Warriors

Warriors focus: Carl Landry

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Warriors focus: Carl Landry

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final installment in a seven-part series that spotlights the seven new Warriors.
Part 1: Harrison BarnesPart 2: Kent Bazemore
Part 3: Andrew Bogut
Part 4: Festus Ezeli
Part 5: Draymond Green
Part 6: Jarrett Jack

If you want to get picky, you could say that Carl Landry isnt really a perfect fit for the Warriors. After all, what the Warriors need most from their interior players particularly from their substitute big players is rebounding and defense.Those arent exactly the first two things you think of when you think about Landrys game.Nevertheless, its tough to criticize the signing of Landry. Darn near impossibly, frankly. Hes a proven scorer off the bench and a player known for his competitiveness. No, hes not a defensive stopper or a big-time rebounder, but what Landry does give the Warriors is quality depth at a position where they havent had much.Last season Warriors coach Mark Jackson had to use all sorts of players in the frontcourt, including Dominic McGuire, Mickell Gladness, Mikki Moore, Keith Benson and Earl Barron.So without a doubt Landry represents an upgrade from last season. Question is: Where do his minutes come from?David Lee figures to get the lions share of playing time at power forward. Lee has averaged 36 and 37 minutes per game, respectively, over the past two seasons with Golden State.That doesnt leave a whole lot of room for Landry, a player who has averaged 25 minutes per game, himself, during the course of his five-year career.It seems apparent that Landry will get a good portion of minutes when coach Mark Jackson elects to go with his small lineup. If theres one thing Jackson showed a season ago, its that hes not afraid to use Lee at center particularly late in games.A Landry-Lee frontcourt would certainly have some size deficiencies and defensive shortcomings, but that frontcourt could also be useful if the Warriors are trying to bring home a win down the stretch of a close game.Landry and Lee both have career free-throw percentages of .777. So when you consider Andrew Bogut is a 54.7 percent foul shooter for his career, you can see why Jackson might go small late in games.But there are other reasons for Landry and Lee to play together, and the most important is that by doing so the Warriors will limit Boguts minutes. With Bogut coming off season-ending ankle injury last season, it only makes sense to monitor his minutes closely in 2011-12.On top of that, there is instability at the backup five position with Andris Biedrins, whose game has gone missing in recent years, and Festus Ezeli, an unproven rookie.When Landry plays hell give the Warriors an aggressive scorer on the inside. Hes more of a scorer than a back-to-the-basket power forward, though he can do some damage in the right matchup down there.Landry does his best work from the mid-post area, where has developed a nice mid-range shot to go a long with a quick first step at least by power forward standards.The one thing Landry has done throughout his career is get to the foul line. Last season for the Hornets, Landry averaged 4.5 free throw attempts in just 24 minutes.That could come in handy when you consider that Landry will likely be playing a lot early in the second quarters of games assuming hes coming off the bench. If nothing else, Landrys assertiveness could serve to get the Warriors in the penalty more quickly than they have in the past.As for Landrys rebounding, its not that hes a bad rebounder, hes just not a great one call him average in that department. Landry averaged five rebounds per game last season in 24 minutes.Landry also isnt much of a shot-blocker, which means when he and Lee play together theyll have trouble protecting the rim.What Landry does bring to the table is a willingness to compete and someone whos going to play hard night it and night out. Because he gives the Warriors a different kind of dimension inside, its possible seeing him having a nice role.No, Landry isnt perfect. But its easy to see that he should make the Warriors better.

After leaving season opener early, Draymond, Casspi miss Warriors practice

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After leaving season opener early, Draymond, Casspi miss Warriors practice

The Warriors opened their season Tuesday night with a loss in which they looked considerably worse than what is expected of a defending champion.

What’s worse is that they also feel it.

Though Andre Iguodala’s back strain recovered enough for him to participate in practice for the first time in a week, Draymond Green’s right knee sprain and Omri Casspi’s left ankle sprain kept them on the sideline Wednesday.

While Green awaits the results of an MRI test, Casspi was limited to individual shooting drills. The availability of both is in doubt for the game Friday night against the Pelicans in New Orleans.

Casspi, a reserve forward, has sustained injuries to both ankles in a five-day span and even if he’s able to play he won’t be at full strength.

Green simply will not return to the lineup until he’s able, though Kerr sounded optimistic about his chances this weekend.

“I don’t think it’s serious,” Kerr said. “But we’ll see.”

If Casspi can’t play, the bench thins along the front line. It would mean more minutes for the likes of Kevon Looney and Pat McCaw.

If Green can’t play, well, that makes a massive impact that runs from the starting lineup all the way through the reserves. His intensity, production and communication are important to the Warriors at both ends of the court.

Some of that would be mitigated by the return of Iguodala, who may be more optimistic than Kerr about his chances of playing Friday.

“If Andre is banged up, he won’t play,” Kerr said. We’ll just make do with what we have.

“Hopefully, Andre will be OK. He’s been getter better every day. He’s pretty confident that he’s on the right track. So hopefully, he’ll play.”

Considering there is a game against the Grizzlies in Memphis less than 20 hours after the final buzzer in New Orleans, the issue is not whether the defending champs will have their roster taxed but to what degree.

Bulls forward Bobby Portis suspended multiple games for punching teammate

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Bulls forward Bobby Portis suspended multiple games for punching teammate

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls have suspended forward Bobby Portis for the first eight games for injuring teammate Nikola Mirotic during a fight at practice.

Mirotic suffered multiple broken bones in his face as well as a concussion on Tuesday. He will likely need surgery and is out indefinitely.

The team announced the suspension on Wednesday. Chicago opens the season at Toronto on Thursday.

A 2015 first-round pick, Portis has averaged 6.9 points and 5 rebounds. He will be allowed to practice with the team while he is suspended.

Mirotic averaged 10.8 points over his first three seasons with Chicago. A restricted free agent, he signed a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million in September. The club holds an option on the second season.