Writing? No. Warriors? Yes

Another scattering of brain droppings, this post is merely a collection of observations after my first game as a SC Warriors fan.  Sorry for the off-topic post, but it was just that exciting!  Thanks to my loving wife for setting me up with tickets!

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I haven’t been writing as much as I’d hoped lately, but things have been busy–as things always are around the holidays.  Today, I was able to kick off the holidays with my wife as she treated me to the inaugural home game for the Santa Cruz Warriors – the Golden State Warriors NBA D-League affiliate.  It was an entertaining game from the outset, seeing people from all around Santa Cruz as we filed into the Kaiser Permanente Arena.  It was a great getting-to-know you game, as I didn’t know of many of these players in their pre-SC Warriors days.  There were a few familiar faces, such as Reynaldo Major, who had a cup of joe with the Warriors when they were as injury depleted as ever.  I think that run rewarded us with Kelenna Azubuike and CJ Watson as well… man, I miss those guys!

I was most excited to see a player named Mickell Gladness.  Gladness played sparingly with the Warriors last year, but I loved seeing him block shots.  He’s a 6’11” guy with telescopic arms, though he’s only about 230.  He had a couple of good first half putbacks and blocked a few shots in this game.  However, as the game went on, he tended to disappear.  His defense was there, and he had a good block near the end of the game, but I’m not sure if he even shot the ball in the second half.  His blocking ability was clearly much better than the 3 blocks that he tallied.  As with many big men who block shots, Gladness’s hands are built more for blocking shots than for catching passes.  He didn’t have very many miscues, but there were a couple of difficult passes that other men might have caught.

I didn’t notice Kent Bazemore’s five steals, as most of them were during scrambles, but the steals I did notice were big plays to shut down McNeal, as Bazemore’s offense seemed so much more potent down the stretch.  I believe what the reports say about Bazemore needing to improve his outside shooting, but I’d imagine that Bazemore has a future with the NBA club.

Jeremy Tyler has great hands–far beyond what many bigs have–and he also had some exciting dunks, but it is clear that Tyler needs some seasoning.  He showed flashes of why he was considered an elite high school player, even during this game.  There were a couple of moments where Tyler pleaded with the refs and seemingly had no basis for his complaint.

One of the pleasant surprises for me was the presence of Taylor Griffin.  Yes, Griffin as in Blake’s big brother.  Their play isn’t very similar.  Blake is a highlight reel, while Taylor does everything that he’s supposed to do and does the intangibles, too.  He looks like Blake, but his play reminded me more of Battier or Brian Cardnial, which makes me think that he’ll have a few call ups in his future.

Aside from the above, the offensive game that I remember the most is that of Chris Johnson, a 6’11”, 210 lb. center.  I can’t help but think that Chris Johnson would be an NBA player if he was a tad heavier and a bit taller, but if he was, then he probably wouldn’t have stood out as being as agile and quick of foot as he seemed.  If Tyler is called back to the GSW, I’d imagine that Chris Johnson would be quite formidable next to Mickell Gladness. Johnson had a nice little up and under in the first half, and then had a hook shot across the lane that originated from the left block, probably late in the third quarter.

Aside from a bit of disgust for Tyler’s complaining, the only thing I noticed that I didn’t like was that of Maurice Baker’s defense. I suppose what they say about people noticing one error for every ninety-nine things that someone does right.  What I noticed about Baker was that he was playing defense for the charge rather than playing to protect his area and deny his man access to the basket. I’m not saying I would do anywhere near as well as he did on D, but I am saying that his only foul was on a failed charge attempt (while he succeeeded in drawing a charge at least once) and there were other times where his hands were at his sides.

On the other end of the scorer’s table, the Jam, the Warriors’ old D-league affiliate, only two players were easy for me to identify.  Reynaldo Major was surprisingly skinny; I didn’t remember him being so much so.  Brian Butch, their center, was listed at 6’11” and 240, but he primarily was out on the perimeter, kind of like Michael Doleac.  He went down with what I thought was a knee injury in the first half, but was back without of a hitch later in the game.

Other things that I “scouted” from this game.  Butch is 6’11”, the listed height for Mickell Gladness, and Tyler is listed as only an inch shorter.  The problem I see is that Gladness looks like he’s a legitimate 6’11”, which would make Butch about 7’1″ and Tyler about 6’9″.  I guess listed heights are deceiving.

Finally, there was a family behind us.  The son, who was about eight, didn’t want to be there, so he loudly booed when the Warriors did something well — or when things were otherwise silent –, started cheering “Let’s go, Giants” or “Let’s go, Poopy” when chants were taking place, and started harassing Mav’ricks, the Warriors mascot, when it approached.  The guy next to me switched seats to get away from this kid–after giving him one of the best death stares I’ve ever seen–and I glared at the kid once or twice, too.  The mother was pretty witty in her retorts to her son, but I think that it was well over the little brat’s head.  I know the woman or her husband must have loved the game, because I don’t know how I could be in a crowded place if my child was acting like a public nuisance like that.

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