Warriors

Warriors aren't NBA title contenders? Steph Curry laughs at the notion

Warriors aren't NBA title contenders? Steph Curry laughs at the notion

OAKLAND - With Kevin Durant gone, Klay Thompson injured and immense roster turnover, many observers don't see the Warriors as NBA title contenders entering the 2019-20 season. 

Stephen Curry, Golden State's oldest and best player, is amused by this notion. 

"I just laugh at it," Curry said during his second annual Warriors All-Girls basketball camp in Oakland on Monday afternoon. "Anybody can say anything about anything nowadays and it can pick up steam. So we've had lots of support. We've had a lot of criticism on the way that doesn't change now. Just what they're saying is different so doesn't change how we go about our business."

Curry's optimism comes as his team has undergone a summer of transition. Aside from the team's move to San Francisco, the roster now has eight new faces, including All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell, was acquired in a sign-and-trade for Durant last month. In recent weeks, Curry and the young guard have been working out around the Bay Area with Curry's trainer Brandon Payne, a practice the two-time MCP believes will help during the season. 

New roster changes means Golden State will enter the season without trusted pieces. In the wake of the Durant sign-and-trade, Andre Iguodala was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies to free up cap space. Additionally, Jordan Bell and Quinn Cook signed with other teams, while veteran guard Shaun Livingston was waived for more salary cap relief. Now, with eight new additions, including big man Willie Cauley Stein, Curry still believes the new team can coexist.

"It's just a matter of really trying to get guys comfortable with the system, be able to highlight the different skill sets that we have and different strengths and the chemistry," Curry said. "It will take a little bit of time and a lot of hard work, but like I said, we have a lot of high IQ guys from our core and a lot of leadership and commitment to what we do, so starting in the training camp and beyond, you have to have a mindset that you will continue to get better as the season goes on."

As Curry navigates the change around the organization, his commitment to the advancement of women remains constant. Last year, he wrote an op-ed in the Player's Tribune pushing for equal pay for women. Five months ago, after nine-year-old Riley Morrison pointed out that Curry's Under Armour shoe line didn't include women's sizing, the Warriors point guard released a women's only colorway of his Curry 6 with the phrases “Be Fearless,” “Girl Power,” “Girls Hoop Too” and “Rock The Currys," inscribed in the sock liners. On Monday, Curry enlisted a five-woman panel that included broadcaster and Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman to speak to the crowd of young girls clad in Curry "30" jerseys. 

"There's a lot of people kind of speaking on the topic and speaking on the women's game and doing amazing work in terms of creating awareness, trying to get things changed and creating experiences like this camp." Curry said. "So I'm not alone in that fight. But in terms of just giving these girls between eight and 15,16 years old, a vision of who they can be in life, what they can accomplish in the world of sports."

Monday's camp makred one of the last events in Golden State's downtown Oakland facility. In the next two weeks, staffers will move out of their cubicles and into Chase Center as part of the organization's move to San Francisco.

[RELATED: Steph reflects on KD's Warriors tenure]

That's something Curry is still adjusting to. 

"It's still always bittersweet for sure," Curry said. "Cause I guess I've spent 10 years here. I remember my first training camp with Don Nelson and Kelenna Azubuike and the whole roster and 10 years later for guys that have come through this organization ... It's just weird and different but exciting for sure."

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in emotional 115-104 loss to 76ers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in emotional 115-104 loss to 76ers

BOX SCORE

Perhaps inspired by the memory of Kobe Bryant, the Warriors played with fire and fury Tuesday night in his hometown.

It wasn’t quite enough to take down the contending 76ers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

After trailing by as much as eight, the Sixers opened the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run and wound up slapping a 115-104 defeat on the Warriors.

Despite four players scoring in double figures, led by D’Angelo Russell’s game-high 28 points, and a near triple-double from Draymond Green, the Warriors (10-38) fell for the 14th time in 15 games.

The 76ers (31-17) pushed their home record to an NBA-best 22-2.

