Behind Enemy Lines: Golden State Warriors

The season is finally here!! The Hornets roll into California today to take on the Golen State Warriors of Oakland. In related news, Chris Paul will be defended by a combination of C.J. Watson, Marcus Williams, and Demarcus Nelson.

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Golden State of Mind helped us preview the matchup. Here's what they had to say:

At the Hive: Who offers the best play at point while Monta Ellis is out, and why? And is Ellis really the answer at point even when he comes back?

Golden State of Mind: This has been a huge hot button topic amongst the GSoM and Warriors community as a whole. A lot of fan like C.J. Watson at the point because he did show glimmers of prowess in the limited minutes he received last year. He's certainly the safest bet as he is the only one of our three options that has played under Nellie in regular season games. Few can argue that he shows the vision we saw from Baron and, to a lesser extent Monta, but more time means more opportunity.

Many fans have been looking at Marcus Williams as a potential answer as well. He certainly showed skill as a rookie and there is certainly optimism about how he is going to respond under Nellie ball. Unfortunately, he doesn't appear to be impressing Nellie recently (http://www.examiner.com/x-441-Golden-State-Warriors-Examiner~y2008m10d26-Rob-Kurz-is-Warriors-final-cut-Marcus-Williams-shouldnt-celebrate-though) so we may never find out. Well, it's not like Nellie hold grudges or anything. Oh wait…

Lastly, we have DeMarcus Nelson. Given Nellie's history for playing rookies, ordinarily I'd say this guy has a better shot of logging minutes as towel boy than time on the court. But we're a different team this year with different circumstances. No longer do we have the solid support of a player like Baron to carry us through the dark time. I think DeMarcus will get some play time, but he's not going to have long to prove himself.

Short of any of these three taking off under the point, Monta will be our answer for point. Frankly, he's much more of a threat at the 2, but if our backups can't distribute the ball and create plays, Monta can and will.

@tH: At a quick glance, it seems like Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright are virtually identical players. Both 6'10", both 205, both within a couple years in age, and both extremely athletic. What exactly differentiates the two, and who will be the better player in 5 seasons?

GSoM: So far, not a hell of a lot. This was certainly another common point brought up by our readers when Randolph was brought to the Bay. It seemed odd that we would pick up another Wright when Wright himself was showing a bright future in his limited time on the court.

The only difference so far is preseason play, where Randolph outplayed Wright and took steps to earn the backup Power Forward spot. If this holds in the regular season, we'll be seeing a lot more of Randolph.

Based off of what I know right now I'd say Wright is going to be better in 5 years. Keep in mind that's kind of like telling you which restaurant I like better when I've only had appetizers at one of them.

@tH: Going into the offseason, would you have traded Baron Davis straight up for Maggette and Turiaf?

GSoM: Some fans will say yes to this, some will say no. Me personally? I say no. Players like Baron don't come around every day. No stones at Maggette and Turiaf, but it would have taken a lot more than that to whet my appetite. And trust me, no one hopes that I end up choking on those words more than I.

@tH: What would it take for Don Nelson to slow up the pace a little bit and let Andris Biedrins play more than 27/28 minutes a game? Do you think Nelson doesn't think Biedrins is good enough, or just that the Warriors aren't suited to play slower?

GSoM: We might have out answer this year. You have to have the right equipment to play Nellie's run and gun style of play. It's hard to be convinced that we have the right weapons in place with this years' squad to play the same brand of ball we've seen over the past couple of years. But if there's one thing I'll give Nellie, it's that he's a damn good coach. If the elements aren't in place, he'll have to switch up his style a bit to cater to the weapons that he does have. Beans is certainly one of them. Every year he seems to improve. Hopefully this year he'll reach the level where Nellie feels comfortable running more plays through the middle.

@tH: Do the Maggette and Turiaf acquisitions fit into a larger, long-term strategy on the part of Chris Mullin, or are they merely stop gap measures to keep the team afloat?

GSoM: It's tough to say that they aren't stop gap measures; especially when the moves we made to get them came in the wake of Baron jumping ship to the Clippers. That being said, there could be a very key role for both of them with the Warriors, especially Maggette. Few can argue that a player like Maggette, so established in his career with the Clips, is not going to make an impact on the Arena floor. Should he do so, he could certainly fill a gap in our roster for years to come.

@tH: Finally, how many games do the Warriors win this year?

GSoM: 40 games. Just enough to slide into the final playoff spot and upset the number 1 seeded team. You heard it here first.

Thanks a lot to Ashish over at Golden State of Mind! Great insight, and it should be a great game. Our answers to their questions should be up at GSoM soon.

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