Once again back is the incredible ... Ball Don't Lie's NBA previews, outlining offseason moves, projecting win totals, spinning tracks and much, much more. It's a fun, hot mess. Up next, the Golden State Warriors.
2008-09 Record: 29-53, third place in Pacific Division
Head Coach/Beverage: Don Nelson/Coors Light
Key Additions: Stephen Curry(notes), Acie Law(notes), Speedy Claxton(notes), Devean George(notes), Mikki Moore(notes)
Key Losses: Jamal Crawford(notes), Marco Belinelli(notes)
The Golden State Warriors are the worst organization in the NBA.
If I had anything more than a passing knowledge of the NFL and Major League Baseball, I might feel confident to extend the "worst" ranking outside of party lines. Maybe there is a baseball manager or football coach that doesn't enjoy his job, deliberately tries to sabotage his team and is concerned with money over all else. Perhaps that guy is out there. For now, let's just stick with the NBA side.
I don't care if Michael Heisley is broke, Jim Dolan's a joke, Donald Sterling's a skeeve — Chris Cohan is the worst of the bunch. Golden State's track record of perpetual losing seasons more or less speaks for itself, but the heart tends to break a little harder once you factor in the talent that has come through the Bay Area during Cohan's term, and the fan base that has been absolutely taken advantage of. These guys know the game, and they've been forced to endure the pits. For years.
And even when there is some hope, and there is some hope this season, how can you count on Don Nelson? How can you count on a guy who clearly doesn't want to put in the work? Who clearly let the game pass him by years ago? A guy who can't remember when his old Maverick teams made the playoffs, and when they missed, or how the Mavs acquired the players he coached for years?
A man who plays someone 48 minutes in a preseason game. In a 34-point win.
A man who has a track record of [rhymes with "clicking"] around player after player after executive after owner after fan after fan.
A man who sabotages his own team's chances at winning. Go back and look at the box scores from the last few months of 2008-09. Tell me any of them make sense. Tell me he's trying to build a winner. You'd be telling me lies.
And he knows better. He knows exactly what he's doing. I can't begin to understand this man.
And it all gets washed away. Because he's "unorthodox." Because "this is the best possible team for Stephen Curry to play for."
It is? A team with no real GM, no real coach and no real purpose? A team with no consistent play — from rebuilding to rotations to relevance — day in and day out? We're supposed to slough all this off because we like watching Nellie's mismatches or up-tempo ball?
The man's played us. He's absolutely played us.
And this whole organization has let him. Which is why it's the worst.
The Warriors have enough talent to make the playoffs this season. They go legitimately 10 deep with a roster full of malleable young talents that tend to focus offense-first, but can surprise with some defensive tenacity.
Saving everyone's bacon is the shot-swatting duo of Andris Biedrins(notes) and Ronny Turiaf(notes). Stephen Jackson(notes) is a bit overrated but a sound all-around contributor, Monta Ellis(notes) will start to kill it when he gets his sea legs back, Curry can play once he catches up to NBA speed, Kelenna Azubuike(notes) is all-around good and Anthony Morrow(notes) is unmatched in the shooting department.
Morrow averaged 22.2 points per game in the preseason on only 13.8 shots per game. That's never been touched. Ever, ever, ever. The man is a marvel. Here's hoping he sustains it in the regular season.
We're hoping for a lot of things from this team. Consistent rotations. Continued development for the fascinating Anthony Randolph(notes) and the injured (but quite promising) Brandan Wright(notes). We're hoping the rotations are consistent, and if not consistent from one month to the rest, consistent with the production the rotation participants are providing.
But Don Nelson is coaching this team. And though this wasn't the case until recently, you just can't trust Nellie to do what's right. There's every chance he could turn it around after last season's disaster (that few noticed), but the preseason signs (a needless on-court pissing match with Jackson, odd practice behavior, playing Morrow 48 minutes) are not encouraging.
I've never seen a preseason like that. A preseason that distressing, unnecessary and wrong. The signs were there last year. Hell, they were there in 2007-08. This situation is getting worse by the day.
And this team, this talented team, will be the victims. The Warriors will have to deal with that on their own. The coaching staff certainly isn't going to help. It'll be new and strange and confusing.
The fans? They're used to this.
— Kelly Dwyer
Can Don Nelson avoid the controversy that seems to follow him wherever he goes?
