Saturday, October 25, 2008

LOCK UP NELLIE


Unlike the possible premature Stephen Jackson extension, I'm all for extending Don Nelson's contract so he's around for at least 3 more years. Mullin was hit and miss (mostly miss early on) and didn't really put it together until he convinced Nelson to rejoin the Warriors as head coach. Nellie's eye for talent and ability to evaluate players helped Mullin for the most part. Mullin has shown improvement in the GM department and a lot of it has to do with Nelson's input.

They were a solid duo, but not perfect. Mullin is well liked among fans, fellow GM's, and players, but he has had trouble dealing with the financial aspects of the job. Nelson was able to convince Mullin to cut ties with many of his early bloated signings [Murphy, Dunleavy, Fisher, Richardson (a little overpaid), and Foyle (grossly overpaid)] but also undermined him by refusing to give some of his draft choices and acquisitions much opportunities on the court to develop even with the largest of leads when it was clear that the vets needed all the rest they could get in preparation for a late season playoff push. Nelson had little patience for talented players that did not exhibit mental toughness or basketball acumen and tended to write off players early - sometimes a good thing, sometimes not.

Don Nelson's penchant to quickly 'evaluate' and discard young players could be a byproduct of a mentality that he will not be around much longer to reap the rewards of the growing pains that come with the development process. He claims that he is not playing the young guys like Wright, Belinelli, and O'Bryant because he did not want them to be embarrassed. On the contrary, when they were given the opportunity to make more than just a cameo appearance, they were able to hold there own and then some. What was more embarrassing was the way the veterans ran out of gas down the stretch. Had Nelson been willing to go deeper with the bench, the vets would have had more in their tank to finish stronger. Perhaps now that Nelson knows that he is wanted and assured a position for at least 3 years, he'll appreciate the importance of true development (patience, playing time, trust, and encouragement) and will not over-work the veterans when the younger group could do just as well, if not better.

Nelson quote from Janny Hu, Geoff Lepper, and Tim Kawakami interview:

-Q: Does the extension change your approach to this season?

-NELSON: No, I think it doesn’t. Because I’m strong enough to be on a one-year deal and not worry too much about not doing the right thing or trying to win more games than I should or put pressure on me or the team.

I was going to do the same job no matter what. I was going to do the right thing and work my butt off coaching this team and there’s more development this year with our younger guys.

It just puts me in a broader picture. And it’s not me doing it for somebody else now. It’s developmental kind of stuff, that hopefully I’ll be on the dividend side of some of that.

From this quote, I get the sense that he will show more patience, will not try to win every minute of every game by running the vets into the ground again, and take a broader approach when it comes to minute distribution between the young and old of the team. One good thing about Nelson getting an extension is that we know that he is open to tanking if he knows that he will stick around to reap the benefits. He did it to land Chris Webber, so if things are going badly this season, he may be open to 'stealth tanking' (playing the young guys and sitting the vets for every little minor injury) in order to land a franchise changer like Ricky Rubio. There are a few quality players early in the draft but once you get past the first 8 or so prospects, it's considered to be among the weakest and shallowest fields in a long time.

Bottom line, Don Nelson is a well-respected basketball figure that will legitimize the Warriors organization whether he acts solely as Head Coach or moves up into the GM position that is soon to be vacated by Mullin. My hope is that he remains coach until he breaks Lenny Wilkins' record then works full time as General Manager in charge of discovering talent and targeting players that fit the Nellie-ball prototype.

I was indifferent about Mullin returning as GM next season, but with the immanent extension of Don Nelson, I feel much more confident that the Warriors haven't completely lost their senses and that they are NOT heading back down the path of irrelevance. The week is still young, however - we'll see how they handle the Stephen Jackson thing.

Related Articles:

Nelson agrees to contract extension - Janny Hu
Nelson confirms deal is close, denies any interest in Mullin’s job - 48minutes.net
Don Nelson: Yes on two more years, no way on taking the Warriors’ GM job - Tim Kawakami
Sources: Nelson, Warriors discussing possible contract extension - ESPN

Friday, October 24, 2008

LEPPER'S INTERVIEW WITH JACKSON

This is a must read for all Warrior fans. Important questions are posed by Geoff Lepper in the following blog entry:

Q&A with Stephen Jackson - 48minutes.net

It gives you a little insight on Stephen Jackson's thought process and clues to how this may play out if his scheduled extension falls through. Jackson seems to be reasonable in his expectations and there doesn't seem to be (at least on the surface) a need to work out an extension prior to the start of the season.


