Warriors

Durant, new Warriors react to Kerr's comedic videos

Durant, new Warriors react to Kerr's comedic videos

OAKLAND – Want to see a member the Warriors to break into a smile? Ask about the videos.

Get your mind out of the gutter. Not those kinds of videos. There is nothing salacious. Instead of being Rated X, these are rated IM: Immaturely Mature.

The videos compiled by the staff at the request of coach Steve Kerr and his co-conspiratorial assistants are to provide teachable moments. They just happen to be equal parts instruction and comedy, documentary interspersed with slapstick.

Kevin Durant, coming to the Warriors after nine seasons with the austere Oklahoma City Thunder, is realizing not only that he plays in a completely different part of the country but also that he works in an organization that promotes playfulness.

“I realized when I was playing that I was better when I was having fun,” Kerr says.

[POOLE: Durant wants to take defense to new heights with Warriors]

“Yeah, I’ve noticed that,” Durant says, grinning. “It’s fun, either way for me. I’m used to not joking around. But coming here has definitely been a big joke. It’s also been a disciplined environment. It’s good to have a balance.”

Kerr’s coaching philosophy has, beyond basketball strategy, four basic tenets: joy, mindfulness, compassion and competition. He wants his team to apply these elements to their play and practice, and feels they result in a more positive and cooperative environment.

It’s an approach unlike to which the new veterans are accustomed. It’s an adjustment for rookies like Patrick McCaw and Damian Jones. It’s an even bigger adjustment for David West and Durant, both of whom have played under accomplished coaches and made deep postseason runs.

“It’s definitely new,” West says, “but it’s part of the reason why they’ve had so much success here.”

“Most of them just have to feel it,” Kerr says of the new faces. “But I might’ve said something to KD and David, give the vets a little bit of a heads-up that it may not be quite like Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) did it.

“But we try to be productive with our film, try to keep it loose and have some fun with each other.”

Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee, also veterans, are discovering that much of what the Warriors do, even beyond the wacky video sessions, doesn’t fit between tight lines or harsh rules that are the norm for most coaching staffs.

[RELATED: Eager to shed reputation, McGee trying to climb into Warriors' rotation]

“It is different,” Pachulia said with a smirk. “But it’s such a long season . . . if you don’t mix in some fun, it might get crazy.”

McGee, who is in camp without a guaranteed contract, believes there is a link to the team’s approach and its success, winning 140 regular-season games over the past two seasons, both of which included the NBA Finals.

“It’s a lot different,” McGee says. “Out of all the teams I’ve ever been on, this is the happiest locker room. And the most ‘chill’ locker room I’ve ever been in.

“But when you’re winning 70 games, what is there to be mad about?”

Players and coaches, including Kerr, can be targeted for the relatively benign jokes. Some moments may rival “Shaqtin’ A Fool,” -- Shaquille O’Neal’s episodic bloopers videos that leave viewers giggling at mental gaffes and physical mishaps.

Kerr and his executive producers, led by special assistant Nick U’Ren, were at it again over the weekend, adding non-basketball clips while compiling video of their games last week against the Clippers and Kings.

They were making use of copious material provided by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has spent recent days apologizing after the release of an audiotape in which he boasted of kissing and groping women without consent.

While there was a basketball purpose to raiding the Trump file for comedy, there was another reason beyond the game. Kerr says he reminded everyone to register to vote.

“Trump is offering us lots of opportunities to have fun with our video sessions, and we’ve been taking advantage of that,” he says. “We had ‘famous presidential quotes’ (on Saturday). You can figure where it went from there.”

That clip, we can assume, was Rated X.
 

Four biggest takeaways from Warriors media day

Four biggest takeaways from Warriors media day

OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Monday practically glided through media day. It was relatively tranquil, a welcome respite from the sensory assault of the last two years, and for that, they can thank LeBron James and the Lakers.

While national media descended upon Los Angeles, the Warriors still had plenty of issues that required addressing. Here are four takeaways from Warriors Media Day.

Is this the end?

The theme of the day seemed to underscore the possibility that the Warriors we’ve come to know are soon to part. From general manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr and down to the players, there was a faint sense of finality.

The one thing we know for certain is that this is the final season at Oracle Arena.

“The goal is going to be to enjoy this journey this year -- all of it, the highs, the lows, the in between,” Myers said.

"We're not going to go this whole season talking about how much uncertainty it is as far as contracts,” said Draymond Green, who will be eligible for free agency in 2020. “We've got the team that we've got right now you've got to win with that team.

“When all that stuff comes up, it will get handled. But right now we're all together, and that's the most important thing is trying to be the best that this team can be.”

Kerr spent most of last season conveying the difficulties of winning back-to-back NBA titles, as well as chasing The Finals for a fourth consecutive season. His approach to this season is more, um, relaxed.

“Last year, we made it through,” Kerr said. “It was a grind, and we won. And I think we should look at that as its own experience, and this year as a brand new one. And there's no doubt if we can get back to the Finals and it's another nine-month haul, we're going to have some bumps in the road and it's not going to be easy.

