The Warriors are in a holding pattern and you can blame owner Joe Lacob for that.
First, Lacob used the amnesty provision in the new NBA collective bargaining agreement on Charlie Bell and his $4.1 million contract (NBA teams can pay the player, but not count that salary against their payroll), rescinded a qualifying offer to Reggie Williams, and delayed signing draft picks Klay Thompson and Jeremy Tyler so he could make a bid for free-agent center Tyson Chandler, but Chandler signed with the New York Knicks. Surprise.
Then, Lacob made an offer to Clippers free-agent center DeAndre Jordan for four years at $42.7 million, though advisor Jerry West was lukewarm in his appraisal of Jordan earlier this week. But Lacob was saved from having to overpay Jordan because the Clippers matched the Warriors’ offer and kept Jordan on Monday.
Meanwhile, Thompson and Tyler haven’t been able to be signed or practice while the contract was out there.
Nonetheless, Lacob predicted this week that Thompson would be the NBA Rookie of the Year. There obviously will be no shortage of hubris in the Warriors’ ownership box this season.
At Monday’s media day at the Warriors’ facility, Thompson said, “It will be a weight off my back when I can sign.” But the 6-foot-7 swingman, who does not suffer from a lack of confidence, agreed with his boss: “Yes, I think I can be the Rookie of the Year. Everybody knows I can shoot, and I think I can defend against either twos or threes.” (Shooting guards, small forwards — basketball players talk in numbers, not words.) “I can run the fast break or I can finish it.”
Lacob has worked so frantically to get a big man because the lack of a shot-blocker has been a big reason for the Warriors’ poor defense. Without an addition, the Warriors’ chief hope is that Andris Biedrins will return to his earlier form, after two years when he was injured frequently and totally lost his confidence.
“I’ve been working out all summer,” said Biedrins, who seems to be in top-notch condition. “I believe I can get back to where I was two years ago.” (When he was a good shot blocker and a decent scorer from close range.)
The most obvious flaw has been in his free-throw shooting, but Biedrins said he’s been working on both his physical form and his mental approach. “In practice, I hit 70-75 percent of my free throws, but in a game, I start worrying about all kinds of things. I have to stop that and just concentrate on what I’m doing.”
New coach Mark Jackson has had a limited amount of time to work with his team, but he’s made an impression, especially on Stephan Curry. “He was a point guard in this league for 17 years,” Curry said. “He played it a lot differently than I do, but there are still things I can learn from him.”
Players have praised Jackson’s concentration on defense. Hopefully, when the Warriors start their season, the emphasis will be on coach and players, not the antics of the new owner.
Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.