HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — With the assortment of wild and crazy stories and rumors we that make their way through the hideout each day, there’s usually nothing that truly shocks us.
But if there is any validity to these rumblings out of Oakland that Keith Smart is in danger of being ousted as coach of the Warriors, then we have our first truly shocking story of the month.
If there is “no problem between Smart and Warriors guard Steph Curry,” as my main man Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com states clearly, then why in the world is their “relationship” at the center of this chatter about Smart being weeks away from the unemployment line?
These details from Steinmetz might help explain the issue:
If you’ve been watching the Warriors all season long you’ve seen it. To say Smart has had Curry on a shorter leash than Don Nelson did a year ago would be an understatement.
You’d have to be watching a different game to not notice all those times Smart showed his frustration after a Curry mistake or misplay, which was typically followed with Acie Law at the scorer’s table.
Curry is averaging just 33 minutes per game this season compared with last year when he averaged 36.2 minutes per game. But that tells only a sliver of the story.
Curry played 40 or more minutes 32 times last season and most of those games came during the second half of the season. Nelson played Curry 48 minutes seven times during the 2009-10 season.But under Smart, Curry has played 40 or more minutes just 12 times, and he’s never gone the full 48.
What’s more, Smart has not been afraid to take Curry out of games and keep him out for a little while — often times during important stretches. Of course, Smart has his reasons and they’re legit, starting with the careless turnovers and the below-average defense.
Smart has been consistent with Curry. Early in the season Smart maintained that if he was coaching Curry a little bit harder than some others it was because he believed Curry could become an elite guard down the line.
There’s no doubt Smart isn’t treating Curry like an elite guard right now. In Dallas’ 112-106 win over the Warriors on Wednesday, Smart subbed for Curry with 3:38 remaining in the third quarter.