Of late there has been a great deal of conversation with regards to the firing of Nellie, Rowell, Cohan, etc. I raised a point on another thread with regards to Keith Smart being in that pot as well due to his defensive coaching responsibilities and I’ll come onto that in a while, but I first wanted to highlight a much greater issue and one that could make or break this season....
First and foremost, the performance against the T-wolves highlighted that there is nothing wrong with the core talent on this team, nothing at all. There is however some serious question mark over the coaching decisions and most importantly in my personal opinion, the “STYLE” of coaching required for THIS team, right now.
There is also a significant part of this to come from the players themselves. Why?... If you are a player of the ability to reach the NBA, then you are a player that can and MUST learn to play a defensive game. Granted some players are better than others at defensive play immediately. But if I was coach and I was not seeing 100% hustle on D, I would sit that player until he learnt that without hustle on D, you don’t get to play and do the nice bits! I.e. the glory of offensive play...
So already you see the approach of the “Carrot and the stick”. As long as the player follows the carrot, they don’t get hit with the stick, it really is that simple.
I will now go onto a slight tangent, but this will have significant relevance if you bear with me...
The problem with today’s NBA players and professional sports athletes in general and to an even greater extent the Bay Area in general (from my observations of the last 4 years) is this culture it seems of “it’s my right!” The Bay Area is a truly superb region, however it is ruined by the self opinionated individuals that effectively shout loudest for their right to do what they want, irrespective of how that might affect their neighbour/colleague/friend/enemy. It comes down to “It’s my right, so I am gonna do this”. The city of San Francisco is summed up perfectly in one word “Entitlement”. There is a nasty underbelly of self “entitlement” that you only get to see once you have lived in the area, where people are more concerned about their own wants and needs, rather than that of others/their freinds or neighbours. There are many communities, but sadly, there is not one big community, unless there is a major event or disaster...
There are sections of society now, that grab more headlines and newsprint square inches, by simply shouting loudest with no respect for anyone else’s views, all the while championing “freedom of speech, and civil rights” yet when someone has an opposing view, they are chastised and almost bullied by even louder shouting as to why the opposing view should not be allowed or is even relevant... can anyone say the word “hypocrisy?”... Something that could be very easily aimed at Stephen Jackson of late...
Newsflash.... no one actually gives a rats kazoo about your individual rights, but as part of society or for example a team.... you have every “right” expected, as does the next man, but when your individual right starts affecting the majority, then I am sorry, but for the greater good of the majority, YOU NEED to accept what you can negotiate and be happy with it. Not stamp your feet and throw your toys around like a spoiled child, just because people are not conceding to your view or opinion.
Young players nowadays it seems, have been taken over by this intense “It’s my right and entitlement” nonsense and when certain players start behaving in that manner, then it starts to affect the greater good of the TEAM....and THAT is when a coach, must step in and be the man that he is paid to be.
Many of our players have become lazy, sitting back on their bank roll, comfortable it seems to earn the money, RATHER than be hungry to get a championship ring. Some it seems, like to think that a Championship ring is simply going to arrive at their feet, it’s not, and it comes from hard work and HUSTLE and playing as a unified UNIT. Young Stephen Curry highlighted as such recently stating that on Sunday they spent two hours working hard in the GYM....including the vets, which suggested the Vets effort had been a little less than that to date.
Two hours.... TWO HOURS???? If this team produced the performances it has of late, the players should not get out of that damn Gym. 6 Hours later...they might have earned dinner...then once gym work is complete, they should study and study, defensive plays, other teams, other players. Without adding a single player to the team, this added dedication and preparation will start increasing the win count. You dont neccessarily have to be better than your oponnent, but you do have to be better prepared.
How many hours do you think our guards spent studying Evans and footage of him and other Sac players? They should have known every trick, angle, move, favoured hand, favoured shooting position, everything there is to know about their opposition... if anyone does not think that is necessary, well then keep your smart Armani suit on, as you won’t be playing tonight. THAT is what a coach should be telling his team and remind them that they are nothing but a basketball player and for that they should be extremely grateful, that they get to perform on behalf of fans who spend their hard earned wages from being refuse collectors, taxi drivers, Police Officers, Nurses, Doctors, teachers...etc etc...it should therefore be their privilege and honour to put on the Warriors uniform and not the privilege of the Warriors to have these players play for them.
But society today has put professional athletes on a pedestal and no matter what their age, they suddenly feel it is their right to play the game they want to play it and on their terms. THIS is where you need a coach to step forward and crack the whip.
We have kids growing up that “just do enough”, or “that’s good enough”, or “what can I do, it’s not my fault” and you see it in today’s athletes. They become so wrapped up in their own self importance that they fail to realise they are actually not doing enough to help the greater good of the team. In short.... many professional athletes have become selfish, self centred, egotistical attention whores that must and SHOULD be controlled by their coach. There are of course exceptions and players like Buike, Curry and players like Crawford, did/do what they are asked to do with some grace and professionalism.
