Warriors

Steph Curry lays out possible best-case scenario for new-look Warriors

Steph Curry lays out possible best-case scenario for new-look Warriors

This season will be much different for the Warriors. Steph Curry knows that. Everyone knows that. 

After lording over the NBA for the last five seasons, the Warriors have undergone a series of changes, with Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook and DeMarcus Cousins all exiting the Bay Area. 

Curry, Draymond Green and new addition D'Angelo Russell will be tasked with shouldering a heavy burden this season, as they look to jell quickly in order to keep the Dubs afloat in a revamped Western Conference until Klay Thompson returns from his torn ACL. With Thompson tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, there is some question as to whether or not the five-time All-Star will even return this season. ACL rehab normally is long and strenuous, and the Warriors want to make sure he is at 110 percent when he steps back on the court. 

Due to the myriad of changes the Warriors have undergone, many are expecting a down year from the NBA's former goliath, and some even have predicted they will miss the playoffs, especially if Curry, Russell and Green fail to jell quickly.

There is a different course for the Warriors, though. Some would call it overly optimistic. Others, borderline possible. It's most aptly described as the Dubs' best-case scenario. One that undoubtedly makes Curry smile at the thought of.

"Yeah, I feel like right now that is the picture we want to paint in terms of," Curry told The Athletic's Sam Amick. "We get to the playoffs, we’re full strength with who we have on this team, Klay is back, and we have the championship pedigree that will follow us and we’ll be the team that, like you said, you don’t want to see across the bracket.

"But in the meantime, we’ve got some weapons and guys that have an opportunity to really establish themselves, and it’s our job to try to give them the best chance to be successful at that. I feel like we can really create a lot of excitement and buzz around – quote, unquote – the new look, or whatever you want to call it, that might surprise you. I feel like right now there are a lot of unknowns, and this first 20-game period is going to be revealing all the way around. We have a chance to really solidify what this team can be, and build on that, and then come playoff time be a threat."

While the scenario might feel like a pipe dream, it's certainly not unfeasible that Thompson could return sometime after the All-Star break and the six- or seven-seeded Warriors could make a run in the Western Conference playoffs. Curry, Green, Thompson and Russell would give the Warriors enough firepower to match up with any of the West's newly-crowned kings. 

[RELATED: Report: Warriors waive McKinnie to make room for Chriss]

No matter how the season plays out for Curry and the Warriors, he knows one thing: it'll be tough.

“At the end of the day, we’re gonna have to scrap for everything,” Curry told Amick. “And I like that kind of vibe where there’s nothing pretty about what we’re going to do.”

Warriors' Kevon Looney, Alen Smailagic cleared for on-court workouts

kevonlooneyshootingusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Warriors' Kevon Looney, Alen Smailagic cleared for on-court workouts

MEMPHIS -- After injuries ravaged the Warriors' roster during the first month of the season, the team got a bit of good news Tuesday. 

Big men Kevon Looney and Alen Smailagic have been cleared for accelerated on-court workouts, while guard Jacob Evans will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

As the Warriors continue their four-game road trip, Looney and Smailagic are expected to participate in practices with the Warriors' G League team in Santa Cruz.

While nothing is set in stone, Warriors coach Steve Kerr didn't rule Looney out of next Monday's game against Oklahoma City.

The injuries updates come as the Warriors are in peril. In the last month,  Stephen Curry broke his hand, sidelining him until at least February, while two-way guard Damion Jones fractured his hand last week. In Tuesday's injury report, seven Warriors were listed as 'out,' including guard Klay Thompson. 

Looney, who was dealing with a neuropathic issue in his hamstring, carries the most importance. In the past two seasons, the multifaceted defender helped Golden State reach the NBA Finals. In his absence, the Warriors are giving up more than 120 points per game.

[RELATED: Bowman must adapt when Warriors are healthy]

Meanwhile, Evans was showing signs of progress following a tough rookie season, shooting 50 percent from the 3-point range before a left adductor sidelined him on Oct. 28. 

As for Smailagic, the rookie was expected to contribute right away with the Warriors undermanned frontline before spraining his ankle in a training camp scrimmage. In the last week, Kerr said the 19-year old told his coach he dunked during practice, showing his recent progress.

Warriors vs. Grizzlies watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

paschall2usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Warriors vs. Grizzlies watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

In a battle featuring two teams in different stages of rebuilding, the foundering Warriors face the suddenly resurgent Grizzlies on Tuesday at FedEx Forum in Memphis.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 5:10.

The Warriors (2-12) own the longest losing streak in the NBA this season, seven games, dating back to Nov. 6. It’s their longest string of defeats since April 2012, when they lost eight in a row.

Though the Warriors have not lost a season series to Memphis since 2012-13 (0-3), they have lost at least once at FedEx Forum in 11 consecutive seasons, including each of the last three.

The Grizzlies (5-8), early in a full rebuild, opened the season losing five of their first six games under first-year coach Taylor Jenkins. They are showing signs of improvement, though, going 4-3 since then. They have won three of their last four.

 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F  Eric Paschall
F  Draymond Green
C  Willie Cauley-Stein
G  Glenn Robinson III
G  Ky Bowman

Grizzlies

F  Jae Crowder
F  Jaren Jackson Jr.
C  Jonas Valanciunas
G  Dillon Brooks
G  Ja Morant

 

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture), G Jacob Evans III (left adductor strain), G Damion Lee (right hand non-displaced fracture), F Kevon Looney (neuropathy), F Alen Smailagic and G Klay Thompson (right ACL rehab) are listed as out.

Grizzlies: G Grayson Allen (left ankle soreness) is listed as out. F Andre Iguodala is not with the team.

 

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: Whether Warriors coach Steve Kerr stays with the unusual lineup that started Sunday in New Orleans (with Green starting at PG) remains to be seen. The slow start in that game (down 10-2 after three minutes, trailing by as much as 14 in the first half) could force a more conventional approach ... Undrafted rookie PG, who had 19 points and four assists in 28 minutes off the bench, made a strong case for starting, particularly with fellow rookie Morant at the point for Memphis ... Though rookie SG Jordan Poole remains mired in a shooting slump, the Warriors are encouraged that it has not affected his defense. The effort is there on that end, and the belief is his shots could start falling any day now ... Today’s player availability count: Nine.

Grizzlies: Though the team is built around Morant, the overall No. 2 pick in the June draft, rookie SF Brandon Clarke (No. 21 overall) has been terrific off the bench, averaging 12.3 ppg and 21.9 mpg ... The Grizzlies lead the league in paint points, averaging 55.0 per game, and Valanciunas is a big reason for that. He has scored in double figures in 12 consecutive games. Only two teams are more forgiving in the paint than the Warriors, whose opponents average 51.9 per game .. Picking up on the ball movement trend, the Grizzlies averaged 29.4 assists over their last seven games ... They also have made at least 10 triples in each of those seven consecutive games, matching a franchise record.

Officials: Kevin Scott (crew chief), Marat Kogut, Natalie Sago.