Warriors

NBA adds 'Draymond Green Clause,' 'Stephen Curry Rule'

draymond-steph-lebron-ref-finals.jpg

NBA adds 'Draymond Green Clause,' 'Stephen Curry Rule'

The National Basketball Association took dramatic stands Thursday in defense of two of nature’s most critical imperatives.

The legacy bucket, and the pivot foot.

And both can be traced, in one case indirectly and in the other direct as hell, to the Golden State Warriors.

The first, which we will simply come to call “The Draymond Green Clause,” has made wayward limbs to unprotected groins a “point of emphasis” this season. That means three things:

  • Shots to the amusement park, inadvertent or otherwise, will be more swiftly punished at the time of delivery.
  • More players will learn the gentle art of pantomiming the infraction by doubling over in manhood-related pain in order to get an opponent ejected
  • There will be an immediate backlash against flippy-flopping in favor of subtle uses of groinal blunt-force trauma.

It is the way of all rules changes. Rule is instituted, rule is abused, rule is modified backward to ignore the initial thing it was meant to combat.

The second is more historical, and we suspect will be ignored as early as Christmas. That is the seemingly disturbing number of dribble-free steps players will be allowed at the perimeter, and will be known as The Stephen Curry Rule in honor of the greatest long-distance shooter since Meadowlark Lemon. As Curry was once captured on video taking eight small but distinct steps en route to one of those 30-foot baskets that left opponents yowling in helplessness, it might as well bear his name, though he is hardly the only offender here.

The traveling thing has been a debating point among NBA types for decades, going back to the days of the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. Most of the time, it was about players going to the basket and getting that extra step (later extended to steps) to make the approach easier. It has always been ignored as part of the NBA’s we-like-offense-and-that-stuff-will-work-itself-out-anyway-besides-stars-should-get-an-extra-step-or-four-for-the-sake-of-the-nightly-highlights-package philosophy.

But the rampant increase in three-point shooting has created a new kind of traveling, and though Curry is merely the most prolific long-range shooter of his (or anyone else's) era, he gets to be the guy after whom this new “point of emphasis” is named.

And when we say “point of emphasis,” we mean “thing we yammer on about during training camp and stop doing after awhile in hopes that everyone will take the hint.” It never works that way, of course, but like we said, it is the way of all rules changes.

But the Green Rule is actually necessary because there is no sport, not even MMA, in which overt Y-front assaults are officially sanctioned, and other than the NFL, ignored as part of the violent hilarity at the bottom of a pile because of the general ungovernable chaos of the sport.

The arguments put forward in Green’s defense when he avoided punishment for the Stephen Adams Incident but later got a game for tapping LeBron James ran along the lines of “Every player flails, and it’s just a natural part of his game.” This argument, also known as the He Can’t Help Himself Defense, was rejected by groin owners everywhere, and frankly was ridiculed as the nonsense it is.

But being merely a “point of emphasis” is insufficient to make it stop, because Green’s deeds were only the most obvious examples of a greater incidence of hand-to-gland combat in the NBA. The punishment should actually be fat fines and fatter suspensions, because not playing carries a greater stigma than merely paying, and teammate scorn is still the most stinging.

But that leads to greater attempts to fake offensive contact, also known historically as the Divac Genuflect, and there are enough players willing to try it that the punishment for faking it should be absolutely the same as delivering the blow – massive fine, inspirational suspension, and maybe even an actual punch in the nursery to let the miscreant know that hitting the floor in agony better be caused by genuine agony.

If that happens, we fully support whatever sanctions are introduced this year above and beyond the “point of emphasis” level.

As for the Curry Rule, well, good luck with that. Adam Silver is the fifth commissioner to tackle the issue (he is also the fifth commissioner, so figure that out), and each of the previous four failed to make their intentions stick. Indeed, the traveling rule and guidelines have been elasticized to the point where one wonders why any player dribbles ever.

But the league's prissier minds keep trying, bless their wretched little hearts, and this attempt will likely go the way of the others. Before long, players will be taking 40-footers while riding a Segway, and purists will go, “I remember the good old days when Kyle Korver only took four steps to get into his shooting position. Damned game’s going to hell in a handbasket.”

Of course it is. But maybe it will be a safer place for heritage warehouses, and that will at least be something worthwhile.
 

Andrew Bogut fares well in reunion with Warriors after a hectic few days

Andrew Bogut fares well in reunion with Warriors after a hectic few days

Insofar as 14 months have passed since he last played in the NBA, Andrew Bogut’s second debut with the Warriors on Monday went about well as could be expected.

For an emergency starter whose head is spinning in multiple directions, it was solid.

“Andrew was great,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters in San Antonio. “It’s great to have him back. He’s a tremendous defensive player. He’s a great passer. He’s a lob threat. He’s going to help us.”

