Warriors

Warriors Outsiders Q&A: Warriors have to quit complaining to officials

Warriors Outsiders Q&A: Warriors have to quit complaining to officials

In the midst of Steve Kerr's media availability after an optional maintenance day for the team, Kerr threw a quick but poignant quote in the middle of one of his answers.

Replying to a question about the turning point in the loss to the Suns, Kerr mentioned that the Warriors "need to stop looking at the officials. We're complaining too much to the referees. We're spending too much energy arguing with the refs instead of just playing. I don't think that helped last night. We're putting too much energy where it shouldn't be."

He is right. The Warriors have had an issue the last couple seasons in focusing a lot of their energy and frustrations towards the officiating crew, rather than towards their opponent. While Kerr preaches playing with joy, the Warriors could use some of the anger and fire they direct towards the refs, and refocus it into the actual game.

There are times that the officiating has not gone the Warriors way this season, but the same can be said for every team in the NBA. As of now, three Warriors appear in the top-15 of technical fouls received. Draymond Green is tied for second with 14 techs, Durant is tied for seventh with 11 and DeMarcus Cousins is tied for 14th in the league with eight, despite only playing in 19 games this season. 

If the Warriors want to play at a championship level, they will need to get out of their own way, and that includes leaving the referees alone.

Moving on ...

With 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 show.

Jerry Sutton: The bench can’t keep leads anymore and they’re beginning to play to much ISO ball, get back to that great ball movement again
-AND-
Manny
Tedom: The problem is obviously the bench. They can't score when one or some of the stars are struggling. Jerebko, Mckenie, Livingston, Cook cannot score consistently!

Andre Iguodala said it best: "Our bench could be a whole lot better." As of now, there are eight players cemented in the rotation, including the five stars, Iguodala, Kevon Looney and Shaun Livingston. Iguodala has been the one constant off the bench that has not faltered at all this season. He has been having a very impressive season. 

Before Looney's injury that forced him to miss a few games, he had been struggling for a couple of weeks. But since returning, Looney has been the consistently good player that we have all come to expect. In the last two games, he is averaging seven points, seven rebounds, and shooting 75 percent. His improvement will definitely be a boost to the Warriors' depth. 

Livingston has had a very up and down season, dealing with some injuries and inconsistent play. The Warriors expect him to bounce back to his old self once the playoffs begin, but it is yet to be seen if the veteran still has what it takes. Jordan Bell has played well in his role recently and the addition of Andrew Bogut will be an exciting reunion for the bench.

Finally, I have chronicled the recent struggles of Jonas Jerebko, Alfonzo McKinnie and Quinn Cook, which has definitely messed with the effectiveness of the Warriors depth. 

Right now the Warriors are still figuring out how to incorporate DeMarcus Cousins into the offense, so while it may seem like ISO ball when they throw the basketball to him on the block and hope he can make a play, the coaches are actually experimenting to see what works. Hopefully, they have it figured out in time for the playoffs. 

Billy Plantilla: Can't wait to see that "BIG GAME" from Steph again.. He's been struggling offensively for quite some time

The first two games after the All-Star Break, Steph Curry was playing at the MVP level he had for a majority of the season. In those games he averaged 30.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7 assists, and shot 56 percent from deep, making 15 total threes.

But since then, Curry has struggled with his shot. Over the last seven games, he is averaging nearly 23 points on 38 percent overall shooting from the field and only 32 percent from deep. Steve Kerr maintains that it is not fatigue setting in for Curry, but a lack of offensive execution and focus from the team overall that has affected him. With the Warriors hitting the road for a tough trip starting in Houston, the team could use Curry to break out of his mini-slump.

William Butkus: Grant, I think you threw off Curry's three shot for the game with bad bounce pass. Just sayin, lol. That loss hurt, ugh

I agree! It's my fault!! Before the last four home games, when finishing his warmup shots, Steph Curry has had me throw him a pass for his final shot. Not sure why I chose to go with a bounce pass the first time, but Curry found it funny and I have stuck with it. But this last game, I fumbled his pass (though it was a header pass from Curry that was a little offline!) which led to me chasing the ball, and then threw him a poor bounce pass once I recovered it.

Embarrassing, I know. But at least he hit the shot!!

Yna Duque: We need Bogut. Warriors need something new to break this bad spell.

