Glenn Robinson III states his case as Warriors' starting small forward

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USATSI

Glenn Robinson III states his case as Warriors' starting small forward

SAN FRANCISCO – Glenn Robinson III joined the Warriors partly because he has been peaking in their direction for a couple years and partly because Draymond Green, the team’s busiest recruiter, has been in his ear.

Mostly, he came because the summertime departures of Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala, as well as the serious knee injury sustained by Klay Thompson, created a job opening that speaks to him.

The Warriors need a competent small forward in their starting lineup, someone who occasionally can make a shot, embraces defense and understands teamwork.

“It was a big reason why I chose to come here in free agency,” Robinson said late Thursday night, after the Warriors’ 143-123 preseason win over Minnesota at Chase Center.

“I’ve said it in the past, but I looked at the Warriors a couple years back. Draymond gave me a call. I knew this was always a great fit for me. I’m just excited to be here and just having an opportunity to play and compete for that starting spot.”

With coach Steve Kerr basically holding internal roster tryouts for the starting spot, Robinson was the choice for the second preseason game. He responded with 13 points (6-of-11 from the field, 1-of-3 from deep), five rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes.

He also found Steph Curry, who lit up the night with 40 points in 25 minutes.

“I liked Glenn’s aggression,” coach Steve Kerr said. “I like that he recognized, on back-to-back plays, as he caught the ball in transition, to run a dribble handoff with Steph. That’s always a good option.

“That recognition is really important on our team. Some guys, it takes longer to figure out. But when you come to our team and you realize the weaponry, the arsenal that Steph has, and the ability to shot make, you need to recognize the situations where he’s a threat.”

Robinson, a 6-foot-6 Michigan product, son of 1994 No. 1 overall draft pick, Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson, signed a one-year contract worth $1.88 million to join his fifth team since being drafted by Minnesota in the second round (40th overall) in 2014.

He is an example of where the Warriors are these days. After years of chasing superstars and other name-brand talent, and winning at an historic clip, the Warriors are careful shoppers looking for value.

“Guys are literally competing for spots on the team, spots in the rotation, and it’s all new to a lot of us,” Robinson said. “It’s only a couple guys here from those past teams. So, we’re just coming in every day ready to work.”

The only players on the current active roster to know the feeling of champagne in the locker room are Kevon Looney, Curry and Green.

The true veterans, Green and Curry, are behind Robinson and see possibilities.

“Over the summer, when we signed him, you could kind of see how he could fit in that ‘3’ spot and add some balance and some versatility,” Curry said. “He’s extremely athletic. He can shoot. He can play defense. So, he’s definitely a great option. And he’s getting comfortable.”

[RELATED: Kerr thoughtfully responds to Trump, hopes for 'unifier']

Alfonzo McKinnie, who earned the final roster spot last year, started the preseason opener and didn’t play particularly well. Alec Burks, free agent who signed with the Warriors one day after Robinson, is dealing with an ankle sprain and has not practiced in a week.

Robinson on Thursday played with a hunger, as if he sees this as perhaps his best opportunity to establish himself with a team. It might be enough to earn a spot in the starting lineup.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 143-123 win over Timberwolves

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USATSI

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from 143-123 win over Timberwolves

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Five days after an uneven performance in the preseason opener, the Warriors looked like a team starting to become familiar with its parts.

With Steph Curry scoring 40 points and the Warriors moving the ball with much more precision, totaling 34 assists, they coasted to a 143-123 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves before a sellout crowd (18,064) Thursday night at Chase Center.

Here are three quick takeaways from Game 2 of the preseason:

Curry is ready ... sort of

Based on Curry’s showing in this game, he’s ready for the season and only needs the remaining preseason games to become better acquainted with his new teammates.

He owned the first quarter, scoring 17 of the team’s 35 points while playing all 12 minutes.

He also owned the third quarter scoring 16 points in fewer than seven minutes, with coach Steve Kerr summoning him to the bench with 4:43 left in the quarter. Curry was done for the night.

He finished with 40 points -- in 25 minutes -- on 14-of-19 shooting from the field, including 6-of-9 from deep and 6-of-6 from the line. He added six assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block. He was plus-18.

Curry was atrocious in one area: turnovers. He committed five, including a couple so reckless he slapped his own temples almost immediately, suggesting getting in sync with his teammates is a work in progress and will be for a while.

Triplets might be small, but they can score

I asked Steve Kerr on Tuesday if he might use a lineup in which D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Poole both join Curry.

“We’d be extremely small, and we’d be vulnerable defensively,” he said. “But we’d be pretty explosive offensively. So, I have no idea. We’ll see.”

We saw. The three guards, none taller than 6-foot-5, shared the court with Draymond Green and Marquese Chriss. That quintet played the final 3:12 of the first half and outscored Minnesota 12-11 over that span.

The trio combined for all 12 of those points, with Curry scoring seven points, Russell three and Poole two. The Timberwolves managed two field goals during that same stretch.

