The Warriors are not in the playoff race. What is there left to talk about? Rookies? Mark Jackson? Joe Lacob receiving a barrage of boos during Chris Mullin’s jersey retiring ceremony? The aforementioned items qualify as “news” but do they have anything to do with where the Warriors ought to or want to be right now?
Rookies: With Stephen Curry nursing his ankle, Charles Jenkins went off for 27 points against the Blazers last night. Jenkins was a 2 time CAA player of the year while playing for Hofstra University inLong Island and scored over 2,500 points in his college career. In Golden State, his best case scenario is becoming Stephen Curry’s main back-up. He’s not a spot shooter, he’s a playmaker that gets to the tin but could never vault himself into the starting lineup. He’s not big enough to play the 2 spot against bigger guards like Wes Matthews,Kobe, and Eric Gordon. He’ll get dominated in the post. Let’s call last night an anomaly and a hot hand situation until he does it again. Excuse my cynicism but consistency is key to minutes and success. He’s also playing behind a wildly inconsistent Nate Robinson. What does that tell you?
Klay Thompson was touted as NBA ready prior to the 2011 draft. He is the son of Mychal Thompson, a former Lakers and Blazers player, his mother played volleyball at a high level, his brother Trayce was drafted into the MLB in 2009, and his other brother Mychel has been on and off the Cavs roster this year.
The aforementioned info isn’t a result of quickly glancing at Wikipedia. I highlighted Klay’s potential in this space last year after he was drafted. Klay’s current disposition puts him just where I pegged him. Brandon Roy Lite. A sub-par defender due to limited lateral speed, a natural shooter, and absent the marijuana ticket before entering the NBA, a stand-up guy.
What do we do with that? We trade Monta and build around Klay, Curry, Lee (Nobody will take his contract), Bogut, and a solid role player/sixth man like Brandon Rush. Why? Because Klay is big enough to play the SG spot against all guards unlike Monta. I never bought into Dorell Wright’s “breakout” year last year since it occurred in his 7th NBA season and now he’s back to his expected production. For any football fans, Brandon Lloyd is a perfect parallel. He topped 1,400 yards in 2010 in his 8th NFL season despite never breaking 1,000 yards in a season prior to that. In 2011, he totaled less than 900 yards.
Jeremy Tyler has been called raw so many times that I’m convinced a sushi joint is going to be named after him in the Bay Area anytime now. Mark Jackson has been giving him a longer look since the Warriors secretly mailed in the season. He left high school a year early to play in Israel’s Super League but left for personal reasons after averaging 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 temper tantrums per game. He returned to the states only to ship out again to play for the Tokyo Apache for a season until the infamous Tsunami hit. I highlighted Jeremy’s decision to leave school early and his adventures overseas in this space if you’re interested.
Joe Lacob: Who cares? Okay, okay, for those that do care. He bought the Warriors in 2010 with Peter Gruber. He is responsible for the astronomical contract for David Lee and using the amnesty clause on Charlie Bell instead of Andris Biedrins. I like the idea of signing David Lee long term but not as a piece to build around and limit future contracts. His animal-like energy is contagious and he fits the mold as a great passer out of the post to hit sharp shooters like Klay Thompson and Steph Curry.
After it was clear that Andris Biedrins was turning in another injury riddled and disappointing season, something had to be done. Lacob had a chance to get closer to Warriors’ fans hearts if he just sat down when they started to boo. It’s hard to blame for trying to talk over the booing fans during Chris Mullin’s ceremony but I’m sure he realizes that now. Do you like it when someone talks over you, especially when you’re pissed off? For being a successful business man, which I assume requires some intuition, he should understand how the masses function. Oh well. Everyday is full of news stories and that moment will be long forgotten especially if his plan to set up a traditional roster starts piling up wins next year. Fans flip flop so easily and he’ll win their hearts back.
Mark Jackson: Who the hell knows. He has zero coaching experience and has seemingly been toying with the minutes of each player all year, which started with benching Monta and Curry in a close game early in the year. He gave Richard Jefferson 30 + minutes just days after signing him and did the same for Nate Robinson. We know what Jefferson is made of. The silver lining is that he played in the NBA and understands the culture at the very least. I won’t pretend to know what goes on in the front office but I have a feeling Mark Jackson wanted a traditional roster. It’s familiar territory and like the one he played on with the Knicks with Patrick Ewing manning the paint. Mark hasn’t been in enough situations to be judged yet. There’s a learning curve and Mark is stuck right in the middle of it.
If we take a look at the emergence of point guards in the NBA as opposed to true centers, point guards have been popping up everywhere. The only true centers that are still effective are Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby & Sammy D (before they got old), Serge Ibaka, and, oh ya, Andrew Bogut (when he’s not tripping over his left foot).
I am optimistic and you should be too. Most of those true centers are on successful teams in the playoff hunt and are even contending for a title. For now, just let Joe Lacob know that he sucks because that’s what sports fans do.
About the Author
Written by Chris Mosca
Basketball lover for years. I blog for the Golden State Warriors. I am happy to serve the fans with my reports and insights. Follow me on twitter, @cwmosca