Warriors Weekly- #KeepJim, the Week that Was, and the Week to Come
The Week That Was:
Potentially the least surprising week of the year other than on the injury front. Despite missing Andrew Bogut (ankle) for one game and Andre Iguodala for all three (right knee tendinitis), the Warriors got clean wins over the Magic and Bucks and a disappointed but expected loss against San Antonio. The bench play in the first two games warrants some concern since they forced extra minutes from the key players in order to secure the wins but playing without Andre and limitations for Bogut and Jermaine provides at least a little justification.
I cannot let the week go by without expressing my concern for the way Mark Jackson has run the rotations without Iguodala. Draymond Green makes the most sense as his replacement since his skill set lines up reasonably well but Jackson has held firm with Harrison Barnes even after the worst week of Harrison’s professional career. Despite playing most of his minutes with one of the best offensive players in the league, Barnes had a stretch of eight quarters (from the second quarter vs. Orlando to the third vs. San Antonio) where he did not score a single point. If the Warriors are serious about improving their seed or even sticking in the playoff picture, they must put out the combinations of players that make them most likely to win games regardless of whose feelings are hurt.
The Soapbox: #KeepJim
I am fortunate enough to watch a ton of NBA basketball. Having a passion for the whole league (as well as writing a weekly column on non-national games) has provided the opportunity to spend quality time experiencing every announce team in the league more than a few times each season.
On the local level, a few broadcasters actively make the experience worse, most are pretty benign, and a special group actually provide value to even the more grizzled hoops viewer. Those individuals deserve the right to stay on as long as they like.
Jim Barnett unequivocally belongs in that elite class. He provides excellent insight informed by years of experience on the court as well as in the booth and he fits in beautifully with a Warriors team that has players like Bogut and Iguodala whose excellence can be a little harder to grasp and appreciate. I spent part of this morning watching the amazing second-half comeback against the Blazers from a week ago and Jim made an already incredible viewing experience that much better by setting the stage and providing context for the events as they transpired. Few announcers actively make the experience better for casual and hardcore fans alike, and it would be beyond terrible for any franchise to injure their brand with a self-inflicted wound by giving that away.
If you feel the same way, follow the excellent advice of Adam Lauridsen and reach out to the team. He lays out the proper channels to do this and wrote an excellent piece on the subject, so I would rather make sure you read it there- his work deserves it.
As someone who has also covered the Warriors for five years, I can also happily report that Jim has always been an excellent man to deal with directly. His passion for sharing his knowledge of the game with those who love it is even more transfixing in person than it is over the airwaves.
As we have all learned at various levels in sports, no decisions are etched in stone. Hopefully the team reconsiders what a truly special part of the Warriors experience they would be losing.
It is time for those who want to #KeepJim to make sure their voices are heard.
The Week to Come:
After a legitimately strange five-day break, the Warriors will need to come out sharp against a Memphis team with plenty to play for. On Saturday, Coach Jackson was non-committal about Andre Iguodala’s availability for the game and Golden State will need him to have their best chance at getting a huge win. After a day off, the Knicks come to town for their only game at Oracle this season. After a tough loss to Jarrett Jack and the Kyrie-less Cavs, the Knicks’ playoff chances are on life support.
I am expecting a 1-1 week, but a win against the Grizzlies is well within the realm of possibility.