71 Comments

Dunkomatic 3000.

You are correct, sir!

Expand full comment

JK makes that breakaway-cradle-reverse dunk look so effortless

Expand full comment

That first play is great but would be even better if they had Bjelica there instead of JTA since he could take the three if open as well.

Expand full comment

I remember the first reverse dunk I witnessed was Sonny Parker back in the mid 70's, don't believe he rocked the cradle before hand but was spectacular all the same

Expand full comment

By the end of next year (let's assume OPJ is still on board, expect Belly & Andre are gone), I think this team can be as good, if not better than the 73 win team or the Durant teams. This might seem outrageous, and I do not believe we can match some of the numbers (wins, net rating, etc). However, my argument is simple.

The 1st Gen Warriors dynasty had one thing that this team will never have: the element of surprise. It has taken years for the league to adapt to defending the Warriors one-of-a-kind offensive system. Even 4 years into the dynasty, players were still incapable of unlearning a lifetime of basketball that taught them to keep there eyes on the ball, not the guy that just gave up the ball. Today, you have players in the league who were watching these Warriors from middle school to college. The entire league has been geared to try to defend this system for nearly a decade and it is finally starting to sink in.

Although the system the Warriors run is still light years ahead, the league as a whole has made progress in defending it. Ever since Nick Nurse dropped the box and one on Curry, teams have seen that the Warriors can be mortal. "If it bleeds, it can be killed." That belief did not exist before. I don't remember which season, but in one of them, Curry only played in 75% of the 4th quarters in games he started. Those days are over. Today, Curry needs to go out and get a bloody nose in the 4th quarter against a terrible Kings team.

My point being, 1st Gen Dynasty will always look better because they had caught the league off guard. Like the Borg, the league has finally adapted. The road has narrowed. The mountain is taller. But the 2nd Gen Dynasty has something the 1st did not.

Curry-Klay-Wiggs-Dray-Wiseman

Poole-Moody-OPJ-Kuminga-Looney

GP2-DLee-JTA

I'm just sayin'. If Poole, Moody, JFK & Wiseman keep progressing ..... Holy *&^%&^*&#%

Expand full comment

I fully agree that the team if it progresses as we hope will be monstrous. But I can't accept that any of the configurations we can offer to come will rival younger Steph-Klay-Draymond-Iguodala and most of all: Durant. Because KD was late to the show and something of a hired gun, it's harder to feel like he's Our Guy.

But he was (and is) SO, SO, SO great a player that no combination of Moody/Kuminga/Wiseman/Poole seems to me to plausibly quite figure as greatly. I hope they prove me wrong. I'm just saying the very obvious: that Durant is one of the greatest basketball players who ever lived, so the (healthy) Warrior teams he was on will not be matched any time soon.

Expand full comment

There's a good chance that JK and Moody become All-Stars. There's a non-zero chance that JK becomes a superstar. Poole has a chance of becoming an All-Star, too. J-Dub? If he was healthy, I'd say there's a decent chance he becomes an All-Star, but since he's played so little and been injured it's hard to say. Ceiling wise? I've heard people say he could become a superstar.

So what if JK and J-Dub both become superstars, and Moody and Poole both become all-stars?

What if that happens while Steph/Klay/Dray are still productive? You'd be talking about two cores of great super teams who both happen to play on the same team.

I'm just sayin' there's a chance, y'know?

Expand full comment

It is a beautiful thing to dream. I'm right there with you.

Expand full comment

Looney, OPJ, Lee, GP2, and JTA are all free agents this summer. I would love to see them all back, but after this season, it's time some of them got paid, and I don't think Lacob says yes to all of that. Remember that Wiggs/Green/Poole are all FA's in '23, and my guess is the Dubs will want to extend all three of them this summer.

That's a lot of dough to be committing to in one off-season.

Expand full comment

So sad. Looney and GP2 are almost non-negotiable for maintaining our defensive identity. My prediction is we can only keep those two out of the 5 you mentioned. Hopefully we get a couple ring chasing vets that can replicate DLee/JTA at the least. Replicating OPJ would be amazing.

