How die-hard Warriors fans can stay optimistic during trying season

How die-hard Warriors fans can stay optimistic during trying season

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the Dubs as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith


The Celtics are in town, bringing an NBA-best 9-1 record to Chase Center. Three players will be out with broken hands: Steph Curry, Damion Lee, and Boston forward Gordon Hayward, who is expected to be out for six weeks out after undergoing surgery. 

Every team deals with injuries over the course of a season. Some teams get bit, others get shark-attacked. It feels like Jaws chomped off half the Dubs roster. Only four Warriors have been healthy for every game this season: Glenn Robinson III, Marquese Chriss, Jordan Poole, and Ky Bowman. 

The season marches on. There is no pity from competitors. When no one cares about your hardship, you can only turn inward for strength. The Warriors must play with purpose.

Game on!

@Nas_Isms #askKerith besides the awful start to the season and Steph injury, what questions should we be asking and why should die hard fans remain optimistic? Asking for a friend ....

Young players are getting big minutes. That’s important to their development. I was thinking about Jordan Bell when I saw him in Minnesota. If he were on this team, this season, I wonder what his growth would have been like. 

The Warriors are 2-10. The expectations are different this season, which means they can play and make mistakes and watch film and repeat. They always are building chemistry. And when the wins aren’t coming, players learn the tough lesson that outside voices can be mean. They learn to tune out the voices that don’t matter and rely on each other. Those bonds will pay off.

I truly believe the losses this season will add up to a mentally stronger, been-through-the-fire confidence, coupled with invaluable experience on the floor. The best learning comes from doing.

This organization also is a sound place to play. I don’t know that the attitudes would be as positive if the structure in place to weather a down year wasn’t solid. Top to bottom, the Warriors have good leaders and a long-term vision. I hope die-hard fans are seeing the big picture too. 

@em_nera What is the atmosphere around the locker room ? We had some "encouraging" losses so hopefully the guys are holding their heads up.

Film study helps. When a player sees examples of a good sequence, or a good move they’ve been working on, it clicks. Measuring progress is important.

Film study also illuminates weak spots. This is going to be a year of study. The guys understand that. 

Steve Kerr has been talking about the realities of the season AND the need to play their best every night to close out some of these games. Yes, the Warriors are frequently outmanned and outmatched, but how much will they allow that to be a crutch? Protect the ball, rebound, take smart shots. These are all things they can control no matter who is on the floor. 

From what I see, the players still have their heads up. No one likes to lose. They have fight. You’re right that there have been enough encouraging moments to keep the right attitude and press on. 

@ClarissaSchreed #askKerith If the Warriors are unfortunate enough to lose more players to injury, do at some point they have to forfeit games?

I heard Bob Fitzgerald mention this on the broadcast: Teams need 8 active players to begin a game, and they must finish the game with at least 5 players. 

@Jwonder64 I would like to know why they got rid of Alfonso McKinney and Quinn Cook
@JoannaB27032700 Me too 

The Warriors didn’t get rid of anyone like these guys were trash to the curb. Alfonzo’s story was unfortunate circumstance, and Quinn Cook was a free agent. 

Alfonzo went into this season believing he could be a starter since Klay Thompson was injured. Then, during the course of the preseason, injuries to Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein put the Warriors in a tough spot where they needed size. They waived Alfonzo, who had a non-guaranteed contract, to sign Marquese Chriss. There are more details here. Alfonzo landed with the Cavaliers.

Quinn had an offer from the Warriors, but they rescinded that offer for financial reasons when the D’Angelo-for-KD deal went down. Now Quinn plays for the Lakers, his favorite team as a child

@Jon_in_SoCal Draymond is such a smart player. Is there a chance he would go back to Michigan State and coach?

Draymond has the aptitude to do whatever he wants in basketball, and Draymond The Coach is a cool idea. He’s already a coach on the floor. I also think the degree of teaching he’s doing this season and the patience it requires would be something he could draw upon in the future. This is all very hypothetical right now, but if an alumnus with Draymond’s pedigree were interested in the job, I bet MSU would hire him immediately. 

I’ll keep this question in mind when Draymond goes to MSU for his jersey retirement ceremony in January. When he’s back with his Spartan family, I bet he’ll have a soft spot for wandering down this avenue in his mind. 

