Warriors

Warriors' Marquese Chriss grateful for opportunity at redemption

Warriors' Marquese Chriss grateful for opportunity at redemption

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the last two weeks, Marquese Chriss has walked into Chase Center uncertain if he'd last in Golden State past training camp. 

Now, with a lack of frontcourt depth forcing Golden State to waive Alfonzo McKinnie, the team has made room for the former first-round pick. 

"I haven't heard anything officially," Chriss said Friday morning. "So just going into it like I have the past couple games and still trying to prove myself and trying to show that I belong here." 

Golden State's decision to choose Chriss comes as the Warriors are battling a thin frontcourt. On the eve of training camp, Warriors general manager Bob Myers announced big man Willie Cauley-Stein would miss most of October with a foot strain. Two days later, rookie Alen Smailagic rolled his ankle and Kevon Looney strained his hamstring in the same controlled scrimmage.

Adding to the peril, Spellman tweaked his back in the Warriors' first preseason game against the Lakers. As injuries mounted, Chriss -- who signed a non-guaranteed deal prior to training camp -- averaged 9.5 points, 8.3 rebounds in 22 minutes through four games. 

"It was kind of a perfect storm the way things happened. Obviously, I would never wish injury upon anybody," Chriss said.

Chriss' latest opportunity comes as the 22-year old is hoping to revitalize his career. He was drafted eighth overall by the Kings before being sent in a draft-night trade to the Phoenix Suns. He spent two seasons with the Suns, before playing stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Houston Rockets, garnering some reported character concerns along the way. 

"He was immature," former teammate Jared Dudley told NBC Sports Bay Area Friday afternoon. "But it's not a bad immaturity, he just had to grow up and they threw him into the fire and sometimes kids aren't ready for that." 

However, in his short time in Golden State, Chriss has been a model teammate in the locker room, garnering the praise of forward Draymond Green, who came to Chriss' defense this week. 

"[People] always want to blame the kid," Green said following Wednesday's preseason loss to the Lakers. "It's not always the kid's fault. He's getting older now, so he's not a kid anymore. But he came into this league as a kid, but it's never the organization's fault. It's always that guy. So I'm happy he's gotten the opportunity to show what he can really do because it's a prime example. But no one will still blame any organization. It'll always be the kid's fault, and it will be the next kid that comes in's fault and the next kid after that. So I'm happy he's gotten this opportunity."

"At the time Phoenix didn't have the infrastructure to manage and control people and to develop people at that time," Dudley added. "Three coaches in his year and a half. He was partially to blame, he was getting technical fouls, he was shooting bad shots but sometimes it's on the organization and they failed him."

On Friday, Chriss expressed appreciation for Green's words. 

"I appreciate him for having my back and I wholeheartedly believe what he said," Chriss said. "Being a person to go through things like that. Having a lot of blame on you for stuff you can't really control is tough and its growing pains with being in the NBA. I feel like it takes time to develop and learn.

"It bothers me when people try to come for my character," he added. "I know what type of person I am and I know how my mom raised me and I know how I want to represent myself and my family so that's the biggest thing for me is just showing that things that have been said are not true." 

As Chriss spoke Friday, Golden State's need for the 6-foot-10 big man was evident. A few feet from his media availability, Cauley Stein was just starting to get on-court work, while Looney -- who is hoping to play in the season opener Oct. 24 -- rehabbed on the other end of the court.

[RELATED: Steph lays out best-case scenario for new-look Warriors]

With the opportunity, Chriss will once again have an opportunity to rectify his career. 

"When I came here I was just ready to compete and ready to try to work for a spot and I had no idea that this many people were actually hurt," he said. "But it happened the way it did and I'm just happy." 

Warriors' Steph Curry participates in drills, inching closer to return

currypracticeusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Warriors' Steph Curry participates in drills, inching closer to return

SAN FRANCISCO -- After a full month of increasingly intense individual workouts, Stephen Curry on Tuesday joined his Warriors teammates on the practice court for the first time since last October.

That wasn’t quite enough for Curry, though, as he then stayed behind for individual shooting drills after most of the Warriors had wrapped up their sessions and headed for the showers.