So... we currently have some players (Jackson) taking personal differences public, Monta Ellis not really seeming to give a monkey’s and other young players it seems, failing to grasp the basic principle that working as a team, comes before ALL ELSE. That message is clearly not getting across from the coaches and is it any wonder, when we see the complete lack of leadership or “carrot and stick”. What Nelson is doing with Randolph right now, is NOT “Carrot and Stick”, it is simply poor management. When you look at Don Nelson interviews and the way Keith Smart conducts himself in timeouts, not anyone would get the impression that, either of them at that given moment is the “boss” or as we call them in the UK...”The Guvnor”.... Our coaches it seems have a very “I’m your friend, let’s talk about this style... now that may work for hardened NBA veterans, but it does not work for young men that need to know where the line is... step across it...you get hit and hit hard.
Warrior’s basketball currently consists of many on court “bosses” a few sideline “bosses” and a few front office “bosses”. What is painfully clear is the fact that the Golden State Warriors NEED desperately a leader, ONE SINGLE BOSS... the one person that you know will absolutely rip you apart in public and in private for crossing him. One that once crossed will be swift with retribution and vengeance.
This “molly coddling” and “pampering” has got to stop. The responsibility for that rests with the coaching staff. It is time to start kicking some backsides and telling players that if they don’t deliver on defensive hustle, then they don’t get to play offense. Or if they dont shut their mouths in public about their trade requests, they will never play on the court again and if they are lucky, someone may come and save them. Does it mean you are paying someone a stupid amount of money to do nothing..yes it does... does it take back the control from the player to the club...yes it does.
What I would give to get Dennis Rodman as defensive "advisor" to show these kids that each and every one of them has MUCH to learn about defensive hustle. While the man has certainly not been a shining light inhis off court antics, no one can ever question his prowess on the defensive end of the court. I have to say...the two players showing most dedication to hustle currently are Acie Law and Curry. Law realises what the likes of Monta and his fat pay check simply don’t get.... dedication and hustle makes you part of a hard working team and hard working teams with just a couple of excellent players, win championships, it really is that simple. More importantly, we need the Boss to recognise that maybe the Zone defence just is not working and if that means another system then so be it, then players MUST hustle, if they don’t...they don’t play...
As defensive coach, If Keith Smart is not currently getting that message across, then unfortunately he is not getting his job done properly and you need to put someone into that position to grab these lads by the ears and scream your lungs out at them when they are not making effort on "D". If they choose to ignore that, or do not follow orders from the coach...it’s time to warm the bunch...”WHOEVER” you might be.
Teams require powerful leadership and while Keith seems a nice guy, he does not strike me as the kind of guy that would stand toe to toe with one of these guys and publicly rip them a new backside for lack of effort.
The armed forces have worked on this principle for decades, of which I experienced much of that "wrath" at times by my Regimental Sergeant Major.... But the one thing I learned very quickly is that while it may seem harsh at the time, they are treating you that way to get you to react when the time comes without question, there is no discussion to be had, you have a Boss, he tells you to do X....you do X... and get on with it and the reason why he has told you to do X, is that little thing called experience and that it might just save your life one day. It is clear that currently this team is not "reacting" to the opposition and that is because it is currently not a unit and this is why Monta Ellis is far from being a Floor General, but unfortunately...Curry is never going to be able to bark at Ellis or Jackson or Mags for being in the wrong position or getting a play wrong, as they will simply tell the rookie to keep quite or words to that effect...
The problem today is money and respect. Too much money and not enough respect....Some of these kids are getting more money than sense; they feel they can do what they like. Well we need a coach that is prepared to address the balance and the balance needs to be taken back from the players, back to the BOSS!
The Warriors have been diabolical defensively and for people to say that the players just are not good on defence are giving these players a free ride. Well guess what.....the free ride is over...it is time to earn ya crust!
Therefore is it time for Don Nelson to step aside? in all honesty I believe it is. Should Keith Smart be the one to take over? Maybe for an interim period... but he is certainly not the end solution.
The fact remains, that when the “Boss” loses control of the troops, anarchy ensues in the ranks and currently this team and for that matter, this Franchise is lacking the pivotal leader that can stamp his authority on the club and remind the players that their total skill set is to bounce a ball up and down a court and put it into and keep it out of a basket. This is not rocket science, it simply requires effort and if certain people feel their ego’s can allow them to do what they like, then it is time for them to be brought down a peg or two.
The fortunes of this club in my personal opinion, will not change until we start to see who the man in charge is... the one thing I can tell is...the man in charge is not Stephen Jackson, it is not Monta Ellis but equally it is not Don Nelson or Keith Smart and that for me, is the most worrying thing about this basketball club and has been for a while now.
The coach of the Golden State Warriors is not seen, treated as or referred to by anyone...as the Boss and until that changes, the Warriors will remain a rudderless ship!