Gasol. Just not sure the Lake Show have anything Phoenix would want (they wouldn't give them Bynum or Gasol for 38 year-old Nash) so it may make more sense for LA to see a deal for the highly underrated Ramon Sessions. His assists-per-minute ratio are out of this world. He's not the defender, clutch shooter or winner Nash has been, but he'd fit perfectly with what the Lakers are need! A young/upside guy like Andre Goudelock and/or Josh McRoberts should be plenty enough for Cleveland, especially since they'd get nothing when Sessions walks as a free agent after the year and there aren't many teams rushing for his services!

Deal #3: JR Smith to Clippers - As I write this, Smith is reportedly close to signing with the Knicks, who for some reason, feel they need more guys who demand the ball and need 10+ shots per game. If things fall through in NY though, LA should be the destination of choice for Smith and I'm not talking about playing behind Kobe with the Lake Show. I'm talking about playing alongside CP3 in the Clippers backcourt. The Clippers need a new shooter now that Chauncey Billups has bitten the dust for the rest of the year, and JR Smith is the type of scorer that they really need. As of now, the only real outside threat they have is Caron Butler. CP is a good 3 point shooter, but not great by any stretch and Smith is a very good one. His game would fit in perfectly down there in Clipper land with K-Mart, who the team just signed out of Japan. If Smith is smart, wants PT and a chance to not only put up big numbers but win a tittle, he'd look at the LA Clippers (or even the Bulls), not the Knicks!

Deal #4: Chris Kaman to the Heat: Miami got exposed last year in the finals going against Tyson Chandler and they can't have that happen again. They need someone in the middle who can start and command respect and unfortunately, Joel Anthony just isn't that guy yet. Kaman is the best option with a contract expiring at the end of the year and could give the Heat exactly what they need, 12-14 points and 10 boards with blocks and the ability to defend 7-footers. Right now, you put Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard or Al Jefferson up against them, and those guys have field days. They need one of their own, not a superstar or anything, but someone why can do a little of that and stop it as well and Kaman seems to be the most logical choice of centers on the market and a move like that could literally lock up the Championship for Miami, cause that's their only weakness right now. Joel Anthony is a great backup and plays with energy, but doesn't have the skill-set to play with the upper echelon of NBA Centers. Drew Gooden could become another guy who fits that mold if the Bucks decide they want to cash in on his torrid stretch (though he's now banged up and out through the break).

Deal #5: Paul Pierce to the Spurs: The dagger-thrower deserves another shot at a tittle, and fits picture perfectly in with the aging San Antonio Spurs. Boston has made no bones about the fact they want to deal Pierce, but that's probably only because he'll bring a lot more in return than either Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen. Why else would you want to deal your franchise's longest tenured star? If they do indeed send him off, San Antonio is the spot for him. The Spurs could package either DeJuan Blair or Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal and the young, impressive Kawhi Leonard to Boston; though it would be a blow to their future chances, it gives them another shot at a tittle run or two with Tim Duncan and the Italian assassin, Manu Ginobli, still playing at a sturdy levels. Richard Jefferson just isn't getting it done and they need more help from the wing spot than just the banged up Ginobli. Ray Allen is another guy who makes sense for this team.

Deal #6: Ray Allen to the Bulls: I was only going to do five, but after doing the Pierce piece, I thought, why not Ray Allen? The Bulls are looking for another veteran scoring guard and have been less than impressed with what they've gotten out of the often injured Rip Hamilton. Ray Allen would be a sniper, catching balls off of Derrick Rose's dribble-drive or Boozer and Noah's kick-outs. Exactly the kind of 3-point tosser this team needs. They should have made a larger offer to Jason Richardson before the season, as JRich recently conceded that his final two choices came down to Chicago or returning to Orlando. JRich in Chicago right now with that core of talent would have been a nice fit. Ray Allen though, is the perfect compliment to a young, athletic, good defensive squad!

Warriors Trade: [Andris Biedrins, Dorrell Wright to Milwaukee for Drew Gooden, Stephen Jackson]. That deal would be sending Andris Biedrins and Dorrell Wright (a borderline all-star in 2011) to Milwaukee in exchange for Drew Gooden (who barely could get signed before the season) and Stephen Jackson (who's trade value is basically nill because of his large contract. That's why the W's and the Bucks make some sense together, they have bad contracts that could even out and needs that could be met for each team. SJax has had a nightmare of a season under Paul Silas in Millwaukee and without Andrew Bogut, this team seems to be packing it in for next season (playing guys like Shaun Livingston and Luc Mbah Mate over Stack and Dunleavy, among others). Drew Gooden talked on KNBR before the season (being an Oakland native) how he upped his workout routine this offseason, and he's having a monster year and was before Bogut even went down. I mean, I'm all for going the young route and playing the youngsters. It's something I want the Warriors to do with Udoh and Thompson, but if they aren't ready to give up on 2012 yet, and I cannot see coach Jackson sitting guys like Biedrins or Wright, so Udoh and Thompson won't get their looks. As far as Stephen Jackson's deal is concerned, it would help offset Biedrins' remaining contract, so it wouldn't be much of a change for either team and the Bucks would get Wright (who they'd immediately insert into their starting SF spot and would be their 2nd best offensive player behind Brandon Jennings). Also, with the change of scenery and backing up Bogut, maybe Biedrins gets back to that double-double form he had when the Warriors gave him the extension. He's only 26 years old after all.

Just a "win-win" deal for both squads if you ask me, especially considering the W's may end up really needing a guy like Drew Gooden come next year if they don't draft and can't land a free center.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Warriors Seesaw Season Continues

The Warriors have pulled off a string of three straight wins that has improved their record to 11-14 and placed them just 2.5 games back of the 8th seeded Trail Blazers. Problem is, they've been here many times, right on the brink of relevancy again, only to go on a terrible losing streak or loose a Steph Curry to injury as it's just been the team's luck.

For Warriors fans sake, hopefully the luck is actually finally turning a big in the Bay Area. Amongst this 3-game win streak, the Warriors have knocked off two playoff teams then took care of an improving Suns team. Question is, what does all of this mean? Just a week ago, 90% of Warrior fans were saying "tank the season, get a top-5 pick", but could the tune be changing all of the sudden? I mean, with the way they're playing now, and with their luck, they probably won't wind up with a first rounder this season, just because it's the Warriors people, nothings gone their way since they beat Dallas in that epic playoff series back in '07. However, they are playing legit basketball right now and beating teams with defense. And this brings me to my next point and really the main point of my post today. That is, if Mark Jackson is truly preaching defense, why on earth does he keep trotting Andris Biedrins out to start games rather than trying Ekpe Udoh out and giving him some bigger minutes? Niether are offensive juggernauts, but at least Udoh can run, gives some hustle and plays some defense plus his offensive game is starting to show up a bit. I didn't think he had double double potential in him, just because offensive limitations, but he's had some nice passes and scoring plays in the last few wins and has averaged 8 points (double his season avg). Now, I don't expect MJ (Coach Jackson's new nickname here at the WRD, at least mine for him) to change anything up in the midst of a winning streak, but he's got to seriously consider some lineup changes going forward, winning or not.

Besides starting Udoh at center, I'd like to see Klay Thompson, if not starting at the small forward, then getting at least as many minutes there as Dorrell Wright. I'll always admit I wanted the Warriors to go a different route in the draft instead of Thompson, but I must say, this kid is starting to wear on me. He reminds me of a jumbo version of Steph Curry kind of, with that incredible quick-release jumper that almost looks like he's just pushing it at the rim. In 6 games this February, Thompson's averaged 11 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1 assist and a 75% 3 point shooting percentage in an average of 16 minutes per night! Play this kid MJ, what are you waiting for? I mean, every time he goes in, he makes stuff happen while Dorrell Wright is just taking up space out there right now. Not saying throw Wright to the end of the bench, but give the guy a wake-up call, cause in these last 3 victories, D-Wright's been a factor in only one of them. I also think that, if they are able to somehow swing a deal for a big man and keep winning, Dorrell Wright would have to be a key figure in the trade. One guy I've watched closely lately is Chris Kaman, who will go back to the bench in New Orleans despite being a better player than Emeka Okeafor. Anyway, the Hornets want to deal him, but I know he's got some money coming to him and I'm not sure the Warriors would want to commit to him past this season. Would you do a Wright for Kaman deal? Would Kaman push the Warriors over the top and into the playoffs? I don't know, but I want to see more of Klay Thompson and I'm growing tired of Wright's act and no big man in the middle, so why the heck not?

UP NEXT: Five moves contending teams could make to push them over the top!

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Way to Strategically Tank the Season

Ok, the Warriors are in a rut, there's no question about that. They finally got Stephen Curry healthy but seem to be getting more and more exposed as the season wears on and it's become quite obvious that, based on a pure talent standpoint, there's no mystery as to why this team is 8th worst in the league.
Link
The big issue with the Warriors, as we've picked apart at length here at WRD, is whether or not they should tank and try to get a 7 pick or lower in the lottery, or make a push to try and actually make the playoffs, or at the very least show a winning second half in order to help lure free agents. As much as I wish they were in a position to do so, this team ain't making the playoffs. They're not getting Dwight Howard and they're not going to add any big time talent before the trade deadline. What they should do though, is turn into sellers. Deal away every single player on that roster, not named Ellis or Curry and maybe even them if they're blown away with an offer. As we've harped here at The WRD, the Warriors need changes in a bad way and if they aren't going to get a draft pick this April, they have to free up as much cash as possible to throw at some of the premium talent this summer (another area where not amnestying Biedrins destroys them). The strength of their team, with Steph back, is supposed to be the backcourt offense and play-making ability, but it's just not happening for them right now. It's like the second unit gets in a better rhythm than the first does a lot of the time. So what I'd do in order to better my chances at tanking while not coming out and blatantly saying "We're going to lose for the rest of the season", would be to deal away some of these guys who could help a contender. Brandon Rush should be a hot commodity. Nate Robinson should be able to fetch a decent return and even Dorrell Wright should be dangled in order to garner what his return value may be, especially if they have plans on using Klay Thompson at the 3 spot down the road as early as next season (most likely, unless Monta gets dealt and a guard spot opens). David Lee's contract is one that may force the Warriors to hang onto him, and I'm not opposed to that cause at least he produces, they just need to get someone in the center to help Lee down low, and allow Lee to play PF and not Center all the time. It's something that would not only make Lee better and more versatile especially defensively, not needing to guard someone 4 inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than him on a nightly basis.

So, the strategy I'd implore in attempt to loose as many games as possible while still developing players and giving the fans a good show, is try and deal away as many guys on the roster as possible before the trade deadline. Get young players in return, get draft picks, try like heck to get a first rounder for 2012 because this draft is stocked! I mean, shoot, I'd even consider dealing Curry for a draft pick if it were in the top-5. One team I look at that could use Steph to start their post-CP3 era is the New Orleans Hornets. Jarrett Jack is their current starter at PG, and has done a fine job, but I think they'd like to have him coming off the bench as the 6th man if they had their way (used much like the Warriors use Rush and Thompson). Since loosing Paul then David West, New Orleans has gone from one of the best teams in the West to a laughing stock, and Steph Curry would be a huge get for that team. I'd send Curry, Biedrins and either McGuire or Charles Jenkins to the Hornets for Okeafor and their 2012 first rounder (likely to be a top-3 pick) without blinking twice. Biedrins has become useless, a waste of space on the floor a waste of a roster spot thus far and looks like he badly needs a change of scenery. Okeafor would give the Warriors some sort of stability in the middle and a center who isn't afraid to go to the basket while playing some pretty good defense. It's a deal that I think could benefit both teams in the long run, especially considering the type of talent they could land with a top-2 or 3 pick. I think Anthony Davis is the guy to target, as he's got the size (6'10") and ridiculous athletic ability. Plus coming out of Kentucky, his game mirrors that of a mature version of DeMarcus Cousins, who's game is outstanding. He just needs to add about 25-35 pounds of bulk and muscle, which will come with a little more time at just 19 years old. Just look at this brief footage from a game last month vs. St. Johns and you see the uncanny athletic ability Davis' possesses. He's just a freshman though so he may stick another year, but if he's guaranteed to go top-3 which is looking to be the case, It's tough to see him turning that down.

This draft certainly certainly has no shortage of top-notch talent, including big men as UNC's John Henson (6'10"/215), Ohio States Jared Sullinger (6'10"/280) and UConn's Andre Drummond (7'0''/275) are all expected to go in the lottery. Any of which would help the Warriors immensely, but I really like the Davis kid if they could only find a way to get into that top-3. Also, as far as a pure talent standpoint/best player in the draft vote, I'd lean towards UNC's small forward Harrison Barnes, who some see as the consensus top pick in the draft, yet some pundits see him dropping as low as 7. He reminds me a bit of a mix between Rudy Gay and LeBron James, who are two of the better small forwards in the NBA. He's got James' body-type, size and strength with a lot of the same skill-sets, but also has speed, range and quickness and finesse and control that Rudy possesses and should thrive in one-on-one situations. I think he'll be a guy who comes into the league a starter and provides instant impact to whatever team grabs him (see: Kyrie Irving).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jeremy Lin: Another One That Got Away

Perhaps the biggest name in the NBA over the last couple of days resided at the end of the Warriors' bench for all of 2010/11, and boy does he have them kicking themselves for letting the talented 23 year-old get away.

To their credit, nobody could have foreseen this outburst from Palo Alto's own, 6'3", 200 pound point guard. As one of the Warriors front office members said on KNBR this week, "we liked him, and wanted to keep him but had no idea he had this capability". He also alluded to the fact that the Warriors tried to re-sign him after waiving him, which makes little to no sense whatsoever. I mean, why in the hell would you cut a guy if you have hopes that you'll be able to bring him back when money is not an issue? They had him on their D-League team a lot last season, so it's not like he was using up a rosters spot and could have send him back there again instead of cutting him, which is exactly where New York sent him upon signing him. At the same time and to be fair, the W's aren't the only team that passed on the point guard this offseason. He was cut from the Houston Rockets before the season, then landed with point guard-starved New York for the start of the season and spent much of the first month in the D-League. However, since his insertion into the Knicks starting lineup, they've gone 3-0 while the sophomore has averaged 26 points, 9 assists and 3 rebounds. The one area that Lin hasn't yet polished up, and quite possibly the reason why the Warriors did end up letting him lose, is he's not yet a polished jump-shooter. He's not much of a threat from beyond the arch yet and most of his points and assists come off of dribble penetrations. The Warriors probably figured they were already set at the guard position, so much so that they had two guys in Brandon Rush and Klay Thompson, who were destined for big minutes and just didn't see any room for Lin.

