Friday, August 15, 2008

WARRIORS TEAM DEFENSE


Most people around the league not familiar with the Warriors think they are a team incapable of playing good solid defense. This couldn't be further from the truth. It may not be the traditional defense predicated on solid man-to-man defense or a team anchored with a defensive stopper and big shot blockers, but at their best, the Warriors play a different brand of defense that can be just as effective as the traditional styles. The Warriors live off of deflections and thrive on the chaos created by the speed and relentless pursuit of the ball which in turn leads to easier transition buckets. This defensive style allowed them to rally late in the 2006-07 season to clinch their first playoff berth in 13 seasons. It also allowed them to achieve the biggest upset in Playoff history by defeating the Dallas Mavericks. We saw it at times last season, but depth, trust, and rotation issues diminished the Warriors ability to play effective team defense down the stretch.

If you look at this roster, you will see that they ARE capable of playing great defense. Mullin has added some personnel that should improve team defense overall, but in order to be successful the entire season and to repeat the magical performance in 2007, they need to play with the same intensity and be held accountable for their play throughout the entire season.


Aspects of Good Warriors Defense

1. Playing the passing lanes
2. Swarming help defense in the low post
3. Addition of bruising bigs
4. Mastering rotations
5. Improved man defense
6. Depth to sustain intense defensive pressure
7. Shot blockers as last line of defense
8. Rebounding to limit second chance points


Warriors Roundtable: On Style of Play and Team Defense
From: xplor




Point Guards

Monta Ellis has the quickness to play good defense with his feet. He was adept at drawing charges so the potential to be a good man-to-man defender on the perimeter is there. He has great anticipation skills that allow him to wreak havoc in the passing lanes, but his lack of size and wingspan limit his ability to bother bigger guards. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8)

Marcus Williams worries me. He does not seem like the player that could help in any of the seven aspects of Warriors Team Defense. Although he has the size to match up with bigger guards, he does not have the athleticism, quickness, or track record to be much help on the defensive end. His contributions to the team will be mainly as a playmaker and 3 point threat but perhaps better conditioning and his overall court awareness will help him become a better defender in time. (Aspects of good defense: 4, 6)

If C.J. Watson sticks around, he could be a better option defensively than Williams. Like Ellis, he plays the passing lanes well. His long arms and quick hands will continue to serve him well in the Warriors style of defense. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6)

We have no defensive specialist in the PG ranks, so upgrading Watson to acquire such a player is an option for Chris Mullin. Although Livingston is months away from seeing playing time in an actual NBA game, he could be worth the gamble.


Shooting Guards

Stephen Jackson is the Warriors best defender and will likely see a large chunk of his playing time in the backcourt alongside Ellis because of his playmaking abilities. His size will allow him to float between positions, but in order to be effective, he needs to keep his minutes down to avoid a late season sputter like last year. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6)

Azubuike has the potential to be a lock down defender due to his athleticism, strength, and desire. He was able to limit Kobe Brant's production during crutch time of a big road win in LA, so if he can continue to improve, he can be a crucial part of the success of Warriors team defense. He can play both the SG and SF positions. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8)

Belinelli is awful on the defensive end, routinely trailing his man and swiping at the ball instead of moving his feet or playing intelligent defense to slow down his man. His lack of defense can limit his playing time, but if he can become the offensive wizard he is in Summer League play and contribute as a playmaker, Don Nelson may be forced to play him more. If this is the case, the Warriors would be wise to match him up against a non-scorer or to be sure shot blockers are lurking in the paint to clean up his mistakes on the defensive end. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 4, 6)


Small Forwards

If Corey Maggette is ever going to live up to his contract value, he must make a commitment to become the defensive player he can be. He has the strength, athleticism, and lateral quickness to pull it off - but like all great defensive players, he needs to put in the effort and play with more pride when it comes to shutting his man down. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8)

Anthony Randolph's unique combination of size, ball handling, rebounding, and shot blocking could lead to meaningful minutes from Nelson sooner, rather than later. His physical attributes are ideal for disrupting passes and shot attempts. He has the potential be be a star on both ends of the floor if his confident play in Summer League can carry over into the next level. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Anthony Morrow isn't spectacular, but he looks like an adequate defender. He was able to stay in front of his man for the most part and even showed that he can rebound and block shots as well. His length, better defense, and ability to stretch the defense with his dead-eye shooting can bump him ahead of Belinelli. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 2, 4, 5?, 6, 7?, 8?)


Power Forwards

Al Harrington played a big part in the great 2007 push for the playoffs by playing tough defense as an undersized center. He used his quickness and low center of gravity to limit many centers he faced, most notably, the towering Yao Ming. With others entrenched at the center position, he won't have the quickness advantage vs many of the PF's of the league. (Aspects of good defense: 2, 4, 6)

Brandan Wright has the potential to be one of the better shot blockers in the NBA. He has freakishly long arms and athletic ability that will allow him to be a disruptive force as his body matures and his game develops. He managed to rebound at a high rate, but it remains to be seen if he can sustain the productivity with more playing time and the somewhat passive mentality he plays with at times. Wright's ability to make shots tougher and to rebound missed ones will be one of the keys to a successful defensive scheme for the Warriors. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Richard Hendrix was a beast in the SEC. He looks like he will be able to help the Warriors when the regulars are having a tough time standing up to the bigger and talented PF's of the league. He rebounds at a terrific rate and can block some shots as well. He plays aggressively and although Hendrix is a little under-sized, he knows how to use his bulk to get his way. (Aspects of good defense: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7?, 8)


Centers

Andris Biedrins is the defensive anchor for the Warriors even though he is only 22 years old. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but he has demonstrated that he can hold his own against some of the best in the NBA. His quickness, length, timing, excellent hands, and court awareness allow him to compensate for his lack of bulk. As he gains more respect around the league and with NBA referee's, he won't have the worry about staying out of foul trouble and will be able to play more aggressive defense as a result. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Ronny Turiaf is the biggest addition to the Warrior defense. He could end up being the Warriors best defensive player. He plays with incredible energy, fights for position, hustles for every loose ball, and is relentless on the glass. Turiaf has a great motor and is the Warriors won't lose anything defensively whenever Biedrins needs to sit on the bench - yet another reason Biedrins can play without worrying about his foul status. (Aspects of good defense: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Kosta Perovic is absolutely huge at 7'-2" tall. We haven't had a chance to see much of him last year and we might not see much of him at all. He's strongly considering returning to Europe where he could most likely get a bigger paycheck and more playing time. Perovic naturally alters shots because of his length, but his lack of strength, agility, quickness, and explosiveness limit his contributions on the defensive end. Even with his size, he is known more for his offensive potential rather than his defense. Like many of the young bigs on the Warriors, as his body and game matures, he will be able to help more on the defensive end. (Aspects of good defense: 4, 6, 7, 8)



Filling the Holes

The Warriors only have two good perimeter defenders in Jackson and Azubuike. The loss of Baron Davis (lighting fast hands), Mickael Pietrus (lockdown defense), and Matt Barnes (enforcer mentality) is the primary cause, but perhaps the backcourt of Ellis, Jackson, and Azubuike can ratchet up their games in order to fill the void. Ultimately, the Warriors need to acquire a lockdown defensive backcourt player in the near future, if they want to be able to get back into the playoffs and advance. Whether it be by trade (Chalmers, Weaver, Lowry, etc.), free agency (Livingston), or draft (Rubio, DeRozan, Harden, Evans, Tyler Smith, etc.), Mullin needs to keep his eyes, ears, and mind open and work to get that missing piece that could fill as many holes on the Warriors team defense as possible. The Warriors should also consider bringing in an assistant coach that specializes in defense.


Take a look at one of the Warriors' best games last season. Unfortunately, there aren't many defensive highlights captured, but this game was a perfect example of how Warriors Team Defense can help them beat any team on any given night.


Warriors vs Hornets, January 30, 2008
From: bogleg

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

POLL RESULTS: WARRIORS WIN TOTAL

How many wins will the Warriors get next season?

30 or less : 1 (1%)
31-36 : 12 (17%)
37-42 : 18 (25%)
43-48 : 22 (31%)
49 or more : 17 (24%)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE



Here are my guesses as to how the Warriors season will turn out. The first predicted outcome is a pessimistic guess and the second is optimistic. The Average W-L total alternates between rounding up and rounding down as each month is calculated.

