Tag: Larry Riley

Jeremy Lin

Warriors, Rockets feel regret about letting Jeremy Lin go


Golden State had Jeremy Lin for a full season last year, but decided he just wasn’t going to work for them. Monta Ellis handles the ball a lot, Stephen Curry is the starter at the point and Golden State went another direction with his backup.

The Rockets had Lin earlier this season, but they also have Kyrie Irving (who should have been an All-Star) as the starter and Goran Dragic as the backup. They didn’t have room for him.

Think those teams are watching Lin now and feeling some regret? You bet they are, as they told Howard Beck of the New York Times.

“We always felt there would be some chance he’d be a backup point guard,” said Larry Riley, the Warriors general manager. “I have egg on my face in telling you that I did not think he was going to become a starting point guard with a good team. He’s doing that right now.”

Daryl Morey, the Rockets’ general manager, was even more blunt, declaring on Twitter: “We should have kept @JLin7. Did not know he was this good. Anyone who says they knew misleading U.”

Unless you are an All-Star level player (and sometimes even then), fit and system matter a lot in the NBA. Elite teams usually have a couple transcendent stars that would succeed regardless of the system, but the other 10 players are guys who fit well in the system the team runs. You pick players that way.

Lin is in a system that really fits him right now — the pick-and-rolls, the freedom to make decisions, the need for a point guard who can push the pace then get into the lane all play to Lin’s skill set. To use an easy example, Lin would wilt in the triangle offense (as would a lot of pure point guards, remember Gary Payton on the Lakers?). But Lin and D’Antoni are a match.

And the Knicks are a lot better off for it. And the fact the Warriors and Rockets didn’t realize what they had.

Warriors GM says team is not shopping Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis tree tattoo

Monta Ellis’ name has popped up in trade rumors over the last few weeks, and some have been wondering if the Warriors have been shopping Ellis, who has been putting up huge numbers over the last two seasons while leading the Warriors to little success.

However, in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Zach Lowe, Warriors general manager Larry Riley maintained that the team is not trying to shop Ellis:

“We are not shopping Monta Ellis. It is business as usual here. I think you have to look at what just happened in the Finals — it seemed like Dallas played pretty small guards throughout that series with Miami and did a pretty good job of it. Our problem is not the small backcourt. Our problem is defense.”

That’s an interesting statement, because the Warriors’ “small backcourt,” specifically Ellis, is one of the major reasons why defense has been such a problem for the Warriors, perhaps even the main reason. Ellis is a very talented scorer, but by all accounts he does not play defense, and the numbers show that the Warriors got much, much worse defensively when he was on the floor last season.

New coaches Mark Jackson and Mike Malone might be able to get Ellis to buy in to some kind of defensive system that can make use of his speed and willingness to gamble for steals, but right now it seems hard to believe that Ellis can be effective when he’s not surrounded by players that can cover for him on defense, which Steph Curry, Dorell Wright, and David Le cannot do. I encourage you to read the rest of the interview, which includes Riley’s thoughts on the team’s defense, new coach Mark Jackson, and the once-promising Andris Biedrins.

Jerry West takes on consultant position with Warriors

Image (1) jWest-thumb-250x166-18358.jpg for post 3706

UPDATE 12:37 pm: It’s official according to CSN Bay Area, the Warriors have confirmed that Jerry West has joined the organization, with the title of “executive board member.” Consultant is still the best term to understand the role.

West can be a strong and persuasive voice, but he also is deft at the politics of the game. He will not step on Larry Riley’s toes and will stand in line with the company publicly. But he is about as straight a shooter as there is out there and there will be no doubt in the organization what West is thinking.

This is a great hire for Golden State.

8:01 am: Jerry West, the legendary Laker general manager from the Showtime era who also spent time in Memphis, is now going to be consulting with the Golden State Warriors.

That’s what Tim Kawakami wrote at the San Jose Mercury News.

West’s exact title has not yet been formalized, but he is expected to be reporting to co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber and possibly act as a sounding board in many areas.

The addition of an icon like West is another aggressive and surprising move by Lacob, who brought in agent Bob Myers last month as his GM-apparent.

He’ll be a consultant, basically. Larry Riley is the GM and Meyers will get the gig in a few years.

But it’s a wise move by the owner to have another voice in his ear, especially one with a good eye for talent. (Remember West got Kobe Bryant out of high school, put good role players around Magic and Kareem, and when in Memphis made sure they got Marc Gasol in a deal everyone thought was bad at the time but turned out to be decent.)

Joe Lacob has shown to be hands on as an owner on the basketball side. That can be worrisome. But if he is bringing in smart people around him like West and listening to them, he’ll be fine.

Warriors set front office up for future, which leaves coach in limbo

Keith Smart, Larry Riley
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Last summer, before he even took control of the team, new Warriors owner Joe Lacob started to make changes — Don Nelson was out, Keith Smart was in for a year (it was a one-year contract) and they went out and got David Lee. The Warriors got 10 games better.

But now Lacob is starting to lay in the long-term plans.

That starts with extending the deal of existing GM Larry Riley a coupe years, Then the team hired Bob Meyers, an agent with the Wasserman Media Group, as an assistant GM reports Matt Steinmetz at CSN Bay Area. Meyers was the agent for a number of players including Dorell Wright (Warriors), DeAndre Jordan (Clippers), Brandon Roy (Trail Blazers), Tyreke Evans (Kings) and Brook Lopez (Nets).

The plan is for Meyers to take over for Riley in a couple years, Lacob said.

So where does that leave current coach Keith Smart. Limbo, Riley told Steinmetz.

Riley said that there has been no decision made on the fate of coach Keith Smart, and that no decision would likely come for at least a week or 10 days. Lacob went further and suggested it could be longer than two weeks before a decision is made.

It looks now like Lacob is laying out the long-term foundation in the front office. Whether Smart was part of that plan or a stopgap is something they are clearly still deciding.

Smart was solid in his debut — the Warriors got better and were about what everyone expected given their talent, a team in the mid-30s in wins — but nobody is going to confuse him with Tom Thibodeau’s debut either. The question on Smart has to start with “what kind of team do we want to build?” Once you have a plan, then you can hire a coach to execute it. Which may or may not be Smart.

New Warriors owner may keep Don Nelson for a "test drive"


Thumbnail image for New Warriors Logo.jpgDon Nelson sits in Maui, collecting the $6 million he is owed, and waiting for a phone call from Warriors incoming owner Joe Lacob.

And more and more, it seems like that call may say, “Hey, come on back and coach the team a little longer.” That’s what the San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami is hearing.

The term I’ve heard: Lacob could give most of the significant Warriors employees a “test-drive” of some undetermined length, possibly at least through the end of 2010 and maybe into the 2011 off-season…

I’m not saying Lacob definitely is going to lay back on a GM/front-office re-structuring. I’m just saying that it’s possible, given Lacob’s current view of the goings-on at this late off-season juncture.

What appears to be the case is the long-standing alliance between Nelson and general manager Larry Riley will not be the major power structure anymore. Their fates will be decided separately.

If Lacob is going to be hands-on as it appears in player/personnel decisions, Riley may keep his job by being the guy who teams contact, who will listen to the offers, who can do the dirty work then consult with Lacob on a course of action. Somebody is going to have to fill that role, to bring a basketball background perspective to the GM role. (Warriors fans, pray that somebody does.) Riley may well get the chance to prove he can be that guy.

Nobody thinks Nelson is the long-term answer at coach. But there are two questions here. First, as Lacob will not get control of the team until just before or already into training camp, can he get somebody as coach at that point of the quality he wants. Second, is it worth buying out Nelson at $6 million plus shelling out several million more for a new coach to figure that out?

Nelson comes with much more baggage. The fan base can’t stand him. The players think he jerks them around. Keeping Nelson on board does not exactly help moral or show that it is time for a new direction. But unless Lacob has someone like Dwane Casey in his back pocket, making the last-minute change will be hard (and Dallas might not want to let an assistant coach walk on the eve of the season, there are a lot of complications).

So in Golden State, it may be meet the new boss, same as the old boss. At least for a while.