Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Warriors Are NOT Better Off Without Bogut

With the way the Warriors started their season and kept their stronghold on 2nd place in the Pacific Division without having their star center present for most of it, many started wondering whether or not the team needed Bogut.

Since Bogut made his return at the end of January, he's been in and out of the lineup, and the Warriors are an even 4-4 with him out there since his return. Essentially, they've played .500 ball with Bogut in the lineup, and they sit 10 games above .500 as of now, so I can see where the question comes into play. However, there is absolutely no doubt that this is a much better team with a healthy Andrew Bogut out on the floor. Heck, even a 75% Bogut, which is about where he had been playing before this new back injury came up. I mean, Carl Landry has been a nice scoring option, but let's face it, he just can't handle the big centers in this league on the defensive end as he's really a power forward. Bogut showed that he was starting to work his way back into game shape a bit before the back spasms hit, so hopefully they turn out to be minor and he's back on the court in a week or two. He played just shy of 30 minutes in his last game, and although he didn't light it up offensively (7 points), he showed exactly what the Warriors need, and that's rebounding (11) and defense (3 blocks, 2 steals) while also creating for others (5 assists). You put those numbers with his typical 12-15 points he'll give you when he's right and there's no question this team is better with Bogut.

That being said, the 'Dubs have looked a bit out of sync at times with the 7-foot Aussie on the court, and the reason being is simple. He's hardly had any time to mesh with this team whatsoever. He had virtually no preseason, and missed all that time to start the year, so it's like this is the real start of the year for him. Until his back returns to full strength though, it looks like Mark Jackson will be rolling with the forgotten one, Andris Biedrins, as the starter at center. Festus Ezeli has started seeing less and less time and apparently Biedrins has been stepping it up at practice, so he'll be the first guy out there, at least on this road trip. It's still going to come down to Carl Landry and David Lee kind of sharing the duties, but it would help ease the load if Andris can give them 20 quality minutes. This is the exact reason why I really wanted to see the Warriors bring in another veteran big man before the deadline. With Bogut always a question mark health-wise, they should have been in on another defensive minded big-man to take some of these minutes being forced on Biedrins and Ezeli.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Warriors' Trade Deadline Analysis

Well, the NBA trade deadline came and went this week, and it ended up going down as one of the most uneventful deadlines in recent memory.

The Warriors did manage to make a few cost-cutting minor trades, finding new homes for Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins. They didn't, however, manage to get some help in the front-court which is where I would have liked to see them improve. They never really found a suitable replacement for Brandon Rush after he went down, and I can only imagine how better this team would be looking right now with him getting some of the minutes at the 3 spot. I mean, Harrison Barnes looks like a bright young rookie with big upside, and Draymond Green is a gamer, but those are young, green basketball players your going to be asking to carry big minutes down the stretch in the hunt for a playoff spot. Now I'm not exactly sure who was available that would have maybe fit that mold, but a few names that I was monitoring were Denver's Wilson Chandler or Cleveland's C.J. Miles. I was actually one of the ones who would have been for a deal for Rudy Gay had the Warriors and Grizzlies been able to work something out just because the 'Dubs looked poised to make at least a semi-serious run this year. I like Barnes, but you give me a Curry-Thompson-Gay-Lee-Bogut starting five and I'll take it any day!

Throughout all talk, the one move that was discussed the most regarding the Warriors, and one that was starting to gain some steam apparently was a potential Klay Thompson-Eric Gordon swap. Now, I know they sort of struck out on the Andrew Bogut deal thus far, and it would have been a huge, huge risk dealing away another young budding player for an injury-plauged potential superstar, but Eric Gordon has some kind of talent when he's on. True, had the deal been made, it would have given the Warriors another smallish back-court like when they had Ellis and Curry together, but Gordon's game would have fit much smoother with Curry's than Ellis' did. I think a big reason why the 'Dubs were considering dealing a younger, cheaper scorer like Thompson is because he and Curry really do much of the same thing for you. They both like to live on the perimeter and don't really create going to the hoop. Curry has gotten better at it, but Thompson is more one-dimensional on offense. Gordon would have given the Warriors another guy who's quick with the ball and can not only go to the hoop, but shoot the lights out when he's on. I really like Eric Gordon and would have been intrigued to see him and Steph together, but I certainly see the W's logic on passing with Gordon's injury past.