Some key quotes straight from Jackson himself:

...why would I stress now when I have two more years left? It’s not a big deal to me.

...I’ve got two years left on my contract, so I’ve still got some type of security.

...I didn’t know what the outcome would be, and I just took my chance at it. I don’t think it was something where I was like, “OK, I’ve got to do this now, because if I don’t, then I don’t want to be here.” Or, “I’ve got to do this now, if I don’t, it might not happen.” It was just something where I woke up one morning and I was thinking, “Hey, I’ve got two more years. Let me go see if, since I’ve been here and I’ve been doing so great, as far as in the community, on the team and all this other stuff. Let me see if this is an option. And I just brought it to the table.

...me being the captain of the team and the only guy with a ring, for me to stand up here and say that these guys are the future and this is their team, that lets you know that I’m not being a selfish guy. That lets you know that I’m about winning and I’m about doing the right thing for this team and for the organization.


Sounds like Jackson won't go off the deep end if he doesn't get the extension he has publicly announced was promised to him. He claims to be a team player, putting the team first, so hopefully he understands that the Warriors can't offer him a deal that extends his contract for 3 years AND gives him a raise. By the time year 3 of his contract rolls around, he will be well past his prime and not worth tying up salary that could be used on a stronger, younger contributor.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

JACKSON'S INEVITABLE EXTENSION


Why do the Warriors have to work out an extension now?

I love Stephen Jackson, but it doesn't make any sense to put the franchise in a position to commit several million per season on an aging vet that has a history of questionable off AND on-court issues and has yet to be tested mentally and emotionally on what could be a long, rough season. How will Jackson handle the pressures of being THE MAN? How will Jackson handle the losing? Will he revert back to his problem days as a Pacer or the 'loose canon' of the Jazz/Warriors Playoffs of 2007?

Jackson has been a model citizen recently, but is that enough to commit your future cap space and flexibility when it is not necessary? Why not see how Jackson holds up one more year and then make a decision. If he complains about not getting paid and gives less than 100%, we'll know he wasn't sincere in his actions and words when it came down to turning over a new leaf and wanting to repay the Warriors for reviving his career. If he acts like a leader is supposed to act - do what he's told of by Nelson, mentor the young players, be a cheerleader, be an ambassador for the Warriors, and stay out of trouble - then an extension is well deserved.

For all we know, Jackson could be conning Robert Rowell into committing early. Is 1 year of good behavior worth throwing away the sizable cap space in the Summer of 2010 - an offseason that is supposed to have the greatest number of quality free agents in the history of the NBA? Extending Jackson would put all of the better free agents out of the Warrior's reach (see entry: MAX DEAL OPTIONS IN 2010.)


(click to enlarge)


There's been talk about a 3 year extension with maximum raises based on his current contract. If this is the case, then the Warriors would be dishing out roughly $8.2M, $8.7M, and $9.2M until the summer of 2013 when Jackson is 36 years old. Surely there are better ways to spend $26.1M over 3 years (Janny Hu has max of $28M over 3). Jackson has been a great teammate, well-respected, and a player that I would love to keep because of his leadership skills and coaching potential after his playing years are done, but $26.1M over 3 years is way too much to pay for a player that is not elite and is well past his prime.

Reasons why Robert Rowell may be doing this:
  1. Thinks fans would hate to lose Jackson after losing Baron Davis and possibly having to live with a damaged Monta Ellis for 6 years.
  2. Jackson is an articulate, intelligent, outspoken, charismatic individual with leadership qualities that could benefit the Warriors now and after he retires.
  3. Thinks his style of play and skill-set will allow Jackson to play at a high level for the next +5 years.
  4. Thinks Jackson is the Warriors best player.
  5. Thinks that Jackson will cause trouble if he does not get an extension NOW.
  6. He gives the Warriors 'street cred'.
  7. He's our best perimeter defender.
  8. Jackson has point-forward skills.
  9. He is underpaid in comparison to what other less valuable Warriors are making.
Reasons why Robert Rowell shouldn't extend:
  1. Not necessary since he is under contract for two more seasons.
  2. Needs to continue to prove that he has truly transformed his personality for the good.
  3. He'll be 35 years old by the end of the his contract.
  4. Majority of cap space is gone.
  5. Young players will be stuck behind Jackson and if they surpass him in the depth chart, he will be an overpaid bench player.
  6. We have Maggette at SF, Jackson's natural position.
  7. It's not the end of the world if we end up losing Jackson.
  8. He's not an efficient scorer and does not rebound or distribute the ball enough to be worth what he may be in line to receive as an extension.
  9. In all likelihood, his skills will decline and we'll see more and more bouts of streaky shooting as he gets older.
If the Warriors are indeed going to extend Stephen Jackson, his pay should decline in line with his abilities - giving him incentives to reward him if he sustains his level of play over the years. A declining salary would allow the Warriors to add better players and maintain the Warriors financial flexibility. Insure him that he has a future in the Warriors front office when he retires - this may be what he needs in order for him to agree with a deal that doesn't give him guaranteed maximum raises.

