Jackson and power
forward Al Harrington arrived in the Bay Area after a midseason trade from the
Pacers that seemed to leave the Warriors with a set of unpredictable mismatched
parts. Most observers saw them as a 10th-place team, at best, in the West, but
they came together late in the season and eliminated the Mavericks in one of
the most entertaining playoff series in history. Jackson, who won't play until
the eighth game of the season because of an NBA-imposed suspension for the
felony conviction, insists that the Warriors will build on that momentum.
"We're going to have a full season together, and all the nonsense is behind
me," Jackson says. As evidence of the latter, Jackson explains the
church-gun tat thusly: "I pray I never have to use it [the gun] again."
Some teams might worry about that explanation, but to the Warriors, it is a
pronouncement worthy of a Captain Jack.
ENEMY LINES An
opposing team's scout sizes up the Warriors
In the playoffs
they discovered the style they need to play to be successful, but it's going to
be a big challenge to maintain that kind of energy for 82 games. . . .
Rebounding should be a concern when they go small, but think about it this way:
How many teams can go big against them and make it work? Not many. . . . Baron
Davis brings emotion to this team. He plays with a lot of passion and he's not
afraid to battle--and his guys can sense that. . . . A lot of teams would like
to have Stephen Jackson if he were more of a professional on and off the court.
The Warriors' style is good for him, because he's not a structure-type player.
Jackson is a long body who can cause a mismatch, and Don Nelson likes that. . .
. Al Harrington is important because he can play that power forward spot with a
small forward skill set, another staple of Nellie's teams. . . . I was amazed
how much Matt Barnes's shooting has improved. He's not afraid to work hard at
either end, and he doesn't have that star mentality, which is a good thing.
Last year the
Warriors allowed a league-high 106.9 points per game (the most in the NBA since
1996-97) and still made the playoffs. The previous time Golden State gave up
that many points (110.9 in '92-93), it went 34-48.