PROJECTEDSTARTING FIVE with 2006-07 statistics
This is an article from the Oct. 29, 2007 issue
KEY BENCHPLAYERS: F Matt Barnes, G-F Mickael Pietrus, G Kelenna Azubuike, G TroyHudson*, C Patrick O'Bryant
Record: 42-40(8th in West) Points scored: 106.5 (2nd in NBA) Points allowed: 106.9 (30th)Coach: Don Nelson (second season with Warriors)
Stephen Jacksonis the Warriors in one perplexing 6' 8" package. He's capable of scoring 20points in a quarter, then zoning out (we're not talking defense) in the next.Almost everyone who has ever played with him, say they like him as a person.But he has gotten into trouble both on the court (two ejections from playoffgames last season and a 30-game suspension for charging into the stands duringthe infamous 2004 riot at the Palace of Auburn Hills) and off it (a guilty pleato criminal recklessness after he fired a gun outside an Indianapolis stripclub last October).
So if you'reWarriors coach Don Nelson, what do you do with swingman Jackson, who returnedto camp this season with a large tattoo on his chest of two praying handsholding a gun in front of a church? You make him a captain, of course, the rolethat Jack, as everyone calls him, shares with Baron Davis and Matt Barnes."We have great confidence in him as a player and a leader," saysNelson.
Jackson and powerforward Al Harrington arrived in the Bay Area after a midseason trade from thePacers that seemed to leave the Warriors with a set of unpredictable mismatchedparts. Most observers saw them as a 10th-place team, at best, in the West, butthey came together late in the season and eliminated the Mavericks in one ofthe most entertaining playoff series in history. Jackson, who won't play untilthe eighth game of the season because of an NBA-imposed suspension for thefelony conviction, insists that the Warriors will build on that momentum."We're going to have a full season together, and all the nonsense is behindme," Jackson says. As evidence of the latter, Jackson explains thechurch-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 apronouncement worthy of a Captain Jack.
ENEMY LINES Anopposing team's scout sizes up the Warriors
In the playoffsthey discovered the style they need to play to be successful, but it's going tobe 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. . . . BaronDavis brings emotion to this team. He plays with a lot of passion and he's notafraid to battle--and his guys can sense that. . . . A lot of teams would liketo 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 asmall forward skill set, another staple of Nellie's teams. . . . I was amazedhow much Matt Barnes's shooting has improved. He's not afraid to work hard ateither end, and he doesn't have that star mentality, which is a good thing.
Last year theWarriors allowed a league-high 106.9 points per game (the most in the NBA since1996-97) and still made the playoffs. The previous time Golden State gave upthat many points (110.9 in '92-93), it went 34-48.