Month: November 2013

LGW: Preview: Golden State Warriors (9-6) at Dallas Mavericks (9-6)

Feb 9, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) guards Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee (10) during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Warriors 116-91. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 9, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) guards Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee (10) during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Warriors 116-91. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors take on the Dallas Mavericks after beating the New Orleans Pelicans last night 102-101. Last season, the Warriors won two out of the three games against the Mavericks.

In last night’s win over the Pelicans, the Warriors received significant contributions from Jermaine O’Neal, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry. O’Neal sat out four games with a sore wrist, viral infection, bruised knee, and a strained groin. In his return, he had season-highs of 18 points and eight rebounds.

Read the rest of the article on Let’s Go Warriors.

Golden State Warriors: Is It Time to Call Up Seth Curry?

October 24, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors shooting guard Seth Curry (3) shoots the basketball during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena. The Trail Blazers defeated the Warriors 90-74. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

The Golden State Warriors are short-handed right now. Since Andre Iguodala is out with a strained left hamstring and Toney Douglas is out with a stress reaction in his left tibia, the Warriors are in dire need of a backup point guard. Kent Bazemore is struggling and is clearly not ready or capable of playing point guard effectively. Nemanja Nedovic has shown promise and performed well in last night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, but he’s still inexperienced and may need some help handling the backup point guard duties.

In addition to their need for another point guard right now, the Warriors also need to strengthen their bench. The bench has been heavily criticized so far this season for their lack of production, especially offensively. The Warriors’ bench could use an offensive spark.

So what should the Warriors do? One option for the Warriors is to call up Seth Curry, Stephen Curry’s younger brother, who is currently playing for the Warriors’ D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. Curry participated in training camp with the Warriors before the start of this season. He had a shot at snagging one of the last spots on the Warriors’ active roster, but he was cut right before the season started.

Curry has been fantastic so far with the Santa Cruz Warriors. In his D-League debut, Curry scored a game-high 36 points, which set the single-game team record for points scored. He scored 16 of those points in the second quarter and 14 of those points in the fourth quarter. He shot 12-for-18 for the game and finished with six assists.

As a 6’2″ guard, Curry has always known that he will have to play point guard to make it in the NBA. He’s been working on his point guard skills in Santa Cruz, and according to him, he’s not in the D-League to shoot. He’s already proven he can shoot.

In Curry’s second game, he didn’t quite have the scoring performance like he did in the previous game, but he showed how he’s much more than just a shooter. He had 11 assists compared to just two turnovers in 35 minutes. He looked like much more of a point guard in this game. He handled the ball better, he was more in control of the ball, and he was more decisive and aggressive in pick-and-rolls. Most importantly, he was a willing passer and made a strong effort to get his teammates involved.

“I feel very comfortable,” Curry said. “If you watch the first three games we played, I think I looked pretty good — getting my teammates involved and scoring at the same time. I felt good handling the ball and everything like that. It feels natural. Obviously, with more reps I’ll get much better. But I feel comfortable.”

October 24, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors shooting guard Seth Curry (3, left) signals as point guard Stephen Curry (30) looks on during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena. The Trail Blazers defeated the Warriors 90-74. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, Curry had a game-high 23 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and only two turnovers. He shot 9-for-16 in 39 minutes. Curry is certainly making his case on why he deserves to play at the NBA level with the Warriors.

“I’ve just got to go out and focus on playing the same way I would (in the NBA),” Seth Curry said. “Just be aggressive. I can’t go out there thinking I’ve got to kill just to show everybody, prove everybody wrong. I just have to go out there, stay calm and play. I think I can do a good job of that. I’m definitely not where I want to be.”

Not only does he deserve to play in the NBA, but he’s ready to play. He’s healthy after suffering a stress fracture in his right shin in his last year at Duke, which kept him out of draft workouts. Now that he’s healthy, he’s physically and mentally ready to get his chance with the Warriors.

As mentioned earlier, the Warriors need help at the backup point guard position and could use more scoring off the bench. If the Warriors brought Curry up from Santa Cruz, he could play some minutes at backup point guard and provide that offensive spark off the bench that they need.

In addition to these areas, the Warriors also need some more three-point shooting off the bench and more depth at the backup shooting guard position, since Bazemore has been struggling so much. Curry could help with Warriors in both of those areas too.

First of all, he’s an incredible shooter, just like his brother. In his final season at Duke, Curry averaged 17.5 points on 46.5 percent shooting from the field and 43.8 percent shooting from 3.

“I’m an established shooter who can come in right away and not go through an adaption period to the NBA,” Curry said. “I’ve been around this game my whole life. I can come in right away and fill a need. It helped that I spent four years in college, too.”

Second, as mentioned before, Curry is a combo guard, but he’s played most of his career as a shooting guard. Since the Warriors need more depth at both backup point guard and backup shooting guard, Curry would be the perfect fit to address both those areas.

The Warriors might want to give Curry more time in Santa Cruz to develop his point guard skills and gain more experience. Playing 35 minutes every night in Santa Cruz will certainly help Curry’s confidence, but Golden State might need him more than Santa Cruz does. This might be the ideal time to call up the younger Curry and see what he can do to help the Warriors win.

LGW: Preview: Golden State Warriors (8-6) at New Orleans Pelicans (6-7)

Photo courtesy of AP

Photo courtesy of AP

The Golden State Warriors will try to put an end to their three-game losing streak when they face off tonight against the up-and-coming New Orleans Pelicans. The Warriors won all four games against New Orleans last season, and they hope to keep that momentum going tonight. The Pelicans don’t have an overly impressive record, but they have won three out of their last four games, so they should not be overlooked.

Read the rest of the article on Let’s Go Warriors.

San Francisco Giants: Who Will Be Their Fifth Starter?

August 20, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (32, left) and catcher Buster Posey (28, right) talk to pitching coach Dave Righetti (33, center) against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at AT

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

After signing Tim Hudson to a two-year, $23 million deal, the San Francisco Giants have four proven starters on their roster. Matt Cain is their workhorse, Madison Bumgarner is the young ace, and Tim Lincecum is a fan favorite. Hudson is the new face in the starting rotation, but he’s also a proven pitcher who will provide some valuable veteran leadership to the starting pitching staff and clubhouse.

So what are the Giants’ options for their fifth starter? First of all, they could look outside the organization. The Giants have been tied to Ricky Nolasco, Dan Haren, Josh Johnson, and Bronson Arroyo. However, Nolasco is basically out of the running, because he’s seeking a four-year deal, which the Giants aren’t willing to give. Johnson is also out of the mix, because he just signed with the San Diego Padres.

That leaves Haren and Arroyo. The Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers are both reportedly interested in signing Haren, who struggled in late June and early July because of a shoulder injury but was excellent after returning from the DL.

Arroyo would be a great addition to this Giants starting pitching staff. Arroyo finished the 2013 season with a 3.79 ERA, but at AT&T Park, he had a 0.00 ERA in nine innings and a 0.60 ERA against the Giants last season. Arroyo has publicly said that he’d love to pitch in San Francisco, but the Giants haven’t extended him an offer.

The Giants also can look within the organization or to some familiar faces to fill the fifth starter spot. Ryan Vogelsong is one option. The Giants declined his $6.5 million option for the 2014 season, but according to numerous sources, both the Giants and Vogelsong’s agent are interested in discussing a deal to bring Vogelsong back. Vogelsong was a fan favorite and a beloved Giant, so Giants fans would love to see him back.

Vogelsong struggled for much of the beginning of the 2013 season, and then he suffered an unfortunate injury to his right hand right when he was starting to find his groove again. After returning from injury, he had issues with his velocity, his confidence, and his rhythm. However, he appeared to be close to re-gaining his dominant form later in the season.

Another option for the Giants is re-signing Chad Gaudin. Initially, the Giants brought on Gaudin last season to be their long reliever. When Vogelsong went down with his injury, Gaudin stepped into the starting rotation and proved to be a serviceable starter. In his 12 starts last season, he had a 3.53 ERA. Gaudin also served as a mentor to Lincecum and helped him transform into more of a cerebral pitcher. Gaudin was a great veteran to have in the clubhouse, so he’s a great option for the Giants.

One more option for the Giants within the organization is Yusmeiro Petit, who came within one strike of a perfect game last season. Petit started seven games for the Giants near the end of last season, and he finished with a 3.59 ERA and struck out 40 in 42.2 innings. Petit certainly made his case for why he deserves to start for the Giants this upcoming season.

The Giants also still have to find a left fielder or a first basemen, which would lead to moving Brandon Belt to left field. The Giants still have many areas to address in the offseason and many decisions to make on how they want to allocate their money towards addressing those needs.

Obviously, if the Giants want to save some money, it’d be easier to go with Vogelsong, Gaudin, or Petit. Brian Sabean has said that they are willing to spend extra money if they truly believe a free agent is worth the higher cost. Since it appears as if money is no issue, Haren and Arroyo must still be in the mix too. The Giants have many options for filling that last spot in the starting pitching rotation, so it’ll be interesting to see which option they choose.

LGW: The Kent Bazemore Conundrum

Chris Humphreys – USA Today Sports Images

Chris Humphreys – USA Today Sports Images

When Toney Douglas went down with a stress reaction in his left tibia, Kent Bazemore was presented with a big opportunity. Mark Jackson said that Andre Iguodala would see the majority of the minutes at the backup point guard position but that Bazemore would be the next option. Before this, Bazemore rarely saw any playing time. With Douglas out, he was expected to get more minutes at both guard positions.

The Golden State Warriors have played five games since Douglas was ruled out for two weeks. In those five games, Bazemore has averaged four minutes per game. In the first game without Douglas, he played nine minutes and turned the ball over three times.

Read the rest of the article on Let’s Go Warriors.

Are the Golden State Warriors Now an Elite Team?

October 24, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut (12), shooting guard Andre Iguodala (9), and point guard Stephen Curry (30) look on during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena. The Trail Blazers defeated the Warriors 90-74. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.

The Golden State Warriors currently have an 8-3 record, which is the third best record in the Western Conference. They are 5-0 at Oracle Arena, and they have already had several blowout wins so far this season.

They’ve impressed NBA analysts and fans with their uptempo, fun style of play and their stellar defense. Offensively, they shoot an outstanding 46 percent from three, which leads the NBA, and they’re tied for fifth in the NBA with 24.3 assists per game. They also shoot 48.5 percent from the field, which ranks second in the NBA.

Defensively, they allow opponents to shoot 42.3 percent, fifth best in the NBA, and they allow 96.3 points per game, sixth in the NBA. They allow opponents to shoot just 31.8 percent from three, third in the NBA. Also, they average 8.8 steals per game, ninth best in the NBA, and they average 5.6 blocks per game, seventh in the NBA.

All of these statistics are impressive, but stats only tell part of the story. There are many reasons why the Warriors are an elite team in the NBA.

First of all, the Warriors have one of the best starting lineups in the NBA. Stephen Curry is a star, Klay Thompson is developing into a complete player, Andre Iguodala is extremely versatile, David Lee is a double-double machine, and Andrew Bogut is a powerful defensive anchor. In fact, the Warriors have six proven starters. Harrison Barnes is still developing, but he could easily be a starter on this team because of his athleticism, his ability to play power forward, and his improvement in the post.

Second, the Warriors have a deep roster. Although their bench has struggled at times this season, the Warriors have several key contributors off the bench including Jermaine O’Neal, Marreese Speights, Toney Douglas, and Draymond Green. Kent Bazemore has struggled this year, and Nemanja Nedovic and Ognjen Kuzmic are still developing. The bench will gain more chemistry once they play more together.

Third, the Warriors made, arguably, the best and most significant acquisition of the offseason. The Warriors traded away some bloated contracts and useless players in Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins (and Brandon Rush, who wasn’t useless) and added the perfect complement to this Warriors team in Iguodala. He can do everything well, he has a high basketball IQ, and he makes everyone around him better.

He also improves this Warriors offense because of his ability to handle the ball, make plays, and drive to the basket. When he gets into the paint, defenders close in on him because of his ability to finish and that gives more wide-open looks to Curry and Thompson. In addition to his slashing ability, he also can shoot from mid-range and from three. He’s a great rebounder for his size, he’s able to run the offense, and he’s one of the best defenders in the NBA. He makes the Warriors a serious title contender.

October 5, 2013; Ontario, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors shooting guard Andre Iguodala (9) dunks to score a basket against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

On paper, these factors make the Warriors an elite team. On the court, the Warriors also prove why they’re an elite team. As mentioned before, Iguodala is a huge part of this offense. When he’s making plays, the Warriors are at their best. They’re also at their best when everyone is involved on a given play. All five of the Warriors’ starters are above-average passers, which is a significant reason why they’re an elite team. Each starter is more than capable of getting five assists in any given game. When the Warriors are passing the ball quickly and effectively, they are almost unstoppable.

Warriors basketball starts and ends with their defense though. This is the second year that the Warriors are playing under the defensive scheme that Coach Mark Jackson and former head assistant coach Mike Malone implemented last year. After allowing their opponents to shoot 43.9 percent from the field last season (fourth best in the NBA), the Warriors look even stronger defensively this season.

One reason why their defense is especially stellar this season is because of the addition of Iguodala and the fact that Bogut is healthy right now. Iguodala is able to guard four positions, which gives the Warriors a lot of options, in terms of matchups. Bogut drastically improves the Warriors’ defense because of his ability to block and alter shots and how opponents attack the basket.

The other reason why their defense is so effective is because of the general principle behind their defensive scheme. The Warriors have the mindset to focus on defense, because that’s the kind of team they are now. Their defense leads to their offense. Offense isn’t their primary focus anymore. It all starts with defense. When they get steals and blocks on defense, that leads to fast breaks, which is where they thrive. They’re so efficient in transition, because of their ability to shoot threes, attack the basket, and pass to the right person at the right time.

The Warriors are definitely an elite team in the NBA. Of course, it’s still very early in the season though, and they still have a lot to prove. The Warriors need to stay healthy in order to continue to play their dominant style, but they are a top-four team in the Western Conference and could potentially go far in the playoffs.