Monday, November 07, 2005

Better to win ugly...but boy, that was u-g-l-y

Okay, I'm officially on a Rampage.

The Warriors officially have a problem with free throws.

Yesterday, in their 83-81 victory over the equally-as-free-throw-inept New York Knicks, the Warriors left about nine points unscored from the line in a thoroughly convincing imitation of Shaquille O'Neal, shooting a rim-damaging 47% (I'm gleaning that number of points figuring from the league average of 75% - the Warriors actually missed 15 free throws yesterday). Luckily the Knicks were only a tad more competent, shooting 52% themselves.

I can only assume this is a huge anomaly, as the team shot 72% last season, and no longer have two of their poorest free throwers from last year in Uncle Cliff Robinson and Eduardo Najera.

But it's getting old very quickly. The team's free throw percentage from the first three games read like this: 64%, 58%, and the 47%.

Also wearing out its welcome is the way the Warriors are getting dominated on the glass, especially in the category of offensive rebounds. Let's review the games thus far:
  1. Against Atlanta, they were outrebounded 47-38, and gave up 20(!!!) offensive rebounds to the Hawks.
  2. Against Utah, they were outrebounded 48-41, and gave up 16 offensive rebounds to the Jazz.
  3. Against New York, they were outrebounded 51-40, and gave up 14 offensive rebounds to the Knicks.

This team, as it stands right now, will not be making any playoffs. You can't consistently win giving up a 17% disadvantage from the free throw line and getting outrebounded by an average of eight boards per game, which is the team's dilemma right now. They ought to be very happy they've won 2 of 3, and that they had a decent chance to win vs. the Jazz, too. At the same time, they must play better. Good news is, they are playing excellent defense, but constantly giving up those offensive rebounds will negate that advantage to a large extent.

Mike Dunleavy is quickly becoming a problem, too. He looks very much the same as the previous seasons, although I admit it's still obviously very early. However, shooting 26% from the floor, 18% from the three-point line, averaging just under three rebounds a game, having an almost even turnover-to-assist ratio while scoring less per night than last season...

...that isn't how I wanted to see him start after the Warriors gave him 44 million. Can you blame me for being fidgety? Heck, why aren't you fidgety? Fidget, damn you! I am absolutely certain that owner Chris Cohan is fidgeting his ass off right now.

Until Dunleavy starts playing better, I'm staring an Official Fidget Meter, which will track just how uncomfortable the Warriors fanbase and front office should be over Mike's on-court performance post-contract. Scale of 1-10, decimals used freely, with ascending fidgetiness as the number gets higher.

If it continues to be a problem over the course of 20-30 games and it looks like the Warriors do have a shot at the playoffs, it could grow into the Start Mickael Pietrus campaign in a hurry. Pietrus gets lost on the floor almost as frequently as Dunleavy, but has two things over Dunleavy to bail him out occasionally: better energy, and better athleticism. He also plays much better defense. Dunleavy is a much better ballhandler, passer, and shooter in theory, but can't seem to translate that statistically. We'll see how it pans out.


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