Ask Kerith Mailbag: Where Warriors fans' biggest questions are answered

Illustration by Tara Funk

Ask Kerith Mailbag: Where Warriors fans' biggest questions are answered

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 using the hashtag #askkerith


Hi everyone! Great to be back for another season of Warriors basketball on NBC Sports Bay Area.

This summer was an amazing time in my life. After covering a championship season, I got married! My husband and I also traveled to London, Paris and Dublin. Getting away for a while reminded me how much I wanted to come back. Best job in the world.

My mailbag is new this season, and it builds on the great questions I get from Warriors fans all season. It’s clear you love this team, and you know them well. So, let’s get to your questions …

Game on!

@steffiwu: What will motivate the Dubs to play their best, even though it's a long season and they have their sights on yet another [championship]? Do too many [rings] cause turnovers?

Thanks for this question, Steff -- you’re tapping into the biggest storyline of the season. How can a team that’s been to the Finals four consecutive years ...won three championships … and set the NBA’s regular-season wins record motivate themselves for game 44 in the dead of winter when they know the real prize is in the playoffs?

First, no one is anointed The Champion when a season tips off. No matter how good you are, you have to earn it. The Warriors are a disciplined bunch, too. They know their habits dictate their success. Coaches say the way you practice is the way you play, so it’s a philosophy of doing things right at all times.

The Warriors know they’re hunted. They know the formula for winning. If they ease up on that formula? A team that doesn’t ease up has a window to win.

This might sound like platitudes, because on paper, the Warriors should pummel everyone. This is a roster for the ages. As the roster gets older, it’s human nature to conserve energy. When you know how to win, you know the softer spots where you can let up during an 82-game schedule, and that’s where the motivation is needed. Steve Kerr describes this as “playing with purpose.” He understands there will be ebbs and flows in energy during a long season. What’s he’s asking the guys to do, while understanding where they are coming from, is to play sharp. Play to a standard that represents their greatness.

@BlondMsKang: How do you think the move to SF will affect players’ routines/quality of life? Do you think they’ll have to move to SF or will they stay in East Bay & deal with more traffic?

Bay Area traffic is some of the worst in the country, so guys are making their plans. They were even talking about it last season.

Some plan on keeping their homes in the East Bay but getting crash pads in San Francisco to avoid crossing the bridge on game days. Others will try to stick it out in the East Bay and see how the first season at Chase Center goes. Some guys own multiple properties and already have places in San Francisco.

@TeresaGrant415: Pat McCaw!!!! What is going on? And how long can this go on for?

Pat McCaw questions were the most popular this week. As best as I can tell, McCaw is taking a risk on himself, and I can’t begrudge someone for doing that. He went through a catastrophic back injury, one where he momentarily lost feeling in his legs, and that can change a person.

Maybe he’s feeling like life in the NBA can end in an instant, so he needs to make as much money as he can now. Maybe during his rehab, he saw the devotion he was putting into his recovery and how talented he is, and decided he wants a different environment to showcase his skills. Maybe that’s motivating him to shoot for the moon with different contract terms than the Warriors offered.

The Warriors adore McCaw, as a player and a person. I’ve never seen a team so distraught when McCaw was hospitalized. It impacted Kerr deeply. They’ll carry warm feelings for him no matter what happens.

@TheSFGiantsGuy: How many minutes do you expect Jordan Bell to see, and who else will be on the floor when he sees those minutes?

@couchtomato62: Is steve Just experimenting with line ups because it's pre-season or are we gonna have another year of uncertainty of place, and yank a player for 4 games if they make a mistake. Why is Damian getting all the starter reps and not Jordan or Loon.

I’m going to hit these two questions in one answer. The center position is fascinating this season, with three talented players: Jordan Bell, Kevon Looney and Damian Jones. It seems like Kerr has been starting DJ because he’s the question mark. Kerr knows what he’s getting with JB and Loon because he saw them in action last season.

DJ has some freakish talent, and he did good work in the G-League last season, averaging about 30 minutes, 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks per game. Now it’s time to really get his feet wet with the big boy club to build on his two-way call-ups last season.

It’s clear DJ is talented, but for all young players, the mental side of the game, like the decision-making at quick speeds, needs to match the physical skills. DJ’s confidence will only grow as he gets more minutes in more games.

As for the group, it might be frustrating as a fan to read, “It’s going to be center by committee,” but that’s how it’s shaping up. Remember, the Warriors had six (!) centers on the roster last season, so these young fellas were in an environment where sharing felt normal. They got to see how Zaza and JaVale handled the situation professionally last season, so the youngsters have the blueprint and fewer teammates to share with this season.

The guys don’t seem irritated by the situation. JB and Loon trained in the offseason at UCLA together. DJ is coming into the fold well. Each of these guys has a distinct set of skills, and each will be called upon at different times, depending on the match-ups. I don’t have a minutes prediction because I’m curious to see how the committee plays out myself.

@bollob: Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 100 duck sized horses?

Gimme the tiny horses. Also, to get the inevitable out of the way … sure, a hot dog is a sandwich. Fine. Whatever.

High Five

This week’s High Five goes to Boogie Cousins, who joined Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett during our Warriors-Suns broadcast Monday, and dropped some insightful and funny lines.

