Warriorsworld.net hooked up with Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle to get his thoughts on Warriors training camp, the upcoming season and some of the interesting situations going on in Warriors land.

Who have been the best performers in camp thus far? Who needs to step it up?


rusty simmons If you listen to coach Don Nelson tell it, Brandan Wright was “the best player in camp.” Though Wright had clearly made tremendous strides before being lost for at least four months to shoulder surgery, he, equally as clearly, was not the best player in camp.


That award would go to Anthony Morrow, or, surprisingly, Corey Maggette.


Morrow is pretty obvious. He’s averaging 22.6 points a game on 55.9 percent field-goal shooting and 51.4 percent three-point shooting. He also has 1.4 steals a game. All four totals would have placed him among the league’s top 25 last season.  Maggette is a little trickier. He turns 30 next month, so the Warriors have been slow to include him as part of their youth movement. However, he’s averaging 15 points and three rebounds a game, appears completely recovered from offseason surgery and hasn’t mouthed off about possibly playing a reserve role. It might simply be impossible not to give him more minutes.



This is conjecture, but I think Nelson’s hyperbole regarding Wright was directed at Anthony Randolph. After dominating weak competition in Las Vegas, Randolph was absent early in camp and quiet in the preseason opener. He bounced back with 18 and 12, 18-8 and 15-13 games, so maybe Nelson got his guy to step up.


Other than Randolph, who has unfair expectations from outsiders this season, Stephen Jackson has been the biggest disappointment. OK, the off-the-court stuff might be part of “the business,” but stop telling the fans that you’re going to be professional and perform on the court if you’re going to average 7.3 points, 3.3 assists and one rebound a game.

Monta said him and Curry can’t play together, Nellie just said Curry will be a part-time starter, what’s your take on the situation? Can it work?


Because I know what has typically made championship teams, I get caught up on the defensive end. No matter how much time the Warriors devote to defense during the preseason and no matter how smart their coaches are in scheming defensive sets, you can’t overcome two shortish, spindly guys alongside each other.


I suppose that, for stretches, and, even games at a time, it will work, but not for the long haul. Nelson rightly points out that opponents also have to match up with the Ellis-and-Curry-quickness factor on the other end, but I don’t see the “we’ll-outscore-you” mentality ever translating into a consistent playoff team.

Brandan Wright is out for most of the year, how significant of a loss is it?


rusty simmons A week ago, I was convinced that losing Wright was huge for the Warriors, but Mikki Moore has been getting more run at power forward. Moore might be the most vocal, most energetic, smartest guy on the team. In fact, during Monday’s game against the Clippers, Moore stopped the officials from allowing Maggette and Al Thornton do a jump ball from the incorrect positions. … In other words, he might be the smartest guy on the floor at all times. … The Warriors, with a tendency to play small, will probably use Maggette as the backup power forward, but, if they wanted to win, Moore would be the answer.



As for Wright, I’m not sure there will be any impact. It sounds like the Warriors will still pick up his fourth-year option. Though, he can’t seem to catch a break, I don’t see any reason why Wright can’t make the same strides he apparently made this season and come into next year as a guy who challenges Randolph for a starting job or gives the Warriors a great piece to trade.


Biedrins is considered to be an underrated and overlooked player on the team, where do you see him in regards to other centers in the league? Does he have a shot at being an all-star this season?


rusty simmons I like Biedrins’ game. Considering what he is asked to do, I think he’s great, but I also think he’s hamstrung but he’s asked not to do.


I guess he always has a chance to be an all-star, but I hope that’s not how he’s judged. Remember that Erick Dampier was third in voting among centers two years ago, and Yao Ming might be the top vote-getter this year without playing a game.

