Warriors

Draymond keeps talking trash: Paul Pierce couldn't carry Celtics teams

Draymond keeps talking trash: Paul Pierce couldn't carry Celtics teams

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The ongoing trash-talking saga between Draymond Green and Paul Pierce continues.

On the latest episode of "Dray Day," the two-time All-Star unloaded on the 2008 NBA Finals MVP.

"At the end of the day, you got the same amount of rings as I got," Draymond said about Pierce, speaking to BANG's Marcus Thompson. "And here I am five years in and he's at the end. I got another opportunity to possibly do it. You got one more go at it and that go really is not in his hands.

"At the end of the day -- it’s nothing personal. I don’t hate Paul Pierce or anything like that. But if you gon talk junk, I don’t hold anything back when I’m talking junk. If I’ma talk, I’ma talk. And I’ma take it to wherever it needs to go ... I said what I had to say and he said no more after that."

During last Thursday night's Warriors-Clippers game, Pierce started it by telling Blake Griffin to attack because Draymond can't guard him.

The back-and-forth ended with Draymond saying: "Chasing that farewell tour -- they don't love you like that. You can't get no farewell tour, they don't love you like that ... you thought you was Kobe?"

Is it disrespectful for Draymond to go at a future Hall of Famer like Pierce?

"If you gonna talk junk to me -- whether you're an old G, whether you're a Hall of Famer, whatever is -- you're throwing that respect thing out the window," Draymond explained. "That doesn't just give you the right to say whatever you want to say to me. So when you do that -- Charles Barkley -- that's cool and I respect what you've done, but at the end of the day I'm still a man and you're still a man. And if you want to talk and take it there we can talk and take it there...

"When you look at certain situations with this particular person, there's a few things in the whole thing that gets forgot ... don't get me wrong, Pierce was a damn good player. He had an amazing career, but people tend to forget he was struggling to get to the playoffs and was on the trading block every year, and then all of a sudden Ray Allen and KG showed up. Let's not forget that."

The Celtics selected Pierce with the 10th pick in the 1998 draft, and Boston missed the playoffs in Pierce's first three seasons.

Boston lost in the East Finals in 2002, the East Semis in 2003 and the first round in 2004 and 2005.

After missing the postseason in 2006 and 2007, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen arrived and Boston won the title in 2008.

"I hate when guys come to me and say, "You can't carry a team. You ain't do this, you can't do that.' But how good were you at carrying a team?" Draymond said. "And by the way, it's never really proven that I can't. Or that I don't. It's never really proven. But it's proven with you (Pierce) because you couldn't win.

"Just because you were scoring points don't mean you were carrying a team. If you couldn't get anywhere and you couldn't do nothing, where were you carrying them to?

"And so I think people tend to forget that and people will look at numbers, but sometimes they're empty stats ... Pierce has had an amazing career. He was a beast. But how far was he carrying those teams?"

Warriors center Jordan Bell ideal starter while DeMarcus Cousins gets healthy

Warriors center Jordan Bell ideal starter while DeMarcus Cousins gets healthy

OAKLAND -- The Warriors have indicated that, until DeMarcus Cousins is available, they plan to stay with the center-by-committee system installed two seasons ago. To generate continuity, though, they’ll need a regular starter.

If length and athleticism are the priorities, third-year 7-footer Damian Jones has the edge.

If reliability and technique are crucial, they’ll look to 6-9 Kevon Looney, who is entering his fourth season.

If sheer talent is the primary factor, it likely will be 6-9 Jordan Bell, coming off a rookie season that was by turns spectacular and disappointing.

“As long as we get it done,” coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday after practice, “it doesn’t matter to me.”

“But if somebody takes it, that’s great.”

With the NBA being a talent-first league, Bell would seem to enter training camp with a lead. He is as athletic as Jones with more court awareness, and far more athletic than Looney and also has broader skills. No center on the roster has more energy than Bell.

Then there is this: The Warriors visualize Bell as the ideal matchup for Clint Capela in Houston, the team considered most likely to deny the Warriors a fifth consecutive trip to The Finals.

Bell acquitted himself well when the teams met in the 2018 Western Conference Finals. The confidence gained from that series vaulted the University of Oregon product to a higher level when the Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals, where he was terrific.

“The Western Conference Finals was the most competitive basketball I’ve ever played,” Bell recalled. “I’ve never had to experience any competition that was that tough, where literally every single play counts.”

Bell’s says he’s a “way better basketball player” than he was as a rookie, yet his fate likely will rest on his ability to achieve consistency. He worked on that during the summer and believes that, along with the experiences of his rookie season, should be of benefit in Year 2.

Bell talks about being a better pro, defining it as “showing up on time, not making rookie mistakes. I know what the schedule is now, so I should know exactly where to be and what time to be there. And what’s expected of me.”

That’s largely a result of veteran influence. David West, now retired, was in his ear. So was Draymond Green. And there was a one-on-one conversation with Kevin Durant last April, as the team flew home from Indiana, that proved profound.

Though Kerr was impressed by Bell’s work over the summer -- he praised his hoops intellect and passing, and even gave him the green light to fire midrange jumpers -- there still is much to prove.

“He understands now how hard he has to work,” Kerr said. “It’s hard for a rookie to come in and understand what being a pro means.

“But he gets it now. I think he’s more committed than ever. He’s got to be more consistent as a player, but that starts on the practice floor every day.”

Matchups will be a factor in determining a starter. Changing the starting lineup on a regular basis requires constant adjustment for the other four starters, all of whom are All-Stars. While they’re wise enough to do that, that approach isn’t particularly sustainable.

The likely expectation is that Jones will fill the role vacated by JaVale McGee, playing 10-15 minutes off the bench along with spot starts. Looney probably will remain in a similar role, playing significant minutes some nights and not at all on others, based on the opponent.

Bell, however, is the most versatile. He offers some of what the Warriors would get from Jones and Looney. Bell is prepared to start, but hardly fixated on it.

“I want to be the guy who finishes, not the guy who starts,” he said. “That’s what I’m going for.”

Kevin Durant: 'I still gotta get better' at one thing in particular

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USATI

Kevin Durant: 'I still gotta get better' at one thing in particular

Kevin Durant is ...

... really good at basketball.

I promise.

But that doesn't mean he has mastered every aspect of the game.

"I still gotta get better at setting screens and moving off the ball a little bit, but I'm glad I still got some room to grow in that area," Durant told Greg Papa on Bonta Hill on 95.7 The Game. "I played a lot of pickup ball this summer -- moreso than I ever played -- and that's something I thought about running up into screens.

"I'm like, 'Let me hit this guy now.' Whereas before, I was slipping out of screens trying to get me a shot."

[RELATED: Steph Curry's summer the best of his career, 'trajectory is still going up']

Durant is absolutely right.

It's well documented how Steph Curry does a fantastic job of setting picks (particularly back screens). In many instances, two defenders stay attached to Curry, and a teammate gets a wide open shot or dunk.

It's probably safe to assume that the Warriors' coaching staff has been talking to Durant about becoming a better screener over the past two seasons. And it sounds like he's ready to make it happen.

"It's only gonna help our team," Durant added.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller