Warriors

Joe Lacob’s 'light years' comment suddenly seems particularly prescient

Joe Lacob’s 'light years' comment suddenly seems particularly prescient

Players trust management, management trusts players and the franchise thrives. That’s how the Warriors operate, and it is proof that building any so-called “super team” proof is about so much more than money and luck.

Achieving sustained success is, ultimately, about culture and fun.

That’s how the Warriors won over forward-thinking superstar Kevin Durant. That’s how they, on the cheap, pulled in savvy veteran David West.

That’s why they could bring in JaVale McGee and Matt Barnes.

And it’s why they’re bringing in Nick Young.

[SHILLER: Agent provides rationale for Nick Young choosing Warriors: 'He met with...']

That Young will officially become a Warrior in the next few days, first reported Wednesday morning by ESPN and confirmed by NBCSportsBayArea.com, seems like a risk. It is, given his history. But it’s a relatively small risk, with a potentially high reward.

Young’s reputation as a clown is not unlike the rep McGee had when he arrived in Oakland. At 6-foot-7 with a remarkable shooting touch, Young gives the Warriors yet another shooter off the bench, alongside Omri Casspi.

The Warriors looked beyond the image, placed trust in their culture, and will get in Young a poor man’s Klay Thompson. Young will accept the team’s midlevel exception of $5.2 million and give them a longer, more explosive version of Ian Clark.

As for Young, his one-year trail grants the opportunity to rebrand himself, just as McGee did.

Each one of these recent veteran acquisitions has been as a direct result of player-to-player recruitment, and that would not be possible without the incumbent players having full faith in the likes of coach Steve Kerr, president/general manager Bob Myers and CEO Joe Lacob.

That’s how the Warriors think. When Draymond Green and his teammates lead cheers for the organization, others, like Durant, listen. When Durant spends a season with the Warriors and says they are “where you go when you graduate” from the typical NBA experience, that speaks to players outside the organization.

Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson and Green closed the deal that added Durant. Durant reached out to West. Iguodala brokered mutual trust between the Warriors and McGee. Green, Durant and Curry opened the door for Young to move from the Lakers to the Warriors.

The Warriors have created something of a basketball factory, a living and breathing thing that sustains itself on tradition. It’s Patriots football, except with open joy and a warmer heart. It’s Duke basketball without Coach K barking and snarling. It’s Apple with only a portion of the ruthlessness.

When Lacob said in a New York Times Magazine article 16 months ago that the Warriors were “light years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things,” many around the NBA responded by chuckling and rolling their eyes.

Guy’s team wins one championship and he thinks he reinvented winning.

They doubled over with laughter when the Warriors became the first team to blow a 3-1 lead in The Finals, by which time the “light years” phrase had become a source of constant ridicule.

How’s this big bowl of humility taste, Mr. Light Years?

Nobody is laughing now. Everybody is either chasing the Warriors or surrendering before them. Lacob’s “light years” comment suddenly seems particularly prescient, as does the second part of the quote:

“We’re going to be a handful for the rest of the NBA to deal with for a long time.”

Shooting and passing, Kevin Durant's chameleon-like skills aid Warriors

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APUSATSI

Shooting and passing, Kevin Durant's chameleon-like skills aid Warriors

LOS ANGELES – The first Warrior to launch was Draymond Green, missing a 3-pointer 24 seconds after tipoff. That was followed 41 seconds later by Klay Thompson draining a jumper, with an Andrew Bogut missing a jump hook 23 seconds after that.

Stephen Curry got into the action, missing a 3-pointer with 10:08 left in the first quarter, with Bogut following with a dunk and then Green missing from in close a few seconds later.

Where was Kevin Durant?

He was on the court the entire time, but he was the last of the five starters to hoist a shot Sunday in Game 4 of their first-round series against the Clippers. Would this be one of those instances when KD would look to score or would he opt to wear his distributor cap?

He did both.

“Whether it’s coming off screens, pick-and-rolls, being a facilitator or scoring in the post,” Durant said, “I’ve just got to be ready to dive deep in the bag.”

Durant totaled six assists, roughly his average over the final six weeks of the regular season and one more than he had averaged through the first three games of the series. He also had a game-high 33 points as the Warriors posted a 113-105 win at Staples Center.