The Warriors do not necessarily NEED Bogut right now. They are pretty healthy and just need to find their focus. But I do agree that something "new" to add to the team could bring some excitement and energy back, even if he does not play much. If boredom and focus is an issue, adding a trusted and former teammate to the mix could end up being the right type of jolt of fun and intrigue that could push the Warriors a little bit to the regular season finish line.

[RELATED: Warriors excited to add Bogut as 'insurance policy' at center]

Mike Cramer: When the playoffs begin, the Warriors will come to play. Let's hit the fast forward button for the next 16 games.

The Warriors would LOVE to hit the fast forward button to the playoffs, however, they do not have that luxury. In fact, they are in a battle for the top seed in the West. It's up to the coaches and the players to refocus in time for this road trip starting in Houston, or else they might lose their home court advantage in the future. 

Why Andre Iguodala hopes Kevon Looney leaves Warriors in free agency

Why Andre Iguodala hopes Kevon Looney leaves Warriors in free agency

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Sunday morning at 11, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

In late October 2017, the Warriors declined Kevon Looney's option for the 2018-19 season.

By doing so, he became an unrestricted free agent last summer and Golden State was limited to giving him about $2.23 million.

After a breakout campaign, the belief was that he might become too expensive for the Warriors to retain. But unfortunately for Looney, he didn't receive any offers and ultimately re-signed with the Dubs for the minimum ($1.57 million).

"The NBA's going in a direction where the middle man's getting lost," Andre Iguodala explained after the Warriors' Game 3 win over the Clippers. "It's either high end or low end. You're losing the middle class.

"That's how we got DeMarcus (Cousins). And we're gonna get some people that slip to us because of those scenarios."

Does Iguodala think Golden State will be able to bring Looney -- who will be an unrestricted free agent again in July -- back for a fifth season?

"I hope he gets paid, so I I hope he doesn't come back because I hope he gets all the money," the 2015 Finals MVP said.

Just another classic quote from Andre, who would make a great agent when he retires from playing.

Looney had a terrific year and has been even better so far in the playoffs:
-Game 1 = six points, five rebounds, two steals, block, assist, team-best +30
-Game 2 = 19 points (career high), five rebounds
-Game 3 = 10 points, rebound, block

[REWIND: How Andre Iguodala helped Kevon Looney get his career on track]

No, Looney isn't going to get a max contract. But it seems highly likely that Golden State will have to compete with other teams this summer.

It's even possible that the 23-year old receives some multi-year contract offers as well.

Fortunately for the Warriors, they aren't limited this time around in what they can give Looney on the open market.

"I'd really like to see him make some money and do really well for himself," Kerr said during training camp. "He deserves it. And hopefully that's here."

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Warriors' post depth

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Tara Funk / NBC Sports Bay Area

DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Warriors' post depth

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith

Tip-Off

The Warriors crushed Game 3. Exhale, everyone!

Kevin Durant set the tone from tip-off and dropped a monster performance with 38 points and seven assists. After declaring at practice, "I'm Kevin Durant" and Steve Kerr backing that up with, "Kevin is the most skilled basketball player on Earth," KD let his play do the talking during the game.

The Clippers have yet to hold the Dubs to less than 50 percent shooting from the field in the series. And when the Warriors limit their turnovers, it's a whole new ballgame.

Game On!

@Danno869 "Team" is important to the Warriors, how much did the injury to Boogie affected the emotions of the team?

Via IG, @jeffvega: Do you think losing Boogie for possibly the rest of the playoffs will make the entire team re-focus?

The Warriors are sad for DeMarcus Cousins because they know the work he did to rehab. He missed nearly a year of playing time. He was open about the dark days he went through. When there was so much build-up to his return, and seeing his skill level and the kind of teammate he is, watching DeMarcus go down with another injury is a punch to the heart.

Now, they play for him. Add it to the gas tank fueling the desire to three-peat.

The Warriors are forced to re-focus because the season-long mission to fold DeMarcus into the offense now is a sudden change to adjust without him. This situation takes attention and recalibration at a time when the competition is at the highest level.

Before the team flew to LA, Draymond Green said they’re giving DeMarcus his space for a little while. Sometimes there’s nothing to say in those first days until you have time to process the emotions.

@wiltthestilt20 Is Cousins going to re-sign with the warriors for next season?

