Warriors

Warriors All-21st Century Team: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant highlight squad

Warriors All-21st Century Team: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant highlight squad

From the futile to the fantastic, the Warriors have spent the first 20 years of this century outraging and thrilling their most loyal fans. Dub Nation takes pride in knowing the post-2011 era, after the franchise was reset, bears little resemblance to the 10 previous seasons.

Which is why our goal of assessing the last 20 seasons and assembling a 15-man roster composed of the best Warriors during that period was comfortably surmountable challenge.

[RELATED: Klay's 37-point quarter 'religious experience' for Kerr]

There was one particularly tough call, but there were far more no-brainers. Without further ado, we present, in alphabetical order, our All-Warriors team of the 21st Century:

GUARDS (6)

Gilbert Arenas: His 129-game Warriors career is the shortest of anyone on this team. But what an impact. Drafted in the second round (No. 30 overall) in 2001, Gilbert was the first player fans grew to love with since the Run-TMC era a decade earlier. He electrified to such a degree that a website (staygilbert.com) was created to basically beg him to not to leave as a free agent.

His departure broke hearts all over the fan base.

Steph Curry: If the Warriors housed every player in their history in a single high-rise, he would have the penthouse suite above Wilt and Rick and Mully. Curry is the only MVP winner in the team’s 58-year Bay Area history, and he did it twice, in back-to-back seasons.

He owns three rings, and his presence was influential in the momentum that led to the construction of Chase Center. Steph torched the old shooter’s blueprint and started a 3-point revolution that altered the way the game is played in gyms around the world.

Baron Davis: Anytime the Warriors want a quick roar at a home game, certainly at Oracle but also at Chase, the game-operations crew know what to do. Play the B Diddy video from 2007. The one where he soars above 6-foot-9 Andrei Kirilenko and mashes him into the dirt.

BD’s arrival in February 2005 lit a fire beneath franchise. Into a locker room of snoozers came this walking alarm bell. The Warriors woke up, and “We Believe” was conceived.

Monta Ellis: Tough call. In his best seasons, the Warriors were a cumulative 95-145. He was the No. 4 scorer on the “We Believe” team and never came close to All-Star status. But Monta is the fastest of productive Warriors this century, using his quicks to average 25.5/24.1/21.9 in the three seasons before he was traded.

Being the most magnetic player on awful teams matters when the tally of losing seasons equals 11.

Jason Richardson: The Warriors had gone eight years without a playoff appearance and four without an All-Star when J-Rich owned 2002 All-Star Weekend in Oakland. A few hours after being named MVP of the rookie game, he came back to win the Slam Dunk Contest on a bounce pass to himself, between-the-legs throwdown that had Arenas dancing on the sideline.

J-Rich was a good player that delivered a seminal moment to a starving fan base.

Klay Thompson: He owns the record for most 3-pointers in a game, 14. Owns the record for most 3-pointers in a quarter, nine. Owns the record for points in a quarter, 37. Owns three championship rings. Has five appearances in the All-Star Game. The only player in shot-clock history to hit 60 in less than 30 minutes. After four seasons among the league’s top-three wing defenders, he was named to the All-Defensive team in 2019.

Any questions?

FORWARDS (6)

Kevin Durant: The biggest free-agent acquisition in the history of the franchise, KD was in Oakland for three seasons, all of which ended in the NBA Finals. The Warriors won two of those Finals, and he was named MVP in both. Too quick for power forwards, too long for small forwards, Durant was a matchup horror, able to create for himself or a teammate. In his spare time, he protected the rim.

The day he announced he was coming to the Bay was, for Warriors fans, Christmas in July.

Draymond Green: To comprehend his impact, one needs three sets of eyes. One to observe Draymond, one for his teammates and one for opponents. Communicating vividly and blowing up offensive sets, he choreographs the defense as an elite point guard does the offense. He also orchestrates the Warriors’ offense.

The result? Three rings, four All-Star Game appearances and a DPOY. To study Draymond at his best is to appreciate the tools required for consistent winning.

Andre Iguodala: Much like Draymond, Andre’s greatest value is his ability to feel the subtleties. Or, as Warriors assistant Ron Adams describes it, “to see the pictures.”

Iguodala is a master at using his hands for the steal/block, which often ignited transition. His shot is inconsistent, but as a Sixth Man he was quick to decipher what the Warriors needed at any given time – passing, energy, rebounding, scoring -- and apply it upon entering the game.

Stephen Jackson: Jackson’s toughness and fearlessness were essential to the Warriors’ massive upset of the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 playoffs. He slipped inside Dirk Nowitzki’s jersey and then crept into the head of the big German, who was at least five inches taller.

At the other end, Jack made the game easy for his big men and also walked into crucial 3-pointers. The Draymond of the “We Believe” squad.

