Warriors

D'Angelo Russell calls ESPN reporter 'clown' in defending Karl-Anthony Towns

D'Angelo Russell calls ESPN reporter 'clown' in defending Karl-Anthony Towns

Nick Friedell currently covers the Warriors for ESPN, but previously, the Minnesota Timberwolves were his assignment. As such, he has a strong opinion about the recently completed trade between the two organizations that had Andrew Wiggins and D'Angelo Russell trading uniforms.

"No," Friedell answered when asked if Minnesota's new pairing of Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns would turn the franchise around on Tuesday's episode of "The Jump." "I am all the way out on the Timberwolves. I don't believe that Karl-Anthony Towns is mature enough as a leader to be the face of a team that can contend and grow. I think that D'Angelo Russell was really solid in my dealings with him in Golden State, but there's a reason why the Warriors traded him.

"They did not believe that he was a core piece of a possible title contender."

After suggesting that Russell's day-to-day attitude, not just his position, encouraged Golden State to get rid of him, Friedell returned to his criticism of Towns.

"The culture that has been created in Minnesota, especially in the last year or so with [coach] Ryan Saunders and [general manager] Gersson Rosas ... everybody is afraid of upsetting Karl-Anthony Towns. Karl-Anthony Towns was anointed as 'the guy', he got a max deal ... what has he won in the league? Everything has kind of flattened since they said, 'You're the man.'"

When David Fizdale suggested that it's commonplace for NBA teams to cater to their star players, Friedell wasn't buying that excuse.

"A lot of stars in the league have won," he countered. "Towns has never won anything. He has always been the guy that everyone has said, 'Oh, he can do it.' But I think around the league, guys, the word is starting to come out that Towns has a ton of talent, and they're going to rack up a ton of points, but is somebody going to make him play defense all the time? Is somebody going to bring out the mental toughness that you need night after night to be the person that leads the way?"

Earlier in the show, Fizdale posited that, since they're best friends, Russell might be the one to constantly be in Towns' ear. Well, when Russell heard Friedell's comments, he came to his and his best friend's defense.

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In their first game as teammates in Minnesota, Russell and Towns combined for 45 of the Timberwolves' 126 points, but they were also a combined minus-29 in an 11-point loss. Russell can call Friedell a clown all he wants, but that doesn't prove the reporter wrong.

In fact, it has the opposite effect.

How new NBA draft rules affect Warriors' ability to evaluate prospects

How new NBA draft rules affect Warriors' ability to evaluate prospects

The global coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, affecting how businesses function. For the NBA, the COVID-19 virus has the league's season in peril.

In the latest twist, the league is adjusting how team personnel can evaluate NBA draft prospects, and it could have a direct impact on what the Warriors do with one of the top overall picks.

The latest rule changes, reported by The Athletic and ESPN on Monday, will affect teams' preparation for the 2020 NBA Draft, which is scheduled to be held June 25 in Brooklyn, New York. Under the new structure, which adheres to social distancing guidelines, teams will be permitted to spend up to four hours in virtual meetings with a prospect during the pre-draft process. Of that time, teams can only spend two hours per week talking to each prospect.

In-person workouts or requesting that a player workout via live video have been prohibited by the league, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported.

While the rule change hurts most prospects, players like center James Wiseman and guard LaMelo Ball are greatly hindered by the development.

And the Warriors' ability to properly evaluate Wiseman and Ball is equally affected.

In just 12 games in his lone season in Australia's NBL, Ball averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists before a foot injury cut his season short. Despite averaging double digits, he shot just 37 percent from the field against inferior competition. Ball hasn't played in a game since late November.

Meanwhile, Wiseman averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds in just three college appearances before withdrawing from Memphis amid recruiting violations. His last game was on Nov. 12.

There just isn't a lot of recent video of either player for teams to evaluate.

Each player will be subjected to digital video chats featuring general managers, coaches and front office staff. The setup isn't ideal for either side.

Players -- especially those with something to prove like Wiseman -- where hoping to make an impression on teams who have limited film. In Ball's case, he wanted a chance to show he has improved his weaknesses

For teams, it strips away the ability to evaluate a player in person, which helps get a better grasp of the human element, similar to the final step of a job interview.

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The first test case of this practice is the NFL, who will hold the first virtual draft in its history later this month. Only the NFL has been able to hold its combine last month, giving teams a chance to interview players in person, providing an advantage NBA team personnel do not have. 

The Warriors personnel, along with the rest of the league, will have their work cut out for them as the coronavirus timeline continues to define a new normal for sports.

Chris Paul hilariously explains why he fake laughed at Steve Kerr joke

Chris Paul hilariously explains why he fake laughed at Steve Kerr joke

Chris Paul can laugh at some, but not all, of his history with the Warriors.

The hyper-competitive Oklahoma City Thunder point guard joked in an Instagram Live session Monday with Steph Curry about the two-time MVP's ankle-breaking crossover on Paul when he was a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. But Paul said Monday that his often-GIF'd fake laugh from an on-court conversation with Steve Kerr is, well, no laughing matter.

Kerr cracked wise with Paul, by then a member of the Houston Rockets, during the Warriors' 116-108 loss in Houston on Jan. 20, 2018. Paul hadn't forgotten the bad blood of the Clippers-Warriors rivalry from his LA days, carrying that tension to a team that the Warriors had eliminated in two of the preceding three postseasons.

The Warriors would bounce the Rockets in the 2018 Western Conference finals and again in the second round the following year. Golden State overcame a three-games-to-two series deficit in 2018 and then eliminated the Rockets in 2019 despite injuries to Kevin Durant and Andrew Bogut.

Both of Paul's playoff runs in Houston ended on the Rockets' home court at the Warriors' hands, and the Game 6 loss in last year's second round marked the final time he suited up for Houston. Paul was traded to the Thunder in exchange for Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook the following season.

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He wouldn't have had to worry about facing the Warriors this postseason, and Golden State was eliminated from playoff contention prior to the NBA suspending its season last month after Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Despite that, something tells me Paul won't laugh about his fake laugh any time soon.