Why there's no DeMarcus Cousins timeline; what Warriors do at practice

Illustration by Tara Funk

Why there's no DeMarcus Cousins timeline; what Warriors do at practice

Editor’s note: Kerith Burke, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors reporter, will take you inside the two-time defending NBA champions as only she can each Friday with the Ask Kerith Mailbag. Send her a question on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #askkerith


Let’s talk about timelines. Let’s talk about the fact that the Warriors have not given a timeline for DeMarcus Cousins’ return, despite positive comments from Steve Kerr that Boogie is practicing well, hasn’t had any setbacks, and is looking better every day. There’s a reason there’s no exact date on the calendar when he will play his first game this season.

Remember being on a road trip as a kid, and it felt like you were in the car for-ev-errrrr? Maybe you asked you mom, “How much longer?” And she said, “Ten more minutes.” So you watched the clock on the dashboard, noting each minute, and when 10 minutes passed and you still weren’t at your destination, you exclaimed, “Mom! YOU LIED!”

It’s easy to figure out your mom said 10 more minutes to shut you up. She bought herself some peace. But the Warriors don’t want to treat anyone like a kid. It’s better to say nothing during the uncertainty. They don’t want any “But you said …” stories. Recoveries vary from person to person. Achilles tendon rehab typically takes 10 to 12 months, and Boogie is within that window. But his recovery is his own.

The Warriors don’t want to box in Boogie with a specific date. If they did name a date and he missed it, then it would look like something went wrong. That’s unfair. It’s appropriate for the Warriors to be non-committal about a return date to let Boogie work at his own pace.

Steve Kerr has made it clear, with the wisdom of the training staff, that Boogie will get everything he needs to be physically and mentally ready to play again. He is navigating a long rehab, on top of being in a brand-new environment with the Warriors. That’s not easy.

Game On!

@IB_JBFL_OG How is it decided which player gets the halftime interview?

My producer and I have a quick conversation about five minutes before halftime to see who we want to talk to. We look at the box score to see who is performing well and who could give us some insight about a storyline that developed during the game.

Halftime interviews are short. I get one question, two questions tops. We like to feature a role player at halftime and save the main guys for postgame when I can get in four or five questions.

Sometimes the situation dictates a different strategy. If Steph goes off for seven first-half threes, we can’t ignore that and save him for the end. The viewers want to hear from him! It’s all about feeling out the situation to put on the best broadcast.

@RobinKristy What do the players do during half time? No doubt it varies ... but, do they change into clean/dry uniform? I know I would want to …

They can if they want to, but I don’t know how often halftime uni changes occur. There’s not a lot of time.

Players will talk to each other when they get back to the locker room, coaches will give some quick notes, and guys might look at their phones, hit the bathroom and get a nibble to eat. For example, Shaun Livingston sometimes comes out of the locker room with a PB&J. Some guys get a brief moment with the trainers. KD reads the box score as he walks down the tunnel back to the court.

Via IG @anniebananie58 Hi Kerith! Just curious if the players get free seats at all the games for their families/friends. Just at home games or at away arenas too? Are they court-side/almost court-side seats? Thanks for sharing the inside scoop with us!

Per the CBA, players get two tickets to every game, home and away. If they want more, they have options: ask other players, see if the general team allotment can spare some, or buy extras. Teams do their best to help other teams with good seats to purchase at face value.

The seats for friends and family are in the lower bowl, but courtside is extra. Some players buy season tickets so they have a consistent number of seats in the same place.

@KharmaPharma In light of the recent Bulls brouhaha -- how does the Warriors practice regimen and schedule work? (How often, what kinds of things do they work on, etc)

If you need background on the Bulls situation, read here. Quick summary: A new coach came in and conducted unnecessarily long and tough practices to assert his rule. The players basically mutinied.

Coaching is a balance between demanding the best from your players but knowing how hard to push, and when. Steve Kerr’s days as a player help him find the balance. He can ask himself, how would I want to be treated in this situation? Steve is in tune with when guys need rest. Remember, reaching the NBA Finals for four straight years means the Warriors have more mileage on their legs than other teams.

Practice is closed to reporters except for the final minutes when guys are doing individual work or group shooting exercises. We don’t see the nitty-gritty stuff, but generally speaking, the Warriors run plays at full speed, drill defensive things and watch film.

