Trans. Oct 22 6:04 ET (Oct 22 6:04 ET ) Los Angeles Clippers wing Matt Barnes has had a really, really bad preseason. As noted by Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times , Barnes is just 3-of-31 (9.7 percent) from the field and 1-of-18 (5.6 percent) from beyond the arc through five preseason appearances totaling 114 minutes. It could just be a slump, but Barnes will be looking to reverse his play as the team sets about challenging for a championship this season. The events of Tuesday night's exhibition against the Golden State Warriors suggest that Barnes is in an extended stretch of bad luck rather than an all-out collapse. His line of 1-of-7 shooting in seven minutes of play seems pretty terrible, but the really embarrassing moment of the night came just a few minutes into the game. After a made jumper by Klay Thompson, Barnes set up to throw one of his trademark baseball-style inbounds passes up the court. Except the ball didn't make it more than a few feet before colliding with the underside of the backboard and bouncing right to Stephen Curry for a very simple three-pointer. Check out the GIF (via Reddit ): This play obviously didn't go very well for Barnes, but it's also the kind of freak mistake that he can only control so much. When things go wrong, they tend to go wrong all at once. At least Barnes can start to think hey may have hit rock bottom. There's nowhere to go but up. Unless his next attempt at a pass somehow goes through the wrong basket for two points. The he might want to think about hiring a spiritual advisor. - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric
The Golden State Warriors cannot be criticized for lacking ambition. Mark Jackson led the franchise to the playoffs in two consecutive seasons (out of his three total), a feat that made him their most successful head coach since the first Don Nelson era. His reward was a speedy dismissal. For whatever tensions existed between Jackson and his bosses — and there were many , to the point where a disaster may have loomed — it is fairly apparent that the people in charge of the Warriors expect to challenge for titles, not to lose out on homecourt advantage in the first round and take one playoff series every couple years. Owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber want one of the league's preeminent franchises. The question isn't only if they have the roster to get them there, but whether they have hired the right man for the job. Former Phoenix Suns general manager, TNT commentator, and golfing buddy Steve Kerr has no coaching experience of any kind, just like Jackson when he was hired in 2011. Yet there's no guarantee that the Warriors will get lucky twice, even if Kerr has a sterling reputation and has said all the right things so far. The Warriors have taken a gamble, again, and Kerr may not connect with his players as well as Jackson did in his three seasons with the club. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] However, Kerr and his staff (which includes Alvin Gentry, his coach in Phoenix) can improve the team in other ways. It will take some work to match last season's third-ranked defense (by points allowed per possession), but there is a clear opportunity to best a No. 12 offense that belied Golden State's reputation as an especially potent group. While Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson strengthened their status as the best outside-shooting duo in the NBA, the offense as a whole often became stagnant and went away from its strengths, especially when eschewing the pick-and-roll. With versatile players like Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Draymond Green, and Andrew Bogut in the lineup, there's no glaring reason why Golden State can't become a better offensive team. Failure to do so would be the clearest sign that Kerr did not have a particularly impressive first season in Oakland. Then again, it's not entirely clear how Kerr and the franchise will define success. Is it enough for him to set the team on a course toward achieving the results that Jackson didn't, or will he need to exceed them now? It's not necessarily prudent to set such rigid standards before the team even plays a regular-season game. Nevertheless, controversial coaching changes require fairly exacting analysis. The outcome of such gambles reflect upon the franchise well beyond win-loss record. 2013-14 season in 140 characters or less: A coach pit himself and his team against the world, winning a few battles and losing the war. Did the summer help at all? The answer to this question depends largely on your belief in Kerr and his abilities relative to those of Jackson. As previously noted, those opinions will vary and can't be discussed with any certainty for at least a few months. If we stick to the roster, then the Warriors should be a little better. For one thing, they lost only Jermaine O'Neal, a quality reserve big man who missed several months and may be of limited use at 36 years old. They added Shaun Livingston as a much-needed backup point guard who can defend bigger guards when teamed with Curry; Brandon Rush, who performed well with Golden State as a reserve wing in 2011-12; and Leandro Barbosa, unlikely to match his years in Phoenix but still a speedy guard with explosive tendencies. Plus, reserve center Festus Ezeli returns after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Go-to offseason acquisition: Livingston is still iffy for opening night , but when he's in the lineup he will give the Warriors options that they lacked last season. Though not the world's most adept floor leader, Livingston can contribute in many areas (8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in 26 minutes per game for the Brooklyn Nets in 2013-14) while freeing up other members of the team to excel. The Warriors lacked playmakers other than Curry and Iguodala, and they figure to be heavily dependent on those two for the same qualities this year. But Livingston provides some cover for a team that can use the help.
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : ESPN the Magazine . Henry Abbott presents the argument that Kobe Bryant — his contract, his demeanor, his relationship to other top stars, etc. — is the primary reason the Los Angeles Lakers have become awful, are likely to be awful again this season and might continue to be awful until after he's retired. My general, broad-strokes takeaways: • The efficiency/effectiveness/demeanor claims aren't necessarily anything new, and we're certainly no closer to folks on either side of those debates capitulating today than we were yesterday; • There are other points that can be raised as, if not mitigating factors, then at least factors worth considering in the Lakers' decline; • There sure seem to be a lot of Lakers-related folks and agents willing to slam Kobe under cover of anonymity! PF : NBA.com . In addition to the standard dynamite grab-bag of news and notes, David Aldridge's Monday Morning Tip features something I thought about quite a bit last week — what Scott Brooks might do with his starting lineup now that Kevin Durant won't be available at the three for the Oklahoma City Thunder for a little while. SF : Hang Time . With multiple teams preaching the gospel of ball and player movement after watching the San Antonio Spurs slice and dice the opposition en route to a championship, John Schuhmann digs into the NBA's SportVU optical tracking data to find out whether there's any correlation between all that motion and having a great, highly efficient offense. (Spoiler alert: There isn't!) SG : The Brooklyn Game . Schuhmann's research led Devin Kharpertian to wonder what does correlate with offensive efficiency, so he, too, got to digging. PG : Fast Break and The Hook . Adam Lauridsen expects a monster win total from this year's Golden State Warriors, and Tom Ziller thinks they might just be weird enough to get there. 6th : TrueHoop . For Golden State to reach those great heights, as Ethan Sherwood Strauss sees it, they're going to need Klay Thompson to become the All-Star his new head coach thinks he can be. 7th : 8 Points, 9 Seconds . On Roy Hibbert, the Indiana Pacers' great and giant X-factor, and the question — will he "believe his outward confidence about being one of the league’s best or will he let doubt overcome him after a few ugly box scores?" — that "might reveal his long-term future in Indiana." 8th : Ballislife . A fun documentary-style look at Jamal Crawford's come-up in, and ongoing relationship with, Seattle. 9th : Boston Globe . Gary Washburn leads off his Sunday notes column with a good one-on-one about finding an NBA role with James Johnson, who went from first-round pick to out of the league to a multi-year deal , and is trying to do whatever he can to avoid sliding back down to that middle step: "I’m just trying to help the youngsters so they don’t make the same mistakes I made.” 10th : Hardwood Paroxysm . Seth Partnow talks to former New York Knicks shooting coach Dave Hopla about the ins and outs of trying to improve NBA players' jumpers — what works, what doesn't, and more. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
The Scoop:Klay has been lights out this preseason, shooting 53.6 percent from the field, and a ridiculous 58.6 percent from 3-point range through five preseason games. He's a primary piece of Golden State's offense, and they weren't willing to include him in any deal, even if it would have netted them Kevin Love. Thompson is set to have another great year, and could see his assist total rise a bit in the Warriors new ball-movement oriented offense. Target him in the early rounds and don't look back.
Klay Thompson scored 29 points on 10-of-21 shooting (including four threes) with two rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block in Friday's preseason loss to the Heat.
The Scoop:Thompson is going to hang a bunch of these on the opposition this year. David Lee added 24 points with six rebounds and Stephen Curry had a slow night with seven points on 2-of-10 shooting and an otherwise full stat line.