Warriors

Sources: Warriors' frustration with Bogut could lead to trade

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Sources: Warriors' frustration with Bogut could lead to trade

When the Warriors chose a 6-foot-11 center from Vanderbilt in the first round of the draft last week, the immediate reaction was that they were ready to move on from their incumbent 6-11 center from Vanderbilt.

That taking Damian Jones was a pointed message to backup big man Festus Ezeli.

Drafting Jones also was, according to league sources, an indication of the team’s frustration with starting big man Andrew Bogut, who is a candidate to be moved should the Warriors succeed in their pursuit of upcoming free agent Kevin Durant.

The Warriors, should they win the race to KD, will have to shed salary and several sources indicate they’d like to move Bogut as much if not more than anyone else.

[RATTO: Lacob should go bat-guano crazy, chat up Durant & LeBron]

Though Warriors coach Steve Kerr is committed to having a versatile lineup, able to play big or small, the team has grown frustrated by Bogut’s unreliability, particularly in times of greatest need. Because he turns 32 in November, it’s unrealistic to expect much to change.

Bogut’s well-documented injury history, according to sources, accounts for only part of the team’s annoyance. He missed the last two games of the NBA Finals after sustaining multiple bone bruises in his left knee when landing awkwardly after colliding with stumbling Cleveland guard JR Smith in Game 5 at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors lost Games 5, 6 and 7, becoming the first team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 series lead in The Finals.

The Warriors apparently were displeased with much of Bogut’s postseason work prior to the injury.

Though the team firmly believes Bogut’s value is only partially reflected in his individual statistics, his numbers were nonetheless unkind, particularly as related to rebounds – which became an increasingly higher priority as the Warriors continued their march through the postseason.

In 52 minutes over the first four games of The Finals, Bogut snagged 12 rebounds, never more than five in a game. Cavs big man Tristan Thompson, who during the same span played 110 minutes, grabbed 37 rebounds. Backup Timofey Mozgov grabbed seven rebounds in 21 minutes.

Net result: Even when the Warriors stayed big, they were battered on the glass, forcing Kerr to go small at times when he would have preferred to stay big.

[POOLE: Warriors knocking on Durant's door, ready to make dream a reality]

Bogut’s offensive numbers are not meant to impress; scoring is not his role. But the Warriors have grown weary with his reluctance to engage himself on that end, which is something scouts have noted and opponents have exploited.

If all things were equal and the Warriors were forced to choose between Bogut and Ezeli, two sources expressed belief the team would prefer Ezeli, who was cheaper last season but almost certainly won’t be next season.

Bogut, entering the final year of his contract, will make a base salary of $11.03 million in 2016-17. His failure to reach incentives in 2015-16 saved the Warriors about $4 million while also making his ’16-’17 incentives “unlikely,” therefore saving the franchise another $1.7 million off the salary cap next season.

The Warriors, by the way, are privately delighted with the savings. And it’s not because they’ve suddenly become obsessed with the bottom line.

Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson occasionally made subtle comments questioning Bogut’s fortitude. Some currently with the organization have moved toward a similar assessment.

While they’re trying to make the best of this, knowing Bogut could be back for another season, the Warriors are doing what they can to get more out of the big man who was one of the pillars to their rise to the elite.

Drafting a rookie center may not help but it certainly won’t hurt.

Warriors will need eight things to go right to make NBA playoffs

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USATSI

Warriors will need eight things to go right to make NBA playoffs

The Warriors enter the 2019-20 season under unique circumstances. The roster looks completely different as the team enters its first season at Chase Center with Klay Thompson healing from a torn ACL and Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston having departed the Bay. The changes has prompted some observers to write off Golden State's postseason chances.

For the Warriors to prove those predictions untrue, here are eight things that need to go right during the regular season.

Take advantage of the early schedule

While the Warriors will play 15 of their first 24 games away from Chase Center, nine of those games will come against teams that did not make the playoffs.

There will be early tests, including opening night against the Los Angeles Clippers, a matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 4 and a road date with the Houston Rockets two days later. The Warriors also will see the Jazz three times before the New Year as well as face the Celtics at home.

The longest trip of 2019 will come around Thanksgiving when Golden State goes East for the first time, playing Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and Charlotte before finishing against Chicago.

For the Warriors, these trips are imperative for a team looking to win as many games as possible while Klay Thompson works his way back from injury (more on that in a bit).

D'Angelo Russell/Steph backcourt

The Warriors were gifted the best consolation prize of the summer when D'Angelo Russell was acquired in a sign-and-trade with Brooklyn in a deal that sent Durant to the Nets.

Russell's talent could help the Warriors stay afloat through the onset of the season as the team works to gel. Last season in Brooklyn, Russell averaged 21.1 points and seven assists in 81 games, making his first All-Star team.

Russell's arrival will force Golden State to make key adjustments offensively. Known as a pick-and-roll initiator, Russell's style will clash with the Warriors' motion offense. To help with his transition, Russell has been working out with Steph Curry and Draymond Green in recent months to get a hang of his role within the offense. With Russell, the Warriors will have offensive firepower, but integrating the young star will be vital during the early portion of the season.

Defense

Durant's sign and trade forced the Warriors to part ways with Andre Iguodala, one of the team's best defenders. With Durant and Iguodala gone and Thompson out extended time, the Warriors will be without three of their best defenders from last season.

Even with Durant, Iguodala and Thompson in the fold, the team's defense has lagged in recent years. After never falling lower than sixth in defensive rating under coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors finished 11th in each of the last two seasons, respectively. Last season -- armed with historically great talent -- the team routinely would miss defensive rotations during the regular season as it trudged to 57 wins. This season, the Warriors will need to regain their defensive identity.

Draymond Green: DPOY

In order to regain their defensive prowess, Green will need to regain his status as the best defender in the league.

Over the last two regular seasons, Green -- who dealt with a variety of injuries -- has admitted conserving energy for deep playoff runs. In the years following his Defensive Player of the Year award in 2017, he's had the lowest defensive ratings of his career as he missed a combined 30 games.

This season -- months after signing a long-term extension -- he'll have to return to his output from the early years of his career.

Redemption

With the signing of Russell severely limiting Golden State's cap space, the Warriors added eight new players mostly on minimum deals, including some reclamation projects hoping to revitalize their careers on short term deals.

While Willie Cauley-Stein had his best year as a pro last season, the big man has built up a reputation of being inconsistent. He doesn't agree with the label, but he acknowledged the Warriors' culture could help him during his tenure while at summer league.

Meanwhile, a series of stress fractures limited Alec Burks to just 100 games from 2014 through 2016, and he has not played 75 games in a season since 2013-14. Last year, Burks was traded three times and finished year with the Kings. In 13 games with Sacramento, he averaged just 1.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists.

Omari Spellman -- who was acquired in a trade for Damian Jones -- was good enough to be a first-round draft pick, but his struggles with weight derailed his brief stint with the Atlanta Hawks. If each player can make a jump this season, the Warriors postseason chances will be a whole lot bigger.

Rapid growth from young players

In recent years, the Warriors have struggled to find consistency in young players not named Kevon Looney. To combat the issue, Golden State drafted three players -- Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall and Alex Smailagić -- and Golden State hopes all three will contribute right away.

In Las Vegas Summer League, Poole -- Golden State's first-round draft pick ---- showed promise towards that goal, averaging 17.8 points, including a 12-point performance against Denver, helping Golden State overcome a 17-point deficit to beat the Nuggets 73-69 in their final preliminary round game.

Meanwhile, Paschall impressed during the California Classic, shooting 61 percent from the field, including an 18-point, 6-of-8 performance in a loss to the Lakers.

Smailagić oozes potential, but the Warriors will take a slower approach in his development. In Vegas, the 18-year old simultaneously showed why he's worth the contract, while also giving reminders of the work needed to earn playing time. He showed flashes with his dunks, but he was frequently out of position for rebounds due to lack of strength.

Over the summer, Kerr says he's willing to give the young guys a chance for minutes early on. With that in mind, Golden State remains high on Paschall, even though he's a second-round draft pick, seeing his toughness, IQ and defensive prowess as comparable to a young Draymond Green.

