Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith
Welcome back to basketball!
The NBA All-Star break truly was a break for me. My husband and I went to Maui. The night we arrived, we saw a perfect rainbow.
@dubsandstuff Do players still get fanmail? Or is it all on instagram now?
It’s a mix. Good old-fashioned letter writing never will go out of style, especially when it comes to children who want to get in touch with their favorite players.
Some fans want to say hello. Some fans want to say thanks. Some want an autograph. Some want to give something to a player. It reminds me of the time Harrison Barnes set up a PO Box where fans could reach him. Check out the story here.
Social media has given fans more a direct line to players, in theory. But they get flooded with messages and have to tune them out eventually. There’s a lot of junk to sort through before seeing the meaningful stuff.
@KharmaPharma I want to know about game balls -- do players like Steph / Klay / KD, especially, keep every single one they're given (which must be dozens by now)? Only the really significant ones? What do they do with them, other than giving them to their dogs to play with?
Game balls have a special significance because they mark career highs or milestones. Steph, Klay and KD keep the big ones.
I remember when Steph moved into third place all time on the NBA’s 3-point list. He said that game ball is going in his family’s trophy room in Charlotte for safekeeping. Steph explained that room is a holding spot, because he doesn’t need a museum to himself while he’s playing. He’ll reflect on his accomplishments when he’s done.
As far as your dog reference, I remember that! Klay said that after his game in Chicago when he made 14 threes, breaking Steph’s record. In our postgame interview, Klay told me he’ll give the ball to Rocco if (or when, he predicted) the record should fall again.
@Richard75108808 When are the Warriors going to get a real sized center that can rebound and shoot?
His name is DeMarcus Cousins.
He had a nice collection of games before the All-Star break, but don’t forget he’s still ramping up his conditioning. Yes, still. And that’s normal for his injury and his size.
Steve Kerr said he expects Cousins’ shooting to improve as he plays more games. Makes sense.
@TheSFGiantsGuy Are we going to see full Boogie minutes right out of the break? How many is that? 32-35?
He’ll probably stay in the 25- to 30-minute range. Kerr said Cousins does not have a minutes restriction anymore, but that doesn’t mean he’ll instantly go to 35.
He’s looked solid on the floor, but he’s still getting some runway to adjust. The Warriors have plenty of healthy bodies to rotate in. Cousins is not in a situation where he needs to play 35 minutes per game.
@KimChau28 How are the other Warriors players handling more rumors from the Charlotte All-Star game of KD & Kyrie playing together next season? I hope it won’t be a distraction & they can keep their eyes on winning the ! #ChaseForAThreePeat #DubNation
Rumors have been around the Warriors all season. It’s not a stretch to say there’s been a new one every week. Rumors don’t throw off the goal of making the most of this roster in this moment to three-peat. That’s the team’s focus.
Regarding the KD and Kyrie hallway video, if they wanted to have a conversation that was work-related, they’d be smart enough to avoid that conversation during All-Star events where cameras were everywhere.
Via IG: @meerkat53 Which player/coach do you think gives the best interviews? :)
The great thing is, every single Warriors player is a good interview. That’s not an exaggeration, but it is a luxury. Not every team is like that, and other reporters remind me, ha.
Steve Kerr always is thoughtful. Talk to him for five minutes, and you’ll have five stories. He’s also kind about clunky questions. And he’s savvy: He’ll use humor to deflect the questions he doesn’t want to get into. That’s on top of being good-humored to start.
I’ve learned I prefer talking to certain guys in certain moments. Steph for big-picture themes. Klay for his honesty. KD for his study of the game. I like talking to Draymond after competitive games because he keeps it real about how the Warriors won or why they struggled. Andre is good in those moments, too. I like DeMarcus because he doesn’t have a filter. He’s funny.
Via IG: @drewatt Can you take us behind the scenes of what it’s like to do your job on the road? And then gives us a glimpse of how it compares to at home at ROARacle Arena?
On the road, I need to get my bearings. Each arena is a new place to figure out. Where’s my seat? Where’s the media room? What’s the wifi password? Does the wifi work? Is this arena cold? Where is the locker room, and where is the bathroom?
Some arenas are tough to move around, depending on how tightly packed the seats are behind the bench. And as much as I like the game environment in Utah, my seat is up high on a perch. To get down to the court to do my reports or listen to the huddles, I have to cross a row of fans in a space as tight as an airplane row. I dislike going back and forth when fans are trying to watch the game.
Other than arena-specific things to get to know, doing my job on the road is the same as doing my job at Oracle. The reporting duties don’t change.
@dblakeross As you travel around the country, are the @warriors truly the most hated team in the NBA? I usually see a bunch of gold and blue #30 jerseys and hear cheers for the Ws when they score in other arenas. #askKerith
“Hate” is a word that encapsulates a lot when it comes to the Warriors, because it’s composed of awe and jealousy and frustration. The Warriors win. They have Hall of Fame players. The Warriors become a projection screen for fans who don’t honestly HATE them but don’t know what else to call it.
On the road before games, when the doors first open, I see fans rushing down to the courtside seats to watch the Warriors warm up. Plenty of fans are wearing the local team’s jersey, but they want to watch the show. They don’t seem to hate the Dubs when Steph Curry walks by for an autograph.
There’s also a strong contingent of Warriors fans at games all over the country. They are loud, and they can take over an arena with their cheers.
I see some grumbles about bandwagon Warriors fans. The grumbles are particularly annoying when it comes to kids in other cities who like the Warriors. Let the kids be.
And there’s some in-fighting about who deserves to be a Warriors fan and whether they’ve suffered enough through the crummy years. Those conversations are useless. Be cool.
This week’s high five goes to Cousins for putting his keeping-it-real meter on full blast when it comes to the issues he sees in the NCAA.
Here’s what he said, with video and context.
Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.