The only indication that Curry’s return is not imminent was his attire. He was the only player wearing a red jersey, signifying “no contact” status.

“We were calling him Tom Brady today,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the team’s first practice after the All-Star break. “Don’t touch Steph.”

“But he took part in everything, other than our scrimmage. We scrimmaged at the end, and he didn’t do that. But he took part in everything else and he’s looking great.”

Though there is no official date for Curry’s return -- he underwent surgery to repair a fracture of the second metacarpal of his left hand -- the Warriors are scheduled to issue an update on March 1. If all goes well, it’s conceivable Curry would immediately begin scrimmaging, with a possible return a few days later.

Asked about Klay Thompson’s status, Kerr indicated he’s not expecting Curry’s sidekick to return this season.

“With Steph, there’s a definite timetable,” Kerr said. “It’s easy to look and say that in a couple weeks, Steph is going to be ready to play. I don’t know exactly what day.

“But Klay is a long way from that. I don’t even entertain any thoughts of Klay playing this year.”

While Thompson is rehabbing a surgically repaired torn ACL, which often requires a year or more before making a full recovery, Curry met all recovery benchmarks in the wake of fracturing his left hand on Oct. 30.

Curry was able to participate in defensive drills, skill work and some offensive scripting, Kerr said. He will be limited Wednesday when the team goes through its next practice.

The last step for Curry will be to endure one or two live scrimmages.

“I don’t know when he’s going to be allowed to scrimmage,” Kerr said. “It’s not this week or anything. But he looks really good. He’s gaining strength, gaining confidence. He has been putting himself through some brutal workouts, so his conditioning is about as good as it can possibly be for somebody who hasn’t been able to scrimmage.”

There has been a measure of debate within the NBA community about whether it’s wise for Curry to return to a team bound for the draft lottery. Kerr is focused on the obvious benefits, even if it’s 15 to 20 games.

“It’s going to be a different role for him,” he said. “He only got three games before his injury. It’s important for him to feel the difference. It feels different for us. With all these young guys we’re trying to teach them on the fly, a lot of things that we’ve taken for granted over the last five years, we can’t take for granted anymore. Steph needs to feel that.”

[RELATED: Light years 2.0: Lacob says Dubs 're-imagining the dynasty']

The Warriors have 27 games remaining. After March 1, that number drops to 21. Their final 20 begins with a four-game homestand from March 5 to March 12. Assuming there are no setbacks, it’s likely Curry will return during that stretch.

Warriors 're-imagining the dynasty' during down season, Joe Lacob says

Warriors 're-imagining the dynasty' during down season, Joe Lacob says

The Warriors, with their 12-43 record, are behind every team in the NBA this season. But team owner Joe Lacob still is finding ways to be "light years ahead" again. 

While Golden State is hoping to win every game, Lacob admits the front office has a lot of focus on free agency and the NBA draft. After five straight trips to the Finals, the Dubs are looking at a top draft pick this June. 

It won't be this year, but Lacob and the rest of the Warriors have their eyes on the Larry O'Brien Trophy in the very near future

“The great thing about this is we can re-imagine the next dynasty,” owner Joe Lacob told USA TODAY Sports during the NBA’s Tech Summit during All-Star weekend. “I think it’s been a good year for us to take stock with where we’re at and try to recreate.”

The Warriors traded six players before this year's NBA trade deadline. They also acquired four future second-round draft picks and a top-three protected first-round pick in 2021. Golden State's headline move was trading guard D'Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves for small forward Andrew Wiggins. 

But the cherry on top for Lacob was the 2021 pick the Warriors received from Minnesota.

"We already had a high pick in 2020 and it's not considered the greatest draft," Lacob explained to NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa during Warriors Pregame Live on Feb. 10. "But 2021, considered a very good draft. So, that was the key. It wasn't about multiple picks. It was about that pick."

[RELATED: Kerr laughs off Warriors' ugly season with funny tweet]

The Warriors will have a high draft pick this year and likely another valuable one from the T-Wolves next year. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson both will be healthy to join Wiggins and Draymond Green again as well next season.

Much of this season is a mirage of what the Warriors will put on the floor at Chase Center in a few months. Every dynasty takes a break.

Rarely can a new one arise this quickly, but Lacob sure will try.