Durant, new Warriors react to Kerr's comedic videos

Durant, new Warriors react to Kerr's comedic videos

OAKLAND – Want to see a member the Warriors to break into a smile? Ask about the videos.

Get your mind out of the gutter. Not those kinds of videos. There is nothing salacious. Instead of being Rated X, these are rated IM: Immaturely Mature.

The videos compiled by the staff at the request of coach Steve Kerr and his co-conspiratorial assistants are to provide teachable moments. They just happen to be equal parts instruction and comedy, documentary interspersed with slapstick.

Kevin Durant, coming to the Warriors after nine seasons with the austere Oklahoma City Thunder, is realizing not only that he plays in a completely different part of the country but also that he works in an organization that promotes playfulness.

“I realized when I was playing that I was better when I was having fun,” Kerr says.

[POOLE: Durant wants to take defense to new heights with Warriors]

“Yeah, I’ve noticed that,” Durant says, grinning. “It’s fun, either way for me. I’m used to not joking around. But coming here has definitely been a big joke. It’s also been a disciplined environment. It’s good to have a balance.”

Kerr’s coaching philosophy has, beyond basketball strategy, four basic tenets: joy, mindfulness, compassion and competition. He wants his team to apply these elements to their play and practice, and feels they result in a more positive and cooperative environment.

It’s an approach unlike to which the new veterans are accustomed. It’s an adjustment for rookies like Patrick McCaw and Damian Jones. It’s an even bigger adjustment for David West and Durant, both of whom have played under accomplished coaches and made deep postseason runs.

“It’s definitely new,” West says, “but it’s part of the reason why they’ve had so much success here.”

“Most of them just have to feel it,” Kerr says of the new faces. “But I might’ve said something to KD and David, give the vets a little bit of a heads-up that it may not be quite like Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) did it.

“But we try to be productive with our film, try to keep it loose and have some fun with each other.”

Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee, also veterans, are discovering that much of what the Warriors do, even beyond the wacky video sessions, doesn’t fit between tight lines or harsh rules that are the norm for most coaching staffs.

[RELATED: Eager to shed reputation, McGee trying to climb into Warriors' rotation]

“It is different,” Pachulia said with a smirk. “But it’s such a long season . . . if you don’t mix in some fun, it might get crazy.”

McGee, who is in camp without a guaranteed contract, believes there is a link to the team’s approach and its success, winning 140 regular-season games over the past two seasons, both of which included the NBA Finals.

“It’s a lot different,” McGee says. “Out of all the teams I’ve ever been on, this is the happiest locker room. And the most ‘chill’ locker room I’ve ever been in.

“But when you’re winning 70 games, what is there to be mad about?”

Players and coaches, including Kerr, can be targeted for the relatively benign jokes. Some moments may rival “Shaqtin’ A Fool,” -- Shaquille O’Neal’s episodic bloopers videos that leave viewers giggling at mental gaffes and physical mishaps.

Kerr and his executive producers, led by special assistant Nick U’Ren, were at it again over the weekend, adding non-basketball clips while compiling video of their games last week against the Clippers and Kings.

They were making use of copious material provided by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has spent recent days apologizing after the release of an audiotape in which he boasted of kissing and groping women without consent.

While there was a basketball purpose to raiding the Trump file for comedy, there was another reason beyond the game. Kerr says he reminded everyone to register to vote.

“Trump is offering us lots of opportunities to have fun with our video sessions, and we’ve been taking advantage of that,” he says. “We had ‘famous presidential quotes’ (on Saturday). You can figure where it went from there.”

That clip, we can assume, was Rated X.

With Rockets healthy and dominant, this will no doubt be Warriors' hardest championship


With Rockets healthy and dominant, this will no doubt be Warriors' hardest championship