Bogut tried to help against the Spurs – producing  points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal in 19 minutes – but was unable to prevent a 111-105 loss to the Spurs at AT&T Center.

“Me personally, it was just good to be out there and trying to contribute,” he said. “But I would like to have left with a win.”

Bogut, 34, came out of retirement last week, signing for a second tour with the Warriors upon a March 3 completion of his season with the Sydney Kings of Australia’s National Basketball League. The 7-foot center and his family arrived in the Bay Area over the weekend, giving him four days to find a house, take conditioning tests and prepare to play Thursday against Indiana at Oracle Arena.

But when DeMarcus Cousins sustained a mild injury to his right foot Saturday at Oklahoma City, the timeline moved up three days – to Monday, less than 24 hours after he arrived in San Antonio. Bogut barely knew where he was, much less fully prepared to start an NBA game.

“I felt all right,” Bogut said. “I was sucking wind a little bit in the first quarter, just from flying from Australia the last couple days. But once I got into a rhythm, I felt pretty good.

“I’m just figuring things out like where guys like the ball. That was something I’ve got to still figure out. I’m figuring out a few of our sets, which are new, but for the most part it’s about playing basketball.”

Bogut was signed mostly because he brings much-needed size, familiarity with the systems utilized by the Warriors – he was a member of the team in Kerr’s first two seasons as coach before being traded in 2016 – and his hoops IQ is a seamless fit.

It didn’t take long for Bogut to get his first hello by whistle, as fourth-year official Gediminas Petraitas assessed a foul for an illegal screen nine seconds after tipoff.

“Welcome to the league for sure,” Bogut said. “‘We know you set some hard screens, so we’re just going blow one early.’ That’s how it goes.”

The call “shocked” Kerr.

“It didn’t seem like much,” he said. “He just stood there. He didn’t stick his hip out. It was just a back screen, didn’t impact the play. And, bam, quick foul.”

There were a couple hiccups, as was expected, but Bogut never looked out of place among his new/old teammates. He was minus-2 for the game.

“Obviously, playing with Klay and Steph when I was here last time," Bogut said. "And now throw (Kevin Durant) in there and see how talented he is and how easy the game comes to him, it makes you a little bit jealous. Those guys are really talented.”

Bogut’s return to the Warriors came precisely two months after Cousins was activated. Both are former All-NBA centers. The Warriors won in Cousins’ debut, beating the Clippers, but fell short against the Spurs.

Better days are ahead, according to Bogut.

[WATCH: Steph beats first-quarter buzzer]

“When you get our offense free-flowing, there are so many weapons,” he said. “I can say tonight was a bad night for us, but you can see the potential of this lineup, especially once you throw DeMarcus out there and a few other guys. It’s pretty special.”

The Warriors should benefit from Bogut’s presence. If the first game is any indication, he’ll be a very good backup to Cousins, as dictated by matchups.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from Warriors' tough loss to Spurs

Warriors takeaways: What we learned from Warriors' tough loss to Spurs

BOX SCORE

SAN ANTONIO — Following back-to-back solid performances against Houston and Oklahoma City, the Warriors couldn't find their shot in a 111-105 loss to the Spurs on Monday night. 

Despite a late run to get within four points with two minutes left, a late flurry from DeMar DeRozan sealed the win for San Antonio. 

The loss snaps a two-game Warriors winning streak and, with a road game against Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday, makes the reality of a 2-2 trip all the more possible

Here are three takeaways from the game. 

No 'Splash' from the Brothers

In a game that begged for offense, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had a hard time providing it. 

Curry finished with 25 points on 9-of-25 from the field, missing a number of shots that could have kept the Warriors in the game down the stretch.

[WATCH: Curry banks in buzzer-beater]

Meanwhile, Thompson, who came into Monday’s game rolling, made just five of his 18 shots on the night. 

Thompson had been averaging 30 points on 50 percent from the field over his last four games. A good shooting performance from Klay would have helped the Warriors' cause. 

Andrew Bogut's return

After being summoned due to DeMarcus Cousins' sore right ankle, Bogut started his second tour of duty in Golden State in an appropriate fashion, committing an offensive foul after setting an illegal screen to free up Curry. 

Following the foul, Bogut gave the Warriors solid play, finishing with seven points, seven rebounds and one steal in 19 minutes. 

The offense seemed to flow well when Bogut was on the floor, giving a glimpse of what the Warriors can expect if the veteran center can recapture his play from his previous tenure in the Bay Area. 

Warriors couldn't stop fouling

The Warriors needed to be disciplined, but they committed 20 fouls on the night, including a momentum-stopping foul from Kevin Durant on Marco Belinelli in the fourth quarter that led to a four-point play. 

For a team that's trying to turn the tide on a subpar second half of the season, unnecessary fouls aren't conducive to that goal.