Warriors

Jordan Bell is not Draymond Green but parallels are impossible to miss

Jordan Bell is not Draymond Green but parallels are impossible to miss

OAKLAND -- He’s listed at 6-foot-9 but is closer to 6-7.

He grew up in a place where youngsters often must “man up” prematurely.

He is quick to blame himself, even if it’s not warranted.

He’d probably be chasing a career in football, if it weren’t for basketball.

He was annoyed when the first round of the NBA Draft unfolded without him.

And he very likely will inherit a few minutes at center for the Warriors.

Jordan Bell is not Draymond Green, but the parallels are impossible to miss -- particularly regarding an aptitude and affinity for defense. And get this: Bell’s athleticism exceeds that of Green.

The Warriors on Friday introduced Bell, the 22-year-old University Oregon product for which they arranged to pay the Bulls the maximum $3.5 million to buy his rights after Chicago drafted him in the second round, 38th overall.

That Bell’s new employers have assigned his locker, which is right next to that of Green at the team facility, suggests they expect him to be around for a while and also that they believe he is equipped to handle what sometimes will be a boisterous brand of mentorship coming from the veteran.

“Draymond will be a fun challenge for you,” president/general manager Bob Myers said, glancing over at Bell.

Bell made a name for himself in three seasons with the Ducks before jumping off TV screens across the country during the 2017 NCAA Tournament. There was the eight-block game against Kansas that sent the Ducks to the Final Four. His averages over five tournament games: 12.6 points, 13.2 rebounds, 3.2 blocks

Bell also was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Midwest Regional of the tournament.

Yet he is haunted by the two rebounds that got away. With North Carolina leading 77-76 and six seconds remaining in the tournament semifinal, Bell was twice beaten by Tar Heels players grabbing offensive rebounds off missed free throws, securing the win and sending Oregon home.

Bell blamed himself.

“If I had just boxed out . . . I had two opportunities,” he said after the game. “People can tell me whatever they want, but I lost the game for us.”

More than two months later, the kid who grew up in Long Beach -- where he had a few rough moments -- and attended athletic powerhouse Long Beach Poly High still feels the sting. And wants to feel it, hoping it never goes away.

“I definitely want to keep that with me at all times,” Bell said Friday. “I remember things from high school where I missed the block out, or I missed the shot, or some kind of thing that still motivates me to this day. It’s definitely going to stay with me, definitely going to push me to become a better basketball player.”

Based largely on scouting reports -- Myers saw him personally in the Maui Tournament -- the Warriors concluded Bell was worth the money. He fits so much of what they do, especially on defense, where he has the ability guard multiple positions, switching out on most any opponent.

Yet Myers does not wish to label Bell strictly as a “defensive guy” simply because his offense is not as developed.

“I could see games where he scores a lot of points for us,” Myers said. “At his position, because of the other guys we have out there, there’s going to be some nights where he’s got some easy opportunities.

“But mostly what we saw, what we think, is that if you're out on the basketball court and you’re playing against Jordan Bell, that’s going to be a problem.”

Which is what NBA teams have been saying about Green ever since he moved into the starting lineup in 2015. He was runner-up in the Defensive Player of the Year voting in each of the past two seasons and is considered the favorite for the award to be announced Monday night.

Green, listed at 6-7 but closer to 6-5, often plays center in the Warriors small lineup. The team believes Bell has the potential to do the same, and he sees himself as someone cut from the same cloth as the man he seeks to emulate.

“People said he was too small, they don’t know what position he plays, not athletic enough, he can’t shoot,” Bell said of Green. “People say those things about me.

“Draymond plays with a chip on his shoulder, and I just love his aggressiveness: anchoring the defense, guarding every position, switching, talking, being the heart and soul on defense.”

Why Warriors' Eric Paschall, Draymond Green have 'great' chemistry

Why Warriors' Eric Paschall, Draymond Green have 'great' chemistry

Can Draymond Green and Eric Paschall thrive together for the Warriors?

That's a question that was asked a lot this season, and the truth is that we still don't have a definitive answer.

Draymond is Golden State's starting power forward, which is the position Paschall prefers playing.

During a Zoom conversation Monday afternoon with NBC Sports Bay Area, the rookie discussed his on-court relationship with the 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

"He's been on the floor in the biggest games possible. Just learning from him," Paschall said. "Whenever me and him are on the floor, we talk a lot. We end up just having conversations. Say we do make a mistake, we'll just be like, 'This happened, this happened, so next time do this.'

"Me and his chemistry on the court is great. We talk about every possible situation offensively and defensively."

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If Paschall cements himself as a player who needs to be on the floor 30 plus minutes a night, one workaround for Steve Kerr and the coaching staff is for Draymond to log more minutes at center.

And that is something the 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year already is thinking about.

[RELATEDPaschall picks starting lineup from Warriors coaches, execs]

"I was always very careful over the last five, six years not to play him too many minutes at center," Kerr told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic a couple weeks ago. "But I think the league has changed pretty dramatically, and I can see him playing more minutes at the five.

"I don't think there would be any problem with that ... if Draymond is on the floor, he just guards anybody he wants because he's that good. If we decide to play him at the five and Eric at the four, we're gonna have a lot of shooting on the floor next to those guys -- and play-making -- and I think that's a combination that can work."

It just might need to work for the Warriors to be at their best moving forward.

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Stanford doctor draws Steph Curry, Klay Thompson art on Etch A Sketch

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USATSI

Stanford doctor draws Steph Curry, Klay Thompson art on Etch A Sketch

Healthcare professionals worldwide have been the true heroes during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, putting their lives on the line to save the suffering. It has been hard for doctors and nurses to deal with the stresses brought on by overwhelming and exhausting shifts at overcrowded hospitals during these dire times, but one particular physician has found a creative way to find some solace in his minimal free time.

Dr. Greg Adamson, a fellow in pediatric cardiology at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, drew this impressive piece of art of Warriors stars Steph Curry and Klay Tompson on an Etch A Sketch.

Adamson finished the drawing last Saturday. He has been a Warriors fan since moving to the Bay Area for college in 2005, and he has a home in mind for his Splash Brothers artwork.

"I have a way to make them permanent and I usually give them as gifts," Adamson told NBC Sports Bay Area. "This one will likely find its way to a good friend of mine that's a die-hard Warriors fan."

[RELATED: Zaza buys lunch for healthcare workers helping fight virus]

Drawing on an Etch A Sketch can be daunting, Adamson said. One small mistake can ruin the whole project.

"The preparation takes me an hour or two," he explained. "Choosing the photo and drawing it out, making a plan where it can all be done with one continuous line, since, of course, you can’t stop the line to move the styles. Then, I start with the most difficult part -- in this case, Steph’s beautiful face -- just in case I mess up (and then) I can erase and start over. The rest took about four hours."

Adamson, and all other healthcare workers fighting for their patients' lives, deserve great admiration and appreciation. An Etch A Sketch drawing pales in comparison to their heroic efforts, but a simple, beautiful piece of artwork can go a long way amid all of the anxiety and pain of this health crisis.

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