Damion Lee

How do Warriors' current injury woes compare to other teams, seasons?

ask_kerith_toyota_web.jpg
NBC Sports Bay Area

How do Warriors' current injury woes compare to other teams, seasons?

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the Dubs as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #askKerith.

Tip-Off

Hello everyone! The longest road trip left on the schedule comes next week, after the Warriors face the Pacers tonight. It’s an East Coast swing that will cover Philadelphia Boston, Cleveland, Washington and Brooklyn. After that, three games left until the All-Star Break.

Don’t forget, an update about Steph Curry will come on Feb 1. And we’ll learn more about Klay Thompson’s rehab around the All-Star Break. 

Game On!

@bakumshakum The injuries this year seem so severe. How out of the ordinary is what the Warriors are going through? A lot? Not at all?

Injuries bite every team, but the severity differs in terms of players affected, and how serious the injuries are. 

The Warriors have played 46 games. As of this morning, consider how many games the core Warriors from last season have missed:

Thompson: 46 (ACL rehab)
Curry: 42 (broken hand)
Draymond Green: 13 (heel soreness, finger sprain, rolled ankle, illness, rest)
Kevon Looney: 35 (neuropathy, abdominal soreness)

Other players who have missed at least 10 games are:

D’Angelo Russell: 18 (thumb sprain, ankle sprain, shoulder contusion)
Jacob Evans: 24 (adductor strain, concussion)
Damion Lee: 14 (broken hand)

In total, Warriors players have missed 228 games due to injuries.

This a random comparison but this is what I could find deep in my inbox from last season ... The game notes for Game 3 of the playoff series with the Rockets indicate the Warriors had a total of 181 games missed due to injury. To be at 228 today is eye-popping. 

@CrazyBeauti_Ful Do coaches get time off too? #askKerith

This summer they will. When the Warriors play deep into the playoffs, that flows into the draft, then Summer League. Before they know it, training camp is here. 

This season has a different flavor. The off-season will be longer with no playoffs. 

Coaches also get the All-Star break off. This is the time of year when everyone starts asking, “What are you doing for All-Star?” Plans range from staying at home to catch up on life, or getaways to San Diego, Mexico or Hawaii. 

@AnneHarr13 After half a season of games, do you think Chase Center is beginning to feel like "home" to the players and staff? And how is your workstation location working out?

I think so. It’s a big change even though the arenas are only about 16 miles apart. There’s a bridge to cross to different sides of the Bay. There’s a culture change.

The routine is new for players and coaches. They had to discover the quickest routes to work in San Francisco in unfamiliar traffic patterns. Then they had to familiarize themselves with the building. That means new routines. 

For example, the new locker room has a short flight of stairs to climb before players reach the hallway to jog out to the court. At Oracle, they sprinted from their locker-room door to the arena floor without interruption. There’s no tunnel shot for Steph anymore. 

It takes time. Fans are getting used to the new digs, too. I like to ask visiting sideline reporters what they think of Chase Center. They say it’s beautiful and the newness shines. 

My workstation is nicer at Chase Center. I’m in the Warriors' tunnel, uncovered by bleacher seats. Peanut shells no longer fall on my head. 

@JeffFedorko With Jordan Poole playing good basketball, does it take some of the pressure off the team to make a move to get Bowman on the team and off his two-way deal?

Jordan playing well helps during games, but there’s not the same urgency to make a deal for Ky Bowman as there was for Damion Lee. 

Damion isn’t a rookie, and he paid his dues with the Dubs. He has been patient and a good scorer and rebounder for the team. Bowman is also good for the team as an electric player, but Golden State owns his rights and he can be stashed in the G League for now. The Warriors don’t have any roster spots open, plus they’re hard-capped. 

The Warriors want Bowman around, but his situation with the big club is on pause for now.

@imthatchick1870 Any time limit on when Smiley will return? He’s fun to watch!

The ideal place for Alen Smailagic is the G League, which was the plan all along. Injuries for the big club opened opportunities for Smiley to play. He did well. But Smiley admitted, “I don’t know what I’m doing on the court,” and as charming as that was, it’s true. He plays hard, but a slower environment that matches his level is a better place for him at the moment. 

He’s 19 years old. He was limited at the beginning of the season with an ankle injury. The Warriors can give him plenty of space to grow. He’ll have some brief stints with the Dubs because it’s helpful for him to be around the players, coache and trainers, but expect him to spend most of his time in Santa Cruz until the G League season is over in March.

@ichiro998 Do you wish that Seattle had an NBA team?

Yes, I do. Hearing Clay Bennett's name makes me scowl. While we’re at it, how about a team back in Vancouver, too? 

@The_Regend Which NBA road arena is your favorite? #AskKerith

I’m mad about how Oklahoma City got its team, but the game experience there is positive. The arena workers are markedly different. They’re helpful! They’re polite! This feeling is more about the people than the arena itself, but I like OKC.

I like Toronto, Utah, Boston and New York as well. 

@loganmmurdock Which arena has the best cookies in the league?

Sacramento by far. Do you see these salt flakes? 

@erikquenzer Red Doritos or Blue Doritos?

Red! I like my chips with 100 ingredients and my fingers dusty. 

@notjustinkaiser How was Pullman? #AskKerith

Amazing! Klay Thompson was in his element during his trip back to his alma mater for his jersey retirement ceremony. It was my first time back at school, too, in more than a decade. If you missed the coverage, check it out here

High Five:

This week’s high five goes to Warriors fan Darin, who made me laugh with this question:

@darinbunch Can we do something about the Warriors’ headband and ponytail issue? As a fan with a smallish TV and questionable vision, it’s getting tougher and tougher for me to identify D-Lo, D-Lee and J-Poole #AskKerith

I noticed this headband trio awhile back and asked the people for a nickname for this sweat-banded group. I’d like to thank my mother (my MOTHER!) for coming up with “The Schweddy Ballers.” It’s a play on a classic "Saturday Night Live" sketch you can see here

Hi mom, I love you. 

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 129-96 blowout loss vs. Jazz

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 129-96 blowout loss vs. Jazz

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a season of unwanted firsts for the Warriors under coach Steve Kerr, another authoritatively landed on their heads Wednesday night at Chase Center.

Their 129-96 loss to the Utah Jazz represents the first 0-4 record in a season series under Kerr.

The Warriors (10-36), who have lost 12 of their last 13 games, were led in scoring by D’Angelo Russell, who totaled a game-high 26 points.

Utah (31-13) is the hottest team in the NBA, having won 18 of its last 20 games.

Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors trailed by double digits after the opening nine minutes:

Destroyed on the glass

Because the Jazz, with 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert, are among the bigger teams in the NBA, the Warriors know the formula on the glass is to be hyper-aggressive. That’s how they outrebounded Utah in two of three previous meetings.

That aggression rarely surfaced Wednesday, and the Warriors paid for their negligence. They were clobbered, 56-37, in that area.

Far too often, they were caught flat-footed. One glaring example came in the second quarter, when Jordan Clarkson missed a 3-pointer from the top of the arc and the long rebound bounced back to him as Russell offered a half-hearted stride and flail.

Marquese Chriss grabbed a team-high eight boards, and Alec Burks snagged six. No starter had more than four.

[RELATED: Why Dubs are in power position with Burks at trade deadline]

Simply put, the Warriors were outworked. This was the sixth time in the last eight games that Golden State was beaten on the glass -- and the worst differential this season.

Draymond vs. whistles

Though he has come perilously close in the past, Draymond Green has never crossed the threshold for being assessed technical fouls without suspension.

That could change this season. He was T’d up for the NBA-high 12th time this season Wednesday night and is five away from 17, which would result in an automatic one-game suspension. The fine, which rises to $4,000 once a player reaches 11, rises to $5,000 once a player reaches 16.

Green is averaging one technical foul every 2.75 games he plays -- by far the highest per-game average in the league this season and also the highest of his career.

Truth told, if ever there is to be a season when Green might take a suspension, it is this one. There are no stakes, and he is at his most effective when the games really matter.

D-Lee and his missing 3

The 3-point shot, which was Damion Lee’s ticket out of the G League and into the NBA, is in snooze mode.

Lee was 0-of-1 from beyond the arc Wednesday, and in four games since his two-way contract was converted to a standard NBA contract, he is 3-of-15 from distance.

The numbers are particularly surprising insofar as Lee had been shooting so well since entering the starting lineup on Dec. 15 and becoming a fixture. In 10 games last month, he shot 42.5 percent from deep.

Lee likely will remain the starting shooting guard, at least for now. Rookie Jordan Poole isn’t ready for that burden and any chance of going back to the Stephen Curry-D’Angelo Russell backcourt that opened the season is more than a month away.

Damion Lee excited to be Warriors' long-term piece after tough journey

Damion Lee excited to be Warriors' long-term piece after tough journey

SAN FRANCISCO -- Damion Lee ventured onto the BioFreeze Center practice court under different circumstances Wednesday afternoon. 

No longer under a two-way deal, he began his post-practice workout under a new moniker: Potential Warriors long-term piece. As of Wednesday, he is under contract until 2021, after signing a multi-year pact with Golden State in a process that has been too fast for him to even process it. 

"I was talking to my family about it, mainly my wife yesterday, just like the reality of it just hasn't set in yet," Lee said following Wednesday's practice. "I've always envisioned myself being a professional. I think now that it's here, it's like, she's telling me that I need to take a step back and enjoy it, but then also, at the end of the day it's like I said, just to begin it, it's a matter of turning two into 10. I feel like that's always been my motto."

Lee's deal is the result of his recent production. In 26 appearances, he's averaging 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Last month, he scored 22 points and adding a career-high 15 rebounds in an upset win over the Rockets. As Lee produced, his two-way days began to dwindle, creating a conundrum for Golden State's front office.

Pressed against the hard cap, the Warriors waived forward Marquese Chriss to keep Lee. On Thursday the 27-year-old guard is expected to start against the Nuggets. 

Lee's current circumstance is a culmination of his journey. In college, he broke his hand and tore his left ACL. After transferring from Drexel to Louisville, a recruiting scandal forced the school to impose a one-year postseason ban. Two months into his G League career, he tore his right ACL, putting his career in peril.

Before last season, Lee signed a two-way deal with the Warriors. Last summer, he signed another, prompting his current stretch. Now, with his first guaranteed deal, Lee reflected on his path. 

"Growing up in a house with me and my mom, me and my older cousin having to share a room, my two other cousins, having to share a room. Going to daycare down the street, from the house, waiting to get picked up," he said. "My mom working 12 hours a day, my aunt working the other 12 hours a day."

"Not saying that we struggled, but just as a young kid growing up in that environment," he continued. "You want to make sure that those are the people that you do it for." 

Plenty of people reached out to congratulate Lee on his deal, including Mavericks guard Seth Curry -- Lee's brother in law.

Both Seth and Lee share similar stories. Not a heralded high school recruit, the younger Curry accepted a scholarship to Liberty University -- a small Christian school in Virginia -- before transferring to Duke. After stints in the G League, he carved a niche as a shooter in Dallas, inspiring others along the way.  

"Seth is like one of the biggest inspirations in my life," Lee said. "Just knowing everything that he's been through, knowing how he's worked so hard to make a name for himself and continues to make a name for himself. Obviously, you see what he's doing and he's... I'm very proud and very lucky to have him as a brother."

[RELATEDBucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo jokes about conversation with Steph Curry]

Now, Lee hopes his play will simultaneously keep him in the league and inspire players under similar circumstances.  

"Late bloomer and it took a lot of work, took a whole lot of hard work to get here," he said. "Just got to keep pushing. Can't just settle with just one contract."