It’s important to remember this is only the second game of the season.
This is only the second game of the season.
Keep repeating that, because it’s pretty easy to get down right now about the Warriors’ performance in their first two games. It’s not really the record — 0-2 — that disappoints. I expected a 1-1 record at this point, and Golden State was close enough to winning the first game against the Rockets that an 0-2 start isn’t too far off my expectations. The more disappointing development is the poor play during the first two games, not only on defense (kind of expected) but also on offense.
Granted, the Warriors are scoring 104 points per game in their two losses. But the offense looks out of synch. Stephen Jackson, who didn’t play well in the Phoenix loss (13 points, 2 assists, 0 rebounds), talked about this team’s lack of chemistry on offense after Friday’s game. “We don’t move the ball as well as we have in past years. … The chemistry we have is not even close to what we used to have, but I think it’s up to the coaches to figure out what guys to have out there and get that chemistry back.”
I found it interesting that Jackson talked after the game about the lack of chemistry, which was fine, and that he blamed the coaches, which was not. I also thought it was unfair for him to compare the chemistry of this team to that of the teams the past few seasons. Obviously when the Warriors had Baron Davis here, he was the leader on and off the court and as an elite playmaker, he almost single-handedly ensured that everybody got their touches, everybody was happy, and that there existed a chemistry you could really see on the court.
But Davis is in Los Angeles now, and it’s time for Jackson to move on, in more ways than one.
There’s one player on the Warriors who I believe has the leadership qualities and the desire to lead, one who can help turn things around for this team on offense. But until Jackson is traded and out of the Warriors’ locker room, Stephen Curry will never be able to get the full attention of his teammates. Jackson is a very vocal presence and he carries a lot of weight in that locker room. Even with Jackson gone, it will be a lot to ask of a rookie to lead this team. But I get the impression that Curry wants to lead this team and that he has the ability to do so. I think with Jackson gone, prominent players on the Warriors (Monta Ellis in particular) will fall in line and allow Curry to lead.
After last night’s game, Curry spoke about the team’s lack of cohesion, just like Jackson. But it was so interesting to note the difference in tone from the two players. Jackson talked as if he were busy reliving past glories and ready to skip town as soon as possible, while putting the blame for the team’s problems on the coaches. Curry, on the other hand, spoke about the team’s weaknesses with an understanding of what went wrong and what the team could do to fix it. He put the responsibility on the players. Here’s what he said: “We were reacting to what they were doing instead of forcing them into tough situations. Because of that we got into foul trouble and we just couldn’t get a flow going. We tried to force things early and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the game. … The chemistry still has to grow a little bit. I think it starts in practice, trying to get the play calls down. … So that’s just going to take time. We’re only game two.”
Now, Curry was far from perfect Friday night. He was repeatedly beaten by Steve Nash and was only moderately effective on offense (12 points, 4 assists in 39 minutes). But he is the best shot at leadership on the Warriors roster, and until Jackson is traded, it will be difficult for Curry to take complete ownership of that role.