Its trade deadline week in the NBA, which means the reportsand rumors will come in bunches and from all kinds of sources. As for theWarriors, well, theyre in pretty much the same shape they were at lastseasons deadline and the one before that and the one before that.Theyre on the periphery of the playoff chase, and theystill need a big man. Question is, do they have the personnel andor thewherewithal to acquire one? Here is a look at five big men whom the Warriorshave inquired about over the past few weeks:--Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic: Dependingon what day it is, Howard is either on the move or staying put. One day,reports surface that Howard wouldnt mind playing in New Jersey or with theClippers and the next there are stories about GM Otis Smith sittingtight.It seems apparent that Howard wont be coming to theWarriors, not that owner Joe Lacob hasnt given it the old college try. The Warriors just dont have enough to offer Orlando, and moreimportant, Howard has little interest in playing for the Warriorslong-term.Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks: Of all thebig men out there, nobody is a better fit than Bogut, though he is far from asure thing. He has missed most of this season with a left ankle injury, andhes missed parts of the previous three seasons with other injuries.There are parallels between Bogut this season and BaronDavis back in 2005. Thats when GM Chris Mullin acquired a disgruntled andinjury prone Davis from New Orleans, and Davis led the Warriors to the playoffsin the following year.Bogut is a good rebounder, good shot-blocker and excellentpasser. Its not that the Warriors wouldnt want him, its that they might nothave anything the Bucks want.In addition, general manager John Hammond is known to bevery deliberate and conservative, and moving Bogut would be a riskymove.Chris Kaman, New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets have reportedly cooledto trading Kaman, but the Warriors would have interest for the right price.Kaman has only one year remaining on his deal, so he would be attractive as anexpiring contract. He could also give the Warriors a legitimate low-postpresence in the short term.However, the real question is whether or not the Warriorswould give up an asset for someone who might not be around long-term.Brook Lopez, New Jersey: There werereports a few weeks back that the Warriors had interest in Lopez. The askingprice would likely be Monta Ellis, and its unclear whether a deal like thatmakes the Warriors better. In addition, Lopez is expected to miss another twoor three weeks because of a sprained ankle.Looking ahead, Lopez will become a restricted free agent,which means the Warriors could try to make a run at him at seasonsend.JaVale McGee, Washington Wizards: Of all the centers on thislist, McGee is probably the most obtainable. Washington is a mess, and theWizards are willing to move everybody but John Wall.McGee is among the most athletic big men in the league, buthis reputation is troubling. He is a long way from reaching his potential, andthere are concerns whether or not he ever will.
In saying goodbye to their impressive road win streak and a chance to make franchise history, the Warriors also experienced an awakening that should linger somewhere in their minds for months to come.
The new and improved Houston Rockets are a serious threat to the defending champs having a parade in downtown Oakland for the second consecutive June.
That threat likely can’t be realized, however, unless the Warriors put the worst of themselves on full display, as they did Saturday night at Toyota Center in a 116-108 loss to the Rockets.
“In the first quarter, every time we made our push, we gave up easy baskets,” Draymond Green told reporters in Houston. “In the second quarter, we put them on the line the entire quarter, which slowed down our pace and let them control the tempo of the game. In the third quarter, we fought back to kind of get there but not get over the hump. And then we finally did, but we just didn’t have the right amount of focus it takes to win a game like that.”
Indeed, the Warriors were guilty of questionable shot selection at various points. They were largely allergic to rebounding, taking a 46-33 drubbing in that category. And far too often they were impatient and therefore utterly careless with their passing, resulting in 19 turnovers that led directly to 23 Houston points.
“It seemed like we kept making one silly play after another,” coach Steve Kerr said.
Sounds familiar, eh? The Warriors know their greatest weaknesses and hear about them ad nauseam from the coaching staff, yet still struggle to consistently address them.
Stephen Curry, who committed a team-worst six turnovers, lamented two possessions in particular. On one, he missed Kevin Durant “butt-naked at the top of the key,” and on another he had Durant open for a dunk but flipped it to Klay Thompson for a 3-pointer that missed.
