Warriors

Barkley: 'Hate the fans' vote ... Draymond should be starting'

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Barkley: 'Hate the fans' vote ... Draymond should be starting'

Reigning MVP Stephen Curry on Thursday was voted in as a starter for the Western Conference All-Star Game.

His Warriors teammate, Draymond Green, who clung to a starting spot in the most recent balloting update, did not make the cut. San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard overtook Green to nab the third and final frontcourt spot.

Curry will join Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Bryant and Leonard in the starting lineup for the Western Conference -– despite the objections of TNT analyst Charles Barkley.

“Draymond Green deserves to be starting in the All-Star Game, plain and simple,” he said during the televised announcement. “No disrespect to the fans; I hate the fans’ vote. But Draymond Green should be starting in the All-Star Game – over Kevin Durant.”

When fellow analyst Kenny Smith interceded, explaining that there usually is a year or so lag time before the casual fan recognizes those most deserving, Barkley responded with a mighty swipe at those who failed to vote in Green as a starter.

“You have to be a total moron to not know that Draymond Green should be starting in the All-Star Game,” he said. “You have to be a total damn idiot."

[RELATED: Curry to start All-Star Game; Draymond bumped out by Kawhi]

With 726,616 votes, Green finished fifth in the final voting among Western Conference frontcourt players, behind top vote-getter Kobe Bryant (1,891,614), Kawhi Leonard (782,338) Durant (980,787) and fourth-place finisher Zaza Pachulia (768,112).

Green totaled 726,616 votes, ranking fifth among frontcourt players in the Western Conference. He leads the NBA in triple-doubles with eight and is averaging 14.5 points per game, 9.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists.

Green, 25, last season did not finish among the top 15 vote-getters among Western Conference frontcourt players.

Curry will be making his third consecutive start. All-Star Weekend is scheduled for Feb. 12-14 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, with the game set for Sunday, Feb. 14.

One year after supplanting LeBron James as the top vote-getter, Curry totaled 1,604,325 votes, the second-highest total overall after Lakers legend Kobe Bryant (1, 891,614), whose surge in voting popularity was attributed to his announcement that this will be his last season.

Curry leads the NBA in scoring (29.9 points per game), is second in free throw percentage (90.7), 13th in assists (6.5) and fifth in steals (2.1).

Guard Klay Thompson, who started the game last season as an injury replacement, finished fourth among conference guards – behind Chris Paul, Curry and Westbrook – with 555,513 votes.

Doc Rivers clarifies how Clippers acquired Paul George, Kawhi Leonard

Doc Rivers clarifies how Clippers acquired Paul George, Kawhi Leonard

“Mr. Ballmer, I love the things you do and what you stand for, but your team is not good enough and if you don’t change your team, I’m not coming.”

That was the blunt statement Kawhi Leonard gave to Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer during the team’s recruitment meeting with Leonard prior to the start of NBA free agency, as told by head coach Doc Rivers in a recent conversation with the Los Angeles Times’ Arash Markazi.

“We actually had a list of guys, which was a mistake, but we got lucky,” Rivers said. “We shouldn’t have had a list, because then he got to choose who he wanted to play with and the assumption was that we could get them. We didn’t know if we could get anybody. We just showed him guys that we thought would match him and when he saw Paul George’s name he said, ‘I want to play with him.’”

The Clippers clearly needed some star power if they wanted to compete for championships, as Rivers and his club have been unsuccessful in advancing past the first round of the playoffs three of the last years, including missing the postseason entirely in 2017-18. The Clippers did make some noise in the 2019 Playoffs, taking a pair of games from the Warriors before ultimately succumbing in a six-game series defeat.

LA parted with a record-number of draft picks to make the trade work with the Oklahoma City Thunder, sending a total of six future first-round draft picks and former first-rounders Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari to acquire George.

“Steve Ballmer was nervous about the picks,” Rivers said. “I said, ‘Steve, you keep saying six picks for Paul George is insane, but you’re saying it wrong. It’s not six for Paul; it’s six for Paul and Kawhi. So three for each. I would do that.’ You have to look at it in those terms.”

[RELATED: Warriors will need eight things to go right to make NBA playoffs]

After the dust settled on 2019’s topsy-turvy free agency period, the new-look Clippers stood with arguably the best superstar duo in the NBA, as Kawhi is coming off a dominant season ending with his third championship and second Finals MVP, while George was named to his first All-NBA First Team in a breakout season.

There’s no doubt Ballmer and Rivers now believe they have the best team in a wide-open NBA, but Steph Curry and Draymond Green may have something to say about that when the Warriors and Clippers face off in the first regular-season NBA game at Chase Center on Oct. 24.

Warriors' Klay Thompson gives Zaza Pachulia car as retirement gift

Warriors' Klay Thompson gives Zaza Pachulia car as retirement gift

Get you a friend like Klay Thompson.

The Warriors star shooting guard has endeared himself to Dub Nation and the NBA world alike through a number of classic moments from his scaffolding interview to heckling Christian Yelich at Wrigley Field. Thompson's budding bromance with former teammate and current Warriors consultant Zaza Pachulia also has captured the attention of most Warriors fans.

Thompson and Pachulia became good friends during the center's time in the Bay, and with Pachulia electing to hang up his sneakers to join Golden State's front office, Klay had to get him a retirement gift.

A really nice one.

Man, I need to get better friends.

[RELATED: Eight things Warriors need to go right to make playoffs]

Thompson currently is recovering from his torn ACL, but it doesn't look like it's dampened his spirits at all this offseason. Thompson has been in France, London, San Francisco and who knows where else with his girlfriend Laura Harrier.

No word yet on whether or not rookie Jordan Poole is getting that double date with Zendaya, though.