The Golden State Warriors are playing about like I would’ve guessed they’d be playing once injuries, freaky losses and nights when the 3-ball wouldn’t fall started to add up. This isn’t a spot where you’ll read a disgusted review of how a championship-caliber team floundered.
There’s nothing Golden State can do to improve the club significantly before the trade deadline. They’ll have to do what they did late last year and fight their way down the stretch in hopes they can get one of the final three Western Conference playoffs spots. After years of miserable Warriors’ teams, another playoff race is quite appealing.
Still, sitting watching the Warriors trying desperately to hold off the Sacramento Kings, thoughts worth sharing about the Golden State organization come to mine:
- Draymond Green actually makes Harrison Barnes a talented, younger player the Warriors could trade in exchange for real value. I wrote at the beginning of last year that Barnes had amazing skill, but would never be an NBA star. We’ve seen his talent and we’ve seen him disappear and contribute nothing. Green’s a tough guy who can defend four or five positions. His energy is infectious and could easily be reigned in a bit to cut down on turnovers. I think that Green inheriting Barnes’ minutes would help the team — even if it hurt the Warriors’ marketing plan.
- I hope that Kent Bazemore’s happy-go-lucky photo bombing of my daughter’s group Vocal Rush, the Oakland School for the Art’s national champion acappella group, didn’t precipitate his trade to the Lakers. ‘The group was posing for a photo at mid-court after rehearsal and…the result is Bazemore being Bazemore show above. They went on to crush the national anthem.
- Remember last summer when the Warriors were close to making a deal to acquire center Dwight Howard? At one point it appeared they were willing to trade Barnes and Andrew Bogut in a sign-and-trade to get Howard. Golden State fans, coming off that fantastic postseason, smirked that the Warriors didn’t need a loser like Howard. Seemed to me like grabbing the best center in the game, a great defender and shot blocker, was a grand idea. Bogut’s injured. The Rockets, led by Howard, are presently the third seed in the Western Conference. Anybody want to admit that Howard in the middle would look great right now in Oakland?
- Mark Jackson didn’t forget how to coach. Nothing in the media bothers me as much as suddenly hearing or reading that a guy who coached a team brilliantly during a surprisingly good season was on the hot seat. (What IS a hot seat, anyway?) Jackson just doesn’t have guard Jarrett Jack and forward Carl Landry coming off his bench. Calling on Marreese Speights and Jordan Crawford instead is the actual problem. And, Jackson’s not using Stephen Curry too much. He’s the superstar. The Man. If he can’t carry the team with heavy minutes, the Warriors need to find a guy who can.
- At some point, it would’ve been nice to hear Jim Barnett to analysis on national TV games. Doing the Warriors, he makes a great inside-basketball point and then pulls his punch because he likes the guys on the team. He’s retiring at the end of this year, but it would’ve been nice to hear him share his incredible knowledge of the game without being employed by the team he was analyzing.
- Speights and Crawford shoot too much.
- Barnes might have to get more minutes as a stretch 4 (power forward), where he played brilliantly in the playoffs. That would put four scorers who can get to the hoop and shoot from the perimeter on the court with one big man. Barnes can defend a bigger man, as can Green. Playing small might save Golden State again.
- It’s possible that Klay Thompson is who Klay Thompson will always be. He might not be the consistent slasher, 3-point gunner who plays shutdown defense every night. I don’t quite understand why Warriors fans are upset that Thompson doesn’t play at the level of a true NBA star every night.
- Nothing but good news has come out of the Warriors’ organization for a couple of seasons, but hearing owner Joe Lacob popping off about the team under-achieving causes grave concern. Nothing ruins an improving franchise more quickly than a know-nothing owner thinks his millions make him a basketball expert.