The Benching of Veterans

It appears that Nellie has started the youth movement. Word is, he's going to be sitting healthy veterans in favor of playing the young guys, starting with Jamal Crawford tonight against the Bobcats (a team he dropped 50 on).

From Nellie:

"I'll do that periodically because I have a logjam at (shooting guard) and it's probably better not to try to play everybody," Nelson said after practice, in which he figured the average age of the participants was about 23. "Just give a guy a game off every once in a while."

Jamal can't be too happy about this but he'll be there on the bench cheering on his teammates. But he's not telling the media he's upset:

Coach Nelson has been around for 30 years and won 1,300 games," said Crawford. "I'm not going to ever question what he's doing. He wants to play young guys, and I understand. They've worked hard all year."

Understandably, Aaron Goodwin, Crawford's agent, isn't very happy about it:

"What is the message that Coach Nelson is sending the team? That he does not care about winning?" Goodwin said. "You would think, in this day and time when fans work hard to pay for these tickets, that the coach would field the best possible team. Jamal may not score 50 points on the Bobcats again, but he would work hard to get a win and reward the fans for their loyalty to this team in this hard time."

A couple more links:
Crawford's Agent Decries Warriors' Move
Crawford the Scapegoat?

 

What does this all mean? Hit the jump...

  • In terms of playing time, expect to see Marco and Morrow out there a lot more often with CJ also seeing some extra minutes. I guess I won't be able to see Jamal's crazy handles as often and have to settle for watching Rocky and Morrow shoot 3's.
  • Why this sudden change of heart from Nellie? I have a hard time believing Nellie is fully on board with this. Does he really want to play the young guys and give his veterans a rest? I know that in baseball, guys get days off since the baseball season is a marathon, but in basketball you don't hear about it as often. I just don't quite understand the motivation behind this given Nellie's track record of not playing young guys unless they give him a better chance to win than his vets. Nellie knows that this isn't going to help him win games. Marco and Morrow are not going to help you as much as Jamal is. Has he all of a sudden decided to build for next year rather than win more games this year?
  • Could management be pushing this? I would think management would want to win more games this year to help get season ticket holders to renew. If the Warriors can continue to play around .500, you can try to sell tickets based around this team just needing all of its players back to make a playoff push.I think they're looking at a big drop in season ticket renewals. Jamal helps you win games.
  • BUT, i can also see it from management as them trying to force Crawford out the door. Get him to opt out of his contract this summer and you save a ton of money. You get Morrow and Marco some more experience, get Jamal off the books, and go into next season praying that Monta makes a 100% comeback. Why does this force Jamal out? Tell him that his minutes next year will get eaten up little by little by the young guys and his minutes go from 37 this year to around 30 next year. Essentially push him out the door and make his time here uncomfortable. Perhaps he also realizes that he'll be 29 next year without ever having played a playoff game. Opt out, go to a contender while he can still be a useful piece off the bench. Given the current state of the NBA where everyone is trying to shed salary to avoid the luxury tax, this doesn't surprise me.
  • The only negative I see to him opting out is he becomes a valuable expiring contract in 2010. A $10 million expiring contract could come in quite handy if the Warriors think they can make a playoff push that year.
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