Pride goeth to play the Kings. Mark Jackson speaks with confidence and brimming belief.
“We will be a good defensive team. We will take pride on the defensive end”
While I’m not sure retrospect loves such proclamations, it is a refreshing pace change from cliche coach speak.
I am not so optimistic. This is largely the same roster, with the same damning problems. While Jackson’s motivational techniques could conceivably make an impact, I’m not sure a coach can close the chasm between playoffs and whatever this team was.
Tonight was encouraging, though.
The Warriors are trapping frequently and with ferocity. Last year, the Warriors were often defensively helpless on account of over-helping. When some botched trapping led to Marcus Thornton jumpers, I feared this would be the new GSW “exacerbate the problem with solutions” technique.
Then, the pressure defense began to bear results–especially when Udoh involved himself. GSW managed to force turnovers in the final stanza, icing a game that had slowly thawed in the 3rd quarter.
Klay Thompson: Klay wasn’t good. This was his first game, but Thompson gunned nervously and erratically–like a man running out of a WWI trench. At least he was active.
Ekpe Udoh: Ekpe was very good, flashing some offense on the block. It is crucial for Udoh to improve as a scorer, so as to vault him past Joel Anthony status.
Jimmer Tebow: Jimmer looked like collegiate Jimmer. Meaning: He can play at this level.
Jeremy Tyler: I was shocked to see moments of Jeremy Tyler competence. “Is it time for us to finally give Japanese basketball leagues some respect…” is a sentence I could never have envisioned writing before tonight. Tyler’s main issue: The game’s speed can envelope him at times. There are occasional plays where Tyler finds himself leaping into a fray that used to be a fray.
Dorell Wright: Wright played hilariously. A mid court lob to David Lee, a behind the back dribble after a pump fake, a fadeaway over the Jimmer. This was experimentation done by a mad scientist.
Thought I’d spied a “Nigerian shake” from Udoh, but he denies such shaking occurred. Ekpe went on to elaborate about the young team’s progression, but was disrupted by Stephen Curry mumbling gibberish in Ekpe’s cadence. I asked, “Are you aware that Stephen Curry is making fun of you?” A smirking Udoh responded, “That’s just the bond we have,” as Curry mumbled louder.