They don’t scrimmage often. Scrimmaging is full-court, 5 on 5, the closest thing to game speed without playing a game. Most guys don’t need to expend that kind of energy at practice to have good games. Nor do you want to subject your veterans to frequent scrimmages when they’re managing their bodies.

Boogie has been going to the G-League for practices/scrimmages because that’s an environment where it makes sense to have some tough runs to get his conditioning up.

Via IG @wilton_gary How do the players feel about playing on Christmas Day? In England we don’t do that, Boxing Day is the big day over here. Seems a tough ask to leave their families and play, wondered what they think?

It’s part of the job. They take it in stride. It might be tougher for the players with kids when their families are trying to preserve treasured Christmas traditions, but it is what it is.

NBA games on Christmas Day are a national tradition, at least. It’s a marquee day with lots of viewership. That feels special. Depending on what time tip-off is, players will have the morning free or the night free to celebrate.

(name withheld) Where is the old Warriors team?

(name withheld) Why don't they care about the fans? I pay a lot of money for tickets and I don't get why they're SOOOO disinterested in the regular season. I get that they'll flip the switch and walk through another ring, but it would be nice to get some value for these tickets when I watch ...

I withheld the names because I don’t want to go at these people directly, but I do want to scold this attitude. Grow up.

How come more losses early in the season means the Warriors don’t care about fans? Your money isn’t their first thought when they’re trying to win another championship. Have fans with this attitude listened to anything the Warriors have been saying about how hard it is to maintain success?

I can hear the whining now. But Kerith, they get paid millions of dollars. If *I* made millions of dollars, you can bet *I* would give it my all every night.

No, you wouldn’t. You would be smart enough to know energy isn’t infinite, and after making the Finals four consecutive years, your body would feel the wear. You’d discover where it’s possible to not exert yourself for preservation, because you learned that over three championship seasons. Some fan bases go a lifetime without seeing one championship!

It is a legitimate storyline to wonder how long the Warriors can continue their incredible winning clip, featuring a season where they went 73-9. They talk about complacency. They fight against it. But approach this storyline with understanding instead of entitlement. Give them the cushion to have ups and downs. There is no “walk through another ring.”

For the fans who need to hear this ... again ... here’s Steph talking about the feeling this season after Wednesday’s loss in Utah.

“The margin of error is a little bit smaller this year, but we understand that,” he said. “(We) get everybody's best shot against us, and it's been a grind. Nothing comfortable about this position we're in, in terms of like ... we want to get back to being dominant.”

He continued: "We've talked about it every year. Every year is different. Every year's going to have different challenges and present a different journey. But at the end of the day, we know what type of team we are. I think we're all bought in to what it's going to take to redefine that dominance.”

High Five

This week against the Grizzlies, Steph reached the 15,000-points milestone. He didn’t know the milestone was approaching until Warriors PR told him a moment before he sat down with reporters at shootaround.

I had a little wow moment when he was talking about his memories of his dad hitting the 10,000-points milestone. Steph recalled how big that felt, and that Dell Curry saved the game ball and framed it. Dell reached 10K in 1997 in his 11th season in the NBA.

If you want to read the AP story from Dell’s milestone night, here’s the link. Dell reached 10K while coming off the bench with a relatively healthy career. Steph reached 15K early in season 10 through some injuries. Incredible.

Steph said he’s thankful he’s playing in a different era than his dad, but the accomplishment remains. Steph is one of the best shooters the game has ever seen.

Follow Kerith on Twitter @KerithBurke and on Instagram @warriorskerith, and, of course, watch her on NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors coverage all season.

Matt Barnes was on verge of NFL pursuit before Warriors offered chance

Matt Barnes was on verge of NFL pursuit before Warriors offered chance

Matt Barnes wasn't guaranteed or promised anything in his NBA career.

In fact, the former Warriors forward nearly left hoops in 2006 to pursue football.

"I was on the verge of trying to jump into the NFL," Barnes recently explained to Warriors broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald. "I was still working out -- basketball and football -- during the summertime because basketball hadn't really seemed to hit.

"I had played four years up to that point and bounced around -- been on a handful of teams -- and just really wasn't getting a fair shot."

Barnes was selected in the second round (No. 46 overall) of the 2002 NBA Draft, but spent his entire rookie season in the G League with the Fayetteville Patriots.