The Warriors acquired many veteran players to fill out their roster which has created a battle for minutes at some key spots.  How do you see Nellie filling out his rotation?  How would you fill out the rotation?


rusty simmons Warriors rotation

PG       Ellis                 Curry

SG       Azubuike         Morrow

SF        Jackson            George

PF        Randolph        Maggette

C         Biedrins           Turiaf


Rusty rotation

PG       Ellis                 Curry

SG       Morrow           Law or Watson (unless a Jackson trade brings a serviceable 2)

SF        Azubuike         Maggette

PF        Randolph        Moore

C         Biedrins           Turiaf

Although they didn’t make a big splash or bring in a big name player, the Warriors made some interesting moves this off-season.  What would you consider the best off-season move to be?


rusty simmons I’m nearly convinced that Stephen Curry is going to be special, I think sending the Anthonys to the summer league paid huge dividends, and I’m sure Moore is going to make an impact somehow. The best move was probably picking Curry, the decision to make Randolph play summer ball when many as highly-drafted as him didn’t will have the biggest long-term effect, and the Moore signing will have the most immediate impact. How’s that for side-stepping a question?


With Nellie showing a commitment to the youth on the roster; which players do you see having a breakout season?


rusty simmons Morrow, given a chance – which has been promised – will be the Warriors’ second-most productive player. … Ellis has the chance to make people forget about the alleged moped accident. … As an aside, I think Acie Law is approaching this season the correct way, saying “it’s do-or-die, make-or-break.” I don’t think he’ll get enough minutes to “do” or “make,” but, if he did, I wouldn’t count him out from making a colossal breakout.


Chris Cohan gives you control of the team today and you could make two moves to improve the team, what would they be?


rusty simmons First, I would waive Jackson, pay him the guaranteed part of his contract and match that number with free tickets to a fan base that has been way too patient. Second, I’d equally shop Ellis and Curry. Depending on their outside values and what matches up cap-wise, I’d get rid of one or the other (because I don’t think they can play alongside each other) and find someone who I know can take and make the last shot in meaningful games.


Though I know an Ellis or a Curry trade might not go over well with the readers right now, just think about who you want to take that shot. Ellis and Curry might be able to create it, but will they make it? Morrow might make it, but can he create it? I think Ellis or Curry might have enough value to bring back a player or a pick who can be the unquestioned guy to take and make the shot when this team eventually has significant games.

What are realistic expectations for the team this season?


rusty simmons In part, I understand the Warriors’ optimism with a healthy Ellis, a rookie Curry and an improved Morrow and Randolph. In part, I find it delusional because they basically have the same team as last year and have Jackson, who appears ready to taint the entire season. My best bet is that they’ll win 35-38 games. They could finish .500 and finish 10th in a very tough Western Conference.


With the rise in popularity, usage, access, etc. in blogs and other online formats, are you going to be regularly blogging on SFgate.com this season?  Your thoughts on the whole blogging phenomenon in general?


rusty simmons Since training camp started, I’ve tried to post at least one blog a day, I played around with blogging once a quarter and I plan on finding some consistency in between. I have to admit that I’m still trying to figure it out (how much to put online when I’ve got a print story coming out the next day, how conversational to be with the language, how much to play into the rumormill, etc.). … I don’t have all (or, maybe, any) of the answers, and I’ve tried to respond to readers’ e-mails in a manner that asks for and responds to constructive criticism.


I know print-editorial media is going to have to accept the new frontier. I actually find it fascinating, but it’s not what I’ve been trained to do. That’s why I want feedback and want to be able to strike a balance between what I’ve been taught and the post-first-regardless-of-whether-it’s-right path we seem to be entering.

What are some Web sites you visit everyday that help you do a good job as a beat writer?


rusty simmons I read just about anything I can get my hands or eyes on. Of course, my daily habits are to read The Chronicle’s columnists, our competitors’ stuff, the local blogs/fan chats, a handful of national NBA writers I’ve grown to respect and HoopsHype. This might be a little unusual, but I also try to read at least one piece of poetry each day to keep my literary juices flowing aside from sports and business.


Thoughts on Warriorsworld.net?


rusty simmons There are a number of fan sites that are just that, but I think WarriorsWorld does a nice job of mixing news with a forum for fans. It’s one of my daily, if not hourly, reads.


Comment/discuss this story in the forum, forums.warriorsworld.net/main

Follow Warriorsworld on Twitter, Here