Kings

Warriors make purchase of D-League team official

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Warriors make purchase of D-League team official

June 28, 2011WARRIORS PAGE WARRIORS VIDEO

CSNBayArea.com staff

As reported Monday by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Matt Steinmetz, the Warriors announced the purchase of the NBA Development League's Dakota Wizards.

The Warriors are hosting a conference call with general manager Larry Riley today. We will have a report from CSN Insider Matt Steinmetz later today.

Here is the official release from the team:
PRESS RELEASE
OAKLAND, CA The Golden State Warriors, led by Co-Executive Chairmen Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, have purchased the Dakota Wizards franchise in the NBA Development League from Bismarck Professional Basketball LLC, it was announced today at a press conference in Bismarck, North Dakota. The Warriors will become the fourth NBA team to currently own and operate their own NBA D-League affiliate, joining San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.

The Wizards will remain in Bismarck during the 2011-12 D-League season the franchises 17th in North Dakota and the club will explore options of a potential move to Northern California the following season. Jim Weyermann, one of the most successful and respected business figures in minor league sports and current President of the San Jose Giants, has been named the Vice President of New Franchise Development for the Warriors and will oversee all operational aspects of the D-League team from a business standpoint, including a potential relocation to Northern California.

The purchase of the Wizards will result in the ceasing of the Warriors D-League affiliation with the Reno Bighorns, which served as the teams affiliate each of the last two years. Dakota will mark the Warriors third D-League affiliation (also Bakersfield Jam from 2006-07 to 2008-09) since the inception of the league prior to the 2006-07 season. The Wizards concluded the 2010-11 season with a 19-31 record and in fourth place in the eight-team Eastern Conference.

Were really excited about the opportunity to acquire an NBA D-League team and view it as a proactive decision, said Lacob. As we have previously mentioned, one of our goals is to provide our organization with any elements that we think could provide us an advantage. The fact that we will now operate our own D-League team complete with our coaches and organizational philosophy will put us in a better position to evaluate and develop potential NBA players, including any of our first or second year players who may spend a stint in the D-League. We think this is a critical step and another plus for our organization. And, we could not have found a more qualified candidate than Jim Weyermann to oversee the team from an operations standpoint.

Additionally, wed like to thank Steve McCormick and the ownership group of the Dakota Wizards for their professionalism during this process. We are looking forward to working with the staff in Bismarck this season and feel this was the ideal situation due to their strong and passionate community.

Under NBA and D-League rules, the Warriors will have the ability to build and determine their own roster, but will not own the rights to the Dakota players unless the team signs a specific player to an NBA contract. No other NBA team will share this affiliation with Golden State. Last season, the Wizards were the D-League affiliate for the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards.

Im really encouraged by this acquisition of a D-League franchise and applaud Joe and Peter for their commitment in this area, said Warriors Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Larry Riley. We have always emphasized the D-League as an organization and, quite honestly, have had very good results and success with the players that we have either signed or developed in the D-League. I think this simply enhances our chances for that trend to continue. The fact that we have an opportunity to align ourselves with an established organization in Bismarck will aid in the overall process.

Im excited about this new opportunity and challenge, said Weyermann. I have a great appreciation and understanding for how minor league organizations can serve as a tremendous resource for their parent clubs. The Warriors are in the business to win basketball games and the acquisition of the Wizards will enhance their chances of achieving their long-term goals on the court.

First, Id like to thank the tremendous fans of Bismarck for their continued support of the Wizards, said Wizards owner Steve McCormick. The community has embraced the team for many years dating back to the CBA and IBA days. The new ownership group that will soon be in place, headed by Mr. Lacob and Mr. Guber, is extremely committed and I can assure you that the organization is in capable hands. Our fans will be the beneficiaries of that commitment during the upcoming 2011-12 season.

For more information on the Golden State Warriors, visit www.warriors.com. For more information on the Dakota Wizards, visit www.nba.comdleaguedakota, or the NBA Development League homepage at www.nba.comdleague.
Courtesy Golden State Warriors media relations.

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

Kings' second unit steals show from Fox-Ball, fuels victory over Lakers

SACRAMENTO -- The fans came to watch De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball square off for the first times as professionals Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center. They ended up being treated to a breakout performance by Sacramento’s second team.

“It’s not all about Fox and Ball, it’s about Kings and Lakers,” Frank Mason said after another solid performance. “I’m just happy we got the win as a team.”

Coming into Wednesday night, the Sacramento Kings ranked first in the league in bench scoring at 48.1 points per game. The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t far behind, posting 40.6 a contest, good enough for fourth in the NBA.

Sacramento received solid contributions from almost every player that stepped on the floor, including 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from starter Zach Randolph. But the group that came off the bench put on a show, outscoring Los Angeles 67-38.

In his fourth game in a reserve role, Willie Cauley-Stein scored a game-high 26 points in 28 minutes, including 13 in the fourth quarter as the Kings pulled away. He drew a crowd around his locker during post game, but he was the direct beneficiary of some stellar play by others.

Mason and fellow rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic broke down the Lakers defense countless times and found Cauley-Stein for the poster dunk. According to the official scoresheet, nine of Cauley-Stein’s 10 made baskets were assisted, including five alley-oops from Bogdanovic.

“We talked about it yesterday when we were icing,” Cauley-Stein said of his Serbian guard. “We were both sitting in the cold tub and exactly what happened is what we were talking about.”

