Warriors

How DeMarcus Cousins might fill Warriors' center need; is Draymond Green off?

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Illustration by Tara Funk

How DeMarcus Cousins might fill Warriors' center need; is Draymond Green off?

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag, presented by Toyota. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith

Tip-Off

We finally have a window of time for DeMarcus Cousins’ return. Steve Kerr said Boogie could play for the Warriors as soon as Wednesday against his previous team.

It’s more likely the return date will be Jan. 18 against the Clippers, however, based on what Steve said at practice yesterday.

“The idea is we have to give ourselves some leeway.” Steve said. “The Clippers game is the one we’ve targeted, but we should give ourselves some leeway on either side because we have to see how the next week goes. That’s the range that we’re looking at.”

I knew I wanted to write about Boogie off the top of the this mailbag, so let’s fold in some of your questions, too.

Game On!

@rj1975 Now that Boogie’s return date has been announced, how long do you think it will take for him to be acclimated to the Warrior way? #AskKerith

@WillHar18196474 If Cousins acclimates well and gets off to a decent start, will Warriors still seek a big for the 15th roster spot?

The most important thing I want to say is be patient with Boogie. The one-year anniversary of his Achilles injury is Jan. 26. After nearly a year of no games, he needs to get his wind back. He’s also playing on a new team at a new pace. Give the man some room to acclimate. Don’t expect him to go 25-and-12 instantaneously. I also wrote last week that he’ll probably have some frustration with fouls.

That said, the Warriors are hyped to get a center who can dominate in their lineup. This isn’t a knock on Kevon Looney. It’s just a skill set thing and an attitude that Boogie possesses that makes him one of the top bigs in the NBA.

The Warriors have fallen in love with him. Players talk about how funny he is and how much his veteran presence has helped the younger guys. They will do everything they can to help him make a smooth transition.

As for the 15th roster spot, it’s a possibility the Warriors will add one more big, for insurance purposes heading into the postseason. They’ve been carved up inside by opponents, so there’s no harm in shoring up the center position. I recall Bob Myers saying that even with Boogie coming back, he’s watching what centers might be available. It’s also possible the Warriors could decide to add some wing depth.

@Sombra Larga‏ #askKerith Draymond seems off. Is it lingering from the blow-up with KD? Lack of strong support at center? Any insights?

I checked the stats after Tuesday’s game against the Knicks, and Draymond is leading the Warriors in rebounds, assists and steals. He’s averaging eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists. His scoring and 3-pointers are down a little this season, but consider he missed a chunk of games with his toe injury.

Draymond still is finding his shot, and there was a time when the whole team struggled offensively. Don’t forget all the things he does that don’t appear in a box score.

If something seems off, it could be what the team demands of Draymond and how that adds up. Steve frequently says the Warriors would not have their championship banners if it weren’t for Draymond. He defends like a madman. He gets ice packs after games. He’s going up against bigger, heavier players. There’s a physical toll. Maybe having Boogie back as a true center can lift some of the burden on Draymond and let him fly around in ways that are more comfortable.

The dust-up with KD is not a factor. That situation is long buried. KD’s free agency might hang in the air, but in the present, there’s a singular goal for the Warriors to win another championship to accomplish the three-peat. I assure you everything else is water under the bridge as they chase this goal.

@headinguphill Is Damian Jones with the team during his rehab? Can't remember seeing him on the bench recent games or do I need to get my glasses cleaned?

DJ is with the team. He does workouts on the court before games. He goes on road trips. It’s important that a rehabbing player still is a part of the group. Specifically during games, sometimes he’s on the bench, sometimes he’s not. Don’t worry about your glasses.

Via IG: @gina_xing What’s in your bag during the road trip? Favorite item?

The Warriors have a 12-day road trip coming up, and that means two suitcases for yours truly. I take a big one for clothes, and a smaller one for shoes and jackets. This long trip has five games, so I’ll pack three pairs of high heels, one pair of sneakers to work out, and at least one pair of flats. Probably two. Going between warm-weather and cold-weather climates makes me want to prepare for anything.

I might have mentioned this when the mailbag started, but I travel with a small humidifier. I got one for $30, and it puts some moisture in a dry hotel room to prevent a sore throat. Life saver!

Via IG @drewatt What is the best thing about covering the Warriors? The hardest part about covering the Warriors? And the most challenging day to day?

