Warriors

In wake of Ellis-Bogut trade, some key issues

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In wake of Ellis-Bogut trade, some key issues

All right, the Warriors trade of Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh andKwame Brown to the Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson is sinking in.And there are a lot of angles to examine.

NEWS: Warriors send Monta to Bucks
Here are some issues that come to mind:Crunch-time and halfcourt scoring: Thereis a school of thought regarding the Warriors, in general, that scoring is theleast of their issues. Ive disagreed with that in the past and stilldo.
Yes, the Warriors have been a high-scoring team, but in thehalfcourt and late in games they are not efficient or effective for the mostpart. Quite frankly, there have been plenty of times when the Warriors offensebogged down, and Ellis was able to bail them out by making a shot.The Warriors moved the only player on their roster capable of creating his ownshot, and that will have a tangible effect. Who will score the big points forthe Warriors? Who will get them tough buckets down the stretch ofgames?Its easy to criticize Ellis failures on late-gamepossessions, but the reality is that neither David Lee nor Stephen Curry hasshown aggressiveness offensively when the game is on the line.Maybe they will step up in Ellis absence, but that iscertainly not a given. The Warriors are going to need to establish a completelynew offensive identity, now that theyve lost their long-time leading scorerand it wont be easy.Boguts health: Lets face it, if Bogutdoesnt return to 100 percent this trade will have been a disaster. He brokehis ankle earlier this season, and last season he sustained a serious elbowinjury.If Bogut returns next season and resembles the old Bogut,then the Warriors will have found a center theyve been looking at for years.When Bogut is at his best, he excels at rebounding, shot-blocking and passing and he also can score a little bit.Lee and Bogut could become the best passing powerforwardcenter combination in the league. But it all depends on Boguts health.The Warriors are going to need at least 65 games out of Bogut in each of thenext two seasons. If they dont get that many, theyre in trouble.The rest of this season: Its obvious thatowner Joe Lacob and his front office made this trade because they dont believethe Warriors, as constructed, could make a playoff push.Clearly, this years first-round pick was on their minds.Because of a previous trade, if the Warriors earn the No. 1 through No. 7 pickin the draft, they will keep their pick.If they end up with the No. 8 pick or worse, it will beconveyed to Utah. In other words, the Warriors front office no longer caresabout making the playoffs but instead is interested in securing their own draftpick.So, the more the Warriors fall in the standings, the betterthe odds that theyll get to keep their pick.RELATED: NBA standings
But theyve got a long way to go considering theyre No. 11in the NBA right now. Worst-case scenario would be for the Warriors to not makethe playoffs and still lose their pick.Jacksons status: Its obvious theWarriors will try to re-route Jackson to another team before Thursdaysdeadline, but that is going to be extremely difficult.First off, all the players involved in the trade must passphysicals and thats going to take some time. In other words, its possiblethat the Warriors wont have league clearance to make a move involving Jacksonbecause this deal will not have completely cleared.The other thing is that the Warriors cannot aggregateJackson with any other player or salary, meaning they can only trade him andhim only as part of a deal. They may take more than one player back,however.It seems more than plausible that Jackson will remain aWarrior past the deadline and then the team will have to make a decision whatto do with him.

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

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USATSI

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.

The Warriors are going to be fine.

Eventually.

They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.

After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.

“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.

“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”

It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.

Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.

It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.

“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.

“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.

For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.

And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.

“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”

The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.

Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”

That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.

“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”

Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.

“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”

He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.

That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.

Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

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USATSI

Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

When the Warriors set foot in FedEx Forum on Saturday, they’ll find a very different atmosphere as well as a barely recognizable team of Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grindhouse is not the same. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter have left the building. So, too, has the “Grindfather” himself, Tony Allen.

So in their only trip to Memphis this season, the Warriors will focus mostly on point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, the remaining core members of the team that reached the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.

The Warriors (1-1) will be playing for the second night in a row, while the Grizzlies (1-0) have not played since their season opener Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 8.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: Curry has a long memory, and he will remember not only that the Warriors last season lost twice to the Grizzlies but also that Conley’s 27 points and clutch play offset Curry’s 40 points and led Memphis to an overtime win in Oakland. It won’t matter to Curry that the Warriors posted double-digit wins over the Grizzlies in the last two meetings last season. He may want to take over.

INJURY LIST:
Warriors: F Omri Casspi (L ankle sprain) has been ruled out.

Grizzlies: F JaMychal Green (L ankle sprain), G Ben McLemore (R foot surgery) and G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (R quad injury) are listed as out.

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have won five of the last seven in Memphis and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
BREEZE OR WHEEZE: Coach Steve Kerr has expressed some concern about the team’s conditioning level. On the second night of their first back-to-back set -- with the Warriors arriving at the hotel at 2:30 a.m. -- it could provide a glimpse of their progress. Kerr said he would consider resting one or two players. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, both coming off injuries, would seem logical candidates.

GEORGIA VS. SPAIN: The Republic of Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia and Spain’s Marc Gasol know each other well, having spent years battling internationally and in the NBA. There will be no surprises, but Pachulia will have to avoid foul trouble to remain a part of his team’s defensive rotation against one of the league’s best big men.

HOT KLAY: Klay Thompson is off to a torrid start, shooting 11-of-18 from beyond the arc through the first two games. And now he won’t have to worry about Allen, who relished in opportunities to defend the Warriors All-Star. Memphis replaced Allen with Andrew Harrison, who is not in the Grindfather’s class as a defender.