Clippers-Warriors: The Questionable Blogger where GSOM answers your questions

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Nate Parham of Golden State of Mind went way above and beyond and answered pretty much ALL of your questions, and he did it on Christmas Eve no less! Everyone needs to send Nate a fruitcake as a thank you.

You asked questions. Lots and lots of questions about the Golden State Warriors. And Nate Parham from Golden State of Mind answered them. He answered pretty much all of them, which was above and beyond the call of duty. I don't know if Clarence the angel or Buddy the Elf or Jack Skellington helped him, but it's a Christmas miracle.

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Doritos Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese? - UC.Clipper

By themselves? Nacho Cheese. As part of a Doritos Locos taco? Either.

Why do Warrior fans hate the Clippers so much? - Dop Kulluminati

Is it a Nor Cal vs So Cal thing? The fact that the Warriors themselves seem to hate the Clippers? - v3xin

As a Warriors fan, I think there's far more bad blood with the Lakers and Kings. If Memphis keeps pounding the Dubs inside, they'll easily become among the most hated, even if it's rooted in fear. The games with Denver recently have all the makings of a budding rivalry, especially with the whole Andre Iguodala drama.

But anyway, I'm with Kevin Arnovitz: What NBA fanbase doesn't hate the Clippers?

How do you feel about the move to SF? Will it take some of that "roughness" from the crowd? Make it more of a Lakers type environment? - Lawler's Law

There's a lot to that question – the impact on Oakland, impact on San Francisco, and impact on the fan experience. For simplicity's sake, I'll stick with the fan experience.

I'm an East Bay guy and grew up in Berkeley so I'd like for the team to stay in Oakland...but you can't turn the Bay Area into L.A so I'm not too worried about this suddenly transforming Warriors games into a Lakers environment.

It's easy enough to get to the proposed location of the new arena from anywhere in the Bay Area and I don't see people suddenly opting not to come to a waterfront arena. My guess is that this move will be good for the casual fan who will take advantage of the proximity to bars/restaurants on the waterfront after the game just as people do for S.F. Giants games.

Prices will likely go up, but that's a fact of life in pro sports especially as a team becomes more successful – it's already more expensive to go to a Warriors game this year, from parking to concessions to ticket prices.

I understand that change is hard, but the arguments about the new location dramatically changing the fan experience for the worse just don't hold up for me.

Is Steph a better pull up shooter than Chris Mullin? -wavyballer

Yes and really it comes down to ball handling – Curry's superior handle allows him to create space and find daylight to shoot the ball much better than Mullin. And, totally subjectively, Curry's release is just so quick that it's impossible to defend. But there's a very short list of players who I'd feel comfortable with taking a pull-up J – Curry, Mullin, John Stockton, Steve Nash, and probably a couple others – and Curry's currently at the top of my list.

A couple of years ago you guys traded Monta for Bogut. How did you view the trade when it first went down? And how has your perception of the trade changed with the play of Bogut and of Monta? - mikelipert

I wanted the Warriors to trade one of Curry or Monta from the day Curry was drafted – that pairing was just too flawed defensively to work and, as we can all see clearly now, they're both best with the ball in their hands. When the trade went down, I was happy that they not only resolved that tension on the court but got a defensive big in return. Since seeing what Bogut can do even semi-healthy on the defensive end – think back to the playoff series in particualy – I'm even happier with it.

So that Ellis has suddenly become an efficient scorer this season has no bearing on my feelings about that trade: Curry is an offensive weapon unlike any other in the league and they couldn't possibly have kept both around if they wanted to win.

Why the sudden drop off in play? Is this mostly related to Iggy’s early injury or are there fundamental flaws that have been exposed? - PV Mike

What's up with the Warriors offense? They currently rank 15th @ 105.4 OffRtg (basketball reference). I would assume the main problem was the absence of Iggy AND Douglas, taking away pretty much all secondary ball handling. Is that really it?

Execution? Missing shots? Sloppy/lazy play? - Axxer

We've had a few posts on the site about this very subject recently and it really does come down to the fact that the team hasn't been fully healthy: even with Iguodala back, Jermaine O'Neal – who had been surprisingly productive – is out, which really hurts what they have on the interior off the bench.

