On Don Nelson Hall of Fame Night, the Golden State Warriors looked like the kind of team Nellie might actually want to coach. Namely, because there suddenly seems like there’s a lot of room for growth with the rookies they’ve added.
— Harrison Barnes had his best game as a pro in the Warriors’ 92-88 win over the Hawks, with 19 points (a nice career high) and 13 rebounds (a more important career high). He went 6-for-11 from the floor, and perhaps even more impressively led all players in free throw attempts with 8 (making 6).
The Warriors have been DYING for someone to take it to the basket since Corey Maggette left. Someone who isn’t afraid to draw contact and looks forward to whistles signaling that he can head to the line for some easy points. Barnes’ confidence is growing, and the number of dunks he’s attempting and converting are as well.
Barnes also led the team in minutes played with 40.
— So far Festuz Ezeli seems to be channeling Andris Biedrins (hold on, let me finish) as a center who doesn’t accumulate much in the way of numbers. We weren’t expecting points from Ezeli, but it’d be nice if he could average more than 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
However, he’s a starting center in the NBA as a rookie out of Vanderbilt, and he isn’t getting pushed around. Plus it’s important to keep Biedrins on the bench, where he seems much more comfortable.
— Draymond Green had a busy night. He made his first field goal (a three) and immediately got called for a technical foul for taunting. He’d go on to convert another field goal at the end of the first half to hit a career high in points with 5, but things would get more interesting. Green got hit in the face and taken to the locker room. X-rays were negative, and he would return as a situational defender at the end of the game.
Green came in for Carl Landry with 1:47 remaining. He was soon replaced by Jarrett Jack when the Warriors were on offense, then came back in for Jack for defense seconds later. With 46 seconds left, Jack came in for Green once again. With 21 seconds to go and Barnes making two free throws to put the Warriors up by five, Mark Jackson sent Green in on defense in place of David Lee.
Sending a rookie in for Lee, one of the captains? That’s not the kind of move Jackson would’ve made last year during his rookie season.