Warriors

Warriors player profile: Alfonzo McKinnie must prove himself again

Warriors player profile: Alfonzo McKinnie must prove himself again

Editor's note: The Warriors' roster looks completely different than it did at this time last year. Golden State enters a new era at Chase Center with an injured Klay Thompson and without dynasty mainstays Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. As the Warriors' offseason goes on, we'll do a profile on every player on the revamped roster. Friday's edition focuses on Alfonzo McKinnie. 

Alfonzo McKinnie came almost out of nowhere to make the Warriors out of training camp last year. By the end of his second NBA season, McKinnie had carved out a regular role in Golden State's rotation. 

He earned enough trust from the coaching staff to contribute during key moments in the postseason, but the uncertainty surrounding his contract means the wing could have to do it all over again next year.

Here's everything you need to know about McKinnie headed into 2019-20.  

Contract

$1,588,231 (Becomes fully guaranteed Jan. 10, 2020)

Last season

After signing an Exhibit 10 deal before training camp, McKinnie earned a roster spot following an impressive preseason, as Warriors coach Steve Kerr prioritized McKinnie's defensive promise over Danuel House's shooting ability.

Despite a foot injury early in the season, McKinnie became a key contributor for the Warriors. He averaged 4.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 72 games, supplanting Jonas Jerebko's role in the rotation. 

However, despite his physical abilities, McKinnie occasionally struggled on defense. He posted a 107.9 defensive rating in the regular season, and that ballooned to 111.6 in the postseason.

Still, Mckinnie earned Kerr's trust. He played a big role in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals in Andre Iguodala's absence, grabbing nine rebounds and finishing a team-high plus-24 off the bench to help Golden State overcome a double-digit deficit and push the Portland Trail Blazers to the brink of elimination.

[RELATED: Where Livingston wants to end NBA career after Dubs release]

Outlook

Despite signing a two-year deal last season, McKinnie's contract doesn't become guaranteed until next January, meaning he'll have to earn a rotation spot for the second straight season. 

Still, the Warriors will integrate a lot of new players when their youth movement truly begins at training camp. McKinnie should have an edge over the fresh faces considering his familiarity with coach Kerr's system. 

Warriors coach Steve Kerr 'hopeful' Draymond Green will play vs. Jazz

Warriors coach Steve Kerr 'hopeful' Draymond Green will play vs. Jazz

Draymond Green's presence likely wouldn't have made a difference in the ultimate outcome of the Warriors' loss to the Mavericks on Wednesday, but it's hard to imagine them losing by 48 if he had played.

Now, as Golden State heads to Utah for the final game of its road trip, the Dubs have their fingers crossed that Green will be able to play against the Jazz on Friday.

"Hopefully we get Draymond back," coach Steve Kerr said on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky" show Thursday evening. "We'll see. I talked to him today and he was feeling better, so I'm hopeful that he can play tomorrow."

Green sat out the loss to Dallas with right heel soreness. Whether or not he is able to face the Jazz, Kerr is of the belief that the Warriors will be far more competitive than they were the last time out.

"But I think the day off today will help, I think the embarrassment of last night will help, and we'll have a shootaround tomorrow and I think we'll be ready to play," he continued. "I know our guys were embarrassed last night. It was the first time all season where I really felt like we sort of lost our spirit and our energy, so I know we'll have that back tomorrow and I'm looking forward to playing."

[RELATED: Outsider Observations: How seven ex-Warriors are playing]

Utah (9-5) currently is tied for fifth in the Western Conference and boasts the league's best scoring defense. Against Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Co., the Warriors can use all the help they can get, but at least if Green plays, the won't have to worry about the spirit and energy part.

Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett describes racism Bill Russell faced

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AP

Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett describes racism Bill Russell faced

Warriors color commentator Jim Barnett has seen a lot during his time following the NBA, but perhaps what sticks out most were his experiences with Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell and the racism the Hall of Famer had to endure. 

During an appearance on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast, Barnett -- who was drafted and played one season in Boston -- shared a story about the time Russell was given a key to the city just before a game the Celtics played in a Southern state.

Following the game, the black players on the team were denied entry into a hotel because of the color of their skin. In response, Russell returned the key to the town's mayor. 

The scenario was just one of many for the prominently black Celtics of the 1960s, according to Barnett. 

"They didn't sell out in the Boston Garden," Barnett said on the first episode of "Runnin' Plays". "They sold out in the Boston Garden for the hockey team - the Boston Bruins - every game was sold out. But not the Boston Celtics. It was a racist town."  

The face of the team was Russell, who became a civil rights leader in his own right. In 1961, he staged a boycott of a game in Lexington, Ky. after a city restaurant wouldn't serve his black teammates. In 1966, he became the first black coach in the history of professional sports.

By 1967, he -- along with basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown -- led a summit to support boxer Muhammad Ali after he refused to fight in the Vietnam War.  

However, the climate of the time affected how Russell interacted with fans. 

"I remember one time, this businessman asked for an autograph," Barnett said. "He said, 'if I weren't Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics, I'd be just another N-word to him.' 

Barnett added that the NBA capped how many non-whites could be on an active roster. 

"There was a quota," Barnett said. "You couldn't have more than two or three blacks. I know that for a fact." 

[RELATED: Bowman has been Warriors' bright spot, looks like a keeper]

As for his interactions with Russell and his black teammates, Barnett -- a white man -- said he didn't have any quandaries working alongside his teammates. 

"We didn't have any problems," the guys I played with and against, they were there to make a living in the NBA just like I was and we were all the same."