Warriors

Gutierrez: Weeks should stay when Ellis arrives

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Gutierrez: Weeks should stay when Ellis arrives

JUNE 19, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comSame old (stuff)Just a different dayI keep tryin' to get itEach and every wayMomma need a houseBaby need some shoesTimes are getting' hardGuess what I'ma do?HustleHustleHustleHard-Ace Hood, on "Hustle Hard," A's rookie Jemile Weeks' walk-up song.

OAKLAND - You've seen the future of the A's, and his name is Jemile Weeks.The rookie bats lead-off. He steals bases. He plays highlight-reel defense at second base. He's, ahem, humble.Wait, what?Yes, Weeks has brought what his teammates call a certain "swagger" into the A's clubhouse, an "electricity" onto the field since being called up from triple-A Sacramento on June 7 to make his major league debut. But he knows his role and pays his respects.Even with the potential awkward situation that awaits the A's in New York on Wednesday, when Mark Ellis will be activated from the disabled list to join the team at CitiField against the Mets.It does not have to be awkward, though. Not if the A's do the smart thing and keep Weeks as the A's starting second baseman until he inevitably cools off. Ellis, ever the consummate professional, could play the role of mentor and, some suggest, become attractive trade bait to a team - the Giants? Detroit? - in need of a second baseman, or simply reclaim his gig as the best second baseman in the game to have never won a Gold Glove.Then again, Weeks could make like Buster Posey did last season for the Giants and spark his team on an epic run. Only difference is, though, Posey was involved in every pitch as a catcher.Plus, as noted earlier, Weeks insists there will be no awkward moments when Ellis returns."Me being a young guy, whatever position they put me at, that's where I'll play," Weeks said. "He's a veteran; that's his position. I'm willing to do whatever they want me to."We haven't gotten any insight on the situation."As Ellis himself told me on Friday, "That stuff will work itself out. You never have enough good players."REWIND: A's Ellis goes 0-for-3 in Triple-A start
While Ellis, who was scuffling with a .211 batting average with the A's when he went on the D.L. with a strained right hamstring, was struggling through an 0-for-6 with a walk in his first two rehab games with the River Cats, Weeks was finishing off his first three-hit game for the A's in Sunday's 2-1 defeat of the Giants.In his 12 games as a big leaguer, Weeks is batting .364 with four doubles, three-triples, seven runs scored and two stolen bases, while robbing opposing batters of hits with his "effort play" defense.Weeks, the A's first-round draft choice in the 2008 draft, No. 12 overall, played an integral part in Oakland's three-game sweep of the defending World Series champs at the O.co Coliseum. After hitting in the No. 9 hole in the series opener, Weeks batted lead-off on Saturday and Sunday."He plays the game well," offered Giants starter Matt Cain. "He plays it hard. He does a great job on defense. He made a couple of diving plays against us. He really did a great job of not getting too overwhelmed when he was making plays."He's got a good approach at the plate. He's patient. He's going to take advantage of guys that leave balls over the middle of the plate. You still have to figure him out."Good luck with that. Because until that happens - yes, I'm about to type it again - Weeks should be the A's regular second baseman. And he should continue to take the ribbing and hazing that have come his way.Consider: after just six home games, Weeks already has a walk-up song - Ace Hood's "Hustle Hard." And after going 0-for-4 on Saturday, the A's vets told him he had to be in the bigs at least three years before picking theme music.And that was before they playfully named a section of the training room after him and kidded him for wearing a sleeve on his sliding leg.Sunday afternoon, he could only find one sock while getting dressed. More hijinks from his teammates? Maybe. Maybe not. But in any event, he's already made his mark, and he already has the big league pedigree, what with his brother Rickie a standout for Milwaukee.Which, again, is exactly why the A's need to ride Weeks and not even entertain the idea of sending him back to Sacramento. The corresponding roster move should be to ship struggling Daric Barton to the River Cats to find his stroke or, if Josh Willingham's bothersome right Achilles' tendon is still not right, put him on the D.L. to make room for Ellis.A's Insider gallery: How sweep it is
Just let Weeks be. The same way he's left his dreads alone. His last haircut was two years ago, when he was battling injury issues to his left hip that limited him to 176 games over his first three professional seasons.A's interim manager Bob Melvin was asked in a long soliloquy following the A's 2-1 victory Sunday if he and the front office have had any discussions yet on what to do with the Weeks-Ellis situation.Melvin's simple response: "Nope."Melvin smiled. Just as Weeks surely did when he got the call to pack his bags for Baltimore to join the A's just over two weeks ago.Surely, nerves had to be dealt with, right? If not, the generously-listed 5-feet-9, 161-pound (soaking wet and with rocks in his pockets, maybe) Weeks has to be somewhat surprised by his early success and impact for a team riding a season-best five-game winning streak, no?"Not surprised, excited," Weeks said. "I was a little nervous to be on this stage. I need to feel like I'm a part of this team."Check that. Weeks is not only the future of the A's; he's also the present.

DeRozan fined by NBA for comments made after Raptors' loss to Warriors

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USATSI

DeRozan fined by NBA for comments made after Raptors' loss to Warriors

Following Toronto's 127-125 loss to the Warriors on Saturday night, Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan wasn't happy.

His team had almost erased a 27-point deficit and he felt like the officials were helping the Warriors.

"It's frustrating being out there feeling like you're playing 5-on-8. Some of those calls were terrible, period," DeRozan told reporters after the game.

As you might imagine, the NBA wasn't thrilled with thoses comments and fined DeRozan $15,000 on Tuesday for public criticism of the officiating.

DeRozan's incident is the latest in a long list of greivances between the players and the officials. The two sides met face-to-face in late December and plan to meet again during All-Star weekend in February to discuss the growing tension.

Who is now the Warriors' biggest rival?

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USATSI

Who is now the Warriors' biggest rival?

Earlier we discussed how the Golden State Warriors have seemingly moved beyond hating on NBA officials (three technical fouls in 18 days is a stunning reversal of their formerly disputatious form), but we may have forgotten one new reason why they have found a more Buddhist approach to the cutthroat world of American competitive sport.

They lack someone new to hate.

Their much-chewed-upon rivalry with the Los Angeles Clippers actually lasted two years, and now the Clippers are busy trying to prevent military incursions into their locker room from the Houston Rockets. Their even more famous archrivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers seems to be imploding – with the total connivance of the Cavs themselves – before our eyes. Even cutting off their hot water made them laugh when two years ago not letting the Warriors' wives get to the game on time torqued them mightily.

And since we know that you locals desperately need a bête noire for your heroes (even though their biggest foe is actually their own attention spans), let us consider the new candidates.

HOUSTON

The Rockets have been among the Warriors’ most persistent contender/pretenders, having faced them in both the first round of the 2017 postseason and the conference finals in 2015. Both ended in 4-1 Warrior wins as part of a greater piece – Golden State is 19-4 against the Rockets in the Warriors’ bad-ass era, 10-2 at home and 9-2 on the road, and has finished an aggregate 59.5 games ahead of the Rockets in the past three and a half years.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include James Harden and Chris Paul, while Rockets fans loathe Draymond Green and Kevin Durant and work their way down from there.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 32,353): 19. The Rockets need to win a playoff series before even matching the Clippers, who as we all know came and went in a moment.

SAN ANTONIO

The previous platinum standard in Western Conference basketball, the Spurs have never really gone away, though they have aged. Their pedigree is not in dispute, and Steve Kerr has essentially become the next generation of Gregg Popovich. It is hard to create a rivalry out of such shamelessly mutual admiration.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include . . . uhh, maybe Kawhi Leonard for winning two Defensive Player Of The Year Awards instead of Draymond Green, though that’s not much to go on, frankly. Spurs fans hate Zaza Pachulia for stepping beneath Leonard and ending last year’s series before it started.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 23): 1. If they didn’t have to play against each other, I suspect these two teams would date.

OKLAHOMA CITY

The Thunder’s 3-1 collapse in 2016 is all but ignored now because the Warriors did the same thing one series later, but lifting Kevin Durant was quite the consolation prize for Golden State, and the definitive finger in the eye for the Thunder, who turned their team over completely to Russell Westbrook, for good and ill. Even with the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are still trying to relocate their stride.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include Westbrook and Anthony for defining the I-need-the-ball-in-my-hands-to-function generation, and owner Clay Bennett for Seattle SuperSonics nostalgics. Thunder frans hate Durant, followed by Durant, Durant, Kim Jong-un, Durant, leprosy, Draymond Green’s foot, and Durant.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 440): 220. Westbrook is a human lightning rod, Anthony is the antithesis of what Warriors now regard basketball (they’d have loved him a quarter-century ago), and Stephen Adams for getting his goolies in the way of Green’s foot. Plus, some savvy Warrior fans can blame OKC for extending their heroes to seven games, thus making the final against Cleveland that much more difficult. This could work, at least in the short term.

PORTLAND

Damian Lillard is a much-beloved local. Plus, the Blazers have never interfered in the Warriors’ universe save their 1-8 postseason record. There are no truly hateable players on either side, though Stephen Curry threw his first mouthpiece in Portland, and Green is a perennial.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 1): 0.

BOSTON

The new pretender to throne, with the Eastern Conference’s version of Kerr in Brad Stevens. Even better since taking advantage of Kyrie Irving’s weariness with LeBron James, and until proven otherwise the team the Warriors should most concern themselves with.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include Irving, who made the only shot in the last five minutes of Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, while Celtics fans hate Durant for not signing with them.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 67.7): 26, though this will rise if the two teams meet in the Finals. The last time they did, Bill Russell owned basketball.

THE REST OF THE EAST

Still too remote to adequately quantify, though Toronto, Miami and Milwaukee are clearly difficult matches for the Warriors. If you put them together, Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Hassan Whiteside with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe coming off the bench, coached by either Eric Spoelstra or Jason Kidd, would make a fun team for the Warriors to play against. Probably not functional, but fun.

And finally:

SACRAMENTO

Some decade the two teams’ geographical proximity will matter, but for now, they remain essentially two full professional leagues away from each other. We just mentioned them so Kings fans wouldn’t feel any more slighted than they already do.