On every Warriors Outsiders show, we do a simulcast on Facebook Live. Here are some questions and comments that we didn’t get to address from the last couple shows.
But first, this:
Since Steve Kerr took over the Warriors, the team has been known for being a close-knit, fun-loving, unselfish team that thrives off of playing basketball with joy. So whenever Warriors fans see a hint of "drama" they are instantly concerned.
The other night against the Lakers, in the final minutes of a blow-out win, Jordan Bell got into an argument with Steve Kerr during a timeout. It seemed a bit heated, both men expressing themselves demonstratively and passionately. The great vibes the Warriors had been enjoying over their eight straight wins were now being tested. So should fans be concerned about this incident?
Simply, no. Do not worry. Well, until you have to worry. Let me explain: Arguments like this are very common in the NBA. Usually they happen behind closed doors in practice, when there are not eyeballs and cameras watching every move. But once in a while, when tensions spill over to a public forum like during a game, there are instantly concerns about the well-being of the coach-player relationship, and the whole chemistry of the team.
Warriors fans might be a little extra sensitive to shouting matches late in games at Staples Center, after the "Durant-Draymond fight heard round the world", but this is definitely not that. Kerr after the game explained the tiff by saying "It was a total misinterpretation of something I said and we cleared it up." But there is obviously a little more to it than that, and it mostly comes on Bell's side.
Bell enjoyed a fantastic rookie season, becoming a key member of the bench and providing electrifying moments for a team that needed some youthful excitement. However, as the team evolved towards a "youth movement" this season, Bell has not only been much less impactful, he has found his opportunities to play dwindling. He has flashes of excellence every now and then, but more often than not, Bell has proven to be inconsistent this season.
It is hard to blame the guy, however, as every time Bell enters the game, I can imagine he puts pressure on himself to be perfect. It is hard to be patient when trying to earn the trust of your coaches, especially when he has already tasted success just last season. So with this inconsistency of playing time and performance, has come frustration.
In general, Bell has shown to be a fun-loving guy, always flashing a smile and being a team-first guy. But beneath the surface, there is a competitive fire burning in him that wants to prove himself, frustrated that he does not have the opportunity to do so. It seems as if some of that boiled over the other night.
A simple "misinterpretation" would not normally turn into a public spat. But with some extra fuel, it did, and now fans are left wondering if this is a reparable relationship. With the help of veterans like Steph and Durant, who both consoled Bell following the game, it most definitely is fixable. Sometimes it takes an explosive emotional moment to bring frustrations to the surface and air it out (i.e. Draymond Green/Kevin Durant) and then grow stronger from it. I expect this moment to be exactly that.
Would this argument have set off major alarms if it were Steph Curry or Draymond or Durant involved in a shouting match with Kerr instead? Duh. But until you hear public comments or reports of discontentment, then I'd write this incident off as just part of the journey of an NBA team trying to win a championship over a long-haul.
Now to your questions and comments...
Gabriel Prindle: I like JB... don't give up on him!
The Warriors are definitely not giving up on Bell. He has way too much talent and fire to be someone they discard simply because there are frustrations. It is common in sports to explain a situation where a coach and player argue as this: A coach will only critique and be hard on a player that he cares about and thinks can be a major part of the team's future. If he didn't think that, then he would not spend the time focusing on that player. That is definitely true in regards to this situation.
Jennifer Murnin: Boogie sets up excellent screens.. he takes up so much real estate all he needs to do is pivot.
Yes!! Myself, Drew and even Kelenna when he filled in on our show, have been preaching Boogie's impact on the offense when simply setting screens. I know it is not the sexiest thing to talk about, but it is so crucial for the offense the Warriors employ.
Steph and Klay especially thrive off of good, strong, timely screens to free themselves of defenders who are playing aggressive in-your-face defense. Since the departure of Andrew Bogut and later Zaza Pachulia and David West, the Warriors have not had a big body to punish the opposing defense with crushing screens. Damian Jones did a pretty good job earlier this season with it, but even he was always ready to roll to the rim or slip from the screen.
When Boogie sets a screen, he muscles up and puts his whole wide body into it, dislodging the defender and allowing the shooters to find ample space.
Yang Tom Smith: Boogie diving for the loose ball. Craaaaazy
While Boogie was in Sacramento, all I remember hearing about him was that he was incredibly talented and skilled, but would take plays off, would not always hustle, and always play with too much attitude. That perception of him started to change when he went to New Orleans, and from everything we have seen so far in Golden State, he is a changed man.
Sure, maybe his conditioning is not quite at a level yet in which he can fully hustle every single play, but the guy is definitely trying. The play Yang is referring to is when Steph Curry misses an three-point shot, DeMarcus fights for the offensive rebound, collects it, makes a move down low, loses the ball, and then in a scramble with a couple defenders, dives to the ground, tipping the ball to Klay Thompson who nails a 3-pointer. DeMarcus is playing like a guy who is using all his time on the court (and off) in order to prove something, and the Warriors will welcome every second of it.
Lisa Singley: Zo made 2 treys in a row
That's a nice rhyme! It is definitely music to the team's ears, as Alfonzo McKinnie had been struggling with his shot from deep ever since he returned from injury. Over his last 22 games, Zo is shooting 28 percent from deep. Before his injury, over 16 games, he was shooting a red-hot 48 percent from long range.
So what has changed? Could it be just a regular slump? Perhaps there are some mechanical issues he could work out, maybe the league has started to figure out his scouting report a little more, or possibly he is just starting to feel the pressure of a more convoluted rotation. With the return of Cousins and the good health of the team, there are less minutes to go around for players like McKinnie. When he comes in the game, there is more impetus to make an impact and stand out.
McKinnie is still attacking the glass like a man possessed, but he is also forcing some shots every now and then, trying to make his mark. What made Zo stand out earlier in the season was his aggressive yet calculated demeanor, playing like a 10-year vet who had seen it all and knew his role. If he can find his way back to that version of himself, he will have no worries about playing time. Instead, he will potentially be a very valuable member of an eventual playoff rotation.
Doug Apte: Congrats to Drew and his baby
Yes! Major congrats to him on the birth of his baby boy Chandler "Chip" James Shiller. Though I'd send even more congrats to his wife Margot, who actually went through the labor. So excited for the Shillers and their first child. Hopefully they will have at least four more so they can put together a basketball team. In a perfect world, they get Drew's athleticism and Margot's brains and looks. Absolutely not the opposite ;-)
Carlos Rey: Steph was falling for us all .... could've been interesting if he was injured! Carlos from Melbourne Australia
Interesting?? Carlos, thats a very "interesting" word choice there. The only reason that the play in which Steph slipping when attempting a dunk was funny was simply because he did not get hurt. That would have been devastating... Also, thanks for tuning in from Australia! I have always wanted to visit there.
Yna Duque: Go Grant! Lol
Not sure what this is in reference to, but thanks!!!!! Why the "lol" though? hmmmmmmmmmmm....