Warriors

Rookie Jordan Bell on a slow growth program with Warriors

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AP

Rookie Jordan Bell on a slow growth program with Warriors

OAKLAND -- Even as Dub Nation falls in love with Jordan Bell, and there has been a lot to love, the rookie remains on probation with the Warriors.

If this seems unfair, well, it is. There are, however, reasons for this status.

The Warriors marvel at Bell’s “wow” snapshots while putting up staggering production in scant minutes. He does amazingly athletic things some of the team’s veterans no longer can while others know they never could.

He also does things that come natural to someone eight games into his NBA career, which is why the cultivation of Bell is somewhat similar to the way NFL Super Bowl coaches bring along a talented rookie quarterback. No matter how good he looks in part-time duty, there is no rush to push out those fresh off earning a championship. Until there is, giving Bell a few minutes here and there is most sensible plan.

“He can get a lot done in a game playing the way he plays now,” Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams said of Bell on a recent Warriors Insider Podcast.

Adams was quick to add that Bell, in time, can be so much more.

“It’s a work in progress,” Adams said. “But he’s so innately skilled -- he has a mind for the game of seeing things early, much like Draymond (Green), much like Andre (Iguodala) -- so he’s able to be effective now, as he learns on the fly.”

Learns on the fly is not what a championship team is looking for while trying to establish a rhythm early in a new season.

Coach Steve Kerr, who consistently expresses his belief in Bell while also tempering expectations, didn’t flinch when asked over the weekend if Bell might be in line for more playing time.

“He doesn’t have a regular rotational spot yet,” Kerr told reporters in Denver. “I don’t think he’s there yet.”

Bell has been playing mostly at center, where Zaza Pachulia starts before giving way to JaVale McGee and David West. Bell has played some important minutes, though, occasionally sharing the floor with the some of team’s established All-Stars.

The idea is to give Bell meaningful minutes when prudent as well as late-game action as he makes his way through his rookie season.

“Part of (this approach) is we are the defending champs and we’ve got everybody back, pretty much,” Kerr said. “JaVale deserves minutes and so does David West. JB is not ready to step in for those guys.

“I look at him as a relief pitcher, a situational, lefty-on-lefty type of thing. If I see a moment where this makes sense, we’ll put JB out there and see what he can do.”

Bell’s stats are impressive. His 123.2 offensive rating is second on the team, behind only McGee (127.2) and Stephen Curry (125.5), while his defensive rating of 93.9 is tops on the Warriors. He’s shooting 70.8 percent from the field with per-36-minutes averages of 16.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.5 blocks and 2.5 steals.

The most rookie-like number: 7.4 fouls per 36 minutes.

It’s apparent that Kerr and his staff are still experimenting with playing rotations, which can differ from game to game, based on several factors. When Bell is active, which should be most of the time, he’s likely to get playing time.

But on a veteran team with a championship pedigree, this gifted rookie is best handled with care, acknowledging his progress while providing encouragement through mistakes.

San Francisco brewing company releases 'LeBron Tears' IPA

San Francisco brewing company releases 'LeBron Tears' IPA

San Francisco's Barebottle Brewing Company is adding insult to injury after the Warriors swept the Cavs in the 2018 NBA Finals. 

Warriors fans can now drink the sadness of LeBron James and the Cavs. Kind of. 

On Saturday, Barebottle announced they have released a new IPA named "LeBron Tears." Here's how they describe the hazy IPA:

Little known fact: KD, Steph, and Klay take opposing teams' hopes and dreams, and turn them into soul crushing 3-pointers. We took the tears from Sir James' Game 1 loss and distilled them into a hazy IPA, just for you. We also decided that Tears pair well with Mosaic hops. Sad!

The Warriors won Game 1 in overtime, 124-114. The game was tied after regulation with J.R. Smith grabbing a missed free throw with 4.7 seconds and ran out the clock by dribbling away from the hoop. 

James scored 51 points with eight assists and eight rebounds in the loss. The Warriors have now beat James and the Cavs three out of the last four years in the Finals. 

LiAngelo Ball works out with Warriors: 'I feel like I'm ready'

LiAngelo Ball works out with Warriors: 'I feel like I'm ready'

OAKLAND -- The second of the three breathlessly publicized Ball brothers worked out for the Warriors on Friday and did so in shoes unaffiliated with the family brand.

LiAngelo Ball wore Nikes.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound forward nonetheless made it through nearly two hours of drills, joining five other draft hopefuls under the supervision of Warriors officials at the team’s Oakland facility.

The Warriors have one pick in next Thursday’s draft, 28th overall. Ball, 19, is considered a second-round pick, at best.

“I feel pretty good going into the draft,” Ball said. “I feel like I’m going to get drafted. I feel I could produce for a team.

“But if I don’t, then it’s going to be the G-League or just go as a free agent and join a Summer League team or something like that.”

Scouts consider Ball a better shooter than his older brother, Lonzo, who was drafted second overall by the Lakers last June. The third Ball brother, LaMelo, 16, is playing in the Junior Basketball Association, a creation of LaVar Ball, the bombastic family patriarch and proprietor of Big Baller Brand apparel.

LiAngelo Ball lasted one game at UCLA last year. He was suspended after a shoplifting arrest in China in November and withdrew from UCLA a month later.

He wound up, at the request of his father, playing professionally for Vytautas Prienu in Lithuania, where he averaged 12.6 points, with 41.5 percent shooting, in 14 games. The time in Europe, Ball says, served to enhance his overall game.

“It wouldn’t have been where I’m at right now, because going overseas helped more, in my opinion,” he said. “In college, I didn’t get the kind of playing time that I thought I’d get. When I went overseas, I was able to develop better.”

Ball concedes his ball-handling needs work. Scout like his shooting and athleticism but have found him indifferent about passing and defending. He has less than a week to make an impression before the draft on Thursday.

“I feel like I’m ready,” Ball said. “I’ve been training for this since a young age. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so when the time comes I’m ready for it.”