Winning zero individual awards may be a good thing for the Warriors

Winning zero individual awards may be a good thing for the Warriors

It is not unusual for an NBA champion to have no awards except for the big one, so the level of today’s argument starts from a fairly trivial base, namely this:

It is perfectly fine if the Golden State Warriors get no individual awards, as long as they get the one that gets awarded in mid-June. In fact, it might serve as validation for the one thing the team has stood for throughout its brief but eye-watering run of success.

That their strength is actually in their whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-their-parts-hood, and a team that gets no individual awards but still gets rings and parades speaks louder than one with a lot of individual bric-a-brac and the late spring off.

Of course, this seems safe to say because (a) more than half (34) of the champions went award-less since awards started being invented in 1954, (b) because the Warriors have no clear no-brainer standout in any category, as Stephen Curry was a year ago, and (c) this could be a big individual awards year for the Houston Rockets.

You see, for every argument you might choose to make for any Warrior and any award, there is an equally compelling if not greater argument for someone else on another team. And no, this is not a contrarian position for the joy of being contrarian – if that’s how you define joy.

Example: The Most Valuable Player award. Had Kevin Durant stayed healthy and maintained his dynamism through his 19-game absence (20, if you count the game in which he was injured), he would have been a compelling non-Westbrookian, non-Hardenian candidate. But he didn’t, and neither Stephen Curry nor Draymond Green had an MVP season on their own.

Example 2: Defensive Player Of The Year. Green has done everything a DPOY can do in his career and has won zero times, which is often used an argument for him winning this one. It’s not a compelling argument, though. What is, is that however you choose your metric, he, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Utah’s Rudy Gobert are joined at the block-out hip. They play different positions so direct comparisons are at the apples-v.-oranges level, but a vote or either is sufficiently defensible. Likely Result: No Warrior, but at least in a very close vote, because while Green can guard all five positions and Leonard is about to become the category’s designated annual winner, Gobert has been the dominant figure (ADR to Gordon Hayward) on a non-playoff team that will have won 50 games, whose presence makes Utah the clear best defense in the league and whose absence make it 21st.

Example 3: Rookie Of The Year. Not even discussable, Warrioristically speaking. There are two rational possibilities, Philadelphia’s Dario Saric and Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon. Saric will probably win, but not because it’s a very crowded field.

Example 4: Most Improved Player. Two names leap out, neither one Warriors – Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Denver’s Nikola Jokic.

Example 5: Sixth Man Of The Year. Now here is a very crowded field, and Andre Iguodala is as good a candidate as any. But he isn’t necessarily BETTER than, say, Houston’s Lou Williams or Eric Gordon, Oklahoma City’s Enes Kanter, or the surprise name in this group, Memphis’ Zach Randolph. Iguodala’s body of work in the role is vital in understanding why the Warriors are, but again, body of work arguments don’t tend to play. Call it Gordon, though I am well prepped to be wrong.

Example 6: Coach Of The Year. Given Utah’s raft of injuries, the clear and ever-present choice is Quin Snyder, who clearly learned from his hot disaster at Missouri and became not only more flexible tactically but more inventive strategically. The award was made for him as opposed to, say, Steve Kerr, who if he guides the Warriors to the title will have led the team with the best players, thus eliminating him as it did two years when Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer won. Mike D’Antoni in Houston is another appealing choice, having cleared the Toyota Center swamp by inspiring Harden to be all that he could be offensively while tidying up his defense to merely spotty levels. Also Erik Spoelstra in Miami and Mike Malone in Denver, if your taste runs to teams that just missed the playoffs.

Example 7: Executive Of The Year. The two other times the Warriors won the title since moving west, they got this award (Dick Vertleib in 1975, Bob Myers in 2015), which is unusual since the award has only gone to the eventual winner two other times (Jerry Krause in 1996 and Danny Ainge in 2008). Ainge is a candidate again, as is Houston’s Daryl Morey, Utah’s Dennis Lindsey and Milwaukee’s John Hammond.

In sum, the Warriors could come away emptyhanded on an individual level, achieve everything they need to, and walk away happy and fulfilled because they did what needed to be done in unison.

That is, if they’re planning on walking all that talking.

It's official -- Steph Curry will return vs Hawks, Dennis Schroder awaits him


It's official -- Steph Curry will return vs Hawks, Dennis Schroder awaits him

OAKLAND -- At a time when the Warriors could use a boost, they’ll get Friday night when Stephen Curry rejoins the lineup as they face the Atlanta Hawks.

