Warriors

Why Warriors are in third place in ESPN's NBA Future Power Rankings

Why Warriors are in third place in ESPN's NBA Future Power Rankings

Before the 2019-20 NBA season was suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Warriors had the worst record in the league.

Is it really possible that they immediately become a title contender in 2020-21 and 2021-22? Is the championship window still open?

ESPN recently published its "NBA Future Power Rankings," and the answer to the two aforementioned questions is "yes."

So here's how it works:

The Future Power Rankings are ESPN Insider's projection of the on-court success expected for each team over the next three seasons, including 2019-20 if the NBA returns to action.

We asked ESPN analysts Kevin Pelton and Bobby Marks to rate teams in five categories and rank them relative to the rest of the league.

Simple enough, right?

Well, the Warriors currently sit in third place behind the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.

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Here's how Golden State ranked in the five categories:

1) Players (58.3 percent of the score) = 6th 

2) Management (16.7 percent of the score) = 4th 

3) Money (8.3 percent of the score) = tied for 26th

4) Market (8.3 percent of the score) = 2nd

5) Draft (8.3 percent of the score) = 3rd 

[RELATED: One thing Kerr, Dubs always looking for when building roster]

As Marks writes:

Golden State's two projected lottery picks in 2020 and 2021 -- their own this year and Minnesota's (top-three protected) in 2021 -- are largely responsible for the top-five ranking. In addition to their draft assets, the Warriors have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins under contract for at least the next three seasons, which should put them in contention with both Los Angeles teams.

Eventually, we will find out if the Warriors keep the prized draft picks or package them together in a trade for another star player.

Assuming things return to normal in the not-so-distant future, it truly will be fascinating to see how the front office constructs the roster.

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Ex-Warrior Stephen Jackson asks that Americans get real about racism

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Ex-Warrior Stephen Jackson asks that Americans get real about racism

Anyone paying a moment of attention to the latest symptom of our national crisis had to see this coming. Stephen Jackson, emotionally wounded and visibly unnerved all week, is asking for help from a group whose support is essential.

Standing before a crowd in Minneapolis on Friday, where his friend, George Floyd, died under the knee of a police officer, the former Warriors forward sent a message that needs to be heard:

“To my white brothers, I love you. Every race here, I love you. But it comes to a point now, where if you love me and you not standing on the side of me, then your love don’t mean s--t.”

Jackson was appealing to folks of all colors to stand up or sit out. Join the struggle for progress or concede you accept America as it is, in which case your love or friendship is hollow.

Wearing a black hoodie etched with white letters “RIP GEORGE FLOYD 3rd Ward, TX,” Jackson – joined by the likes of Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns and entertainer Jamie Foxx – urged folks of all races and ethnicities to ensure Floyd does not die in vain.

And that any trial should not focus on Floyd’s character – he allegedly was passing a possible $20 bill – but on those responsible for his death.

"I'm here because they're not gonna demean the character of George Floyd, my twin," Jackson told those at the rally. "A lot of times, when police do things (that) they know that's wrong, the first thing they try to do is cover it up and bring up their background -- to make it seem like the bulls--t that they did was worth it. When was murder ever worthy?

“But if it's a black man, it's approved.”

"You can't tell me,” Jackson continued, “when that man has his knee on my brother's neck -- taking his life away, with his hand in his pocket -- that that smirk on his face didn't say, ‘I'm protected.’”

Jackson, and many others with a platform, is urging sisters and brothers of another color to pick a side. Are you willing to accept such tragedies as that which resulted in the death of Floyd and so many, many, many others throughout American history? Or are you ready to stand up and join the fight against a system that routinely enables malicious actions that tear at the hearts of communities?

Floyd’s death is the third high-profile incident this year involving an African-American fatality at the guns of law enforcement or vigilantes. These actions ignited the flame that resulted in rebellious acts all over the country. Oakland. Los Angeles. Denver. New York. Chicago. Obviously, Minneapolis and its twin-city neighbor St. Paul.

It’s also raging in Louisville, which already was seething in the wake of the shooting of Breonna Taylor, who was home in bed.

In the so-called enlightened age, it’s reasonable to wonder how much of this can be tolerated.

“If they’re not giving us no answers, we gotta come up with our own answers,” Jackson said. “And we willing to do that. Understand that. We’re willing to do that. We gonna use our platform. I’m going to use everything I have to get a conviction, to get all these MFs in jail – excuse my French, I’m angry – but I’m a proud back man.”

From slavery to lynching to Jim Crow to today, with violent crimes recorded on cell phones, there is a preponderance of evidence of racism in the United States. America’s racist history, and its racist present, is by far the biggest barrier to be cleared before we can reach our national potential.

[RELATED: Curry, Kerr among sports figures outraged by Floyd's death]

Effecting real change can’t happen if the majority is silent. Non-racists merely perpetuate the status quo, which has existed for 400 years.

No, any real progress toward this country living up to its ideal, its written promise, requires cooperation across all lines. Racial. Gender. Sexuality. Ethnicity. Age. Economic. Political.

Whether it’s an impossible bridge to build is to be determined. But millions, over four centuries, have tried, some giving their lives. All have failed.

And we will continue to fail until enough people with a conscience can summon the courage to join hands and fight the only war that can improve our nation. Jackson is ready.

"I'm hurt. I'm angry,” he said. “But I ain't scared.”

Steve Kerr, Warriors make fun of Draymond Green same way once per year

Steve Kerr, Warriors make fun of Draymond Green same way once per year

In April 2011, when he was a junior at Michigan State, Draymond Green put on a helmet and pads, and participated in the Spartans' spring football game.

Of all the players Steve Kerr has coached with the Warriors, is the 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year the one guy he believes could play in the NFL?

"I would say Draymond Green -- he's got the body type, he's got the competitiveness, he's got the fight -- [but] the problem is, every year, we show one clip of Draymond playing in the spring game at Michigan State," Kerr explained to Chris Long on the "Green Light" podcast. "He jumps offsides as a tight end, and then he drops a pass.

"We show that in our film session once a year just to make fun of him. So, I don't think I can say Draymond."

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

If you have never seen the video, here you are ...

“It’s never as easy as it looks,” Draymond told Hugh Bernreuter of mlive.com in June 2011. "I thought I knew what I was doing, until I got jammed at the line of scrimmage. It’s not easy. It’s like basketball. It looks easy, but it’s not.

“I like my future in basketball a little better.”

[RELATED: Steph, Klay's QB skills blew Kerr's mind: 'Absolute cannons']

Yes, the three-time NBA champion made the right decision to pursue a professional hoops career. No doubt about it.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]