Expand full comment

Honestly I think GPII and OPJ are the only ones we might have trouble keeping out of the five. I don't think JTA or Lee are going to get any sort of significant offers elsewhere, and I don't think anyone will try and legitimately pry Looney away from us. OPJ has made his money, so it just depends on if he likes his role on this team for what he's getting, or if he wants to chase another paycheck with perhaps more guaranteed years and more playing time.

GPII is the one I think is most likely to bolt. I think he's more than demonstrated his value this year and he has certainly not gotten paid to date. If any other teams are willing/able to offer him a good raise with multiple years I absolutely hope that he takes it. I'll miss him on the Warriors, but I also hope he's able to get financially rewarded for his awesomeness.

Expand full comment

We’ll be able to give GP2 “a good raise with multiple years,” since we’ll have his Early Bird Rights. Whether we’re willing, who knows.

As for OPJ, we’ll be able to offer him the full tpMLE. Whether we’ll be willing probably depends on how much he shows out for us in the playoffs. But if he shows out toooo much, someone will probably offer him significantly more than the MLE.

Tricky wick….

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022·edited Feb 4, 2022

You're right, he was on a full-time contract last year which gives the Dubs his early bird rights. I really do wish the Dubs had signed him to a multi-year, but I'm guessing his agent didn't want him to, and good for him. He should get paid.

Expand full comment

So early bird rights means they can pay him just above league avg, so around $7.9M. Will that be enough? And how many years do you guarantee him? I would keep him around for that much, but it's not my money. Also, it's worth noting that JK is gradually taking up his "dunkers' spot" minutes and value.

Expand full comment

Rubio!

Expand full comment
Feb 5, 2022·edited Feb 5, 2022

Did someone say career 38% from the field? Sign me ... not up.

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

Okay, really good video but super distracting that you changed the music. I was humming the eop theme under my breath when I clicked play and you basically left me hanging.

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022·edited Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

My vote, if there were such a thing, would be to stick to the OG music. Why mess with a good thing?

Expand full comment

I like variety. Love the OG music. Like the new try. Will like future new tries. Don't let it get stale Bro!

Expand full comment
author

* quickly deletes Kraftwerk inspired German techno soundtrack *

Roughly speaking I think 90% of people don't care, 7% love the music, 3% HATE it. So every now and then I switch up the music.

Expand full comment

I care, like variety.

Expand full comment

Honestly, once you start talking, I don't even notice the music anymore.

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

And 1% use it as their Date Night theme song. Keep it OG, for the sake of my marriage.

Expand full comment

“Hey baby, lemme explain one play to you.”

Expand full comment
author

EGAD

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

You've conditioned me to love it.

Expand full comment

So, before Klay came back, there was a lot of chatter about, "Can Klay be 80%? Can we get 80% Klay?" I finally get it. Yeah, I do think Klay can shoot 80% from 3.

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022·edited Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

Anyone wishing to be considered for rock-the-baby-cradle-dunk greatness consideration, please mail your application and highlight package to: Dr. Julius Erving, M.D., O.G., Hall of Fame, Springfield, Mass. Please view the following before submission: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzq7e86m_W4&ab_channel=dsnell48

Expand full comment

Man, I can just watch that dunk over and over

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022·edited Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

My answer to "who wore it best" with the cradle dunk: Kobe > Kuminga >>> LeBron. (Using last night's for Kuminga, not the SCW one).

LeBron's is last because he doesn't really put it in the cradle, it's too high, and when he reverses it, he barely pauses and then swings it over the top and around. It's not bad on it's own but it's not really the cradle.

Kuminga's is next because he actually does the cradle. However...

Kobe's is first because he really sells that the cradle is a different part of the move the best and swings the ball hard to the left, and so you have the distinctive "he's in the cradle" pose followed by the "reverse dunk". Spectacular.

Expand full comment

Kuming's is clearly the best because he had a defender closing on the right side of the basket and needed to rock the cradle to reverse to the left side and avoid the defense.

Open court showmanship is entertaining and all but live action beats choreographed any day.

Also, OMG he is so fast!

Expand full comment

I'm with you on this... JK didn't have time to slow down and plan out everything... he sprinted, caught the ball, and executed in one smooth motion while making it look effortless with a defender tailing him.

Expand full comment
author

Apologies, your detailed nuanced response could not be parsed, could you resubmit in the form of waving a small cardboard digit over your head

Expand full comment

Kobe=50

Kuminga=40

LeBron=10 (if he's trying to cradle dunk) or 30 (if not)

Expand full comment

Rudy Gay's cradles deserves to be up there too!

