JA Adande on the Warriors: They're the crazy guys

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 12:51 pm
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/s ... ors-071207

OAKLAND -- Think about what life would be like if the world operated under the same principles as the Golden State Warriors. Hot fudge sundaes would be nutritious and help you lose weight. Whale-sized sport-utility vehicles would get 50 miles per gallon. "I Love New York" would be up for an Emmy.

The thing about the Warriors is they make no sense. Basketball at the professional level isn't supposed to work this way. In the mixed-up Warrior World, one-on-four pull-up jump shots are encouraged, not punished; a player who has been suspended six times is a source of inspiration and stability; and guys called Mully and Nellie are considered the masterminds of the operation.

The same blueprint that created the greatest playoff upset in NBA history has been rolled out again, and it has turned the Warriors into one of the league's hottest teams. They are the single greatest argument for ordering League Pass (and, for you East Coasters, picking up a case of Red Bull).

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Don Nelson

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

In Nellie's system, players don't have to worry about making the shot -- they can just fire away.
If you've been watching them, you've seen the most entertaining squad in the league. And maybe you have come to the same realization I have: There's nothing you can do to stop their style. You know how you don't want to fight a crazy guy, because you don't know what he is going to do? The same thought applies here. If the Warriors are going to shoot the first 25-footer they see, is there really any way to defend against it?

Take general manager Chris Mullin's explanation for how small ball can work.

On defense, "They can throw it in the post, we can go double and get it out of that guy's hands," Mullin said.

But at the other end, with a bunch of small players spreading the floor …

"If you're a big guy, what do you do?" Mullin said. "You're going to come get me, then you're leaving somebody open by the basket."

Spend enough time around these guys, and it starts to make sense.

"It's a lot more organized than what it seems," Baron Davis said.

It starts with rule No. 1 from coach Don Nelson: Shoot the ball.

"He actually said, 'Don't worry about making it,'" Austin Croshere said. "You have to take that shot in order to get the defense to extend to open things up. It's within certain parts of our offense. To get the ball into the corner, you have to get that guy out there."

With an open floor, Davis or Stephen Jackson or Monta Ellis can drive by his man and get to the hoop. Andris Biedrins has room to score inside. He's not much of a true low-post option, so their inside-out game can come from the guard's penetration. They can suck in defenders and throw it back out for another 3-pointer -- the Warriors attempt a league-high 27 per game.

On Monday night against the Orlando Magic, Jackson took at least three shots that would get him benched on most squads. Warriors in transition, defenders back, no teammates inside the 3-point arc -- and Jackson just launched. No repercussions at all. Not even a dirty look.

"It's like playing at the YMCA," Jackson said. "You play your best game when you're not looking over your shoulder."

The guys on my team know that, the best player on their team, I'm going to make him work.

-- Jackson

I asked Nelson what he considers a bad shot. "One that doesn't go in," he said.

"What you see is a lot of freedom," Davis said. "You see everybody has an opportunity to be themselves.

"You come to this team, there's two things you're going to do: You're going to play hard, and you're going to have fun. That's what we do, and it shows out there on the floor."

They're having fun in the stands, too. The Warriors always provide one of the best arena experiences in the league, with a live band playing mellow Mary J. Blige and Michael Jackson tunes before tipoff, good tunes mixed in during the game and fans who do their part by cheering the hustle plays just as loudly as the big dunks.

And now the product matches the production. Mullin has done a good job of shedding the long-term, expensive contracts of Mike Dunleavy, Derek Fisher and Troy Murphy, while getting the right mix of players for this system, including guys who were unwanted or unsuccessful elsewhere. Matt Barnes' scoring average doubled last season, his first with the Warriors. Jackson got a fresh start after a tenure with the Indiana Pacers that was most notable for his throwing punches in the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills and firing shots in the air after an altercation at a strip club.

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Stephen Jackson

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The Warriors are a much better team when Jackson is on the court.
Jackson is proof nothing -- not prime real estate, not precious metals -- appreciates in value like a championship ring for a player who moves on. On the next team, that ring will translate into either an overpriced contract or Godfather-level respect. When the Warriors signed Derek Fisher for $36 million over six years in 2004, it was an example of the former. Jackson is an example of the latter. He was the biggest question mark on the San Antonio Spurs' championship squad in 2003. You never knew if you would get a 3-pointer or a turnover from him.

With the Warriors, he's a source of inspiration. He plays with confidence, and it spreads.

"The guys on my team know that, the best player on their team, I'm going to make him work," Jackson said.

The Warriors were 1-6 while he served a seven-game suspension for the shooting incident. Since he returned, they're 9-2. Going back to the end of last season, the Warriors have won 25 of their past 32 regular-season games in which Jackson has played.

The key phrase there is "regular season." As dramatic as their first-round victory over the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks was, the Utah Jazz's disciplined approach won out in the Western Conference semifinals. The Phoenix Suns are the only team playing a style similar to that of the Warriors, and their Steve Nash-led group hasn't reached the NBA Finals. No team coached by Nelson has, either.

Everyone's waiting for the percentages to catch up with the Warriors. Take enough outside shots, and eventually, you'll miss the majority of them. Go with a small lineup, and you'll sacrifice rebounds. Last year's magical run almost didn't happen; the Warriors didn't clinch a playoff spot until the last game of the season.

"We were an eighth seed," Mullin said. "But if we get in, we're dangerous."

They're the crazy guys. You don't take them that seriously at first. But you don't really want to mess with them.

J.A. Adande joined ESPN.com as an NBA columnist in August 2007 after 10 years with the Los Angeles Times. Click here to e-mail J.A.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:19 pm
I think its funny that every analyst from the LA area defines the Warriors' style of play as "helter-skelter", crazy, out-of-control, etc. Why can't they just accept the fact that the Warriors are outplaying teams right now. Plain and simple. The Warriors are outplaying teams.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:58 pm
I dunno man, seems pretty on to me. The Warriors are one of the only teams in the league that I know of that is capable of scoring 40 points in one quarter and 18 the next. When they're hitting right around 30 a quarter you know they're rolling and few will beat them, but when they start scoring less than 20 you know they may lose on any night.

Imagine how good the Warriors would be with one pure shooter. I'll take Chris Mullin. =D
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:33 pm
Well, most of the US gets boring ol' NBA. What gets the national coverage?

--LAL/Rockets triangle
--Jazz/Spurs (relatively) slow inside-out game
--anything Eastern half-court set

So, they're used to the slow, methodical grinding game, Their only options are dropping it into the post or running isolations for whatever star they have on the team.

The first few games of watching the W's probably seem pretty choatic, with guys tossing full court passes, raining three's like there's no tomorrow, pulling up and taking the shot on a 1-on-4 break where half the team hasn't even crossed the half-court line and have no chance at a rebound.

But, after wacthing a few games and picking out the trends in movement and playmaking, the W's offense, and now its defense, are things of beauty.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:44 pm
drazz wrote:Well, most of the US gets boring ol' NBA. What gets the national coverage?

--LAL/Rockets triangle
--Jazz/Spurs (relatively) slow inside-out game
--anything Eastern half-court set

So, they're used to the slow, methodical grinding game, Their only options are dropping it into the post or running isolations for whatever star they have on the team.

The first few games of watching the W's probably seem pretty choatic, with guys tossing full court passes, raining three's like there's no tomorrow, pulling up and taking the shot on a 1-on-4 break where half the team hasn't even crossed the half-court line and have no chance at a rebound.

But, after wacthing a few games and picking out the trends in movement and playmaking, the W's offense, and now its defense, are things of beauty.


Mostly agree but the Jazz are actually playing pretty entertaining ball these days. Hate the Jazz but I gotta admit it's all personal. They're good and they play the right way (read: not like the Spurs)
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:19 pm
The style of play of the team can be somewhat out of control at times but if you look at them for the whole game, they are quite organised. The Warriors are starting a trend as other teams are trying to go more full court offense. The team is winning and craziness can't win for you as often as it has for them
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:31 am
cladden wrote:
drazz wrote:Well, most of the US gets boring ol' NBA. What gets the national coverage?

--LAL/Rockets triangle
--Jazz/Spurs (relatively) slow inside-out game
--anything Eastern half-court set

So, they're used to the slow, methodical grinding game, Their only options are dropping it into the post or running isolations for whatever star they have on the team.

The first few games of watching the W's probably seem pretty choatic, with guys tossing full court passes, raining three's like there's no tomorrow, pulling up and taking the shot on a 1-on-4 break where half the team hasn't even crossed the half-court line and have no chance at a rebound.

But, after wacthing a few games and picking out the trends in movement and playmaking, the W's offense, and now its defense, are things of beauty.


Mostly agree but the Jazz are actually playing pretty entertaining ball these days. Hate the Jazz but I gotta admit it's all personal. They're good and they play the right way (read: not like the Spurs)


Same here. God, why can't Boozer, Deron and Sloan be in other team?. I can't stand the Jazz, and it's not easy to like them being part of them...

But it's true they're playing well right now, and not in the same way the Spurs are playing well. They're a lot more appealing than San Antonio.