Link to PDF of 2008-2009 Schedule

October
Wed 29 vs New Orleans 7:30pm L-L
Fri 31 @ Toronto 4:00pm L-L

November
Sat 01 @ New Jersey 4:30pm L-W
Mon 03 @ Memphis 5:00pm W-W
Wed 05 vs Denver 7:30pm L-W
Fri 07 vs Memphis 7:30pm W-W
Sun 09 @ Sacramento 6:00pm L-W
Tue 11 vs Minnesota 7:30pm W-W
Thu 13 vs Detroit 7:30pm L-L
Sat 15 @ LA Clippers 12:30pm L-W
Tue 18 vs Portland 7:30pm L-W
Fri 21 vs Chicago 7:30pm L-W
Sun 23 @ Philadelphia 2:00pm L-L
Tue 25 @ Washington 4:00pm L-L
Wed 26 @ Boston 4:30pm L-L
Fri 28 @ Cleveland 4:30pm L-L
Sat 29 @ New York 4:30pm W-W

Pessimistic: 4-13
Optimistic: 10-7
Average: 7-10

December
Mon 01 vs Miami 7:30pm L-W
Fri 05 @ Houston 5:30pm L-L
Sat 06 @ San Antonio 5:30pm L-L
Mon 08 @ Oklahoma City 5:00pm W-W
Wed 10 vs Milwaukee 7:30pm W-W
Fri 12 vs Houston 7:30pm L-L
Sat 13 @ Denver 6:00pm L-W
Mon 15 vs Orlando 7:30pm L-W
Wed 17 @ Indiana 4:00pm W-W
Fri 19 @ Atlanta 4:30pm L-W
Sat 20 @ Charlotte 4:00pm W-W
Mon 22 @ Orlando 4:00pm L-L
Tue 23 @ Miami 4:30pm L-L
Fri 26 vs Boston 7:30pm L-L
Sun 28 @ LA Lakers 6:30pm L-L
Mon 29 vs Toronto 7:30pm L-W
Wed 31 @ Oklahoma City 5:00pm W-W

Pessimistic: 5-12
Optimistic: 10-7
Average: 8-9

January
Fri 02 @ Minnesota 5:00pm W-W
Mon 05 @ Utah 6:00pm L-L
Wed 07 vs LA Lakers 7:30pm L-W
Sat 10 @ Portland 7:00pm L-W
Sun 11 vs Indiana 6:00pm W-W
Wed 14 vs Sacramento 7:30pm W-W
Fri 16 vs Atlanta 7:30pm W-W
Mon 19 vs Washington 1:00pm L-W
Wed 21 vs Oklahoma City 7:30pm W-W
Fri 23 vs Cleveland 7:30pm L-W
Sun 25 vs LA Clippers 6:00pm W-W
Wed 28 @ Dallas 6:00pm L-W
Fri 30 @ New Orleans 6:30pm L-L
Sat 31 @ Houston 5:30pm L-L

Pessimistic: 6-8
Optimistic: 11-3
Average: 9-5

February
Mon 02 vs San Antonio 7:30pm L-L
Wed 04 vs Phoenix 7:30pm L-W
Fri 06 @ Phoenix 7:30pm L-W
Sun 08 vs Utah 6:00pm L-W
Tue 10 vs New York 7:30pm W-W
Thu 12 vs Portland 7:30pm L-W
Wed 18 vs LA Lakers 7:30pm L-W
Sat 21 vs Oklahoma City 7:30pm W-W
Mon 23 @ LA Clippers 7:30pm L-W
Fri 27 vs Charlotte 7:30pm W-W

Pessimistic: 3-7
Optimistic: 9-1
Average: 6-4

March
Sun 01 vs Utah 6:00pm L-L
Tue 03 @ Minnesota 5:00pm W-W
Wed 04 @ Chicago 5:30pm L-W
Fri 06 @ Detroit 5:00pm L-L
Sat 07 @ Milwaukee 5:30pm W-W
Wed 11 vs New Jersey 7:30pm W-W
Fri 13 vs Dallas 7:30pm L-W
Sun 15 vs Phoenix 6:00pm L-W
Tue 17 vs LA Clippers 7:30pm W-W
Thu 19 @ LA Lakers 7:30pm L-L
Fri 20 vs Philadelphia 7:30pm W-W
Sun 22 @ New Orleans 4:00pm L-L
Tue 24 @ San Antonio 5:30pm L-L
Wed 25 @ Dallas 5:30pm L-W
Sat 28 @ Denver 6:00pm L-W
Mon 30 vs Memphis 7:30pm W-W

