Warriors

NBA rumors: Warriors see Kawhi Leonard as bigger problem than James Harden

NBA rumors: Warriors see Kawhi Leonard as bigger problem than James Harden

No matter how you feel about the way he plays, Houston Rockets guard James Harden put together one of the best offensive seasons in recent NBA history.

The MVP finalist averaged a league-leading 36.1 points per game during the regular season. Numbers-wise, it was an incredible season, even if the way he reached those numbers was unappealing.

You would think that Harden would be the toughest threat the Warriors face all postseason long. Apparently, you would be wrong.

The New York Times' Marc Stein wrote this:

"The Warriors, I’m told, unequivocally regard [Kawhi] Leonard as a bigger individual problem than Houston’s James Harden because of Leonard’s impact at both ends."

Harden, as you already know, is not a great defensive player. Leonard, on the other hand, is one of the best defensive players in the NBA right now.

Leonard is having a great postseason, averaging 31.2 points in 18 games. He carried the Toronto Raptors past the No. 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals.

[RELATED: Rockets reportedly making all players available]

Without Kevin Durant to occupy Leonard's attention, Steph Curry will probably be hounded by the two-time Defensive Player of the Year. The Warriors never really had to worry about Harden's defense.

So while Harden is a deadly threat on offense, it makes perfect sense why the Warriors would fear Leonard more.

We'll find out Thursday if the Warriors are proven right. Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals tips off at 6 p.m. PT at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

Warriors' Draymond Green out, Eric Paschall doubtful Friday vs. Jazz

Warriors' Draymond Green out, Eric Paschall doubtful Friday vs. Jazz

It's always tough to beat the Jazz in Utah, as the Warriors were reminded last month. Golden State was going to be a massive underdog Friday night as it was, and Thursday's injury report certainly won't change that.

After suffering an embarrassing home overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, the Dubs will try to right the ship against Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert & Co., but they'll have to do it without at least one of their best players -- and we don't mean Steph Curry or Klay Thompson.

Draymond Green is listed as out (rest) for Friday's game at Vivint Smart Home Arena, while rookie Eric Paschall is doubtful with left hip soreness. Additionally, both Ky Bowman and Alen Smailagic are on G League assignment. 

[RELATED: Dubs' Bowman won't play vs. Jazz, will make G League debut]

With Green out and Paschall doubtful, one would expect Golden State's (relatively) healthy bigs like Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss to get some extended playing time against the Jazz.

Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard

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Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard

You might think of Steph Curry as a point guard.

After all, he's short, brings the ball up the court sometimes and appears on the far left of those nifty starting lineup graphics prior to tip-off with PG next to his name.

But in this age of run-and-gun positionless basketball, is Curry really a point guard? Not if you ask Gary Payton.

In fact, the nine-time NBA All-Star believes there only are two true point guards left in The Association.

"That's a question that is kind of difficult for old people," Payton told NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock and Kerith Burke on the "Runnin' Plays Podcast" when asked about the best point guards in today's game. "You look at Stephen Curry. You put him as a point guard. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at [Russell] Westbrook. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at James Harden. He's not a point guard, he's a two-guard.

"To me, there are only two guards in this league that are true point guards. That's [Rajon] Rondo and Chris Paul. 

"Now, Chris Paul has turned into a shooting guard more, but Rondo is a true point guard," Payton continued. "He looks first to get people off. He does his defense and he makes people better around him. Not, let me score 30. Not, let me shoot a jump shot first. He's not doing that ... If we name a lot of point guards that's right now in this NBA, they are not point guards."

At least Harden can finally be in the same category as Steph, right?

[RELATED: Loss to Knicks shows Warriors have earned NBA's worst record]

While Steph might not be the prototypical point guard in the old-fashioned sense, there's no doubt he'll one day be enshrined in Springfield, Mass., as one of the greatest scoring guards in NBA history.

In any era, that's pretty, pretty good.