As for us, I agree with Drazz. It's just that the first time most anal-ysts watched the Warriors was in the playoffs and now are starting to catch up to us. It's a weird style the first time you watch it. Almost looks like luck, at times... but the more games you watch, the more you realize how it works, how it's not so random.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:29 am
ive said it before and ill say it again. i really dont like JA Adande. and this article doesnt help to push me to like him in the slightest bit. he doesnt even show a clear "giving props to the warriors" or "criticizing the way the warriors play becuz its not 'normal'" in this article. IMO he's one of the worst basketball analysts out there.

..sorry, just had to get that out :mrgreen:
"the victorious warrior wins first, and then goes to war; the defeated warrior goes to war first, and hopes to win."- The Art of War

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:34 am
EMan32 wrote:ive said it before and ill say it again. i really dont like JA Adande. and this article doesnt help to push me to like him in the slightest bit. he doesnt even show a clear "giving props to the warriors" or "criticizing the way the warriors play becuz its not 'normal'" in this article. IMO he's one of the worst basketball analysts out there.

..sorry, just had to get that out :mrgreen:


Fair enough. Must be the first article I've read of him. And it's not like I'm dying for the next one.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:15 am
TMC wrote:
EMan32 wrote:ive said it before and ill say it again. i really dont like JA Adande. and this article doesnt help to push me to like him in the slightest bit. he doesnt even show a clear "giving props to the warriors" or "criticizing the way the warriors play becuz its not 'normal'" in this article. IMO he's one of the worst basketball analysts out there.

..sorry, just had to get that out :mrgreen:


Fair enough. Must be the first article I've read of him. And it's not like I'm dying for the next one.


yeah..well for me its not just his articles..i watch around the horn just to see what stupid thing he says next.
"the victorious warrior wins first, and then goes to war; the defeated warrior goes to war first, and hopes to win."- The Art of War

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:07 am
EMan32 wrote:
TMC wrote:
EMan32 wrote:ive said it before and ill say it again. i really dont like JA Adande. and this article doesnt help to push me to like him in the slightest bit. he doesnt even show a clear "giving props to the warriors" or "criticizing the way the warriors play becuz its not 'normal'" in this article. IMO he's one of the worst basketball analysts out there.

..sorry, just had to get that out :mrgreen:


Fair enough. Must be the first article I've read of him. And it's not like I'm dying for the next one.


yeah..well for me its not just his articles..i watch around the horn just to see what stupid thing he says next.


Man, I dont mind him. I also watch Around the Horn, but he doesnt bug me on that show. It seems like he does know his stuff, but maybe cant explain it?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 9:12 am
EMan32 wrote:ive said it before and ill say it again. i really dont like JA Adande. and this article doesnt help to push me to like him in the slightest bit. he doesnt even show a clear "giving props to the warriors" or "criticizing the way the warriors play becuz its not 'normal'" in this article. IMO he's one of the worst basketball analysts out there.

..sorry, just had to get that out :mrgreen:


Nice point there. At first I thought it was a national guy looking at the W's and giving them some props. But, he never really comes out and decides to support them.

I, too, was watched him the Horn, and have not been that impressed with him. Still, some big time exposure for the W's is starting to come forward, and its always nice to at least be noticed, even if others don't recognize the greatness. Yet.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:06 pm
sfsfsfgiants wrote:
EMan32 wrote:
TMC wrote:
EMan32 wrote:ive said it before and ill say it again. i really dont like JA Adande. and this article doesnt help to push me to like him in the slightest bit. he doesnt even show a clear "giving props to the warriors" or "criticizing the way the warriors play becuz its not 'normal'" in this article. IMO he's one of the worst basketball analysts out there.

..sorry, just had to get that out :mrgreen:


Fair enough. Must be the first article I've read of him. And it's not like I'm dying for the next one.


yeah..well for me its not just his articles..i watch around the horn just to see what stupid thing he says next.


Man, I dont mind him. I also watch Around the Horn, but he doesnt bug me on that show. It seems like he does know his stuff, but maybe cant explain it?


hmm...sometimes it seems like he knows his stuff. but i think its mainly cuz he disguises the fact that he really doesnt (as far as basketball is concerned). when it comes to football he's ok, current events he's pretty good, but when it comes to basketball he hits the topic and chooses a side for the sake of the show and bs's his reasoning. take notice next time that he'll pick someone to agree with and say the exact same reasoning in different words. or sometimes he'll play devil's advocate but he'll never go into detail why he chooses the side he does.
"the victorious warrior wins first, and then goes to war; the defeated warrior goes to war first, and hopes to win."- The Art of War

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:52 pm
We need to send those East Coasters some hyphy juice. F*ck a Red Bull. Maybe a few cases of 18 Dummy so they can stay up late and hopefully "stay up" w/ us...probably not though. Haha. This story appears on the front NBA page on ESPN w/ a gang of other Warrior links. Thats national props. I dig it.

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