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

My thoughts on the Warriors' motion offense and our second half "adjustments:"

When watching this E1P it struck me in particular the different options that the Warriors have on essentially every play/possession. It's essentially like a football playbook where for each play there are first, second, third, fourth options. If one route is covered, move to the next one. There theoretically is a counter for everything the defense throws at you. It appears to be the same with Kerr's motion offense. If they double Steph, hit the open man. If they go under the screen, Steph takes the shot. If they fight over the screen, the screener can slip to the basket, etc. It very much has a football feel to it.

Compare this to isolation players. The lack of motion and screening takes away the additional options. Not completely, of course, as they can still pass, etc. but the whole offense becomes much more predictable. It becomes much more of a "can our great players beat their great players" sort of a matchup.

How does this relate to the second half dominance? I think it was Draymond who says they don't really make big second half adjustments, they just wear them down. I think this is only partially true. I think that the opponents make their adjustments to take away the options that were working in the first half, and the Warriors already have built in second options. They don't have to make adjustments or try and outthink what the defense will throw at them, because the second, third, fourth options are already built in to the plays. The defense oversells to stop what was working for the Warriors in the first half, and the Warriors already have built in answers. It's less about wearing them down, and more about having their counters already built in to the system.

On the defensive end, the Warriors adjust to the more limited schemes that have been working for the opponents. I would posit that most teams lean more heavily on their stars in the second half, making them more predictable. The Warriors keep running their system in the second half, eventually finding which of their different options work best against that particular opponent. System >>> Reliance on superstars (of course the Warriors have their own superstars, but who have all bought in to the system).

This is of course a simplification, but I think it helps to explain a. why it takes some players so long to integrate into the Warriors, b. why the Warriors' success is so difficult to replicate by other teams (it takes the players buying in), c. perhaps why Durant didn't love staying long term because as much as he appreciates the motion offense it was never "him", d. why so often players who thrive with the Warriors never make any noise elsewhere, and e. why the only things that usually seem to stop the Warriors are poor shooting and bad turnovers (i.e. self inflicted wounds rather than something the defense is doing. Not to say that other teams can't play good defense against the Warriors, but I have yet to see the Warriors play efficiently within their system but still get shut down).

Not an expert here, just some thoughts. Eric is teaching all of us. Maybe some day I can be smart like him!

Expand full comment

Great post and thoughtful analysis. This all makes a lot of sense.

But I think that Draymond's comment about not making adjustments is a bit of a smoke screen. They have a variety of called plays and structures (eg. various zone defenses) that they usually hold back for the 3rd quarter or later . Hard to believe they don't discuss whether to break that out, or against which personnel, during half-time.

Expand full comment

KD said it, maybe Draymond also.

Expand full comment

This is a fascinating take. Let's extend your theory to a 7-game playoff series. One of the past critiques about the Dubs offense is that it didn't work as well in the playoffs, and they had to go back to super-star ISO via KD.

If your theory is true, that would make sense inasmuch as high-level opponents have more time to learn how to defend 2nd, 3rd, and 4th options against the Dubs over a 7-game series.

If true, I think the question will be are there any opponents defensively skilled enough to learn those 3rd and 4th options, and if so, do the Dubs have a good answer of semi-ISO ball? It's starting to seem like they might have some ISO answers in post-up Wiggs, post-up JK, Curry vs big man, and more recently, even Klay!

Expand full comment

Good question. I would hold up as evidence though that the Warriors without KD lost exactly one playoff series against one of the greatest players of all time because of a. injuries and b. shots not falling (see Barnes, Harrison). I think the narrative of the system not working as well in the playoffs is more of narrative than fact.

At the same time, HB would have been the 3rd or 4th option most of the time. You could say the Cavs forced the Warriors into options further down the play chart which are likely to be not as effective.

I think the answer as far as semi-ISO goes would be to have ISO situations included as potential options on certain plays (such as, if they got a certain matchup that they liked). I can't see the Warriors ever making an ISO system their go-to play when the game is on the line similar to what other teams do.

I think in a 7-game series everyone gets to know each other's tendencies so the other teams would know how to react better to certain sets, but again it really all just comes down to proper execution.

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

the high level stuff when run at warp speed is so awesome to watch, at some point in those runs the opposing players experience a collective nervous breakdown and just capitulate

Expand full comment

It's really a high risk/high reward system. When you have the right players and they're running it correctly it's beautiful basketball and close to unstoppable. When it's not being run correctly, for whatever reason, all the turnovers make me want to scream.

Can you imagine chasing Curry all over the floor only to have GPII slip to the basket for an uncontested dunk??? That level of focus over the course of an entire game just wears you down. That level of effort to have it not work? Just defeating!

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

Ahh Kuminga, how far he came in just one game. He went from ignoring flame throwing Klay coming to a pin down open corner 3 to throw up a garbage 3 to keep the Kings alive, to lighting up the court and dominating with spins and dunks with fluid control.

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

Kings should be congratulated for entertaining at Chase for the full 48 minutes, their Org has blown so many draft opportunities and mishandled the occasional hit so many times it’s no wonder they dwell near the bottom of the Conference year after year, getting Mitchell and Halliburton in successive drafts gives them some young talent but it seems like as Mitchell begins his push for stardom Halliburton is sinking into the malaise that eventually overcomes all the youngsters on a King’s roster, Halliburton looked so much more impressive in his rookie year than he does now

Expand full comment

It's the "get-me-the-f*ck-out-of-here-while-I-still-care" malaise.

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

A few thoughts while watching this one. First my thoughts on Kuminga:

How intelligent is he??? Look how far Kuminga has come in learning the Warriors' schemes? Once you add on that he essentially learned basketball by watching Kobe Youtube videos? He's clearly very bright and is picking everything up quickly. I can't wait to see him in year two! Look at the leap Poole had from years 2 to 3. I think he has a very promising career ahead of him.

That said, it's easy to get sucked into the narrative of "he didn't grow up knowing anything about basketball" as it's so easy to do with players from countries without robust basketball pipelines. His cousin is Emmanuel Mudiay, his older brother played college ball in the US, and he (Jonathan) played HS basketball in the US at some very good schools. I'm really curious as to the value we'll see from that year in the G-League over time as more young players go that route. It's not like he had no basketball training before coming to the Warriors; he's been playing the game since he was two years old.

Even with that above caveat, it's not like the DRC has the same sort of camp programs, etc. growing up that most of the stars in the US grew up with. We have three second generation pros on the team. That sort of upbringing definitely makes a difference. He also only played three years of HS before skipping his last year and playing in the G-League instead. So in essence, Kuminga didn't skip his freshman year of college for the G-League... he skipped his senior year of high school!

We all (myself included) thought of Kuminga as such a raw prospect who would take time to develop. Perhaps instead we should have looked at his developmental curve since coming to the United States for his freshman year of HS. He has demonstrated this sort of accelerated growth all the way along and has taken full advantage of every opportunity in front of him. Many (including myself) have worried about his seeming disinterest in his G-League stints this year. Seeing him now? I'm no longer concerned. He clearly wants to be great and is putting in the effort to get there.

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022·edited Feb 4, 2022

This is a great summary of his basketball arc and highly relevant. I had not researched it before so I assumed like everyone else that he began playing in high school, which I think is what I heard. It's a bit of a concern, actually, that he's had that history and is missing some key skills. If anyone -- you, me, the grocer -- had played a lot of basketball since two years old, in any country, even without what is considered the developmental standard for NBA players -- AAU, college, etc. we should still be better at some basic skills. No reason Kuminga should not be able to dribble better with either hand, for example. And his finishes at the rim can be outstanding ... or way off when contested. That's practice-able in an empty gym. I think it almost entirely likely from seeing the speed of his development this year that he *will* improve in such areas, but it's not the case that only NBA coaches can teach dribbling. Definitely he has what we might call the "right" not to know where to be in the Warrior offense at high speeds. Fair enough. Or quick decision making in the defensive sets. And overall I agree with you: I'm not concerned, I'm delighted, he seems really good already and learns quickly. With regard to these issues and players like Steph and Klay who were raised as basketball royalty, probably a good part of it is knowing what to practice more of. I'm sure Dell, if involved, would have known to say, learn it with your other hand. Or: do that ten thousand more times, etc. Whereas JK might have been in some gym sweating away and saying to himself "I *think* I know have the dribble thing figured out...." and there's no one there to spell out what needs to happen to make it at an elite level in the NBA.