Cauley-Stein is gifted athletically and he’s extremely long. He was a star receiver in high school and he knows how to go up and get a ball.

“I think he realizes, (he’s) just got to get it up there and I’m going to go get it,” Cauley-Stein said of Bogdanovic.

Bogdanovic hit his first two 3-point attempts and it seemed to open the floor up for Sacramento. With defenders going over screens to defend the long ball, Bogdanovic used his dribble to get free.

When the Laker’s bigs stepped in to stop his dribble, Bogdanovic tossed the ball near the rim and Cauley-Stein finished with authority.

“It’s easy to play with Willie, because he can catch,” Bogdanovic said. “I didn’t pass perfectly those alley-oops, but he likes to be a little higher than usual.”

Both Bogdanovic and Mason set new career-highs in assists, finishing with seven dimes apiece off Dave Joerger’s bench. Bogdanovic dropped in 14 points and picked up two steals. Mason added 11 points and five rebounds.

The smallest player to step on the floor, Mason brings a physicality the Kings have lacked early in the season. Since earning rotational minutes four games ago, the 23-year-old is posting 9.8 points and 4.3 assists in 22 minutes a game.

“That’s who I am, that’s who I’ve always been,” Mason said when asked about his toughness. “I take a lot of pride in someone scoring on me and I play every possession like it’s game point.”

With the win, the Kings improved to 4-4 on their home floor and 5-13 overall this season. They’ll take Thanksgiving off, but return to practice Friday in preparation for the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday evening. They’ll need another big evening from the bench unit if they hope to build momentum going forward.

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

One thing is pretty clear about these Warriors after 2-2 road trip

The Warriors are not ready to flip their seek-and-destroy switch. Not yet.

They’re closer to being ready than, say, their longtime rivals in Cleveland, but in going 2-2 on this four-game road trip the Warriors showed they are nowhere near full annihilation mode.

They went into Oklahoma City Wednesday night and, in gulping down a 108-91 loss on national TV, came away looking more vulnerable than they have in any game this season. The 17-point loss was their largest margin of defeat and this was awful close to being a wire-to-wire rout.

The Warriors defense, so splendid during the seven-game win streak they took out of town last week, was inconsistent throughout and downright atrocious by their standards as they concluded the trip.

Their offense, which had begun reducing the turnovers to acceptable levels, came apart like a pair of $3 sneakers.

Even their body language, aside from two well-deserved technical fouls, seemed to mostly vacillate between whispers and a whimpers.

“We didn’t have any focus or concentration,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The ‘millennials’ couldn’t lock in tonight. And their coach couldn’t do much either. Long night for us.”

These were not the Warriors who posted seven consecutive double-digit wins, and they’re certainly not the team that found its competitive blowtorches last April. They weren’t visible in this game, nor were they seen for most of this road trip.

This, ahem, regular-season road trip.

That’s the catch. Last April is when the playoffs got underway, and next April is when the 2018 playoffs begin. The time between now and then is for experimenting, fine-tuning and fighting through the monotonous joys of victory -- a factor on vivid display Wednesday night.

“We played with some decent energy,” Stephen Curry said. “We just didn’t play smart.”

“They completely outplayed us, outcoached us,” Kerr said. “It was just their night. It was absolutely their night. They brought the energy, they brought the juice, they brought the intelligence. And we didn’t bring any of that.”

The Warriors entered the game after studying video and stats that illustrated OKC’s ability to disrupt an offense. The Thunder leads the NBA in steals, deflections and -- this one punches the Warriors in the gut -- forcing turnovers.

The Warriors committed 22 giveaways, leading directly to 34 Thunder points.

“Thirty-four points off turnovers, you can’t win like that,” Draymond Green said.

“I’ve got to do a better job of getting them ready to play,” Kerr said. “We have a pretty loose, fun atmosphere around here. That’s great, but there are certain times where it’s like, ‘All right guys. Let’s throw it to our team. Let’s execute the play. Let’s remember the play.’ ”

Kevin Durant bemoaned the “silly turnovers” that were such a factor in the game, blaming it players rather than Kerr and his staff.

“For the most part he can’t control that type of stuff,” said Durant, whose four turnovers were second to Curry’s team-high six. “We’ve got to be better at keeping the ball in our hands, shooting more shots than our opponents and playing defense.”

Added Green: “We were pretty well-prepared. We just played bad.”

That happens to even the best of teams, a category in which the defending champions fit quite snugly. No team, not even the Chicago Bulls of the maniacally competitive Michael Jordan, is able to bring its best for 82 games a season.

The Warriors blew two 17-point leads, one in second quarter and another in the third, in losing at Boston.

They fell behind by 24 in the third quarter to the 76ers before coming back to win in Philadelphia before recovering the next night to submit their best performance of the trip in routing Brooklyn.

And in OKC, against a Thunder team that would seem to get their full attention, the Warriors were outhustled, outsmarted and played with considerably less fury.

“Right now, we’re just in a little bit of rut, where we’ve got to focus,” Kerr said. “And I know we will. We’ve done this many times in the past and bounced back. And we’ll bounce back. We need to lock in and tighten up everything.”

They will, eventually. It could happen next week, or next month, or after the calendar turns to 2018. They’ll turn it on and become the team of terror, punishing all before them. It might be April, though.

This road game indicated some truth, though, which is there will be games over the next four months in which they will lose the battle with themselves.