Also, for all you NCAA Hoops enthusiasts, we all know that March Madness is setting to heat up and is just around the corner. We'll be doing a lot of the Madness coverage over at our partner site, The Bay Area Sports Journal, but we figured we'd give you guys the heads up. Early on, it's tough to pick against Indiana, but if your looking to do any wagering on the games, be sure to check out Sports Lynx Betting Service!

Friday, February 15, 2013

WRD 2013 All-Star Picks

All-Star weekend couldn't have come at a better time for the Golden State Warriors, who started off the season on a tear, but have hit a bit of a road block here in February, losing 5 straight and causing some to wonder whether their first half was a mirage.

So, since we'll be doing a first half review as well as a look towards the second half in our next post, I wanted to use today's post to put together a list of the players that should have composed both the East and West rosters in the upcoming All-Star game.

Eastern Conference

Starters: 
PG Kyrie Irving, Cle. (Simply having best season of any PG from East)
SG Dwayne Wade, Mia. (May be last year as East's top 2-guard with Paul George on the rise)
SF LeBron James, Mia. ( At 27/8/7 per night, playing as well as he's played in his career)
PF Carmelo Anthony, NY (He's led NY's turnaround, and is a serious MVP candidate)
C Brook Lopez, Bkn. (Leading EC centers in scoring, and has become legit defender)

Reserves:
G/F Paul George, Ind. (17.6 points, 8 boards and 4 assists per night)
F/C Chris Bosh, Mia. (17.7 ppg/7.4 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 55% FG)
PG Jrue Holliday, Phi. (19/4/9, 1.5 spg)
SF Paul Pierce, Bos. (18.5/6.5/4.5
F/C Al Horford, Atl. (16/10/3, 54% FG)
G Brandon Jennings, Mil. (18.5 ppg, 6.5 apg, 2 spg)
F Josh Smith, ATL (17.4/8.6/4.1, 2 bpg)

Western Conference

Starters: 
PG Steph Curry, GSW (I'll take his scoring over CP3's assists in an AS game any day)
SG James Harden, Hou. (I like Kobe, but Harden has played the best 2-guard in the league)
SF Kevin Durrant, OKC (Leading league in scoring, probably first half's MVP)
PF LeMarcus Aldridge, Por. (Underrated star, having best year of any western PF)
C Dwight Howard, LA (I know his FT% is rancid, but he's still the premiere man in the middle)

Reserves: 
PG Chris Paul, LAC (Despite me picking Curry, Paul is still the West's all-around top PG)
SG Kobe Bryant, LAL (LA's struggling, but #24 is still at the top of his game) 
F/C Tim Duncan, SA (Minute-for-Minute, there still aren't many big men better)
PG Russell Westbrook, OKC (22 ppg, 8 apg and still not even close to his max potential) 
F David Lee, GS (Carried the W's front-court to a strong in 1st half w/o Bogut)
F/C Blake Griffin, LAC (One of the most explosive front-court guys in the NBA)
SF Danillo Galinari*, Den (Not quite Dirk Jr., but many similar skill-sets)
*Gallinari may be un-available do to illness

These lists were compiled by taking into account a players overall value from scoring and shooting percentage to blocks, steals and turnovers. These are the guys who have been playing the best basketball in both conferences, and we did not look once at the actual list of all-stars when creating this post. For example, Steph Curry didn't even make the team, but when comparing his overall numbers to those of Chris Paul's, he's edged out Paul in every category except assists and field goal percentage. Another thing about the All-Star game is the roster size. I'd like to see that number of reserves go from 7 up to 10 in order to get a couple more guys onto the roster as there are always about 4-5 guys who were plenty deserving that get left off (Curry this year is a prime example of just that)

Anyway, as a Warrior enthusiast, I am glad we finally got one in after all these years, as David Lee got the nod as one of the West's reserves. And as always, fell free to leave your feedback, snubs or even your lists if you'd like in our comments section.