Warriors

Steve Kerr: Multiple reasons Warriors will be even better in 2017-18

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Steve Kerr: Multiple reasons Warriors will be even better in 2017-18

Steve Kerr sees the frenzied activity around the NBA in recent weeks and concedes some of it likely is a response to the superiority of the Warriors while rolling to their second championship in three seasons.

So, of course, the league will be happy to hear the coach issue a warning.

“We’re going to be better, for sure,” Kerr said in a weekend phone interview with NBCSportsBayArea.com.

Better than the team that posted a 67-15 record in the regular season before concluding a 16-1 postseason that stands as the best postseason record in history.

Kerr cites the core of the roster remaining intact, the second season with Finals MVP Kevin Durant as a Warrior and the increased firepower off the bench with the additions of Nick Young and Omri Casspi.

“If you look at last year’s roster, the one thing that was lacking was (3-point) shooting off the bench,” Kerr said. “Ian (Clark) did a great job. He was kind of prominent shooter off the bench. We have other guys who could score, but their main role is to do other things for us.

“But in terms of having designated shooters, we were able to add two really, really high-quality guys. Both are 6-7, 6-8, so they can switch and guard multiple positions. They’re both really good fits.”

The Warriors last season ranked 29th -- in a 30-team league -- in 3-pointers made off the bench. Young, a career 37.6-percent shooter from deep, is coming off a season in which he shot 40.4 percent. Casspi is shooting 36.7 percent beyond the arc for his career, and shot 34.9 percent last season while limited to 36 games due to injuries.

Young and Casspi join a team that generally was considered the best in the NBA, and that was before the Warriors bossed through a postseason that ended with a five-game destruction of the defending champion Cavaliers.

Within days of the championship parade in Oakland, teams were making moves designed to fortify their rosters, most notably with Chris Paul going to Houston, Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Paul George to Oklahoma City and Gordon Hayward to Boston. Carmelo Anthony finally is ready to flee the Knicks and Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland.

And, yes, there is good reason to believe all this All-Star movement is connected to the dominance displayed by the Warriors.

“I guess some of it,” Kerr said. “When you think about certain teams, and what they’re doing, you could attribute it to that. But on the other hand, everybody is just trying to get better. That’s what they should be doing. I don’t think it’s that earth-shattering.

“So I wouldn’t say that everything is attributed to us, because every team is in its own little world, with their own set of circumstances whatever that is. Everyone has to do what is best for them.”

More from Kerr:

On Lakers coach Luke Walton providing a scouting report on ‘Swagy P’ -- “He just said he was great last year, fun to be around, a great teammate and he thought he would thrive with our veteran group. He also said he was much better defensively last year than people realized. That’s what we’re going to ask of him next year. He’s got to be really good defensively. We know he can shoot.”

On his health -- “I’m in good hands. I’m seeing all the right people. I’m feeling pretty good. I’m getting a little better, so we’ll see where it all goes. I’m having a good summer, getting in the ocean a lot and enjoying myself.”

On the possibility of a White House visit, which NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes champions should make -- “We haven’t had any discussion about it. So we’ll just see if the invitation comes. And we won’t hold our breath.”

Breaking down Pelicans vs Warriors Western Conference Semifinals

Breaking down Pelicans vs Warriors Western Conference Semifinals

SAN ANTONIO -- By eliminating the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, the No. 2 seed Warriors advanced to the Western Conference Semifinal round, where they will face New Orleans, with Game 1 set for Saturday at a time to be determined.

The No. 6 seed Pelicans advanced last Saturday with a four-game sweep of the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers.

Here is a look at recent history as well as matchups -- as best we can determine, considering many will involve cross-matching -- between the Warriors and Pelicans:

POINT GUARD

Andre Iguodala vs. Rajon Rondo: It’s possible but not likely that Stephen Curry will be available for Game 1, which means Warriors coach Steve Kerr should stay with Andre Iguodala, whose defense and intellect were on display against the Spurs. Rondo clearly is the leader of the Pelicans and is playing at a very high level. He averaged 13.3 assists per game against Portland and scored well enough (11.3 ppg, 48.7 percent FG) to keep defenses honest.

EDGE: Even.

SHOOTING GUARD

Klay Thompson vs. Jrue Holiday: This matchup, featuring the best two-way guards in the league, should be highly entertaining. With the exception of Game 4, Thompson was fabulous against the Spurs, averaging 22.6 ppg on 52.9-percent shooting, including 51.6 percent beyond the arc. Holiday also was superb, averaging 27.8 ppg on 56.8-percent shooting while shutting down Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. Thompson is four-time All-Star and Holiday, who hasn’t been an All-Star since 2013, is reminding everyone of his considerable skills.

