Warriors

Warriors go back to basics early in camp, work on 'a big thing for us this year'

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USATSI

Warriors go back to basics early in camp, work on 'a big thing for us this year'

OAKLAND -- No matter the place in the standings or the collection of accolades or the number of representatives in the All-Star game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr never stops chasing perfection.

Sometimes it’s major issues, other times minor details. But it’s always something.

Three days into training camp, one such area of concern is passes. Whether its bounce passes, chest passes, skip passes, outlet passes, fancy passes or lobs, Kerr has his team working on accuracy.

“We’re doing drills, some basic passing drills and harping on the accuracy of passes as we go through practice,” Kerr said Monday after practice. “No matter what we’re doing, there’s passing involved. So we’re talking about that accuracy constantly and showing some film. It’s a big thing for us this year.”

So . . . Kerr wants the team that led the NBA in assists, as well as assist-to-turnover ratio, to be more precise with its dimes.

So . . . Kerr wants the team that led the league in field-goal percentage to make it easier to connect on a higher percentage of shots.

“We’ve got such great shooters and we move the ball so well that if we can pinpoint our passes better I really believe our percentages as a team and an individual will go up,” Klay Thompson said.

Much of the focus is about passing the ball into the “shooting pocket” of each specific player, especially if he excels at the catch-and-shoot aspect of offense.

“It’s definitely something that I know I need to get better at,” said Draymond Green, who last season led the team in assists.

“It definitely helps, and we’ll get better at it this year,” said Thompson, a fabulous catch-and-shoot player.

“Some would say Coach might be nitpicking. But he expects perfection. And we want to be champs again. You’ve got to be near perfect to be champions.”

The reigning NBA champs have, in this area, gone back to basics. From former MVPs Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant to the guys at the end of the bench, they’re doing elementary passing drills.

By all accounts, the players have been receptive to honing this element.

“With the shooters we have, if you deliver the ball on time and on target, it keeps them in rhythm,” Green said. “As opposed to you throwing the ball and it hits somebody in the ankles, it may take them out of rhythm a little bit. And it could be the difference in the game.”

Draymond defends Bell's garbage time alley-oop off backboard to himself

Draymond defends Bell's garbage time alley-oop off backboard to himself

With just under three minutes to go and the Warriors leading by 25 points, Steve Kerr put the end of the bench into the game.

Somehow, with the game in control, rookie Jordan Bell found a way to produce the highlight of the night.

After Bell got a piece of Dwight Powell's shot, JaVale McGee batted the ball ahead. With no one in front of him, the rookie tossed the ball off the backboard and threw down a dunk. The sequence left his Warriors teammates flabergasted. But Bell may have broken an unwritten rule about showboating in a blowout game.

After the game, Draymond Green was not having it with possible criticism of Bell.

"Listen man, when you get on the basketball floor, I don't care if you get out there with two minutes to go up 25 or with two minutes to go down 25, somebody is evaluating you. So you gotta play the game just like it's tied up or if you're up four or if you're down four. You gotta play the game the same way. Somebody is evaluating you. So if you want to throw it off the backboard, feel free and dunk the ball. He got an And One. It was a great play. So, I got no message for him. Do what you do. Play basketball. That's what he did. I don't get all up into the whole 'Ah man, they're winning by this much, that's bad.' Says who? Dunk the ball. What's the difference between if he threw it off the backboard and dunked it as opposed to grabbing it and dunking it? It's a dunk," Green told reporters in Dallas after the Warriors' 133-130 win.

Green was then asked what he thought of the play, regardless of game situation.

"Great play. Great play. Amazing. Did you see it? It was dope. He got an And One too. He missed the free throw though. We gotta talk about that. That's my message for him. Make the free throw," Green said.

Kerr reportedly apologized to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle after the game. Green commented on that.

"Steve's the coach. I'm not. That's not my problem," Green said.

Draymond wasn't the only member of the Green family defending Bell. His mom, Mary Babers-Green was on Twitter defending the rookie.

https://twitter.com/BabersGreen/status/922660243921874945

Why Steph Curry can never, ever chuck his mouthpiece again

Why Steph Curry can never, ever chuck his mouthpiece again

Stephen Curry knows he asked for this one. Begged for it. Wanted it so bad he not only ripped his mouthpiece out of his face but also wound up and fired it in the direction of a game official.

He has to be, and likely is, pleased that the NBA wanted nothing more than a $50,000 bite out of his newly fortified paycheck.

“It was a dumb thing to do. Stupid,” he said after shootaround Monday morning. “Learn from it and try to move on and be better.”

It was not nearly enough for the league that Curry apologized immediately after the mouthpiece-tossing incident that got him tossed in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ 111-101 loss to the Grizzlies on Saturday. Apologies don’t carry much weight in these matters and they are entirely weightless when it’s a second offense.

And that’s what this was, as you may recall Curry flinging his mouthpiece late in Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. He was tossed from that game, too.

Of more importance, and what Curry has to take away from this is that he can’t afford another offense. Ever. Though he surely can afford it monetarily, it would rob the Warriors of their offensive catalyst.

Throwing a mouthpiece once is a forgivable mistake. Doing it twice is a relapse that some may forgive while others definitely will not. Doing it three or more times falls into the selfish category, even if selfishness is not a characteristic fairly applied to the two-time MVP.

It’s conceivable that no one in the NBA gets pushed and grabbed and knocked around as much, without a whistle, as does Curry. Part of this is on him, for not being better at selling calls. Part of it is on officials who typically use a different standard for him than those usually set for MVP-caliber players.

Through it all, and it has gone on for years, Curry rarely says a peep. He plays on, simmering, but staying on task.

“I think people on the outside automatically think that these guys can control everything and be robots and score 35 and be perfectly composed,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Monday morning. “But they’re all human beings, just like the rest of us. There’s going to be times where you lose your mind. There’s going to be times where you get angry and times where you’re in perfect mental and you’re playing at a high level and everything is under control.

But nobody can keep that level 100 percent of the time.”

Curry’s actions Saturday in Memphis were only partly the result of the officiating. The Warriors were losing, again. Curry was committing silly fouls, again. It was a buildup of unfavorable events and he lost it.

“We were playing terrible,” Curry said Monday morning. “I was frustrated because I was fouling. I thought I got fouled on the last play. The reaction was definitely a little over the top.

“Stuff happens. I’m going to try to continue to be myself and show some fire, but do it in a way that doesn’t take away from the team and misrepresent who I am.”

Curry said Monday that he didn’t bother to review his actions because he knew how unbecoming they were. He also expressed regret about lashing out. There was no need to brace for the fine he knew was coming.

Next time, though it won’t be a fine that will take a fraction of his check. Next time, it’ll be a suspension that will take away a piece of the Warriors.