Saturday, October 11, 2008

THE GHOST OF PATRICK O'BRYANT


At the beginning of last season, Mullin inexplicably decided to decline Patrick O'Bryant's option for the 3rd year of his rookie contract making him an unrestricted free agent. After drafting him 9th overall in 2006, it was understood that he would be a project big that would take at least a few years to develop. He was a late bloomer who didn't start playing organized basketball until he got to high school and was not highly recruited prior to signing a letter of intent to go to Bradley.

It's was evident from the outset that he had a unique combination of skills/attributes that are rarely found in big men: agility, size, wing-span, hands, passing ability, and perimeter shooting. He had tons of potential and was the complete package, skill-wise, for a true 7-foot center. What he lacked was the mental toughness and physical maturity to put out a consistently good effort on the court each time. O'Bryant's work ethic was heavily criticized and he was mentally beat down by the lack of support and patience from the organization.

O'Bryant was labeled a 'Bust' by many fans and the media after his lackluster showing in Summer League 2007. Many failed to take into account his inexperience, introverted personality, and reserved demeanor on the court (similar to Brandan Wright) - taking it as a sign that he does not care, doesn't have the ability to one day dominate, doesn't have 'heart', and that he is a lost cause. He bounced back by working harder than ever and managed to draw praise from coach Nelson in training camp. Unfortunately for O'Bryant, this still wasn't enough to convince Mullin that he was worth keeping.

Possible reasons for abandoning Project P.O.B.:
  1. Cohan unwilling to go over the luxury tax and picking up O'Bryant's option would have put a $3 million + hit on the books. With the assumption that Davis would stay for his final year and both Ellis and Biedrins would receive lucrative extensions, O'Bryant was a quick way to create breathing room to make all three happen and still not cross the luxury tax threshold.
  2. At some point, O'Bryant pissed off Nelson and a riff between the two festered. Nelson convinced Mullin that his pick would never amount to anything and that guaranteeing him $3 million + for his 3rd year would be a bad idea. It would be a bad investment to find out if he could play or not and it would be best for the franchise to just abandon the project all together.
  3. The organization came to the conclusion that O'Bryant will not be worth $3 million + next year and that they could just resign him for less in the offseason if he shows any promise. They assumed that he would not draw interest from other teams and to insure this, he would play limited minutes that would keep him under the radar.
Whatever reason it was, it was a foolish, short-sighted one that could end up costing the Warriors if O'Bryant ends up becoming a factor in the league. 7-footers with his attributes don't grow on trees. Mullin did not trust his initial assessment of O'Bryant enough to insist that the owner pony up for more years to develop him and for Nellie to work with who he's got instead of relegating him to the bench and D-League for much of the season and giving his minutes to aging vets like D.J. Mbenga and Chris Webber. The Warriors could have used him as trade sweetener, to acquire a future pick, or exercised due diligence in finding out if he indeed can develop into a good player. Instead, the Warriors made him a unrestricted free agent, hid him on the bench as soon as he should signs of life vs. the Clippers early in the season, treated him badly, and lost any chance of convincing O'Bryant that he should return as a Warrior.

O'Bryant, Perovic hardly centers of Nelson's attention
Janny Hu - 2/28/2008
O'Bryant forms exit strategy
Geoff Lepper - 02/28/2008

Patrick O'Bryant '07-'08 Highlight Reel
From: BBJ




The Warriors find themselves needing additional depth at Center and O'Bryant would have fit nicely as Biedrins' backup allowing the Warriors to worry about improving other positions on the team. If Biedrins or Turiaf go down, the Warriors are back to shoddy interior defense, playing small, and being rebound-challenged.

The Celtics ended up signing O'Bryant this Summer for a 2-Year deal ($797,581 T.O. in Year 1 and $855,189 T.O. in Year 2). Early reports suggest that the Celtics are extremely pleased with O'Bryant's play. The fans are thrilled and Ainge has demonstrated once again that he has a good eye for talent.

O'Bryant tries to find his role
The Boston Globe

Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score

Ultimately, it was Chris Mullin's call and he's responsible for the mishandling of an asset such as Patrick O'Bryant. He did not get any value from the 9th Overall Selection of 2006 and now the Celtics are set to capitalize on Mullin's mistake. I hope it doesn't come back to haunt us too much.


