Q&A with Tim Kawakami, Part 2

We got more Tim Kawakami Q&A for you as we drop the 2nd half of the interview. If you missed the first one, check out Part 1 of the Tim K Q&A.

Here's a quick bio about Tim from his blog, Talking Points with Tim Kawakami:

Tim Kawakami is a Mercury News sports columnist, often charitably described as moderately entertaining, occasionally topical and determinedly unfire-able. (We've checked on that last one.) He came to the Merc in August 2000, started writing a Page 2 column and migrated to a regular sports column.

Let's jump into the Q&A, part 2.

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Golden State of Mind: Last season the Warriors got very little consistent production out of the small forward spot, whether it was Mike Dunleavy or Mickael Pietrus. Will things be different this season under Nellie? Also, who will have a better 2006-2007 campaign- Mike or Mickael?

Tim Kawakami: For, what, the fourth consecutive season, it's set up for Dunleavy to develop into something significant. Clearly, Nelson has been brought in largely to figure out what the heck to do with Dunleavy, who remains Mullin's favorite player. Obviously, Nelson knows what to do with big men who handle the ball. But is Dunleavy a Nowitzki? No. Is he Paul Pressey? Don't think so.

I do think Pietrus will play much better under Nelson. He might be the one guy I circle to flourish now that an established NBA guy is coaching him, and not a confused college guy. Look for Pietrus, Dunleavy and Murphy to play together on the front line--I don't like it much, because I'm a stickler for defense, but Nellie doesn't care too much.

So if I'm guessing: Dunleavy starts off OK, stumbles a little, and Pietrus finishes as the guy with a better future.

Golden State of Mind: Baron Davis and Jason Richardson aka the BoomRich backcourt (http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/story/2006/8/6/114624/1731): Do you think both or either of them will be Western Conference All Stars this season? What will Nellie do for their respective games? How will it differ from their experiences with Coach Montgomery?

Tim Kawakami: Hard to figure what Nellie's going to do for Jason and Baron--they're such established players at this point, and they're not typical Nellie guards, either. I don't know about All-Star spots... if Jason was going to get one, it'd probably have been last year, over Chris Paul. But Paul got it, and he'll get that spot for years now.

I've written this and I'll say it again: The league-wide distaste for Baron is huge and growing. He might be the most unpopular good player in the NBA. For a lot of things, but when you upset George Karl (in the World Champs) and flip out on Byron Scott, that doesn't help, because Karl and Byron have a lot of friends. I don't know if Baron will ever get to the All-Star Game again, unless the Warriors blister the field in the first half of this season.

Golden State of Mind: Monta and Ike represent the kiddie corps and have been hyped up by the organization. What are realistic expectations for these 2 young guys? What kind of impact will they have this season?

Tim Kawakami: Diogu I'm not sure about, because he's not quite a Nellie guy, but maybe Nellie finds something to do with a short, low-post guy with not a ton of range. It's hard to bury both Ike and O'Bryant (just announced he broke his foot, so whew, goodbye until January 2007, probaby)... so Ike might see some time. Not much, but some.

Monta, however, is another thing entirely. I think Nelson's going to love him... and at point guard, which Montgomery resisted heavily. Nellie likes to drive the other team crazy, and there's nobody on this roster who did more of that last year than Ellis.

Golden State of Mind: With Nellie now in town do you know if any big names like Kevin Garnett, Allen Iverson, Jermaine O'Neal, or Vince Carter would want to play here?

Tim Kawakami: Now you're getting to something. Big picture, I think Mullin wanted Nelson, period. But he also saw that, when he shopped for talent, nobody was that thrilled about a team coached by Montgomery, who was dominated by Davis. I'm not sure Garnett or O'Neal say, hey, Nellie's there, I gotta get to the Warriors. But it's something that helps, especially if Nelson's able to shove the Warriors to 43 to 45 victories. If.

Golden State of Mind: Do you know what the Warriors think about GSoM favorite Yi Jianlian? Cohan and Rowell have to know how much "cents" it makes to bring this Chinese prospect to the diverse Bay Area. Yi seems like a Don Nelson type of player with his sweet shooting touch and freakish athleticism for a big man. Nellie's former assistant Del Harris had some positive things to say about Yi when he coached the Chinese team back in 2004 too. (Check out the Yi Movement: http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/story/2006/7/5/115754/7048 )

Tim Kawakami: Don't know much about the player you mention, but I've always thought this town would go crazy for an Asian player. I was there for the Chinese national team (with Yao) vs. the US team and the arena was incredible. That's why they plotted for Yao for a few years--just wasn't going to work, though, because Yao is too loyal to the Rockets.

Golden State of Mind: Will the Warriors finally make the playoffs this season and end the 12 year drought? If yes, which seed? If not, what do they have to do to get there in 2008?

Tim Kawakami: Last year, I said they'd get to the playoffs. So I'm going to be more cautious now. We just don't know what Nellie's going to do, what the chemistry's going to be. We do know the West is loaded and is only getting better. We know the Warriors have won 34 games, two years in a row. So that's who they are, until things really change.

I'll say 10th place, 39 victories, which is a big step up, but not enough to please the fans. I'll say, if Mullin and Nellie change the feeling, they can get somebody by February next year, and edge to 2007-2008... I know that's a long time. But I'm not sure anybody can predict immediate happy things for this franchise.

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We'd like to thank Tim for responding with some insightful answers. It makes it that much more fun to come up with the questions when you get great answers.

Q&A with Tim Kawakami, Part 1.

Tim's got his own blog, Talking Points with Tim Kawakami, up and running, so be sure to drop by and check it out.

** Definitely feel free to link to our Q&A with Tim Kawakami, but please do not freely distribute it across the web (i.e. copy and pasting it onto message boards). Doing so is copyright infringement. Here's the direct link to this piece: http://www.goldenstateofmind.com/story/2006/9/13/12450/3503
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