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Kerr's move not so bold after all? 'This is kind of how our team has operated...'


Kerr's move not so bold after all? 'This is kind of how our team has operated...'

When Steve Kerr handed his greaseboard to veteran players last week, it touched off a variety of reactions around the NBA. Some were offended, seeing as disrespectful. Some were intrigued. A few implied it was proof the Warriors don’t need a coach.

Assistant coach Ron Adams, perhaps the team’s most noted worrier, shrugged. He may have giggled behind his austere, bespectacled façade.

“This is kind of how our team has operated for four years,” Adams said on the Warriors Insider Podcast.

The only thing that was different, it seems, is that rather than accept player input before drawing a play, Kerr literally gave a few select players the greaseboard during timeouts in a 129-83 win over Phoenix.

“Steve is marvelous at listening and empowering, so this isn’t something new,” Adams said. “The other night it was a little more stark because the media picks up that some player has a clipboard.

“But that’s pretty much how we’ve operated here for the last four years. And it’s paid off handsomely for us.”

The Warriors are 44-14 this season and were 207-39 over three previous seasons, becoming the first team to average 69 wins over three seasons. Their 73 wins in 2015-16 are the most in any season by any team in NBA history.

From the time Kerr arrived before the 2014-15 season, it was evident that he would take a democratic approach, utilizing a deep group of advisers and consultants.

During the 2015 NBA Finals, his special assistant, Nick U’Ren, suggested a mid-series lineup change -- start forward Andre Iguodala over center Andrew Bogut -- that ultimately lifted the Warriors over the Cavaliers.

“Steve is the best at listening to his players,” Adams said. “If they have an idea that they believe in -- maybe Steve doesn’t even believe in it -- but he’s going to allow them to do it simply because that’s what he believes about human beings.

“You have to really take your hat off to Steve because he’s an innovative guy, but he understands at the core that these are the guys who are important.”

Kerr noted after the win over the Suns that the team doesn’t belong to him. Nor does it belong to general manager Bob Myers or CEO Joe Lacob. It belongs to the players, Kerr said, and they deserve to have a piece of authority during the process.

Adams, 70, has been coaching basketball for 45 years, the last 24 in the NBA. The experience of having players draw up plays was new but made sense at the time. And it worked.

“The team was locked into each other,” he said. “It was a good team-building exercise. How that works itself out in terms of the future remains to be seen, whether it’s something that can strengthen us or did strengthen us. I think it did.”

Sacramento native Rhys Hoskins reaches Home Run Derby semis


Sacramento native Rhys Hoskins reaches Home Run Derby semis

WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper thrilled the home crowd and surely made his father proud, winning the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night with an exceptional display of power that carried him past Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs 19-18.

Harper hit the contest-winning blast in extra time, the reward for hitting two homers at least 440 feet during the 4 minutes of regulation. After he connected with the game winner, the Washington Nationals slugger threw his bat in the air and pointed both index fingers toward the sky as a shower of streamers rained upon the crowd of 43,698.

The six-time All-Star arranged to have his dad, Ron, pitch to him in the annual contest on the eve of the All-Star Game. Harper responded with a performance that drew the loudest cheers of the night at Nationals Park.

It’s been a trying season for Harper, who’s hitting only .214 for the disappointing Nationals. He won a contest that many sluggers avoid, fearful it might wear them out and throw them off.

Harper can only hope this helps him get back into the swing.

The 2015 NL MVP beat Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and Max Muncy of the Dodgers before trumping the fifth-seeded Schwarber, who put the pressure on with a solid outing before Harper stepped to the plate.

Wearing a headband that resembled the District of Columbia flag and displaying a right sleeve with stars and stripes, Harper trailed 18-9 with 1:20 left before rallying. He homered on nine of his last 10 swings before entering extra time.

Hours before the session, Harper spoke excitedly about having his dad pitch to him in the contest. The 25-year-old said his father “worked his tail off every single day to provide for me and my family” and “now being able to have him throw to me in a big league ballpark is the cherry on top.”

Harper advanced to the final with an astonishing spree of long-ball hitting. He trailed Max Muncy of the Dodgers 12-4 with 2:20 left, then peeled off six homers in 47 seconds before calling a timeout.

Harper returned to hit three more home runs in 22 seconds, the last of them inside the right-field foul pole.

The semifinal matchup between Schwarber and Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins was a thriller. After stunning top-seed Jesus Aguilar of Milwaukee in the opening round, the eighth-seeded Hoskins ripped 20 long balls to put the pressure on Schwarber.

Using a late surge, Schwarber pulled one ball after another over the right field wall to squeeze out a 21-20 victory — by far the highest-scoring matchup of the night.

The fans dutifully cheered most home runs during the first round, but they saved their loudest cheers for Harper, the last player to step to the plate.

After Freeman hit 12 home runs over the 4-minute span, Harper unleashed six shots of at least 440 feet and secured the victory with a drive to center long before the clock expired. As the ball cleared the wall, the left-handed hitting Harper walked out of the batter’s box and thrust both arms in the air.

Freeman was the oldest player in the field at 28, and the first Braves participant since Andruw Jones in 2005.

Milwaukee’s Aguilar, the NL home run leader at the break, was eliminated in the opening round by Hoskins 17-12.

Aguilar hit too many balls to straightaway center, where the wall stands over 400 feet from the plate. Hoskins pumped most of his drives into the left-field seats, where it’s 336 feet down the line.

The most thrilling first-round match featured a near buzzer-beater by Houston’s Alex Bregman, who fell to Schwarber 16-15. The difference was the pair of homers that Schwarber hit during 30 seconds of extra time, the reward for hitting two long balls of at least 440 feet.

Bregman — the lone AL representative — appeared defeated with a minute left, but he mounted a late surge and lost when his final swing produced a drive that landed at the base of the center-field wall.

Muncy advanced by defeating No. 6 seed Javier Baez of the Cubs, 16-15. Baez hit the longest shot of the Derby, a 479-footer.

Aaron Rodgers hits fan jumping off a boat in Tahoe in stride with perfect throw


Aaron Rodgers hits fan jumping off a boat in Tahoe in stride with perfect throw

Green Bay Packers quarterback (and former Cal Golden Bear) Aaron Rodgers is known for his downfield accuracy. 

Rodgers has three successful Hail Marys to his name. The first, on Dec. 3, 2015 against the Detroit Lions, kept his team's playoff hopes alive. Another, on Jan. 16, 2016 against the Arizona Cardinals, sent the Divisional game to overtime, and a third came en route to a Wild Card game win against the New York Giants on Jan. 8, 2007. 

At the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe on Friday, Rodgers added another notch to his belt.

His latest effort won't be confused with the other three, but it's not like any of those receivers landed in a body of water, either. 

The real question? Whether or not that's a catch under the NFL's new rules.