Assist of the Night: Rajon Rondo
From: nomei5rj



Related Article:
For Celtics’ O’Bryant, a golden state - GateHouse News Service

Friday, October 10, 2008

HOLLINGER'S OUTLOOK ON THE YOUNG ONES

In general, I'm a fan of John Hollinger's work on ESPN. His PER provides a quick and relatively accurate assessment of a player's value when compared against the average NBA player. Though he has a pretty bleak outlook for Belinelli and Randolph, I give him credit for sticking with his initial predictions of BUST and not buying into the terrific Summer League performances put out by both players. Let's hope that his words serve as motivation for our future stars (crossing fingers) to rise above his woeful expectations and make Hollinger re-tool his formula once more.

Hollinger Profiles: Golden State Warriors


Anthony Randolph
Randolph was drafted largely on his potential -- in other words, he hasn't actually demonstrated he can play, but some folks think he might be able to soon. As you can probably tell, I'm skeptical. At LSU he had a poor shooting percentage and a mammoth turnover rate, and my pro potential ratings based on college stats gave him some of the lowest marks of anyone in the draft.

However, the 6-10 lefty has good quickness and athleticism and is only 19 years old, so there's a chance he turns the corner. Regardless of how he pans out, don't expect him to take on a major role this year -- not only is he raw, but he can't shoot and Nelly loves shooters.


Marco Belinelli
Save for one brilliant summer league game, there's nothing in Belinelli's track record to suggest he's an NBA rotation player, so I certainly wouldn't place much faith in his ability to produce this year. The Warriors will probably give him a few chances to earn a rotation spot, since they invested a first-round pick in him, but given his other glaring weaknesses he'll need to hit 45 percent or so on 3s in order to keep it.


Anthony Morrow
Golden State took a flier on the undrafted Morrow after he played well in Summer League. The sharpshooter from Georgia Tech hit 44.8 percent of his 3-pointers, so Don Nelson is likely to appreciate his floor-spacing capabilities. He's not an NBA athlete and is fairly one-dimensional, but has shooting guard size at 6-5 and may have a good enough stroke to have a career.


Marcus Williams
The Nets traded Williams to Golden State for a lottery-protected -- heck, lottery embalmed -- first round pick that might not even be a first when all is said and done and likely won't be theirs for at least a few years.

He'll begin the year with the backup point guard job, just as he did in New Jersey a year ago, but I don't expect Don Nelson to be any more tolerant of Williams' selfish play than Lawrence Frank was. If he can get in shape and focus on passing he'll have a nice year, especially since Monta Ellis will be out of the lineup at the start of the season; otherwise he might find himself again kicked to the curb for a veteran retread with a fraction of his talent.

Brandan Wright
Wright is an obvious breakout candidate who is likely to push Al Harrington for minutes at the power forward spot and may own the job himself by the end of the season. It's not quite clear how his game will fit into Don Nelson's system if he has a major role, as both Wright and Andris Biedrins are non-shooters and Nelly likes to space the floor with 3-point options, but Wright is too good to keep out of the lineup for long.


Richard Hendrix
Golden State's second-round pick had deceptively good college numbers and might be able to wriggle into a rotation spot. He's undersized for a pro power forward but makes up for it with a wide body and big hands, and his physical style is something that's in short supply in the Bay these days. His upside isn't that high, but he was a nice value pick in round two and makes for a decent fifth big man.

DEMARCUS NELSON VIDEOS

Demarcus Nelson in High School
From: Hoopmixtape




DeMarcus Nelson Coast to Coast

From: HHolcombe13




Press Conference - DeMarcus Nelson - Feb. 27, 2007
From: xosmedia




DeMarcus Nelson
From: DukeBluePlanet

Thursday, October 9, 2008

POLL RESULTS: LAST ROSTER SPOT (ROUND 1)

Since 2 of the players listed in the Poll, Dowell and Williams, were cut today, I'm ending the poll and starting a new one. Here are the results:

Which camp invitee should take the last roster spot?

