Now that it's settled that the Warriors are going to challenge the '72-'73 76ers for the worst record in history, we should start assigning blame. Naturally, there's a lot to go around. I think (hope) everyone can agree that Stephen Curry and Kelenna Azubuike have played exceptionally well this season. Anthony Morrow has seemed to struggle at times, but that seems to be more that the secret is out that he can shoot, and he has to adjust to his new found attention. Turiaf has played like we expect him to play, with energy and enthusiasm, but not much skill. Biedrins has struggled to find his place on offense this season; he is still an efficient finisher but he's turning the ball over more and not getting as many offensive boards prior seasons. Randolph has had inconsistent play during inconsistent minutes, and seems to be showing some lingering affects from his injured lower back injury.
That leaves three players who have played significant minutes: Stephen Jackson, Monta Ellis, and Corey Maggette. Each of these players deserve some blame for the Warriors poor start. Jackson has already tried to sabotage the season before it began with his trade demand, and his on court play has left a lot to be desires. He's averaging 15 points, but his TS% stands at .488, and he's averaging a stellar 2 boards, 3 assists and 3 turnovers. Ellis is scoring points (averaging 22.5 points per game) but doing so by using up a lion's share of the teams possessions, his usage rate 30.8% (for comparison, Lebron James is 30.9%). He also has shot poorly, turned the ball over a lot, and not gotten his teammate involved (averaging just 4 assists). Both Ellis and Jackson have not only played poorly, but they have undermined the teams chemistry- Jackson's trade request and Ellis straight up saying he and Curry playing together won't work.
However, neither of them has gotten the amount of blame or hate as Corey Maggette. Maggs is closing in on the Armando Benitez zone as far as fan approval goes. For those of you who follow the Giants, you should know this idea well. For those of you who don't follow the Giants, Armando Benitez was the highly paid and highly ineffective closer for the Giants from 2005 to 2007. He kept finding new and unique ways to blow saves and get booed off the field until the Giants management had no choice but to trade him for a journeyman reliever, 3 goats and a 6-pack of Heineken. That's where Maggette is heading. He has shot poorly (.374 TS%), increased his reputation for being a ball hog (usage rate of 29.2), turned the ball over way too much (19.1 turnover rate), and he is getting playing time that could go to golden boy Anthony Randolph. Also, I believe that Maggette clubs baby seals in the off-season. He obviously is the biggest problem with the Warriors this year and deserves the majority of the blame.
There's only one problem with this: The Warriors have played better with Maggette in the game than they do with him on the bench. Much better.
In 2 games, the Maggette has played 43 minutes. In those 43 minutes, the Warriors have had 96 offensive possesions and 98 defensive possessions. They've scored 97 points and allowed 100. If we weight this for 100 possesions to give Maggette an on court offensive and defensive rating, we get an ORate of 101.04 and a DRate of 102.04, meaning that when Maggette is on the court, the Warriors lose by 1 point per 100 possessions. This doesn't sound good until you remember the Warriors as a team lose by 11 points per 200 possessions. Also, when Maggette is on the bench (which has been 53 minutes) the Warriors have played 112 possessions and scored 111 points while their opponents have played 110 possessions and scored 131 points. If we once again find an offensive and defensive rating per 100 possessions, we get an off-court ORate of 99.11 and an off-court DRate of 119.09. So when Maggette is out of the game, the Warriors lose by nearly 20 points. If we combine this with his on-court numbers, we get the the Warriors are 19 points better with Maggette on the court than with him off it.
So, if Maggette is shooting the ball poorly and turning the ball over, why are we better off with him in the game?
As noted earlier, it isn't his offense. He's shot the ball often and poorly and turned it over. He is even getting to the line slightly less this year. Of course, offense only accounts for half the game of basketball. Is is possible the Maggette is a great defender and we don't realize it?
PLAYER MIN Maggette, Corey, GSW 43.77 OVERALL ON OFF NET -1.00 -19.98 18.98 OFFENSE ON OFF NET 101.04 99.11 1.93 DEFENSE ON OFF NET 102.04 119.09 -17.05
Offensively, the Warriors are slightly better when Maggette is in the game. Defensively, the Warriors are much, much worse when his NOT in the game.
Another main reason that Maggette finds himself as the target of so much hatred is that he is seen as impeding the progress of superstar in the making, and possibly the second coming of Christ, Antony Randolph. This is observation is true, Maggette has not played once this season with two other big men on the floor (which I guess would make him the power forward, but positions are pretty hard to determine with this team). However, Randolph has seen a fair amount of playing time, but the results haven't been great:
PLAYER MIN Randolph, Anthony, GSW 34.70 OVERALL ON OFF NET -25.64 -2.31 -23.33 OFFENSE ON OFF NET 96.15 102.31 -6.15 DEFENSE ON OFF NET 121.80 104.62 17.18
What's the point of all this? I don't know. It's not that Maggette is the savior of this franchise. He's not. It's not that Randolph sucks. He doesn't. I think it's more that hating on Maggette is kind of pointless, especially when him being on the court has a direct correlation with the Warriors playing well.
Actually, I think the real point is this: It's only been two games!