Warriors

Has Durant already locked up Defensive Player of the Year? Draymond weighs in

Has Durant already locked up Defensive Player of the Year? Draymond weighs in

OAKLAND -- Night after night and block by block, Kevin Durant is building a resume for a title that seemed beyond him or, maybe, beneath him.

Durant specializes in using his combination of length, agility and shooting skill to rip through the fabric of any defense he sees. He’s a four-time scoring champion with the ability to be a 10-time scoring champ.

And now, a decade into his career, this offensive machine is being hailed as a defensive force and, thus, a complete basketball player.

Happens to be the defensive player, according to Warriors teammate Draymond Green, who happens to be the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

“If I had a vote, I’d vote for him right now,” Green said of Durant’s DPOY candidacy.

Green was speaking after Durant once again produced on the defensive end. He blocked three shots and helped limit Utah’s starting forwards to 5-of-16 shooting in a 126-101 win over the Jazz.

Durant has blocked at least two shots in 10 consecutive games. Forgive Durant if he didn’t see this coming, even though the Warriors imagined it from the time they signed him nearly 18 months ago.

“I enjoy doing other things out there,” Durant said. “But when my number is called to score, that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. That’s what my whole game is based around, putting the ball in the basket.”

But the 6-foot-9 forward (OK, actually 6-11) continues to put up defensive numbers that have make observers take note. Durant is locking up opponents, defending multiple positions and battling Pacers center Myles Turner to lead the league in blocks this season.

After Durant blocked five shots in a win over Cleveland on Christmas Day, Mychal Thompson, Klay Thompson’s father and the color analyst on Lakers broadcasts, tweeted that Durant “looks like Bill Russell on defense.”

That’s high praise, and Durant knows it.

“It’s cool that people are starting to recognize me for more than just a scorer,” he said. “I’ve been trying to shake that rap since 2012. So when people start to notice what you do -- obviously it’s not all you do it for -- but you want people to appreciate what you bring to the table. It first starts with your teammates and coaches, and I got that from them. I feel good coming in every day knowing that they trust me on that side of the ball.

“But when fans are watching the game, anybody watching the game, you want them to see what you do. I try to impact the game as much as I can on both ends of the floor. Especially coming from a champ, like Mr. Thompson, it means I’m doing something right. I’ll take it.”

On the day he was introduced as the newest Warrior, assistant coach Ron Adams stood off to the side saying Durant had the tools to become a member of the All-Defensive Team.

At this stage, that’s a given.

At this stage, he’s at the top of the conversation for something higher, like DPOY.

“I think he is, if not the leading candidate,” Green said. “I don’t think it’s really a race right now. The way he’s been playing on the defensive side of the ball has 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. And, obviously, he’s helping our defense tremendously with the way he’s playing on that side of the ball.”

The Warriors over the last 14 games have become the league’s best defense. With Green missing five games, Durant has been the anchor.

Oh, he’s scoring plenty, too, averaging 28.1 points during that stretch. But it’s the defense that taken him to this strange place where halfway through this season winning the DPOY award is a realistic possibility.

Watch Steph Curry dominate basketball challenge on Japanese game show

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Yahoo Sports

Watch Steph Curry dominate basketball challenge on Japanese game show

It's no secret Steph Curry can shoot -- among other things. As a matter of fact, it's so far from a secret, those around the world continue to be in awe of what he can do.

Recently, a video surfaced of the Warriors' All-Star point guard participating on a Japanese game show.

His "challenge" was to shoot from consecutive numbers dispersed on the court. And as you can see, it was hardly a challenge at all:

He shot 20 shots in 80 seconds -- and was given a time of one minute and 40 seconds to accomplish the feat.

Check out the reaction of those who were on set:

Yes, it was so good, we had to get a screenshot. 

Now, we don't 100-percent know what is going on, but it's safe to say they had a good time and now even more people are a believer in Curry.

Not that there was any doubt in the first place. 

Seven wings the Warriors could target with arrival of NBA trade season

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USATSI

Seven wings the Warriors could target with arrival of NBA trade season

Though coach Steve Kerr has said the Warriors are not likely to make a trade, general manager Bob Myers has shown more flexibility on the idea. That’s Myers’ MO. Like most personnel executives, he must be prepared to pivot at a moment’s notice.

The possibilities expanded Saturday, when the NBA trade window opened wide enough to include most players signed over the summer. All indications are the Warriors will observe rather than shop because they have a “trade” in the works.

They’ll be deeper and more formidable after DeMarcus Cousins is cleared for game activity. He is their in-season addition. Though the Warriors have been discreet about revealing a timeline, all hints imply it’s a matter of weeks, not months.

Kerr is not eager to make a move until Cousins has been evaluated. What can the team expect? How smooth is the transition? Why add a big man now if Cousins can play 20 minutes by the end of the month and 25 -- or more -- at some point in January?

So if the Warriors were to make a deal, it likely would involve a wing. They realize a tweak here or there might help. The fragile health of veterans Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, both currently out, has the front office on alert. If either is out for an extended period, the Warriors have work to do.

Here are, alphabetically, seven wings/forwards on the market, with comment:

Carmelo Anthony (F)

Pros: A very available future Hall of Famer.
Cons: Shooting touch has abandoned him, and he can’t defend a barstool.
Verdict: He’s done.

Alec Burks (F/G)

Pros: Can play three positions, would love to leave Cleveland and he’s 27.
Cons: He’s making $11.54 million this season.
Verdict: He can help.

Vince Carter (F/G)

Pros: Popular future Hall of Famer is still dunking at age 41 for the Hawks.
Cons: Is it ageism to point out he’ll turn 42 next month?
Verdict: He’s worth a listen.

Mario Hezonja (F)

Pros: He’s 23, has some talent and plays with joy with the Knicks.
Cons: His shooting is spotty, and his immaturity might be permanent.
Verdict: Probably not.

Rodney Hood (F/G)

Pros: Plays both ends, is just 27 and is on a one-year Cavs deal at $3.4 million.
Cons: His composure has been an issue.
Verdict: He can help.

Patrick McCaw (G/F)

Pros: Knows the team because he’s on it.
Cons: No indication he wants to be along for the ride.
Verdict: Sure, if he’s in shape and explains the past five months.

Jabari Parker (F)

Pros: Talented enough to be the No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Cons: Can’t make the Bulls’ rotation and is making $20 million.
Verdict: Nah, but hope he revives a once-promising career.

So, yes, there are players capable of helping. And the front office isn’t sleeping on them. The Warriors must decide whether they want to pursue them now, or wait until closer to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.