Warriors

Steve Kerr reveals Warriors' issues went beyond Draymond Green-Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr reveals Warriors' issues went beyond Draymond Green-Kevin Durant

Former Warrior Kevin Durant recently admitted that his extremely public confrontation with Draymond Green on the night of Nov. 12, 2018 played a role in his departure from Golden State.

On a new episode of "The Book of Basketball 2.0," Warriors coach Steve Kerr didn't seem to disagree.

"This was two guys who were about ready to fight," Kerr recalled in an interview with Bill Simmons.

In a 121-116 overtime loss to the Clippers, the two Warriors players were caught on camera getting into a verbal altercation on Golden State's bench. Durant and Green had to be separated by teammates, and Green ultimately was suspended by the team for the next game for his role in the squabble.

"I think I addressed it, but we didn't ... there was so much raw emotion in the locker room, we weren't going to resolve anything that night, for sure," Kerr told Simmons. "And that was the beginning ... actually, it wasn't even the beginning. It was probably more a result of what we had started to feel late the season before, where the team was starting to drift a little bit. 

"We were losing some of that connection, and then it kind of continued into camp and the early part of the season. There was just sort of an unspoken tension that was there that Draymond couldn't deal with and he just snapped and it opened up a pretty big wound."

Kerr knows that it wasn't Green's intention to cause such a lasting rift within the team, but rather, he simply went overboard being himself.

"This is my sixth year coaching the Warriors, now, so Draymond and I know each other really well," Kerr said. "He needs some conflict to motivate himself, and I embrace that. And he and I have gotten into it every single year, multiple times, and it's okay because he needs the conflict to get motivated, to get energized. 

"In this particular case with Kevin, it was too much, and it's something that happened on national TV. And now, you've invited the whole world to scrutinize your team, and so now there's so many distractions that it becomes really difficult to deal with."

Apparently, however, the Durant-Green confrontation wasn't the only one of its kind.

"If this had happened at a practice, you can cover it up," Kerr stated. "Actually, we had several things over the past few years that have happened that never made it out, and we're really proud of that."

Interesting.

[RELATED: Kerr reveals favorite game of Dubs' five-year NBA Finals run]

One might recall that shortly after the Warriors won the 2018 NBA Championship, former Warrior David West informed the public that Golden State's journey to the title wasn't a rosy as it might have appeared from the outside.

Kerr refrained from expounding on those unknown details, but it's quite clear that the groundwork that led to Durant's exit was laid long before the decisive blow.

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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USATSI

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.