Expand full comment

>>>Whereas JK might have been in some gym sweating away and saying to himself "I *think* I know have the dribble thing figured out...."

I think this here is exactly right. As a kid I used to play a good amount of basketball. When I was by myself, what did I practice? Shooting. That's about it. I practiced some limited dibbling, but only a very limited amount because I didn't know either a. how to practice, or b. all the different types of dribbling that even existed. My bball hero growing up was Patrick Ewing. It probably didn't make the most sense for a short kid to pattern his game after a dominant NBA center. Very different styles of play.

If Kuminga really did style his game after Kobe, it's very likely he didn't know that "passing" was a thing that actual basketball players did!

Expand full comment

In Draymond's comments on the rookies yesterday [?], he pretty much addressed the Kuminga not knowing really how to practice issue, which I found to be insightful.

Expand full comment

I was going to mention this. I thought it was in the JJ interview, but it could've been another media appearance.

Essentially, he said that JK was the classic case of a player so physically talented that he never had to learn how to work at being a professional athlete. What does that mean?

It means he didn't know how to practice skills, how to put in the off-hours work that it takes to really get to the next level. I'm not sure if that refers to gym work, film work, mundane drills, or all of the above.

What Dray added on was that JK was very coachable, and now the squad is teaching him how to become a true professional athlete, and he's willing to do the work.

Expand full comment

LOL. nvm. invo.k.shen linked it below.

Expand full comment

It’s funny you mention that, growing up I played for hours and hours one on one against my brother sometimes even after it was dark, he was “Pistol Pete” and I was Jim “Bad News” Barnes

Expand full comment

I'll take him.

Expand full comment

Exactly right on all points.

Expand full comment

also, Curry had a younger brother, as in “I’m going to dribble this ball past you a thousand more times”

Expand full comment

Just wanted to give a friendly reminder that Wiggins' dad also played in the NBA, so we actually have 4 second generation pros.

Expand full comment

I don't think I realized that. That's really quite something, and I think relates to my comment above about players being able to pick up Kerr's system. I bet growing up around the game helps them to understand the nuances of the game more than perhaps someone who is a first generation player in their family. It would be interesting to look more into this theory. Do 2nd generation NBA players tend to have higher BBIQ than first generation ones? The answer is probably a resounding yes for obvious reasons, but it would still be interesting to look into, I think.

Expand full comment

Just when I was demanding that Kerr bench Thompson because Moody is hitting 60% of his 3s, Thompson hits 78% of his 3s. I guess he just needed some motivation. Meanwhile Moody regresses to a paltry 40%. Some guys just can't take the pressure. JTA quietly had a really nice game so it's good to see him get over whatever yips he was having. 3 steals, 3 assists, 1 foul and no turnovers is the kind of game the Warriors need from him.

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

I don’t even know what to think at this point. JKs ability to launch himself to the rim is just amazing. I forget which game (maybe one of the Mario brother) where you had your normal jump, but you could also jump when you were already in the air and if you timed it right at the apex it would give you a boost and you could get up higher. It’s like JK takes off on a jump and then feels like he needs a bit more so does a boost from the air to get higher. I really love seeing him at the 4, with Steph Klay Wiggs, then looney at the 5 running around setting screens and doing the dirty work.

Expand full comment

JK's leaping gets all of the attention but it is his first step acceleration to top speed that is incredible.

There are faster players in the NBA (guards) but I don't think anyone goes from standing still to top speed as quickly. And now that he is learning to run on every play, he is really going to wear some defenders out.

Expand full comment
Feb 4, 2022Liked by Eric Apricot

That steal transition play last night where Klay hits JK cross-court was a great example of this. JK starts out baseline when the ball first gets tipped. At this point, there are two Kings around the logo. He starts running immediately. Before he clears the opponents' FT line, it's clear that it's a steal and the Dubs have possession. The defenders react and start heading back. Kuminga is full speed at this point, and the defenders are in scramble mode, but still have a lead. By the time he receives the pass and is at the basket, the defenders are all well behind him. Insane speed.

Expand full comment