“But I do think there should be a slightly different theme this year. We are playing with some house money. We won three of the last four championships. Our place in the history of the league is pretty secure.”

Block out the noise

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will be asked about their futures. Green will be asked about his. The Warriors will have to contend with sideshows in every town.

Stephen Curry, the lone All-Star whose future is not up for discussion, would like to shut down the “future” questions that began Monday.

“That doesn't matter right now,” he said. “We have five preseason games, 82 regular-season games and hopefully 16 wins in the playoffs. And then you can ask all the questions you want.

“I think KD is going to have that perspective, DeMarcus [Cousins] had that perspective, even Draymond and Klay with their contract situations, you can nit-pick everything, and that's what's going to happen. It's part of what we do for a living.

“But the best teams and the best individuals are able to shut that out when it comes to playing basketball and enjoy the opportunity that we have as a team to do that.”

Thanks, LeBron

As mentioned earlier, much of the low-key atmosphere at Warriors Media Day can be traced back to the events in L.A., where James sat before a room of hundreds.

The Warriors were cool with that. They don’t mind the some of the attention being diverted from the Bay Area to Southern California.

“Everybody loves something new,” Durant said. “This is our third year together now, so you guys kind of know who we are and have shown things. Obviously us having DeMarcus, but I think him not playing early on is taking away a little bit of allure of us as a team from a media perspective, I guess.

“But it's the same ol' story with us, same ol' personalities, and we are who we are when you walk in here. Just having a whole new team down in Los Angeles, just gutting that whole team out and bringing in the biggest face in basketball and sports, obviously that's going to be a sexier story.”

Shaun Livingston, drafted by the Clippers in 2004, knows what it’s like when the SoCal media comes out in full force. He welcomes the relative quiet.

“Definitely takes some of that spotlight away,” he said. “But it's good, it's great for the league, it's great for the Lakers, even better for the Western Conference, with obviously L.A. being more competitive now with a guy like LeBron coming to play.

“So I think it's positive. It's only positives. Talked to my guy Luke [Walton, Lakers head coach and former Warriors assistant], wished him the best, incredible opportunity for all those guys down there. It should be fun. Definitely should be fun this year.”

Fun with in-laws

Curry’s sister, Sydel, got married in August. Her name now is Sydel Curry-Lee, as her husband is Damion Lee, who aspires to become Stephen Curry’s teammate with the Warriors.

Lee signed a two-way contract and will be present when training camp begins Tuesday.

“It's fun,” Stephen Curry said of being around Damion. “He's part of the family, obviously. We spent a lot of time the past two years especially working out. He's been out here in the Bay with Santa Cruz and whatnot, and I've been rooting him on when he was in Atlanta last year playing. To have him obviously in training camp as a two-way player back and forth, the opportunity he has to impact our team, it would be fun, and obviously I get to keep close eyes on him.”

Lee, a Drexel product, appeared in 15 games with the Atlanta Hawks last season, starting 11. The 6-foot-7 wing is hoping to impress the Warriors enough to at some point see his two-way deal converted to a standard NBA contract, as happened with Quinn Cook last season.

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Kevin Durant keeping his 'options open' with latest one-and-one contract

Kevin Durant keeping his 'options open' with latest one-and-one contract

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant’s decision in July to sign another contract that allows him to leave the Warriors after one more season generated a stir of anxiety within the fan base, and he said nothing Monday to calm anyone’s nerves.

Ultimately, Durant said, the direction he chose was about self-belief and maximum flexibility.

“It was one of those things where you’re just confident in your skills, and you just kind of want to take it year by year,” he said at Warriors Media Day. “To keep my options open, it was the best thing for me.

“I could have easily signed a long-term [contract], but I just wanted to take it season-by-season and see where it takes me.”

Insofar as Durant is expected to opt out next summer, as he has in the previous two summers, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob acknowledged the team would have to “re-recruit” Durant throughout the season and again during free agency.

General manager Bob Myers, a former agent, reiterated that Monday.

“For any player -- and having had that history as an agent -- what players want, in my experience, is they want to get paid fairly," Myers said. "They want to win, and they want to like going to work, just like all of us. We want to be successful, make fair money and have fun. That’s our job, to create an environment for our players. And I think we do a pretty good job of that.”

Durant will be eligible next July to sign a super max deal worth $220 million with the Warriors, who will have his Bird rights.

“I hope Kevin’s here,” Myers said. “I hope he plays until he’s 50. He’s fantastic, obviously what he’s done for us, and what I hope he continues to do goes without saying.”

Durant clearly wants to keep his mind on the upcoming season, the only one he knows for certain will be spent with the Warriors.

“This whole year is going to be a fun, exciting year for us all, and I’m looking forward to just focusing on that,” he said. “We’ll see what happens after the year.

“If you take it a day at a time, just stay in the present as much as you can, that’s what I try to do.”

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