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Golden State Warriors

Instant Trade Analysis: NBA trade deadline deals

The 76ers trade everyone, control the second round of the draft
Indiana Pacers get: G/F Evan Turner, PF Lavoy Allen
Philadelphia 76ers get: SF Danny Granger, second round pick
Cleveland Cavaliers get: F/C Spencer Hawes
Philadelphia 76ers get: F Earl Clark, C Henry Sims, two second round picks
Washington Wizards get: PG Andre Miller
Denver Nuggets get: PF Jan Vesely
Philadelphia 76ers get: Eric Maynor, two second round picks
In what turned out to be the biggest deal of the day, Larry Bird resuscitated an otherwise tame trade deadline like a last second three-pointer from the corner.
The Pacers finally cut bait with their longest tenured player, sending the ineffective and still recovering Granger (and his expiring $14 million dollar deal) to the tank-happy Sixers, who traded two of their best four players today in separate deals. To “get” Granger, Philly dealt back-up big Lavoy Allen and former second overall pick Evan Turner, the Ohio State star who was selected in the 2010 Draft over the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Greg Monroe and Paul George, amongst others.
The goal for Indiana was quite simple–to get the versatile Turner who can play both guard and forward positions, handle the ball and get to the rim with some ease. While Turner isn’t a great shooter (just .288 from beyond the arc), nor is he the type of offensive spark plug off the bench, in the mold of Jamal Crawford or Manu Ginobili, he’s a solid passer and a professional hand to have on the floor. He’s an upgrade over the immobile Granger, who’s been pretty awful this year after sitting out nearly all of last season with knee troubles. Again, Turner isn’t exactly going to light the world on fire, but at this point, he’s like a very poor man’s Lance Stephenson….who was picked 38 spots later in the same draft. Four years ago, I could have never envisioned typing that last sentence while clear and sober. I like this move for Indiana, as Turner is an expiring contract that they could very well re-up in the case that “Born Ready” leaves. … Read more...

The Final Piece: Golden State Warriors Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Stephen Curry, SG Klay Thompson, SF Andre Iguodala, PF David Lee, C Andrew Bogut
Key Bench Players: SF Harrison Barnes, G Toney Douglas, F Draymond Green, PF Mareese Speights, C Festus Ezeli, C Jermaine O’Neal
Offseason Additions: Andre Iguodala, Toney Douglas, Jermaine O’Neal
Offseason Subtractions: PG Jarrett Jack, PF Carl Landry, C Andris Biedrins, SF Richard Jefferson, SG Brandon Rush,
FACT OR FICTION: The final piece to the Warriors’ championship puzzle was Andre Iguodala. 
FACT. But his simple addition doesn’t make them into a title contender. If that makes any sense.
So why then would our glorious FACT OR FICTION breed such a strong statement? Because with Iguodala, the Warriors have found a perfect fit for their style of play, not to mention plug some holes in their very obviously weaknesses.
Offensively, it’s not exactly three-dimensional chess here: AI is a nightmare in transition, whether he’s starting the break with his killer handle and passing, or finishing with deadly propulsive efficiency. He’s just as effective in the half court set, creating plays from the elbow or wing, as well as setting up as a willing streak shooter. He’s now just another weapon that diversifies an already dynamic Golden State scoring blitzkrieg, which also harbors young developing stars like Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. Iguodala will be key with them as well, taking up the slack on both ends of the floor which effectively buys Golden State time while those two blue chippers blossom from the delicate flower buds they are into a full blown bouquet of basketball dominance.… Read more...

(Not So Instant) Trade Analysis: Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors and the Jazz dumping salary

Golden State Warriors get: SF Andre Iguodala (four years, $48 million)
Utah Jazz get: SF Richard Jefferson, C Andris Biedrins , G/F Brandon Rush, 2014 and 2017 unprotected first round pick (from GS), 2018 second round pick (from Denver), cash
Denver Nuggets get: G Randy Foye (three years, $9 million)
Atlanta Hawks get: PF Paul Millsap (two years, $19 million, via free agency)
Charlotte Bobcats get: PF/C Al Jefferson (three years, $41 million, via free agency)
If the two unprotected first rounders didn’t suggest it, the Warriors are in “win-now” mode. Duh.
The Warriors are going all-in with their current team after just their second winning season in almost twenty years. In a three team deal, the Warriors sent Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins and Brandon Rush (almost $24 million in salary for next season!) to the Utah Jazz, with Andre Iguodala coming to the Warriors and Randy Foye going to the Jazz, along with two unprotected first round picks. In two separate transactions, former Utah Jazz big men Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson will leave unencumbered from Salt Lake City, heading to the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Bobcats, respectively.
The Dubs will pay $39 million to just Stephen Curry, David Lee and Iguodala next year, without figuring in $9 million to Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green, as well as $14 million to center Andrew Bogut. The roster is capped out for the foreseeable future, especially when taking into considering at Thompson will most likely sign a eight figure extension in the next year or so, and Barnes doing the same the year afterwards. … Read more...

Bad NBA Contract of the Week: Kwame Brown

(In the vein of the highly esteemed David Shoemaker, AKA The Masked Man’s Deadspin column entitled “Dead Wrestler of the Week”, we here at MAMBINO are going to parse our way through the worst contracts the NBA has to offer. Part dedication to the great men who have swindled their way to big checks, part commemoration to GMs that should have been fired and part commentary on the ills of a capitalist society gone wrong, we’ll be here every week with a look at the L’s worst deals)
Contract: 2 years, $6 million
Signed by:
Philadelphia 76ers
Salary this season: $3 million
2013 Slash Line: 1.9/3.4/0.4 in 22 games
Expires: 2014
If you’ve ever seen Kwame Brown in person, you’ll know this same, overwhelming feeling I’m about to describe. As your eyes wander through the pregame lay-up lines trying to find the former number one overall pick, you’ll easily spot this gargantuan human being. All of 7 feet, 270 pounds, Kwame is built like a Greek statue. Though he’s become less of a specimen into his early thirties, Brown is still chiseled from head to toe. Most 7 footers are these gangly human train wrecks that look more like a random consortium of misappropriated body parts than anything a x and y chromosome could make. However, Brown resembles more of an over-sized professional wrestler than a willow tree—a fully filled out 7 feet tall. His arms are like the longest, most intricately detailed black marble you’ve seen in your life, which seem to be at odds with the design of his lower body. His legs are like two distinguished tree trunks, perfect for boxing out and destroying any opposing rebounder or defender that dare come at him in the paint. The only knock on Kwame’s anatomy are his curiously small hands that would look more suitable on a man one or two feet his subordinate. Overall, I always leave an in-person Kwame Brown experience thinking “if I had seen this guy when he was 18 years old, there’d be no doubt in my mind he’d be a star.” In this case, The 20/20 Experience is more than just an album full of jams.
There’s no doubt that Kwame Brown deserves a spot in this illustrious post series. In fact, he might be the charter member of the Bad NBA Contract of the Week Hall of Fame. But what I’m trying to say is that as much as I’m about to eviscerate Brown and any foolish manager that would sign him…I probably would have made the same mistake. But maybe not four times over.… Read more...

NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinals Predictions

1) Miami Heat vs. 5) Chicago Bulls
How do the champs make this a clean sweep?
El Mariachi: LeBron James.
Can the beat-up Bulls push this to 5 or 6 games?
KOBEsh: There really isn’t any logical reasoning to this prediction. Everyone on the Bulls is either physically injured or seriously ill. Derrick Rose’s brother continues his rope-a-dope with the NBA fan base at large, a sentence which leaves me wondering “Why the fuck are we listening to Derrick Rose’s brother anyway?”
But the most salient point in defense of Joakim Noah and company? The Chicago Bulls have all the ingredients to beat the Heat–extremely physical defenders, capable shot-blocking bigs that can avoid foul trouble and enough three-point shooting to disrupt a usually sterling Heat perimeter defense. To push this to a 6 game series, Da Bulls must outrebound the Heat by double-digits every single game; after all, this sometimes offensively challenged Chicago unit simply doesn’t have the playmaker to outwit superior defenders like James, Wade and Mario Chalmers on game-to-game basis. More importantly, Jimmy Butler, Marco Bellinelli and Nate Robinson have to continue to shoot in the upper-30% on threes in order to open up the middle for Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. The Heat’s perimeter defense is completely predicated on their athletes moving inside-out so quickly, not on size alone. In order to counter-act that, those three perimeter players must hit shots.
Most importantly, the Bulls know they can beat Miami. Being the team that ended the 27-game streak in a raucous United Center, Chicago has that intangible confidence to combat a Heat squad that quite frankly, most oppositions are afraid of. … Read more...

NBA Playoffs: Western Conference First Round Predictions

On Friday, we took a look at our Eastern Conference predictions. Even though one game is in the books, better late than never. Let’s get right to the other side of the bracket, the Western Conference:
1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 8) Houston Rockets
Why OKC takes it in 5 games
KOBEsh: It’s a 1-seed versus an 8-seed. That’s reason enough right there. 
But going further? You’ve got the league’s best and most efficient offense playing a squad with a middling 16th ranked defense, though they’ve certainly improved over the second half of the season. You’ve got two of the NBA’s deadliest scorers in Westbrook and Durant, and no one on the opposition that is at all suited to slow them down. You’ve got an experienced OKC front line that knows how to work advantages against a bunch of first-time playoff virgins, including Serge Ibaka whose mobility and shooting touch should tear up whatever platoon coach Kevin McHale chooses.
This shouldn’t be a contest. No further explanation necessary. … Read more...

Bad NBA Contract of the Week: Andris Biedrins

(In the vein of the highly esteemed David Shoemaker, AKA The Masked Man’s Deadspin column entitled “Dead Wrestler of the Week”, we here at MAMBINO are going to parse our way through the worst contracts the NBA has to offer. Part dedication to the great men who have swindled their way to big checks, part commemoration to GMs that should have been fired and part commentary on the ills of a capitalist society gone wrong, we’ll be here every week with a look at the L’s worst deals)
Andris Biedrins
Contract: 6 years, $54 million
Signed by:
Golden State Warriors
Salary this season: $9 million
2013 Slash Line: 0.5/8.0/0.3 in 47 games
Expires: 2014
Allegedly—and self-professed—Dwight Howard shot 90% on free throws in high school. Smiling, he weeks ago admitted to Stephen A. Smith that as he struggles to hit just 50% of his free passes in recent NBA seasons, in his formative years D12 was damn near automatic at the line.
How does that happen? As announcers and writers all over the league rave, Howard’s shooting stroke is sound. The rotation on the ball is crisp, coming out of his hands smoothly as the motion from his legs to his elbows collaborate in sync.
It’s all in his head. Howard surprisingly was completely self-effacing, professing that the problem with his free throws is between his ears. For most of his time in Orlando, Dwight shot close to 60%. But then it all went to hell. The All-Star center has either led the league or been towards the tops in free throw attempts in almost every of his 9 seasons. Yet, he’s gotten statistically worse, teetering on making less than half his attempts the last two seasons.
Luckily for Howard, it hasn’t completely changed his all-around game. He’s still a force defensively, controlling the boards and blocking shots at a prodigious rate. Offensively it’s certainly affected Dwight’s ability to be a fourth quarter world-breaker in the mold of LeBron or Tim Duncan. Coaches simply can’t rely on a player who won’t make his free throws down the stretch. Mike D’Antoni has learned this the hard way, as he’s been relying on four players well into their thirties—Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and even Metta World Peace—to close out games offensively, while his 27 year-old All-NBA center stands out there for defensive purposes and tip-ins.
But that’s just the fourth quarter. Dwight regularly calls for the ball in post isolation situations, boxes out in the paint waiting for alley-oops and put backs and maybe one day, far into the future, will operate a pick and roll with the best damn pick and roll point guard of this generation. Again, luckily for Howard, it hasn’t changed his game for all 48 minutes. Luckily for Howard, he’s still able to do many of the things that got him paid in the first place.
Luckily for Dwight Howard, he’s not Andris Biedrins.
Long and lanky, Andris Biedrins was taken 11th overall in the 2004 draft by the Golden State Warriors. He had dominated in the prestigious Latvian Basketball League, which I’m sure played to record crowds of dozens. Even after a pro career in his teens where he averaged 18.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.82 blocks, the 7 footer was a raw in every sense of the word, a project with potential but a long ways to go. And then there was that funny hitch in his shooting motion.… Read more...

Time to Believe in the Golden State Warriors? Season Preview

There’s a lot riding on those ankles.

Starting Five: PG Stephen Curry, SG Klay Thompson, SF Harrison Barnes, PF David Lee, C Andrew Bogut

Key Bench Players: PG Jarret Jack, C Andris Biedrins, SF Richard Jefferson, PF Carl Landry, SG Brandon Rush, SF Draymond Green, C Festus Ezeli

Key Additions: C Andrew Bogut, SF Harrison Barnes, SF Draymond Green, PG Jarret Jack

Key Departures: SF Dorrell Wright, G Monta Ellis, PG Nate Robinson, SF Dominic McGuire, C Kwame Brown (SIKE!)

Like so many Golden State Warriors teams of years past, the 2012-2013 squad has accumulated a lot of interesting parts with more questions on how they fit together. There’s no question that the franchise is taking meaningful steps to right the ship. The new ownership is an improvement and they seem to have a real plan in place, but it’s unclear how much that will pay off this season. 

Coach Mark Jackson looks like he will be able to get his team to play hard, even if he’s still learning how to teach the X’s and O’s. Shipping out Monta Ellis (although it was technically last year) for Andrew Bogut could be a franchise-altering move that allowed them to get real value in return for one of the league’s most puzzling players. No one in Golden State is kidding themselves that they have a championship team this year, but they certainly have a promising core and young talent that they can build on if this team starts taking steps in the right direction. As usual, the recipe for success is having healthy stars and reliable contributions from role players. 
Unfortunately for the Warriors, their biggest injury risks are Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut, who are both game changers when healthy and the future of the franchise. If Bogut works out, the Ellis trade will be a beautiful gamble. Bogut can hold his own offensively, but more importantly he is among the best defensive centers in the league and should provide a perfect complement for David Lee in the frontcourt. Similarly, a healthy Curry has few peers in the L when it comes to playmaking or offensive ability. The Warriors also smartly brought in new back-ups for each in the offseason, trading for the very solid Jarrett Jack and drafting Festus Ezeli at the center position.

Although it hurts to lose Dorrell Wright and the defensive stylings of Dominic McGuire, Brandon Rush finally put it together last year and looks ready for a bigger role. Harrison Barnes appears ready to start right now, which is great news for a team that should desperately want to avoid starting Richard Jefferson. Carl Landry is no defensive ace, but he’s a great scorer off the bench and a very good signing for the Warriors. If Klay Thompson can build off of his promising rookie year and Draymond Green contributes, the Warriors could be legitimately 10 deep with young legs. This is a coin flip of a roster that could be fighting for the playoffs or considering tanking for a higher lottery pick come next March.

Best Case Scenario: Everyone stays healthy, the young talent continues to develop, and their rookies can contribute this season. Curry’s unselfish playmaking galvanizes the offense and the Warriors improve on last year’s 11th ranked offense. Defensively, Bogut anchors things nicely and the team defense becomes respectable (last year’s anemic performance notwithstanding). The Warriors sneak in the playoffs as a 7 seed, but lose to the second-seed in 5 games. Their performance leads to a lot of optimism about the 2013-2014. 

We want to see as little of this suit as possible, Andrew.
Absolute Apocalypse: This one is easy. Inju…

WWE for a NBA Fan – Pacific Division (Part 6)

Hi, friends. Welcome back for the last installment of WWE for a NBA Fan. For those of you that don’t know, in my darkest NBA lockout doldrums, I started concocting alternative entertainment streams for those of us who missed basketball more than our own grandmothers. For a sundry of reasons, I realized that the WWE was a perfect alternative for the NBA, and for reasons that you wouldn’t think. Knowing the 30 NBA fan bases, as well as the WWE Superstars as well as I do, I identified and matched up teams with various wrestlers, division by division.

Even though we’ve been writing these posts for months to little fanfare and zero critical acclaim, Grantland’s Masked Man popularized the concept better than we could. In our 1-way rivalry with the mainstream’s best pro wrestling writer, we’re currently the Virgil to his “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Except without all the racial discrimination subtext. Hopefully.

Today, we’ll be finishing up the series by looking at the Pacific Division.  

Golden State Warriors: Jack Swagger

I love the Bay Area. Great place to visit, plenty to see and undoubtedly, a great hoops town. They know their basketball, and love their crappy team unconditionally. They’ve been privileged to see 20 years of great offense, from Run TMC to Baron to Monta to Steph. They know what ball is supposed to look like, and despite the Warriors portraying none of the game’s fundamentals, but they support them unconditionally.
But a question out to Oaktown and beyond – what if you could have a guy who is fundamentally sound? What if you could cheer for a guy with all the right tools who you can see going straight to the top? What if you didn’t have to watch an entertaining, yet vitally flawed team that will never quite give you the hoops you deserve? That would be nice, wouldn’t it? So that’s why you’re rooting for Jack Swagger.
A product of Perry, Oklahoma, Swagger comes straight from the wrestling program at the University of Oklahoma. After learning and perfecting grappling collegiately, Swagger entered the ranks of the professionals in the WWE. He’s already won the World Championship, and with his improving mic work augmenting his already prodigious skill set in the ring, more title reigns are certain to follow. Like the young player the Warriors seem to perpetually attain, Swagger is gifted and ready for the future. However, unlike them, he has the tools to take him and keep him at the top. The Golden State Swaggers? Sounds good to me.

Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Jericho

Writing this hurts me more than I can possibly bear. Chris Jericho has long been my favorite WWE superstar, and the Clippers have always earned by most sincere bile and hatred. Still, even through my haze of detest, I can’t deny the comparisons.

Chris Jericho is a six-time World Champion. He’s competed in federations all around the world, winning titles in every single one of them. He’s recognized as one of the greats of his generation, alongside Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Mick Foley, and The Undertaker.

However, next to those names, Jericho runs at a distant 2nd tier. Somehow, Y2J’s massive accomplishments and talent haven’t put him quite at the level of those guys I just mentioned. Austin, The Rock, Hunter, Foley, and the Undertaker have all transcended past the characters that they played on TV, and became larger than wrestling figures. They are household names, guest stars on television sRead more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Bucks trade Bogut for Ellis

It’s amazing to think that tonight’s deal was the first actual trade since January 4th, when bench contributing forward Mareese Speights was dealt from Philadelphia, in a three way deal in which guard Xavier Henry ended up with the Hornets and Philly netted a couple 2nd round draft choices. With a furiously moving schedule, Linsanity, daily Dwight Howard trade demands and a trio of ex-Nuggets arriving from China, it’s hard to say that we noticed.  So thank you Milwaukee and Golden State for bringing back the true original Instant Trade Analysis.
The Good Land gets: G Monta Ellis, F Ekpe Udoh and C Kwame Brown
Golden State gets:  C Andrew Bogut and F Stephen Jackson

Every once in a while, something will come along that surprises you, like a 72 degree New York March day, or that fact that Steve Blake’s wife is really hot. No, this trade didn’t necessarily surprise me, as Bogut, Monta and S-Jax had asked out of their current situations in one way or another for a few weeks now. What was surprising is that deal seems to work for both teams.

For the Warriors, the goal was simple: give new coach Mark Jackson a defense-oriented center that the Warriors could build around. Bogut, who’s gigantic Aussie frame resembles something closer to a WWE powerhouse than a NBA player, has been essentially a walking MASH unit the past couple seasons, with a dislocated shoulder, broken hand, fractured ankle, sprained wrist and injured back. However, when healthy, he’s arguably the 3rd best center in the game, behind Dwight and Andrew Bynum.

On the other side of the deal, Stephen Jackson is registering near career-low numbers in every category after philosophical differences (which is sports code for “Jax doesn’t like that bald bastard who coaches him” and “Coach Skiles thinks Jackson is a lazy gunner who only cares depending on the situation”) have made him ride the pine for the Bucks. Jackson remains a very talented player, but at over $9.2 million this year and over $10 million the next, the small-market Bucks can’t afford to pay an unproductive whiner. Jackson might end up being a steal for the Warriors, because, as he’s shown in the past when he was unhappy in Indiana and, ironically, Golden State, his numbers take a distinct bump when he’s dealt to a different team. Perhaps a move back to the bay and out of Skiles’ system will reinvigorate the still-talented Captain Jack.

The Bucks are taking a bit more of a gamble here, but still get what they’ve been seeking to acquire for the past two years in Monta Ellis: points. Scoring production, pure and simple. Perimeter swingmen, including Jackson, have all failed to a certain degree in The Good Land, and GM John Hammond needed to do something drastic to get the scorer who can elevate one of the league’s worst offenses. The loss of Bogut was somewhat diminished when taking into account how snake-bitten the former first-overall pick’s been, but giving away the player that they selected over Chris Paul and Deron Williams still represents a loss in investment. Though Kwame was inserted into the deal for pure salary cap reasons, Ekpe Udoh is just 24, in his second season (after a broken hand affected his play his entire rookie year) and is a defense-first player. Of course he won’t replicate Bogut’s production, but he is a young project that could turn into a Tyson Chandler-like defensive difference-maker. Another plus to this trade is that the Bucks will now be around $14 mill