Iguodala’s incident adds fuel to the Warriors' villainy narrative

Iguodala’s incident adds fuel to the Warriors' villainy narrative

So the price of Andre-ing is ten grand. Got it. The price for piling one more brick in the wall is relatively low.

Iguodala, the Andre in question, was fined $10,000 by the NBA Monday for his racially piquant postgame comments in Minneapolis Friday night after being asked about being rested for the next night’s game in San Antonio, and while Golden State coach Steve Kerr has worked hard to laugh off Iguodala’s oratorical indiscretions, it adds another piece to what Kerr called in October the Warriors’ new role as villains.

“Villains,” of course, being shorthand in the modern vernacular for “good team with a gift for social media irritation.”

There are, of course, gradations of villainy, of course. The Warriors are not, for example, the Bad Boy Pistons of a quarter-century ago.

They do, however, talk a healthy amount of smack, even if they don’t mean to, and between that and the way they attract schadenfreude, they really are the team upon whom harsh if superficial characterizations find a home.

And to that we can only say, “Well, what exactly did you expect?”

They villained up by winning a title when they were the “luckiest” team in the league for not having injuries when everyone else did. They villained up when Joe Lacob told The New York Times that all this “luck” was the product of a master plan that could only be hatched in Silicon Valley. They villained up when Draymond Green decided to go technical foul for technical foul with DeMarcus Cousins and occasionally misplace a flailed foot. They villained up when they convinced Kevin Durant to put the “free” in “free agent,” and they villained up when Green complained that the officials treat him differently than every other player, and now they have done so yet again with Iguodala’s comments.

And you are entitled to judge them as you wish – either as misapplied history, unpleasant vernacular, cultural disconnect or good joke/bad audience. This is really about perception, which the Warriors claim unconvincingly to care nothing about.

The Warriors have wrapped themselves in a number of brightly colored cloaks – as the organizational vanguard of the world sporting order, as the only logical home for bright, articulate, charitable and charming athletes, as the smartest guys in every room, as the new basketball, as the best entertainment value in the sport (as judged by the fact that they have sold out all but three road games both last year and this), and as The Team Everyone Wants To Be.

So yes, they care what people think about them. Everybody does. It’s human nature, except for hermits, cloistered nuns and spies.

Kerr’s smile-laced deflections are therefore not to be taken at full face value. There is a price that comes with villainy, and though the bravest souls say it doesn’t matter, it eventually does matter because Kerr doesn’t always control the messages his players and their circles of friends absorb. Some corrosive rebuttals get through, and a few of them can occasionally stick.

And while winning is the best defense against slings and arrows, teams don’t always win. For instance, last year’s Warriors.

Is Iguodala’s incident a seminal moment in the villainy narrative? Not really. The league had him pay 40 percent of the cost of verbally abusing an official, so there’s a hint right there.

But when you pile up individual bricks high enough, they fall, and then you have Hell’s own Jenga. Villainy is a charming throwaway line until it isn’t. If that day has not yet come, that’s not the same as it never coming.

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.

Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return


Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return

UPDATE (2:25pm PT on Tuesday): The Warriors announced that following an examination by the team's medical staff, Steph Curry has been cleared to participate in full team practices beginning on Wednesday. The goal is for Curry to "play later this week."

The Warriors return to action Friday when they host the Hawks. They face the Jazz on Sunday in Oakland.


The Warriors have been without Stephen Curry for six full games and all but the first two minutes of a seventh. The last three were less out of medical necessity than an abundance of caution.

Curry could, however, return as soon as Friday when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena, multiple sources disclosed to NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday night. ESPN, citing league sources, was first to report the team’s plan.

The two-time MVP’s right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which time a firm return date is expected.

Curry was physically able to play -- and actually pushed to return -- last weekend, according to league sources. But the Warriors, looking ahead to the playoffs and seeing diminished value in the remaining regular-season games, opted to continue rehabilitation in hopes of maximizing support for the area around his ankle.

The Warriors have described Curry’s injury not as a sprain but a “tweak,” implying less severity.

Though the Warriors won the game in which Curry was hurt, 110-107 over the Spurs on March 8, they have since lost four of six, including 89-75 on Monday in San Antonio.

The Warriors arrived early Tuesday morning and won’t practice Tuesday afternoon and are contemplating skipping an official practice on Wednesday.

The Warriors, averaging a league-leading 115.5 points per game this season, saw that figure drop to 103.3 during Curry’s six-game absence.