For the Golden State Warriors, the most dispiriting part of last night’s loss to the Clippers wasn’t that Baron Davis almost got a triple-double, but how hard it is to focus blame.
The Warriors are 5-24 on the road, but it’s hard to pick out a player who’s been bad all season. Too many players take bad jumpers early in the shot clock, not enough rebound or play even passable team defense, but pretty much every Warrior who plays brings something to the table.
Unfortunately, none of them can play a lick of point guard. Not Jamal Crawford, not Stephen Jackson, not Monta Ellis. Marco Belinelli is the only player who even has a hint of the unselfishness and passing ability it takes to run a team, but he’s still trying to find his own way in the wacky world of Nellieball. For an NBA point guard, self-doubt is not an option.
A team that’s somewhat talented can win home games, but nobody with a respectable road record does it without someone strong at the point except the Lakers (the Triangle offense is their PG), or the Pistons, who are 13-12 on the road but only 14-15 at home and have Rodney Stuckey, who even in a massive slump is a better PG than anybody on the Warriors’ roster.
Unfortunately only the most erratic point guards ever get traded (which is how the Warriors got Baron), and unless the Warriors somehow get the No. 2 pick in the draft and snag Ricky Rubio, the draft has no immediate answers (and one could argue they could use Blake Griffin just as much as Rubio, if not more).
Free agency has a few options, but all of them come with massive questions. Andre Miller has never won anywhere and shouldn’t last much longer, Mike Bibby is a slightly less selfish version of Crawford and Jason Kidd can’t defend anyone at this point of his Hall-of-Fame career. Plus, unless Robert Rowell somehow convinces Jamal Crawford to terminate his contract at the end of the season (good luck), the Warriors won’t be able to sign any free agents of consequence anyway, unless they do some sort of sign-and-trade. That isn’t likely since every Warrior is seemingly under contract until 2018.
So apparently the Warriors need to win the NBA Draft Lottery to have any chance of playing winning basketball on the road next season, and that’s if an 18-year-old point guard from Spain (Rubio turns 19 in October) can hit the ground running.
I just ran the ESPN Mock Draft Generator, which gave the Warriors Jeff Teague from Wake Forest at pick No. 7. Great, a shoot-first guard with a 1-1 assist/turnover ratio. Another talented player who won’t help the Warriors win games on the road when the team needs leadership and patience, not quick jumpers and wild passes. Teague would find himself right at home on this roster.
Warriors week that was (1-2: 129-121 loss to LAL, 133-120 win over OKC, 118-105 loss @ LAC)
I watched my first Warriors win in person of the season and wrote about it here. . . Monta Ellis left the win over Oklahoma City early in the fourth quarter, and won’t be back for at least a week or two due to residual ankle stiffness and pain from his moped crash and subsequent surgery. . . Andris Biedrins came back last night from his ankle sprain and had 4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks in 16 minutes off the bench. . . Ronny Turiaf is averaging 3 blocks and 7.5 rebounds per game in February. . . 48minutes found someone to blame last night: C.J. Watson. After checking out some of the stats Geoff Lepper has on those who “defended” Eric Gordon last night, pretty hard not to agree that Watson was beyond worthless. . . Corey Maggette’s 10 points last night marked the first game he has scored fewer than 15 points since becoming the team’s sixth man. . . I joined a live chat session during the fourth quarter of last night’s game with the guys at Fear The Beard, when the only suspense was whether Davis would get his triple-double. By the way, I’ve never seen more made bank shots in a game that didn’t include Tim Duncan than I saw last night. Baron almost broke the backboard a couple times. . . Look for Larry Riley to be named the team’s permanent general manager after the season, as he’s the only one giving quotes right now. Not sure where Chris Mullin is, we’re guessing he’s swimming laps at his Danville home. . . Bill Simmons wrote a real interesting story on L.A.’s most famous “dog” not named Snoop, specifically about eating omelettes at Baron Davis’ house in the hours leading up to the trade deadline.