Warriors

Why Bill Simmons easily picks Steph Curry over James Harden in 2009 re-draft

Why Bill Simmons easily picks Steph Curry over James Harden in 2009 re-draft

Steph Curry was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.

James Harden went No. 3 overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On Thursday's episode of "The Lowe Post" podcast, ESPN's Zach Lowe and The Ringer's Bill Simmons re-drafted the 2009 class.

Here's how the conversation went:

Lowe: "I gave you the number one pick in the draft because I'm a nice person. Also, I get to foist the tough decision onto you and I get to make the easy decision. So who's your first pick?"

Simmons: "I mean, it's not a tough decision. It's Stephen Curry. I get somebody who was a back-to-back MVP. I get the greatest shooter of all time. I get somebody who basically is a 50-40-90 guy for his entire career.

"And most important -- I get a culture guy. There's been a handful of guys in the history of the league that you can just build your team around and it was gonna be OK. He's this generation's (Tim) Duncan. The best possible teammate.

"The fact that the Warriors situation with KD (Kevin Durant) didn't really fall apart until midway through Year 3 is almost a credit to the culture they had there to begin with, because it should have fallen apart in Year 2 and it didn't."

Over a five-year span from 2015 to 2019, Curry and the Warriors eliminated Harden and the Rockets from the playoffs four times.

In the 2015 Western Conference finals, Curry averaged 31.2 points and 5.6 assists, while shooting 51.5 percent overall and 49.1 percent from deep. Harden averaged 28.4 points and 7.8 assists, while shooting 46.5 percent overall and 38.7 percent from deep

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

Over the last five games of the 2018 Western Conference finals, Curry averaged 28.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.8 turnovers, while shooting just under 48 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from deep. Harden averaged 26.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 5.2 turnovers, while shooting under 39 percent from the field and 20.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Harden put up better numbers overall than Curry in the 2019 Western Conference semifinals. But in the fourth quarter of a pivotal Game 5 -- with Kevin Durant in the locker room -- Steph racked up 12 points and two assists (with zero turnovers), while Harden recorded five points, one assist and one turnover.

And then in the fourth quarter of Game 6 in Houston (without KD), Curry registered 23 points and didn't turn the ball over once, while Harden scored 12 points and committed four turnovers.

[RELATED: Wrong again: Perkins claims Harden is better than Steph]

Simmons had one more point to make when comparing the two.

"I think there's gonna be a really interesting second piece of his career post-prime, when he's still gonna be awesome -- just in a different way," he said of Curry. "I look at Harden going forward -- I'm not sure how his game ages with the kind of physicality he's endured with all the hits. I just wonder what that looks like.

"So for me, it was actually a pretty easy decision."

Actually, Simmons had one more thing to say about the only unanimous MVP in NBA history.

"I continue to think Steph is the most underrated guy of the last 15 years," he said. "Even with other players (they say), 'He's good, he's not that good.' It's just bizarre to me."

Simmons for the win.

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Warriors' Draymond Green reveals two 'sleeper' teams in Orlando bubble

Warriors' Draymond Green reveals two 'sleeper' teams in Orlando bubble

Who is going to reach the 2020 NBA Finals?

The majority of the basketball world believes the LA Clippers or Los Angeles Lakers will advance from the Western Conference, and either the Milwaukee Bucks or Toronto Raptors will punch the Eastern Conference's ticket.

Is there a "sleeper" in the West who could shock everybody? According to Warriors forward Draymond Green, that team is the Houston Rockets.

"They got Russ (Russell Westbrook), they got James (Harden) -- who obviously can both go for 40 or 50 on any given night," he said on "The Steam Room" podcast. "They got a bunch of shooters and they're going to create proglems for people, because they're playing this switching defense.

"And the first thing that people try to do -- we saw it the other day -- you try to pound the ball inside. You're not just gonna run James Harden over on the post. You're not just gonna run P.J. Tucker over. A lot of teams will make that mistake and Houston can be really sneaky."

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

And the Miami Heat are Draymond's sleeper pick in the East.

"They play really hard, they got guys that are tied together," the three-time NBA champion explained. "They got my guy Andre (Iguodala), who we know during the Finals and playoffs is great. The only thing with the Heat is they struggle at times to find consistent scoring.

"But they got a lot of talent, a lot of pieces."

[RELATED: Why Draymond is 'strongly against' a second NBA bubble]

Yours truly wouldn't be shocked at all if the Rockets reach the NBA Finals, but would be stunned if the Heat get that far. 

But ultimately, anything can happen when there is no homecourt advantage.

The playoffs are going to be a blast.

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Warriors' Draymond Green explains why he doesn't miss basketball now

Warriors' Draymond Green explains why he doesn't miss basketball now

Draymond Green last played in an NBA game Feb. 27. And he was on the court only for 10 minutes because he was ejected in the second quarter.

The Warriors forward last played at least 30 minutes in a game on Feb. 12, which was Golden State's final game before the All-Star break.

As you know, the Dubs are not playing in the Orlando bubble. And it's highly unlikely they participate either in a second bubble in Chicago or in a team minicamp at Chase Center.

So what has it been like for Draymond with nothing to do basketball wise?

"Honestly, it's been great," he told Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson on "The Steam Room" podcast. "I've had a lot of fun spending time with my family. I've gotten to know my fiancée better. I've gotten to know my kids better. That's been amazing.

"From a basketball standpoint -- I gotta be honest with you -- I don't necessarily miss playing basketball, because it's been such a long run that my body could use the break.

"But what I miss is competing at the highest level. The playoff basketball, playing in the Finals -- I miss that. Being able to compete at the highest level against the best players in the world."

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

You can't blame the three-time NBA champion for wanting an extended breather. From 2015 to 2019, he suited up for 104 of the Warriors' 105 playoff games (he was suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals), averaging 37.7 minutes per night.

Draymond has dealt with various ailments over the last couple of years, and needed to refresh his body and mind. He knows the Dubs still are months away from reconvening, and starting the quest to climb back to the top of the mountain.

[RELATED: Why Draymond is 'strongly against' a second NBA bubble]

But don't get it twisted. The 30-year-old is extremely motivated to be an All-Star again, and would love nothing more than to capture a fourth Larry O'Brien Trophy.

"When you go to the Finals, everybody is watching -- including the best basketball players in the world that (are not) in that game," he said. "That's always the most fun time to me, and I miss that."

If Draymond delivers on his personal goals, the Warriors just might get back to basketball's biggest stage in 2021.

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