Warriors

Durant: 'I'm never gonna get a look' at NBA Defensive Player of the Year

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AP

Durant: 'I'm never gonna get a look' at NBA Defensive Player of the Year

Kevin Durant was phenomenal defensively over the first 33 games last season. From Opening Night through Jan. 3, Durant averaged 2.3 blocks and 0.8 steals per contest for the Warriors.

After Golden State's Dec. 27 win over the Utah Jazz, Draymond Green declared that Durant should be the front-runner for NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

"I don't think it's really a race right now (with) the way he's playing on the defensive side of the ball," Draymond told reporters. "He's been spectacular. It's a thing now, which is impressive because it always seemed like it wasn't possible to be a thing. But he's getting more and more attention for that."

"It's cool that people are starting to recognize me for more than just a scorer," Durant said that night. "I've been trying to shake that rap since 2012. ... You want people to appreciate what you bring to the table."

The reality is that Durant's defense wasn't as strong when the calendar flipped to 2018, and the Warriors sputtered down the stretch. In the end, Durant did not win DPOY -- although he did receive two second-place votes and one third-place vote.

Was it a goal to win the award?

"You know they're not gonna give me anything," Durant said Monday on 95.7 The Game. "Even if it's on the fence, I have to be clear-cut better than everybody for me to even get a look.

"It's just pure hate for me, obviously, and no appreciation for my real skill for the game. But I get it. I understand where we coming from. I understand what we have here in this building that scares everybody.

"But for me, I was just proud of the growth that I had in that area. I just wanted to be able to be relied on to guard anybody -- whether it was helping guys at the rim, switching out onto point guards -- so I just tried to do everything. I feel like I grew so much on the defensive side of the ball last year.

"I feel like my whole game is unlocked now, when I was able to see the things I can do on that side of the basketball. ... I'm never gonna get a look when it comes to that, especially playing here for the Warriors."

Durant also fell short of making an All-Defensive team last season (he registered seven first-team and 17 second-team votes).

Perhaps this year he gets that nod for the first time in his career ...

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

Steph Curry hopes to change face of golf after revolutionizing basketball

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AP

Steph Curry hopes to change face of golf after revolutionizing basketball

SAN FRANCISCO – On a damp Monday morning, on a golf course a few inches east of the Pacific Ocean, Stephen Curry explains his desire to go where no man or woman has gone before.

To succeed where Tiger Woods, hindered by personal priorities, did not.

Curry is committed to making golf, despite its reputation as a refuge for the elite, accessible to all. To put a finer point on it, a basketball player wants to change the face of golf.

It’s a novel concept, that of an athlete – one of the greats in this instance – lifting his platform beyond the sport he identifies with and trying to make a tangible difference elsewhere. But Curry is not of a mind of waver. Even as he remains dedicated to remaining crucial to the fortunes of the Warriors, he is trying to speak his quest into existence while also financing it into reality.

“The game plan is forming as we go,” Curry said Monday. “But I just get so excited about the game that I hope other people will, too.”

Curry and scores of others were at TPC Harding Park for the inaugural Stephen Curry Charity Classic, presented by Workday. The goal of the event is to raise $1 million mostly for two causes: 1) PGA Reach, a charity with the stated purpose of increasing golf access to youth and military while also fostering diversity; and 2) Eat. Learn. Play., the foundation initiated by Curry and his wife, Ayesha.

The event carried enough weight to attract San Francisco Mayor London Breed, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – as well as former Warriors forward Andre Iguodala and the team’s CEO, Joe Lacob.

Curry’s love for golf is on display every chance he gets. That’s not enough. Upon signing a five-year contract worth $201 million two summers ago, Curry vowed to invest in specific charities and causes. He has made golf one such beneficiary.

When it announced last month that Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C., was resuming its golf program, which was disbanded in the 1970s, it simultaneously was announced that Curry was the man behind the game’s return. He’s making a seven-figure donation over the next six years.

“Basketball has been the best experience of my life in terms of (making) a career out of it, with all the things we’ve been able to do on the court,” Curry said. “But understanding how things I enjoy doing in life outside of basketball, growing the game of golf, there are a lot of different ways of going about that.

“But in terms of somebody outside the normal golf voice lending time and resources and opportunities to share how much the game means to me, the people you get to play with, the places it can take you, the things it teaches you about yourself. Reaching out to underrepresented communities and people that are just looking for access to the game, get them introduced to it early and, hopefully, through their competitive experience, if that’s what they want to do, provide opportunities for that.”

One of the constant themes in conversation with Curry is “growing the game.” And he’s not talking about basketball, which is immensely popular and is represented in some form, on every continent, by practically every racial and ethnic group. Golf, however, still is beyond the reach of many, partly for financial reasons and partly because it simply intimidates those unfamiliar with an environment that can feel quite exclusive.

“We’ve got four pillars: kids, veterans, inclusion and a place to play,” Waugh said. “We want to make a difference in all of that. Golf can be such an engine for good, and we are at the center of golf at every level, from the Ryder Cup to the PGA Championship. We have the opportunity to touch the most people. We want to shepherd that into those pillars, which are needed to evolve the game and make it more relevant to the next generation. We need to make it a game for our kid’s kids, as opposed to protecting a game that our parents or grandparents played.

“Our ability to do that, through making the game more welcoming and accessible and understandable – along with more fun – is what this is about. It can rehabilitate kids because this is a game that can be played for life.”

There was a time early in the millennium, when Tiger, with his brown face and dynamic game, was visualized as not only an ambassador but also the forerunner to many more that looked like him, even if they couldn’t play like him. He opened the door, so to speak, but made only occasional attempts to invite others behind him. The faces of golf haven’t changed much.

[RELATED: Check out Steph's new UA 'Range Unlimited' golf collection]

Nearly 20 years later, Curry is trying to fill that void. He’s going grassroots to expose the game to those who barely know it, if at all. He has made a difference on the basketball court, and now one of his missions is to do so on the golf course.

“There are different measures that you can think about, like getting more kids involved in the game early,” he says. “Or leveraging the traditional golf verticals that hopefully will get more kids competitive in the game. More representation at the early ages.

“From there ... this is a game for life. So, hopefully, my involvement in it will be for life.”

Warriors' Jordan Poole shoots his shot, asks Zendaya to go on date

Warriors' Jordan Poole shoots his shot, asks Zendaya to go on date

Jordan Poole is fearless, and we're not just talking about on the court. 

The Warriors rookie guard burst onto the scene during the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament when he drilled a buzzer-beater to lead No. 3 Michigan past No. 6 Houston and into the Sweet 16.

"Swaggy Poole" as he was affectionately labeled after that moment, took another shot Monday.

Klay Thompson's girlfriend Laura Harrier posted a series of photos of the two on a date in London, drawing a comment from actress/singer Zendaya. Well, Poole saw her comment and thought he'd see if he still had the clutch touch.

Shooters shoot.

[RELATED: Poole, Paschall itching to being rookie season]

Even if Zendaya never gets back to Poole, at least he'll still have his two cats, so that's a win. 

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