Warriors

How Glenn Robinson III is relishing shot at rejuvenation with Warriors

How Glenn Robinson III is relishing shot at rejuvenation with Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO -- Three months ago, Glenn Robinson III joined the Warriors in hopes of resurrecting his career. Along the way, he learned a unique way of achieving his goal.

During one of Robinson's first film sessions, Warriors coach Steve Kerr Kerr -- a disciple of eclectic Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson -- showed a football-centered video montage of free safeties getting burned on deep passes. 

"Steve was like, 'Y'all laughing but that's how we should feel if we get beat over the top," Robinson recalled following Friday's preseason win over the Los Angeles Lakers. "The first thing is to stop the ball." 

The tactic floored the six-year veteran.  

"No other coach has explained it that way," Robinson said. "It was a good way to get everybody to wake up. It was different and to a way we understand it."

For the last two weeks, Robinson has been one of the Warriors' biggest training-camp surprises. He earned the starting small-forward job following the expected departure of Alfonzo Mckinnie, and Robinson has impressed his new team. 

"Glenn is rock solid," Kerr said. "He understands his role, he understands it. He's a good three-point shooter."

Remnants of Robinson's training-camp performance were on display Friday. Less than a minute into the Warriors' 124-103 win, he received a no-look pass from D'Angelo Russell and hit a 3-pointer in front of the Warriors' bench. In the second quarter, Robinson hit another 3-pointer from the same spot. By the end of the night, he accumulated 13 points, six rebounds and two steals. 

The onset of Robinson's career has been defined by movement, as he played for three teams in his first three NBA seasons. He seemed to gain traction in Indiana, where he became a solid rotation player for the Pacers behind star forward Paul George. In 2016-17, Robinson shot 39 percent from 3-point range.

Over a three-year stretch with the Pacers, Robinson shot 45 percent from the field, including 39.3 percent from beyond the arc. 

However, after Robinson signed a two-year, $8.3 million contract with the Detroit Pistons in 2018, there was an expectation that the 25-year-old would take the next step. Those plans never came to fruition as Robinson averaged just 4.2 points and 1.5 rebounds while shooting 42 percent from the field as injuries limited him to 47 games. 
 
Robinson continued to struggle even after a mid-season trade sent Stanley Johnson and Reggie Bullock out of town. On draft night, the Pistons agreed to trade for sharpshooter Tony Snell and selected Sekou Doumbouya, prompting them to decline Robinson's $4.3 million team option.

With his career in need of repair, he looked to the Western Conference, where the Warriors -- who lost Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala in a 48-hour span -- offered Robinson an opportunity most teams didn't: A chance to start on a team with playoff aspirations. 

"I've backed up Paul George, I've backed up a lot of guys in my time but here I had a unique situation," Robinson said. "I really wanted the opportunity to take that and show what I can do."

With the Warriors, Robinson is adjusting to a new culture, one less defined by rugged training camps and more by a player-friendly environment led by Kerr. 

"He gets that we don't need to be in here all day," Robinson told NBC Sports Bay Area. "It's about efficiency. So every other team I've had two-a-days, come back and you're tired and you're hurt. You can see how they're just smart about things." 

Kerr's need for efficiency nearly discouraged Robinson, long used to proving himself in rugged practices. But transition has helped Robinson, who averaged 8.8 points and four rebounds in five preseason games. 

"I really didn't know if they knew my whole game or what I could do because practices were so short at the beginning," Robinson said. "But as time came along, Steve told me he knew what I could do and he knew my game and he could see it from the camp. So I'm just glad it worked out the way it did and continue to get better." 

"He's got more to his game than I realized," Kerr added. "I always looked at him as a spot-up three-point guy but he's a good cutter. He understands our split game and our movement."

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Now, with the season nearly underway and a starting spot in tow, Robinson is hopeful he can be a vital piece. 

So are the Warriors. 

"He's enjoying himself out there," Kerr said. "I'm really glad Glenn's here."

Why Warriors drafting LaMelo Ball could be beneficial to both parties

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AP

Why Warriors drafting LaMelo Ball could be beneficial to both parties

The Warriors are going to have a very high lottery pick. This much is certain.

While there is no overwhelming consensus as to which prospect should be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, there is a handful of players believed to be in contention for that selection. Depending on the position and type of player a specific team is looking for, that could ultimately determine who goes first overall.

One of the prospects believed to be near the top of most teams draft boards is 18-year-old guard LaMelo Ball, the youngest brother of New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball. The younger Ball just returned to the United States after averaging 17.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists over 12 games with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia's NBL. He is a somewhat controversial prospect, and not every team will be the right fit for him. 

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman recently assessed how Ball would fit with the teams likely to be picking near the top of the lottery, and he believes Ball ending up in Golden State would be beneficial to both parties.

