Don Nelson really is the master of entertainment. When he was named head coach a little over a month ago, we knew there would be some major changes. He flat out stated that Mike Dunleavy was not a small forward and wouldn't play there. Nelson also said he was going to move Troy Murphy from power forward to the center spot. He called out the BoomRich backcourt for the poor free throw shooting. And GSoM favorite Adonal Foyle- well, it's a good thing that Democracy Matters everywhere, including the Warriors' bench.
We all knew that Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, and Troy Murphy would start because they're the Warriors three best players. We also knew Dunleavy was going to start because of his contract and the point forward experiment. But who was going to be the 5 starter? Most of us bought into the Monta Ellis hype and thought it would be the young, quick as lightening player.
But it looks like Mickael Pietrus has emerged as Nellie's 5th starter. Mickael struggled last year in what was supposed to be a breakout season for him, but to his credit he had to be the worst used player under Coach Montgomery. His playing time never made any sense. Pietrus would blow up one night and then barely play the next game. MP2 never got a fair chance at the starting spot either. Dunleavy stunk it up for 100+ games as a starting small forward, but Pietrus only got a couple of games to try out the role.
Western conference PG's and star swingmen- you've been warned. If Mickael read his pilot manual this offseason and learned how to play hoops, Air France is finally about to take off. Pietrus could be the Bay's version of Ron Artest (defensively)- just replace Ron-Ron's craziness with MP2's goofiness.
Here's some of the pro's and con's of Mickael Pietrus starting at the 3 spot:
- I get the feeling that Nellie's already had a talk with Pietrus that went something like this:
Nellie: Mickael- do you want to play?
MP2: Wi! Wi! Wi!
Nellie: Then you better be the shutdown defender you're capable of being.
If he can control the fouls, Mickael is going to make Baron and JRich's life that much easier.
- BD and MP2 have a connection. We didn't see it much last season because by the time Pietrus got a chance to start Boom Dizzle was pretty much hobbled, but watch out- BD to MP2 is going to be nice. Not as nice as the BoomRich show, but still very effective. Look for some nice cuts to the basket and beautiful dishes. Pietrus just has to make sure he can finish those easy buckets.
- EN-ER-GEE!. Many times last season the Warriors started off games so poorly and so devoid of any energy that they found themselves in quick double digit holes. Mickael might make mistakes, but he always brings maximum energy. He could be just what the Warriors need to hit games running every night out in the Arena and on the road.
- Free throws aren't free with this starting lineup. BD= 67.5%, JRich= 67.3%, Air France= 60.8% (all last season)-- UH-OH.
- This makes the Warriors' frontcourt probably the worst rebounding triplet in the league. Troy Murphy is like Windex on the glass. He's guaranteed to collect his 10 plus a night, but Mike Dunleavy and Pietrus have been poor rebounders thus far in their respective NBA careers. Last season Dunleavy played predominantly at the 3 spot where he had a height advantage, but still only managed to grab 4.9 rebounds in almost 32 minutes of play (also see Mike Dunleavy at the 4?). Pietrus' poor rebounding numbers are a head-scratcher. He's obviously strong, athletic, and gifted with some serious hops, but he was only good for 3.1 boards a game. Part of the problem was him hanging out on the perimeter on the offensive end (his fault and maybe Monty's game plan) and the other part was him guarding perimeter players (not his fault). Pietrus and Dunleavy have to step up their rebounding if they are going to remain Nellie's starting forward tandem this season.
- What's a blocked shot? This isn't necessary Pietrus' fault, but the Warriors starting front court is going to be simply pathetic in this area. 0.2 (MP2) + 0.4 (Dun) + 0.4 (TMurph) = 1.0 blocks per game. Pietrus will likely get more minutes, so that calculation isn't perfect, but it foreshadows some of the upcoming depressing shot swatting that will be on display by the Warriors starting frontcourt this year.
What are your Pro's and Con's for Mickael Pietrus at the 3 spot? Do you think it will work?
Props to loyal GSoM community member GSDubz for putting this up faster than you can say "Warriors in the lottery" in * * * OFFICIAL WARRIORS STARTING LINEUP RELEASED * * *. NOTHING gets past the GSoM community- except for Warriors playoff tickets that is.
Also check out some of the local media coverage (haha, I don't think the national media really care about this one) on MP2's promotion:
- Nelson settles on a new look: 'Terrific' Pietrus to start at small forward by Janny Hu for SFGate.com
- Pietrus named Warriors' starting small forward by Geoff Lepper for InsideBayArea.com