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Q&A: Tim Kawakami from the San Jose Mercury (Part 4 of 5)

Tim's thoughts on Gary Payton to the Warriors and whether young big men destined to be marginalized under Nelson...

after the jump!


Golden State of Mind: Another big name retired player that the Warriors have been linked to is local point guard legend Gary Payton. How legit are these rumors? Do you see the Warriors adding Payton to their roster? Would he be a good addition to this team?

Tim Kawakami (2/5/08): Yeah, keep hearing about Payton. Payton. Payton. And I never believe it'll happen. In the off-chance it does happen, I'll repeat what I've said: Payton would be a lousy signing. He's worse than Watson. End of story. Especially now that they've added Webber and had to eat Hudson's contract. There's a limit to old players you need to acquire.

Of course, I didn't know they were going to add Webber--and yes, dammit, I talked to Mullin about four days before they did it. I'm sure he LOVES that. He has a habit of doing that. But remember: Nobody knew a thing about Webber until Marty Mac wrote it in the SacBee, then it happened, wham. Everybody knows Payton is around, wants to sign... The Warriors do things on the sly. They do not do things when everybody--including the player--is telling them it is about to happen.

Golden State of Mind: Are young big men destined to be marginalized under Nelson? Patrick O'Bryant and Brandan Wright can't break the rotation. Andris Biedrins sees his minutes fluctuate wildly night to night. DJ Mbenga couldn't even stick with the team despite some extended minutes in December. Is this all part of Nelson's system or just a reflection of the current personalities?

Tim Kawakami (2/5/08): Mostly, it's about Nelson not respecting players who don't have obvious scoring skills. He tries to overmatch you on offense--you can't guard five guys, can you?--and fake/trick it up on defense, and you know what, generally he can pull it off on a game-to-game basis. In the playoffs, though, when you're playing the same team over and over... probably not so much. That's why I think he's too short-term with these guys--if he was a little more patient, he might get himself somebody who was THE GUY who throws opponents off on the post. He won't do that because he doesn't want to sacrifice his system.

I go back to his hiring day when I asked him about O'Bryant, the Warriors new draft pick, who I hypothesized might not fit into his system. Nellie's reply: "Oh, I like 7-footers, as long as they can play like Dirk Nowitzki." Which ended O'Bryant's Warriors career pretty much right there, if you ask me.

If Don sticks around, he'll play Wright eventually, I think. Wright's just too talented to ignore forever. But Don will always favor the guy who can shoot and pass over the guys who can't, and at the end of the game, the guys who can't shoot or pass will be sitting. The guys who play tend to the be the smaller older guys.


Also take a look back at the other Q&A's we've done with Tim:

Parts 5 coming at you before you know it!

Do you see GP coming to the Dubs? Should Nellie play O'Bryant and Wright more?

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