Glenn Robinson III states his case as Warriors' starting small forward


Glenn Robinson III states his case as Warriors' starting small forward

SAN FRANCISCO – Glenn Robinson III joined the Warriors partly because he has been peaking in their direction for a couple years and partly because Draymond Green, the team’s busiest recruiter, has been in his ear.

Mostly, he came because the summertime departures of Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala, as well as the serious knee injury sustained by Klay Thompson, created a job opening that speaks to him.

The Warriors need a competent small forward in their starting lineup, someone who occasionally can make a shot, embraces defense and understands teamwork.

“It was a big reason why I chose to come here in free agency,” Robinson said late Thursday night, after the Warriors’ 143-123 preseason win over Minnesota at Chase Center.

“I’ve said it in the past, but I looked at the Warriors a couple years back. Draymond gave me a call. I knew this was always a great fit for me. I’m just excited to be here and just having an opportunity to play and compete for that starting spot.”

With coach Steve Kerr basically holding internal roster tryouts for the starting spot, Robinson was the choice for the second preseason game. He responded with 13 points (6-of-11 from the field, 1-of-3 from deep), five rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes.

He also found Steph Curry, who lit up the night with 40 points in 25 minutes.

“I liked Glenn’s aggression,” coach Steve Kerr said. “I like that he recognized, on back-to-back plays, as he caught the ball in transition, to run a dribble handoff with Steph. That’s always a good option.

“That recognition is really important on our team. Some guys, it takes longer to figure out. But when you come to our team and you realize the weaponry, the arsenal that Steph has, and the ability to shot make, you need to recognize the situations where he’s a threat.”

Robinson, a 6-foot-6 Michigan product, son of 1994 No. 1 overall draft pick, Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson, signed a one-year contract worth $1.88 million to join his fifth team since being drafted by Minnesota in the second round (40th overall) in 2014.

He is an example of where the Warriors are these days. After years of chasing superstars and other name-brand talent, and winning at an historic clip, the Warriors are careful shoppers looking for value.

“Guys are literally competing for spots on the team, spots in the rotation, and it’s all new to a lot of us,” Robinson said. “It’s only a couple guys here from those past teams. So, we’re just coming in every day ready to work.”

The only players on the current active roster to know the feeling of champagne in the locker room are Kevon Looney, Curry and Green.

The true veterans, Green and Curry, are behind Robinson and see possibilities.

“Over the summer, when we signed him, you could kind of see how he could fit in that ‘3’ spot and add some balance and some versatility,” Curry said. “He’s extremely athletic. He can shoot. He can play defense. So, he’s definitely a great option. And he’s getting comfortable.”

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Alfonzo McKinnie, who earned the final roster spot last year, started the preseason opener and didn’t play particularly well. Alec Burks, free agent who signed with the Warriors one day after Robinson, is dealing with an ankle sprain and has not practiced in a week.

Robinson on Thursday played with a hunger, as if he sees this as perhaps his best opportunity to establish himself with a team. It might be enough to earn a spot in the starting lineup.

Why Steve Kerr hasn't called Phil Jackson to talk Warriors' struggles

Why Steve Kerr hasn't called Phil Jackson to talk Warriors' struggles

Steve Kerr has learned a lot from Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson over the years, and still considers the "Zen Master" one of his mentors.

But as the Warriors' coach continues to navigate this difficult season, he won't be leaning on Jackson for advice.

"Phil doesn’t know anything about a losing team," Kerr recently told Mark Medina of USA Today Sports, before laughing. "So there’s no point in calling him."

Jackson -- who won 11 NBA titles with the Bulls (six) and Lakers (five) -- never experienced a losing campaign in 20 seasons as an NBA head coach.

He boasts a regular season record of 1155 wins and 485 losses, and a playoff record of 229 wins and 104 losses.

Over his first five years with Golden State, Kerr's win percentage was even higher -- as he went 322-88 during the regular season and 77-28 in the postseason.

But the Warriors are 2-12 this season and it's not crazy to think they could finish with the worst record in the league.

So while Kerr's win-loss mark is going to take a hit, it might end up helping in the long run if the Warriors secure a top-3 pick in the 2020 draft.

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“The goal is to try to win every game," Kerr told Medina. "The reality is we’re not (doing) enough to do so right now. The other stuff, we don’t control. Whatever happens, happens.

"Our goal is to go out there and try to perform our best every night, get better and try to build something positive.”

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Top NBA draft prospect LaMelo Ball is big fan of Warriors' Steph Curry

Top NBA draft prospect LaMelo Ball is big fan of Warriors' Steph Curry

About seven months from now, LaMelo Ball will hear his name called at the 2020 NBA Draft.

The 18-year-old -- who is playing for the Illawarra Hawks in Australia's National Basketball League -- is the younger brother of Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball.

He is averaging 15.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.6 steals through 11 games.

What does LaMelo think about Warriors superstar Steph Curry?

Here is an excerpt from a recent Bleacher Report feature on LaMelo, written by Mirin Fader:

Finally sitting back down, he pulls up NBA highlights on his phone. "My boy Curryyyyyy!" he says, watching Warriors guard Stephen Curry splash a deep three. Jackson and Brooks head out for another drink as LaMelo decides to stay in.

He waves goodbye, then grows quiet, locked into his phone. He is mesmerized by the threes, by the possibility that he could soon be there.

LaMelo wouldn't have said this if he didn't admire and/or respect Curry's game.

And it's wild to think that because the three-time NBA champion will be sidelined for several more months because of a broken left hand, he just might end up being teammates with LaMelo -- who is projected to be a top-5 pick in June.

It's even possible that he ends up going No. 1 overall, and the Warriors currently have the worst record in the NBA.

Nobody knows how things will shake out, but it's fun to imagine what could transpire.

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As for those highlights LaMelo was watching -- in the Warriors' second preseason game against Minnesota on Oct. 10, Curry scored 40 points (in just 25 minutes) and went 6-for-9 from 3-point range.

Basketball misses you, Steph.

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