He ended up taking 21 shots (making 12), one more than Thompson, who scored 32 points. Durant also grabbed seven rebounds.

Durant’s numbers came because he discerned the needs of the team, considering the circumstances and making logical decisions. Most everything he did seemed to regarded such factors as timing and whichever four teammates with whom he was sharing the floor.

His first two shots came in the fourth minute of the game, jumpers that went in. But he quickly realized the Clippers had made an adjustment. Instead of being defended by pesky 6-foot-1 guard Patrick Beverley, who had the assignment in the first three games, Los Angeles coach turned to JaMychal Green, who at 6-9 is just two inches shorter than Durant.

“Where I initiate and where I operate from the floor has to change,” Durant said of the switch. “I can mix in playing same way I played the previous game a little. But to keep the defense off balance and not be predictable out there, I’ve got to use the full body of my offensive talents.”

When he recognized how hot Thompson was in the first quarter – he made his first seven shots – Durant tried to feed him.

Later in the game, with Curry struggling to find a semblance of offensive rhythm, Durant was trying to send passes his way.

With the game on the line in the fourth quarter, Durant often was the primary ballhandler – even when Curry and Green were on the floor.

“Coach called my number in the fourth quarter to handle the ball, but that doesn’t mean to just score,” Durant said. “If I see an opportunity to get a bucket, I try to take advantage. But Klay had it going. He had a mismatch.

“Especially when the ball is in my hands a lot, I know it’ll come around. So I just tried to get everybody else going and get our energy going from just touching the basketball. I think that provides energy, when everybody touches the ball.”

It’s working. Other than playing 17 minutes of brutal basketball to finish Game 2 with a thud, the Warriors have been nearly as good as expected.

Midway through the third quarter of Game 2, the Warriors led by 30 and KD had taken five shots.

Midway through the third quarter of Game 3, they were up 31 and he had taken 19 shots.

Durant gained a reputation as a scorer by winning four scoring titles in a five-year span as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. But he’s also willing passer, sometimes too willing.

He can do both, and quite well when he is fully engaged, as he was in Games 3 and 4.

Steph Curry must stop fouling if Warriors want to reach ultimate goal

Steph Curry must stop fouling if Warriors want to reach ultimate goal

LOS ANGELES -- Stephen Curry seems to be in a rut.

Through the first four games of the NBA playoff first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Warriors star has struggled to stay on the floor because of foul trouble. The problem even has caused Curry to etch the words "don't" and "reach" on his Under Armour Curry 6 sneakers.

That two-word mantra is something Curry can take heed in as the postseason progresses.

"He just hasn't been focused," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after Sunday's 113-105 Game 4 win at Staples Center.

Curry has accumulated 17 total fouls in the series. In Game 4, he committed four fouls -- three in the first half, with two coming in the first quarter.

Curry has shown throughout his career that he has a habit for the dramatic. Four years ago -- in a regular-season game against the Clippers -- he dribbled through the hands of LA defenders before shooting a contested 3-pointer with 10 seconds left on the shot clock, much to Kerr's chagrin. The shot went in, leaving Kerr and the rest of the league a lasting image of Curry's mentality. However, that same strategy occasionally leads to the guard being overly aggressive on defense, as evidenced over his last four outings.

"The same thing that makes him not hesitate to shoot a fadeaway 30-footer maybe is the same thing that gets him in foul trouble," Kerr said. "You know, he doesn't overthink much, and so he's just gotten into a habit lately of reaching, and instead of showing his hands and trusting the help behind him."

Curry switched into a neon green pair of Curry 6s during the halftime break, and it seemed to change his defensive habits. He committed only one foul in the second half in an effort to offset shooting 3 of 14 from the field.

"I didn't really put myself in bad positions," Curry said. "In the whole second half, I was able to play aggressive on the ball and play defense without fouling."

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Curry has proven that he's prone to taking big risks on the court and cashing in on big rewards. But now, for Curry and the Warriors to be successful, he'll have to stay on the floor and not in foul trouble. 

"I need to continue to focus on it," Curry said. "But good call or bad call, I need to not put myself in bad positions."