Warriors

Witness claims Raptors exec Masai Ujiri didn't strike sheriff's deputy

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USATSI

Witness claims Raptors exec Masai Ujiri didn't strike sheriff's deputy

A Warriors season-ticket holder claimed to see Thursday night's encounter between Masai Ujiri and a sheriff's deputy at Oracle Arena, and said the Raptors president of basketball operations did not strike the deputy as the sheriff's office claimed.

Greg Wiener, 61, told The Associated Press on Friday that he stood next to the deputy during the waning moments of the Raptors' 114-110 win over the Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. Wiener told The AP that the deputy first "put his hand on Ujiri's chest and pushed him," and that "Ujiri shoved him back before bystanders intervened."

“The thing about the cops saying the policeman asked for his credentials, that didn’t happen," Wiener said. "There was no conversation at all. This part about striking him in the face, yeah that didn’t happen.”

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office told NBC Bay Area on Thursday that it was conducting an investigation along with the Oakland Police Department into an incident in which "a man believed to be a Toronto Raptors executive" pushed and struck a sheriff's deputy in the face on the Oracle Arena court. Sgt. Ray Kelly later identified the executive as Ujiri to NBC Sports Washington on Friday morning, telling the outlet that a deputy blocked Ujiri from reaching the court because he didn't display the proper credentials.

NBC Bay Area obtained video showing a man standing in between Ujiri and the deputies with his arms outstretched. Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry guided Ujiri through the crowd and on to the court to celebrate with the team.

Kelly said the deputies let Ujiri go once they realized who he was, but they are gathering evidence to submit to the district attorney. Deputies called the incident misdemeanor battery on an officer, according to NBC Bay Area. Ujiri has not yet been charged.

“The incident is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities," a Raptors spokesperson said to NBC Sports Washington on Friday. "We look forward to resolving the situation."

Ujiri, 48, has been the Raptors president since 2013. The Washington Wizards are preparing to offer Ujiri the top job in their front office, and NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig reported the offer could be worth $10 million annually and include an ownership stake in the team.

NBA scout unsure about D'Angelo Russell, won't be surprised if he peaked

NBA scout unsure about D'Angelo Russell, won't be surprised if he peaked

Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell entered the NBA as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Here are his stats from his first four seasons:

-2015-16 = 13.2 points, 3.3 assists, 41.0 percent overall, 35.1 percent from deep
-2016-17 = 15.6 points, 4.8 assists, 40.5 percent overall, 35.2 percent from deep
-2017-18 = 15.5 points, 5.2 assists, 41.4 percent overall, 32.4 percent from deep
-2018-19 = 21.1 points, 7.0 assists, 43.4 percent overall, 36.9 percent from deep

That's a pretty nice trajectory. But one Eastern Conference scout is not sold on Russell.

"I don't know if he's really that good," he told Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. "Everything went right for him. I wouldn't be surprised if last season is the best one he ever has."

This scout isn't the only person in the basketball world who feels this way. But there also are those who believe the 23-year-old can be even better moving forward, and will see improved efficiency playing alongside Steph Curry and Draymond Green (and eventually Klay Thompson).

It's safe to assume that Russell is aware he has doubters. He also knows that some people are doubting the Warriors, and think the Dubs will miss the playoffs or struggle to make the postseason.

[RELATED: Warriors didn't sign Russell just to trade him, Myers says]

These opinions do provide extra motivation.

"For sure. For sure," he told NBC Sports Bay Area at Summer League in Las Vegas. "I think we got a good group of guys that can really make some noise."

Russell's two-time NBA MVP teammate agrees.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Golden State Warriors Summer League Grades

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USA Today

Golden State Warriors Summer League Grades

The Golden State Warriors entered summer league with an abundance of necessary curiosity. 

With three draft picks and a second-year player on the roster - combined with the uncertainty of the roster - the offseason tournament provided a glimpse of what to expect from its young core in the upcoming season. 

Now, with summer league wrapped up, here are the final grades from Golden State's participants. 

Jordan Poole

The first-round pick struggled with his shot during the California Classic, making just four of his first 20 attempts through three games. However, he picked up his scoring output in Vegas, averaging 17.8 points, including a 12 point performance against Denver, helping Golden State overcome a 17-point deficit. 

Poole also showed an ability to play make, throwing a variety of behind the back passes, often getting teammates involved in the offense. If Poole can continue his upward offensive trajectory, he can compete for minutes on the floor. 

While Poole showed flashes of potential, he did have some low points. Though he averaged 2.3 steals in Vegas, he struggled to get around switches, something that hindered him in college. In addition, despite the scoring outbursts, he shot just 40 percent from the field over his final four games. 

Final Grade: B - 

Jacob Evans

Evans entered summer league hoping to reverse the ills of a disappointing rookie season. In following his second summer appearance, he seemed to do that, averaging 16.3 points, 4.8 assists and 5.8 rebounds. 

With Shaun Livingston no longer on the roster, Evans will have primary ball responsibility when Stephen Curry and D'Angelo Russell are not on the floor. In Vegas, Evans played a lot of time at point guard and sometimes struggled against heavy ball pressure. Nonetheless, he showed an improved midrange game that could suit him well during his sophomore season. 

Grade: B

Eric Paschal 

Lauded for his shooting, Paschal impressed during the California Classic, shooting 61 percent from the field, including an 18 point, 6-of-8 performance in a loss to the Lakers. 

Despite being a second-round pick, Golden State remains high on Paschal, citing his toughness, IQ and defensive prowess as a reason he'll see playing time next season. 

Grade: B

Alen Smailagic

The 18-year-old showed a bevy of potential, with numerous highlight-level dunks over his summer league play. In four games in Vegas, he averaged 8.5 points, adding 5.0 rebounds in 22 minutes. 

For the Warriors, the Serbian is a long term project worth an investment, evidenced by the fully guaranteed four-year, $4.3 million contract the team tendered last week. In Vegas, he simultaneously showed why he's worth the contract while giving reminders of the work needed to get playing time. While he showed flashes with his dunks, he was frequently out of position for rebounds due to lack of strength.