Warriors

NBA analyst ranks Blazers' backcourt ahead of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson

NBA analyst ranks Blazers' backcourt ahead of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson

As the dust finally begins to settle on what was a crazy period of player movement in the NBA offseason, the Western Conference appears to be loaded once again heading into 2019-20.

Warriors guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have occupied the top spot among the backcourts of the West for several years, but the Splash Brothers have some competition after Russell Westbrook was dealt to the Houston Rockets to team up with James Harden.

The top five backcourts in the Western Conference were a talking point on ESPN's "Jalen and Jacoby" last week, and guest host Ryan Hollins had some aggressively wrong unique selections.

Houston's starting guards occupied the top spot on Hollins and David Jacoby's lists, as Westbrook and Harden have combined to win two of the last three NBA MVP awards and four of the last five NBA scoring titles. But since both players have been at their best as ball-dominant point guards, it's debatable whether they can replicate that success as teammates, especially when there are three other Rockets on the court who will also be looking to just occasionally touch the ball.

Hollins then listed the Portland Trail Blazers' backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as the No. 2 duo on his board, while Jacoby placed Curry and Thompson in the second spot. Hollins had the Splash Brothers next at No. 3.

The former Clipper tried to justify his ranking of Curry and Thompson with the qualifier that Thompson being injured drops the Warriors’ duo down the list. But it’s hard to imagine Steph and Klay-on-crutches walking onto a basketball court together and beating, say, Utah Jazz guards Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley.

The placement of Curry and Thompson may not have been the most bizarre choice for Hollins, who also closed out his list with LeBron James and Danny Green as his fifth-best backcourt duo. While Green was an instrumental part of the Raptors’ run to the title last season, he’s also 32 years old and averages just nine points a game for his career. James reportedly has been preparing to play point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, but he’s also well past his 30th birthday and missed 27 games in 2018-19.

[RELATED: NBA rumors: Warriors' Draymond Green gets opt-out in contract extension]

ESPN appears to be sticking with the theme of allowing former players from the NFL and NBA to join the network as "talent," only to have them simply spew hot takes and generate headlines for the worldwide leader.

However, Warriors fans can take comfort in the fact that this just adds to the seemingly endless stream of bulletin-board material coming out of NBA Twitter this summer.

Warriors vs. Jazz watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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AP

Warriors vs. Jazz watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

SAN FRANCISCO -- For years, the Jazz and Warriors have been among the top teams in the Western Conference. 

Now, following a three-game road trip, the Warriors enter Monday's matchup against the Jazz under a new distinction: The tied for worst record in the league.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 7:40 p.m.

Following Sunday's loss to the Thunder, the Warriors fell to 2-8, despite rallying from a 20-point deficit. Meanwhile, after an eventful off-season, the Jazz come to the Bay Area fifth in the Western Conference primed for yet another postseason appearance. 

Here's everything you need to know about the matchup.

PROJECTED LINEUPS 

Warriors
G D'Angelo Russell
G Jordan Poole
F Glenn Robinson III
F Eric Paschall
C Draymond Green

Jazz
F Bojan Bogdanovic
F Royce O'Neale
C Rudy Gobert
G Donovan Mitchell
G Mike Conley

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: Stephen Curry (left hand fracture) out, Jacob Evans (left adductor strain) out, Draymond Green (left index finger sprain) is available, Kevon Looney (Neuropathy in hamstring) out, Eric Paschall (right hip contusion) available, Alen Smailagic (right ankle sprain), Omari Spellman (left ankle sprain) is questionable, Klay Thompson (left ACL rehab) is out.

Jazz: Ed Davis (left fibula fracture) is out, Dante Exum, (right knee rehab) is out, Emmanuel Mudiay (left hamstring tightness) is questionable. 

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Jazz: Mitchell has continued his rise in his third season, averaging 24.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists through nine games. 

Bogdanovic -- who was acquired this summer -- has been fantastic, averaging 21.8 points per game, shooting 49.2 percent from the field, including a game-winning jumper to help the Jazz beat the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday evening. 

Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert is continuing his dominance, averaging a team-high 13 rebounds and a block per game. 

Warriors: Green is expected to return following a five-game absence at just the right time. Entering Monday's matchup, Golden State owns the league's worst defense, giving up more than 120 points per game.

Guard D'Angelo Russell is on a tear, averaging 37.3 points, 6.7 assists, and five rebounds over his last three appearances. 

Meanwhile, rookie Jordan Poole has struggled to start the season, shooting just 26 percent from the field through 10 games.

Following a one-game absence, rookie Eric Paschall is expected to return Monday evening to play against Mitchell, his childhood friend.

[RELATED: Steph's promise came 10 years ago today]

OFFICIALS:

Sean Wright (#4) Gediminas Petraitis (#50) JB DeRosa (#62)

Draymond Green willing to return despite aching finger and heavy heart

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AP

Draymond Green willing to return despite aching finger and heavy heart

SAN FRANCISCO -- With a heavy heart and bandaged left hand, Draymond Green plans to be available to the Warriors when they face the Utah Jazz Monday night at Chase Center.

Speaking after shootaround Monday morning, Green, who missed the last four games with a sprained left index finger, is listed as “probable” but said he is prepared to return despite discomfort that might linger throughout most of the season.

“It’s improved,” he said. “It’s not all the way, 100 percent, but I’ll be waiting until March for a finger to become 100 percent. So, you kind of get it to where you can tolerate it and move forward. It’s now at that point -- you kind of mess up your fingers all year, every year -- but it’s back at that point of a normal light sprain.

“Sometimes it’s going to get hit. Just keep it moving. But I can tolerate it now. I can dribble. I can catch. Solid.”

Green’s return comes as the Warriors are exhibiting clear signs of a team in development, with indications of progress while experiencing growing pains that are hard to watch yet impossible to miss. Keen observer that he is, Draymond took note while sitting out.

“These guys have gotten a chance to play a lot of minutes over the last week and a half,” he said. “That helps. It gives us something to (build on) and it gives me something to come back to. And that will be an adjustment, too, because some guys are more aggressive than they were.

“It’s been a little different style of play, so we’re figuring that out as well. But we’re definitely better and more aggressive and we seem to be understanding the defensive rotations and we’re showing more patience on offense.”

Green’s desire to play also sends a message to the team’s many young players. Some injuries necessitate sitting out, while some aches can be managed.

It was apparent, however, that Draymond was thinking less about himself than about a couple acquaintances, both with associations to his beloved Michigan State.

Charles Rogers, a wide receiver taken No. 2 overall in the 2003 NFL Draft, died at age 38 over the weekend, reportedly after battling cancer and liver disease.

And Cassius Winston, a member of the current Michigan State basketball team, lost his younger brother, Zachary, who was hit by a train over the weekend. Winston played Sunday, no doubt with his brother in mind, delivering 17 points and 11 assists in a 100-47 rout of Binghamton.

[RELATED: Four NBA draft targets if Warriors end up with No. 1 pick]

“For Cassius to play yesterday was huge for him,” Green said. “Because it’s two hours that you can kind of think about something else. It sucks. My prayers out to the family.

“My prayers also go out to the Rogers family. Charles Rogers was a legend to me. A lot of people look at Chuck and say, ‘Oh, man, he never became what he wanted to become in the NFL.’ He from Saginaw, Michigan. He was a No. 2 pick. He a legend. He paved the way for a lot of us guys coming out of Saginaw after him to believe that we could make it.

“Once Chuck did it, we all thought we could do it.”