GSoM Q&A with Matt Steinmetz - 01/18/07 (Part 1 of 2)

Between analyzing Warrior games and interviewing players, we were able to get Matt Steinmetz to answer a few questions. If you watch any of the FSN broadcasted Warrior games, you're sure to have seen Matt dropping knowledge on the Warriors and the NBA in general.

Matt Steinmetz joins the FSN Bay Area team as an insider/analyst after nine seasons covering the Warriors as a traveling beat writer for the Contra Costa Times. Steinmetz won several writing awards while with the Times, including first place in Sports News Writing for his account of the Latrell Sprewell-P.J. Carlesimo incident in 1997.

In addition to his game-night duties on FSN Bay Area, Steinmetz also will write on a regular basis for FSNBayArea.com, providing commentary and analysis on the Warriors and NBA. He also will be a frequent contributor to the Warriors' Radio Roundtable weekly show, heard during the season on KNBR-680.

The best part about his bio online?
Steinmetz is on a constant search for the Bay Area's best pickup basketball games.
He'd tear me up for sure, but it'd be fun to watch him play. Perhaps one day I'll run into him on the courts. Be sure to check out the rest of Matt's bio on the FSN website.

Here's the first part of our Q&A with Matt Steinmetz. Please keep in mind that some of these questions were asked before the trade.

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Golden State of Mind: What types of roles do you envision for the new Warriors? Who came out as the bigger winner in this blockbuster trade, the Warriors or the Pacers?

Matt Steinmetz: As far as roles go, Nelson said he's going to start Jackson and Harrington, so obviously, they figure to have big roles. Jasikevicious is going to play, too.

Right now, you'd have to say the Warriors came out on top. But I'm sure, as we see more and more of Harrington, Jackson, et al., that we'll come to realize more precisely why Indiana wanted to trade these players.

On the surface, how can you not like the trade if you're a Warriors fan? It seems like they got two or three players more suited to their style (obviously), got better defensively and, perhaps most important, got a lot tougher and nastier as a team.

I really like that these guys have played in the postseason because if the Warriors are to make the playoffs, they're going to have to win meaningful games in late March and April.

Dunleavy and Murphy have yet to play in big regular-season games in the NBA yet and there is an unknown there about how they will have had to handle it. Frankly, there is still much unknown about how Jason Richardson, Mickael Pietrus, Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and even Adonal Foyle will handle it. That's the one thing that worries me about the Warriors making the playoffs.

The good news is the Warriors acquired three players - Harrington, Jackson and Jasikevicious - who have combined to play in 74 playoff games. And Jackson was a starter on a championship team. I do think the Warriors just became more equipped to play in tough regular-season games down the stretch.

Golden State of Mind: You've been doing an excellent job covering the Warriors for over a decade. Over the years, what has been the brightest moment for this franchise? The darkest?

Matt Steinmetz: Thank you for the compliment. Unfortunately, the bright times haven't been very bright in the past dozen years or so, but some of the best moments that come to mind are when the Warriors won six straight games Eric Musselman's first season to bring their record to 30-30 in early March. They faded down the stretch but that was about as close as the Warriors have come to making the postseason in a while. Although not a lot of people remember that in the lockout-shortened season, the Warriors, under P.J. Carlesimo hung around until the second-to-last week of the season before being eliminated. They finished 21-29 that year.

Clearly, the trade for Baron Davis at the trade deadline two years ago was a bright spot, no doubt about it. Who knows? Maybe one of the franchise bright spots will turn out to be the trade on Wednesday with Indiana. It's possible.

As far as dark moments, all dark moments must answer to the Latrell Sprewell-P.J. Carlesimo choking incident.

Golden State of Mind: Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy and Adonal Foyle were all starters last season, but their minutes and roles have been drastically reduced this season under Nellie. Do you see them stepping up? What are the chances that these players will be dealt?

Matt Steinmetz: Well, you saw what happened. One thing I find interesting, and I put it on my FSN blog, is that all these people out there who said Dunleavy and Murphy were worthless obviously were wrong. There seemed to be a general perception out there by a vocal minority that Mullin had made a huge mistake by signing these guys, that they weren't any good and that never in a million years could the Warriors trade them for anything good because their contracts were so bad.

Those people were wrong.

Turns out that not only were the Warriors able to move Murphy and Dunleavy and their so-called bad contracts, but they got two starters in return for them. So, if those guys were so worthless and lousy, why were the Warriors able to pull off this kind of deal? Apparently, there was another GM out there who thought they were pretty good … not just Mullin. And as they say, it only takes one. Count me as someone who expected more from both Dunleavy and Murphy. But it's clear that the perception out there by those who despised Murphy and Dunleavy - that they had no value and couldn't be moved - was way off base.

Golden State of Mind: Although the Warriors' record isn't that far off their record at this point last year, the culture and play seems dramatically different. What if anything is the difference about this ballclub compared with last season?

Matt Steinmetz: Well, I'm answering this question after back-to-back home losses against Orlando and Miami and right about now it doesn't seem like the Warriors' play is dramatically different from last season. But that didn't happen right away. Truth be told, the Warriors have struggled since after Christmas. They had two relatively nondescript wins over Eastern Conference teams, then got blown out in Sacramento, won a close game against the injury-decimated Hornets, and got beat good in Memphis.

They came home and struggled against Seattle and lost big at Phoenix before the Orlando-Miami twosome.

I think that's one reason the Warriors were motivated to make a deal. It seemed undeniable that the season seemed to be headed in a downward direction. The win over the Clippers at home on Monday was much-needed, but it didn't change the big picture as far as I was concerned. Things weren't looking too good.

Golden State of Mind: Mickael Pietrus, Matt Barnes, Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis are all having breakout seasons this year and are a big reason for this team's success. Will the Warriors be able to keep them all on the squad for the long haul? Would you try to keep all four guys?

Matt Steinmetz: I'm not sure if the Warriors will be able to keep them all for the long haul. Quite frankly, I'm not sure if they want to. I wouldn't lump the four of them together, though. I'd put Biedrins and Ellis together and Pietrus and Barnes together.

I'd be surprised if two or three years from now if either Biedrins or Ellis weren't on the roster. I wouldn't be surprised if the other two weren't on the roster. Without getting into a lot of detail, in order to re-sign Ellis and Biedrins down the line, they're going to have to do something else transaction-wise, for money/luxury tax reasons. I don't know what that may be, but I find it hard to believe that the Warriors will fail to find a way to keep their two young bright spots of this season.

However, if it takes the Warriors giving up one or these two in a trade to accomplish something bigger in Chris Mullin's mind, then I could see a move. But I don't believe Biedrins and/or Ellis will end up leaving the Warriors via free agency. Obviously, I answered this question before the trade, but it still stands, I guess.

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Be sure to check out Matt's weekly column on FSN Warriors Notebook. This week he's talking about what everyone's talking about, the trade.

We want to give a special thanks to GSoM friend Jen Franklin at FSN Bay Area for connecting us with Matt Steinmetz.


Stay tuned for the rest of Matt's Q&A with us...

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