The best thing is how ordinary the players are. They don’t want to be treated like heroes or superstars. They want normal conversations.

And the next best thing is how none of this is normal. The success they’ve had with three championships in four years? The records for wins and threes they’ve set? The way the Warriors forced the NBA to change? I like having the awareness that I’m surrounded by some of the all-time greats, at the peak of their greatness.

The hardest parts or most challenging parts really aren’t a big deal. They are just minor annoyances I’ll keep to myself. It’s general workplace gripes. This job is extraordinary. I’m lucky and happy.

@justbreatheann What books are Coach Kerr, Myers, Steph & Klay currently reading? #askKerith Tnx

Steve and Bob loved this question. Steve told me he recently finished Ian O’Connor’s book, “Belichick: The Making of the Great Football Coach of All Time.” Steve also recently read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book “Between the World and Me.”

If you want to read some deep thoughts from Steve on the Belichick book, check out this Ryan Gorcey story.

Bob is reading “The Remains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro. I didn’t have a chance to go ask Steph or Klay, but I got you a bonus guy: Bruce Fraser is reading “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight.

@shanetrey5 Favorite movie/movies of 2018? For me it’d be the new Spider-Man.

I want to see into the Spider-Verse! Glad you liked it. My favorite movie of 2018 is “Annihilation.”

I was transfixed in the theater with the visuals and sound. As I was watching it and taking in the ugly awe of nature and the tumor themes, it made me think of connectivity between all creatures and the beauty and violence woven together in life. I read everything I could find about the movie afterward. It’s been a long time since a movie transfixed me like this.

This review took the tumor theme a step further and wondered, what if the Earth had cancer?

And this review interpreted “Annihilation” is about the weight of depression.

I’m reading the book now. It’s greatly different than the movie. Seeing the movie first prepared me for the weirdness of the book, and the book is even better. I’m going to read the whole trilogy.

High Five

This week’s high five goes to Boogie for shouting out Maori Davenport, the student who represented America on Team USA and lost her final year of high school playing eligibility because of an error that was not her fault. There’s also an outcry over the rigidity of the people maintaining the rules about amateurism. Boogie smells something fishy.

To read up on Davenport, here’s a recap. Her story has gone national. The latest news is the Alabama House Republicans calling for her reinstatement.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.

Warriors' Quinn Cook explains why he never doubted his NBA potential

Warriors' Quinn Cook explains why he never doubted his NBA potential

Quinn Cook's path to the NBA was not direct, but the Warriors guard said he never stopped believing in himself. 

The Duke product went undrafted after winning a National Championship with the Blue Devils in 2015. He was a part of four different NBA organizations (Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks) before signing a two-way contract with the Warriors in 2017.

But Cook said he got by with a little help from his friends. College teammate Austin Rivers watched him in the G League, and so did LeBron James after a training camp together in Cleveland. 

"That doesn't happen, and those guys kept my confidence [up]," Cook told Rivers and Warriors sideline reporter Kerith Burke on The Uninterrupted Road Trippin' Podcast. "I knew the work I put in. And growing up, I always had confidence in myself. I was a McDonald's All-American. I was All-American in college. I just had to take a different route, and I appreciated it."

Cook caught his big break with the Warriors last season. He played his way into coach Steve Kerr's rotation, and eventually a roster spot once Steph Curry was sidelined down the stretch with an injury. 

In his fourth NBA season, Cook averaged career-highs of 9.5 points, 2.7 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game. He hit the 20-point mark five times, and started 15 of the Warriors' final 16 regular-season games. 

Cook returned to the bench at the start of the playoffs, but still played 10 minutes a night for the eventual NBA champions. He made it, almost overnight, but said he was able to keep things in perspective. 

"[When] Steph went down and I started to score [a lot], I didn't act like this was new because I had been doing it my whole life," Cook continued. "That was just a great opportunity that I wanted to take advantage of, and everything happened for a reason. [Four] teams passed on me, but I got on the right team and I just want to keep building."

[RELATED: Austin Rivers explains how Steph transformed basketball]

Curry has played in 60 of the Warriors' 71 games this season, so Cook has only started eight times. His minutes and production are down, too, but Cook is scoring (16.3 points) and rebounding (5.6 rebounds) at the highest per-36 minute rates of his career. 

Not that he's surprised. 

You can hear the rest of Rivers, Cook and Burke's conversation on Road Trippin' in the player below, and subscribe here.