The Golden State Warriors (21-32) are coming off an exciting late game finish in Minnesota that saw Charles Jenkins send off the Dubs to a victory with a clutch basket with a little over 20 seconds left in the ball game.
Tonight, the Warriors will be playing their fourth straight road game when they enter Energy Solutions Arena to take on a struggling Utah Jazz (28-27) squad.
It’s no secret that Warriors are tanking and consequently their win against the Timberwolves might have seemed like a treacherous act; nonetheless nothing gets players and fans more excited than winning games.
Indeed, in the second half against Minnesota, the Golden State players brought the superior effort and showed a great amount of energy despite being the road team.
David Lee was terrific and Klay Thompson complemented him quite well in the third quarter while Charles Jenkins was the steady calming influence that stirred the ship. Nonetheless, the absence of Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut leaves the team with more questions than answers.
There is no doubt that they are now the best players on the team but their absence makes it impossible to evaluate what kind of team the Warriors currently have. How will the rest of team fit around them? It’s a question that the front office will only truly be able to answer next season, but the Dubs are not alone in this dilemma.
It’s not always easy to find players that seamlessly blend in together; and that can quickly turn a winning roster on paper into a losing one when the games are played. Evan Hall of Salt Lake City Hoops, the Utah Jazz ESPN TrueHoop Affiliate blog touched on this in his most recent post about the Jazz’s recent woes:
“This is absolutely not to say to that the team is not trying. Quite the contrary: almost every player on this roster kills himself every night, most especially during this losing streak in which the team is mired. These players care a ton, and one trip to a post-loss locker room removes any doubt that they don’t want to win. Yet they continue losing. This is not due to a dearth of legitimate talent. Teams all over the NBA would love to have Hayward, Millsap, Jefferson, Favors, Burks and Harris on their roster. This team, when broken down into the individuals, is good. Really good. Unfortunately, the pieces are not complementary.”
And then Hall offers this last gem:
“Sadly, this is par for the course in the NBA. Very rarely do teams find a set of players who complement each other beautifully. The thing about chemistry is that you don’t know you have it until your team is out there on the floor.”
In a nutshell, the Jazz’s situation basically gives us a perfect illustration of what Mark Jackson and the Warriors’ front office have to deal with.
Every time the Dubs trot out their small lineup or play zone defense, one cannot avoid thinking what those coaching decisions will mean for the big men on the team going into next season. For instance, is Dominic McGuire a keeper or not? His defense, size and toughness certainly would lead you to believe that his services should be retained, but with Lee, Bogut and Tyler on the team, he may end up being the odd man out.
Teams with borderline .500 records are often quite similar in their makeup and the questions they are faced with, and the Jazz and Warriors are no exception on this front. When both squads meet up tonight, it should be a hard fought contest determined by the team that is most capable of getting easy baskets; but it’s also a one of the many games in which role players will be determining their own value to their respective franchises.
A fringe playoff team and team completely outside of the playoff picture are asking themselves the same questions…
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