After time with LeBron, Kobe, Mike Brown breaks down Warriors' All-Stars

After time with LeBron, Kobe, Mike Brown breaks down Warriors' All-Stars

Insofar as he has coached the two most iconic players of the post-Jordan era, I had questions for Mike Brown. And the Warriors assistant, as a guest on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Podcast, was kind enough to answer.

Brown spent five seasons as head coach of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, reaching the playoffs all five seasons, once reaching the NBA Finals. Brown was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2008-09, with James winning the MVP award that season and repeating in 2009-10, after which Brown was dismissed and James departed for Miami.

After a year out of the NBA, Brown in 2011 was hired by the Lakers for the monumental task of replacing Phil Jackson and coaching 2007-08 MVP Kobe Bryant. The team was eliminated in the Western Conference semifinals in lockout-shortened 2012, and Brown was fired five games into the following season.

After another turn as Cleveland head coach (2013-14), Brown was out of coaching for two seasons before agreeing to join Steve Kerr’s staff with the Warriors.

Given his experience with James and Bryant, we were compelled to seek Brown’s opinions about Warriors All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

Brown on Curry, the reigning two-time MVP: “I don’t know how you guard him. He would put the fear of God in me if I were on another team. He does it all. He can score with the ball. He can score without the ball. He can score from all three levels. His pace is unbelievable. I don’t know if he ever gets tired.”

Brown on Durant, the 2014 MVP: “I don’t know if he likes to be called this, but he’s 7 feet. And if you’re 7 feet and you can handle the ball and shoot the ball the way he does, you can’t guard him. . . . He can post up. He can play pick-and-roll. He can shoot the 3. He can get to the rim. He can get to the free throw line. How do you want it, he can do it. When you couple all that stuff with him being 7 feet, he’s impossible to guard.”

Brown on Thompson: “He’s got the quickest, most highest release that I’ve ever seen when it comes to shooting the basketball. Most guys, you say ‘put it in the shooting pocket,’ which is probably someplace between your belly button and your chest. You don’t say that about Klay. Just, somehow, some way, get him the ball. Wherever he catches the ball, he’s going from that point straight into his shot, Even if the ball hits him about the top of his head. . . . He’s almost impossible to guard. You can’t take away his airspace, because he doesn’t need any airspace to shoot the ball.”

For the record, Brown’s choice for MVP is Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, whose two-way excellence pushed him ahead of the co-favorites, Rockets guard James Harden and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.


Curry claims he didn't throw mouthguard at ref: 'I've got a pretty good aim'

Curry claims he didn't throw mouthguard at ref: 'I've got a pretty good aim'

Just before the Warriors officially lost the game in Memphis on Saturday night, their superstar point guard lost his cool.

After not getting a foul call with 43 seconds left in the game, Steph Curry chucked his mouthguard in the direction of referee Scott Wall in a fit of rage reminiscent of Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

Wall immediately ejected Curry, who continued to argue with the officials.

After the game, Curry wanted to make it clear he wasn't trying to his Wall with his mouthguard.

"If I tried to throw it at him and hit him, I've got a pretty good aim," Curry said told reporters after the game. "I've thrown my mouthpiece plenty of times and thrown it on the floor. Probably not the best thing to do, but I've done it. I own up to it.

"If I was trying to throw it at him or hit him, I would have been able to executed that."

Curry explained why he reacted the way he did.

"That last play, I thought I got fouled. My frustration boiled over, did something stupid, deserved to get kicked out and that's what happened. Obviously learn from it and try not to do it again," Curry told reporters.

Now Curry and the Warriors wait to see if the NBA will suspend or fine him. He has an expectation of what the punishment will be.

"Don't think it will be a suspension or anything. My pockets will be a lot lighter," Curry said after the game.

What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise


What's caused Warriors' slow start and why it should come as no surprise

It’s much too early to get legitimately nervous, much less start tumbling into a panic.

The Warriors are going to be fine.


They most certainly are not yet what they will become in about two weeks, when they settle in for a four-game homestand that begins Nov. 6. That’s 10 games into the season, and it’s conceivable the Warriors might be 6-4.

After a 111-101 loss to the ever-tenacious Grizzlies on Saturday in Memphis, the Warriors are 1-2 and, by their lofty standard, looking about as lost as a stray cat in a hurricane.

“We’re obviously not ready. We knew that,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not ready to put together a full effort. And I’m not doing a great job of putting together combinations, finding the right motivation to get guys going, to get some joy and laughter in here.

“It’s just one of those rough patches. And, hopefully, we can climb our way out of it. I’m sure we will. It may take some time.”

It will take some time, and of that there is plenty.

Do not blame this lull entirely on China, not when there is so much more. The Warriors are coming off their third consecutive prolonged season, this one followed by the training camp disruption caused by spending eight days in Oakland, eight days in China, followed by eight days in Oakland leading up to opening night.

It’s easy to see the timing is off on an offense that relies on precision. The spacing is off on an offense that requires room to operate. The energy is lacking on a defense that lapses into ordinary without its bedrock intensity. Both body and spirit appear less than peak.

“We’ve been playing hard,” Kevin Durant told reporters at FedEx Forum, “but I think we’ve got to take it up a level.

“We’ll be fine. It’s 79 more games left. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

Understand, a team that won an NBA-best 67 games last season and posted a league-record 16-1 postseason doesn’t lose it because opponents load up. When the Warriors are on their game, opponents don’t matter.

For now, though, there is an individual listlessness that results in collective slumber. Stephen Curry has gambled himself in foul trouble in both losses and was booted in Memphis. Andre Iguodala missed an entire game and Draymond Green missed the fourth quarter of the first loss, a game in which the Warriors gave up a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.

And Durant’s 4.6 blocks per game is impressive. It also happens to be offset by his 6.3 turnovers per game.

“That’s on me,” he said. “I’m turning the ball over at a high rate right now. I’m really pissed at myself about it. I’ve just got to hold on to the ball. Just make the correct pass. I think I’m just rushing. I just need to calm down, settle down, and that would ignite the whole team. But if I turn the ball over, that’s contagious.”

The Rockets turned 17 Warriors giveaways into 21 points. The Pelicans turned 14 into 20. The Grizzlies turned 17 into 24.

Asked what has to change, Klay Thompson went to exactly the right place, saying “probably our defensive intensity from the jump.”

That’s where it starts, at least on the court. Meanwhile, there is more video work, more group texts about details and the need for more time for their bodies and minds to become one.

“We’ll be better,” Durant said. “We’re still finding a groove with each other. We’re still getting back into shape as far as playing our game, the flow, just the reads off not calling plays. We’ve got to get used to that again.”

Thompson is, however, displaying a modicum of impatience.

“We’ll come out Monday and we’ll play a great game,” he said. “I guarantee it.”

He’s probably right. The Warriors will be playing at Dallas, against a Mavericks team that is built to be devoured by the powerful.

That might be a quick fix. But it won’t be the final fix. That is weeks away.