EDGE: Even.

SMALL FORWARD

Kevin Durant vs. E’Twaun Moore: Durant is a consensus top-5 player and, at 6-foot-11, presents a matchup headache for any defender. He can also expect to at times match up with Pelicans star Anthony Davis. Durant led the Warriors in scoring against the Spurs (28.2 ppg, 48 percent FG but only 25 percent from deep) and will be target No. 1 for the New Orleans defense. Put another way, Moore, will spend less time on Durant than a couple of his teammates.

EDGE: Significant edge to Durant.

POWER FORWARD

Draymond Green vs. Nikola Mirotic: Another juicy matchup, featuring the splendid defensive gifts of Green against the brilliant shooting of Mirotic. Though Green also will get turns against absurdly good Pelicans center Anthony Davis, he is sure to see plenty of Mirotic, who against Portland averaged 19.3 ppg, shooting 46.2 from deep and 57.1 overall. In either case, Green, who at times single-handedly thwarted San Antonio’s offense, will have to spend more time playing on-ball defense.

EDGE: Slight edge to Green

CENTER

Entire Warriors army vs. Anthony Davis: The matchup description is not much of a stretch. Davis, who is every bit to matchup headache that Durant is. Davis’ 33 ppg in the first round leads all playoff scorers, is going to see no fewer than four different defenders -- Kevon Looney, JaVale McGee, Durant and Green -- over the course of this series. Anyone who defends the 6-10 star is going to need both skill and luck. On the other end, Davis will patrol the paint in an effort to protect the rim. He leads all playoff performers in blocks (2.8 bpg).

EDGE: Significant edge to Davis

SEASON SERIES

The Warriors and Pelicans met four times, with the Warriors winning three times:

Nov. 20 at New Orleans: Warriors 128, Pelicans 120 Nov. 25 at Oakland: Warriors 110, Pelicans 95 Dec. 4 at New Orleans: Warriors 125, Pelicans 115 April 7 at Oakland: Pelicans 126, Warriors 120

Draymond calmly claps back at Webber, 'my (championship) jewelry fit well'

Draymond calmly claps back at Webber, 'my (championship) jewelry fit well'

OAKLAND -- Draymond Green concedes he doesn’t generally look to score, that he’d rather set up his teammates to provide that for the Warriors.

So he was only mildly annoyed by comments made by TNT analyst Chris Webber during the telecast of Game 5 between the Warriors and Spurs on Tuesday night.

Webber said that if Green were on another team and was expected to score that “he may not be in the starting lineup.”

Naturally, Green was fully loaded for a ready response.

“I don't have a scorer's mentality, especially for the team that I play on,” Green began after a 99-91 victory. “If I did have a scorer's mentality, it would throw all this off and it wouldn't work out.

“You know, there are times in the game where I probably need to score more, but it's hard to turn a scorer's mentality on and off. I've had that once before in my life. You don't just click that on or off. Nonetheless, I do know when I need to be more aggressive and that helps my team out.”

Green was just warming up, saving his best stuff for punctuation.

“But I don't care,” he continued. “I've done some great things in this league. I've been to All-Star (games) twice averaging like 11 points, 10 points or something like that. Look, you know, I don't need to score.

“However, I don't think (Webber) can find many GMs are coaches that wouldn't say I wouldn't start on their team, and you know, my -- I'm fine without scoring the ball. I think I've created a new lane for guys in this league to where you don't have to score 20 points to be an All-Star or be a starter in this league and it is what it is.

“That's fine and my (championship) jewelry fit well. So I'm doing really pretty good. You know, much love to C-Webb, though, from Michigan, State of Michigan, you know, we good.”

There is good reason to believe there is at least a degree of friendly-unfriendly rivalry at work. Webber grew up in Detroit and attended the University of Michigan. Green grew up in Saginaw and, and 15 years later, attended Michigan State University.

For the record, Green averaged 11.4 points, a team-best 11.2 rebounds and a team-best 8.0 assists in the five-game series with San Antonio.

Green has earned two championship rings with the Warriors, who have reached three consecutive NBA Finals with him at power forward.

Webber spent his rookie season (1993-94) with the Warriors, and was named Rookie of the Year. Though the Warriors were swept by Phoenix in the first round that season, he eventually appeared in 80 playoff games -- 53 as a member of the Sacramento Kings -- but never reached the NBA Finals.