This season we're going to be looking to do more Q&As with the fans who know other teams best: their SB Nation NBA bloggers! So here's a Q&A with the awesome Nate Parham of Golden State of Mind on Saturday's Kings opponent, the Warriors. He gave some really in-depth answers.
Q: Other than injuries, which are a concern for every team, what's the biggest fear with the Warriors this season
PARHAM: The biggest fear for me is probably what has emerged as one of the only consistent themes across the preseason and regular season: bench scoring and, more specifically, how they manage rotating bench players in.
The Warriors have a top six that gives them a number of viable lineup configurations because all except Bogut is capable of playing more than one role. On the bench, they have a number of great defensive options that complement that top six well but have not shown the ability to score consistently, whether it be against the preseason Kings or the regular season Clippers.
The challenge, which will be made easier with the return of Harrison Barnes, is figuring out what combinations actually work in service of a) making sure the starters have enough in the tank to finish for 82 games and b) maintain a rhythm. Thus far, Jackson has shown a great deal of faith in that reserve unit, putting in 4 or 5 at a time; every time, the offense just grinds to a halt.
It's really hard to know what to extrapolate from the first two games because Barnes wasn't there, but I look forward to seeing how they manage this with him back in the mix - right now, it appears that at least three of that top 6 (especially one of the team's ball handlers) has to be on the floor for the offense to function.
Q: If the Warriors have to make a tough OKC-like decision between two youngsters down the road, which way are you leaning on the Harrison Barnes-Klay Thompson debate?
PARHAM: To me, the answer is easy: keep Thompson. Not to go all Charles Barkley on you and pick Thompson over Curry, but his analysis of Thompson's game wasn't entirely unreasonable: Thompson is the type of prototypical shooting guard who could be a steady contributor for 10+ years on both ends of the floor. When you put him with Iguodala, Curry, and Bogut - for whatever the elder two of that group contributes 3-4 years out - you have a very good core of shooters, defenders, and ball handlers.
This is not to diminish Barnes' talent, but I've see him as very much in the Rudy Gay mold even as a draft prospect (in fact, their college numbers were eerily similar) or perhaps Luol Deng if he progresses as a defender: a very good player who always leaves something to be desired but also talented enough to deserve minutes (and shots) though not quite having the ball skills or shooting range of Thompson.
To that end, I really love that Bogut reportedly took a bit less than he had to in order to accommodate Thompson. But ultimately, this might just come down to a matter of timing moreso than OKC's situation did: Thompson's contract will be up for extending with Lee still on the books; Barnes' contract will come up the same year Lee's ends. So barring any other moves, they'll just be in a better financial position overall by the time Barnes needs to be re-signed, which could help their cause. For me that leads to another question: how important is it to decide how Lee fits into the long-term picture and consider moving him in an effort to keep both Barnes and Thompson around? Warriors fans always seem to balk at the very thought so I'll just stop there.
Q: Has the fanbase forgiven Joe Lacob for trading Monta Ellis yet?
PARHAM: First of all, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find any active player who divided a fanbase quite like Ellis and the booing was just the most embarrassing manifestation of that. Even through last season, you'd see dudes wearing Ellis jerseys leaving Oracle Arena after losses saying they never should've traded him. So I just sort of accept that there will always be some segment of the fanbase that insists the team was better with him, that Ellis is a better scorer than Curry, and will use every scoring explosion in Dallas as evidence to reinforce their beliefs.
The thing is, the booing never represented the entirety of the fanbase - certainly not me or any of the GSoM staff - and holding onto these feelings any longer just defies basketball logic. So, as we've seen in other domains in society, there will always be some segments of the population that will believe whatever they want even in the face of evidence to the contrary. But at this point, it's a dwindling and increasingly less vocal minority.
Thanks again to Nate for the great answers. He'll be posting a Q&A with yours truly sometime Saturday over on GSoM as well. Not that you want to read more of me.
More from Sactown Royalty:
- Clippers edge Kings 110-101 as Sacramento defense struggles
- David Stern likes what he sees in Sacramento's new arena site
- Jimmer Fredette trade rumors: teams have contacted Kings, according to report
- Kings vs. Clippers Fan Predictions
- Kings vs. Clippers preview: A familiar team arrives in Sacramento