Warriors

'Warriors small forward' NBA's worst position group, John Hollinger says

'Warriors small forward' NBA's worst position group, John Hollinger says

If Alfonzo McKinnie, Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks and Jacob Evans woke up Wednesday looking for any motivation, they certainly received it.

John Hollinger of The Athletic -- who spent the last seven seasons in the Memphis Grizzlies' front office -- released his Pacific Division preview.

To say he doesn't believe in those four Warriors players would be quite the understatement:

Just finding a fifth starter is a challenge. “Warriors small forward” is the worst position group of any team in the league. Alec Burks dribbles too much and doesn’t defend enough, but he may end up starting simply by virtue of him not being Alfonzo McKinnie or Glenn Robinson. Behind them, Jacob Evans was the eighth-best player on his G-League team. If first-round pick Jordan Poole flashes any ability at all, he may end up finishing games in three-guard fronts with Russell and Curry.

The Warriors compounded their depth issues with a bizarre decision to trade Shabazz Napier’s and Treveon Graham’s minimum contracts by paying $3 million to Minnesota to take them. Golden State could have just paid somebody the same amount to take the since-waived Shaun Livingston and his $2 million cap hit instead.

Alternatively, the Warriors could have retained Napier and Graham and not signed Burks or Robinson. Napier was decent in Brooklyn last year and would have helped on a minimum deal, while Graham is a low-ceiling grinder but certainly not any worse than McKinnie or Robinson.

Sheesh.

Just to be clear -- Hollinger isn't just saying the Dubs have the worst group of small forwards in the NBA. He's saying it's the single worst group regardless of position.

At this point, nobody knows whose name the Warriors' PA announcer will say when the starting lineups are introduced before the season opener against the Clippers on Oct. 24.

“We’re just really teaching so much and trying to put things in place right now that I haven’t had a chance to really assess who is where in that race, for who is going to start and who is going to play,” coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday. “They’re all competing.”

This is how the candidates performed in the preseason opener last Saturday against the Lakers:

-McKinnie: seven points, six rebounds, two assists, one block in 21 minutes (he started).
-Robinson: four points, three rebounds, two assists, one block in 17 minutes
-Burks: DNP (sprained ankle)
-Evans: nine points, one rebound in 19 minutes

It seems unlikely that Kerr would go with the rookie Poole, but he definitely flashed ability -- 17 points (5-for-11 overall, 4-for-9 3s) in 23 minutes.

[RELATEDPoole shows why Dubs took him in first round of NBA Draft]

Fellow rookie Eric Paschall is an under-the-radar option, and he certainly held his own despite falling victim to an aggressive LeBron James on multiple occasions.

Kerr and the coaching staff hope that somebody separates from the pack and makes the decision easy. But it's possible it ends up being a game-by-game situation.

When you lose Kevin Durant and find yourself in a "hard-capped" state, stuff like this happens.

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Steph Curry donating Breonna Taylor tribute shoes to Black Lives Matter

Steph Curry donating Breonna Taylor tribute shoes to Black Lives Matter

Warriors guard Steph Curry completed his first round of the American Century Championship golf tournament in Lake Tahoe on Friday, and did so while drawing attention to a cause that he doesn't want people to forget about. Towards the toe end of each of his golf shoes were Breonna Taylor's name and likeness.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman and EMT, died in her own home on March 13 after being shot eight times by Louisville police while executing a search warrant. Nearly four entire months have passed since that tragic day and all three officers involved have yet to be arrested, sparking outrage across the country.

Curry's choice of footwear Friday was one of the latest examples in what has been an ongoing chorus of calls for justice. And beyond that, he intends to donate the shoes to Black Lives Matter so that they may be auctioned, with all proceeds going to the organization.

"Obviously, shining a light on Breonna Taylor," Curry explained after completing his round. "Demanding and praying and wishing for justice for her and her family. Anytime you have an opportunity to be on a stage or a platform to raise awareness and continue the conversation going on in our country, I'm all for that. I'll send these to the Black Lives Matter organization and hopefully raise a lot of money for the amazing work that they're doing. 

"We all have roles to play in terms of changing the racial climate in our country, and this is definitely more than just a moment that we're feeling. This is a very small gesture, but hopefully the money goes a long way, and hopefully they continue the conversation of what needs to change all the way around."

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

While the continued search for justice for Taylor and her family clearly is of particular concern for Curry, the donation of his shoes fits in with a wonderful theme of the ACC tournament. Rather than have a purse go to the victor, all winnings will be donated to a number of charities.

Naturally, Curry was more than happy to play for those additional causes.

"Usually there's a purse to play for," Curry said, "but obviously with everything going on, the ability to come up here and play golf and know that -- I don't know what the amount is -- it's all going to worthy causes that will impact lives, and we get to do it by being out here playing golf and being on a stage, it's pretty awesome to be a part of that."

Curry is one of the most popular athletes on the planet, with a platform to match. He understands his role, and continues to do great and important things within it.

How Andrew Wiggins won over Damion Lee, Warriors with quest to improve

How Andrew Wiggins won over Damion Lee, Warriors with quest to improve

The Warriors didn't see a whole lot of Andrew Wiggins, but they saw enough to get excited.

Wiggins, who joined Golden State ahead of February's NBA trade deadline, played just 12 games with the Warriors before the NBA season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. He averaged 19.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in that stretch, winning over his new teammates in the process.

"I love Wiggs," Warriors guard Damion Lee said of Wiggins on this week's episode of the "Runnin' Plays" podcast. "He's quiet and reserved, but even from the point of just playing with him from the first game even until the last game that we had, you can tell that he knows how to play the game and wants to continue to learn more."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Wiggins No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, headlining a trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves that brought Kevin Love to Northeast Ohio. Wiggins showed flashes and even signed a max contract that went into effect ahead of the 2018-19 season, but he never consistently put it together in the Twin Cities. The 25-year-old never shot better than 46 percent from the field (or 36 percent from beyond the arc) with the T-Wolves while also struggling on the defensive end.

Wiggins' arrival in the Bay Area was a breath of fresh air, the Warriors said, because of their hole on the wing after signing-and-trading Kevin Durant and outright trading Andre Iguodala last summer. Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams was pleased with Wiggins' defense, and the 1.3 steals per game Wiggins averaged with Golden State before the shutdown would've, if sustained over the course of a full season, been his career high.

The forward's role will look much different next season, as it's difficult to imagine Wiggins averaging 15-plus field-goal attempts per game while playing alongside a healthy Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Coach Steve Kerr isn't expecting Wiggins to be a star once Curry and Thompson return, and Lee said Wiggins' versatility will allow him to thrive in a reduced role.

"He can shoot it, can make plays, can create," Lee continued. "He had a game where he had 10 assists (against the Denver Nuggets on March 3), I think he had another game where he had 10 rebounds (against the New Orleans Pelicans on Feb. 23). He has it, and obviously once the whole band is back together ... and everyone's healthy, I feel like Wiggs' role will be carved out and he'll be able to excel to the best of his ability."

[RELATED: Five bold predictions for Warriors' important offseason]

Wiggins has had big nights before, but he hasn't sustained them into stardom. His per-game averages with the Warriors this season didn't look all that different from his Timberwolves career (19.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game), but the former No. 1 pick isn't going to carry the same offensive load next season.

The Warriors are counting on that fact bringing out the best in him.