Does Warriors opener forecast doom?

Does Warriors opener forecast doom?
November 3, 2012, 6:45 am

Give the Warriors this much they waste no time in making folks wonder how much doom is in the room.

Maintaining their long-held core belief that the teams motto should be, Its One Damned Thing Or Another, the Warriors displayed their limitations and frustrations in a 104-94 loss to Memphis.

And no, before you start sniveling about "negative" this and "dont give them a chance" that, were not talking about long-term anything. Were talking about the home opener, and how quickly the vibe turned gray.
STEINMETZ: Warriors defeated by Grizzlies in home opener, 104-94

There was, most significantly, Brandon Rushs first quarter knee injury eight minutes into the game, after an inadvertent shove by Memphis Zach Randolph. There has been speculation from the orthopedic wing of Twitter about a dislocated left kneecap, and while none of that is confirmed, the faces on his teammates and employers suggested strongly that it will be a long time before he is seen in work clothes again.

But there was, of course, more. Andrew Bogut confessing that he is already frustrated, though acquiescent, at the 20-minute limit being put on him by the coaching and training staff. This isnt likely to become a thing, but unhappy is unhappy, and as Bogut said after the game, When youre playing, and youre not 100 percent, nobody cares.

And then there was what looks like an exciting subplot when Carl Landry starts to get end-of-game minutes based on the benefits he provides, and from whom those minutes will be taken.

Landry played 23 minutes, scored 20 points and rebounded six, went to the line 12 times and was the only plus player the Warriors had. And while plus-minus is a stat that brings with it enraged dismissals, it has its uses, one of which will be to provide mathematical cover for what ones eyes already see that Landry is a closer.

But for whom, inquisitive buttinskys want to know. For Bogut, who played the final eight minutes in a game that largely annoyed him for all the things he is not yet physically ready to do on 1.75 legs? Or for David Lee, whose box score lines often seem like empty calories?

Right now, head coach Mark Jackson isnt saying, though the way he initially answered the question of Landrys finishing games seemed to suggest that Bogut would be the one to cede those minutes. Yet when asked if he could foresee situations where Landry might replace Lee, Jackson scrambled to offer scenarios where Landry was so good and Lee so not quite, that such a possibility existed.

The problem, you see, is that the Warriors have their best bench in years, and the clamor to play them in starters situations will only grow as people see the full wingspan and plumage of players like Landry and Jarrett Jack. Rush would have been the third of those, but his accordioned knee seems to have removed him from consideration.

And though small sample size is the handy caveat here, Landry gives every indication of being the one best positioned to close. This is a gift the Warriors havent possessed for two decades, give or take a few minutes with Baron Davis back in the oughts.

In sum, the Warriors spent their home opener showing the fans the following items:

1. That Bogut has some rows left to hoe before hes fully ready to go.

2. That Landry is going to create arguments among the population, with Jackson as the focal point.

3. That Lee still frustrates as much as he invigorates.

4. That they still can get someone hurt at the drop of a shoe.

5. That they are in the very early stages of a transition from bad team to not-so-bad, to so-so, to pretty-decent, to hey-now. And that transition is going to be as long and and agonizing as all of the other transitions they have begun over the years.

But if this helps, they still shoot T-shirts into the stands and perform the new international crime Gangnam Style. So theres that.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

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