“I made two of the worst plays of the season on those two possessions,” Curry conceded. “It’s kind of one of those nights when I personally didn’t have the right vision on the floor I’ve got to take responsibility for that.”
This is why the Warriors deserved to lose this game, which gave the Rockets a 2-1 victory in the season series and the homecourt tiebreaker should the two teams finish with identical records.
The Warriors took a 122-121 loss to Houston at Oracle Arena on opening night, then went to Houston on Jan. 4 and claimed a 124-114 victory.
This is enough to prove the Rockets are capable of beating the Warriors. We also note that in the other loss, Warriors’ turnovers gifted 21 points to Houston.
“We know the recipe against this team,” Curry said. “They’re going to shoot a lot of 3s. They’re going to make some tough shots. But if you turn the ball over and if you foul, which we did both in the first half, then that plays right into their hands. It’s just a lack of focus on the game plan.”
That lack of focus is something that has nagged the Warriors numerous times over the course of the season.
Here’s Houston’s problem: The postseason Warriors tend to be a bit sharper than the regular season Warriors.
And the Rockets, well, remain a postseason mystery. Chris Paul, who was so magnificent Saturday night, has an inglorious postseason history, complete with multiple collapses. MVP candidate James Harden also has dubious postseason resume, with epic pratfalls against the Warriors and the Spurs.
So the events of Saturday night, and the three games in the regular season, serve as reminders that if the Warriors play smart and tough and are fully engaged, they’re still the better team. Despite the chance to set a franchise record with a 15th consecutive road victory, the Warriors were less than fully engaged.
There’s a better than even chance of them being fully engaged in the postseason, should these teams meet again.
“We always talk about hitting singles,” Kerr said. “Well, we were trying to hit home runs all night, and you can’t do that against these guys.
“On the bright side, we know we can play a lot better. And we will.”
Steph Curry will be one of the leading players in the NBA's new experiment with the All-Star Game.
Curry and LeBron James will pick the teams from the pool of available All-Stars. Conferences are no more, giving the game a completely different look.
"It's the first time it's happened in the league, so you really don't know what to expect or how it's going to unfold, and just specifically, what it will look like on the floor with mixmatched rosters. LeBron has been an All-Star, what 14 straight years? And he's been with Eastern Conference guys every year, so to see him have to pick some Western Conference guys and vica versa, us in the West, you have the staple guys that are there every year. So to switch it up, I think it's going to be a fun look on the floor. Might take some getting used to, but the actual draft part of it will be cool<' Curry said to reporters after shootaround in Houston on Saturday.
LeBron has the first pick since he received more total votes than Curry. So that sets up the dynamic that LeBron picks Warriors forward Kevin Durant.
"That's a possibility. I'm putting together an assistant GM staff that can help me get my draft board and all that stuff and know how to respond if he picks a certain way. Get the algorythm going," Curry said.
Curry's assistant GM staff will consist of his father Dell and brother Seth.
"I may have to ask Riley and see what she thinks," Curry joked.
All-Star reserves will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 23 and it's possible Draymond Green and Klay Thompson could be among the players Curry can select. Does he feel an obligation to pick them if they are available?
"I don't feel obligated. I would want to. To have the opportunity to play with them on the All-Star Game court, that's what it's all about, kind of embracing that moment, so we'll see how it goes," Curry said.
The big debate surrounding the new All-Star Game format is whether or not the draft should be televised or the results made public. As of right now, the NBA has no plans to show the draft on TV or reveals the order in which players were drafted.
"We've had a lot of dicsussions around that. There's a lot of people in favor of watching it live. There's also a lot of people that understand the reasoning why it's not this year. I'm sure as the new format unfolds year after year, it'll happen. But it won't be this first time," Curry said.
So which way does Curry lean in the debate?
"I've always been a proponent of protecting the players. I know that's kind of the unpopular position. I know we're all grown men, we can all handle it, We're all All-Stars, but we want to see how the new format the first time so it's presented in the right light," Curry said.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr doesn't believe players should worry about where they get drafted.
"No shame in being the last All-Star picked. You're still an All-Star," Kerr said after shootaround.
The All-Star teams will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 and game will take play Sunday, Feb. 18 in Los Angeles.