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Clippers Vs. Warriors: Nate and Evan Answer Your Questions About Curry, Udoh and More

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For this edition of our on going series of Q&A sessions with rival bloggers (I really need a title for this thing, any suggestions?) we reached out to one of the pioneering NBA blogs in all the Interwebs, the great Warriors blog Golden State of Mind. Once again, we had you citizens ask the questions in the comments section of a post. This time we got the luxury of two bloggers in response, as both Nate Parham and EvanZ took a crack at answering your questions.

Of course, the GSoM community got their chance to ask me questions as well, and you can read my answers over there. Great job, citizens, doing my job for me and coming up with great questions for them. And as always my thanks to Nate and EvanZ for taking the time to provide such great answers.

Citizen cliptakular: stephen curry has a bit of history with ankle injuries do you think its just bad luck or is it something more medically serious?

EvanZ: As Brian McCormick has written at GSOM previously, there is some thought that Curry's ankle problems are more than "just bad luck". (In summary, it's not bad luck, but a correctable problem).

Citizen ErikO: Given Curry’s going ankle issues, do you think that the Dubs should keep looking to him being the future at the guard spot, or should they switch to a strategy of building around Monta, not unlike Iverson’s sixers?
EvanZ: I'd build around Monta at PG, if you give me Dwight Howard at center.

Citizen My dukie twinkies: Do you think the future of the franchise going forward are with Monta and Curry? Or could they use them as trading pieces to get draft picks and or players? If the latter is chosen how confident is the franchise that they can build around Monta, who was rumored in trade talks that involved him going to Orlando, and Curry whose ankle injuries could be something to worry about down the road?

Nate Parham: As one might expect, this is a contentious question among Warriors fans.

To elaborate on EvanZ's response above, it seems that building around Ellis would require more specific complementary players whereas Curry might be easier to find players to put around because he's a more efficient scorer and less of a ball-dominant guard.

The issue is that the franchise just has to go one way or the other. To stay with EvanZ's response above, an Ellis-Howard pick and roll attack could develop into something deadly and Howard's ability to protect the basket would help to make up for the Warriors' defensive liabilities. There are also some that believe an Curry-Thompson backcourt is promising should the Warriors be able to find defensive players to surround them with. The question is really a) what they could get in return should they decide to move Curry or Ellis and b) can they get the right complements for the one they choose to keep. I've always favored Curry - and have yet to fully decide what to do given the thought that his ankle problems are correctable - but I'd prefer they pick one than keep both, which has proven to be a defensive liability over the course of an 82-game season.

Citizen Lawler's Law: Do you think making the offer sheet to DJ cost the team in the off-season additions? Are you glad the Clips matched the offer?

EvanZ: At the very least, it cost us Jeremy Lin and our amnesty. It would have made more sense to keep Jeremy Lin, use our amnesty on Andris Biedrins (who is actually making scientists re-think their position against the existence of zombies), and throw a couple more million bucks at DJ. At least in that scenario, if we didn't land DJ, we'd still have Lin, we'd have gotten rid of a corpse, and forced Sterling to spend a couple million more bucks. All in all, I can't say I'm "glad" about the way things turned out.

Citizen banady: So, how about that Jeremy Lin?

Nate Parham: My first response to the Lin issue is that there really was very little opportunity for him to prove himself on the Warriors playing behind two ball-dominant guards in Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis. That's not just a lame excuse - setting aside the question of whether the Warriors are more committed to Curry or Ellis, there are few rookies who would step into the league and take minutes from those guys.

Of the 153 minutes that Lin played for the Warriors last season, close to 40% were with either Curry or Ellis on the court and if you think they were deferring to him and giving him the space to make plays you just haven't watched the Warriors a whole lot. So rather than saying that Lin is merely the product of greater opportunity with the New York Knicks or coach Mike D'Antoni's system, I'd say that he was a poor fit for the Warriors' roster last season. And when you place Lin in the context of the long list of bad Warriors' personnel decisions and take those things into consideration, this one is actually not as bad as it seems.

Or that's how I rationalize it.

My second response: Lin is a player that a team with a reasonably constructed roster probably would've seen fit to keep.

Citizen CLiPPz WeRD 12: How good can Ekpe Udoh get? Does he compare to another player (past or present)?

EvanZ: Great question, because I love talking about Ekpe Udoh. He's almost unquestionably the best defensive presence that Golden State has had in the past two decades. Not a high bar, I know, but he really does appear to make a difference out there. The knock on him almost entirely has to do with his lack of scoring and rebounding, but there is mounting statistical evidence that even though you don't see it in the box score, Udoh does help us in both those areas.

Citizen Hangtime81: As of now, what grade would you give 1st Year Head Coach, Mark Jackson?

Nate Parham: First, let me make it clear that I thought this was not an ideal hire - this is a team with a lot of young talent that needed to be developed and developing a non-playoff team into a winner requires an experienced coach no matter how you look at it. It was not entirely reasonable to expect a complete novice to turn around a franchise in one lockout-shortened season.

So with that in mind, I'd still give him an "incomplete".

The main reason is the shortened preseason: that was obviously hard on everyone, but even harder on a first-year coach with an ill-formed roster. Second, the team he was given was not loaded with defensive players. Kwame Brown was a solid defensive presence when healthy, but perimeter defense has still been less than stellar. Third, this schedule is obviously abnormally grueling, which further limits the type of practice time a coach would need to implement his system with players. Fourth, and perhaps most significant moving forward, is that you have to wonder how many wins a coach could possibly get out of this roster; regardless of the coach, my feeling entering the season was "not many".

It's both fair to say that Jackson hasn't done particularly well and that he needs more time to prove what he can do under less irregular conditions - he was hired to coach 82 game seasons and I think it was a tough challenge that he inherited.

Citizen Valdeezy: How do GSW fans feel about their chances against the Clippers on the road? Knowing full well they aren't as good away from home?

Nate Parham: Perhaps it's been awhile since your team has struggled, but at some point it occurs to fans of a beleaguered franchise that their team can lose on any given Sunday (thorough Saturday). If anything can force realism out of an optimist, it's watching a perennial lottery team trying to take on the rigors of the road. I imagine one would be hard-pressed to find a Warriors fan that truly believes the Warriors would beat the Clippers on the road. But at some point you just keep watching in hopes that your favorite team might surprise you.

It's a sick and twisted cycle, I know.

Oh trust me Nate, We know as well. We know.