With Curry and Russell (16 points) as proven scorers, and Poole (19 points) looking as he’ll be fine on offense, there is a good chance we’ll see more of that lineup.

Glenn Robinson III takes his turn

The Warriors’ search for a starter at small forward began with Alfonzo McKinnie in the preseason opener and moved on to Glenn Robinson III against the Timberwolves.

This doesn’t mean McKinnie is out of the competition. Rather, it indicates coach Kerr is giving both men a chance. Alec Burks, the third candidate, also will get an opportunity, assuming he heals from a sprained right ankle sustained in practice last week.

Robinson did OK, scoring 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 1-of-2 from deep. He added four rebounds and two assists. Playing 20 minutes, he looked confident and decisive in his movements on offense, though less so on defense.

If you’re looking for a highlight, he provided one in the fourth quarter. Robinson anticipated a Noah Vonleh passed near midcourt, swiping it and racing in for a dunk that fired up the crowd and prompted a Minnesota timeout.

Warriors' Steve Kerr thoughtfully responds to Donald Trump's remarks

Warriors' Steve Kerr thoughtfully responds to Donald Trump's remarks

SAN FRANCISCO – One day after being blasted with ridicule from the tongue of President Donald Trump, Warriors coach Steve Kerr responded Thursday with what amounted to a thoughtful sermon, carefully eviscerating the president’s general conduct.

Trump on Wednesday, citing Kerr’s non-response to a question about the sudden conflict between the NBA and China, described 54-year-old coach as a “scared little boy” afraid to answer.

Kerr heard about it shortly thereafter. Pondered it. Bottled his rage. Slept on it and then calmly offered an extended reply shortly before the Warriors-Timberwolves preseason game at Chase Center.

“Last night, I was thinking about my various visits to the White House,” Kerr began. “I’ve lived a privileged life. Met, I think, the last five presidents, prior to President Trump. The first one was in 1984, and Ronald Reagan was president. He invited my mom and me, six months after my dad was killed in a terrorist attack.

"President Reagan and Vice President Bush invited us into the Oval Office, and spent about a half hour with us, thanking us for my dad’s service; he was in education. Thanking us for my dad’s commitment to trying to share American values in the Middle East. Trying to promote peace in the Middle East.

“And all I could think of last night was the contrast of what has happened in 35 years.

“There was (then) no regard for whose side you were on, politically, political party, anything like that. It was just, ‘You are an American.’ The offense held such dignity and respect both from the people who were visiting and especially from the people who sat inside. It’s just sad that it’s come crashing down, and that we’re now living this.”

Without citing specifics, Kerr was referring to such things as the parade of indicted or convicted associates of the president. To Trump’s mocking of such citizens as the late Sen. John McCain. To the Trump family’s ceaseless claims that former President Barack Obama, a member of the Democratic party, was not born in the United States.

Mostly, though, Kerr was referring to the strident political polarization that has generated such tremendous unease within country.

“I realize the horse was out of the barn a long time ago,” he said. “But for me personally, this was my experience with, wow, has the office sunken low. My hope is that we can find a mature unifier, from either party, to sit in that chair and try to restore some dignity to the Oval Office again. And I think it will happen.”

Kerr has been outspoken about his desire to see all Americans voting in every election. It’s one of several projects in which he is involved. He has been particularly consistent in his advocacy for gun safety, as his father, Malcolm, was assassinated by terrorists in January 1984.

“Generally, my feeling is the things I’m going to comment on are the things I feel very comfortable speaking about, things I feel well-versed about,” he said. “I comment a lot about gun safety. It’s a cause that is very near and dear to my heart and very crucial for our future as a country. We face mass shootings literally every day. I’m involved with four or five different gun safety groups. That’s my pet cause.

"I’m going to comment on that. That’s my right. That’s why I love being an American. That’s why I love my country.”

Asked if in previous trips to China the issue of that country’s human rights abuses has been a topic of discussion, Kerr said it has not. He then paused for a few seconds before an addendum.

“Nor has our record of human rights abuses come up, either,” he said. “Things that our country needs to look at and resolve. That hasn’t come up, either. None of us are perfect. We all have different issues we need to get to. Saying that is my right as an American. It doesn’t mean I hate my country. It means I want to address (those things).”

“People in China didn’t ask me about people owning AR-15s and mowing each other down in a mall,” Kerr added. “I wasn’t asked that question. So, we can play this game all we want, go all over the map and, there’s this issue and that issue."

The coach also had a response for those who, like Trump, criticized him for not answering the initial question, on Monday, about the conflict between the NBA and China, which was initiated by a tweet from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who expressed support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

“The same people who were asking me to stick to sports are also asking me to expand my horizons,” Kerr said. “I guess that’s what I’m hearing.”

[RELATED: Trump's Kerr remarks prove sports, politics are inseparable]

Kerr seemed to see the whimsy emanating from the White House. Trump goes on the attack and there’s always a target.

“I was the shiny object yesterday,” Kerr said. “There was another one today. There will be a new one tomorrow, and the circus will go on.”