"He's behind in his conditioning after sitting out for four weeks with a broken foot suffered in summer league play, and he lacks the savvy to block NBA shots in the same way he did at Bradley, where he was named Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season."
Center Patrick O'Bryant , whom the Warriors drafted No. 9 overall in June, fractured a small bone in the ball of his right foot last week. He is expected to miss four to six weeks at least, according to a team release.
Monday, with Cleveland's second-year center Martynas Andriuskevicius on his back, O'Bryant got the ball on the low right block. He faked a move to the middle and turned left, drilling a sweeping right-handed hook. Tuesday, he nailed a 19-footer from the left wing. He's made all nine of his free throws, and nearly half of his 16 rebounds are offensive.
The 7-footer out of Bradley had 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting with eight rebounds, and two blocks in the Warriors' loss to the Denver Nuggets at UNLV's Cox Pavilion.
In that quartet of games -- the most recent being a 104-88 defeat to Denver on Tuesday -- the Warriors have been outrebounded by an average of 11.3 per contest. And O'Bryant, the No.9 overall pick in the draft, has found himself unable to make much of a difference. O'Bryant's team-high eight rebounds in the loss Tuesday doubled his combined total from the three previous games, but even with that bump, his rebounds-per-48-minute rate is more comparable to guys like Luke Schenscher and Primoz Brezec rather than Tim Duncan and Marcus Camby.
He screamed for the ball ("Come on, come on, pass it!") when he had low-post position, though he did not receive the ball often. He bellowed in frustration when his perfect block of Aldridge at the rim was whistled for a foul, a call that even administrating referee Ronnie Nunn lambasted from courtside. And, though he was active everywhere else on the floor, he rebuked himself for being a little late to most of the available rebounds. Basically, O'Bryant wasn't shrinking from anything -- he was more fiery than Erick Dampier, smoother than Adonal Foyle, more skilled than Andris Biedrins and an actual player, as opposed to Todd Fuller. The 7-footer out of Bradley just needs a lot of fine-tuning, because everything else is there.
Three years ago, O'Bryant, wasn't even recruited by the University of Minnesota, the only Division I basketball school in his state, even though he was a 7-foot high school center. So he went to Bradley University, that basketball factory in Peoria, Ill., which hadn't been to the NCAA in 10 years. Even at Bradley, O'Bryant fully expected to redshirt as a freshman because his skills were too raw. "I didn't expect to start or even really play my first year," O'Bryant said Friday when he was introduced to the Bay Area media. "They were thinking about red-shirting me. They kind of gave me my chance, and all of a sudden I was doing pretty good. "I said, 'Wow, I'm better than I thought.' Next thing I know, two years later, I'm sitting here, doing interviews with Golden State."