Warriors

Warriors midseason -- player grades

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Warriors midseason -- player grades

The season isnt quite halfway over, but since its the All-Star break, what better time to take stock of the Warriors.Golden State entered the break with a 13-17 record, and has a tough slog if it hopes to make good on owner Joe Lacob and coach Mark Jacksons playoff promises.Lets take a look at the Warriors roster and grade out each of the players:Stephen Curry: His numbers are fine, and, in fact, his shooting percentage, 3-point shooting percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio are all up slightly from a year ago. However, anyone who has watched Curry play this year realizes he hasnt made the impact he has in past seasons. Hes missed almost a third of the season, and when he has been playing he hasnt been the kind of difference-maker the Warriors need him to be.
Grade: C-plus.Monta Ellis: Hes having a Monta Ellis-type year, which is good and not so good. The good is hes the team leader in scoring and continues to be the teams most important player.
Whats not so good is Ellis scoring is down a touch and his shooting percentage from the field and 3-point range are down from a season ago. Is Monta Ellis playing better than last year or the year before? From this view, the answer is no.
Grade B-minus.Dorell Wright: Wright had a breakout season a year ago, but hes failed to build on it. Hes gone from averaging 16 points per game last year to 10 points per game this year, and his effect on games has lessened.
Grade: C-minus.David Lee: Hes having a good year numbers-wise, and truth be told, hes made more of an impact this season than last season his first with the Warriors. Lee has done a nice job of scoring both facing up and posting up and his rebounding remains solid.
Hell never be the player many want him to be, and he still hasnt shown he can be a factor down the stretch of games, but all things considered Lee has been a positive.
Grade: B.Andris Biedrins: Conventional wisdom was that Biedrins was a shoe-in to bounce back at least a little bit from a miserable 2010-11, a year in which he averaged five points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
And yet the opposite has happened. Biedrins has actually become less effective this season, playing less, scoring less and rebounding less. Despite coach Mark Jacksons consistent praising and pumping up of Biedrins, everyone watching the games can see how far Biedrins has fallen off.
Grade: D-minus.Kwame Brown: Hes likely done for the season because of a pectoral injury, but while he played there is no doubt he helped. He gave the Warriors a big body inside who could defend, rebound and give another six fouls.
Grade: B-plus.Ekpe Udoh: In the past few weeks, Udohs play has improved, but the reality is that Udoh was never playing as poorly as Jackson sometimes intimated. At his best Udoh is a terrific low-post defender and shot-blocker and a half-decent post-up guy and face-up jumper guy.
But even when hes not at his best Udoh gives the team a consistent defensive presence a rarity on the Warriors.
Grade: B.Nate Robinson: All or nothing; hit or miss; feast or famine. Pick your favorite. The bottom line with Robinson is that while hes helped change the direction of a few games, for the most part hes been so-so. Hes barely shooting 40 percent from the field, and while hes hit some big shots for the Warriors, hes forced his share and missed his share.
Grade: C.Brandon Rush: Give Warriors general manager Larry Riley credit for acquiring Rush for Lou Amundson. Solid trade in any league. Rush leads the league in 3-point shooting and competes on the defensive end. Hes been a key to many Warriors wins this season.
Grade: B-plus.Klay Thompson: He struggled early, came around after that and now has struggled of late (1-for-10 from 3-point range past five games). But hes shown he is a bona-find NBA player, though whether he is an NBA starter remains to be seen.
One thing is for sure: Thompson can shoot the ball.
Grade: B.Dominic McGuire: McGuire has emerged as a defensive specialist for Jackson. McGuires offensive game is not exactly a thing of beauty but thats not why the Warriors acquired him. They acquired him to give them another versatile wing defender and McGuire has certainly been that.
Grade: A-minus.Jeremy Tyler: Nobody expected a whole lot from Tyler this season and thats exactly what theyre getting. Hes not quite a project, but hes not going to become a factor overnight.
Tyler has never had to work as hard as he has this year in the NBA, and its been an adjustment for him.
Grade: C-plus.Charles Jenkins: While Stephen Curry was out with an injury, Jenkins stepped in and did a nice job for the Warriors. He showed an ability to knock down open shots and hes already learned how to become a professional player in terms of dedication and work ethic.
Grade: B-minus.Chris Wright: The Warriors liked Wright enough to keep him around, but apparently not so much that hes going to get any meaningful minutes at the NBA level. He played a few games for Dakota and did well there. Next step is to find some kind of niche with the Warriors. Still, that Wright is still on the team is an upset in and of itself.
Grade: B.

Poole's 2017-18 NBA predictions: It's the Warriors ... and everyone else

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USATSI

Poole's 2017-18 NBA predictions: It's the Warriors ... and everyone else

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1) Warriors: Rave all you want about Steph and KD and Klay and the incredible offense, but the foundation is the hyperactive, highly intelligent defense.

2) Rockets: Behind James and CP, they will score and score often. They will be better on defense. This will push them, for the second time in 20 years, past the Spurs.

3) Thunder: Russ, PG and Melo all together in GM San Presti’s petri dish. There will be fireworks, and it shouldn’t take long to see if they’ll be beautiful or destructive.

