Pietrus, Wagner stand out

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:16 am
Pietrus, Wagner stand out
Nelson is impressed by his shooting guards, where there is a glut of talent that includes projected starters Ellis, Richardson

By Geoff Lepper
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

OAKLAND - It's true that the Warriors have 15 players with guaranteed contracts.

It's not true, however, that every one them can play either shooting guard or small forward.

It just seems that way.

Despite cutting loose Devin Brown before the opening of training camp Tuesday, the Warriors are still flush with wing players. In addition to expected starters Monta Ellis and Jason Richardson, there's returning veteran Mickael Pietrus, newcomer Dajuan Wagner and unknown quantity Andre Owens. Throw in point guard Baron Davis, when power forward Mike Dunleavy is initiating the offense.

The situation is made all the more complicated because two of the three players who have stood out in camp so far are Pietrus and Wagner, both of whom have been taking advantage of the injury-related absences of Ellis and Richardson.

Although it would be hard for most fans to imagine Richardson -- unquestionably the team's MVP in 2005-06 -- not getting his customary 35 minutes a game, and with nearly everyone expecting a breakout season from Ellis, Nelson reiterated his stance that, unlike those 15 contracts, playing time is not guaranteed.

"Not as far as I'm concerned," Nelson said. "I'm going to play the best guy the most."

So far, that guy has been Pietrus, who's successfully reined in his need to fire up 3-pointers or picking up charging fouls by recklessly driving the paint against two or three defenders. He's adjusting to life as a role player, serving as the closest thing the Warriors have to a shut-down defender and making smarter forays to the basket.

"He's accepted his role better than I thought," Nelson said. "I'm looking to play him a lot, I think. I need a (natural small forward), and he's a perfect (small forward) for me. We're excited about his progress."

Wagner, meanwhile, has "buried every shot," in Nelson's estimation, hardly a surprise from a guy who once famously dropped 100 points in high school. But he hasn't been merely a one-dimensional player.

"There isn't anything I haven't liked," Nelson said. "He's guarded, he's passed, he's shot, he's done every drill."

Nelson is so confident in Wagner's ability that he's even going to give him a shot at playing some point guard, something the 23-year-old has done only sporadically in his career.

"I see the instincts in practice, because he has made really good passes," Nelson said. "They're not complicated passes, he never gets in trouble, he delivers all of them and that he can run a play or two, that's a good thing. ... He's a small (shooting guard), just like Ellis is a small (shooting guard), and both those guys eventually need to become capable of playing the point if they want to be great players. Otherwise, they'll just be good backups at the best."

Wagner said he would be comfortable running the point in Nelson's simplified offense. Having that ability would obviously help relieve some of the congestion at the other perimeter spots, as would the possibility of playing Pietrus as a power forward, something Nelson said he might consider down the line "if it made any sense."

The question now becomes, how will Wagner and Pietrus look when Ellis -- who participated in his first drills Friday after missing three days with a strained thigh -- and Richardson, still recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, are on the floor with them?

"Sometimes, a guy looks really good, but ... all of a sudden, after the third week, he gets buried by the veterans," Nelson said. "I don't see that happening to Wagner. I don't want to be too high on him, but he's been pretty good so far."

As for the potential battle over minutes? Wagner has an easy answer: "You've just got to keep working hard, and whenever he calls on one of us, you've just got to be ready."

That much is undoubtedly true.

Notes: Friday's first practice started an hour earlier -- at 10 a.m. -- than all the previous sessions so Nelson and a group of friends could get out to the Coliseum in time to catch Game 3 of the A's-Twins playoff series. He was also planning to be at Game 4 today, before the A's finished off the sweep. ... In addition to Ellis, forward Zarko Cabarkapa (sprained right ankle) was also back in action Friday morning. That leaves just Richardson and forward Chris Taft (back surgery, plus an inflammatory condition causing weakness and stiffness in his muscles) still on the sidelines. ... It was hardly a definitive statement, but the groundwork could be in place for making rookie center Patrick O'Bryant an eventual member of the NBA Developmental League's Bakersfield Jam. Nelson said he was "absolutely" amenable to utilizing the NBADL this season and later acknowledged that whereas O'Bryant has plenty of potential, "he's probably too raw to play this year much (at the NBA level)."




Great that both Pietrus and Wagner are doing great but it has to be seen in the real games and when the team is at full strength but it is a good sign what is happening right now
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:28 am
Glad to see Pietrus is doing well in training camp. I just wonder what will happen if he has a good season... are we going to re-sign him for the money he's going to ask for? Or will we look to trade Dun or other player(s) to free up money for him?

migya wrote:It was hardly a definitive statement, but the groundwork could be in place for making rookie center Patrick O'Bryant an eventual member of the NBA Developmental League's Bakersfield Jam. Nelson said he was "absolutely" amenable to utilizing the NBADL this season and later acknowledged that whereas O'Bryant has plenty of potential, "he's probably too raw to play this year much (at the NBA level)."


