Thanks to Ethan Sherwood Strauss for passing this along from Bill Simmons’ latest mailbag column:
The Trade: Golden State traded the Richard Jefferson–Andris Biedrins–Brandon Rush expirings plus unprotected picks in 2014 and 2017 to Utah for cap space, a prolonged handshake and five autographed copies of Karl Malone’s upcoming autobiography, Hunting for Little Mexican Girls.
Retroactive Verdict: The Warriors made that trade to (a) clear enough cap space to sign Andre Iguodala, and (b) contend for the 2014 title. They aren’t contending for the 2014 title, just the “Ridiculously Entertaining, Perpetually Frustrating, Probably Headed For A First-Round Exit And A Coaching Change” title. Everyone wants to play them in Round 1. Everyone.
The Malone joke is a reference to some comment The Mailman supposedly made to Kobe Bryant’s wife years ago. Don’t get hung up on that. The point here is that Simmons has been on a crusade all year to tell you that the Warriors aren’t that great. Which is fine. The Warriors may not be that great. At times they look great; other times they lose to the BobCavs at home. But let’s take a look back at what Simmons said in November.
- Simmons thinks the Warriors bandwagon is over capacity. (probably true)
- Harrison Barnes is a guy who’ll “check out” if he only plays 20 mpg. (hmmm … yep)
- They’re really going to miss Jarrett Jack. (until the Steve Blake trade, absolutely)
- Toney Douglas is “not good at basketball.” (can’t really disagree)
- Three teams gave up on Marreese Speights. (maybe he’s onto something)
- The Warriors are a “bad defensive team.” (about that …)
That’s a pretty good run of analytical points from Simmons about the Warriors. However, it’s safe to say he got the last (and most important) one wrong, since the Warriors are currently third in the NBA in defensive rating, third in field goal percentage defense, and eighth in points allowed — even though their pace is fifth-highest in the Association.
Still, Simmons clearly knows his stuff when it comes to the NBA, and it’s easy to see why he came up with that description in his mailbag piece.
- Ridiculously Entertaining (when Curry is going off and they’re not stuck in iso-hell, yes)
- Perpetually Frustrating (longtime Warriors fans are all nodding)
- Probably Headed For A First-Round Exit (they’ll probably be a bottom-four seed, so by definition this is true)
- And A Coaching Change (that’s what Matt Steinmetz thinks, but a lot depends on how they do in the first round … plus, who else is out there?)
Strauss made a good follow-up point about the Blazers, who’ve gone 13-15 since a win over Dallas on Jan. 18 put them at 31-9 (the Warriors have gone 16-10 over the same period):
Slightly disagree with Simmons. Portland is the team everyone wants in Round 1. Agree that GSW is a probable R1 exit
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 19, 2014
I hatched a juicy conspiracy theory that attempts to explain Simmons’ evolving views on the Warriors since Joe Lacob became the team’s primary owner, but it’s probably a little too sensationalistic to go into that again. Mostly, Simmons’ views prove once again that the Warriors are in the “prove it” zone, as should be the case. As Jermaine O’Neal and Andrew Bogut have mentioned several times this season, Golden State’s first round triumph over Denver a year ago doesn’t mean they’ve done anything.
To gain respect from national NBA analysts like Simmons, they’ll need to win at least one playoff series this year, followed by at least two a year from now. This isn’t a bad thing. The way the Warriors have performed all year long against subpar teams shows how detrimental astronomical expectations can be, and how difficult it can be to tow a bandwagon around for 82+ games.
The Dubs are an entirely different radically improved team since Cohan left in disgrace, but Simmon's analysis is pretty accurate.
Harrison Barnes needs to snap out of his funk. He brings a slashing inside element that opens up shots for Klay-Curry.
Love the Dubs, but they have to prove it. So far Simmons assessment looks pretty spot on for an inconsistent team, that is fun to watch, but seems to play defense only occasionally. I don't always agree with Bill Simmons, but he does know his hoops.
I'd like to know what Bill Simmons' opinion is of the Miami Heat at present lol.. Seriously though, they are just waiting for the playoffs to start and have clocked off til then. Problem for Golden State is that you can't afford to do that in the West.
I'm not at all concerned about losses at home to the Bobcats and the Cavaliers. I'd be more concerned if they won all the games against lower ranked teams and yet could not beat the top seeds.
The fact is, the Warriors have defeated Miami and Indiana on their home courts. They have defeated the Thunder, Clippers, Rockets, Blazers, Mavericks, Grizzlies and Suns - all the teams they will need to defeat ex route to a championship (except for Spurs whom they still have 2 more cracks at before the playoffs).
More often than not, when questioned and challenged, this Golden State team has risen to the challenge and delivered !!! And that is all you need to do in the playoffs - meet the challenge MORE OFTEN THAN NOT !!!
More often than not wins you a playoff series.
More often than not wins you a CHAMPIONSHIP
And I am confident these Golden State Warriors can get the job done.. No point wasting a load of energy in the regular season only to find yourself burnt out come playoff time.. Just ask the Miami Heat (example of how to play it) & the 2013 Denver Nuggets (example of how not to play it)
I read a lot of Simmons' stuff and he's pretty much on top of things NBA-wise since he covers it now being on ESPN's nba pre and post game shows. I agree with most of his points on this year's dubs except the 'bad defensive team' part and the one and done in the playoffs.
Watching almost every game this season, they are really good on defense like knowing when to rotate, get around screens and locking down on their man. I think Simmons is basing that off the W's teams of the past where it would be offensive-minded first and foremost and that was everyone's perception of them for the last 20+ years. In the next few years as the W's hopefully get better and be top 5 team, I think that perception will change to being a more balanced team that can beat you on both sides of the floor with this season a great example.
With his other point of being a one and done team in this year's playoffs, I think that it may happen especially if they get the Thunder, Spurs, or Rockets in the first round but the W's will not go down easily. I could see it going to 6-7 games. But if they get the other playoff teams like the Clips or Portland they a very good chance of advancing to the second round. So basically it depends on who they match up with. One thing is for sure, the NBA would love to see the Warriors in playoffs every season with the entertainment value they bring to the association.
One last thing, I think the deepest the Warriors will go this season the Western Conference Finals and that is if a good number of things fall in their favor( i.e. Curry and Thompson get hot most of the playoff games and/or their playoff opponent has a major injury for their superstar player like Durant or CP3) I will be more than happy if that happens....well also a grind it out second rounder against the Spurs/Thunder where it goes seven games.
I lost all respect for bill simmons when he called draymond "1/2 a player". It was obvious that he didnt watch many Warriors games if he couldnt recognize how valuable Draymond is. Its possible that the Warriors will be one and done, but i bet they take whatever team they face to 7. Then watch how quickly Simmons backtracks on his position.
Warriors are not a young team, like some mention. On Simmons I can't complain about what he says, he is mostly right, although they can defend.
If this post is supposed to get Warriors fans riled up......meh. He's pretty much accurate on all fronts. The defensive comments aren't substantiated by team stats but even there I don't think the Warriors are as great defensively as some would leave us to believe. I'm not complaining given the total disregard for defense under the Nelson regime but I truly don't think the Warriors are a lockdown D. Many laud Klay's D, which I think is mostly fair. But watch his off the ball D. He's pretty good guarding his man with the ball but watch how quickly he can lose a cutter when his man doesn't have the ball most of the Warriors have the same problem. The only two rockstars on D IMO are Bogut and Green. Even Iguodala hasn't been that great this year. Everyone else is average at best. I'd love to see the Warriors go deep this year but I don't see it happening.
At the start of the year, I was told we had the best starting five in the league. After the Blake trade, I was told that we have the best bench in the league. Since last year, I've been told we have the best shooting backcourt in the history of the league. Now why is it that we are 6th in the West and going out in the first round?
Just to confirm, are you insinuating that the Warriors are contenders for a championship this year? If so, let me save you some disappointment. No chance. If that's not what you're suggesting my apologies. It would be so sick if they did win, but I'd bet my first born that it's not happening this year.
@MilpitasNinerGuy I wasn't trying to rile anyone up, just inform and hopefully entertain!
Good points. But I think Klay is showing all around improvement since all star game, however you are right he does fall asleep sometimes off the ball, On the ball he is great. This team is not ready this year, and I don't think the roster is good enough, Lee, Igoudala, and Bogut are down slide of career, Barnes has gone MIA, but I would build team around the backcourt, everyone else is tradable except maybe green.
@Beaver I think they're a young team struggling to remain consistent; too often they play lackadaisically in the first quarter, thinking they can pick up the slack later on. They need to play urgently for all four quarters. They also need to play the lock down defense they have show flashes of for all four quarters They've definitely done better after the All Star break in both of those regards. I believe the playoffs will really motivate them and they'll do better than expected
One more question.. Will they NEED to beat the Bucks who mind you have been hard to put away by not just the Warriors of late ??
Agreed. The only player I wouldn't trade is Steph. Klay and Bogut would be hard to deal but Curry's the only player I'd say you absolutely can't trade.
Ok so wouldn't it be kind of hypocritical of you to make something out of the loss to the Spurs in the same breath as not taking away anything from the win in Miami ?
@JeremyFew I take as much out that as I did when the A's almost swept the Tigers in a 4 game series last year.
I just have to do this.. Sorry but can't help myself lol.. So what did you make of the Warriors win in Miami before the All Star break where they dominated from start to finish ?
Just curious whilst we're singling out one off games that's all
Great thing about playoffs is you get more than one crack at them in a 7 game series.. Let's see see how the post All Star game Warriors match up against the post All Star game Spurs tomorrow.. We'll know then we're this team is at.
Quick question.. Are you saying Heat can't win the Championship after their loss to Boston the other day ??
Didn't think so lol
@JeremyFew Kinda hard to make that argument when they couldnt beat the San Antonio scrubs at home earlier in the year which is a team that they would probably need to go through to make it to the finals.
@JeremyFew ah I remember this one like it was yesterday. How did that final go?