NBA Sunday: Warriors In Serious Trouble?
The Golden State Warriors spent the majority of the early portion of the season residing in the top ten of most weekly power rankings lists and the playoffs were seemingly a certainty. But as we head down the stretch, with just over 20 games to go, the struggling Warriors find themselves fighting for their respective playoff lives. Golden State hasn’t reached the playoffs since the 2007 campaign and despite a hot start this season finds themselves just 3 1/2 games ahead of the ninth place Los Angeles Lakers.
Since February the Warriors have compiled a woeful 4-10 mark and are also riding a four game losing streak. The team’s struggles begin with the inability to consistently win on the road. For the season the club is 15-20 away from home and just 1-9 on the road since the beginning of February with losses to non-playoff bound teams such as Dallas and Philadelphia during this span.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been red hot during the team’s current losing streak averaging 36.8 points on 55.8 percent shooting from three-point range. Since the All-Star break, Curry has averaged 29.1 points, 6.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds on 51 percent shooting.
But while Curry’s profile around the league continues to elevate, the Warriors as a collective unit have been steadily declining with key pieces David Lee and Klay Thompson routinely struggling to find their grooves over the past month.
One saving grace for the team is the last stretch on the schedule works to their favor. The Warriors are 18-7 at home and will play 16 out of their last 22 at Oracle Arena to conclude the season. Starting Monday the team will kick off a seven game home stand in which they have better records than five of the opponents on the docket (Toronto, Sacramento, Houston, Milwaukee and Detroit).
For the Warriors a little home cooking is what is needed in order to right the ship. According to Lee, the team has been frustrated as of late during the losing streak.
“We’ve been doing it only in spurts,” Lee told Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle after the team’s latest setback. “We haven’t been doing anything that’s lasted the whole game. … I wouldn’t say it’s a lack of confidence. I just think we’re frustrated.”
The Warriors’ six remaining road contests are versus Houston, New Orleans, San Antonio, Phoenix, Los Angeles (Lakers) and Portland. If the playoffs were to begin today the Warriors would face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round as the Western Conference’s sixth seed.
No Retirement Plans For Pistons’ Corey Maggette
Detroit Pistons forward Corey Maggette has played over 800 regular season games, logged more than 23,000 career minutes and has scored more than 13,000 points during his career, but the veteran has averaged just 14.3 minutes in 18 appearances since arriving to Detroit.
Maggette has been hampered in recent years by an assortment of nagging injuries which have limited his effectiveness. But the veteran has implied he has no retirement and wouldn’t mind returning back to Detroit next season in a mentoring role.
“Another option still is for me to be a veteran for these guys and come back here another year,” Maggette told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. “That’s another possibility because we have a lot of young talent here and still need a veteran to talk to, and I know I’ve gained the respect of those guys and I’ll be able to do that.
“We’ll see what happens after that.”
Maggette relishing a role as a mentoring presence wouldn’t surprise most who cover the league as he has proudly served as a veteran voice in his last two stops (Milwaukee and Charlotte) as well.
Maggette will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and will join a free agent small forward crop which also includes Stephen Jackson, Dorell Wright, Corey Brewer and Matt Barnes. Guys such as Shawn Marion, Andrei Kirilenko and Trevor Ariza could also become available depending on player options or early termination contract clauses.
Kings’ Fredette Out To Prove He’s Legit Point Guard
Jimmer Fredette was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 10 overall pick of the 2011 draft and quickly dealt to the Sacramento Kings as part of a three-team deal. The Kings envisioned Fredette ultimately competing to be their point guard of the future, but up until this point Isaiah Thomas has out started Fredette 77 to 7 over the past two seasons. Thomas was the No. 60 overall pick in the same draft as Fredette.
There’s no doubt Thomas has established himself as an emerging point guard to watch, but the jury is still out on whether Fredette has the skills to be a full-time floor general at the professional level.
Fredette isn’t ready to buy into the notion that he should be classified as an undersized shooting guard just yet and still sees himself as a true point guard.
“I can transition to the two (guard) at times, and I’ve done that,” Fredette told Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. “But I still see myself as a point guard. I still feel more comfortable there because I’ve been playing it my whole life.
“You just go out there and do what you feel natural doing. You’ve just got to shoot it when you’re open, and if you’re not, try to take it to the basket or get other guys involved. It’s a process; you just go through it. I think I’m doing a good job. It’s just about doing the best you can with the opportunity you get.”
Kings head coach Keith Smart believes Fredette will experience even more growth as a player next season, his third in the league, as he still learns the nuisances of the pro game.
“He’s gotten better from last year, he’s improved as the season’s gone, and he’ll take another jump next season,” Smart said. “He’s starting to get an understanding of the NBA, the personnel in the NBA and what you can and can’t do against certain teams in the NBA.”
Fredette has improved his shooting percentages across the board this season and is averaging roughly three more minutes for the team since the All-Star break.