Warriors

Small forward not priority for Warriors

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Small forward not priority for Warriors

You cant be serious that backup point guardshooting guard and backup power forwardcenter is a bigger need than small forward. I usually think youre spot on but youre way off on this. Markie, Bay Area.Steinmetz: And Im really confused as to why. The way I see it, the Warriors have two competent small forwards: Dorell Wright and Richard Jefferson. You might not like the year Wright had in 2011-12 and you might think Jefferson is nearing the end, but the reality is youve got a couple of pros there.Could you upgrade? Of course you could. But, keep in mind that both Jefferson and Wright are under contract next year for close to 15 million combined and what are you going to do with them?And what kind of player do you want instead of them? A big scorer? Well, youve already got enough scorers and a team that is clearly better offensively than defensively. So, I just dont get why the small forward position is one of such import for some.You could almost make a case to downgrade there or go in the other direction like try to move Jefferson and make Dominic McGuire the starter.Now, the other half of the equation is why I think theres a higher priority on backup guard and backup big man. Simple, really. Your backcourt is made up of Stephen Curry, who was injured for almost all of last season, and Klay Thompson, entering his second year after an abbreviated rookie season.How can you not think that getting a legit player in the backcourt to support those guys isnt huge? I like Charles Jenkins, but Im not ready to anoint him backup point guard just yet not with Currys health in doubt.The same thinking applies to Bogut. Its not that I dont think hes capable of playing 74 games next year, its that if youre a GM you have to have a plan in place if he doesnt or cant.At this point, Im not ready for Andris Biedrins or Jeremy Tyler to be my first big man off the bench. And I just think thats the kind of thing thats a higher priority than trying to marginally upgrade the small forward position.RELATED: What free agents are out there for Warriors?
Do you like Sullinger? Carlos, San Jose.Steinmetz: When the question is asked as simply as that, it is actually difficult to answer. Do I like Sullinger? Well, I dont dislike him, how about if we start there?There are things I like about Sullinger: Hes skilled; hes smart; and hes a good passer. I really like big men with that kind of foundation. On the other hand, I dont see Sullinger as an NBA all-star, nor I do assume hell be a starter in the pros.I like that he rebounds at the college level because that often translates. But I dont think hes a dominant player, and Im not convinced hell be able to score with his back to the basket in the NBA.What intrigues me most about Sullinger on the Warriors would be having three really good passing big men along with Andrew Bogut and David Lee on the roster.But regardless, its not like Sullinger is going to come in and play 28 minutes a night in Year 1. Thats not going to happen. My expectations of Sullinger as a pro are relatively modest, so I dont have a really strong opinion of him one way or another.Im starting to board the Meyers Leonard bandwagon, though not quite there yet. Its a reach but do you think the Warriors would consider him at No. 7? Josh, San Francisco.Steinmetz: Yes, I think selecting Leonard at No. 7 is a little bit of a reach. However, why should that really matter? Lets say for a moment that the Warriors really like Leonard like him more than John Henson, like him more than Tyler Zeller, like him more than Sullinger, etc.If thats truly the case, then they should go ahead and draft him with the No. 7 pick. And they could, theoretically, do something like that, and call it a day.Theres also the possibility that the Warriors, assuming they like Leonard, could move back a few spots and try to give up the No. 7 pick for a later first-round pick and player.Thats a trickier move, but its the kind of thing savvy front offices pull off.You had Perry Jones III as a lottery pick a week ago in your mock draft, and now hes down at No. 19. Why the drop? Brent, Newark, Calif.Steinmetz: Its no secret that the knock on Jones III is he lacks motivation and he doesnt always play hard. That was a reputation that was out there before workouts.Jones III isnt a perfect player even with a great motor, as they say. And his motor is what everyone questions. The bottom line is that Jones III is a scary pick. Can he handle the competitiveness of the pro game? Can he physically hold up? How hungry is he?There are plenty of other more finished products in this draft than Jones III, and thats important.If youre a team like the Warriors, for example, and youve put so much into this draft pick, it would be quite a risky pick to select a player that some feel may never pan out or who might not have the drive to play in the league.

Gameday: Iguodala out for Warriors' season opener vs Rockets

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USATI

Gameday: Iguodala out for Warriors' season opener vs Rockets

Defense of their second NBA title in three seasons begins in earnest Tuesday night, when the Warriors invite the reconfigured Houston Rockets into Oracle Arena.

There will be a pregame ceremony in which the Warriors will receive their championship rings.

The Warriors, who believe the additions of Nick Young and Omri Casspi will result in improved the bench production, are coming off a season in which they led the NBA in scoring offense, with the Rockets finishing second.

Houston made considerably more adjustments over the summer, acquiring perennial All-Star point guard Chris Paul and rugged forward PJ Tucker.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 9.5

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul: These two veterans, both headed for the Hall of Fame, have been at war for the better part of a decade, with Curry gaining in decided edge in recent years. That was when Paul was the leader of the once-hated Los Angeles Clippers. With Paul moving to Houston, it will be interesting to see if a change in scenery means a different type of battle. The winner likely decides the outcome.

Klay Thompson vs. James Harden: Familiar from their days as prep stars in Southern California, these two, by most accounts, are the top two shooting guards in the league. Though Harden assumed the point role last season, he’ll have greater latitude to generate his own shot now that Paul is on board.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain) is listed as probable. F Andre Iguodala (back strain) is listed as out.

Rockets: No injuries listed.

RECENT SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won three of four meetings last season and have won 12 of the last 15 regular-season meetings overall. They also have won eight of the last 10 meetings in the postseason.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE SCOREBOARD: Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni implies this will be a shootout. Warriors forward Draymond Green responds by saying one team (the Warriors) plays defense. It’s conceivable the teams could combine for 75 3-point attempts. The scoreboard could blow out before the final buzzer.

THE NEW GUYS: Because he is in constant motion and feels the angles, Casspi seems to be a good fit for the Warriors offense. Young is coming along, but admits he’s still learning the nuances of the offense and feeling out his teammates. It may not be fair to expect much in Game 1, but their work is sure to be examined.

THE POMP: There is the celebration of a championship, the ceremony in which rings (and the ultra-elaborate boxes) will be presented, and the adoration of a sellout crowd. The Warriors are becoming veterans at being celebrities, but what happens when emotions are part of the equation?

QUOTABLE

“I saw what happened last year when San Antonio just drilled us. Saw that we were able to recover. So whatever happens, it’s just one game.” --Warriors GM Bob Myers on opening night nerves

Thunder give No. 35 -- Kevin Durant's old number -- to rookie

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AP

Thunder give No. 35 -- Kevin Durant's old number -- to rookie

On Tuesday, the Thunder signed P.J. Dozier to a two-way contract.

The rookie will wear No. 35 with Oklahoma City.

That's the number Kevin Durant rocked as a member of the Thunder.

Why did Dozier pick it?

"My cousin, my second cousin, is Reggie Lewis. He used to play for the Boston Celtics," Dozier explained to reporters. "That's all it is. It wasn't anything other than that, honestly."

Did anybody say anything to him when he asked for No. 35?

"No. Honestly, I didn't even think twice about it. I had it in preseason at Dallas. I saw it was open and just took advantage of it."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller