Warriors

Say hello to Warriors rookie Jordan Bell: Football fanatic, music lover and more

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Say hello to Warriors rookie Jordan Bell: Football fanatic, music lover and more

OAKLAND -- He’s a rookie who grew up in Long Beach, went to the University of Oregon and was selected by the Warriors in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft.

Jordan Bell is 22 years old, the baby of five siblings raised by a single mother. Inasmuch as he owns a pit bull, Prince, it seems logical that his favorite NBA player is his new teammate, Draymond Green.

The Warriors like what they have seen of Bell thus far, so it’s as good a time as any to learn a few things about the rookie.

--He’s a Dallas Cowboys fan. He was a Raiders fan, then a New York Giants fan and eventually, with goading from his family, settled on Cowboys.

--As a youngster, he was more into football than basketball.

“I just really started playing basketball in high school. I always played at the park, but I never thought to myself that I wanted to be a basketball player. Not until high school, when I had a growth spurt, about four inches over one summer. That made me the tallest dude in my class, so I thought I might as well give this basketball thing a try. Once I started playing, I started loving it. I stopped playing football for a while. And then I realized I love basketball way more than football. “

--He loves, loves, loves music, says he listens to it “all the time,” and that his favorite rapper is an easy call: Kendrick Lamar.

“Before Kendrick came a long, I just liked music, period.”

He’s willing to offer his personal take on the top-five rappers, all time.

“In no order, Tupuc. Biggie. Kendrick. Eminem. Jay-Z. That’s just my preference though. If I could add a few more, I’d add Nas, Andre Three Stacks (aka Andre 3000), Lil Wayne. That’s my top eight. I also love J. Cole. He’s a rapper that older people can listen to. “But I actually listen to R&B more than I do hip-hop.”

This is when Bell points out more favorites, including Chris Brown, as well as old-school artists Musiq Soulchild, Maxwell, Anthony Hamilton and the late Luther Vandross.

--Coming from the structured environment under coach Dana Altman at Oregon, Bell was more than a bit surprised at the relatively laid back atmosphere around the Warriors during the offseason.

“Everybody is real nonchalant. They seem to have a lot of trust in their players. They don’t make you come in; anything you want to do is like, optional. Even for me, as a rookie. I didn’t expect that. I thought they’d have a schedule of what days I had to work out. But it’s real . . . the ball is in your court.

“At Oregon, they checked on our classes every single day. Our coaches checked the classes. It was very strict. If you’re not on time, you’re running after practice. They’re very serious over there.”

--He is finding it rather easy to adapt to the Bay Area, and is enjoying the dining options.

“It’s a kind of like Southern California in some ways. But I like Mexican food. I like to find hole-in-the-wall kind of places. There’s a taco truck right next to my building (in Oakland) that’s really good.”

--Being someone with a relish for playing defense, he has identified players that pose special challenges for a defender.

“Honestly, two of them are on this team, KD and Steph. KD is a serious matchup problem. It’s crazy. How do you defend that? You can’t defend it. Even if you’re his size and you move like him, you still couldn’t do anything about it. But nobody is his size and also moves like him. He’s what, 7 (feet)? Shoots like a guard, moves like a guard, handles like a guard, is athletic and gets to the rim. Crazy.

“But I definitely watch all different types of players, like Chris Paul, James (Harden) and a lot of others.”

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

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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.

Eventually.

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.

Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

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Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

When the Warriors set foot in FedEx Forum on Saturday, they’ll find a very different atmosphere as well as a barely recognizable team of Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grindhouse is not the same. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter have left the building. So, too, has the “Grindfather” himself, Tony Allen.

So in their only trip to Memphis this season, the Warriors will focus mostly on point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, the remaining core members of the team that reached the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.

The Warriors (1-1) will be playing for the second night in a row, while the Grizzlies (1-0) have not played since their season opener Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 8.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: Curry has a long memory, and he will remember not only that the Warriors last season lost twice to the Grizzlies but also that Conley’s 27 points and clutch play offset Curry’s 40 points and led Memphis to an overtime win in Oakland. It won’t matter to Curry that the Warriors posted double-digit wins over the Grizzlies in the last two meetings last season. He may want to take over.

INJURY LIST:
Warriors: F Omri Casspi (L ankle sprain) has been ruled out.

Grizzlies: F JaMychal Green (L ankle sprain), G Ben McLemore (R foot surgery) and G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (R quad injury) are listed as out.

RECENT SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have won five of the last seven in Memphis and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
BREEZE OR WHEEZE: Coach Steve Kerr has expressed some concern about the team’s conditioning level. On the second night of their first back-to-back set -- with the Warriors arriving at the hotel at 2:30 a.m. -- it could provide a glimpse of their progress. Kerr said he would consider resting one or two players. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, both coming off injuries, would seem logical candidates.

GEORGIA VS. SPAIN: The Republic of Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia and Spain’s Marc Gasol know each other well, having spent years battling internationally and in the NBA. There will be no surprises, but Pachulia will have to avoid foul trouble to remain a part of his team’s defensive rotation against one of the league’s best big men.

HOT KLAY: Klay Thompson is off to a torrid start, shooting 11-of-18 from beyond the arc through the first two games. And now he won’t have to worry about Allen, who relished in opportunities to defend the Warriors All-Star. Memphis replaced Allen with Andrew Harrison, who is not in the Grindfather’s class as a defender.