We've witnessed first hand how bad contracts can weigh down a franchise. I hope the Warriors don't rush into a deal that they will end up regretting.

From ESPN:

Scouting report: Jackson is one of the league's better defenders, which you'd never believe while watching him run up and down the court without bending his knees even one degree but is nonetheless true. He's big for a wing, moves fairly well and plays with intensity; moreover, his ability to match against power forwards in a pinch helped make a lot of the Warriors' small-ball lineups functional.

Offensively, his weapon of choice is a high-arcing 3-pointer -- he's great at pull-up 3s on the break in particular -- but he also can finish at the basket when he attacks off the dribble. He's not lightning quick by any means, but he's a fairly elusive dribbler -- though with a high bounce that he sometimes loses control over -- and can get to the basket, plus he sees the court fairly well.

2008-09 outlook: You don't exactly think of Jackson as "reliable", but in terms of a full season it's pretty easy to know what to expect. He's never had a major injury and his past six seasons have been all carbon copies of one another, plus the Warriors figure to play him in pretty much the same role he had a year go. His numbers might take a slight dip now that he's 30, and the risk of missing games due to suspension is ever-present with him, but bank on over 2,500 minutes with solid defense and a PER around 15.


Stephen Jackson Community Feature
From: GoldenStateWarriors




Stephen Jackson '07-'08 Highlight Reel
From: BBJ



Related Links:
Stephen Jackson's upcoming contract extension with Warriors is about more than basketball - by Matt Steinmetz, Golden State Warriors Examiner
With more talk of contract extension, Stephen Jackson putting Warriors in tough spot - by Matt Steinmetz, Golden State Warriors Examiner
Jackson working on a new contract - Janny Hu, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

POSTGAME: LIETUVOS RYTAS - PRESEASON - 10/21/08

Jackson leads Warriors over Lithuanian team - Associated Press
Warriors pull away early for win over Lietuvos Rytas - PA SportsTicker
Thoughts on Exhibition Game No. 6: Warriors 126, Lietuvos Rytas 106 - 48minutes.net
Warriorsworld.net post - Truth
Box Score

MVW: Stephen Jackson

The Good
Stephen Jackson: 33 min, 10-16 fg, 5-8 3pt, 4 reb, 3 ast, 3 stl, 28 pts
Andris Biedrins: 28 min, 4-5 fg, 4 reb, 5 ast, 1 stl, 10 pts
Kelenna Azubuike: 28 min, 6-13 fg, 5 stl, 15 pts
DeMarcus Nelson: 19 min, 4-7 fg, 8 reb, 2 stl, 11 pts
Corey Maggette: 26 min, 4-9 fg, 9-10 ft, 5 reb, 17 pts
C.J. Watson: 29 min, 6-7 ft, 5 ast, 4 stl, 12 pts
Brandan Wright: 17 min, 6-8 fg, 3-3 ft, 4 reb, 15 pts
Ronny Turiaf: 16 min, 4 reb, 2 blk
Marco Belinelli: 14 min, 5 reb, 5 ast

The Bad
Corey Maggette: 26 min, 5 to

The Ugly
Al Harrington: 17 min, 1 reb, 2 to

Best and Worst +/-
Andris Biedrins: +30
Marco Belinelli: +24
Kelenna Azubuike: +22
C.J. Watson: +21
DeMarcus Nelson: -15
Ronny Turiaf: -14
Al Harrington: -10

Team Statistics
Warriors : Lietuvos Rytas
pts - 126 : 106
fg - 45-81 (.556) : 37-85 (.435)
ft - 31-40 (.775) : 22-26 (.846)
3p - 5-15 (.333) : 10-28 (.357)
reb - 42 : 36
oreb - 13 : 13
ast - 21 : 27
to - 21 : 27
stl - 16 : 9
bs - 4 : 0

Arena: ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
Officials: #38 M. Smith, #26 B. Delaney, #35 J. Nies
Attendance: 13,107
Duration: 2:11

Warriors vs Lietuvos rytas [preview] October 21
From: RytasBasketTV



2008.10.21 Warriors - Lietuvos rytas
From: RytasBasketTV