Kerith Burke

Bob Myers expecting excitement, novelty from youth-infused Warriors

Bob Myers expecting excitement, novelty from youth-infused Warriors

To be determined. Young. Hungry. Fresh. Those are the words Bob Myers used to describe the revamped Warriors' identity in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke on Monday.

Golden State has eight new players on its roster. One of the holdovers, Klay Thompson, is expected to miss a large portion of next season while recovering from a torn ACL suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Consequently, the Warriors' general manager and president of basketball operations is depending on several newcomers to help lead the franchise into a new phase.

In going about renovating the roster, Myers understood it needed an influx of youth -- which is now more feasible, given the lowered expectations.

"When you try to put these things together, a blend of youth and experience is always good," Myers told Burke. "I think we were tilted pretty far in the experience category, but that's sometimes what it takes to win."

Of the eight new players brought in, Alec Burks is the oldest at 27 years old. For the last several years, the Warriors have been one of the oldest teams in the league based on average age. This coming season, they'll be one of the youngest.

Myers knows that transition is bound to come with consistent growing pains, but ensures the Warriors are prepared for a different kind of season than they've become accustomed to.

"We are going to have to shapeshift in a certain way," Myers said. "We're going to miss Klay -- There's no replacing Klay Thompson. And then it's a lot of new, young guys. Losing Andre [Iguodala] and Shaun [Livingston] also -- the stability, the consistency they bring -- we'll see. But I think we're okay with that. We get it.

[RELATED: Myers bids farewell to golden era of Warriors basketball]

"I think everybody is going into it with their eyes wide open, knowing there's going to be more challenges," he continued. "It's not going to be what it was. But there's also an excitement to that. There's a novelty to that. It's all kind of wrapped up -- even the new arena stuff -- it's kind of like it's a new dawn. It's a new era.

"We're moving forward in a different direction, so let's see what happens."

Examining Warriors' vibe, Kevin Durant's health as NBA Finals progress

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Tara Funk / NBC Sports Bay Area

Examining Warriors' vibe, Kevin Durant's health as NBA Finals progress

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith

Tip-Off

Lots of injury news to sum up ahead of Warriors-Raptors NBA Finals Game 4. Quickly:

Klay Thompson is expected to play, barring anything weird popping up with his hamstring injury.

Kevin Durant will not play, and Steve Kerr explained KD has not had any setbacks. It’s just the uncertain nature of the calf injury.

Kevon Looney, once believed to be out indefinitely, is getting a second opinion, and it’s possible he’ll play again in the Finals. Logan Murdock has the details here.

You also can get caught up here regarding everything that unfolded with Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens, who shoved Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and yelled vulgar language at him during Game 3. The Warriors and the NBA banned Stevens for a year and fined him $500,000 for it.

Here’s the full transcript of what Lowry said about the incident at practice Thursday. There are some powerful feelings in there.

I think that covers it ahead of Game 4 tonight at Oracle Arena. Time for your mailbag questions!

Game On!

@richcacho What’s the mood/vibe in the locker room with all these injuries piling up? #askerith

I’ve been impressed with the way the players have handled this. This whole postseason, they’ve been peppered with questions about who’s not playing while putting together wins with the personnel they have.

“C’est la vie” means “such is life,” and that’s the way it goes with injuries. They’re unfortunate, but they affect all teams. The mood is next man up. All the readiness Kerr preached is coming into play now.

The Warriors are one of the last two teams standing, so the vibe is they’re too close to raising another trophy to not wring every last ounce from their bodies to win some more. A chance to three-peat is NBA history. They want to make the most of this moment, hurdles be damned. It’s tough.

We shouldn’t forget the human element here. The Finals demand the high level of play at the end of the season when the wear and tear on the bodies is the greatest. The guys are like walking ice packs. They’re giving it their all.

@paulbassoon not much season left to play-will KD just give it a go or will he look to save himself for the free agency stuff?

KD isn’t saving himself for the summer. He’s busting his buns to return to play in the Finals.

It’s frustrating for him and the team that he isn’t cleared to play yet. But that’s the not the result of anything lacking in KD’s work ethic or a sense of self-preservation. He’s invested. It’s the nature of this injury and some timing in the postseason.

Calf injuries are tricky. Kerr also wants KD to get in a real practice, or something substantial enough like 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 action to make sure that calf muscle can handle game speed and movements. The team doesn’t practice the same way during the playoffs to limit the exertion on players’ bodies. That means KD does a lot of work on his own.

KD has been involved with film study and treatment sessions, and he’s a force in the locker room, sharing notes with his teammates and gassing them up as they go on and off the court. He absolutely wants to give it a go in the Finals.

@nettle_pesto I’m wondering why KD isn’t on the bench like the injured Loon and Klay. Maybe a good question for the mail bag.

Injured guys can receive treatment during games. It’s also a comfort thing. It doesn’t feel good to sit in a tight space and have to quickly move should someone chase a loose ball and come barrelling into the bench.

You might recall this season that Draymond, Klay, Kevon, DeMarcus, Damian Jones, Andre and Shaun have waited out their injuries in the locker room during games. This is not something to read into, like KD’s “not a good teammate.” That’s the wrong conclusion, and I’ve seen some people reach for that.

There is something specific to KD, though, and my colleague Monte Poole has touched on this in our episodes of Corner 3. KD has had a massive amount of attention on him this season because of his free agency. He’s grown frustrated with the endless stories coming out about him. He half-jokes, half-scolds that he creates too much content for clicks, and that any time he does anything, it’s a headline.

If KD is not on the bench, there’s no place to get video of him to over-analyze and blast out on social media. Did KD react happily to Steph’s bucket? DID HE NOT? Is he listening to the huddles? IS HE NOT? What was that interaction with Draymond, CAN WE LIP-READ IT?

Every moment is scrutinized. There would be an ESPN or TNT camera assigned solely to KD if he were out there.

It’s a smart move to avoid that. He doesn’t want to be the story. It’s about the team right now.

The next questions come from an airport Q&A I did waiting for the plane home from Toronto.

And finally …

@maggiehendricks want to know, If you could choose a Warriors' finals opponent based solely on what NBA city has the best food, who would that opponent be?

I love food questions. NYC, New Orleans, Chicago, Miami and Toronto all came to mind as the places where I’ve had the best meals. In my NBA, there are five food opponents. Probably needs a bracket.

High Five

This week’s goes to @evenstrongerps4 for making some art that answers I question I’ve received every day during the Finals: “Is Doris Burke your mom?”

This art answers the question with a castle and crow. I’m flattered people think Doris the GOAT and I are related, but it’s just a common last name.

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

How Warriors can beat Raptors in NBA Finals, reintegrate Kevin Durant

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Tara Funk / NBC Sports Bay Area

How Warriors can beat Raptors in NBA Finals, reintegrate Kevin Durant

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith

Tip-Off

TORONTO -- Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be OK.

I imagine some Warriors fans heard Steve Kerr say “they outplayed us” after the Raptors' Game 1 win, and those fans are wondering why. The Warriors ran into a great opponent in the NBA Finals.

Kerr explained that two things hurt the Warriors: poor transition defense and turnovers. He said postgame: “The biggest thing for me was our transition defense was just awful, and that's the game. That's the No. 1 priority when you play Toronto. You have to take care of their transition, and we gave up 24 fast-break points. we turned it over 17 times. So that's the game, really.”

When the Warriors can identify two glaring things, they can put more effort there to react. They have two days to watch film and adjust before Game 2.

Game On!

@MuranakaRyota @KerithBurke what’s the key for Warriors beating Raptors in NBA Finals? #askKerith

I wrote this reply Tuesday during the flight to Toronto: The short, boring answer is good defense and few turnovers. (Wow! I’m a genius!)

Kawhi Leonard is the best player in the East. You also could argue that he’s the best two-way player in the NBA, and the best overall player, although Kevin Durant fights him for that distinction.

Kawhi fits into the small category of players who are impossible to stop. You can only hope to frustrate him. He’ll be doubled, smothered, trapped, blitzed by the Warriors to get him away from his spots and to force him to pass.

Even with a bum wheel, Kawhi muscled his way to 23 points, with eight rebounds and five assists in Game 1.

It’s like whack-a-mole: If the Warriors put their attention on Kawhi and Kyle Lowry, that frees up other Raptors to perform well. Pascal Siakam had a monster game with 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting.

Good defense also means keeping Danny Green in his slump. Green had a streak of eight consecutive games in which he scored fewer than 10 points. He broke through with 11 points in Game 1, and three 3s to ignite the Scotiabank Arena crowd.

For Game 2, the Warriors must limit turnovers to prevent the Raptors from getting free chances. Demoralize them with crisp play. The Dubs are the back-to-back defending champs. They’ve been to five consecutive Finals. The Raptors are in this situation for the first time. Don’t grow their confidence by letting them capitalize on mistakes.

@dshiao Assuming KD comes back for The Finals, how does the coaching staff think about "integrating" him back in? #askKerith

KD has a great feel for the game, so folding him back in is a question of making sure he’s comfortable physically, like ready for game speed. If his legs and are lungs ready, it should be pretty seamless.

KD missed the last game of the Rockets series, the Trail Blazers sweep and now Game 1 of the Finals. That’s a lot of high-intensity games, but the chemistry he has with his teammates will bring him back in.

KD is in Year 3 with the Dubs. After going through two championships seasons, he’ll revert to the “in the trenches” experiences he’s built with his teammates.

Via IG, @brentghan wonders, With Boogie looking to make a comeback during the Finals, does he expect to start or would he be accepting of a role with the second unit?

This question came in before Game 1, but it’s good to touch on DeMarcus’ performance. Keep in mind that he jumped back into the highest level of play after about seven weeks of rehab. DeMarcus never before has been this deep in the playoffs. There are physical and mental demands that were new for him.

Cousins came off the bench for eight minutes, getting three points on the free-throw line, with two assist and two steals. Eight to 12 minutes per game feels about right for Cousins in this series. Kerr said the big man did “a nice job” and made some good passes.

@Michaelosfc #askkerith 2 part question. Your prediction, Who’s your nba finals mvp? And how many games do you think this series will go?

Should the Warriors win, my Finals MVP is Draymond Green. But it probably will go to Steph.

I’m anticipating Draymond will build on his remarkable playoff performances, like his triple-doubles and stalwart defense. He was ticked off that Siakam had 32 points in Game 1, and we know what a ticked-off Draymond looks like.

However, as important as defense is to championships, it isn’t sexy. Draymond doesn’t splash threes like Steph. He isn’t the game-high scorer. His gravity is different. And when Steph has been in the Finals MVP conversation before and hasn’t won, it starts to feel like he’s due.

Both are deserving. Both have lifted the team when KD’s calf injury left a massive hole to shore up. Either would be happy to see the other get it because ultimately they’d be lifting another trophy together. That’s the ultimate prize before an individual accolade.

As for how many games this series will go, I don’t like making predictions. I don’t know!

Via IG, @thefolfoxchronicles83 says, Pat McCaw seems to be a lucky charm. Do players sign a do not disclose in terms of certain plays they run or do they go to other teams giving away all the “secrets” and tricks?

The NBA is a small world, and it’s not unusual that a teammate last year is your opponent this year. There’s so much movement in the league that asking players not to disclose things that would give a competitive advantage to their current team would be impossible.

Yes, Patrick McCaw could give the Raptors insights about what the Warriors like to run, and what tendencies his old teammates have. But the Warriors don’t have too many tricks. You could study them deeply, know exactly what they’re going to run, and still have trouble stopping it because their execution is so good.

High Five

This week’s goes to the city of Toronto’s hospitality. There’s a kindness in the air that goes along with the excitement of a city embracing the Raptors as they play in the franchise’s first Finals.

When Monte, Logan and I were sitting outside for one of our pregame hits, a group of Raptors fans wanted to know where we were from, if we wanted any water and if they could politely root for the Raptors behind us. They moved along before we went live, but it made me smile. Thanks, Canada.

Overtime

Be sure to tune in Friday for the latest edition of Corner 3, the Facebook Live and MyTeams app show we’re doing on practice days. We’re aiming for a 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT show.

We’ll take your comments and questions on our Facebook page, so let us know what’s on your mind ahead of Game 2.

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