This has been a trying season for the Golden State Warriors – I mean, trying being a relative term here – but especially for those Warriors who were here in 2014-15 and watching the Houston Rockets have that very season.
Fortunately for them, they are channeling most of their energies in escaping the injury list, but the fact remains the same. Houston is playing better, may well BE better, and is showing no signs of slowing to enjoy the view in the rear-view mirror.
This isn’t just the way they beat Portland in Portland Tuesday night, but they way they have gone 30-3 – which is 29 more versions of the way they beat Portland Tuesday. They are not a direct comp with that Warriors team except at the macro level, which is that they are the ones whose players know how they fit with each other, and they are the ones who have one more effective player than everyone else.
And they’re the ones fielding the full team when everyone else is dented and belching blue smoke.
The Warriors won their two championships for many reasons, but one that bears repeating is the fact they finished fourth from the bottom in man-games lost to injury – in other words, they were healthy when all those around them are not.
Now they look like tired and creaky and spare-part-y, and as much as people have tried to hitch their wagons to the secret stopgap of the week – this week’s winner, Quinn Cook – they are getting karma’d the hard way this year. The player who has played the most games is Nick Young, who was hailed as an excellent 10th man when he was signed, and their top four players (Harrison Barnes being the pre-Kevin Durant) have gone from missing 10 games in 2015 to 21 to 33 to 46.
This may seem normal given that this has been a worse year for injuries in the NBA than last year, but timing matters too. James Harden’s last missed game was March 11 (before that January 15), Chris Paul’s was December 28, and Clint Capela has missed one game since December 29. Houston’s run began on January 8.
Coincidence? No. The reason Houston is better? Also no. There are plenty of other metrics that show that pretty clearly, including those pesky standings. The best team has the best record, as it did in the last three seasons (exempting, of course, that troublesome June in 2016), so live with it. 
Can this change? Yes. It’s March 21, and lots of things can happen to any team, most of them bad. But the difference is this – Houston needs as few of those things to happen as possible, and the Warriors need several of them. That hasn’t been true before. One-seeds have won eight of the last 10 titles for a reason, and the Warriors have been inspirational frontrunners.
But now they have to punch uphill, and they can’t even start punching until their injury list shortens to a manageable – oh, let’s say five; don’t want to peak too soon.
And then let’s see how long it takes for them to get up to speed, both physically and as a unit. It is not inconceivable that they could run out of time before they run out of problems.
The point is, Houston is showing just how hard this is going to be for the Warriors, and if Golden State does win anyway, it will be their best championship because it will be the hardest. Not their most fun, mind you, but legacies are built on degree of difficulty.
Anyway, they no longer have a choice. They’re coming off the pace, or they’re not arriving at all.

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

UPDATE (2:40pm PT on Tuessday): Steph Curry has been cleared for full team practices with the goal of playing this week, the Warriors announced.


The Warriors’ usual late-spring sprint toward the postseason, already slowed to a limp, deteriorated into a forlorn crawl Monday night in San Antonio as they were losing for the fourth time in six games.

Draymond Green, the only “healthy” member of the team’s All-Star quartet, left the game in the second quarter with a pelvic contusion and did not return.

Though Green said after this 89-75 loss to the Spurs that he doesn’t consider this a serious injury, it’s abundantly clear reinforcements can’t arrive soon enough.

Stephen Curry, a profoundly superior reinforcement, may return as soon as Friday.

Curry’s tender right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which the Warriors will establish a timeline for his return. He could, according to team and league sources, be back in the lineup Friday night when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena.

That would provide a massive injection of talent for the Warriors, who lost of three games during a four-day stretch in which they were forced to rely heavily on reserves and role players.

“We’re already shorthanded and then we lose another All-Star, the glue to our team, Draymond, at halftime,” said Quinn Cook, who in scoring 73 points over the past three games did an admirable job of trying of producing Curry-like numbers.

As good as Cook was on Monday, scoring 20 points, it’s a bit much to ask Cook to lead the Warriors past a San Antonio team fighting to extend its 20-year streak of consecutive playoff appearances.

The Warriors are built around their four All-Stars -- Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Curry and Green. They usually can withstand the loss of one, and they can often are OK missing two. But when it’s three, and possibly four, the defending champs are a home without a foundation.

As the Warriors were losing four of six games, and two of the last three, we have learned four things:

1) Cook is an NBA keeper.

The point guard from Duke, who turns 25 on Friday, has proved not only that he belongs in the league but also that he can survive in the rotation of a championship contender. He’s considerably more effective than Pat McCaw. Even if everybody were healthy, it would be hard, maybe foolish, to deny Cook minutes.

2) Kevon Looney continues to smooth the rough edges of his game.

The Warriors opened the season uncertain what they could expect from a forward that has undergone surgery on both hips. Month after month, though, he has done most everything they could have asked. He operates well in their switching defense, is effective in traffic and now he’s blocking shots and raining jumpers. At this rate, the Warriors would be delighted to have him back next season.

3) David West and Jordan Bell are in search of rhythm.

West was reliably excellent, at both ends, prior to missing five games with a cyst on his right arm. Since returning last Friday, there have been visible signs of rust. He’ll be OK in time, but at 37 likely needs another game or two to rediscover his touch.

Bell missed 14 games with a left ankle sprain, returned briefly, sustained a sprain of his right ankle and missed three more games. In the three games since his return, he has yet to look comfortable. It’s not just rust; it’s also the team around him. He’s at his best when supporting the stars. It may take him a while before he shines again.

4) Postseason minutes may be scarce for Nick Young

The Warriors hired Young to score while not embarrassing himself on defense and he has had good moments on both ends. But his inconsistency -- partly attributed to unspectacular conditioning -- grates on coaches and sometimes teammates. As much as he wants to enjoy the postseason, he’s playing his way toward an insignificant role unless injuries dictate otherwise.