That’s uncertain, but the door is open a little wider. As Monte Poole explained, the Warriors couldn’t afford DeMarcus next season because he was expected to command a deal in the $20 million range. Now with two injuries to the same leg, DeMarcus’ value could drop into affordable territory.

The Warriors like having DeMarcus around. A sad situation could turn into something mutually beneficial.

@dfs30745 What is the status of Damian Jones? Is he up to playing speed?

@Nickaiah #AskKerith Please what are the options to fill up Cousins’ spot on the roster (if necessary) and how far away is Damian Jones?

Via IG, moks_ma: When will Damian Jones play?

It’s unlikely Jones will play in the postseason. Steve Kerr said he’s happy with how Jones is progressing after his pectoral muscle tear, but Jones has not been cleared for contact.

Also, if Jones were to become available, it would be rough to throw him into playoffs. Remember all the runway DeMarcus got to get his conditioning up? Jones hasn’t played in a game since December, and throwing him into the toughest games in a season, with the highest pressure to perform, isn’t ideal.

As far as adding someone to the roster, that someone was Andrew Bogut. Teams can go into the postseason with 15 players. Then that playoff roster locks.

Via IG, @anthony_baldini: What is Kevon Looney’s ceiling? Are these playoffs his payday?

Kevon Looney has been solid, notably in Game 2, when he had 19 points, a new career high, on 6-of-6 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the stripe. He’s also setting some vicious screens and fouling less.

Loon is an unrestricted free agent next season, and the Warriors will try to bring him back. He tested the open market last season and found it tepid. Next season could be an occasion for both parties to commit to each other longer.

To me, Looney’s growth is what happens when you give a guy room to develop and play regularly. Youngsters take time to reach their potential, plus he had injuries to overcome. Kerr likes Loon’s easygoing nature and professionalism. That’s the kind of guy you want in the locker room, and his play is making an impact.

@kelcatinc Your thoughts on Jordan Bell and potential for minutes with Boogie sidelined. Looks to be on a short leash but understandable. He looks slow and not engaged, is it due to lack of minutes or is it just him?

I don’t think Jordan is slow or not engaged. I think he’s low on the pecking order on Warriors’ centers, and playing time has been hard to come by. That compounds an issue: How do you play well when you’re not getting game time to work out the kinks? How do you build a rhythm?

Some of the lack of playing time is on him. He needs to be reliable. Some of this is his small role on a really good team.

Jordan played well last season against Houston, so matchups will have a say on his minutes, in addition to the Warriors relying on their depth with DeMarcus out. Jordan's job is to be ready.

Via IG, @jewwels85: With so much experience how do the players deal with the mental effect of the playoff highs and lows. What do they do to stay grounded?

A handful of them bring their golf clubs on trips. They get away from basketball and find their happy place.

If you’re on a team defending a championship and the playoffs require your absolute best, your emotional bandwidth prioritizes work. You must perform with no distractions. Work takes up the bulk of your time. In the small pockets when you’re not working, you clear your mind with the things that enrich you. That definitely includes time away from coworkers. The Warriors didn’t practice the day after the Game 2 loss. They exhaled, away from each other. It’s a mental reset.

The players simplify things this time of year. The routine shrinks to basic things like eat, sleep, work, family, repeat. They do fewer events and charity work during the playoffs. Time is precious, and they devote most of it to the championships hunt.

@stagedarren #askKerith Does the coaching staff have individual game plans? Do they make specific strategies for the specific opponent? Or do they just plan to do the same thing, no matter who they play?

The strategy is specific for the opponent, because each opponent is different. The four assistant coaches rotate “scouts” during the regular season. A scout is where they study a team’s players and tendencies to make a plan for disrupting how that team operates.

As the Warriors headed into playoffs and three teams could have been the eight seed, the coaches (and video staff!) started doing their scouts to be as prepared as possible for whichever opponent they got. In the playoffs, everyone combines observations for the scout.

@Brasi_Leo #askKerith How do you cope when the Warriors lose a game? Does it get to you?

Losses don’t bother me. I hope that doesn’t sound cold, but I’m a reporter, not a fan of the team. My job is to be neutral.

The environment feels better when they’re winning, but the outcomes don’t swing my emotions. I’d do the same things covering a 60-win team as a 20-win team.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.