The wins might not be there yet, but the Dubs got skills.
There are no All-Stars on this team, but that doesn't mean there aren't some very real positives to take from this edition of Warriors basketball.
Before we get the report card party started, flip back to the preview madness from just a few short months ago:
:: GSoM's 2010-2011 Golden State Warriors Preview: A new beginning, but is it smart? ::
(Do I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about or what?)
It can only get better, so JUMP!
With Andris Biedrins still starting, the Warriors starting 5 is really a starting 4.
Stephen Curry: B
Stef-fun's got the skills, but they're getting lost on most nights with Coach Keith Smart's questionable usage of him and Monta's high usage rates. It's frustrating to see this team's best player being so dramatically underutilized, but Curry is still putting up 18 ppg and 6 apg, above 40% from downtown, picking 1.7 pockets per game and leading the league percentage-wise from the charity stripe. The turnovers and fouls are another big obstacle that Curry needs to overcome post All-Star break, but all bets are on. Last season post All-Star break he put up 22 ppg, 7.7 apg, 5.5 rpg, and 2 steals.
Monta Ellis: A-
Monta has been simply amazing. He has been a scoring machine with reasonable efficiency (thanks to an improved 3pt shot). The turnovers have been cut down as well. Who would've ever thought Moped Ellis would bounce back like this? Give him all the credit in the world. I never would've predicted this. His game is far from perfect, but he was a very deserving 2011 Western Conference All-Star. It's too bad he didn't make it, but that's why they call it the Wild Wild West- it's just a loaded conference. Let's hope the minutes don't catch up to him post All-Star break. If the Warriors are going to sniff the playoffs, they're going to need a lot of big nights from #8.
Dorell Wright: A
This is the Wright stuff baby. Dorell (that's 1 R, 2 L's, several Warrior Wonders, and likely the league's Most Improved Player winner) is making Larry Riley look like a genius every day. I remained impressed by his all-around game. His stroke from downtown is just money.
David Lee: C
I will not fault Lee for the effort, hustle, or leadership one bit. I'll take him on my team any day of the week. Unfortunately since some of his old friends in New York don't seem to brush their teeth too regularly we haven't seen enough from Lee. 16-9-3 is nice from a big man, but not from an $80 dollar man who isn't exactly setting the world on fire with defense. I'm expecting a big post All-Star push from Lee. He's much better than he's played.
Andris Biedrins: F
Biedrins is the weakest link in the starting 5 by far. It's time to face the facts, Nellie haters. Biedrins peaked under Don Nelson 3 years ago. PEAKED. Thank you Chris Mullin for blowing up WE BELIEVE to secure a mythically bright future led by this "franchise cornerstone" soft big man who can't defend a single decent power forward or center in this league mano y mano, plays scared, can't get to the free throw (actually at 33.3% from the charity stripe maybe that's a good thing), sends opposing players to the free throw line for easy shots (there's a reason they're called FREE throws) with the same lazy defense, gets less than 1 block a game, and has done very little to improve his game in 3+ years. The rebounding rate doesn't make up for all those weaknesses. Biedrins has one of the worst contracts in the entire league. Age ain't nothing but a number when you have as little commitment to improving your game as he's shown.
Orange chrome rims. Nice.
[photo via www.todayandtomorrow.net]
Ekpe Udoh: B-
I dig the defensive intensity and hustle. I fear the lack of rebounding. I'm looking forward to some more surprising offensive smoothness. I'm still terrified the Warrior should've taken Greg Monroe.
Reggie Williams: C-
The 3pt percentage is up to an impressive 42.8%, but there really hasn't been any tangible improvement in Reggie's game compared to his first under Nellie. You could make a good case that it's actually regressed a little. On most good teams he'd probably be a nice 11th or 12th man.
Vladimir Radmanovic: C+
There's a reason Nellie would never play this guy. Give Coach Smart some credit here though, he's found a role for Vlad Rad and Radmanovic has responded with some big moments.
Acie Law: C
Has there been anything great? No. Has there been anything horrible? No.
Jeremy Lin: C
Seriously what did you expect from an undrafted rookie? Lin isn't quite ready for the NBA, but that's fine. He's hustling on defense and he had a nice stint in the D-League recently. In the long run this will work out, but for now Lin is WE BELIEVE Adonal Foyle 2.0.
Brandan Wright: F
You really have to wonder if the guy likes playing basketball. He strikes me as one of those kids who was forced to play basketball because he was tall. In year 4 Brandan is still the wrong Wright. He still looks soft, listless, and uninterested during rare instances of playing time. I might know the Warriors playbook better than him. (Hey Mullin, Robert Rowell, and Chris Cohan- Thanks for that cheap and dumb Jason Richardson trade!) Again another player who peaked under Nellie.
Louis Amundson: F
There's been injuries, but the Warriors somewhat-lauded late offseason signing has amounted to nothing so far.
Charlie Bell: F
Don't drink and drive folks. It'll earn you a big, fat F from b-rate hoops writers who get by on rare good jokes.
Dan Gadzuric: B
It's stunning why Gadzuric doesn't get more playing time. He hustles like Biedrins should. He defends like Biedrins should. He plays with fierceness that Biedrins should. I bet Nellie would start Gadzuric instead of gift wrapping that starting spot to Biedrins for no particular reason.
Rodney Carney/ Jeff Adrien: Good luck fellas.
That was quick.
COACH + GM
Coach Keith Smart: B-
The continued under utilization of Curry, the overuse of Ellis, the lack of pick and rolls with Curry and Lee, and the stubborn insistence of playing Biedrins are worrisome. Very worrisome. But let's not hate on a coach that has this Warriors team (factoring in Lee's injury) just 3 games below .500. It's going to be really interesting to see how the rest of this season plays out under Coach Smart.
GM Larry Riley: B+
Turning DNP's Anthony Randolph (Still doesn't know how to play winning basketball about going to basketball Siberia with the Minnesota TImberwolves. By the way another player that PEAKED under Nellie!), Kelenna Azubuike (really sad injury issues), and Ronny Turiaf into David Lee was fantastic. (Just wait till Lee gets in the groove.) Inking Dorell Wright to a 3 year $11.5 million deal was unreal. There's a reason you don't hear basketball dummies whining about Mullin's deserved firing from the Warriors front office anymore. There's a reason you don't hear Nellie haters dismissing Riley as a puppet anymore. I'm excited to see what Riley can do with a real owner. I just hope that Udoh draft pick doesn't come back to haunt everyone.
How would you grade the Warriors pre All-Star break?