Our own Dave pulled off a last second question and answer session with Nate Parhem of Golden State of Mind, so here's a bit more pre-game reading material.
Below are Nate's answers to Dave's questions. Dave's answers to Nate's questions can be found here.
1. When Klay Thompson was drafted last year there were questions about his game outside of shooting. Have those questions been answered? Is Thompson more than just a shooter, and in what ways has he surprised GS fans?
I thought people underestimated Thompson's defensive ability coming
out of WSU - you don't play that much for Ken Bone without playing
some D. He's a solid team defender who generally knows where to be
although he sometimes picks up cheap fouls on the ball.
Offensively, he's capable of making plays for himself and others but
really needs to become a better ball handler to do so consistently.
He's had an up and down year, but lately he's been on a tear just by
doing a better job of picking his spots. As your question alludes to,
the scout on him still has to be that you'd want to run him off the
three point line and force him to drive to the bucket, but they set up
to come off screens and with so many options on this team (especially
with Bogut back) it's really hard to key in on him.
2. Harrison Barnes was a heck of a pick up in the draft after tanking, as you say, to keep the pick. Will he have trouble getting consistent minutes in the same lineup with Thompson, or are they perfect on the wing together?
I think our hope is that Barnes can become the slasher/on ball wing
defender that the team otherwise doesn't have. So really, Barnes is a
great complement to Thompson (and Stephen Curry). He faces the same
challenge as Thompson to really reach his potential offensively - ball
handling - but he has improved quite a bit in his rookie year already
so it's hard not to be excited about his full potential (which I still
have as approximately Rudy Gay, for better or worse).
3. Stephen Curry seems to have blossomed now that Monta Ellis is gone, but he just recently twisted his ankle again I believe. Do you see that as a career-long problem at this point? Does that lower his value to the team or its future?
You know, that last one was such a freak accident that you have to
feel bad for the guy - as Jim Barnett pointed out in this most recent
situation, landing on someone's foot is bad luck as is...but how is it
that it's the same ankle that ends up falling on someone else's foot?
At this point, it's impossible to know what his future will look like
with this issue because it keeps coming up, but when he's on the floor
he's so good that I hardly think it lowers his value. If he ends up
missing 5 games here and 5 game there I think fans will be able to
live with that, especially at the bargain price he has been signed at.
4. The Suns, as most know, dropped a guy into the HC spot midseason with 0 coaching experience in Lindsey Hunter this year. Hunter has specifically mentioned Jackson as someone who has encouraged him in his new position, and told him "He's been doing this his whole life. That's what point guards are - coaches on the floor." Mark Jackson took over the HC without any coaching experience at any level. How was the adjustment? Did he look like a total rookie in his first season? Or did he look and act like a veteran from day one? Is he, in GS fan minds, a good coach now? Vinny del Negro, for example, went straight into an HC job and still has the rep of not being a great coach years later, despite leading teams to winning records.
I was in a minority of people who just gave Jackson a pass for last
season: he had no training camp to implement things, they spent a lot
of time without their full roster, and then they made a major
mid-season trade and tanked. People will always spend a lot of time
complaining about rotations or how often they gave Ellis the ball in
isos or timeouts, but all in all he earned our patience given the
This season, I think he's unavoidably a good coach or at least a head
coach with the right people around him: Mike Malone is a great
tactical assistant and the front office has put together a unit with a
lot of weapons. In talking to players - actually both with the NBA and
D-League squad - the thing that stands out about what he does well is
connect with them and let them know he believes in them; he really is
doing a lot of what he did during his NBA career. What I think has
really improved this season is that he's gotten more comfortable with
the personnel and he's figured out how to get the most out of them for
the most part in terms of lineups and implementing a system that works
5. Final question: are GS fans a little skittish? Are there pessimists arguing with optimists, both calling themselves realists, on the blog on a daily basis? Or is everything roses and daffodils?
It's the internet: nothing is ever roses and daffodils. There are
still those who think Klay hasn't proven he's worthy of the praise he
gets. Those who are concerned about the team's post depth. Those who
think we should consider Barnes a Hall of Famer in the making. Those
who didn't believe the team was for real until a couple of weeks ago.
Those who miss Monta. I could go on, but you get the point.
I think right now the mood is mostly pleasant though because the team
has exceeded even optimistic expectations. No reasonable person could
have predicted the team doing so well without Bogut playing. It didn't
seem possible. So even if there are various levels of excitement, I
think everyone is still just coming to terms with the fact that we're
suddenly rooting for a good team that could be on the cusp of
something special as the unit gets healthier and all these young guys
continue to grow together.