Seriously... we should grab this guy. Check out this line he just put up in 40 minutes:
16 points (8-11 FG), 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls
Solid stuff, right? He's not a world-beater, but that's some efficient work, and considering how dire things are for us on the boards and around our rim, he could make a big difference.
Who is this player?
IT'S ANDRIS FRIGGIN' BIEDRINS. And if you don't recognize those stats, that's because Nellie has seen fit to only give him forty minutes, TOTAL, over our last two miserable games, in which we were outrebounded by 15 and 16, respectively.
Andris is not an elite player. He's limited offensively; he gets outmuscled at times on defense; his free throws are troubling, to say the least. But other than his free throw woes -- a big issue, but an issue that is neither totally crippling nor totally new -- Andris Biedrins is the exact same player he's always been. He's scoring less often because nobody's running plays for him and grabbing fewer offensive boards because Nellie has him setting screens behind the arc, but he's grabbing defensive boards, affecting shots, making shots and passing as well as he ever has. Andris Biedrins is the same player he's always been: a good one.
More to the point, we suck. And do you know the main three reasons we suck? 1) We're the worst-rebounding team in basketball, 2) we give up the second-most points in the paint of any team in basketball, and 3) we let our opponents shoot better from the field than any team except for the Nets. And when those things are true of your team -- when your opponents are running roughshod all over you on the boards and near your rim -- and you have a player on your roster who
* is one of the ten best rebounders in basketball (the sixth-best rebounder two years ago, the fourth-best rebounder last year, would be eleventh-best this year if he had enough minutes to qualify);
* blocks a ton of shots (would be tenth in the league this year if he had enough minutes to qualify);
* is on pace to be the most efficient field-goal scorer in NBA history;
* passes extremely well for a big man;
* is offensively unselfish, and willing to both find open men and set picks on the perimeter,
* has the rare quality in a center of being able to run the floor with the rest of your team, and
* has been a genuinely good NBA player for three years running...
...then maybe, just maybe, you ought to give the guy some consistent playing time.
Let's be clear: Don Nelson has already failed this test. But you, faithful Warriors fan, you can still pass it. You can realize that Andris Biedrins -- occasionally soft defense, cringeworthy free throws and all -- is a good player, one of our best players, and a player who could help to heal a lot of our wounds if simply allowed to stay on the court for awhile. The problem isn't the B-plus center who's anchored this team for the past three seasons... the problem is the deranged old coach who won't use him anymore.