Antawn Jamison: The oldest man on our roster, Jamison opened the century playing 246 of 246 games, averaging 24.9/19.7/22.2 in scoring and 8.7/6.8/7.0 in rebounding. He is one of 11 players with back-to-back 50-point games, his second coming on a night in Oakland when he matched Kobe Bryant basket for basket.

Kobe was 22 years old, Antawn 21.

David Lee: Lee snapped the team’s 16-year All-Star Game drought. Selected in 2013, he was the first Warrior invited since Latrell Sprewell in 1997.

D-Lee’s defensive inadequacies are as well-chronicled as his personal-stat monitoring, but the first big acquisition under new ownership was a double-double machine, holding that average (18.5 points, 11.2 rebounds) throughout 2012-13, the first of seven consecutive winning seasons.

CENTERS (2)

Andris Biedrins: Averaging 9.5 points and 9.3 rebounds in the “We Believe” season, the 6-11 Latvian climbed to 10.5/9.8 and 11.9/11.2 the next two seasons, leading the NBA in field-goal percentage at 62.4 in the second season. He was one tier away from All-Star consideration at age 23.

Much of his offense was a product of playmaking teammates, but Biedrins was settling into a productive career when he nosedived and never recovered.

Andrew Bogut: If Lee was the first marquee acquisition under new ownership, Bogut was the first addition via seismic trade. With him coming from Milwaukee and Ellis going to the Milwaukee Bucks, the trade was unpopular with many fans -- until it was evident the 7-footer’s presence was crucial to a playoff-worthy defense.

He was a nice lob threat, but his greatest contribution was bringing a defensive mentality previously foreign to the franchise.

WILD CARD

Matt Barnes: The only man to suit up for the “We Believe” Warriors of 2006-07 and, a decade later, the World Champion Warriors of 2016-17. Barnes was not an elite player; he knew that. He scratched and bumped and gritted his way into relevance.

Not one of the other 14 players on our roster would not want Matt as a teammate.

Honorable mention

Harrison Barnes, Ian Clark, Jamal Crawford, Adonal Foyle, Jarrett Jack, Shaun Livingston, Kevon Looney, JaVale McGee, Anthony Morrow, Zaza Pachulia, Marreese Speights, David West.

Steve Kerr knows hard work just starting in fighting racial injustice

Steve Kerr knows hard work just starting in fighting racial injustice

The eyes of the world are on police brutality and institutional racism in the United States.

Protests have erupted around the world in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody last Monday, with demonstrators taking to the streets across the country and all over the globe ever since.

Outspoken Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday that the hard work is just beginning.

"I think that that's our job, really, is to make sure that it's not just a press conference and a Zoom call, and then back to normal business," Kerr said on NBC Sports Bay Area's "Race In America: A Candid Conversation." "I think what David (West) was talking about earlier (on the panel) was working with the grassroots organizations. I think being committed -- if you're a corporation, taking on that commitment of building a relationship with these grassroots organizations.

"Not just, 'Hey, here's a check for [$5,000], we're proud of you.' Build a relationship with the grassroots organizations, build a relationship with city government and continue this work. That's the whole key, and that's what I'm going to try to do. That's what the (NBA) coaches association is doing. We're trying to build lasting relationships so that the work can continue, even beyond the emotion of the aftermath of something like this."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died last Monday after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer who has since been fired, pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd pleaded that he couldn't breathe. Chauvin was arrested a week ago, and he has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three officers at the scene were arrested this week and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Floyd's death occurred within months of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman, and Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African American man, also dying. Louisville police fatally shot Taylor in her home, while two white men allegedly followed and murdered Arbery as he jogged in his Georgia neighborhood.

The NBA has the highest percentage of African American players of any of the four "major" professional sports in the United States, and it's also the closest to returning since the leagues paused their seasons in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The NBA Players Association approved the league's plan to return to the court Friday, agreeing to resume the season beginning in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex with a 22-team format.

Former Warriors big man David West doesn't think the NBA season resuming to the court will stop players from speaking out.

"I think [commissioner Adam Silver] gives guys the space and the room to be people," West said Friday. "I would expect him to be, or the NBA to be in that same vein. I don't think they're gonna try to restrict guys. I think they'll talk it through with guys -- a lot of guys are flustered. They don't know what to say. They know what they feel, they know what they're seeing is not right, but they don't know what to say. The NBA does a good job of helping guys with their message, so I don't think that there's gonna be some restriction.

"I think that players, as they are compelled, will continue to lend their voice because ... [the] grassroots organizations have to do the work, the elected officials have to do the work. We have to do our part in terms of being citizens, but I just think that the players are too in-tune to just turn it off and go back to playing basketball. I think guys want to be a part of the narrative in terms of changing this society and pointing it in a different direction."

[RELATED: Kerr criticizes Trump for 'drawing battle lines' for election]

Protests will continue before the NBA season tips off again, and Kerr is encouraged by those who are leading the way on the ground. When Kerr looks at demonstrations, he sees a young, diverse coalition making their voices heard.

That gives him hope for the days ahead.