Draymond is so successful, any avenue could be his: Coach, front office, broadcaster, businessman. He’s earned whatever he wants next. 

@3athalete Curious in your take on last season vs this season with travel, fans, media frenzy or lack thereof.

Steph’s warm-up routine used to be must-see-TV. It’s not a stretch to say thousands of fans got to games early for a glimpse of the show. This season there is a noticeable difference. Where is everyone?

Warriors fans are still showing up, but it’s a smaller crowd. That’s expected when Steph’s not traveling. When kids wait in the lobby at the team hotel, it’s sad to see their faces when it dawns on them Steph, Klay and others are not there. 

On the flip side, the fans who come to warm-ups or hang out for autographs know everyone by name. There’s less of a frenzy but the ones who remain are true. 

As I mentioned in the last mailbag, the dip in national media covering the Warriors means the regular beat folks can get more one-on-one time with the players. Expect some great stories this season. 

@slowdowwn Hey @KerithBurke what is that block that some of the players put on their chair when they are on the bench? And what is it for? Are there health benefits to it? #AskKerith

The block is a thick foam cushion to make sitting more comfortable. The seats on the bench are folding chairs with a little padding, but when have folding chairs been nice to sit on for an extended period of time? Never!

The blocks help the players sit in a more natural position. I remember when Kevin Durant would sit without a block, his knees would be up to his elbows. There are some therapeutic benefits to sitting higher. 

High Five

Thanks to Eric Paschall for coming on our Warriors Insider podcast, which you can find here or the usual places, like Apple and Spotify. It was a long talk, and I feel thankful we got to know him better. He’s a confident person. 

The first podcast episodes Logan Murdock and I did with Kelenna Azubuike and Paschall were under the Warriors Insider banner, but we have a new name coming out and our own direction to go. Stay tuned!

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' Draymond Green out, Eric Paschall doubtful Friday vs. Jazz

Warriors' Draymond Green out, Eric Paschall doubtful Friday vs. Jazz

It's always tough to beat the Jazz in Utah, as the Warriors were reminded last month. Golden State was going to be a massive underdog Friday night as it was, and Thursday's injury report certainly won't change that.

After suffering an embarrassing home overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, the Dubs will try to right the ship against Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert & Co., but they'll have to do it without at least one of their best players -- and we don't mean Steph Curry or Klay Thompson.

Draymond Green is listed as out (rest) for Friday's game at Vivint Smart Home Arena, while rookie Eric Paschall is doubtful with left hip soreness. Additionally, both Ky Bowman and Alen Smailagic are on G League assignment. 

[RELATED: Dubs' Bowman won't play vs. Jazz, will make G League debut]

With Green out and Paschall doubtful, one would expect Golden State's (relatively) healthy bigs like Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss to get some extended playing time against the Jazz.

Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard


Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard

You might think of Steph Curry as a point guard.

After all, he's short, brings the ball up the court sometimes and appears on the far left of those nifty starting lineup graphics prior to tip-off with PG next to his name.

But in this age of run-and-gun positionless basketball, is Curry really a point guard? Not if you ask Gary Payton.

In fact, the nine-time NBA All-Star believes there only are two true point guards left in The Association.

"That's a question that is kind of difficult for old people," Payton told NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock and Kerith Burke on the "Runnin' Plays Podcast" when asked about the best point guards in today's game. "You look at Stephen Curry. You put him as a point guard. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at [Russell] Westbrook. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at James Harden. He's not a point guard, he's a two-guard.

"To me, there are only two guards in this league that are true point guards. That's [Rajon] Rondo and Chris Paul. 

"Now, Chris Paul has turned into a shooting guard more, but Rondo is a true point guard," Payton continued. "He looks first to get people off. He does his defense and he makes people better around him. Not, let me score 30. Not, let me shoot a jump shot first. He's not doing that ... If we name a lot of point guards that's right now in this NBA, they are not point guards."

At least Harden can finally be in the same category as Steph, right?

[RELATED: Loss to Knicks shows Warriors have earned NBA's worst record]

While Steph might not be the prototypical point guard in the old-fashioned sense, there's no doubt he'll one day be enshrined in Springfield, Mass., as one of the greatest scoring guards in NBA history.

In any era, that's pretty, pretty good.