The Warriors (53-18) have been shorthanded for two weeks, and still they’ll be without three of their four All-Stars. Curry’s return after a six-game absence, however, will send a jolt of energy through the team and the crowd at Oracle Arena.

The Hawks (21-51), in full rebuild mode, have lost 10 of 13 since the All-Star break, including a 105-90 loss to the Kings on Thursday night in Sacramento before the lightest NBA crowd of the season due to protests in the wake of a police shooting.


Warriors by 9


Stephen Curry vs. Dennis Schroder: Under normal circumstances, this is worthy of attention, but it’s particularly intriguing with Curry making his return. Schroder, who rested Thursday night, is a defensive pest, the type of player whose presence lights a fire under opponents. Not that Curry needs it. He’s downright anxious to get back on the court.


Warriors: F Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain) is listed as questionable. F Kevin Durant (R rib cartilage injury), F Draymond Green (pelvic contusion) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Hawks: G Kent Bazemore (R knee bone bruise), F De’Andre Bembry (abdominal strain), G Antonious Cleveland (L ankle surgery rehab), F/C John Collins (L ankle sprain), G Malcolm Delaney (L ankle sprain) and G Jaylen Morris (L ankle sprain) are listed as out.


Warriors: 6-4. Hawks: 2-8.


Sean Wright (crew chief), Kevin Cutler, Rodney Mott


The Warriors prevailed in the first of two meetings this season, 114-109 on March 2 in Atlanta. They swept the two-game series last season and are 6-1 against the Hawks in the Steve Kerr era.


DEFENSIVE INTENSITY: Green’s absence robs the Warriors of their best defender and emotional leader. How do they compensate? That’s going to be tough. Expect Jordan Bell (who will start) and Kevon Looney to handle most of the minutes at PF. They’re capable and willing defenders, but neither has Green’s savvy.

THE GIFTS: Though the Warriors, even without a full roster, are much the better team, those circumstances have guaranteed nothing this season. They have a tendency to keep games close by committing costly turnovers. The Hawks are second in forcing turnovers (15.5 per game) and third in points off turnovers (18.2).

THE GUARDS: Curry’s return gives the Warriors a fourth guard, with three PGs (Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston, Curry) and SG Nick Young. Because Curry and Quinn Cook are capable of playing off the ball, there will be several variations. Any two can be paired as a duo. The coaching staff gets to satisfy its desire to experiment.

Former agent Christian Dawkins to blame? Jordan Bell knows 'exactly what happened'


Former agent Christian Dawkins to blame? Jordan Bell knows 'exactly what happened'

So here's a story for you:

At 9:25pm on April 16, 2017, The Vertical's Shams Charania sent out the following tweet:

This angered Jordan Bell, who soon thereafter tweeted twice:

So what actually went down? It turns out that former agent Christian Dawkins -- who is a key figure in the FBI's investigation into corruption in college basketball -- may have been responsible.

Bell explained everything to Logan Murdock on the Planet Dubs Podcast.

"I was mad ... I know exactly what happened. One of the agents I met with -- the one who got in trouble. What's his name? Dawkins or whatever. Something like that. When I met with him, he was throwing me shade -- he acted like he didn't know who I was. 

"We had dinner and he's on his phone like not really paying me attention. I'm like, 'Why am I meeting with you?  You're wasting my time.' ... I kid you not, he didn't read over his (research). It had all of the top power forwards, big guys in the draft. And he was like, 'Let's just look at this.'

"And he's looking at it, and he was like, 'Oh! You're Top 3 in everything!' And he started getting excited and I was like, 'I'm cool. I'm done with this meeting.'"

Bell then explained how one of his coaches at Oregon tried to teach Bell a lesson.

The coach wanted Bell to "be a man" and contact all of the agents that he was for sure not going to sign with to let them know.

Bell didn't want to do that because he wanted to announce he was declaring for the draft on his own terms, without any information potentially leaking to the media.

But the Warriors rookie took the coach's advice and texted Dawkins to say he was going in a different direction.

"And I kid you not, like an hour later, I get an (alert) -- I'm upstairs at my coach's house -- 'I hear Jordan Bell declares for (the draft)' and I just started screaming...

"... I feel like I have to go (to the NBA) now ... when that happened, I was like, 'I really want to go back now just to prove him wrong, just to make him lose all credibility."

Bell quickly came to his senses, and at 10am on April 18, 2017, he retweeted the following message:

Interestingly -- the last line of The Vertical's story that broke the news regarding Bell reads:

Bell is projected to be the No. 38 overall pick in The Vertical’s latest mock draft by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.

The Warriors paid the Bulls $3.5 million for the rights to Bell at... No. 38 overall.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller