Hollinger on Warriors

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:32 pm
I know he is hated on this board, and I usually agree with that sentiment. However, this article seems like a very thoughtful and realistic appraisal of the Ws chances this year:

Biggest Strength: Scoring depth
Golden State doesn't overwhelm with a single player, but because everybody on the roster can score they stress defense and can always attack weak defenders.

OFFSEASON MOVES
What roster moves did the Warriors make over the summer? Were they the right moves? John Hollinger breaks it down. Insider Insider

The go-to guy will be Maggette, who hasn't gotten his due for his phenomenal scoring and foul-drawing ability. He averaged 24.8 points per 40 minutes a year ago for a slow-paced Clippers team; in this environment that could easily get up to 27 or 28.

Ellis, of course, is a huge threat as well, if he comes back healthy from the ankle injury. That's a bit of a concern given how dependent he is on his quickness, but Ellis has made sharp improvements in each of his three pro seasons and might score even more from his new point guard spot than he did as an off guard last year.

Jackson averaged 20.1 points a game last year, so he can't be underestimated, and neither can productive reserve Azubuike. Even Williams, despite his rough play the past two years, has shown a knack for scoring, as has backup-to-the-backup C.J. Watson.

Up front it's a similar story. Biedrins annually contends for the league shooting percentage title, while Turiaf also scores plenty for a big man. Power forward Al Harrington is an inside-outside threat because of his 3-point stroke, and second-year-pro Brandan Wright is a potential breakout candidate who shot 55.4 percent in limited minutes last year.

Biggest Weakness: Point guard
The Warriors are both solid and deep at the other four positions, but Davis was their best player a year ago and the drop-off to half a season of Ellis and half a season of Williams could be severe.

Maybe everything will work out fine, but this position certainly has the potential for disaster. Ellis is going to miss the first half of the season, and when he comes back he's going to have to adjust to playing the point and creating shots for others instead of just for himself; he's also going to need his ankle to be at full strength right away since he's so dependent on his quickness.

In the meantime, the starting job falls to Williams. Although everyone agrees he has talent, he was also disastrously bad in his two years in New Jersey -- a troubling thought given the lack of a Plan B. Behind him is D-League refugee Watson, a competent backup with little chance of moving up in the world.

Outlook
Before Ellis mangled his leg, I was very much on the Warriors' bandwagon and thought they might win 50 games. Effectively trading Davis for Maggette is much less of a drop-off than people might think, while a potential breakout by Wright -- who played extremely well in his few chances last year -- could offer a big upgrade at the power forward spot.

Throw in the type of year-to-year improvement one might expect from such a young roster -- only three players are older than 25 -- and the fact that you should never, ever bet against Don Nelson when he's an underdog, and it seemed possible the Warriors could match or exceed their record of a year earlier even without Davis.

Now things look quite different. Williams is pretty clearly one of the keys, as he has to competently manage the offense until Ellis gets back, but any way you look at the drop from Ellis to Williams, it's a big one.

And it may change how the Warriors approach their season, too. Nelson may be more inclined to dole out playing time to the likes of Belinelli and Randolph if he feels the team isn't a serious contender anyway, and that could have dire consequences because neither appears NBA ready.

Regardless of how the season goes, Golden State has positioned itself well for the future. Its good young players are locked up for the next several years, and the Warriors are looking at a potential bounty of cap space in 2010 when the contracts of Harrington and Jackson expire. Even if Mullin doesn't stick around after this year, he has done an outstanding job of correcting all the mistakes he made in his first year at the helm.

Unfortunately, Ellis' injury creates one question mark too many to endorse this team as a sleeper in the West. Instead, look for them to get off to a slow start, rally late when Ellis gets up to speed, and in the end fall a few games short of the postseason for a second straight campaign.
Prediction: 40-42, 3rd in Pacific Division, 10th in Western Conference

John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:12 am
Is it me or seems like he wrote the article a couple of months ago?.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:24 am
yeah... i read that awhile back
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:17 am
TMC wrote:Is it me or seems like he wrote the article a couple of months ago?.

maybe, but it is on today's espn preview of the western conference and Ellis was not suspended until a couple of weeks ago, which he talks about...maybe he updated the article
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:37 am
coltraning wrote:
TMC wrote:Is it me or seems like he wrote the article a couple of months ago?.

maybe, but it is on today's espn preview of the western conference and Ellis was not suspended until a couple of weeks ago, which he talks about...maybe he updated the article


Then he didn't update it enough. The "the starting job falls to Williams" line shows he doesn't follow the Warriors or doesn't care about what he's writing. Probably both.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:07 pm
TMC wrote:
coltraning wrote:
TMC wrote:Is it me or seems like he wrote the article a couple of months ago?.

maybe, but it is on today's espn preview of the western conference and Ellis was not suspended until a couple of weeks ago, which he talks about...maybe he updated the article


Then he didn't update it enough. The "the starting job falls to Williams" line shows he doesn't follow the Warriors or doesn't care about what he's writing. Probably both.

ehh, it seems like a fair assessment overall. Look, Pest (much missed) and I may well have coined the phrase Hollinjerk, so no love here for the guy, but not too much in there I could disagree with. What in the actual article do you think is truly off-base? Just curious.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:57 am
coltraning wrote:ehh, it seems like a fair assessment overall. Look, Pest (much missed) and I may well have coined the phrase Hollinjerk, so no love here for the guy, but not too much in there I could disagree with. What in the actual article do you think is truly off-base? Just curious.


Well, I think it's too optimistic. I don't think there's a chance Mags can become a 27-28 ppg scorer, I don't think there's a chance we can win 40-42 games this season (not with Monta out for that long) and that line about Turiaf "scoring plenty for a big man" is just ridiculous.

Also, the reference to Williams being the key guy, after the kind of offseason he just had, it's a clear sign that he made his assesment after taking a look at the roster and not by following the team's offseason. btw, there's not a single reference to our starting PG.

Finally, he talks about Jackson's contract being over by 2010... when everybody knows the team wants to sign him to an extension.


I don't know, the overall assesment of being a team that has a bright future is right, but the details are all wrong. Like the kind of article somebody could have written about the Dubs two months ago and has been waiting for a chance to use it.

Maybe it's just me...
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:53 am
God I hope Williams impresses
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 1:53 pm
TMC wrote:
coltraning wrote:ehh, it seems like a fair assessment overall. Look, Pest (much missed) and I may well have coined the phrase Hollinjerk, so no love here for the guy, but not too much in there I could disagree with. What in the actual article do you think is truly off-base? Just curious.


Well, I think it's too optimistic. I don't think there's a chance Mags can become a 27-28 ppg scorer, I don't think there's a chance we can win 40-42 games this season (not with Monta out for that long) and that line about Turiaf "scoring plenty for a big man" is just ridiculous.

Also, the reference to Williams being the key guy, after the kind of offseason he just had, it's a clear sign that he made his assesment after taking a look at the roster and not by following the team's offseason. btw, there's not a single reference to our starting PG.

Finally, he talks about Jackson's contract being over by 2010... when everybody knows the team wants to sign him to an extension.


I don't know, the overall assesment of being a team that has a bright future is right, but the details are all wrong. Like the kind of article somebody could have written about the Dubs two months ago and has been waiting for a chance to use it.

Maybe it's just me...

I don't know...let's say they go 12-18 without Monta, and 30-22 when he returns, does not seem implausible. Don Nelson teams seem to figure out ways to beat teams they shouldn't. They do have a lot of depth, and once their star returns, they should be lighting it up. Of course, I could be majorly off - after all, I thought Kerry was going to win in 2004 (I know Ohio was stolen, but still...). :wink:
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