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News » Many guards, few smiles


Many guards, few smiles


Many guards, few smilesGeneral manager Larry Riley and coach Don Nelson knew the Warriors had a quagmire at point guard, but they couldn't have foreseen the sticky situation verging on disastrous before training camp even started.

Twenty-four hours before camp opened, Monta Ellis said Monday that he can't play alongside rookie Stephen Curry, a move that would have alleviated some of the five-man logjam at point guard.

"I can't envision that," Ellis said. "Us together, no. I can't. I just can't. I just can't.

"Riley and Nelson say that we can, but we can't. I just want to win, and we're not going to win that way."

Management opened the offseason saying that Stephen Jackson would play shooting guard and maintaining that Ellis must play the point, if he wants to be a superstar. After trading for two point guards Acie Law and Speedy Claxton, re-signing one C.J. Watson and drafting another Curry, opinions have changed.

Now, Jackson - if he remains with Golden State - will play small forward, according to Nelson. The coach also amended his comments to say Ellis could become a star as a shooting guard, so long as he's still a playmaker.

Ellis doesn't share that viewpoint.

"When Baron Davis and I played together, it was a different situation," Ellis said. "You had a nine-year veteran who had been in the game, knew how to play the game and was a big body. You can't put two small guys out there, trying to play the '1' and the '2,' when you've got big '2' guards in the league. You just can't do it.

"OK, yes, Curry and I would move up and down fast, but, eventually, the game is going to slow down. You can't do it."

Davis is 215 pounds. Ellis and Curry are both in the 180-pound range.

When Curry was asked whether he or Ellis would defend bigger shooting guards, such as 6-foot-6, 220-pound Kobe Bryant, he said, "The whole team will guard him."

It's not like Nelson and Riley are oblivious to the situation. They simply chose their words a little more carefully.

"There isn't room for five point guards," Riley said. "We'll probably attempt to address the point-guard situation. You're right on it."

"There are a lot of things I don't know yet regarding the backcourt," Nelson said. "What I do know is we'll be very small, so we'll have to compensate defensively for some of those things.

"There are problems that we'll have to solve, and I don't know all of the answers at this point."

The answers aren't easy. Even if Ellis does move back to shooting guard, the Warriors have Curry, Watson, Law and Claxton at point guard.

They all can't play.

"I re-signed here because I knew I was going to get minutes. I mean, I might play power forward here," joked Watson, who is 6-2, 175.

Nelson has a history of using guards creatively and in abundance, so it's not out of the realm to think he'll figure out a rotation. Those facts aren't lost on his players.

"We might be smaller than most teams, but teams aren't going to let us use that as an excuse and go easy on us, so we'll work with what we have," swingman Kelenna Azubuike said.

"This whole team is really based on point guards and the other guard spots," forward Corey Maggette said. "It is going to be competitive to get opportunities and make us better when coach decides what to do."

What to do with Ellis and Curry isn't management's only decision. The team has to decide what to do with Law and Claxton.

"We'll see what happens," Claxton said.

"I'm looking at it as a competition," Law said, "and this is a make-it-or-break-it year."

The guard glut Here's a look at the players on the training-camp roster who can play point guard:One of the quickest players in the league. ... Averaged 25.5 points, five rebounds and 4.6 assists after his ankle was completely healthy last year.Too small to defend taller or heavier guards. ... Needs to prove he can become a facilitator for teammates.Can win most any game of H-O-R-S-E. ... As polished as a rookie can be, averaging 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists during the summer league.Rarely was asked to defend a point guard in college. ... Could fall into coach Don Nelson's rookie quicksand without reason.Smart ballhandler, unselfish, knows how to run an offense. ... Hit 40 percent of his threes last season.Needs to prove he can score or create consistently. ... Looking up the depth chart at everyone but Speedy Claxton and Acie Law.Was Mr. Clutch in college. ... One of 13 players to amass a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio last season.Needs to be in optimum shape to fit Nelson's system and was overweight and slow in summer league. ... Has an expiring contract that could be attractive to other teams.Has been there and done that. ... Sees the end of his career and wants to make one last stand.Missed 80 games last season because of injury or illness and 82 more in 2000-01 and 2007-08. ... could get as much or more from injury insurance as they could from playing or trading him.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 29, 2009

 

 
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