Boogie’s teammates already love him. I was watching him during that preseason game, and he’s not a suit-jacket-behind-the-bench kind of guy. Boogie was in warm-ups ... with a sweatband ... sitting on the floor during the game, talking and reacting to the action. Even though he’s not playing, he’s in the mix as an energetic teammate.

Boogie told Bob and Jim that community work is incredibly important to him. I followed up with him after the game about a report I saw where he offered to pay for Stephon Clark’s funeral earlier this year. Boogie confirmed he did indeed help Clark’s family.

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 guard Shaun Livingston questionable vs. Thunder in NBA season opener


Warriors guard Shaun Livingston questionable vs. Thunder in NBA season opener

Warriors point guard Shaun Livingston did not practice for the second straight day on Monday. Livingston is dealing with right foot soreness, and is questionable for Golden State's season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, the team announced on Monday. 

Meanwhile, point guard Stephen Curry and forward Draymond Green were not listed on the injury report. Curry skipped Sunday's practice to rehab some "minor ailments," according to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. Green played in just his second game of the preseason on Friday, after missing a couple weeks with soreness in his right knee. Kerr told reporters on Monday that Green will not have a minutes restriction in the season opener, but that the Warriors are still looking to ease him back into the lineup. 

The Thunder could also be shorthanded themselves. Oklahoma City listed guards Russell Westbrook (right knee scope) and Andre Roberson (left patellar tendon surgery) as out for Tuesday, while center Steven Adams (lower back stiffness) is questionable. 

Trail Blazers, Seahawks owner Paul Allen dies at 65


Trail Blazers, Seahawks owner Paul Allen dies at 65

SEATTLE  — Paul G. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel and professional sports, died Monday. He was 65.

His death was announced by his company, Vulcan Inc.

Earlier this month Allen announced that the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that he was treated for in 2009 had returned and he planned to fight it aggressively.

“While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much-loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend,” said his sister, Jody Allen, in a statement.

Allen, who was an avid sports fan, owned the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks.

Allen and Gates met while attending a private school in north Seattle. The two friends would later drop out of college to pursue the future they envisioned: A world with a computer in every home.

Gates so strongly believed it that he left Harvard University in his junior year to devote himself full-time to his and Allen’s startup, originally called Micro-Soft. Allen spent two years at Washington State University before dropping out as well.

They founded the company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and their first product was a computer language for the Altair hobby-kit personal computer, giving hobbyists a basic way to program and operate the machine.

After Gates and Allen found some success selling their programming language, MS-Basic, the Seattle natives moved their business in 1979 to Bellevue, Washington, not far from its eventual home in Redmond.

Microsoft’s big break came in 1980, when IBM Corp. decided to move into personal computers and asked Microsoft to provide the operating system.

Gates and company didn’t invent the operating system. To meet IBM’s needs, they spent $50,000 to buy one known as QDOS from another programmer, Tim Paterson. Eventually the product, refined by Microsoft — and renamed DOS, for Disk Operating System — became the core of IBM PCs and their clones, catapulting Microsoft into its dominant position in the PC industry.

The first versions of two classic Microsoft products, Microsoft Word and the Windows operating system, were released in 1983. By 1991, Microsoft’s operating systems were used by 93 percent of the world’s personal computers.

The Windows operating system is now used on most of the world’s desktop computers, and Word is the cornerstone of the company’s prevalent Office products.

Microsoft was thrust onto the throne of technology and soon Gates and Allen became billionaires.

With his sister Jody Allen in 1986, he founded Vulcan, the investment firm that oversees his business and philanthropic efforts. He founded the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the aerospace firm Stratolaunch, which has built a colossal airplane designed to launch satellites into orbit. He has also backed research into nuclear-fusion power.

Allen later joined the list of America’s wealthiest people who pledged to give away the bulk of their fortunes to charity. In 2010, he publicly pledged to give away the majority of his fortune, saying he believed “those fortunate to achieve great wealth should put it to work for the good of humanity.”

When he released his 2011 memoir, “Idea Man,” he allowed 60 Minutes inside his home on Lake Washington, across the water from Seattle, revealing collections that ranged from the guitar Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock to vintage war planes and a 300-foot yacht with its own submarine.

Allen served as Microsoft’s executive vice president of research and new product development until 1983, when he resigned after being diagnosed with cancer.

“To be 30 years old and have that kind of shock — to face your mortality — really makes you feel like you should do some of the things that you haven’t done yet,” Allen said in a 2000 book, “Inside Out: Microsoft in Our Own Words,” published to celebrate 25 years of Microsoft.

His influence is firmly imprinted on the cultural landscape of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, from the bright metallic Museum of Pop Culture designed by architect Frank Gehry to the computer science center at the University of Washington that bears his name.

In 1988 at the age of 35, he bought the Portland Trail Blazers professional basketball team. He told The Associated Press that “for a true fan of the game, this is a dream come true.”

“Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer – in business, philanthropy and in sports.  As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "He was generous with his time on committee work, and his expertise helped lay the foundation for the league’s growth internationally and our embrace of new technologies.  He was a valued voice who challenged assumptions and conventional wisdom and one we will deeply miss as we start a new season without him."

Allen also was a part owner of the Seattle Sounders FC, a major league soccer team, and bought the Seattle Seahawks. Allen could sometimes be seen at games or chatting in the locker room with players.