So I'd say that we simply haven't seen this team at its best yet because we haven't seen them healthy for an extended period of time – we don't know what this team's "normal" really is at full strength. It has been painful to witness because of lackadaisical ball handling and occasionally inefficient use of personnel – I struggle to remember following a team that makes this many careless turnovers on lazy or blind passes - but I think we could easily chalk that up to trying to figure out how to get the most out of this team without all the pieces needed to make it work.

I am curious the fan's perspective of Mark Jackson: Is he a championship caliber coach? Is he at least an elite or above average coach? The coach is always the easiest person to blame, and usually gets the brunt of the fan’s hatred, but it seems like he’s had success with GSW. Is he viewed as the coach to lead this team for the foreseeable future, or do the fans that watch him everyday see shortcomings I’m not aware of? -osamu

Who do you want to replace Mark Jackson with? - qax

The concept of a "championship caliber coach" is sort of hard to define for me. In the NBA, you just don't win titles without a trio of dynamic players with complementary skills (or by playing in Auburn Hills in 2004). Neither Scott Brooks nor Erik Spoelstra were considered championship caliber coaches when they faced off in the 2012 Finals – there were plenty of people saying their teams wouldn't get over the hump with them running things.

So I can't really answer that, but one thing I think we do know about Jackson is he connects with his players well and players are going out of their way to compliment him – both Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry said that Jackson's Warriors were one of the best situations they've ever been in, Andre Iguodala came in part due to Jackson, and even D-League players who have been in camp say Jackson is one of the best coaches they've had because of his ability to leverage his own experiences in working with them. Something else that can't go overlooked is the religion factor: multiple players mention that as a plus and, for whatever reservations some Californians may have about that, if it's something that he can use to help connect with players we have to take that into consideration.

There are legitimate concerns: the turnover problems could reflect a coach who has his players playing too freely, the number of isolations with players missing has been alarming, and rotations can sometimes be odd. It's worth noting that they beat the Nuggets in the first round with hot shooting and by exploiting mismatches, which could either be attributed to coaching or a (surprisingly) favorable situation. But to me the question of whether a change should be made comes down to two things: a talented group of players that really hasn't had much time to gel at full health likes him and it's not clear who the team could hire to put them in a better position at this time. His contract is up at the end of this season and you should ask GSoM that question again after we see how he follows up last season's postseason performance.

If you go into a time machine and go back to the Iggy deal/signing, would you do it again, or would you tell the Warriors to spend that money on something/one else? - UC.Clipper

How huge was the loss of Jack to free agency? - My dukie twinkies

I don't think there's any question that I'd do the Iguodala deal again if I had a time machine – many Warriors fans have been pining for the guy for years and we're seeing why this season. In addition to his elite defensive ability, he's among the best non-point guard ball handlers in the league right now - next to scorers like Curry and Klay Thompson, that's a huge asset. It's worth noting that the team is 11-6 with Iguodala in the lineup with road losses to the Clippers, San Antonio, Memphis, and the Lakers and home losses to Memphis and, most recently, San Antonio's role players. That's not too bad and it's not surprising that the Warriors starters have been among the best in the league with Iguodala's versatility on defense to complement what Bogut offers as a rim protector.

He's not a direct replacement for Jarrett Jack - Jack was this team's finisher last season in that he was the guy with the ball in his hands while Curry played off the ball. Even though he could often drive you insane by driving around in circles, he was equally adept at manufacturing points in crunch time to win games. Iguodala might not be a "true point guard", but with his defensive ability he can help lock down opposing playmakers in clutch situations to contribute to wins on the defensive end.

Harrison Barnes was a projected number 1 pick some years ago and was destined to be a superstar in the league. Is that still possible or will his career be in that area behind below all-star but higher than a role player? - peterghost

Klay is one of my favorite players in the NBA right now even though I’m a Clipper fanatic. I just like the way this guy handles himself on the court, seems so professional for a youngster. Will he eventually be an all star? - rouse77

Ideally the Warriors can keep both, but if forced to choose between Barnes and Thompson, who would Warrior fans prefer to keep? - v3xin

