David West

Gifted Warriors Young Gun with 'golden opportunity' to learn from the OG

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AP

Gifted Warriors Young Gun with 'golden opportunity' to learn from the OG

It was just a few days ago that the Warriors OG was talking about his brassy young teammate and explaining the benefits of a rookie being in such a fortunate position.

“He’s got a golden opportunity just to learn every single day,” the Eldest Warrior was saying, “whether we’re actually playing or practicing or just being around one another.”

The OG, David West, was referring to Jordan Bell, the gifted rookie who has a tendency to get caught up in his splendor.

West, 37, is widely respected, in his 15th season, a two-time All-Star with an illuminating worldview. He’d be a finalist if NBA players were to have a Most Interesting Man In The League competition.

West is someone from whom Bell, 22, could learn a lot by simply watching.

The latest example came Monday night in Los Angeles, where Bell in the third quarter offset a brilliant moment with a dash of immaturity before West later pulled a veteran move to punctuate a 116-114 Warriors win over the Lakers.

With roughly six seconds remaining after Kevin Durant dropped in the final bucket of the game, giving the Warriors the lead in OT, LA’s celebrity rookie Lonzo Ball was sprint-dribbling toward the Lakers basket. Seeing the potential for a second OT, West was sprinting upcourt to prevent it.

Racing between Klay Thompson and West, Ball entered the paint thinking he had split a napping Warriors defense for the game-tying basket. West, though, was tracking him from midcourt, taking flight a nanosecond after Ball tossed up a right-handed layup and smacking the shot off the backboard with 2,4 seconds left on the clock.

By the time Lakers forward Brandon Ingram recovered the loose ball 40 feet from the basket, all he could do was fling a 35-foot prayer that got nowhere near the rim.

Game over, the Eldest Warrior executing a fabulous chase-down block to put a padlock on one of the grittiest wins of this Warriors season.

A win that possibly would not have required 53 minutes if Bell had been a bit more aware of the consequences of celebrating himself in real time.

With the Warriors trailing 61-59 and a little less than eight minutes left in the third quarter, Ingram had dribbled around his defender, Pat McCaw, and then breezed by a statuesque JaVale McGee and saw a clearance near the basket. Ingram was thinking layup, giving the Lakers a four-point lead.

Seeing exactly what Ingram had seen, Bell hustled over from the weak side and rejected Ingram’s shot, with the Laker sprawling to the floor. It was fantastic play, and Bell knew it. So he took a moment to enjoy it, standing over Ingram, lying supine along the baseline, giving him triumphant glare.

Meanwhile, McCaw recovered the loose ball and was dribbling the other way. His layup bounced out, with the Lakers grabbing the rebound -- all before Bell could join McCaw and his teammates on the offensive end.

When the Lakers called timeout a few second later, Bell came off the floor and was met by Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Aware that Bell’s full engagement after the block would have given the Warriors a 5-on-4 advantage, the coach was disappointed.

“Tremendous block,” Kerr, after the win, told reporters in Los Angeles. “But we didn’t score at the other end. I think if he had just turned and sprinted, he probably would have had a tip dunk.”

Kerr and his staff believe in players having fun. They encourage it, but not at the expense of the game. Bell did what many rookies -- and some vets -- do after making a spectacular play. He took a moment to soak in his glory.

“You make a big play, you kind of have to let him know you're here,” Bell told reporters. “But Coach is right. I’ve got to run the floor. (I) possibly could've got a dunk on that possession if I would've got the blocked shot and ran. A lesson I keep learning as I'm playing.”

If West had taken a moment to enjoy Durant’s decisive shot, there might have been a second OT. But the OG won’t soak in his glory. Can’t, until corks start popping in the locker room and he’s able to share it with the team.

“Jordan’s absorbing a lot,” West was saying a few days ago. “A lot is being thrown at him. But he’s got good natural instincts and he’s active around the basketball. So he gives himself a shot to make plays when he’s out there.”

West recognizes Bell’s potential and probably wishes he had such athleticism. He never has. Maybe that’s why West doesn’t feel himself. He has to work, and it isn’t done until there is an NBA Finals postgame celebration.

Warriors list five players questionable for game vs Magic

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AP

Warriors list five players questionable for game vs Magic

The Warriors are currently in the midst of a six-game road trip. Their next opponent is the Magic in Orlando. 

Who suits up for the Warriors Friday night in Orlando is quite the mystery. On Thursday, the Warriors listed five players as questionable on their injury report. 

Curry and Durant were both on the injury report prior to Wednesday overtime win in Los Angeles. Curry wore a wrap around his hand as he scored 28 points in the Warriors' 127-123 win vs. the Lakers. Durant, dealing with a sprained left ankle for nearly two weeks now, led the Warriors with 29 points.

Friday is the second and final time the Warriors play the Magic this season. They previously beat them, 110-100, on Nov. 13 at Oracle Arena. 

David West sounds off on the NFL, Kaepernick and kneeling

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AP

David West sounds off on the NFL, Kaepernick and kneeling

As NFL owners and their besieged commissioner, Roger Goodell, blame kneeling players for diminished interest in the games, one prominent American athlete believes the league is hurt by its treatment of the man at the center of the uprising.

The failure to crack a door for Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick has some fans turning away from the NFL, according to Warriors big man David West.

“One part (of declining interest) that I think is being overlooked and is being dismissed is the impact of them not hiring or getting Colin Kaepernick in the league,” West said on this week’s Warriors Insider Podcast. “We know he should be on somebody’s roster.

“But what they’re discounting is that people aren’t watching the NFL because of the way they are treating Colin Kaepernick. That is a real thing. There are a lot of people who have stopped watching football, who are not going to games.”

As team after team turns to quarterback after quarterback with vastly inferior credentials, Kaepernick sits unemployed, ignored by NFL power brokers who imply their “fans” would revolt if he were signed to their team.

Some fans surely are jersey-burning angry over the wave of demonstrations started last season, when Kaepernick decided to kneel during the national anthem as a way of protesting social inequality in America.

West is certain plenty of fans stand with the former 49ers quarterback. And there is anecdotal evidence to support West’s assertion, instances of fans turning to social media or attending games at various NFL venues carrying signs supportive of Kaepernick and others involved in the movement.

“That idea is not being talked about enough,” West said. “It’s the other way around. They’re saying people aren’t watching the NFL because guys are protesting.

“I’m not sure that the numbers, if we really, really look at who’s watching and who’s not going, I’m not sure that those numbers are the way that they are projecting them to be, in my opinion. I think there are a lot of people who aren’t watching because of the way Colin Kaepernick is being treated.”