Pessimistic: 6-10
Optimistic: 11-5
Average: 9-8

April
Wed 01 vs Sacramento 7:30pm W-W
Fri 03 vs New Orleans 7:30pm L-W
Sun 05 @ Sacramento 6:00pm W-W
Wed 08 vs Minnesota 7:30pm W-W
Fri 10 vs Houston 7:30pm L-L
Sat 11 @ Utah 6:00pm L-L
Mon 13 vs San Antonio 7:30pm L-W
Wed 15 @ Phoenix 7:30pm L-W

Pessimistic: 3-5
Optimistic: 6-2
Average: 4-4

Season Record
Pessimistic: 27-55
Optimistic: 57-25
Average: 42-40

42 wins might not be good enough to make the playoffs in the stacked West, but if you are optimistic that the Warriors and Don Nelson can surprise teams as an underdog, you're feeling pretty good about their chances. A lot of things have to go in the Warriors' favor for them to stay in the race. Maggette, Jackson, Harrington, and Turiaf need to stay healthy and give consistent production. But most importantly, success of the season will rest with the growth and increased contributions of the youngsters. If Monta can adequately man the point, Williams can be more than just a back-up PG, Biedrins improves his game, and we see good rotation minutes from Wright, Belinelli, Azubuike, and Randolph - it could be a good year.

I'm not optimistic that they will reach 42 wins and a playoff berth, but if the young core gets plenty of playing time and development along the way to a respectable season, I will be satisfied. Ideally, I would like to see a true commitment to the youngsters and a shift to stealth tank-mode if things don't look good by mid-January. Trade the vets and play Randolph, Hendrix, Morrow, and the other young guys heavy minutes to hone their skills and work towards a legitimate good shot at landing Ricky Rubio, DeMar Derozan, Blake Griffin, or James Hardin in the upcoming draft. Even if they don't end up getting one of those guys, the higher draft pick can be packaged with one or two of the vets to bring in a very good player with upside. We need superstars on this team. Hopefully, one of our guys will turn into one, but realistically, the best way to acquire a superstar is by landing a very high draft pick. If Mullin realizes this and has the backing of ownership, there is great hope for the future of the Golden State Warriors.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

PROSPECT WATCH: ENES KANTER


Enes Kanter (Turkey)

Birthday: 5/20/1992
NBA Position: PF/C
Class: N/A
Ht: 6-8
Wt: 235
Int Team: Fenerbahçe Ülker
Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey

U18 European Championship Men
Division A
Statistics

PPG 19.1
RPG 14.6
APG 0.5

From NBADraft.net:

At only 15 years of age, Kanter has an incredibly strong and mature body, somewhat similar to Greek prospect Sofoklis Schortsanitis at the same age ... his potential is enormous ... already 6′9″, he only has to add another 2 or 3 inches to become a solid center prospect ... his rebounding skills are impressive, not only because of his massive body, but because of his timing ... he was one of the leading rebounds at the 2008 Albert Schweitzer Tournament, although most of his competition was 2 years older than him ... although Turkey is suspected of "rejuvenating" players (Ersan Ilyasova), there is no reason to mistrust Kanter's age, as he was born in Z rich, Switzerland ... he won the "Burkhard Wildermuth Award" for the most talented player at the 2008 AST and was also named to the All-Tournament Team.

Stefan Lorenz - 4/2/2008

16 year old dominating U-18 European competition
By Uros Velkavrh

The European U-18 championship started on July 25th in Greece, with many young prospects born in 1990 and younger on display. Names like Tautvydas Slezas, Donatas Motiejunas, Dejan Musli, Alexis Tanghe, Mario Delas, Tomislav Zubcic, etc. are making names for themselves or just confirming what we already know, that they are players on the rise.

But one name stands tall above the rest in this years competition and what makes this player even more intriguing is the fact that he was born in 1992, so he is 2 years younger then the competition. Yet he's leading the competition so far in scoring ( 24,3 PPG ), 4th in rebounding ( 10,3 RPG ) and is shooting a mind boggling 78,4% ( 29/37 ) from the field in 3 games played so far.

