Warriors

Stojakovic won't be surprised if Curry, Klay finish Top 2 in career 3s

Stojakovic won't be surprised if Curry, Klay finish Top 2 in career 3s

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA game is changing. League records are in jeopardy all over the place, but it’s hard to imagine a bigger statistical shift than that of the 3-point shot. Instituted to start the 1979-80 season, the 3-pointer isn’t just a gimmick, as first thought. It’s the lifeblood of a league that is growing at an incredible pace.

The ability to make the long distance shot used to be a rarity, now it is a prerequisite to enter the league. Even centers like DeMarcus Cousins and Marc Gasol are letting it fly as the game shifts to the perimeter.

The leaderboard is being rewritten and it’s will likely continue to change as more and more players are lining up from behind the arc.

Sacramento Kings executive Peja Stojakovic knows this fact all too well. Out of the league just six years, the Serbian-born sharpshooter has seen his place in the standings diminished almost every season.

“Every decade, every 10-15 years, there is some new, great player that comes in that take the game to a different place we haven’t seen before,” Stojakovic told CSN California earlier this week. “That’s what’s so special about this game.”

When he retired following the 2010-11 season, Stojakovic ranked fourth all-time in made 3-point shots with 1760, trailing only Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and Jason Kidd.

Since leaving the game, Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Jamal Crawford, Kyle Korver, Joe Johnson, Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant and Rashard Lewis have all passed him, leaving Stojakovic in 13th place on the list, but only for another game or two.

Golden State Warriors star point guard Stephen Curry is hot on Stojakovic’ tail, trailing the 3-time All-Star by just 11 makes coming into Wednesday night’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Be it Wednesday or sometime late in the week, Curry will almost assuredly surpass the former Kings star.

“Records are meant to be broken,” Stojakovic said. “Steph is definitely a guy, that if he continues to shoot - him and Klay (Thompson), if they continue to stay on the same pace, they can climb all the way to one and two.”

Curry, 28, has led the league four straight seasons in makes, setting new standards multiple times. His 402 triples last season is an NBA record and he holds three of the top four spots all-time for 3-balls in a single season.

Thompson is right behind Curry in most seasons. His 276 makes during 2015-16 is the third most in a single season and he is on pace to hit over 250 shots from deep this year. Through five-plus seasons in the league, Thompson has hit 1182 3-pointers and at age 26, he has plenty more left in him.  

“Our league in general has shifted,” Stojakovic said. “It’s more of a guard’s league and the pace is different. A lot of teams are shooting a lot of threes and Golden State - it suits them pretty well with the personnel they have.”

Both Curry and Thompson are a long way from tracking down Allen’s top spot of 2973, although Curry can get there quickly if he continues to drop in 400-plus bombs a season.

Injuries could play a role in where each of these players end up career-wise, but they are well on their way to shattering the record books.

“They are young enough and the way the league is going, I think if they stay healthy, they can really climb up there all the way to the top,” Stojakovic said.

Daryl Morey admits Rockets make most decisions with Warriors in mind

kdap.jpg
AP

Daryl Morey admits Rockets make most decisions with Warriors in mind

Grass is green, the sky is blue, and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is still obsessed with knocking off the Warriors.

Morey admitted as much in an interview with the Houston Chronicle, telling the paper that "a very high percentage" of the Rockets' decisions this offseason are made with one thing on their mind:

Same as last year, it's very likely to win the title we're going to have to beat the Warriors at some point. We're doing what we can to prepare for them. To me, that's what any rational person would do. I'm intrigued by some thinking it's odd that we say that. Maybe because it's not a norm. Ask any fan, 'Who do you have to beat to win the title?' They're going to say 'the Warriors.' It seems like [general manager] speak or coachspeak to not say that.

Morey told anybody who would ask last season that the Rockets were single-mindedly obsessed with beating the Warriors in the playoffs. Houston came close last season, jumping out to a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals, before Golden State stormed back to win the final two games in Rockets star Chris Paul's injury absence.

Morey responded with a substantial makeover of his roster. Defensive stoppers Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza are gone, while Carmelo Anthony, Michael Carter-Williams, Marquese Chriss, James Ennis and Brandon Knight are in. The Rockets were one of the West's best defensive teams last season, and Morey expects the team to withstand the loss of Ariza and Mbah a Moute.

"We can be [as strong defensively]," Morey told the Chronicle. "They were both extremely good defenders. So it will be a challenge. That was a big part of our meeting. [Assistant coach Roy Rogers] was walking through what changes and how excited he was with what he was planning to do and the personnel we have to be better than last year."

Morey -- as well as the Warriors -- will get a first look at whether or not Houston's offseason was successful on Nov. 17, when the Rockets host the defending NBA champions.  

Kevin Durant follows ex-teammate Russell Westbrook on Instagram

kdruss.jpg
USATSI

Kevin Durant follows ex-teammate Russell Westbrook on Instagram

There might be hope for Jimmy Butler to mend fences in Minnesota after all.

It appears ex-Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are on better terms. Durant started following the Thunder point guard on Instagram on Saturday.

Durant and Westbrook played together for eight seasons in Oklahoma City, but their relationship seemingly turned sour two years ago after Durant joined the Warriors in free agency. Westbrook reportedly wasn't happy Durant spurned OKC for the Bay Area, and the two jawed at times during various Thunder-Warriors tilts.

But the icy relationship seemed to thaw at February's NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Durant and Westbrook again played for the same team, and it appeared they were enjoying themselves.

That was a departure from the previous year -- Durant's first with the Warriors -- and the back-to-back Finals NBA MVP took the blame for their beef. 

"I feel like I f---ed that up," Durant said at the time. "I feel like I made it a thing when it shouldn't have been."

For his part, Westbrook said the weekend in February was "normal." But, as of this writing, Westbrook still does not follow Durant on the platform. He did, however, post this image on his Instagram story to show where he stood.

Well, where he stood physically, at least.