Warriors

Why Draymond Green's rant defending Marquese Chriss was mostly spot on

Why Draymond Green's rant defending Marquese Chriss was mostly spot on

Injuries have kept players off the court for months, even years, and buried the hopes of entire teams. They’ve derailed entire NBA seasons.

For the Warriors of this season, however, injuries may have brought them prosperity.

Without injuries to projected centers Willie Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney, they might not know what they have in Marquese Chriss, who was signed to a non-guaranteed contract but is playing his way onto the roster.

The Warriors are positioned to gain what the Suns -- who drafted Chriss in 2016 -- lost when they traded him out of Phoenix after two seasons. That certainly is the perspective of Draymond Green, and his impassioned defense of Chriss is mostly on point.

“He’s been in some pretty tough situations,” Green told reporters Wednesday night, after a 126-93 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. “No one ever blames the situation, though. It’s always the kid. No one ever blames these s---ty franchises. They always want to blame the kid. It’s not always the kid’s fault.

“He’s getting older now, so he’s not a kid anymore. But he came into this league as a kid. But it’s never the organization’s fault. It’s always that guy.”

“So I’m happy he’s got another opportunity to show what he can really do. Because he’s a prime example.”

Green wasn’t quite done. He also saved some ammo for media, indicating reporters are more likely to direct blame on a player than a franchise.

“Because you’re friends with them,” Green said. “You want all the access from them. So, the way you guys will come out and bash players, y’all don’t do that to organizations because it’s all about access and protecting your future. No one really protects these younger guys’ futures. Because it’s all about ‘what can I do for myself.’

“So, no one talks about the organizations. It’s always just the player, the player, the player. Because they can’t do s--t about it but be young. And their name carries no weight, and then (they’ll) be out of the league and onto the next thing.

“No Phoenix writer is going to bash the Phoenix Suns,” Green continued. “But let’s be frank about it. When he was there, the organization was terrible. Everything was going wrong. But he get blamed, like he’s the problem. When he left, ain’t nothing go right. That’s my take on it.”

OK. Again, some of Green’s claims are on target. There are instances of young players being blamed for their failure, while franchises skate.

The Warriors have been skating for a few years now, but it wasn’t always so. They’ve been kicked plenty over the many lean years they put up. Former owner Chris Cohan was such a punching bag that he retreated from media exposure. His right-hand man, former team president Robert Rowell, also took his absorption of bruises from local media.

That’s about where the Suns are now. Since real estate/banking tycoon Robert Sarver purchased the team 15 years ago, they have been in such a freefall that they’ve become a blight on the league.

The Knicks of the Western Conference.

And they have been taken to task -- nationally and locally -- for being a once-proud franchise run aground by cantankerous and penurious ownership.

Green is wrong about that.

Green likely is right about the Suns not knowing what they had in Chriss. Someone in the front office thought enough to draft him No. 8 overall in 2016. But the chaos upstairs -- largely generated by Sarver -- has resulted in a dizzying array of impulsive and regrettable decisions.

If not for the incompetence of Sarver and the Suns, Chriss probably would not be a Warrior, and he certainly wouldn’t have to accept a non-guaranteed contract, as he did 17 days ago.

And if not for injuries to Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney, the Warriors might not have much of a file on Chriss, either.

[RELATED: Looney to miss preseason; Dubs hope he'll play in opener]

For now, they stand to benefit from having Chriss on the roster. He’s not there yet, but he will be. Any day now.

Why Andrew Wiggins is Warriors' most hurt if no camp, second NBA bubble

Why Andrew Wiggins is Warriors' most hurt if no camp, second NBA bubble

Steph Curry would have nothing to gain from scrimmaging against the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks or Minnesota Timberwolves.

Neither would Draymond Green.

Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney -- who is said to be far along the road to recovery -- might benefit, strictly from the standpoint of conditioning.

As teammates for eight seasons, mostly of them highly successful, none of Curry, Green and Thompson needs a week or 10 days in a second NBA bubble to learn how to play together. They also know every line of every page in the playbook.

Andrew Wiggins, however, is an altogether different matter.

Unenthusiastic as the Warriors are about the possibility of a bubble designed specifically for the eight teams excluded from the original bubble in Orlando, Florida -- a concept that is diminishing by the day, according to a report Tuesday in The Athletic -- they surely know it could have been good for Wiggins.

It would give the coaching staff a few more hours on the court with their starting small forward.

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

Acquired in the trade that sent D’Angelo Russell to Minnesota, Wiggins landed in San Francisco on the evening of Feb. 7. He dressed for 12 games as a Warrior before the season was halted due to the coronavirus.

Wiggins joined Green in the lineup three times and Curry once. He has yet to play with Looney or Thompson. Wiggins barely knows them and wouldn’t get any better acquainted if somehow there was a momentum shift that resulted in a second bubble. Curry, Green and Thompson almost certainly would be exempt for the aforementioned reasons, as well as the possibility of injury.

Getting Wiggins on the floor with Curry, Green and Thompson would be assured only if the Warriors were to hold an internal camp, scrimmaging among themselves in San Francisco. Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been consistent in saying that is his preference.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, there is no knowing when everyone can gather at Chase Center. The City of San Francisco has been forced to push back some of the tentative timelines released more than a month ago.

[RELATED: Paschall discusses his good 'Welcome to the NBA' moment]

There is every reason to believe Wiggins would benefit from second-bubble court time with Marquese Chriss, Damion Lee, Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole and others. But most of Wiggins’ game minutes next season will come with the Curry-Green-Thompson core.

The team’s flowing offense requires both repetition and anticipation, otherwise it risks becoming a turnover machine. Wiggins will pick that up.

The defense is another matter. It’s more complex and requires one to synchronize with his teammates, particularly those with whom he’ll share the most court time.

Would a second bubble help Wiggins? Yes, but not as much as an internal camp.

Warriors' Eric Paschall discusses his good 'Welcome to the NBA' moment

Warriors' Eric Paschall discusses his good 'Welcome to the NBA' moment

Eric Paschall turned 23 years old on Nov. 4.

How did he spend his birthday? By dropping 34 points and 13 rebounds on the Portland Trail Blazers in a 127-118 Warriors win, of course.

“That was one heck of a day for me,” Paschall recently told The Athletic's C.J. Holmes. “I just felt like it was perfect because it gave me a chance to show what I could really do and what I was really capable of in this league.

"I felt like that was my ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment in a good way in terms of I was able to showcase everything and Coach (Steve) Kerr just let me rock. It was a lot of fun to be able to get the first win in Chase Center on my birthday.”

The No. 41 overall pick in the 2019 draft had another 'Welcome to the NBA' moment one month earlier.

"In my first preseason game, I didn't expect to be the first person in off the bench," he said in June on Howard Beck's "The Full 48" podcast. "So coach Kerr's like, 'Eric!' He laughs in my face and just goes, 'You got AD.'

"So I have to guard AD, I have to guard LeBron."

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

And Paschall more than held his own that night, and practically every other night all season. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound forward entered the NBA ready to contribute immediately. How?

Well, Villanova coach Jay Wright deserves a lot of credit.

[RELATED: Ex-Warrior West cites two traits when praising Paschall]

"He makes kids tough. At the end of the day he’s going to make you work to be tough and I respect him," Paschall told Holmes. "Now that I’m in the NBA, if you’re soft, you’re going to be eaten alive, and that’s something you just have to deal with.

"That’s one thing with Coach Wright: He pushed me to not be soft. You always have to fight and keep pushing."

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