"I have great faith in the younger generation that's coming up behind us," Kerr said. "David mentioned this: They're more connected than any generation before them (because of social media). They're also more diverse. Just naturally, the demographics in this country are changing dramatically. What I've seen in my kids' lives, hearing their stories, watching the protests and seeing the diversity that's involved in these protests, I think the young generation is just ... looking at the older generation and they know that we're full of you know what.

"They just do. I mean, how could you not, right? And I think they want a different future, and I think they're gonna get it. I believe in the way they've educated themselves, how tolerant they are, how different they've been raised compared to us 30, 40 years ago. So, I have great faith in the young generation and in the coming decades, I think they're gonna get a lot more things done than we've ever been able to do."

Steve Kerr criticizes Trump 'drawing battle lines' for 2020 election

Steve Kerr criticizes Trump 'drawing battle lines' for 2020 election

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has not been shy about criticizing President Donald Trump.

Since Trump assumed office in 2017, the two have been at odds. Kerr has criticized countless Trump policies, and the President called Kerr "a little boy" after the NBA's suddenly contentious relationship with China following  Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeting in support of protestors in Hong Kong. 

Trump recently caught the ire of Kerr is once again in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody. During a Tuesday protest near the White House, U.S. Park Police, the Secret Service, the National Guard and other federal law enforcement agencies cleared demonstrators from the area using tear gas as Trump walked to take a picture in front of the damaged St. John's Episcopal Church. Kerr called it a ploy for Trump's reelection campaign.

"Trump is drawing the battle lines for the election," Kerr said during NBC Sports Bay Area's "Race In America: A Candid Conversation" on Friday. "He's now just paving the way for, 'I'm the law and order president, and you've got to vote for me unless you want the chaos to ensue.' Which is ironic because chaos has ensued under his own administration. But clearly, this is the beginning of what's going to be a chaotic campaign. Trump, as he's been doing for not only his presidency, but for much of his adult life, he's just trying to divide people and stir up the pot. And as I said, he's drawing the lines and trying to bring his supporters to the side."

Floyd -- a 46-year-old African American man -- died after fired police officer Derek Chauvin -- a white man -- pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. Floyd was detained after a store owner alleged he used a suspicious $20 bill, and police initially alleged he resisted arrest. Nearby surveillance footage disputed those claims.

Bystanders filmed Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd's neck as three others looked on, and the video sparked protests around the globe. Some demonstrations in the United States have drawn the presence of the National Guard, escalating tensions between protestors and law enforcement.

Trump has criticized the demonstrations, calling protesters "thugs" in a tweet on May 28. The president tweeted "When the looting starts, the shooting starts" a day later, and Trump faced additional criticism from Kerr.

Last week, Vice President Mike Pence tweeted "[we] will always stand for the right of Americans to peacefully protest and let their voices be heard."

Kerr immediately criticized Pence for hypocrisy on Twitter, as Pence staged a highly publicized walkout of a 2017 game between the 49ers and Indianapolis Colts due to San Francisco players kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and institutional racism. At the time, Pence tweeted he wouldn't "dignify any event" disrespecting the flag and the national anthem.

"When you're incapable of being authentic, you're just throwing stuff at the wall and you don't even really care," Kerr said. "But this is the problem, that truth and facts have sort of gone out the window. So anybody who is paying attention knows full well that not only did the administration not accept peaceful protests, but they turned it around and turned it into an anti-American act.

"So, we all saw that and then to then fast forward four years and say, 'No, no, we actually definitely feel strongly that Americans should be allowed to peacefully protest.' It's just like an utter lack of concern or conviction for anything in terms of your truth. There is no truth. So, no character, no conviction and that's a big part of the issue right now, is that the people leading our country are just speaking from both sides of their mouth and just saying whatever they want to say."

For much of his Warriors tenure, Kerr has been outspoken on social issues and disagreed with Trump's policies. In 2017, he criticized Trump's executive order restricting travel from seven majority-Muslim nations. Trump mocked Kerr last year after Morey send out a tweet in solidarity with Hong Kong.

“I watched this guy, Steve Kerr, and he was like a little boy, he was so scared to be even answering the question,” Trump said in October. “He couldn’t answer the question. He was shaking. ‘Oh, oh, oh, I don’t know. I don’t know.’ He didn’t know how to answer the question, and he’ll talk about the United States very badly."

[RELATED: Ex-Warrior West explains his biggest fear as black father]

Kerr tried to curtail his comments towards the president during last season, privately declining to comment on Trump's impeachment hearings in January. Nonetheless, he continued criticizing Trump on Twitter after the NBA suspended its season due to the coronavirus in March.

Kerr said Friday he hopes for a change in leadership in the Oval Office.

"This is how it works in politics, it's just unfortunate that this is how people in power can think because we would like to," Kerr said. "Or at least hope to believe that we would have people who are in it for the right reasons, trying to actually lead us in a positive direction, but that hasn't been the case."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]