But boy how they were wrong. Had Lin stuck around in a Warriors uni, he would have gotten his shot when Curry went down earlier this year and probably would have taken right off like he has in New York. Now, again, this is all "coulda, woulda, shoulda" talk, but just think what would have happened if he did stay and bust out like that in Steph's absence? I'll tell you what I think. The Warriors would have felt a lot more comfortable trading Steph, along with maybe Udoh and gotten themselves a much needed man in the middle. I know, surprise, surprise, here I am talking about needing another big man again, but if the Warriors had a guy like Lin still on the roster, it would sure as hell make dealing away Steph for that big man a whole lot more logical. I mean, I know Warrior fans may scold me a bit for saying it, but I just don't think Stephen Curry is all that and some like most W's fans believe/want him to be. He's an injury-prone tweener-guard, who isn't strong enough to guard shooting guard and although he looks good running the offense at times, he's a subpar defensive player and has a frail body frame. That said, he's got special talents and he's a pure offensive wizard when he's right. But when he can't drive with authority, like now with that ankle a major problem, then he basically becomes a slowish spot up shooter who can handle and pass a bit. I've never made any bones about it that the guy I'd trade between Monta and Steph would be Steph, and I look more and more right each game.

Friday, February 3, 2012

2012 NBA All-Star Picks: WRD Edition

The NBA all-star lineups have been announced, and although the fans did a fairly decent job of selecting the deserving players, here's the truly deserving starting lineup, based on the performances so far this season, from both a quality and quantity (games played) standpoint. Not just taking offensive stats into account either, we take into account the defense the player has played as well, which may clear up a few of the picks. Here's my pick as to who I would have liked to see start the game, as well as 10 reserves for each team that deserve to make it.

Western Conference All-Star Picks

Lineup:
PG Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City
SG Kobe Bryant LA Lakers
SF Kevin Durrant - Oklahoma City
PF Kevin Love - Minnesota
C LaMarcus Aldridge - Portland

Reserves:
F Danillo Galinari - Denver
C Marc Gasol - Memphis
G Chris Paul - LA Clippers
G Kevin Martin - Houston
C Andrew Bynum - LA Lakers
F/C Pau Gasol - LA Lakers
F Blake Griffin- LA Clippers
G Tony Parker - San Antonio
G Monta Ellis - Golden State
G/F James Harden - Oklahoma City

Eastern Conference All-Star Picks

Lineup:
PG Derrick Rose - Chicago
SG Joe Johnson - Atlanta
SF LeBron James - Miami
PF Chris Bosh - Miami
C Dwight Howard - Orlando

Reserves:
C Greg Monroe - Detroit
G Brandon Jennings - Milwaukee
G/F Andre Iguodala - Philadelphia
F/C Carlos Boozer - Chicago
F/C Ryan Anderson - Orlando
G Deron Williams - New Jersey
F Danny Granger - Indiana
G Kyrie Irving - Cleveland
F Carmelo Anthony - New York
G John Wall - Washington

Judging by how things have gone through the first 6 weeks of the season, these guys are the ones who have been making the most impact, and deserve to be in the all-star game. The only quandary I was thinking about was LeMarcus Aldridge as the starting center for the Western Conference. He splits his time between center and power forward, but I think he's having the best year of any other center eligible player in the Western Conference. If not Aldridge, my second choice would be Bynum, just cause he's probably the most dominant center in the West. In the East, it was kind of tough keeping Melo out of the lineup, just because outside of Kobe and LeBron, he's been one of the top scorers in the NBA, even battling injury issues (take away his bogus 1-point performance vs. Charlotte last week and he'd be right behind Kobe in scoring avg.). The one guy in both starting lineups that may not even go to the game is Joe Johnson, but he's been easily the best all-around 2-guard in the Eastern Conference this year, thanks to Dwayne Wades off-and-on injury battles. Because of those injuries, I don't think Wade even deserves a spot on the Eastern roster, but of course, since he's Dwayne Wade and plays in Miami, he'll be there... As far as Warriors players are concerned, even with Monta's recent struggles, that 30 point breakout game got him right back on track and he's been one of the best scoring/distributing combo guards in the NBA, so hopefully he gets a spot.