Stay healthy

Over the last two seasons, Curry and Green have missed a combined 72 games due to injury.

Last season, it was a non-contact groin injury that forced Curry to miss more than two weeks, while Green battled through shoulder, ankle and knee ailments. With Thompson out for an extended time, Green and Curry's availability will be crucial.

[RELATED: Steph primed for MVP season after Warriors' roster change]

Healthy Klay down the stretch

After tearing his ACL, Thompson is expected to miss most of the 2019-20 season, and Thompson says he wants to take his time during his rehab.

"That's my plan, especially with the way I can shoot the ball. I'd love to see the floor this season," Thompson told ESPN over the summer. "Don't know when that is. I doubt it's before the All-Star break. But at some point, it will be a goal of mine."

A Thompson return will be welcomed in February as Golden State's schedule gets tough down the stretch. Over the final two months of the season, the Warriors will play the Bucks, Nuggets, Spurs, Clippers, Lakers and Rockets on the road.

Seven records Warriors stars Steph Curry, Draymond Green could break

Seven records Warriors stars Steph Curry, Draymond Green could break

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The juggernaut Warriors of the last five years are no longer, but some key star holdovers have a chance to reach some NBA records this season.

With the departures of Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and the injury to Klay Thompson, the playmaking and scoring for the Warriors will mostly fall on the shoulders of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and newly acquired D'Angelo Russell. So as the construction of the team changed dramatically, the Warriors now potentially face a struggle to play the same suffocating defense most have come accustomed to.

Instead, they will rely on a high-powered offense and individual key defensive players to lead the charge. Here are some records that they could break this season.

Most 3-pointers in a regular season: Steph Curry 402 (2015-16)

The biggest key to Curry toppling his own historic 3-point season will be staying healthy and in the lineup. Curry has not played over 70 games in a season since 2016-17, and played 79 games when he shattered the season record.

Since the Warriors might have to outscore teams in shootouts with their defense less reliable, Curry will be able to fire away with abandon. Curry hit 354 3-pointers in just 69 games last season. If he played 10 extra games and maintained his average 3-point rate, he would have broken his record.

So what else could help Curry break 402? Well, just keep reading ...

3-point attempts per game: James Harden 13.2 (2018-19)

When Curry made 402 3-pointers, he averaged 11.2 attempts per game. Last season, he averaged a career-high 11.7 3-point attempts per game. Shooting two more 3s per game is within reason, and definitely a welcome proposition for all Warriors fans. 

Most consecutive games with 5+ 3-pointers made: James Harden 12 (2018-19)

The more Steph shoots, the more he makes. Harden might be watching a few of his milestones surpassed this season.

Most 3-pointers attempted in a game: Klay Thompson 24 (Oct. 29, 2018)

Most 3-pointers made in a game: Klay Thompson 14 (Oct. 29, 2018)

Curry already jokingly (probably) proclaimed that he would shoot 22 3-pointers on opening night against the Clippers. So would you be surprised if he had a few games this season in which he launched endlessly from long range? Unfortunately for Klay, he will have to sit idly on the bench for most of the season while Curry goes after his record.

[RELATED: Steph Curry primed for another MVP season]

Most steals in a game: Larry Kenon 11 (Dec. 26, 1976), Kendall Gill 11 (April 3, 1999)

The defensive category belongs to Draymond Green, and after signing a $100 million extension and getting into the best shape of his life, he is primed for a breakout season. If last playoffs are any indicator of how he will play next season, then there are several defensive records and milestones that can be within his sights.

On Feb. 10, 2017, Green recorded a triple-double in Memphis. But it was not just any triple-double, it included 10 steals, one away from the single-game record. There will be many games next season that he will carry the team defensively, so perhaps he approaches the record again.

200 steals plus 100 blocks in one season: Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen

In 2016-17, Green set a career-high 154 steals and blocked 106 shots -- down from his previous career-high of 113 the year prior. Remaining healthy and in the lineup for most of the season will be imperative for Green to even have a chance at approaching a 200-100 season.

It still is a long shot for Draymond to reach those totals, but when he is in shape, motivated and playing with fire, there's always a chance.