Ellis trade a big-time gamble for Warriors


Ellis trade a big-time gamble for Warriors

The only escape for the Warriors from the hellish trap of the last ... oh, lets just say five years and be generous about it ... was to blow up the roster and get down to scratch.

Well, boom.


Monta Ellis is gone, and so is Ekpe Udoh and the rumor of Kwame Brown, to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut and his occasionally cranky body, and the old warhorse Stephen Jackson.

In other words, Jerry Wests interest in tearing it down to the studs and starting again and Joe Lacobs interest in making a trade splash superseded Lacobs chimerical playoff promise. The Warriors parted with their best trade chip and their most promising young big man for Bogut, a top six-center who has missed all but 12 games this season with a broken ankle.

In other words, this is a short-term disaster for the Warriors, whose only real hope now is to dump the season as elegantly as possible, including convincing Stephen Curry that his ankle needs more time and care than playing will allow.

Long-term ... well, long-term thinking has not been a Warrior long suit historically, so this trade at least has some intriguing ramifications.

It also breaks with Warrior tradition of absurdly overvaluing its own flawed players by including them in trade concepts with other teams truly elite players (see Howard, Dwight).

And finally, it is an acknowledgement that the Warriors were in the same cul-de-sac theyve been driving in since the mid-'90s -- trying to replace playoff contention with points, more against than for. And that something drastic needed to be done.

This is drastic. This is undoing this rebuild to start a new one. This is West finally winning the day from the stasis that has crushed this franchise time and again.

The problem, of course, is that if a Bogut-Curry-centric team isnt the answer either, were doing this again in two more years, perpetuating the laughable cycle of Were on the verge that has made them one of the sports least relevant teams.

Truth be told, the Warriors have actually been good at saying, This isnt working, but they have been exceedingly poor at showing the back end of that sentence, but this new thing were doing will.

And therein lies the grinding noise in fans heads. They suspected this was not a playoff team, and their trade speculations and dreams did not have a short-term surrender as part of the plan. To them, Ellis and Udoh got traded for Jackson, which in the short term is exactly what happened.

They will not be happy. They will fill the Coliseum Friday night to see the Bucks, and they will rage in their love for the departed Ellis and Udoh against their own management. Lacob is about to learn what the backhand of the honeymoon feels like, and for the amount of money he and Peter Guber spent to buy this team, the wounds will not heal soon.

Indeed, if they are the wounds the Warriors typically inflict upon themselves, they will not heal, Lacob will find out what Chris Cohan learned -- that owners have a short leash around here, and the more they talk without delivering, the shorter the leash is, and the harder it will be tugged. Cohan handled it by becoming a hologram, never seen, never heard but much vilified.

If Lacob is ready for that, and if Bogut turns out to be the Warrior the Warriors have always needed, Lacob will be able to fire off a series of bilious I told you sos at the people who are savaging him now.

But if not, well, owning the Warriors is a long and lonely thing. Six playoff appearances in 35 years takes its toll; one in 18 does, too. And someone will have to pay for this -- and pay hard.

It will either be us, for being so wrong about a bold and energizing move, or Lacob for blowing up the franchise to no good end again. It is measuring the dull gray known against the potentially exciting but very scary unknown, and the only thing at risk is Lacobs ability to sit at courtside and enjoy his basketball team.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

Fultz a perfect fit, but do Kings have assets required to trade up?

It’s lonely at the top, which is where Markelle Fultz sits on almost every 2017 NBA Draft board. The Brooklyn Nets should be set for the next decade with a big time scoring point guard. Instead, it’s the Boston Celtics who have no choice but to take Fultz with the No. 1 overall selection after a savvy trade that sent veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to the Nets for a stack of picks and players back in 2013.

Fultz can do it all. He’s deadly from the outside, he can take you off the bounce and he has elite passing skills to boot. In a draft packed with star potential, specifically at the point guard position, the freshman from Washington stands out well above the rest.  

It would take a major shake up at the top for Fultz not to have his name called first on draft night, but there are plenty of very talented players sitting on the board behind him. Here is a deeper look at the potential top overall selection.

The Positives:
Fultz has tremendous size, length and athleticism for an NBA point guard. He measured in at 6-foot-5, 195-pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan and has a frame built to take on muscle. At just 19-years-old, he is already well defined physically and has plenty of room to grow and get stronger.

A crafty, high-end scorer, Fultz changes speed and direction well and has an advanced Euro-step for a young player. He averaged 23.2 points in 35.7 minutes a night for the Huskies while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three. He can score from all three levels, finish well above the rim and play through contact.

In his lone season in college, Fultz showed that he is not only a legitimate scoring threat, but he is a willing passer and an unselfish teammate. While Lonzo Ball is considered the true pass first point guard of the draft, Fultz had a higher assist rate (35.5 to 31.5) and lower turnover rate (13.4 to 18.2) than the star guard from UCLA.

Fultz rebounds well for his position, averaging 5.7 rebounds per game at Washington. He also has potential as a defender, posting 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks, although he is a work in progress on that end of the floor.

Known as a high-character kid and tireless worker off the court, Fultz has the entire package. He can also play the lead or shooting guard spot, which will come in handy if the Celtics decide to pair him with All-Star Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt.

The Negatives:
9-16 is a concern. Great college players should be able to will their team to victory, even if the talent around them is suspect. Washington was certainly worse off without Fultz down the stretch, losing their last six while he sat with a knee injury.

Shot selection and sloppy ball handling was also an issue this season. In Fultz’ defense, he played with a group that lacked overall talent and those issues might eventually disappear when he’s added to a roster that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.  

Fultz is a quality chase down defender, but he fell asleep on plenty of plays or didn’t show a consistent fight on the defensive end. Lack of focus allowed for plenty of back cuts. He also showed an inconsistent effort fighting through screens.

He’s a work in progress on the defensive end, like most young players coming into the league. Most of these issues can easily be coached out of him at the next level.

Fultz has an advanced feel and tons of room to expand his game. On the court, he resembles another former Husky in Brandon Roy. Fultz is much further along than Roy was at the same age, but possesses both the ability to score from anywhere on the court, as well as rebound and set up his teammates.  

It’s hard to imagine the Celtics passing on Fultz with the top overall selection, but if they do, teams will scramble trying to move up to select him. He would fit perfectly in the Kings starting backcourt alongside sophomore Buddy Hield, but Sacramento lacks the assets to move from five to one, Fultz’ likely landing spot.


Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale


Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale


SAN FRANCISCO -- Johnny Cueto pitched six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.

Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. The two-time All-Star was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.

The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.

Crawford's two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.

The Giants scored their first run in the first inning on a passed ball by Kurt Suzuki, who was handling Dickey's knuckleballs.

Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.

Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn't get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.

Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks.

Giants catcher Buster Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn't struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.

Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left the game in the top of the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. "The progress is happening," Bochy said. "I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel." . Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. "I'll talk to him, about what his situation is," Bochy said. "I'm definitely planning on giving him a couple of days" off.

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. Teheran is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.

Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.