Dan Dickau: 8 (20%)
Dion Dowell: 0 (0%)
Rob Kurz: 11 (27%)
DeMarcus Nelson: 11 (27%)
Justin Williams: 10 (25%)

Thanks to all who voted!

DOWELL AND JUSTIN WILLIAMS CUT

My new favorite blogger, Geoff Leaper of 48minutes.net, reported that Dion Dowell and Justin Williams have been cut from the team.

Dion Dowell was stuck behind a logjam of Warrior swingmen. He was athletic, had a decent offensive game, and gave strong defensive effort, but was not quite up to par with other NBA talents. The 23 year old will surely make a fine living playing professional basketball elsewhere, and may even eventually find his way back into the league. He preformed well in Summer League, so GM's that paid careful attention to his play might want to keep an eye on him should the need for an athletic swingman arises.





Justin Williams was my favorite to win the final roster spot, but it seems as though he may end up playing for Maccabi who could possibly pay him more and give him more security in a longterm deal. I'm disappointed he did not get a shot at becoming the 3rd string Center and emergency backup at Power Forward. Williams could have evolved into the Warriors best rebounder and shot blocker.


Related Blog Entries:
Maccabi is interested in Justin Williams
The Hoop
On the chopping block?
48minutes.net
Betting on the Warriors’ final roster
48minutes.net

Players with sizable partial guaranteed deals (likely to stay):
Richard Hendrix: $442,114
C.J. Watson: $150,000
Anthony Morrow: $100,000

3 left to battle for final roster spot:
Rob Kurz - PF with perimeter skills and rebounding; poor man's Croshere
DeMarcus Nelson - defensive-minded guard with limited PG or scoring ability; improving
Dan Dickau - veteran PG who is defensive liability but familiar with Nelson's system; rarely makes mental errors

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

POSTGAME: BLAZERS - PRESEASON - 10/08/08


Warriors stop Trail Blazers
Blazers' flaws are evident in lopsided loss to Warriors
Blazers vs Warriors - Hot Live Blog Action
Box Score

MVW : Kelenna Azubuike

The Good
K. Azubuike: 24 min, 7-10 fg, 18 pts, 3 ast
B. Wright: 22 min, 6-10 fg, 4-5 ft, 5 reb, 16 pts, 1 blk
C. Maggette: 20 min, 4-8 fg, 7-8 ft, 15 pts
A. Biedrins: 18 min, 5-6 fg, 5 reb, 13 pts
M. Belinelli: 14 min, 4 reb, 4 stl, 9 pts
D. Dickau: 21 min, 5 reb, 4 stl
A. Harrington: 16 min, 4-8 fg, 1-1 3pt, 4 reb, 1 stl, 2 blk, 9 pts
D. Dowell: 11 min, 3 blk

The Bad
S. Jackson: 12 min, 1-3 fg, 3 to, 5 pts
R. Turiaf: 18 min, 2-6 fg, 2-6 ft, 6 pts

The Ugly
M. Williams: 16 min, 1-5 fg, 2 ast, 2 to, 3 pts

Best and Worst +/-
K. Azubuike: +19
R. Kurz: +16 (good argument against this stat's relevance as performance indicator)
B. Wright: +11
R. Turiaf: -3

Team Stats
Warriors : Blazers
pts - 103 : 106
fg - 39-81 (.481) : 31-84 (.369)
ft - 28-40 (.700) : 27-34 (.794)
3p - 4-15 (.267) : 6-17 (.353)
reb - 40 : 50
oreb - 12 : 20
ast - 20 : 22
to - 15 : 26
stl - 17 : 10
bs - 8 : 9


