Preview and Chat: Golden State Warriors

Gatinho —  January 22, 2007

Offense: 105.5
Defense: 106.8

Throw the numbers out for this one. The Warriors are feeling like they hit the reset button with their recent trade, and this whole season could turn into a do over for them. Whether that means a playoff berth is still iffy, but the future just got brighter, so sayeth The Oracle.

Jackson and Harrington made their Warriors debut against the Cavs at home this weekend. The Warriors played a great 3 quarters of ball but gave up 16-2 run in the fourth to let the Cavaliers back into the contest, where they finally succumbed to them in overtime. But Warrior fans we’re still smiling.

Stephen Jackson’s Warrior honeymoon lasted three quarters, where he scored 24 of his season high 29. He would make only one more bucket and a couple of free throws in the fourth and would miss all of his shots in the OT period.

The trade’s particulars and their impact: Warrior fans in general are and should be digging this trade. They save 33 million dollars in contracts and acquire Harrington, who they courted heavily over the summer. Chris Mullin has begun to breathe life into this flagging franchise after some initial missteps (see Dunleavy and Murphy’s contracts), and with the return of Don Nelson he now has a philosophy to fit players into.

Nellie’s one criticism of Mullin since his re-hire was that maybe Mullin was playing a little too loose with owner Chris Cohan’s money, but Mullin now knows what kind of eggs to buy, and whose basket they are going into and that should make player movement a more directed activity in the Bay Area.

Harrington, whose Warrior debut featured a 4-21 shooting spree that was cushioned by 12 rebounds, is a prototype Nelson player and complained about Indiana’s “walk-it-up-so-Jermaine O’Neal-can-get-his-touches” offense.

The downside of this trade would be the pariah that is Stephen Jackson. Can Jackson change his spots in Oakland? We’ve seen what athletes can do with their behavior when they realize that they could be looking at their last chance to change their overall perception. (Rasheed Wallace was doing a great job of this up until this season, but Isaiah Ryder also comes to mind) Jackson is facing a probation violation and has been compared on several occasions to fellow Looney Tunes Ron Artest.

Finally, the most overlooked aspect of this trade is that the Warriors now have the necessary cheese needed to pay up and comers Monta Ellis, Mikael Pietrus, and Andres Biedrins.

Teen Titans: AB vs AB: The Warriors’ Andres Biedrins is establishing himself as a future force to be reckoned with. Over the summer he dropped 15 pounds of fat while adding 30 of muscle due to weight training and a change in diet. Don Nelson has deservedly heaped praise and minutes on the neophyte Latvian. He is shooting 52.4% eFG and is half a rebound shy of averaging a double-double. But, like Bynum, his youth and inexperience have kept him from the ever elusive consistency that haunts young players (and young teams). Bynum against Beidrins should be a nice little side show to keep your eye on.

What else to watch out for: Unfortunately, we have all already thought about this. Fortunately, all the losses to lesser teams have occured on their floor and not ours.The Warriors will be running high off the fumes of this trade, and Baron Davis was suspended for the Cavs game for throwing a punch at Quinton Ross and has yet to take the floor with his new ‘mates. Smush and company will have their hands full with speedster Monta Ellis and Baron Davis. The Lakers will have to resist running with the Warriors and make sure that they rely on their biggest asset this season, the Triangle offense. Transition defense has to show improvement.

Around the NBA: The great Melo-AI experiment begins tonight. It’s on NBATV if you’re curious what it looks like to have two guys who average 30 pts a game on the same team and are too young to have watched Jerry West and Elgin Baylor in action.

NBATV is also celebrating the one year anniversary of KB24’s historic performance. For Laker fans it is a barometer for how far we’ve come in a year.

Update: no Odom or Brown until Friday.