Warriors coach Keith Smart had too much invested in his starting center to give up.
Not just because the Warriors are paying Andris Biedrins $9 million a year to get double-doubles. Not just because he's vital to any hopes the Warriors have of making a run at the postseason.
Smart can't give up on Biedrins because he has a personal investment.
"I didn't go to Latvia and leave my family for three weeks to waste that," Smart said of his offseason trip to Biedrins' home country. "I'm still committed to getting him up. I didn't throw them three weeks away. My wife's still mad at me about that."
Smart's patience and work with Biedrins seems to be paying off. Biedrins is showing signs he has turned the corner.
Biedrins has three games with double-digit points and rebounds. Two came in the past two games, as he totaled 21 points and 22 rebounds against Charlotte and Utah -- both big, physical teams. Biedrins answered the bell about as well as he has all season. But his recent success has been a long time coming, and Smart said it's going to take a collective effort to keep it going.
"We've got to help him have good games," Smart said. "We can't leave him on his own to have the game that he wants and think it's going to happen. We have to make sure that we allow it to happen."
Smart encourages Biedrins and makes sure Biedrins gets his touches -- especially early in the game so he can get a rhythm. Biedrins said he usually gets a text from his head coach after good or bad performances.
"He has always been there for me," Biedrins said of Smart, "and he's always making sure that I'm doing all right. After good games or bad games, he texts me or calls me. If it was a good game, he will say 'good job.' If it was a bad game, he'll say 'we'll get there' or something like that. I think it's really a special relationship when a coach can call you after a game and can honestly communicate with you."
Starting guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry have taken ownership of Biedrins' success, too. Both have been working with Biedrins to figure out what they can do to get him going.
Biedrins thrived earlier in his career when he had Baron Davis and swingman Stephen Jackson finding him inside with regularity. Now, it falls on Ellis and Curry to get Biedrins the ball.
"He told us if we get him the ball where he likes it," Curry said, "he would finish. We believe that Biedrins will finish plays when we give him the ball, and he believes that we're going to look to get him the ball."
Most of the burden still falls on Biedrins. The past two games, he's run the floor with the passion he once did. He hustled for rebounds and loose balls. He was better at denying the ball in the post and getting to the right spots on time. He avoided the touch fouls that keep him glued to the bench.
Smart said he has told Biedrins he would have his minutes trimmed if the poor play continued.
"It could have gotten to a point where he does the jump ball," Smart said, "and then comes out of the game."
Warriors center Andris Biedrins had a rough December, but the new year has been better for him. Here is how he has fared month-by-month (averages per month):
Month Min FG% Reb Pts
October 23.3 64.7 7.7 7.3
November 29.2 55.2 11.0 7.3
December 26.9 44.7 8.1 5.0
January 23.6 62.0 5.9 5.1
Totals 26.4 55.7 8.5 6.1