Notes
  1. Every starter can bring the ball up - even Biedrins. Even Wright brought it up once or twice.
  2. Oden is a load. He'll be as dominant as early Shaq in a short time. Man-child that demands a double team, but can still power his way through it.
  3. Jackson needs to play well if he wants a substantial extension. So far, he has not impressed in two games.
  4. I love Turiaf's game. A little bit of skill and a whole lot of hustle. Hit a 17 ft jumper. Played with lots of energy but results were mixed.
  5. Corey was in attack mode for a while, but could have gotten to the line far more than he had tonight. 7-8 free throws, challenged the young Blazers whenever possible.
  6. If we sign Dickau, that means the Warriors are in very bad shape - desperate at PG, lose depth at PF/C, overall talent level is not good. Dickau takes good care of the ball and makes some good passes and decisions, but his offense is lacking and his defense is atroscious.
  7. Biedrins is going to have a great year scoring wise. They were making more of an effort to go to him early and it paid dividends, even with Oden in the game.
  8. Rudy Fernandez is special - could end up being a more athletic Ginobili with better passing.
  9. Belinelli had one nice drive and finish, but had a poor shooting night overall.
  10. Nelson played well in his 12 min. of play. Nice finishes. Pushes up the ball. Defends. But ulitimately, not enough offense to justify a roster spot.
  11. Wright looks like he's a little bigger up top. Aggressive at times. Needs to cut out the 6 foot jump hook and just take it strong to the rim and draw contact if possible. Made 4-5 free throws and was active on the glass.
  12. Blazer announcers sure make a lot of excuses for their team.
  13. Azubuike had an efficient game. Very Maggette-like. Took over the game late and the Warriors never looked back. Great drives to the hoop, showed off his athleticism on defense and offense. Warriors need a good year from Azubuike if they hope to hang around in the playoff race.
  14. Great win, thanks to timely defensive stops, active hands to cause deflections and force turnovers.
  15. Two are said to be gone by Friday: my guesses are Rob Kurtz and Dion Dowell.

Next Game
Sat. Oct. 11 @ Oklahoma city, 7:30 PM

Monday, October 6, 2008

POSTGAME: HORNETS - PRESEASON - 10/05/08



Hornets win preseason opener over Warriors
Warriors can't hold off Hornets
Box Score

MVW (Most Valuable Warrior) : Marco Belinelli

The Good
Marco Belinelli: 23 min, 5-10 fg, 2-2 3pt, 12 pts
Ronny Turiaf: 24 min, 7 reb, 7 ast
Andris Biedrins: 19 min, 4-4 fg, 8 reb, 9 pts
Kelenna Azubuike: 19 min, 4-8 fg, 12 pts
Corey Maggette: 28 min, 5-9 fg, 5 reb
Anthony Randolph: 18 min, 6 reb, 2 stl
Justin Williams: 5 min, 2 blk

The Bad
C.J. Watson: 18 min, 0 ast, 2 to, 6 pts
Brandan Wright: 9 min, 1-4 fg, 0 pf
Anthony Randolph: 18 min, 4 to

The Ugly
Stephen Jackson: 23 min, 4-12 fg, 3 to, 9 pts
Al Harrington: 19 min, 4-11 fg, 3 reb

Best and Worst +/-
Anthony Randolph: +8
Marco Belinelli: +7
Stephen Jackson: -9
Brandan Wright: -11

Team Stats
Warriors : Hornets
pts - 103 : 106
fg - 40-83 (.482) : 46-96 (.479)
ft - 15-22 (.682) : 10-14 (.714)
3p - 8-22 (.364) : 4-21 (.190)
reb - 42 : 45
oreb - 10 : 14
ast - 22 : 25
to - 19 : 14
stl - 8 : 11
bs - 4 : 3


Notes
  1. Wasn't able to watch the game, but I caught a little bit of the 1st half on NBA.com's Audio League Pass.
  2. Hopefully, the Warriors can have two legit 3 point snipers in Belinelli and Morrow. They both played a significant role in keeping it close in the 4th quarter. Chances are, one will be hot if the other is cold.
  3. Randolph seems to play aggressively and without fear for a rookie. I'd rather him play this way and make a few mistakes than play passive like Wright seems to do in some games.
  4. Very disappointed in the PG play - 3 assits between Watson and Williams - Turiaf leads the team with 7. It's still too early in preseason to tell, but they may need to keep Dickau instead of signing my preferred choice, Justin Williams.
  5. Warriors get outscored 36 to 24 in the 3rd after leading 53 to 46 at the half.
  6. Check out this piece on Anthony Randolph - Randolph: No regrets
Next Game
Wed. Oct. 8 @ Portland; 7:00 PM