Warriors

Tracy McGrady sent Kevin Durant a DM to offer Patrick Beverley advice

Tracy McGrady sent Kevin Durant a DM to offer Patrick Beverley advice

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday night at 6, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

In the Warriors' Game 1 win over the Clippers, Kevin Durant registered 23 points (8-of-16 shooting), four rebounds, three assists, three blocks and one steal.

With less than five minutes remaining in the game, he and Patrick Beverley each received their second technical fouls and were ejected.

In the Warriors' stunning Game 2 loss, KD scored 21 points on just eight shots (he went 11 of 12 from the free-throw line), but he committed nine turnovers and fouled out with 1:21 remaining.

Is Beverley's physical approach affecting Durant? Is the two-time NBA All-Defensive selection under the reigning two-time Finals MVP's skin?

"I'm saying that it has worked for the first two games," Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady said Tuesday on ESPN's The Jump. "I haven't really seen the MVP KD ... he's (Beverley) playing the game, and I think KD is falling into that with him. KD has to get to his spots."

McGrady -- who isn't close with Durant -- felt compelled to reach out to the 10-time All-Star on social media to share some advice.

"I sent him a DM today. I sent KD a DM today," McGrady said. "It's good for a small guy to get up under you because they have the leverage. That's great coaching by them (the Clippers) to put a smaller guy on him.

"What KD has to do is get in position and turn and face him. If he faces Pat Beverley, there's nothing he can do because you can't touch him. And then if he's doing all the crowding, all you have to do is go up and shoot and you're getting those calls because he's in your space.

[RELATEDKD refused to give Perkins insight into free-agency plans]

"Don't wrestle with this kid. Don't get involved in his antics. Just play basketball. But right now, he's out of his game."  

It's unclear at this point if Durant responded, but when Rachel Nichols looked at the camera and said: "KD, check your phone because Tracy has some advice for you," Kendrick Perkins (who was a guest on the show) chimed in with: "Oh, he's watching right now. Knowing him, he's watching."

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Why this ESPN analyst thinks Warriors could be 'terrifying' next year

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Why this ESPN analyst thinks Warriors could be 'terrifying' next year

The Warriors will enter the 2019-20 NBA season in unfamiliar territory.

For one, they won't enter the season as title favorites for the first time since lifting the Larry O'Brien Trophy in 2015 after significant roster turnover headlined by Kevin Durant's departure in free agency. For another, they will begin the campaign without star guard Klay Thompson in the opening-night lineup for the first time since 2010 as he recovers from a torn ACL. 

But that isn't enough to write off Golden State as an NBA title contender, according to ESPN's Kirk Goldsberry. 

"I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd be all over this bet," Goldsberry wrote in a Friday column, referring to the Warriors opening the season as +1,400 championship favorites according to Caesar's Palace. "Why? Call me crazy, but if Klay Thompson returns to action by March or April, and the Warriors are in the playoffs, they're terrifying."

Placing them in his third tier of championship contenders, Goldsberry noted that the Warriors' experience could give them an edge over other title contenders. He also proposed that sign-and-trade acquisition D'Angelo Russell could "take another leap" under head coach Steve Kerr. Russell, who was an All-Star last season, doesn't have the same defensive upside as Thompson, but gives Golden State another credible scoring threat while one half of the Splash Brothers sits on the sidelines. 

[RELATED: Why Mychal Thompson has MVP expectations for Steph]

That defensive drop-off is what concerns Goldsberry the most, especially with Thompson set to miss so much of the season while Durant and Andre Iguodala no longer are playing in the Bay. The Warriors finished outside of the top 10 in defensive rating in each of the last two seasons despite the presence of all three players on the roster. As NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann observed earlier this week, those absences leave the Warriors with a lot of question marks on the defensive end of the court. 

The best-case scenarios for the Warriors next season involve a lot of "ifs." If Russell can effectively fill in for Thompson and if Thompson can return healthy and if the Warriors figure out their defense, then Golden State could be a force in the postseason. The Warriors will have 82 games to figure it all out, but they are still a team few would want to face if and when they do. 

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

Why Mychal Thompson thinks Steph Curry will make 500 3-pointers this year

The Warriors' roster turnover this summer has been well-documented, but Mychal Thompson things it will bring out the best in Steph Curry next season.

Curry will have to adjust to life without Kevin Durant next season, after the star signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. The two-time MVP also will miss Klay Thompson -- Mychal's son -- for much of the campaign as the Splash Brother recovers from a torn ACL. Because of that, the elder Thompson thinks Curry has the potential for a record-breaking season in 2019-20.

"Now, they're not going to be as good as they were last year -- and by the way, I predict Steph is going to have 500 3s this year without having to share the ball that much back in the backcourt with Klay," Mychal said Friday on SiriusXM NBA Radio. "So he's going to come back to his MVP form we saw two years ago."

Curry set the NBA's single-season record with 402 made 3-pointers en route to the first unanimous MVP in league history in 2015-16. He did so leading a historic Warriors team that went 73-9, and Klay finished second on Golden State that season with 276 made 3-pointers. 

Klay made 241 -- and attempted 599 -- triples last year, while Curry made 354 and attempted 810. Assuming Thompson returns after the All-Star break, there could be enough touches for Curry to shatter his own record. However, summer acquisition D'Angelo Russell made just seven fewer 3-pointers than Thompson last season. He probably will take fewer shots as the No. 2 option behind Curry to start the season, but Russell's presence probably lowers Curry's record-setting ceiling. 

[RELATED: Steph comments on learning about KD's decision on plane]

Curry unquestionably will have to carry a bigger load for as long as Klay's out next season. But when his son returns, Mychal thinks the Warriors will find themselves on the same level as other Western Conference contenders. 

"[Draymond Green] is motivated to have a great year because his contract year is coming up," the elder Thompson continued.  "So I think [Curry and Green] -- and with the addition of D'Angelo Russell and the other role players that they've signed -- I think they'll be right in the mix. Somewhere between a five [or] six seed until Klay comes back 100 percent, and then they'll be ready to make their move."