Warriors

Warriors draft look: Shooting guards

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Warriors draft look: Shooting guards

The Warriors headinto Thursdays NBA draft with four selections: The No. 7 pick, the No. 30pick, the No. 35 pick and the No. 52 pick. While the Warriors would seem tohave four positions pretty much set point guard, shooting guard, powerforward and center the reality is that they could go in any direction comedraft day.

STEINMETZ: NBA mock draft 3.0
Leading up toThursday, well rank the top players at each position, and see whether or notthey could fit into the Warriors draft plans.SHOOTINGGUARDSBrad Beal, Florida,6-3, 207 pounds: From Day 1, Beal has been considered the bestshooting guard in the NBA draft, and hell take that mantle all the way toThursday. He may never be a star, but most NBA executives believe hell be asolid starter for much of his career.Warriorsangle: Quite frankly, there doesnt seem to be one. Beal never workedout for the Warriors, and he likely wont be there when they draft at No.7.DionWaiters, Syracuse, 6-4, 210 pounds: Waiters very well may be thetoughest player in the draft, someone who is not afraid to be aggressive andmake some mistakes along the way.Hes certainly moreof a shooting guard than a point guard, though he can play some point. Thething about Waiters is this: Hes not a perfect player, but the consensus seemsto be hes got a chance to be pretty darn good.Warriorsangle: On the surface, the Warriors wouldnt seem to have a lot ofinterest in Waiters. Hes not a true point guard which they need andtheyve made it abundantly clear that Klay Thompson is their man at thetwo.But if you look alittle deeper, you could make a case for Waiters. More importantly, the Warriorscould, too. The Warriors certainly need toughness, and he would bring some ofthat.And even if Waitersstrength isnt the point, he wont have to play a lot of it because StephenCurry will get most of the minutes there. No doubt, Waiters would be a surprisepick but it wouldnt be completely shocking or out of the blue.JeremyLamb, Connecticut, 6-5, 180 pounds: When it comes to sheer talent andability, some believe Lamb is right up there with Beal. And as far as upsidesgo, Lambs is pretty high.But theres thatlittle question about his toughness and whether or not hell be able to adjustto the physicality of the league. If Lamb can, hes got a chance to be prettygood.Warriorsangle: Lamb didnt work out for the Warriors, and nobody seems tothink hell end up in Golden State even though hell likely be there whenthey draft.The probablethinking on Lamb is that he pretty much plays just one position and thats Thompsonsspot. The fact Lamb is a shooting guard and shooting guard only likely meansthe Warriors will pass.TerrenceRoss, Washington, 6-6, 195 pounds: Theres a lot to like about Ross.Hes got NBA size and strength and hes already a pretty good shooter andgetting better.Hes also one of thebest rebounding guards in the draft, averaging more than six per game for theHuskies this past season.Warriorsangle: There are suggestions that there is an unknown team or two inthe top-10 that covets Ross. So, naturally, the Warriors come to mind, sincetheyre picking No. 7.But Ross would be aproblematic pick not unlike Lamb because his best position is smallforward. Ross might be able to play some three in time, but probably notconsistently.It just seems liketheres too much overlap there with Thompson. If the Warriors go small, youvegot to believe the small player they take can probably play a little of bothguard spots.AustinRivers, Duke, 6-4, 200 pounds; Those who like Rivers talk about hisbasketball IQ and his pedigree (hes the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers). Buthe has his detractors, and theyll tell you hes an undersized two and a volumeshooter, to boot.One thing is clearwith Rivers: Hes got room for growth.Warriorsangle: It doesnt seem to make any sense for the Warriors to beinterested in an undersized shooting guard. Then again, Rivers could impact theWarriors in an indirect way.If the Blazers takeRivers at No. 6, the Warriors would no doubt love that, as it would mean apreviously un-slipped player had just slipped to Golden State.

With lofty win total unlikely this year, here's a number the Warriors can chase

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AP

With lofty win total unlikely this year, here's a number the Warriors can chase

OAKLAND -- Getting to 73 wins is impossible for the Warriors, and the pursuit of it never entered their minds.

Reaching 69 wins, their average in three seasons under coach Steve Kerr, is highly improbable.

Even winning 67 games, the lowest total under Kerr, is extremely unlikely.

There is, however, a number the Warriors are aiming for that also happens to be within their grasp -- but only if they can fight through the regular-season malaise and break an unhealthy tendency.

They can get to 35 victories at Oracle Arena. Currently 16-6 at home, the Warriors would have to go 19-0 to reach 35, and it’s possible insofar as they are less than two years removed from posting an NBA-record 54 consecutive wins at home.

Can a team that once went 14 months without losing at Oracle summon a three-month stretch of perfection at home?

The schedule invites the possibility, but it’s still up to the Warriors and how they cope with tug of three long seasons and that tendency to float a bit in front of their home fans, two factors that have had more effect at home than on the road.

“In general, the appropriate fear we always talk about, it’s there on the road for most games and it’s not there as much at home,” Kerr conceded Monday.

Kevin Durant used different phrasing but echoed the comments of the coach.

“You tend to relax a bit when you’re at home because you’ve got your home crowd,” he acknowledged. “You’re just comfortable in that situation. You can go home and go to sleep in your own bed after the game. So you relax a bit.

“On the road, it just feels like this is the last game of your career. It just feels that way, especially when you’re playing a tough opponent and somewhere with a crowd that’s going to be really, really into it.”

Having gone 39-2, 39-2 and 36-5 over the last three seasons, the Warriors are assured of having their worst home record under Kerr. Still, 35 is not impossible.

The drop is not unanticipated, as Kerr experienced something similar as a member of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, when they won three straight championships as their regular-season wins steadily dropped, from 72 to 69 to 62.

“Where it has truly been the most tangible and palpable is home games against lesser opponents,” Kerr said. “We’ve lost six. Maybe two of those are playoff teams.

“We didn’t lose those games the last the last three years. We dominated the home floor. That’s where it really shows.”

The Warriors have lost at home to the Rockets, Pistons, Kings, Nuggets, Hornets and Clippers. Only Houston is a playoff lock. Detroit, Denver and the Clippers are on the fringe of the postseason race. Charlotte is a longshot, Sacramento a no-shot.

The Warriors, in every home loss, have started drowsily or played too carelessly or were self-destructive enough to give back a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.

“This is the first year in my four years where we’ve lost a lot of home games that we shouldn’t,” Kerr said. “That just points to emotional fatigue. Trying to get up for 82 games is a difficult thing, especially in Year 4 of a quest to get back to The Finals.”

Coming off a successful road trip during which they won four of five games, the Warriors this week face the Knicks, Timberwolves and Celtics -- the latter two being playoff locks.

A home sweep is difficult, of course, but hardly inconceivable. And if the Warriors can pull that off, they’d have only four remaining home games against teams fighting for a top-four playoff slot: the Thunder and Spurs twice each.

Oklahoma City appears to be getting their act together. The Spurs, while still formidable, are starting to look like a team in decline.

They’re also the two teams most likely to get the full attention of the Warriors, who began the week by sitting through video of their last three games, during which they committed numerous hideous errors.

The message: Their unforced mistakes are the surest route to defeat.

“There are key points of the year where we have to hit the reset button in terms of our priorities,” Kerr said. “Right now is one of those times. This is an important week for us. We need to take care of the ball. We need to be smart and make good decisions. If we do that, we’re really, really hard to beat.”

Former coach takes epic shot at Cavs after they gave up 148 points to OKC

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USATSI

Former coach takes epic shot at Cavs after they gave up 148 points to OKC

When it rains, it pours for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

After starting the season 24-9, they have cratered. Including two losses to the Warriors and one to the Kings, the Cavs are 3-8 over their last 11 games.

During the stretch, they suffered through a four-game losing streak and nearly blew a 23-point lead against the Magic on Thursday.

But nothing was worse than what happened in front of a national TV audience on Saturday. The visiting Oklahoma City Thunder strolled into Quicken Loans Arena and hung 148 points on the defending Eastern Conference champs and won by 24 points.

Saturday's performance was so bad, former Cavs head coach David Blatt took a shot at them before coaching the Team Europe in the Turkish Basketball Super League All-Star Game in Instabul.

Asked by a sideline reporter for his thoughts on the game he was about to coach, Blatt offered this:

"Well, I don't think we're going to have any problem scoring. I'm just wondering if we're going to defend anybody. That's what I'm worried about," Blatt said.

The reporter followed up by asking for his expectation of the final score. That's when Blatt threw a haymaker at the team that fired him during the 2015-16 season despite a 30-11 record.

"Well, I hope we don't give up as many points as the Cavaliers did last night," Blatt said.

Ouch.

Unfortunately for Blatt, Team Europe lost 151-142 to Team Asia.