Time for a little lovin' for my Dubs.
Am I the only one? I actually like a lot of what I have seen this year. I am not ecstatic - I don't see D Howard on our roster - but nobody else is fool proof. I like CP3, but let's see how that knee holds up over the accelerated season (and factor in that we already have a decent backcourt) before we know how badly we missed out there. Yes he's a superstar, I get it. I'd have been happy to have him, but let's see...)
So far, Lacob has done quite a bit.
Let's start with the fact that he cleaned house and brought in West. West = at least a chance of credibility with other front offices, (f not with players yet), throughout the league. Hasn't led to a single game won yet, but then again, nothing has. Nor has anything led to any games lost yet.
Then, he went outside the box, and brought in Jackson and Meyers. It's not like we were going to be able to attract Phil Jackson or anyone of that caliber, and the last thing I wanted to see was Carlissimo, Adelman, Brown or some other retread coming in to have another lackluster season. Granted, we have gone outside the box before. Montgomery kind of qualifies, but college coaches have been tried before, and usually flame out. I actually liked the Mussleman hire, and would have liked to see him get another year or two.
Jackson was a very good player who played above his talent level. Kind of like Don Nelson and Phil Jackson. He also has a great track record of leadership. I like what I have seen in his interactions with players, and what the players are saying about him. I like this hire. Could it backfire? Sure. but at least we are heading into new territory. WIth the assistants backing him up, This could go really well. (I will have to admit that I hate Mike Singletary for planting so many doubts in my heart on this one).
So far as players, let's get over the players that we and 27 other teams did not get and go with the players we have. I just plain like these guys. I would go grab a beer with any one of them.
Monta: I feel like I have watched him grow from boy to man over the past few years. Sure, watching him play is a little like being addicted to cocaine or crack - a lot of fun, but not necessarily the kind of game that makes the team better -but I do believe that he sees that too, and will be looking to step up for the team this year. Reduced minutes will help that.
Curry: Love the off-season work, and that he had extra time to rehab the ankle. 'nuff said.
D Wright: Love his game, and the community work he puts in. He should still start, but I wonder how it would be if he and Klay anchored the scoring on the second unit, and let McGuire work in with the first team to cool off any opposing hot hands.
Lee: Was tearing it up before the zombie bite, and again late in the season. He claims to be in better condition this year. He might not put up the numbers he did in NY, given that he is not the first (or second, or possibly even third) scoring option on this team, but the play and the glue he can provide is awesome. My favorite play of his last year: there was a play where Monta ended up on the scorers' table looking exceedingly grumpy. David came over and said something to him. Monta lit up with a smile, and jumped back in the game with a hop in his step. Show me that on a stat sheet.
Biedrins: 15 extra pounds of muscle can't hurt. We 'll have to see which way he bounces, but god knows I am pulling for him. As for the Amnesty provision, see below.
Jenkins (this rant is ordered by position, not relevance): Loved that video of him talking about his brother. Love his experience, his toughness, even pulling the word "Maybach" out of the air. Worst case: another CJ Watson. But I am betting on this guy having a lot more leadership than that.
Klay: Maybe he still had fresh legs from missing the first few days of practice, but I was watching yesterday's live practice feed. Dorell was in the foreground, clearly gassed, and, shall we say, struggling with his 3 pointer drill. Klay was a the far end of the gym, routinely stroking 9 of 10 from each position. From downtown. If this guy can play a lick of D, color me a fan.
McGuire: I was a free safety in high school, and, frankly, play basketball like one. Guys of his description will always have a soft spot in my heart. I look forward to referring to him as "the Left Hand of Blockness". (for all you Ursula K LeGuin fans out there) (both of you).
Udoh: Should have come sooner on this list. Am very excited to see what this guy does this year. Team Kwame with Lee, and Ekpe with Beans, and we are a solid four deep in the frontcourt. If I had the money to buy a Dub's jersey, there is a good chance it would have to be his, based on promise alone. (along with the free safety thing).
Brown: Yeah yeah, I heard Stephen Smith's rant and Kobe's story too. They are both very funny. They are also both at least three years old. We get a physical specimen who either has his head screwed on straight, or is an incredible actor (and I should know), in a contract year. I read all through the "well-spoken" controversy on this site, and I don't want to step on any toes, so believe me when I say that I am carefully considered this: the way Kwame speaks is up there with Denzel Washington. And I don't say that because Denzel is black. I say it because Denzel is a bad ass. (or at least plays one on the screen). I have had what felt like my spleen ruptured by a bigger player on the court simply boxing me out. Here's to hoping Kwame can dish out that kind of pain on a regular basis.
Ish: Normally, a guy like this would be starting or figuring prominently in our rotation - see Bogues, Mugsy and Jennings, Kieth. Oh, and Monta someone or other. I am perfectly OK with this guy being deep on our bench, and letting him come in to punish tired opponents late in the game. We just need to keep him clear of Andrew Bynum when he does.
Admundson: How great is it that this guy is on the third team? I love that kind of depth. Let's see if he is better that last year's injury slowed version. I hope he is, but if he is not, I understand that expiring-contract back up 4/5s are pretty valuable come the trade deadline. Nonetheless, I simply like this guy (as well as everybody else on this list), and I would love to see him succeed.
Tyler: Love that we went and got this guy. Love that we have the depth to go let him get some serious reps in Dakota this year. A project, but our project. He adds depth for the season and/or any injuries. Plus, the Dakota nightlife will make the Bay's club scene look flat out hopping come FA time.
The rest: The scouting organization that brought us Morrow, Azubuike, Williams, and others? Yeah, I am a little curious to see who they dug up this time. Aren't you?
With the possible exception of Brown, there is nobody on this roster that will be at or past their prime yet soaking up minutes from other developing players (like, say, Radman, Gadzurich or the ninja turtle). I just don't see anybody playing minutes they have not earned in this line up.
Beyond that, consider that the bulk of this core has been together for a year or more, and that a large number of them (Steph, Lee, Dorell, Ekpe, Lou, Jenkins and (sadly,) Lin) spent the summer voluntarily working out together, despite the season's uncertainty. Gotta love that. This group is already tight.
The Amnesty: Yes, from a strictly mathematical standpoint, burning it on Bell was a huge mistake. But let's look at it philosophically. The only other two players that could have seriously been considered were Biedrins and Lee. Does anybody seriously think that either of those players would have responded well to having that hanging over his head?
I think it would have put unnecessary extra pressure on Dre, and hastened any sort of sinking that might happen if he hits a slump. I would like to see him come back, but whether he does or not, I think it is more likely to come out well with the amnesty gone.
For his part, Lee has proven his work ethic already. Yes, he had a rough year - but come on. How long did he spend in a frikkin' hospital bed making sure they didn't have to amputate his arm? 9 days? And yet he still came back with a 20/20 game or two at the end of the year. Color me impressed.
I like the signal that Lacob sent by using the amnesty to cut actual dead weight (get well soon, Charlie, seriously), and sticking by the guys that are putting in the effort.
Organizationally, the Dubs are working on putting an AAA team (the wizards of Dakota) in San Jose, and integrating a farm team close to the team. No other franchise that I know of has done this (with the possible exception of the
Evil Empire Lakers).
New training staff. I don't know much about the way that Abdinour worked, but man, what an awful run of injuries this team has had. Gotta think that Lacob has done the math on this one.
OK, we lost out on Chandler and Jordan. One went to New York, the other stayed in LA. Can you blame them? More tellingly, we did not go out an sign another 4 year albatross. 7 Mil is a lot to spent, but it's only one year, and the FO had the balls to ignore the whiners on this and other discussion boards and plug a huge hole for us. (Plus, 7M means we can't call them cheap, and one year means we can't call them stupid.) Ditto with the McGuire signing. We have plenty of offensive firepower - I love the defensive signings, and the standards that they enable to coaching staff to hold our starters to.
This offseason was a solid at-bat. Not a home run, not even extra bases, but a solid single, and definitely not a double play ball. We see if the trade deadline lets us advance a runner.
So, I'll take the plunge. WIth our depth, youth, obvious chemistry, and the freshness of a new coaching group, not to mention the ever improving atmosphere that ownership is putting together; and given the brutality of this year's schedule (and our comparatively easy one), here is my call: 5th seed in the west, give or take one.
OK, hang on... [adjusts welding mask]... ok. Flame away.