NBA Playoffs

ESPN's Jay Williams thinks revamped Warriors will miss NBA playoffs

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USATSI

ESPN's Jay Williams thinks revamped Warriors will miss NBA playoffs

Chris Webber is not alone.

Much like his "NBA on TNT" peer, ESPN's Jay Williams predicted earlier this week that the Warriors would miss the playoffs. In a segment on the league's most intriguing duos that aired Wednesday on "NBA Countdown," Williams said that D'Angelo Russell and Stephen Curry fit the bill ... because Golden State won't be playing in the postseason?

"The Golden State Warriors -- mark down the day -- they are not going to make the playoffs," Williams said Wednesday. "The Golden State Warriors are not going to make the playoffs, and this is why I say D-Lo and Stephen Curry are the most intriguing duo.

"Now, D-Lo played extremely well last year. He got the Brooklyn Nets to the playoffs. He made the All-Star Game. He wasn't the guy at first, Caris LaVert was the guy. Then D-Lo started to find his swagger. I wonder how D-Lo will do in a system that he cannot dominate the ball."

Curry and Russell's chemistry is still a work in progress. Russell posted the highest usage rate of his career (31.9 percent) last season, and only once in the Steve Kerr era has one of Curry's teammates had a usage rate greater than 30 percent (Kevin Durant in 2017-18).

Williams pointed to Klay Thompson's rehab from a torn ACL as well as Curry and Russell's defensive deficiencies as cause for concern, incorrectly claiming that the team lost defensive guru Ron Adams. Adams remains with the team, but Jarron Collins now runs the Warriors' defense. Williams doesn't think Russell is a fit for Golden State's system, either.

The Warriors will have to discover a new identity on both ends of the floor this season, given what they lost this summer. The Western Conference pecking order has also re-organized, now that Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis are in Los Angeles. Golden State has far more concerns heading into 2019-20 than it has at any point under Kerr.

[RELATED: Kerr shakes head, refuses to respond to Trump's latest jab]

But with all of that said, are there really eight teams in the West better than the Warriors? The Los Angeles Lakers likely will bump out a playoff team from a year ago, but no other team in the conference is guaranteed to do the same. Sure, the Kings and Dallas Mavericks could make the leap, and the New Orleans Pelicans are loaded with young talent after trading Davs to the Lakers and drafting Zion Williamson straight out of a video game Duke. But each of those teams have significant question marks beyond their lack of experience.

The Warriors likely will not reach the heights of title contention this season, but that doesn't mean they're destined for the depths of the draft lottery, either.

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Willie Cauley-Stein discredits Chris Webber's wild Warriors prediction

Willie Cauley-Stein discredits Chris Webber's wild Warriors prediction

Injured Warriors center Willie Cauley-Stein took issue with Chris Webber's playoff predictions, and he had receipts.

WarriorsTalk's Instagram page highlighted that the "NBA on TNT" broadcaster -- and former Warrior -- predicted that Golden State would not make the playoffs this season. Cauley-Stein exposed one of Webber's old takes in the comments, noting that he predicted the Kentucky product would not be an NBA starter.

During Kentucky's run to the Final Four in 2015, Webber said that comparisons between Cauley-Stein -- then a junior with the Wildcats -- and DeAndre Jordan -- then one of the NBA's most dominant defensive big men -- were premature at best. If the thought of Cauley-Stein playing in college or Jordan dominating the league didn't date this context enough, the fact Webber made his prediction on ESPN's "Mike and Mike" just might. 

"These days in basketball, if you're a junior in basketball, and you're 7-feet and you don't average 10 points, you're telling me he could be a DeAndre Jordan?" Webber said (via SportsNation)."... There is no way in the world. He can't jump as high. ... He will not start in the league. He's a great kid, and hopefully he will have an NBA career."

Cauley-Stein ultimately started 199 of the 295 games he played in his first four NBA seasons with the Kings, and he was in line to start at center for the Warriors before a foot strain ruled him out for the entirety of training camp. He has averaged 10.1 points per game to date in his career. 

[RELATED: Why Warriors' Chase Center debut was predictably ugly loss]

As for Webber's more recent prediction, the Warriors missing the playoffs isn't out of the question, and their postseason hopes depend on how well the team manages in Klay Thompson's absence. Despite that, it's hard to envision a team led by Steph Curry, D'Angelo Russell and Draymond Green not -- at the very least -- being among the eight teams left standing in the Western Conference when the playoffs begin. 

If Webber's wrong, you know Cauley-Stein won't forget. 

Warriors almost boycott 2014 playoff game after Donald Sterling audio release

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AP

Warriors almost boycott 2014 playoff game after Donald Sterling audio release

The 2014 NBA playoffs left Adam Silver handling his toughest test as NBA commissioner just a few months into the job.

TMZ published a phone recording of Clippers owner Donald Sterling going on a racist rant to his mistress V. Stiviano. Sterling had been a black stain on the NBA for his entire history as Clippers owner, but the recording put Silver on the clock.

The players wanted Sterling thrown out of the league for good post-haste. 

While the Sterling tape was dominating the headlines, the Clippers and Warriors were locked in a hotly contested first-round playoff series. Ahead of Game 5 at Staples Center, Warriors general manager Bob Myers called team president Rick Welts to tell him the players were prepared to make a stand if Silver's punishment wasn't up to snuff. 

"These guys are going to walk off the floor,'" Welts recalled to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. "He was with the team that morning and said the vibe around the team -- maybe both teams -- was that if this doesn't go the way the players want it to go that they could walk out on the floor and then walk right off and not play the game that night."

Former Warriors forward Andre Iguodala was more than ready to take a stand if Silver lacked the conviction to do what was necessary.

"I was all-in. Like shut down the whole season," Iguodala said. "Maybe that was too far, but as far as that game that day, you can reschedule it, you gotta sort this thing out, because there's some deep-rooted stuff with him that had to be addressed."

Draymond Green told NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock that the boycott was a full-go. 

"I remember everybody talking like if Adam Silver don't come down with a tough enough post and we don't think it's right, we're not playing tonight," Green said.

Had the Clippers and Warriors elected not to play Game 5, it's a moment that would have gone down as one of the most important and momentous acts in sports history and in the overall arc of the fight for social justice and equality in America.

"If we didn't play," former Clipper Jamal Crawford said, "I think that honestly it would have outlived us. They would be talking about that while we're not here anymore.

"It's never happened. At that magnitude, at that level."

[RELATED: Dubs of East? Hawks building something with young core]

The stand, as you know, was not needed.

Silver stood in front of the world and banned Sterling from the NBA for life, leading to him selling the team to Steve Ballmer.

The Clippers went on to win the series in seven games.