Warriors

Ask Kerith: Does Steph care about winning NBA MVP award?

Warriors
  • Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, takes you inside the team as only she can throughout the season with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #AskKerith

Hello everyone, thanks for your questions this week.

Heading into Friday night's game against the Denver Nuggets, the Warriors have a 28-29 record with 13 games left. Nine of the remaining games are at home.

Steph Curry’s historic collection of six games this season with ten or more three-pointers (no one else in their CAREER has more than five) is incredible.

Klay Thompson holds the record for most threes in a single game, 14. When will Steph get the green light to try for 15?

Remember, after Klay set the record against the Bulls in 2018, Steve Kerr took Klay out of the game immediately. The Warriors were up 113-69. There’s sportsmanship to consider.

The Warriors aren’t blowing out teams this season. If Steph drains 15 threes, that’s 45 points. The Warriors probably would be pummelling their opponent, and in that case, Kerr would prefer if Steph takes a seat to preserve his health.

If it’s a close game, and if Steph is approaching the record, he always will have a green light to shoot. Getting the record back from Klay would be special, but difficult to get the circumstances right.

 

On Instagram, @chavi1991 asked, Does Steph care about individual awards and honors? Obviously he’s more focused on getting the team in the playoffs and group success but does he want another MVP? Or that elusive Finals MVP?

Steph has demonstrated his first priority is winning. That’s why he and Klay exist well together. That’s why the Warriors were able to bring Kevin Durant into the mix. Steph is not obsessed with his individual stats.

He is aware of his stats, however. He knows how good he is. For example, on the "Dubs Talk" podcast, Steph described the likelihood that he’ll pass Ray Allen for the most threes made in NBA history as a movie trailer where you’re 99% sure you know what will happen. Listen to Steph’s whole answer here, it’s great.

Does Steph want another MVP? Sure. But he’s aware of the narratives that play into who is deserving and the powers that be might think it’s someone else’s turn.

The two things Steph does not have in his career are NBA Finals MVP and a gold medal at the Olympics. Is his GOAT status cemented without those things? Yup. Would he like a shot at those things? Yes.

To me, Steph’s assuredness means he doesn’t need awards, but his legendary ability ensures he collects them.

On Instagram, @tahoedadx2 said “Any chance Klay comes back for the Finals?

None. Zero. Sorry.

It takes about a year for an athlete to come back from an Achilles tendon repair. Klay tore his Achilles in November 2020. He’s looking at next season.

Kevon Looney has had some superb performances lately. Against the Denver Nuggets in mid-April, he played 31 minutes and snagged 11 rebounds. Against the Philadelphia 76ers on the last road trip, he played 34 minutes and grabbed 15 rebounds, both career-highs.

The key to these performances is his health. He’s worked hard on his body and conditioning. Looney missed ten games with an ankle sprain in February, but compared to previous seasons, Looney’s health has been dependable.

Questions about centers the Warriors could bring to the team for the playoff push were popular this week. Also asking about centers: @MarcDcllv11, @AnthonyTsai8010, and @RonAlexFu on Instagram.

 

I’m not sure what Warriors general manager Bob Myers is looking for, but he might have determined the available centers are not the right fit or simply not good enough.

Additionally, the Warriors have found a lot of success lately playing small. A spaced-out floor has contributed to Steph’s massive scoring nights. Yes Looney is on the floor, but he knows how to set screens for Steph and then get the heck out of the way. He’s played six seasons with Steph so they read each other well.

Tossing in a new center at this point means being patient with someone who has to learn how to read and react to the rest of the team, a team that’s clicking lately. You never know what you might throw off by inserting a new element.

While the center position is something the Warriors must examine this summer, I think Myers is taking the approach “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” for the rest of the season.

Though I understand why people are yelling it’s broken.

RELATED: Steph sums up Warriors' 3-2 road trip with simple message

Thanks for writing from Greece! The best things James Wiseman can do at the moment are maintaining a good diet, stay in shape with low-impact cardio and weight-lifting, and study film. He can learn by watching and staying engaged.

There’s no substitute for game experience, but Wiseman said film study is a hobby. Watching his own film to examine his movements will help him refine his skills. Watching how Steph and Draymond work the floor on offense will unlock his role. Studying opponents’ film will help him anticipate actions and be a better defender.

There’s much Wiseman can do and it revolves around one thing: A positive attitude. He has that. I think he’ll be fine.

Eric Paschall questions were popular this week too. Also asking about Paschall were @SashaPatsel, @rockyrunrun, @4thaPeopleGMC_5, and @m.a.h.l.o on Instagram.

 

Paschall contributed a lot last season when he averaged about 14 points, five rebounds and two assists in about 27 minutes per game. As a rookie, he had to play big minutes because the team was wounded. No Steph. No Klay. A sometimes-engaged Draymond. It was a rough, down year.

This season, Paschall’s place firmly was as a reserve, and the second-unit combinations struggled a lot for the first months of the season. He’s also missed 18 games stemming from four issues: knee soreness, wrist soreness, a hip flexor strain, and time in the health and safety protocols. Finding a rhythm has been hard for Paschall this season.

The Warriors also want a spaced floor, not bully ball inside. Paschall’s career three-point shooting percentage is 29.7 percent. Defenses will sag off him.

So...I don’t know what will happen with Paschall. The Warriors like his approach and maturity. They believe he’s talented, but I wonder if he could be more successful elsewhere.

Three questions in one tweet! Regarding a trade for Oubre, Bob Myers determined the offers were not good enough or too costly.

Regarding the Disabled Player Exception, that’s a rarely-used emergency insurance policy. The Warriors requested a DPE because they could, but it’s not unusual that Myers let it expire. In this story, ESPN’s Bobby Marks explained that 79 percent of the time since 2001, teams have not used their DPEs.

Regarding Jeremy Lin, Glenn Robinson III and Omari Spellman, I think it’s cool how loyal fans are to past Warriors players.

There only are 450 spots in the NBA. That’s 30 teams, each with a 15 man roster. The G League and two-way contracts extend the spots so young guys can develop or players on the fringes can get back into the league. Making it in the NBA is extremely difficult and talented players fall out of the league all the time. 

If Myers thought any of these guys could help the Warriors win for a playoff push, they’d already be signed. If Damion Lee misses considerable time in the health and safety protocols, perhaps Myers will consider Lin or GRIII.

On a personal level, I’d love to see these guys get training camp invites with the Warriors or another team. I’m not sure they’ll find landing spots this season.

 

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

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