Welcome to the first of, hopefully, many NBA Chats between myself, contributor Brian Chung, and newcomer Eric Perdiguerra! Week-to-week we breakdown some of the biggest headlines in Golden State Warriors Land and the NBA, including important topics such as Stephen Curry's ankles to Shannon Brown's 10-karat engagement ring to now fiancé Monica, the R&B singer. The off-court drama is just as important, if not informing how things play out on-court.
But before we get started, I want to introduce my man Eric Perdiguerra, dj, streetwear clothing designer, and, most importantly, bay area sports historian. Eric's got archives of sports knowledge you might as well call him a microfilm. His fandom is so strong and unwavering he even has an Antawn Jamison Warriors away-jersey with the lightening bolts down the side...that is actually worn-out and worn out (in public)! If that ain't dedication, I don't know what is. But jokes aside, I would like to welcome Eric to the world wide web of sports chatter.
With that said, today we will be talking briefly about the Blake Griffin versus John Wall for Rookie of the Year (ROY) and the growing bromance between Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. Blake Griffin not only looks like Will Ferrell with his grown out haircut, but is ballin' like him too in "Semi-Pro" (2008). John Wall is already putting up stats that rival Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson and is turning the ball over at a rate that might set records in a bad way. The Warriors offseason sounds like they had team retreats full of trust falls by the way reports are talking about all the hugging and hanging out the team is doing. Alleged beef has been squashed as two alpha-dogs in Curry and Ellis are reportedly co-existing. But we wonder who would catch whom if trust falls were really part of team building. Anyway, lets get to it!
B: So, after the first two weeks of the NBA, what are some things that surprised you the most?
E: I think the thing that has surprised me the most is the thing that shouldn't: the performance by the players. Rondo breaking some assist record in the first four games. Jason Kidd and Chris Paul with their assist outputs in the high teens. The rebounding efforts put out by Joakim Noah, Reggie Evans, Andris Biedrins. John Wall with a 9 steal night!
B: Definitely! It almost seems like this production is completely beyond expectation. I mean, Reggie Evans, notorious for dirty plays below the belt, has become as gifted on the boards as Dennis Rodman (and offensively ungifted, like Rodman).
E: And it really has seemed effortless. It didn't seem like anyone has been trying to force the numbers ...a la uhmm
B: You mean like Ricky Davis?
E: YES! There was another guy right? David Royal? Anyhow...and whereas previously only truly special rookies were able to contribute right away, even the second tier rookies are chipping in 9s and 5s.
B: Seriously! For the second straight season, we're seeing players from all across the draft boards making an impact. Except the Warrior rookies, but we'll get into that later. Speaking of rookies, we're always excited about reading up on rookie rankings, what are your thoughts so far on the rookie of the year race?
E: Blake Griffin's looked as advertised coming back from injury, considering he qualifies as a rookie this year.
B: I'm amazed by what other commentators are saying is his ability to impose his "will" on a game...even if the Clippers have only won one game.
E: Definitely a difference maker. It's one thing to be skilled and talented. But if you combine that with the hustle of an energy guy, it's really hard to match that kind of output.
B: No kidding. He's determination to win or overpower his opponents is scary.
As we talked earlier, I think "blake griffin" will soon become a verb to describe someone's ability to overcome all odds.
E: Do use in a sentence. You know, like urban dictionary.
B: Let's see..."I'm Blake Griffining today, I managed to get all my projects done at work." Hmm that's probably too ordinary.
E: "As the doors began to close and Brian was determined to start his day on time, he Blake Griffined his way on to the elevator"
B: Dude, exactly!
E: Sadly that could be Blake's only warning light. He's like Gerald Wallace at the PF spot. It's hard to imagine him staying healthy the whole season. With that in mind, I expect John Wall to be the first ever to dougie while accepting his ROY award.
B: Haha. The NBA needs some more characters like him. I think John Wall should get the ROY award just for making JaValee McGee productive.
E: Apparently he's the worst rated player in NBA 2K11, which emphasizes its credibility by putting Jordan on its cover. Word is his feelings were emphatically hurt.
B: That is hilarious on so many levels
E: Isn't it though?! Imagine getting all excited because you're in the game. You pop it open to find you're rated really low and as you search for that other guy that's rated lower than you...and there isn't one.
B: Haha. Everyone knows Jordan is the GOAT and the gold standard by which everyone wants to compare themselves to, and, that sucks for McGee that he's the FURTHEST player in the NBA in comparison.
E: An ouch is definitely in order
B: With both Wall and Griffin looking like superstars in the making, what do you see is their ceiling and how do you see them stacking up against the top players in their position. How soon do you see Wall being in conversation with Chris Pauls, Deron Williams, and the Rondos?
E: That's hard for me to say. I think the great part about these new potential stars is they have a little bit of everything we've seen before to make up players we have yet to dream of. As long as they approach this season with the proper attitude, trying everything in their powers to help their teams win, I think they at least get their own conversations immediately. We've seen players like Steph Curry jump to the Top 10 or so in Overall Fantasy Rankings. Is it based on potential? Or is it purely based on the seasons they are expected to have? Brandon Jennings played a major role last year in getting his team into the playoffs. Why can't John Wall be in that conversation now? Despite the perceived shift in the balance of power, the East's 8th seed will always be up for grabs. Griffin however, well, plays for the Clippers. Haha. I'd be man enough to be proven wrong, but well, it's the Clippers.
B: That's an interesting point. Is it based on how good or bad their teams are? You could say that Brandon Jennings isn't even close when it comes to conversations about top 10 point guards, but he was a part of that playoff team so does that make him a better player than say Stephen Curry, who put up huge numbers on a bad team. Granted Curry and the rest of the Warriors are looking a lot better this season. I think Wall definitely deserves to be in the conversation though. Considering the talent (or rather, lacktherof) around him, I could see him easily eclipsing Chris Paul (sorry D.Will) for the top spot in a few years. Paul has that rare ability to make offensive pumpkins (Tyson Chandler) look like all-star chariots. Wall arguably has it worse with JaValee McGee and offensive black hole in Andray Blatche running with him. He's already making McGee look, at least, like the second worst player in NBA 2K11 and we're only 5 games into the season!
B: Lets move on to our hometown team, the Golden State Warriors. With our Warriors sitting at 5-2, are they a fluke or for real?
E: Can they be both?
B: Possibly? How do you see it?
E: A fluke as in they have yet to prove they can consistently win on the road, with both sides of the spectrum in terms of the competition thus far. Unless you can figure out a way to win away from home, you'll never be taken seriously. But at home, so far, no doubt they've shown every bit of the abilities and intangibles to be for real, probably driven by the energy of the Roaracle crowd.
B: The Warriors finally won one away from home. At this rate, if they 41-0 at home, but can barely win any on the road, they're still not going to the playoffs in the Western Conference.
B: Everyone's talking about whether Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry have made up based on the way their playing, budding bromance?
E: BFFs at least. Next you'll see them wearing each others' wristbands. You seriously have to pick you poison with these two. How do you guard both Monta and Curry? They've both established their abilities to kill you from the perimeter AND off the dribble. They've both shown their ability to pass to the big man on a pick and roll, at any area on the floor. And the drive and kick to an open three point shooter is given to Warrior guards at birth.
B: True. It seems like they've been able to co-exist so far, but maybe winning has everything to do with that. I'm expecting Ellis to get a tat of Curry somewhere on his body over the course of the season.
E: Their speed and length helps hide their shortcomings on defense as well. They really aren't the most highly skilled defenders, especially on the perimeter. But they make up for it cutting through the passing lanes and beating their opponents to the spot. More physical guards can really give them trouble though.
B: I think this Pistons game exposed that and the Pistons backcourt isn't exactly elite players either.
E: Exactly. But Dorrell Wright is long and has been able to cover lots of ground. Biedrins has stayed out of foul trouble, so he can clean up the glass like he used to.
B: In light of the ESPN.com article where Chris Broussard noted that the Warriors v. Monta Ellis beef was purely between number 8 and Chris Cohan who wanted to void his contract, is it fair to call Ellis a "bargain" at $11 million after 6 statistically incredible games and good behavior?
E: That's a lot of CREAM to be calling someone a bargain. But you and I have talked about the immergence of the Koncak Contracts. So in hindsight, if Ellis can maintain his current production, as improbable as it might seem, then yes Monta will definitely be a steal. Not like the steal he was in 2007/2008 on his Second Round rookie contract, but as far as the types of players putting up similar type numbers, he'd be quite a bargain. And to your point, the difference apparently has been attitude and maturity. Go figure. Monta was probably on either that short list of people Steve Buscemi was going to kill in Billy Madison, or that list of players that Stephon Marbury, Bonzi Wells and Rashad McCants are on.
B: It's interesting that 11 million is considered a bargain given how the economy has been. With the way talks have been the NBA and the NBPA, 11 million might be the max contract now. But, if behavior is how we're judging "value," then someone give Adonal Foyle a max contract. But you're right, Monta's "value" seems to fluctuate based on whether the Warriors win or lose. Monta is pretty much putting up identical stats as last season, except he's shooting 51percent from the field as opposed to 45% last season. The big difference is they're winning...so I guess wins are the most important and not behavior? I'm just being facetious with that one.
B: Lastly, Dorell Wright has been the surprise this season for sure.
E: He gets a green light and deservedly so.
B: From once being considered a "Tracy McGrady" type player to total obscurity within a few years at Miami, he's the 3 pt threat the Warriors have been lacking but needed over the years. You know, I want Dorell Wright to be "Tracy McGrady"-like good, but I'm just not seeing it. He seems like a more stylish bruce Bowen. He's a great spot up shooter and a capable defender, but I'm not really seeing the playmaking abilities, especially off the dribble.
E: If he can hit a couple of those runners, hit the open three, slash to the hoop, and finish on the break, he can definitely provide that fourth weapon nobody really saw coming. But I see where you mean, he won't be the go to guy or initiate the offense.
B: Don't get me wrong, I think he was a great pick up for the Warriors especially at that price. But I think Reggie Williams has way better court vision and ability to read defenses utilizing some hesitation moves to fabricate driving lanes.
That's all the time we got for this week, come back next week for more sports chatter from your friendly neighborhood sports critics!