4) Spurs: LA is plodding, Kawhi is limping and Tony P is at least two months away from being a ghost of his former self. This is Pop’s biggest challenge.

5) Nuggets: Millsap is going to help this team. A lot. If Joker stays healthy and the point guard play is solid, they could make a run at a top-4 seed.

6) Timberwolves: Thibs has gathered many pieces, some good and some duplicative. Why does this feel like a salad mixing old avocados and tomatoes with fresh lettuce?

7) Clippers: CP3’s absence gives this bunch a strange look, like a room without a roof. Not much to be ‘Happy’ about, though, except what The Logo can do for the future.

8) Trail Blazers: Points are going to come, but can anybody play D? Some team has to earn the 8-seed and I like the work Dame, CJ and Nurk put in late last season.

9) Pelicans: Boogie and The Brow. This could be epic, or epic fail. Only if Jrue stays healthy and Raj plays young (good luck with that) can this squad make some noise.

10) Jazz: Gordy and G-Hill are gone. Exum may miss the season. Coach Quin is solid, yes, but how far he can go if the second-biggest paycheck is going to Aussie Joe?

11) Grizzlies: Gonna miss oldes Zach and Vince and also The Grindfather, the best nickname in the league, in his element. Glory days are gone, so invite the dawn.

12) Mavericks: Someday, maybe 25 years from now, Cubes will let Dirk limp his way to the Hall. Until then, it’s mediocrity and less. How long will they pack the house?

13) Suns: They’re young and tantalizing. They may be good someday, but for now it’s the Desert Day Care center, with Papa Earl trying to keep the peace and survive.

14) Lakers: The Ball family is in the house, and Lonzo brings the promise of joy. They’ll be more half-watchable this year, because you don’t wanna see this D.

15) Kings: Titanic may be rising from the deep. Nice idea, adding old heads to work with youngsters De’Aaron, Skal and Buddy. But the Kangz are in the wrong division.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1) Celtics: This could take a few weeks. That five-game homer, post-Thanksgiving, should be the time for Kyrie, Gordy & Co. to go to work. What you got, Coach Brad?

2) Cavaliers: This is the year LeBron reaches the dark side of the mountain. That’s trouble for The Land. They could win 55, which is about how many games he’ll play.

3) Wizards: It’s time for John Wall to prove it, to take the Wiz to unfamiliar heights. If Brad Beal can stay on the court (that’s asking a lot), they’ll breathe on the Cavs.

4) Bucks: The D improved when Young Jabari went down, and he’ll be out until February. Hmm. OK. It’s close-up time for the Greek Freak. Can anybody make a J?

5) Raptors: The guards can score but can’t/won’t defend. How much does Serge have left? They’ll have it rough unless the big addition, CJ Miles, has a career year.

6) Heat: Love the Dragon. Love/hate Dion and Hassan. Don’t like much of the rest of the roster, though. Coaching truly matters with this bunch, and they have a fine one.

7) Hornets: A 35-win team in the West, which translates to 44 in the East. Malik Monk is OK, but Kemba’s the engine. It’s a low bar for Dwight. Can he reach it?

8) 76ers: Young Ben, aka Fresh Prince, is our pick for Rook of the Year. We like Saric. We believe JJ will help. But this is about The Process. If he plays 50 games, they win 38.

9) Pistons: Avery B will help the D, but until SVG finds a taker for Reggie J, the playoffs are MIA. Stanley J has skills. It’s time for him to show it.

10) Nets: Hello, D-Lo. We see you, Mr. Crabbe. The clowns won’t be so funny this season. Coach Kenny has ’em playing hard and fast. They can go from 20 wins to 30.

11) Magic: Other than AG’s hops, Jonathon Simmons’ grit and Mo Speights’ smile, there is nothing to see here. This club is 20 percent highlights, 80 percent yikes.

12) Pacers: After making the playoffs in six of seven seasons, you flip four of your top six scorers, including PG. What the . . .? It’s Lottery Time in Indy.

13) Knicks: New York works its rump off to make its teams relevant. The Knicks don’t care. KP6 is saddled with a frat-house clothes hamper of an organization.

14) Bulls: They’ve demolished the franchise MJ made famous and slithered into the basement once occupied, seemingly for decades, by the Sixers. We’re thinking 12-70.

15) Hawks: Baze and Schroder are the best Travis Schlenk has on a team that could go 0-for-the-West. We’re thinking 10-72, only because the least of the East is so junky.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Warriors over Rockets in 5

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Cavs over Celtics in 6

NBA FINALS

Warriors over Cavs in 4

Report: After trade rumors swirled, Spurs give LaMarcus Aldridge an extension

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AP

Report: After trade rumors swirled, Spurs give LaMarcus Aldridge an extension

The San Antonio Spurs have reached an agreement with LaMarcus Aldridge on an extension that will keep him under contract for an additional three years.

A person with knowledge of the agreement tells The Associated Press that Aldridge will exercise the $22 million player option on his contract for the 2018-19 season. He will also get another two years and $50 million tacked on, according to the person who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the deal.

The Spurs open the regular season against Minnesota on Wednesday night. The agreement came as a surprise given Aldridge’s difficulty acclimating to the Spurs since he left Portland in 2015.

Aldridge averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds a game last season.