Warriors

Warriors' Steve Kerr learns about Andrew Wiggins through Tom Thibodeau

Warriors' Steve Kerr learns about Andrew Wiggins through Tom Thibodeau

The timing couldn't be better for Tom Thibodeau to be visiting the Warriors.

The former head coach was in the Bay Area to see assistant coach Ron Adams, but it just so happened to be at the NBA trade deadline when Golden State acquired small forward Andrew Wiggins from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thibodeau coached Wiggins for two-and-a-half seasons in Minnesota. 

"Thibs had great things to say about Andrew right when we got him," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said to reporters Tuesday at practice. "I think [Thibodeau] was already here when we made the trade. He's visiting Ron (Adams). He's taking this year to go around to different teams, so this was totally coincidental.

"But it's just been a really good, fortunate set of events where I get to pick Tom's brain. He coached Andrew for several years, so it's been helpful for me."

Thibodeau was the T-Wolves' head coach from 2016 to halfway through the 2018-19 season. Wiggins averaged a career-high 23.6 points per game in Thibodeau's first season as the team's head coach. 

Wiggins certainly was surprised to see his former coach, but it put an instant smile on his face. 

"At first I was shocked," Wiggins said to reporters. "I kept walking past him because I didn't really see his face. Then when I realized it was him, I went up and talked to him for a while. It was good catching up and good seeing him." 

[RELATED: Why Lacob credits KD's decision for Dubs getting Wiggins]

Wiggins credited Thibodeau with teaching him everything about the NBA, especially how to be a professional. It surely helps to have a familiar face upon his arrival to a new team, too. 

Though the Warriors have lost their first two games with Wiggins in the lineup, he is averaging 21 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 53.8 percent from the field for the Dubs. 

How new NBA draft rules affect Warriors' ability to evaluate prospects

How new NBA draft rules affect Warriors' ability to evaluate prospects

The global coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, affecting how businesses function. For the NBA, the COVID-19 virus has the league's season in peril.

In the latest twist, the league is adjusting how team personnel can evaluate NBA draft prospects, and it could have a direct impact on what the Warriors do with one of the top overall picks.

The latest rule changes, reported by The Athletic and ESPN on Monday, will affect teams' preparation for the 2020 NBA Draft, which is scheduled to be held June 25 in Brooklyn, New York. Under the new structure, which adheres to social distancing guidelines, teams will be permitted to spend up to four hours in virtual meetings with a prospect during the pre-draft process. Of that time, teams can only spend two hours per week talking to each prospect.

In-person workouts or requesting that a player workout via live video have been prohibited by the league, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported.

While the rule change hurts most prospects, players like center James Wiseman and guard LaMelo Ball are greatly hindered by the development.

And the Warriors' ability to properly evaluate Wiseman and Ball is equally affected.

In just 12 games in his lone season in Australia's NBL, Ball averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists before a foot injury cut his season short. Despite averaging double digits, he shot just 37 percent from the field against inferior competition. Ball hasn't played in a game since late November.

Meanwhile, Wiseman averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds in just three college appearances before withdrawing from Memphis amid recruiting violations. His last game was on Nov. 12.

There just isn't a lot of recent video of either player for teams to evaluate.

Each player will be subjected to digital video chats featuring general managers, coaches and front office staff. The setup isn't ideal for either side.

Players -- especially those with something to prove like Wiseman -- where hoping to make an impression on teams who have limited film. In Ball's case, he wanted a chance to show he has improved his weaknesses

For teams, it strips away the ability to evaluate a player in person, which helps get a better grasp of the human element, similar to the final step of a job interview.

[RELATED: Warriors not high on Wiseman, Ball]

The first test case of this practice is the NFL, who will hold the first virtual draft in its history later this month. Only the NFL has been able to hold its combine last month, giving teams a chance to interview players in person, providing an advantage NBA team personnel do not have. 

The Warriors personnel, along with the rest of the league, will have their work cut out for them as the coronavirus timeline continues to define a new normal for sports.

Chris Paul hilariously explains why he fake laughed at Steve Kerr joke

Chris Paul hilariously explains why he fake laughed at Steve Kerr joke

Chris Paul can laugh at some, but not all, of his history with the Warriors.

The hyper-competitive Oklahoma City Thunder point guard joked in an Instagram Live session Monday with Steph Curry about the two-time MVP's ankle-breaking crossover on Paul when he was a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. But Paul said Monday that his often-GIF'd fake laugh from an on-court conversation with Steve Kerr is, well, no laughing matter.

Kerr cracked wise with Paul, by then a member of the Houston Rockets, during the Warriors' 116-108 loss in Houston on Jan. 20, 2018. Paul hadn't forgotten the bad blood of the Clippers-Warriors rivalry from his LA days, carrying that tension to a team that the Warriors had eliminated in two of the preceding three postseasons.

The Warriors would bounce the Rockets in the 2018 Western Conference finals and again in the second round the following year. Golden State overcame a three-games-to-two series deficit in 2018 and then eliminated the Rockets in 2019 despite injuries to Kevin Durant and Andrew Bogut.

Both of Paul's playoff runs in Houston ended on the Rockets' home court at the Warriors' hands, and the Game 6 loss in last year's second round marked the final time he suited up for Houston. Paul was traded to the Thunder in exchange for Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook the following season.

[RELATED: Warriors' Paschall explains why he became two-foot jumper]

He wouldn't have had to worry about facing the Warriors this postseason, and Golden State was eliminated from playoff contention prior to the NBA suspending its season last month after Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Despite that, something tells me Paul won't laugh about his fake laugh any time soon.