Kerr: Jordan Bell fighting to crack rotation, will play vs 'certain matchups'


Kerr: Jordan Bell fighting to crack rotation, will play vs 'certain matchups'

OAKLAND -- It was about this time last year, maybe a bit earlier, when Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he would absolutely be comfortable putting rookie guard Patrick McCaw, a second-round draft pick, into an NBA game.

Kerr now acknowledges he has, for the second consecutive season, a rookie second-round pick ready to contribute to the Warriors.

That would be forward/center Jordan Bell.

“Yeah, I’ll put him out there for certain matchups,” Kerr said Wednesday after practice.

“I wouldn’t say that he’s going to be in the rotation, because he’s got a lot of guys ahead of him who are very good players. But certain matchups, I’ll put him out there.”

If you’ve seen much of Bell, you can understand why. The Oregon product impressed during the Las Vegas Summer League and has made an impact in the team’s three preseason games.

In 24 minutes this preseason, Bell has totaled 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Moreover -- and this is particularly significant for a rookie with a penchant for blocking shots -- he has been whistled for only one foul.

“He’s got a pretty high defensive IQ right now, just knowing where to be and being aggressive,” Stephen Curry said of Bell. “His confidence is almost how Pat looked last year in preseason, when you knew he was a gamer. Whenever he had an opportunity to impact the game in the preseason, he was ready for that moment.”

Yet Bell is, at best, the fifth-string big man on a defending championship team. He’s behind four men who had key roles in the Warriors winning a championship last season: starting center Zaza Pachulia, death-squad center (and starting power forward) Draymond Green and backups David West and JaVale McGee.

Second-year man Damian Jones and Bell would be next in line for minutes, and Bell has been appreciably more effective.

Of the four veterans, it is Green that Bell most closely mirrors. Green is 6-foot-7 at most, Bell about 6-8. Both are skilled passers with good court awareness that improves to great on the defensive end. Each is an undersized power forward with the necessary tools to play “big” in Kerr’s uptempo system

During the Warriors’ 142-110 rout of Minnesota in Shanghai on Sunday, Bell played only seven minutes yet submitted 11 points (5-of-5 from the field, 1-of-1 from the line), adding two steals, a rebound and a block.

“The game in Shanghai was a clinic of defensive awareness, aggressiveness and decisiveness on that end of the floor that got us a couple stops,” Curry summarized. “He got a couple steals, and was in the right place at the right time on the offensive end to finish some possessions.”

Kerr pulled Bell aside after the game to lavish praise while adding a dollop of advice.

“What I told Jordan after the game was that he was great. He was fantastic and he made the most of his minutes,” Kerr said. “I said the game changed in the third quarter when Draymond decided to bring that intensity and energy that he brings for us. You might remember we made 4-5 stops in a row, and Draymond was pressuring the ball and had that look in his eye.”

That’s where Kerr explained to Bell what he wants from the rookie, stressing intensity and focus. In essence, he wants Bell to follow the example set by Green.

Which is perfectly fine with Bell. After all, it was couple years ago that Green replaced LeBron James as Bell’s favorite NBA player.

Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns


Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns

The Warriors have lost three of their last four games, their roster is in shambles and, still, they look like pure gold in contrast to the Suns team they’re facing Saturday night in Phoenix.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 7:05.

Reeling from the absences of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the Warriors (52-17) showed plenty of the scrap in losing to the Kings on Friday in Oakland but couldn’t get much offense from their veterans.

The Suns (19-51) are having the worst season since 1968-69, their inaugural season. They’ve lost seven in a row, 16 of their last 17 and 21 of their last 23.


Warriors by 3


Quinn Cook vs. Elfrid Payton: Payton bolted to a 16-point first quarter and scored 29 the last time he faced the Warriors. Quinn is coming off a career-high 25-point game. With teams relying on diminished rosters, whichever of the two young PGs can set a tone gives his team an advantage.


Warriors: G Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain), G Stephen Curry (R ankle tweak), F Kevin Durant (R rib soreness), G Pat McCaw (L wrist fracture) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Suns: G Devin Booker (R hand sprain) and F Alan Williams (R meniscus tear) are listed as questionable. G Brandon Knight (L ACL tear) is listed as out.


Warriors: 7-3.

Suns: 1-9.


Tony Brothers (crew chief), Jacyn Goble, James Williams


The Warriors won the first of four meetings this season, 129-83 on Feb. 12 at Oracle Arena. They swept all four games last season and are 12-1 against the Suns in the Steve Kerr era.


MOTIVATED VETS: Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West and Nick Young, expected to generate offense, combined to shoot 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) in a five-point loss Friday. They must be better; they can’t be much worse. Phoenix leads the NBA in points allowed.

THE BIG MEN: JaVale McGee started nine straight games at center, but Pachulia started the last two. The Suns are long up front, so McGee could be in line for a start or more minutes. In addition, Damian Jones, the team’s other 7-footer, also could get playing time.

STREAKING WITH THREES: The Suns own the longest active streak of games with at least one 3-point make (1,128). The Warriors are No. 2 (1,121). Both streaks are endangered. Curry, Thompson and Durant are out for the Warriors. Booker will either sit out or play with a splint on his shooting hand.

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

OAKLAND -- If Quinn Cook plays at anything close to the level he performed Friday night against the Kings, the Warriors should avoid any catastrophic stumbling in the absence of their top three scorers.

They stumbled plenty in a 98-93 loss to Sacramento, but not because of Cook. The two-way player who has spent most of the season with G-League Santa Cruz scored a team-high 25 points, shot 10-of-13 from the field and played respectable defense.

He did more than could have been reasonably expected.

“I felt like this was coming,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was fantastic. He really lit it up and gave us a huge boost.”

The Warriors ran into problems elsewhere, shared among the usually reliable veterans who need to be particularly reliable in the absence of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Usual starters Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia combined to shoot 6-of-20.

Usual reserves Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West and Nick Young shot a collective 13-of-39.

In the second half, when Warriors mustered only 34 points -- a season-low for any half -- the six vets combined to take 32 shots and missed 24.

Those are atrocious numbers and they explain what went wrong in a game that was there for the taking.

They’re also an anomaly.

“We just couldn’t get anything going,” Green said. “But we got some good shots. We got ‘Dre on a couple of pull-ups in the lane, I got a couple open shots, Nick got a couple open shots, Zaza got a couple open ones. D-West had one pop in and out. (Kevon Looney) had two pop in and out.

“We just got cold. But hopefully those shots will fall tomorrow.”

West, returning after missing four games with a cyst on his right arm, was 1-of-6 from the field. He came into this game as a 60.8-percent shooter this season.

Igoudala was 4-of-10; he shot 70 percent over the previous 10 games. Young was 5-of-15, well below his 44-percent shooting this season. Livingston’s 3-of-8 shooting is uncharacteristic of someone shooting at least 50 percent for four years running.

If history is any indication, Green (5-of-14) and Pachulia (1-of-6) are not going continue to miss at the rate they did in this game, the first this season in which the Warriors were without all three of their top scorers.

If history is any indication, the Warriors can’t be counted on to score 34 points on 27.3-percent shooting in the second half of a game.

“I loved how our guys battled,” Kerr said. “They really competed well and made some big plays. We just couldn’t get the ball to go down quite enough in the second half.”

That’s going to change, perhaps as soon as Saturday night in Phoenix, were the Suns are playing to lose.

So if Cook plays steady basketball, the Warriors will fall off and their fans won’t become a basket case while waiting for the three shooters. The Warriors surely believe that.

“He really showed up. I’ve been waiting on that Quinn,” Green said. “We needed that. It was great for him to come out and play like that. And most importantly, his shots were falling. Since he’s been playing (more often) he’s been playing well, but his shots weren’t really falling. But tonight, they fell for him.”

They won’t always fall at a rate of 77 percent. They won’t have to once his teammates drop in a few more of their own shots.