Steve asked this in our Q&A earlier in the season and it really hasn't changed for me: with no slight to Barnes, Thompson is my choice. For me the reason is simple, especially with Bogut and Iguodala signed for the next few seasons (which has to be considered their championship window): when you can put Curry and Thompson opposite each other with Iguodala able to drive or distribute the team is really, really difficult to defend. Barnes could develop into an All-Star caliber player, but he's just not the shooter that Thompson is (because, really, not many people on Earth are right now – he currently has the 17th best 3-point percentage in league history at 41%). Barnes did have a great playoff run, but a lot of that came from exploiting mismatches created by teams having to put their top defenders on Curry and Thompson, leaving Barnes with mismatches. In a basketball world in which conventional wisdom dictates cutting out the mid-range shot, Thompson just makes a ton more sense.

Both of these guys could develop into All-Stars: Thompson is just that good a shooter who will become even more of a threat as he gets better at finishing around the basket and handling the ball; Barnes is an amazing athlete with some of the best body control I recall seeing who just needs to work on his handle in order to help him get better shots. But when you look at this roster as currently constructed, Thompson remains the better fit.

Whats the current fanbase's view of David Lee? Are there people who are open to trading him, or do the fans view him as an untouchable part of their core? - suikami

The Warriors have $27 million invested in Lee and Bogut for the next 3 years. I’m not sure if you’re happy or not with their production. Thus, should the Warriors seek to trade one of their wings in combination with one of these 2 for an upgrade at the 4/5? - UC.Clipper

There are indeed people on the Trade Lee bandwagon and even some of the bench Lee for Draymond Green bandwagon (which really isn't as outlandish as it first sounds given Green's capacity to fill a three and D role). Then there are plenty of people who attribute a large portion of the Warriors' success to Lee, especially with his ability to run the pick and roll with Curry (which they seem to be running less this season, for some reason), though I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who considers him untouchable. That probably makes Lee the most contentious player since Ellis in terms of his ability to divide Warriors fans.

The question is what type of market value he has and that's where things get tricky, regardless of your thoughts on him.

Assuming everyone is aware of his defensive shortcomings, he also hasn't been as effective from mid-range as he was last season. That sort of begs the (harsh) question of who is interested in a 30-year-old power forward with a sizable contract who might be expected to decline after getting his first All-Star selection last season? If we're going to be realistic, they probably won't find a reasonable trade for Lee until he's an expiring contract so the coaching staff really has to figure out how to get the most out of him within this current unit. To me that means more pick and roll and sets where he can get buckets cutting to the basket, which it feels like we've seen less of this season.

Do the Warriors view their current core’s ceiling as a marginal playoff team, secondary contender like the current Clippers, or elite team on the level of the Thunder and Miami? I would see the current Warrior core as possibly being secondary contenders but not as an elite team. If the Warriors agree, does that mean they’ll take another shot at big-time player like LeBron and Carmelo when they become free agents? - PreciousPresent

Assuming that the warriors don’t win it all this year, what is the plan for the next 2~ years? Do they rely on improvement from Curry, Thompson, & Barnes? Or make a play for a big FA? Or trade for a big player? - suikami

I came into this season thinking that given the composition of the Western Conference just finishing above sixth (where they finished last year) would be a challenge. Here we are now with them in eighth, at the top of a pack of teams on the fringe of the playoffs.

So I don't think we can consider the Warriors elite right now until they prove they can win consistently against the top teams (or the Spurs' role players at home) and right now they haven't been healthy long enough to demonstrate that. But I'm an advocate for chemistry and continuity as key ingredients for a championship and I'm most in favor of them keeping their core 6-7 players intact for as long as possible and finding ways to bolster the rest of the bench, whether that be finding a gem late in the draft or signing bargain free agents, while relying on internal improvement and gelling a bit more.

When they're clicking on all cylinders, their starting five is nearly impossible to defend – we just haven't seen that group on the floor together quite long enough to know their full potential.

Do Warriors fans (esp GSoM readers) have a deep love/appreciation for the one, the only CMaggs? - Lawler's Law

Woops – almost forgot: Maggette is the missing piece. How can you not appreciate that man's footwork?

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Thanks so much to Nate for taking the time to answer so many questions. It helps so much to get these sorts of insights into the opponent. Be sure to head over to GSOM to check out their game day coverage and to read my answers to their questions.

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