His name is Enes Kanter, and he is already a well known commodity among the Turkish basketball community, but the rest of the Europe is getting a taste of just how good this kid is.

With a 6'8" frame, and good mobility and quickness, he's giving his opponents fits all over the court. He plays at the PF position here but you can easily see him sliding over to the SF position in the future and due to his young age, who can say if he wont grow another inch or two.

click on title for rest of article....

From Draft Express:
August 6, 2008

A cadet topping the rebounding ranking in a European junior championship isn’t the most common thing seen in basketball. Actually, I’m not even sure it has ever happened. Enes Kanter did it.

Showing comparable strength to a junior -if not superior- in his 6-9 body, Kanter is not about jumping out of the gym. The kid shows decent athleticism, but his leaping ability is not top notch. On the contrary, he relies on his superb positioning, willingness to pursue the ball on both ends of the court, and excellent timing. Kanter uses both arms, and isn’t scared to leave the ground even in horizontal moves (many players fear for their ankles in these situations), so his rebounding range is pretty good. He also enjoys terrific hands to grab the ball, and the poise to know when to make every effort. The only downside we see in his rebounding display is the fact that he’s not much about boxing out opponents, as much as he is about going out and grabbing the rebound, which isn’t necessarily the best option team-wise.

Averaging 14.6 captures per game, Kanter surpassed the 20-rebound mark on three separate occasions, and earned himself a place on the all-tournament team, despite the fact that Turkey finished ninth in the championship.

click on source link for rest of article....


From FIBA:
Kanter, Turkey's Hot Property
27 July 2008

Enes Kanter is dominating the U18 European Championship Men and is a huge reason why Turkey have started the tournament with two victories.

The talented 2.04m power forward, however, just turned 16 years old in May and has Turkish basketball in a dilemma in many ways.

On the one side, there was a dilemma whether to bring Kanter to the U18 tournament since he will also play at the U16 European Championship Men in August. Turkey meanwhile also believe that Kanter has the ability to make the senior national team sooner rather than later.

"We didn't want him to play two tournaments. He will be exhausted because of that. But we don't have the tall players and we need him so much here," said Taner Günay.

The Turkish U18 coach then admits that his bosses are thinking about Kanter for the senior side as soon as the much-anticipated 2010 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul. But the Turkish power forward situation is very crowded with the likes of Omer Acik, Semih Erden, Ogus Savas, Kaya Peker and Mehmet Okur ahead of Kanter.

That brings up the next dilemma. Even though Kanter is dominating the U18 group as a 16-year-old - averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds - Günay believes that Kanter's future may actually be at the small forward position.

Günay has worked with Kanter for the past three years and has been putting Kanter in the small forward position during practice sessions. But the Fenerbahce player continually drifts back into the block and wants to post up. Günay wishes he had another inside player at this tournament to allow Kanter to play the small forward.

The federation is also trying to figure out which route is best for Kanter to develop for the future.

click on title for rest of article....


From FIBA:
Kanter Not Enough As Russia Overcome Turkey
29 July 2008

Russia withstood a powerful Turkish inside one-two punch to collect an 82-72 victory in Group F of the U18 European Championship Men.

Pavel Antipov tallied 22 points to pace Russia while Maxim Grigoryev added 19 and Vladimir Pichkurov had 18 in helping Alexey Vadeev's team move to 2-1 in the Qualifying Round.

Turkey dropped to 1-2 despite Enes Kanter collecting 26 points and 22 rebounds and low post partner Mükremin Kilicli pouring in 27 points while grabbing eight rebounds. But it was not enough as no other player scored more than five points for Taner Günay's team.

The score was knotted early at 6-6 before Russia went on an 8-0 run over two minutes to open a 14-6 lead. Can M. Mutaf ended the drought with a three-pointer only to have Pichkurov extend the margin back to eight points - 18-10. But Kanter and Kilicli continued their fine game in closing it to 18-16 after one period.

Antipov started the second with back-to-back three-balls but Russia continued to struggle with Turkey's inside combination of Kilicli and Kanter, the latter of which gave Günay's team the lead 30-29. Antipov, however, hit two straight baskets and the Russians were ahead 38-31 at half-time.

click on title for rest of article....