I attended the game last night and left hopeful that this season won’t be a complete disaster. My impressions from the game, positives and negatives.
Randolph had some athletic blocks, so did Azubuike. If you take a look at what made the ‘We Believe’ team so dangerous, it was their transition game off of rebounds, steals and blocked shots. With Randolph patrolling the paint, and Curry getting his hands in the passing lanes, the Warriors can have a similar defense to that team.
Transition game off of steals and blocks is one of the big differences I see with this years team. The Warriors are still going to struggle to score during stretches of games. There won’t be much of a half court game, so the transition game and running is where they are going to get their wins. Curry’s great vision and hands combined with Randolph give us a legitimate 4-5 extra possessions a game that will make a difference.
Now for the bad, Maggette, Jackson and Ellis. Ellis isn’t a point guard, will never be a point guard, will never average more than 4 assists a game. Curry showed more skill as a distributor in 1 pre-season game than Ellis has shown in his career. Curry sees the court better, and his passes are effortless and smooth. The biggest adjustment players are going to have to make is expecting the ball when they want it, where they want it. He had a great feed to Maggette under the basket lobbing the ball over 2 defenders and leaving Maggette a wide open path to the bucket.
Jackson got an early ‘T’ looked like he was pressing and didn’t give a lot of confidence that he was going to distribute the ball or defer to his teammates. Maggette showed his usual game, almost never passing once he gets the ball no matter how far away from the basket or how many defenders are between him and the basket. His lack of passing, defense, rebounding, combined with the likelyhood that he will play some at the 4 with the injury to Wright makes for a long season.
For the Clippers, Baron looks great, thinnest I have ever seen him come into camp. He should have a good season if he stays healthy….
Additional impressions from forum contributor Marvin Destin who was at the game:
Theoretically you can’t gain much insight into a team in a preseason game. While that was generally true about last nights game there were some things that stood out from my view.
1- Curry is a lot quicker than advertised. A lot better ball handler also. Moves his feet and hips very well. Really good passer. I’m not sure where the view that he’s not really a point guard comes from. He sure looked like one even in his first game. He’s just a far better shooter than most points. Made a tremendous move to penetrate. Made some anticipation passes the players will eventually expect. The Clipper vets were trying to muscle him around and be physical with him all night long. They were going out of their way to do it. Didn’t seem to phase him mentally at all. He had 9 assists playing in about half the games minutes. Literally by the second half it was obvious his confidence was clicking in and he moved alot more freely about and turned assertive. His release is really quick and he does it or can do it from pretty far out. I can see him, a couple three years from now, ultimately having an impact similar to Reggie Miller used to. The one thing he has that you can see is an advanced basketball mind and court vision.
2- Our inside defense altered arcs and paths a lot. Hurried shots. Randolph is a huge problem for the opposing team. He comes from the other side and after a couple blocks they were hesitating and wondering where he was.
3- Randolph several times was involved in a pick and roll that left the other teams guard guarding him alone at the foul line. Including Baron Davis. No guard is going to be able to stop him from driving or shooting from there because of his length, ball handling, and quickness. After three of these plays they sagged an off side big guy to stop this and that’s when Morrow started to go off.
3- Azibuike and Morrow are exerting their presence in the game. They both looked very familiar with the teams schemes and they are stopping to think less and creating more. As vets do. Azibuike is a wide body and when the other team plays a big guard he’ll be in the game. Or Stephen.
4- The team was running plays last night that they weren’t able to get into their offense until mid season last year. Think about that.
5- Corey Maggette is going to be a very valuable player. If he comes off the bench like he did last year. I see suggestions to trade him as misguided and not looking at his plusses. No one can stop the guy inside. He draws tons of contact and still makes the shot. Whoever guards him needs help or they will foul out. With our outside shooting now augmented that will create a big problem for opposing teams.
6- While it’s very difficult to rate defense or improvement there with one PS game, the Clippers barely broke 100.
7- More important was our guys coolness when they lost a lead. And then got it back.
8- Im not sure Blake Griffin (who didn’t play at all) is going to do much in his first learning year to improve a team that doesn’t seem to have a lot going for it. Barron looked like he was really going through the motions. OK, first PS game and all that, but when you look at that team it has “tanking in progress” written all over it in that I cant imagine those players as a group elevating their abilities. Have fun Barron and wassup with your new party A-list and film making carreer bud..
9- There were some but actually not many boos at all for S-jack. That whole storm was a non thing when and after the game started.
10- The players seemed resigned to the replacement refs being inconsistent. There was actually less beefing than normal. The NBA has to work on the replay system. They simply can’t allow it to become the circus it has become for the NFL. Hockey has it figured out. Takes very little time to perform and get the decision. They need to do whatever hockey does. May I suggest a separate TV monotor thats ALREADY facing the court so they don’t have to take the time to turn the whole system around at the scorers table if its used to decide a call?
Mikey Moore looked like what he will actually be, a player who gets 5 minutes and three fouls in the second quarter or relieves in a pinch. Devean Goerge didnt play. Pruit is a beast but very very raw.
All in all if we don’t get wiped out with injuries we are going to be competitive because we are definitely a deep team and we have lots of weapons.