He didn't make his NBA debut until Jan. 19, 2004 when the Clippers gave him a shot with a 10-day contract.

Barnes signed with the Sacramento Kings in October 2004, and appeared in 43 games before he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in February.

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

That brings us to the summer of 2006.

"I was in Sacramento (his hometown) at the time. Baron Davis called me (and said), 'Hey, we're gonna have an open run at the facility (in Oakland). If you're not doing nothing, come down.' I wasn't doing nothing. Hopped in my car, drove down an hour and a half. 

"Played well -- not knowing that Nellie (Warriors coach Don Nelson) was watching the whole time upstairs through the offices. We finished playing, he comes down, tells me I played well (and asks) where I'm going to camp. I was just like, 'You know coach, I don't really have any plans.'

"He told me, he's like, 'I can't promise you anything. I think we have 16 guarantees and 19 people coming to training camp, but if you play like you did today I'll give you a chance.' And that was the first time a coach really had a conversation with me. That's all I needed.

"(I) made the team and continued to use the games as practices and eventually worked my way into the lineup. The rest is history. That's kind of when I put my name on the map."

Over 76 games (23 starts) during the "We Believe" 2006-07 season, Barnes averaged 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals, while shooting nearly 37 percent from deep. In 11 playoff games, he averaged 11.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals and shot over 42 percent from 3-point range.

[RELATED: Barnes reveals 'We Believe' Warriors documentary in works]

After one more season with the Dubs in 2007-08, Barnes played for the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and Kings.

He returned to the Warriors in early March 2017 after Kevin Durant sustained a knee injury, and became an NBA champion.

The 40-year-old currently co-hosts a fantastic podcast with Stephen Jackson called "All the Smoke," and he is terrific as an analyst on TV.

It's crazy to think how different his life could have been had he not picked up BD's phone call 14 years ago ...

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Damian Lillard torches Dan Orlovsky for 'spoiled', 'entitled' remarks

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Damian Lillard torches Dan Orlovsky for 'spoiled', 'entitled' remarks

We live in an era of hot takes. Being correct isn't as important as being noticed. Ratings triumph over truth.

It leads to a situation in which television pundits frequently spout off misguided and easily disproven snap judgments without understanding the true context of the situation. Why give an accurate assessment when a bombastic quote can drive exponentially more traffic?

Most times, they aren't held accountable. On Thursday, though, Damian Lillard wasn't going to let that fly.

Lillard recently announced that he would sit out games if and when the NBA resumed the season if the Trail Blazers didn't have a chance to qualify for the playoffs and compete for a championship. While that is entirely reasonable, former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky joined ESPN's "Get Up" on Wednesday and put his foot in his mouth in criticizing Lillard's decision.

"How can you sit there and go, ‘Nope, I’m not going to play, but understand that there are people out there that don’t have that choice," Orlovsky said. "They have to go to work. They have to go earn their money. I struggle with sitting here and going ‘you don’t come off, in some way, a spoiled and entitled brat by saying I’m not going to play."

Spoiled and entitled? Seriously? Lillard is anything but, and he didn't let that idiotic comment slide.

Let's see. Lillard grew up in a rough part of Oakland. He didn't have a single D-1 scholarship offer coming out of high school. He attended a mid-major at Weber State University and built himself up to become the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. In the time since, he has been named Rookie of the Year, made four All-NBA teams, selected to five All-Star games and become the face of his franchise. Not to mention, he continually gives back to his Oakland community, including hosting an annual picnic and donating to his high school.

What exactly is spoiled about that? And Orlovsky has the nerve to call Lillard entitled?!

Orlovsky, as Lillard reminded him, was a career backup. 

Across 12 career starts, he posted a 2-10-0 record. He is most known for unknowingly stepping out of the back of the end zone for a safety. And this is the guy who we're supposed to view as an authority on the circumstances of a superstar?

Come. On.

Lillard doesn't back down, on the court or off of it. He didn't relent in calling Orlovsky out, and to no one's surprise, the comments eventually were walked back ... sort of.

I suppose you can credit Orlovsky for acknowledging his mistake and apologizing, but I won't. If not for Lillard defending himself, the comments likely would have gone unchecked and further emboldened the hot-take culture.

[RELATED: Warriors could practice again at Chase in next two weeks]

Maybe Orlovsky will think twice -- or at least do a little research -- before opening his mouth next time.

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