Warriors

Kevin Durant doesn't blame Warriors for Achilles injury in NBA Finals

Kevin Durant doesn't blame Warriors for Achilles injury in NBA Finals

From the time that Kevin Durant injured his right calf in Game 5 of the Warriors' second-round matchup with the Rockets to when he played in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the star forward had missed nine games. He was out for just over one month. 

Once Durant ruptured his Achilles after playing slightly under 12 minutes in his return, the outside chatter began. Many speculated the Warriors either rushed KD back while they were down three-games-to-one against the Raptors, or they mishandled his original injury. 

All that matters is Durant's opinion. And he recently made that loud and clear to Yahoo's Chris Haynes

“Hell, no. How can you blame [the Warriors]? Hell, no,” Durant told Haynes. “I heard the Warriors pressured me into getting back. Nobody never said a word to me during rehab as I was coming back. It was only me and [director of sports medicine and performance] Rick [Celebrini] working out every day. Right when the series started, I targeted Game 5. Hell, nah. It just happened.

"It’s basketball. S--t happens. Nobody was responsible for it. It was just the game. We just need to move on from that s--t because I’m going to be back playing.”

Before Durant signed with the Nets in free agency, Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher reported the two-time Finals MVP was "really pissed" with the Warriors. Clearly, that wasn't true. Even Durant's former Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins said the Warriors "misdiagnosed" his calf injury. Maybe Perk should have asked KD before talking. 

Durant also says the Warriors trailing the Raptors in the Finals had no weight on his return. When it comes down to it, the 10-time All-Star breathes basketball. He always had a target date to be back on the court, and he just wanted to play again.

“No matter what the series was, I was aiming for Game 5,” Durant told Haynes. “That’s why I played when it was 3-1. No matter what, I just wanted to play in the Finals. I just wanted to hoop, especially if I could bd be out there. I was feeling good leading up to it. I was working out every day. I was gradually getting back to myself doing the two-a-days.

"I was really locked in on my game and trying to get back. I really wanted to play in that series.”

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Pointing fingers and playing the blame game creates headlines. Durant is not here for that.

He cherished his time with the Warriors, and it's clear he holds no ill will towards the franchise that added a historic chapter to his career.

Warriors' Steve Kerr hopes to ease Jordan Poole's G League transition

Warriors' Steve Kerr hopes to ease Jordan Poole's G League transition

SAN FRANCISCO -- Warriors rookie guard Jordan Poole has struggled mightily in his first season in the Bay Area. In an effort to combat his troubles, Golden State plans to send the guard to its G League affiliate at an undetermined date. 

"There's nothing set in stone yet," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following practice Tuesday morning. "He'll eventually be there. That's a big part of our development process. Santa Cruz has been a big asset over the years. A lot of players go back and forth, so it'll happen for Jordan at some point."

The Warriors' decision -- first reported Monday by NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole -- comes as Poole's early season is in peril. Over his first 24 appearances, he's shooting just 25.8 percent from the field. In Golden State's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, he collected his first "Did Not Play -- Coach's Decision" distinction, watching all 48 minutes from the bench. 

Poole's playing time this season has come as injuries have mounted. With much of the backcourt -- including All-Star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson -- out of the lineup, Poole is averaging 24 minutes per game,

Kerr admitted he didn't plan for that strategy when the first-round pick was drafted in June. 

"We've thrown too much at him too fast," he said. "But that's because we've had no choice." 

Last month, Poole shot down any notion that he was concerned with his play, telling NBC Sports Bay Area, "Doing that got me here. Why would I change?" 

However, Kerr had a different tone Tuesday afternoon. When asked wht contributed to Poole's struggles, he cited the 20-year old's age in relation to fellow rookies Eric Paschall (23) and Ky Bowman (22). 

"It's a hard transition from college to pro, but particularly when you're 20 years old and only played two years of college ball," Kerr said. "You're still getting stronger, you're growing, you're maturing. It's easier for a four-year guy like Eric Paschall or (three-year college player) Ky Bowman to come into the NBA. Those few extra years are a big difference.

"That first year it's about figuring everything out, shot selection, defense. Different actions that you have to guard. The speed and strength of your opponent. It's all brand-new.' 

Golden State has had success sending players to the G League in recent years. Last season, guard Jacob Evans averaged 11.3 points. 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 21 appearances with the Santa Cruz Warriors. Former Warriors Jordan Bell, Quinn Cook and Patrick McCaw also spent time in Santa Cruz when they were with Golden State. 

"It's a good wake-up call," Kerr said. "It's not all chartered planes and Four Seasons. You've got to grind through the G League schedule, which is not easy. That's important for young players to feel, too. It's a good situation for us and really for the whole league."

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As for Poole, Kerr said the rookie has been working hard despite his bad play. Following Monday's loss, he went through an hour shooting workout in the team's practice facility inside Chase Center. Prior to games, he frequently watches film with assistant Chris DeMarco, giving Kerr optimism Poole can get out of his slump. 

"He's figuring it out and we're helping him along and he's going to grow," Kerr said. "This is going to be a very productive year for him."

Steph Curry says sitting with broken hand 'hardest thing' in career

Steph Curry says sitting with broken hand 'hardest thing' in career

The 2019-20 season has been extremely rough for the Warriors.

It's been even worse for Steph Curry.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” the two-time NBA MVP recently told Marcus Thompson of The Athletic.

Wow.

Remember, Curry underwent surgery on his right ankle in May 2011, and then was limited to just 26 (of 66) games during the 2011-12 lockout season.

He had a second procedure in April 2012, and as ESPN's Pablo Torre wrote in February 2016: "Curry didn't know if he'd wake up owning a dead man's tendons. The worst-case scenario now? Total re-reconstruction, meaning that everything rebuilt in Curry's first surgery would be reattempted. If that proved necessary, they'd use better parts -- specifically, tendons from a cadaver."

He sprained his right MCL during the 2016 playoffs, missed four games and wasn't at full strength the remainder of the postseason.

In 2016-17, he made only 51 regular-season appearances, and didn't return until Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals because of a sprained left MCL.

Yet none of that stacks up to his current predicament -- a broken left hand. The three-time NBA champion sustained the injury Oct. 30 against the Suns, and will be sidelined until February at the earliest.

In the end, he might end up missing about 75 percent of the season.

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“I’ve always been (injured) mostly during the offseason," he told Thompson. "That year was the lockout year, so it was a much shorter time on the shelf.

"I’m going to lose my mind.”

This makes sense. He just wants to play.

Get well, Steph. But also -- hurry back. The NBA needs you.

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