From all appearances, Nelson seemed like he was trying to get himself fired at the end of last season. He was fighting with players in the press. He was changing the lineup without giving any indication about his thinking — to the fans or the players. He eschewed winning for control. And he apparently got it when Chris Mullin was let go in the offseason and Larry Riley, widely viewed as a Nelson puppet, was given "control" of personnel decisions. Now, will Nelson see a fate similar to the ugly ending he had in Dallas? Or will he resurrect the "We Believe" motto that swept up the organization during its playoff run in 2007?
— Frank Hughes, Yahoo! Sports 2009-10 NBA Preview magazine
H/T: By The Horns
• WarriorsWorld: "The biggest contract situation hanging over the team's head is Stephen Jackson, who issued a trade demand over the summer and reiterated his wishes at media day. Jackson would be a hot commodity except for the fact he's due an estimated $27 million over the next three seasons. Jackson has said the trade request will not affect his performance on the court and he will continue to play hard and lead. The Warriors hope this situation will decompress, which may not happen if they get off to a slow start." [more]
• The Baseline: "Welcome to the Internet, now meet Anthony Randolph. The Warriors 2008 lottery pick — a springy, scrawny LSU big man — was suspected of being the next Tyrus Thomas(notes) or Stro Swift. Then came his running the point in summer league, an ability to block anyone's shot from anywhere that would make Josh Smith(notes) proud, tears shed when he was taken out of a game that underscored his frightful intensity, and Lamar Odom's(notes) passing of the multipurpose forward torch. Nellie's been downright strange about developing Randolph, riding him hard in practice, keeping him on a short leash in games — all because kid gloves would keep AR from realizing his potential. This is the season where we see how right he was. Pretty much the entire league agrees that Randolph is something special, but it's on Nelson to not screw it up." [more]
• HOOPSWORLD: "The style of play in Golden State is tough for a lot of teams to match up with, especially when they're clicking on all cylinders. However, chemistry is an issue right now as there are several players that are unhappy and wouldn't mind a change of scenery. Having Monta Ellis from the beginning will help, as should the addition of Stephen Curry. In the end thought his team is just not going to be good enough defensively to make a return to the playoffs." [more]
4 Non Blondes, "What's Up?"
There will come a point this season when it'll hit you. It'll probably be when Don Nelson debuts a "revolutionary" lineup of Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Kelenna Azuibuike, Acie Law and Anthony Morrow in a game against the Lakers, who are playing three 7-footers. You'll take a look at the TV and scream "Hey-yay-yay-ay-ay, hey-yay-yay, what's going on?!" It'll be more than a little peculiar.
— Trey Kerby, The Blowtorch
Fantasy owners can't help but have a love/hate relationship with the Warriors. They rank among the most friendly systems as an offense and defense is an afterthought. But with Don Nelson at the controls, playing time can't be taken for granted for the majority of players and it's highly unlikely that more than a few will actually spend time at their natural positions over the course of a game. Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson and Andris Biedrins are the safest bets on the roster for consistent playing time. Ellis is fully healthy and should revisit the form he showed before his unfortunate moped accident. Target him in the fourth round. Jackson has arguably the worst combined negative impact on field-goal percentage and turnovers, but the counting stats are also exceptionally plentiful. Between the trade request drama, his negative stats, and his tendency to get nicked up, I'm going to let someone else go after him in Round 5. Although it would be nice to see him play more, Biedrins does very good things with his 30 minutes per game. He's very likely to repeat last season's double-double with 1.6 blocks per game.
Anthony Randolph's summer league performance raised eyebrows and had the fantasy hype machine running on all cylinders. It's hard to find a more enticing combination of skill-set and system, but Corey Maggette(notes) will start over him at power forward in the opener and Nelson's whims are impossible to predict. Drafting him is a calculated risk in Round 5 that I'm willing to take when it's all said and done. Maggette himself has devolved into two-category contributor (FT%, PTS) and isn't likely to warrant his draft position in your league or many others. Stephen Curry will start at point guard in the team's regular season opener and certainly has the game to excel in the team's system. But he could just as easily be bumped down in the rotation a week into the season by a hot-shooting Anthony Morrow as he is to force Nellie into leaving him in the starting five. At least the late-round pick means that there's little risk involved. Morrow, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf will all warrant fantasy consideration at some point in the season, but the specifics are once again impossible to determine.
— Matt Buser, Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Basketball / BuserSports.com
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