"Ball's potential fit in Golden State became easier to envision after the Warriors swapped D'Angelo Russell for a non-playmaking wing in Andrew Wiggins at the Feb. 6 trade deadline," Wasserman wrote. "And with Stephen Curry turning 32 in March, the team (and Curry) may benefit from an additional ball-handler."

"Arguably the most important benefit for the 18-year-old," Wasserman added, "who's been in the spotlight since early high school and has five-plus million Instagram followers, would be the franchise's professionalism and winning culture."

Ball's maturity has often been questioned -- although that's probably more his father's fault than his own -- but Wasserman believes the Warriors have the right leadership in place in Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and coach Steve Kerr to help ease his transition into the NBA. Additionally, he views the worst aspect of Ball's fit in Golden State as potentially being a positive.

"The only negative of his landing in Golden State would be the lack of early shots and touches," Wasserman summarized. "He wouldn't have a path toward dominating the rock and putting up All-Star numbers. But that may also be for the better."

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With what are expected to be high lottery picks in each of the next two drafts, a massive trade exception and a reloaded cupboard of assets, the Warriors are poised to quickly turn things around and get right back into championship contention. It remains to be seen if Ball will have a part in that.

Why Draymond Green believes Andrew Wiggins can be All-Defensive player

Why Draymond Green believes Andrew Wiggins can be All-Defensive player

SAN FRANCISCO – When Andrew Wiggins came to the Warriors two weeks ago in exchange for D’Angelo Russell, it was as if he arrived with five unwanted tattoos scripted across his 6-foot-8 frame.

Doesn’t play defense.

Doesn’t shoot the 3-ball.

Doesn’t have a passion to be great.

Doesn’t love the game.

Doesn’t, repeating for emphasis, play defense.

Draymond Green, one of Wiggins’ new teammates, is on a quest to remove those invisible tats. Green fully believes they can fade into history, thereby reshaping the reputation attached to Wiggins over five-plus seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“I think he can be an All-Defensive (team) player,” Green said after practice Wednesday. “That’s one of my goals for him, as the leader of this team, one of my things that I really want to push him on. He has all the tools. He has the athleticism. He reminds me a lot of Kevin (Durant), where they’re both long and lanky, but agile and can move. Very skinny guys, but not weak. From that aspect, it reminds me a lot of Kevin.

“Kevin’s a great defender. If (Wiggins) can continue to build on that, which I think he can ... on the defensive end, he can be really, really good.”

Wiggins’ defensive stats generally rate at the bottom levels, but there is reason to believe in appreciable improvement. His 2016-17 defensive rating of 107.9 was identical to that of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who entered the league one year earlier. Wiggins has twice over the past four seasons posted better individual defensive ratings than Trevor Ariza, who still maintains a reputation as a solid, if declining, defender.

Those numbers don’t vary much from those Wiggins posts in defensive win shares and defensive box plus/minus.

Such statistics, however, only hint at a player’s impact, rarely capturing the complete tale. There is plenty of video exposing Wiggins’ defensive ineffectiveness, and every one of them is with him as a part of a Timberwolves defense that annually ranked among the NBA’s worst.

Minnesota ranked no higher than 24th in defensive rating in any of the five full seasons with Wiggins on the roster. Only once over that span did the Timberwolves reach the playoffs.

“The thought wasn’t that he was a bad defender, anyway,” Green said, pointing out that the Warriors never sought to target him on that end. “He just hasn’t really been in a winning situation. And that’s when the defense gets the notoriety. He hasn’t been in that situation.”

Green also pushed back on the notion that Wiggins is low on desire, in the NBA perhaps for reasons other than love of the game.

“He wants to be great,” Green said. “He’s a guy who has been beat down a lot. Once again, people never talk about the situation guys are in. He wants to be great. He’s not demonstrative. He’s not very talkative. People would never say that or see it.

“But just talking to him, trying to get to know him and watching him work, he wants to be really good. I take that upon myself as a leader of this team, as one of the older guys on this team ... I want to help him do that any way I can.”

Not grasping, or even observing, reasons for the many critiques of Wiggins’ game, Draymond’s assessment is of a 23-year-old still building a career that has been no worse than respectable.

“That guy has averaged 20 points a game (actually 19.7) for three or four years, probably over his career,” Green said. “It’s not a f---ing bum we’re talking about. So, I’m not going to sit here and act like we found some diamond-in-the-rough that no one (knew about). He was the No. 1 pick. He’s averaged 20. He’s a player.”

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Green has spent the past few seasons providing guidance, offering constructive criticism while also giving his share of pep talks. Those things didn’t seem to move D’Angelo Russell, a tremendous scorer who plays to a beat only he can hear.

Wiggins is more malleable. And listening closely to Draymond’s vociferous defense of his new teammate, while also vowing full support, it’s clear that his new project is one in which he believes.