Warriors

Gordon auditioning for job with Warriors: 'Still got gas in the tank'

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Gordon auditioning for job with Warriors: 'Still got gas in the tank'

OAKLAND – Ben Gordon has reached the intersection that awaits most every professional athlete. It’s a time of self-assessment, of wanting to prove there is something left but wondering how much.

The Warriors, in their search for reliable offense off the bench, are willing to join the veteran guard on his search for an answer.

“The league is so much about being in the right situation, being with the right group of guys that mesh with your talents and skills,” Gorden said Tuesday. “This team’s style of play, with a lot of movement, a lot of ball movement, a lot of unselfish play – and they’re not shy about shooting – that’s right up my alley.”

This minutes after Gordon, whose signing was announced on Monday, joined the defending NBA champions for the first day of training camp. Drills went beyond the two-hour mark. Everybody survived.

But while most of the veterans in camp are returnees fairly secure in their place on the roster, Gordon is the grizzled vagabond auditioning for a job.

“Ben was good,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after overseeing practice. “He’s been around a long time, but he’s still got gas in the tank.”

[RELATED: Barbosa absent from Warriors practice, stuck in Brazil]

Gordon, 32, has 11 NBA seasons behind him. Though he signed a two-year contract last summer to join Orlando, he was waived by the Magic in June after averaging 6.2 points per game off the bench.

One year earlier, in Charlotte, Gordon averaged 5.2 points per game.

It’s quite the decline for a guy who averaged double figures in his first nine seasons – with a career-high 21.4 in 2006-07 – after Chicago made him the third overall selection in the 2004 draft.

That Ben Gordon may never be seen again. That’s the guy who was collegiate star at UConn, the first NBA rookie to be voted Sixth Man of the Year. He quickly gained a reputation for putting away opponents in the fourth quarter. It was enough to convince Detroit in 2009 to sign him to a five-year deal worth $55 million.

But the Warriors are willing to see how much can be mined.

“I just want to come here and see if I can be in a winning situation,” Gordon said. “The last two years for me have been tough. But I think I fit in well here.”

The Warriors view Gordon, at 6-foot-2, as being able to play opposite rangy ball-handlers like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala. Gordon will compete with Leandro Barbosa – who has the advantage of a guaranteed contract – to bring offense off the bench.

"The NBA and basketball are funny,” Gordon said. “You’ve got to jump on any opportunity to you can at the time. And this is a good one. I said I wanted to be in a winning situation, so here I am with a chance in training camp to make the team. And I’m happy about it.“

Warriors vs. Clippers watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

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USATSI

Warriors vs. Clippers watch guide: Lineups, injuries and player usage

LOS ANGELES -- Somewhere behind the tsunami of conversation and debate devoted to DeMarcus Cousins making his return to the NBA on Friday, the Warriors and Clippers will play a basketball game.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame, with tipoff at Staples Center scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Though Cousins’ Warriors debut will be the focal point of every fan around the globe, the team has a compelling bit of business at hand.

They’re trying to extend a six-game winning streak against a team they no longer dominate.

The Warriors (31-14) had beaten the Clippers 12 consecutive times before taking a 19-point loss at Oracle Arena last January. The teams have split their last four games, including the first two this season: a Clippers 121-116 overtime win on Nov. 12 in L.A., and the Warriors taking a 129-127 victory on Dec. 23 in Oakland.

The Clippers (24-20) remade their roster over the last two summers and had been better than projected before losing their last four games. They own the seventh-best record in the Western Conference and 12th-best in the league.

This is the Warriors’ first trip to Staples since the highly publicized squabble between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green on Nov. 12.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors
F Kevin Durant
F Draymond Green
C DeMarcus Cousins
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

Clippers
F Danilo Gallinari
F Tobias Harris
C Marcin Gortat
G Avery Bradley
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

INJURY REPORT

Warriors
C Damian Jones (left pectoral surgery) is listed as out.

Clippers
F Luc Mbah a Moute (left knee soreness) is listed as out.

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors
Though Cousins will start, he’s not likely to play more than five consecutive minutes, which leaves the possibility of limited action in each quarter. The remaining minutes are expected to go to Kevon Looney and Draymond Green. Jordan Bell, already on the fringe of the rotation, is the odd man out.

Curry (42) and Durant (35) combined for 77 points in the last meeting between the teams.

Backup PG Shaun Livingston has been effective since returning after a brief absence with knee soreness, shooting 10-of-15 from the field over his last four games. He had a season-high 13 points against the Pelicans on Wednesday.

Clippers
Guard Lou Williams is the most dangerous bench scorer in the league. He’s averaging 18.7 ppg, tops among all reserves. He’s averaging 22.5 ppg over his last 12 games.

Backup C/F Montrezl Harrell has been so effective, he consistently plays more minutes than Gortat. His 11 double-doubles lead all reserves.

Williams and Harrell are the primary reasons the Clippers lead the NBA in bench scoring (52.6 ppg). The Warriors are 28th (30.2).

Yes, guard Patrick Beverley remains a Clipper and will get minutes, if only to annoy Curry. It’s fair to say they have a longstanding adversarial relationship.

Officials
Eric Lewis (chief), Gediminas Petraitis, Brandon Adair

Draymond Green's agent reveals his one main wish for DeMarcus Cousins

Draymond Green's agent reveals his one main wish for DeMarcus Cousins

Draymond Green might be more excited for DeMarcus Cousins' return than DeMarcus Cousins is for DeMarcus Cousins' return (that makes sense, right?)

Draymond's agent, B.J. Armstrong, also is very happy that Boogie will be back in action Friday night against the Clippers. He loves Cousins' game and is a big fan.

But Armstrong is hoping Cousins' time with the Warriors isn't just defined by points, rebounds and assists.

"The one thing that I'm really wishing for him is not to be a good teammate but to be a great teammate," Armstrong recently said on The Pure Hoops Podcast. "It's really important as a player, it's really important for your relationships that you have.

"When it's all said and done as a player, you'll remember these moments. This is a significant moment for him."

Yes, it is.

Cousins is hoping for a big pay day this summer in free agency, and obviously a lot of that will depend on how he performs the next few months and how his Achilles responds.

But the rest of the NBA will be paying very close attention to how he impacts the Warriors' chemistry, his standing in the locker room and how he handles somewhat of a lesser role on the court.

The good news for the four-time All-Star is that his teammates have his back 100 percent.

"We'll do everything in our power to make sure he succeeds," Andre Iguodala told reporters after Golden State's win Wednesday night. "That's everybody in the locker room. That's really our focus."

That support is key, and Cousins will rely on it at various points throughout his comeback. It's also important that the help is reciprocated. 

[RELATEDHow Cousins will help Warriors in these three specific areas]

"I just hope he understands the importance of being a great teammate -- not a good teammate -- a great teammate," Armstrong reiterated. "Because that is the most important thing. You walk away from the game -- every player -- hopefully you walk away with some friends you made over the years.

"I just hope Boogie experiences one of the joys of this league -- is to become a great teammate ... his teammates are so excited for him ... I just hope that Boogie appreciates that because he has some great teammates right now.

"This is a priceless moment for him and a very key moment in his career."

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