Tough love?

Stephen Curry did not play well against the Phoenix Suns, and that’s likely why the Warriors lost. And Steph was bench-ridden for much for much of the fourth. From the post-presser:

ESS: “When you sat (Curry) in the fourth quarter, was that a teaching tool, when you were benching him? Or was that a basketball strategy?

Keith Smart: “Anything I do is a basketball decision. I just don’t pinch people for no reason at all. Everything I do is about teaching the game of basketball.”

ESS: “Why does Monta tend to get more playing time than Steph does? In this game, he played the full 48 minutes.”

Keith Smart:
“The man (Curry) got hit in the eye and he wasn’t the same.”

When questioned about his fourth-quarter benching, Curry downplayed the eye and said: “I had a lapse, and I got yanked.”

The lapse was an intercepted pass, followed by a Jared Dudley layup–concurrent with Curry’s foul on the bucket. And there are two schools of thought on how to handle these botched plays:

1. Coach#1: Your young star is screwing up. Bench him till he settles, bench him till he learns.
2. RoboCoach3000: I am robot coach who believes in…regression to the mean. Curry’s poor play is…anomalous…leave him will…rebound…Jeremy Lin just blocked his…own layup.

Obviously, I side with RoboCoach3000. I get why players are yanked after awful plays, but I’m not convinced by such a strategy–especially when the Warriors bench is comprised of discarded scraps from other benches. I know fans love to see a player hooked upon screwing up, but good play isn’t simply about concentration, heart and hustle. Athletes have ebbs and flows, and a flow is more likely to follow and ebb. If an above average player plays below average, a pendulum swing could be in short order.

So when I ask Keith Smart about whether the Curry hook is a teaching tool or basketball strategy, I’m probing his philosophy. Even though the bench played well in Stephen’s absence, it won’t on most nights. As in, Charlie Bell and Jeremy Lin. To bench Curry for isolated bad plays is to sacrifice points in pursuit of teaching him a larger lesson.

Do you favor this tough love approach? I don’t, but I could see why you would.

In other news, Monta Ellis unleashed holy hell from the offensive end. He was also completely over matched against Jason Richardson, which is less his fault than his height’s mistake. You know where this is headed: Monta plus Steph might not be workable long term. Pick your tribe.

6 Responses

  1. WarriorsGo

    I agree with the benching as long as Smart lets Curry know why he is benching him. Curry needs to mature and learn that those lazy passes will not be acceptable especially if he wants to be one of the leagues top point gaurds in the league. Im not worried because I think Curry understands what he was benched for and hopefully that will make him focus more and be more under control.

  2. MWLX

    I don’t mind benching Curry for a moment early in the game, but to bench him for major minutes in the fourth quarter isn’t teaching, it’s punishing. And punishing the team not just the player. Keith Smart is revealing how much he’s from the Bobby Knight school, and that is just not going to work in this day and in this league.

  3. garrett

    Shop monta? never. Monta’s elevating his game to something special this year and management has to surround him with more talent. I’d be down for having steph come off the bench and starting monta with the bigger better guard we so desperately need( somebody like buike in his prime). If not that then we need someone who can put up monta numbers off the bench or alongside him against bigger and better opponents. There’s still some talent floating out there. Brandan wright to the bobcats for sherron collins? Collins isn’t big but he can score. Travis deiner. Alexander pavlovic Danny green are free agents and so is flip murray. Or consider sending.lin and maybe adrien to the d league and bringing up some people who can contribute.. Oh and if vlad is only going to be used as center or pf then we should try trade him for julian wright of the raptors.but that’s just me

  4. mr chuckles

    The Warriors’ offense is so dependent on Monta and Steph using their great athletic skills that the rest of the team ends up standing around and if one or both have a subpar game, they lose. Looking at the Suns and how they set picks and force mismatches you see how good team play works. If the Warriors could play better fundamental team ball, everyone would get better and you could keep and use both players.

    A little more emphasis on defense from the team wouldn’t hurt either.

  5. Yosh

    I pick Steph just because you can find another Monta in a younger, equally as quick guard…. e.g. Brandon Jennings, Russel Westbrook, and even D-Rose. He also has the intangibles such as his sweet 3 pt shooting and dries to the hoop that aren’t just 100% pure athleticism with 10% luck.

    What the Dubs should have done is kept CJ as the back up point guard and shopped Monta for a better SG.

  6. bgalella

    It’s tough to defend the play too much, it was a lazy pass and Stephen Curry needs to foul someone hard when they are going for a lay-up attempt.

    Monta Ellis can play the full 48 every night because he has excellent conditioning, perhaps better than anyone else in the league.