:shock:

So... we're thinking about sending our top 10 pick to the NBDL?. That's what I call wasting a pick. A top 10 pick has to help right away, even if it's only coming from the bench at specific situations.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:45 am
TMC wrote:Glad to see Pietrus is doing well in training camp. I just wonder what will happen if he has a good season... are we going to re-sign him for the money he's going to ask for? Or will we look to trade Dun or other player(s) to free up money for him?

migya wrote:It was hardly a definitive statement, but the groundwork could be in place for making rookie center Patrick O'Bryant an eventual member of the NBA Developmental League's Bakersfield Jam. Nelson said he was "absolutely" amenable to utilizing the NBADL this season and later acknowledged that whereas O'Bryant has plenty of potential, "he's probably too raw to play this year much (at the NBA level)."


:shock:

So... we're thinking about sending our top 10 pick to the NBDL?. That's what I call wasting a pick. A top 10 pick has to help right away, even if it's only coming from the bench at specific situations.



If Pietrus does real well, Nelson might tell Mullin to keep him and then there will be a real decision that has to be made by Mullin! If dun plays alright, as well as Biedrins and Diogu, with Murphy not being anything special, you might find Murphy being traded to open space for both Diogu and Biedrins. That would allow both dun and Pietrus to stay but it would definately not be an easy decision for Mullin if that does happen.

As far as O'bryant goes, I'd trade the prik right now if that is the plan for him! Better off getting something for a lottery pick!
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:55 am
migya wrote:If Pietrus does real well, Nelson might tell Mullin to keep him and then there will be a real decision that has to be made by Mullin! If dun plays alright, as well as Biedrins and Diogu, with Murphy not being anything special, you might find Murphy being traded to open space for both Diogu and Biedrins. That would allow both dun and Pietrus to stay but it would definately not be an easy decision for Mullin if that does happen.


Yep, it could get interesting if Pietrus plays better than Dun... It' won't be easy to trade Dun if he doesn't perform at PF (he won't) and can't play at sf due to Pietrus locking the starting position.

migya wrote:As far as O'bryant goes, I'd trade the prik right now if that is the plan for him! Better off getting something for a lottery pick!


As much as I'd like to do so, it won't happen. It would mean admitting the mistake of drafting him... and I'm sure he'll get four years (at least, but probably more) to "fulfill that potential".
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:06 am
Really is incredible how a #9 pick gets thought of as not even being good enough to make the 12 man team! Getting a guy like Brewer or Carney probably would have been better, especially now that Nelson has taken over
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:33 am
migya wrote:Really is incredible how a #9 pick gets thought of as not even being good enough to make the 12 man team! Getting a guy like Brewer or Carney probably would have been better, especially now that Nelson has taken over


I saw Carney play two days ago and he seemed completely lost in the court. He's athletic as hell, but doesn't have a clue what to do when the team ain't running.

Although I think Mo Cheeks is the reason for that. All the team looked the same (well, Dalembert played great, but he was the only one). They were expecting an easy win and instead found a good defensive team which knew how to score and work together. The Sixers were completely unprepared for that game. They just threw the players out there to play.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:41 am
Nellie is high on Wagner :!:
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 12:06 pm
nice to see Air France actually progressing. <-------My boy Wagner is impressing which is great, this team should gel well and get some wins.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 4:06 pm
Nice to know that from the two. Monta and Richardson are the projected starters. But we all know Jrich has his spot locked up but for Monta, well it just depends who impresses Nelson more, him or Wagner.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:50 pm
Good to see! We should keep JRich in there at 2 and 3 for as long as he can go and use a rotation of Wagner, Pietrus, and Monta to fill in for him and Baron. Everyone should get plenty of minutes (especially if he plays Pietrus at PF... hahaha).
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:36 pm
all sounds good, except my man Ike seems like the forgotten man
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:43 pm
coltraning wrote:all sounds good, except my man Ike seems like the forgotten man


Definately is a concern because the guy could be real good and make the team so much better
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:01 pm
Pietrus can play in a Don Nelson system. Pietrus is an absolute moron. When he's forced to create for himself (like in a Montgomery coached team), he'll always fail. He needs to be told what to do at all times to be effective. Nelson can give him that role.

Good to see Dajuan Wagner finally playing up to his potential in the NBA!
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:11 pm
#32 wrote:Pietrus can play in a Don Nelson system. Pietrus is an absolute moron. When he's forced to create for himself (like in a Montgomery coached team), he'll always fail. He needs to be told what to do at all times to be effective. Nelson can give him that role.


Yeah, true, but I think most players are like that. They can only do their thing in a specific situation, that usually aren't able to create by themselves.

I mean, can Kile Korver create his own shot?. No. Same with Pietrus, just with a different skillset. That's the norm for most players.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:31 pm
I agree. I just think it's odd that Nelly (a coach who traditionally lets players do their own thing) felt Pietrus was so helpless without a specific role, he carved him out one. I bet you Baron, JRich, Dunleavy, Murph, and Wagner have way more freedome than Pietrus does.
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