Draymond brought it

There have been a few occasions this season when Green, who has coped with an assortment of aches and injuries, was unable to summon his typical energy and production.

This was not one of them.

In 10 first-quarter minutes, Draymond tracked down six rebounds and recorded three assists. He totaled nine points, 12 assists and nine rebounds -- just short of his third triple-double this season -- and also added three blocks and one steal.

It was, effectively and statistically, his strongest game in four weeks.

As someone who had a strong relationship with Bryant, there is no doubt that he wanted to make his mentor proud. He succeeded.

Failures of the bench

Their last game coming last Friday, the Warriors were coming off their longest inactive stint of the season. The starters appeared rejuvenated. The reserves did not.

With the Warriors bench scoring 26 points on 9-of-28 shooting, Philadelphia posted an 11-point advantage in bench scoring.

The individual numbers were, um, ghastly.

Alec Burks, the team’s most reliable bench player, scored 11 points but finished minus-31. Eric Paschall, returning to the city where he played college ball (Villanova), was restricted to 10 minutes because he was whistled for five fouls. He finished minus-12. Backup center and occasional power forward Omari Spellman, another Villanova product, had five points on 2-of-7 shooting and finished minus-20. Rookie guard Jordan Poole shot 1-of-5 over 15 minutes and ended the game minus-12.

Meanwhile, Philly backup point guard Raul Neto scored 19 points in 21 minutes.

A night for the bench to forget.

The Kobe moment

In a prearranged agreement, each team opened the game by taking a turnover as a nod to the late Kobe Bryant.

The 76ers won the opening tip, with center Joel Embiid tapping the ball to guard Ben Simmons, who placed the ball on the floor until eight seconds ticked off. A backcourt violation was whistled, with the turnover giving the ball to the Warriors.

It’s probably the first time in the long history of Philadelphia basketball that the home crowd responded to a Sixers' turnover with a standing ovation.

Russell inbounded in the frontcourt to Green, who immediately placed the ball at his feet. For the next 24 seconds, all 10 players stood silently, each man with his thoughts.

[RELATED: Embiid wears No. 24 as 76ers, Warriors pay tribute to Kobe]

The Warriors took a 24-second possession violation, giving the ball back to the 76ers.

It is safe to presume neither team has any regrets.

Warriors, 76ers collaborate to honor Philadelphia native Kobe Bryant

Warriors, 76ers collaborate to honor Philadelphia native Kobe Bryant

Joel Embiid on Tuesday night played while wearing the No. 24 on his jersey instead of his customary 21.

His 76ers teammates wore one of two numbers during pregame warmups. Some wore 24, others wore 8.

The Warriors, every last one of them, wore black. The weight of the moment was etched on the face of rookie guard Jordan Poole.

This was the power and influence of Kobe Bryant, whose death on Sunday is being absorbed ever so slowly by the NBA fraternity and many outside the sport.

Temporarily defying the rules and purpose of competition, the Warriors and 76ers began the game in Philadelphia -- where Kobe was born and attended high school -- by allowing themselves to reflect on something bigger than basketball.

[RELATED: Draymond, Kerr having trouble processing Kobe's death]

They spent the first 35 seconds of the game focused solely on Kobe’s life and death. Embiid won the opening tip, directing the ball to Ben Simmons, who promptly placed it on the floor, where it sat for the next eight seconds. The crowd inside Wells Fargo Arena stood and cheered, after which an eight-second backcourt violation was assessed, the turnover giving the ball to the Warriors.

D’Angelo Russell inbounded to Draymond Green, who followed Simmons’ example by placing the ball on the floor. The Warriors took a 24-second possession violation, giving the ball back to the Sixers.

The first dribble was not taken until 11: 25 remained in the first quarter, the first shot coming 22 seconds later.

This all came after a pregame ceremony to honor Bryant. His Lower Merion High School No. 33 jersey, white with maroon trim, was spotlighted, along with eight more spotlights signifying the other victims that perished in the helicopter crash Sunday in Southern California. The names of all nine, including Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were in lights on the message board.

It was another example of the vibe permeating the NBA since the tragedy.