Warriors

Steve Kerr discusses 'Kevin Durant jealous of LeBron James' narrative

Steve Kerr discusses 'Kevin Durant jealous of LeBron James' narrative

As the weeks and months continue to go by, we keep learning more and more about Kevin Durant's time with the Warriors.

New stories and anecdotes surface, and they provide some insight into KD's mindset and possibly help explain why he left in free agency.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr was a guest on Bill Simmons' "The Book of Basketball 2.0" podcast, and the two had the following exchange:

Simmons: "My theory -- I'm not sure if I'm right -- but I think he thought when he won the title that first year ... and he really outdueled LeBron -- I think leaving that series, people were like, 'Wow, that guy was just better than LeBron in a Finals,' -- and he thought that was gonna be it: 'KD made the right move.'

"And instead people were like, 'F--k that guy, we're still not giving it to you.' And I could feel it in him in the interviews, this kind of, 'What else do I have to do? I just went toe-to-toe with LeBron James and I won. What else do I have to do?'"

Kerr: "You nailed it. The same reason we got Kevin in the first place was the reason we lost him -- he was restless. His first year with us, he was a sponge and he would ask questions constantly. It's a very different style of play and he was playing with different players. I think he embraced it and he enjoyed it.

"The following year, I felt like Kevin started to drift. My feeling was he started to get restless, like, 'This is all there is? We won the title last year, we're rolling again this year, but whatever it is I'm searching for, I'm still not finding it.'

"We had a really good thing and then you could just feel it start to slip. And I don't know if it was what you mentioned -- Kevin felt like he was now the King of the NBA, but nobody was recognizing him for that. He dominated LeBron in those Finals."

Simmons: "I could feel him -- just in various interactions -- really frustrated with that."

Kerr: "Yeah, yeah."

Simmons: "Almost like, 'I'm just never gonna get the credit for this, and I thought I would, and now I'm not. So now what?

Kerr: "Right, right. Yeah."

First off, Simmons is referring to podcast conversations he had with Durant in late March 2018.

Now, as for the LeBron angle ... that is very, very interesting for two reasons.

Number one -- two days after the Warriors won the 2017 title, Kerr was a guest on the "Lowe Post" podcast with ESPN's Zach Lowe and said:

"LeBron's the best player in basketball -- we know that."

He immediately followed up with: "And KD is right there with him."

Hmmmmmmmm. Perhaps Kerr's declaration is why KD started to sour on his coach?

[RELATEDKerr hints at Warriors' issues beyond KD-Draymond fracas]

Number two -- Ethan Strauss of The Athletic wrote the following back in February:

Sources say that Durant believed his besting of LeBron James in the 2017 Finals would get him hailed as the game’s top player, a mantle he’s craved for some time ... KD, who was “tired of being second” way back in 2013, was still stuck there reputationally, even in ultimate victory.

He was still behind LeBron in the eyes of pundits, basketball Twitter, and perhaps most importantly, at Nike, who’s employed Durant longer than any team. Then, the next Finals unfolded in much the same way, with much the same result, all while Warriors fans cheered loudest for the smaller MVP’s baskets.

That's worthy of another "hmmmmmmmm," right?

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Warriors’ still-mounting injuries a big blow to young players’ development

Warriors’ still-mounting injuries a big blow to young players’ development

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the waning moments of the Warriors' latest loss Friday night, their bench resembled the front row of a fashion show more than a functioning NBA roster.

Toward the end of the bench, All-Star guard Stephen Curry sat in a black suit jacket, covering a massive cast protecting his broken left hand. To Curry's left, center Kevon Looney sat in a gray suit, his immediate future in peril as he continues to seek answers about an injured hamstring.

That type of visual has become commonplace over the last month.

Over that stretch, 11 Warriors players have been sidelined with injuries, crippling a roster that seemed armed with an outside shot of making the playoffs on opening night just three weeks ago.

The latest blow came Saturday morning, when an MRI confirmed that D'Angelo Russell had suffered a sprained thumb, sidelining him for at least two weeks. Over his previous six games, the guard had averaged 29.7 points on 48 percent shooting from the field, including a 52-point, nine-rebound performance against Minnesota, so his absence will be felt.

That's because the Warriors are in roster transition, marked by their youthful core.

When Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall were drafted in June, the expectation was that the rookies would be brought along slowly, learning behind Golden State's battered All-Star cast. The myriad injuries changed that, though, forcing both into more minutes than initially anticipated.

While Paschall has flourished in that spot (15.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 30.8 minutes per game), Poole has struggled. Since Curry's injury in the fourth game of the season, Poole has shot 29 percent from the field, and he has hit just five of his last 28 shots over his last two contests.

The trickle-down effect started on the eve of training camp, when Warriors general manager Bob Myers announced that center Willie Cauley-Stein would miss most of October with a foot strain. Two days later, rookie Alen Smailagic rolled his ankle and Looney strained his hamstring in the same controlled scrimmage.

Last month, Curry broke his hand, sidelining the guard until at least February. Two nights later, forward Draymond Green tore a ligament in his left index finger. On Monday, two-way guard Damion Lee fractured his hand.

Amid all those injuries, Warriors coach Steve Kerr trotted out his ninth starting lineup of the season Friday, with two-way guard Ky Bowman at the point. For a moment, it worked.

Midway through the third quarter, Bowman intercepted a pass, ran cross court and dunked over Grant Williams, cutting the Celtics' lead to three. Two minutes later, Alec Burk stripped Boston guard Brandon Wanamaker, setting up a fast-break layup that gave Golden State a brief 82-80 lead before the Celtics rallied and held on in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors' current reality is much different than their immediate past. After winning 78 percent of their games over five years, they now find themselves with a roster that lost Kevin Durant to free agency, while Curry and Klay Thompson's rehabs are expected to last until at least February. Their 2-11 record is the NBA's worst.

[RELATED: How die-hard Warriors fans can stay optimistic]

Minutes after the final buzzer Friday, there were reminders of potential hopes lost. Curry's hand swelled out of his cast as he walked near a team official. In the locker room, Paschall sported an ice pack on his right hand, and Poole reconciled an ankle injury that he said wouldn't affect him.

As the Warriors packed for another road trip, potentially with just eight healthy bodies for the foreseeable future, another reminder that the team's development is coming at a hefty price was evident.

Warriors' D'Angelo Russell out at least two weeks with right thumb sprain

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Warriors' D'Angelo Russell out at least two weeks with right thumb sprain

Add another one to the list.

After leaving Friday night’s loss to the Celtics with a thumb injury, an MRI has confirmed a right thumb sprain for All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell.

Russell will not travel with the team on the upcoming four-game road trip and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Golden State’s already lengthy injury report adds another name, as the team now stands with just nine healthy players as the team embarks for New Orleans on Saturday to kick off the trip.