Tag:Mark Jackson
Posted on: February 28, 2012 6:29 pm
 

Report: Warriors still chasing Dwight

The Warriors reportedly continue to pursue Dwight Howard. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

The Warriors, reportedly, are not messing around.

Golden State has long been rumored to be chasing Dwight Howard, despite his exclusion of the Warriors from his team of preferred trade destinations (read: places he will consider re-signing with). What's more, Golden State has been rumored to be interested in trading for Howard without assurances he'll stay. That's the ultimate Russian Roulette gamble. If you miss out with convincing Howard, you will have traded everything you have and have nothing to show for it. Talks had died down in the din of Nets chatter that continues. But a report today from NBA.com says that the Warriors aren't done chasing the rabbit down the hole.

From Scott Howard Cooper of NBA.com on Twitter:
Warriors continuing push for Dwight Howard deal even without DH commitment to re-signing. Not backing off from risky move, source says.
via Twitter / @SHowardCooper: Warriors continuing push f ....
Biedrins has zero trade value, so GSW offer has to be 3-4 key pieces. Imagine moving Monta, Klay, others and DH walks. But Dubs staying in.
via Twitter / @SHowardCooper: Biedrins has zero trade va ....

Monta Ellis is a very good player, if not a "star" or "superstar." Klay Thompson looks to be a great rookie. They have Ekpe Udoh as a talented young big man along with Biedrins' expiring contract. The Magic have reportedly wanted to stay in the playoff hunt, which means they want talented veterans, though,and outside of Ellis, the Warriors are short on that. That's what makes the Magic request so baffling, that they wouldn't be trying to work away to get Stephen Curry, draft picks, and Udoh out of Golden State. 

And all of this for a situation in which Howard could vanish outright. It's a monstrous gamble. But let's look at the best-case, worst-case scenario here.

Best-case: Howard and Ellis/Curry click. Howard finally has a co-star worthy of his stature while he's also clearly the alpha dog. The Bay Area market allows for him to cash in on endorsements and media opportunities, while enjoying the California weather, even if it's a bit colder and ranier than southern California. Mark Jackson gets the defensive rock he covets, ownership gets a star to build everything around. Shooters plus creator plus Dwight = success. They hold his bird rights which means Howard has to walk away from the $30-million-plus afforded him in re-signing with his current team in free agency. That's a big stone to hold. 

Worst-case: Howard leaves, and the gap from the assets traded for him creates an unbalanced roster full of misfits who have to be traded off. Meanwhile, the organization clears over $15 million in cap space and has the ability to clean house on a team that has been fundamentally flawed for the past decade, cycling in the same style of players. A clean slate erupts, with the worst part being a potentially unhappy Curry/Ellis but the Warriors now have unlimited flexibility to retool their roster.

Is drastic change that bad of a worst-case scenario? If Howard and Ellis/Curry works, he could very well stay, and that's great. If it doesn't, he leaves anyway and the Warriors start over again which they've needed to do forever, and that's great. It would look bad, and would create a painful rebuilding process. But if you want to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. A move like this would prove the new ownership really is the kind of bold leadership they say they are, unwilling to stand on the sidelines while other teams make the franchise-changing moves.

It's just a question of how brave are they, and if Orlando will finally bite the bullet for their offer.
Posted on: January 16, 2012 1:55 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 3:01 pm
 

Baseline Awards 1.16.12: Rosey Run



Welcome to the Baseline Awards, a weekly feature that goes over the biggest stories of the past week and hands out awards. Because awards are fun!

Eastern Conference Player of the week: Best overall performance by Eastern Conference player

Tie: Dwight Howard/Derrick Rose

Dwight Howard absolutely annihilated teams this week. He only played in two games. During that back-to-back set he destroyed an elite team, the Blazers, and a pretty good team, the Warriors. Howard missed an epic tonnage of free throws vs. Golden State... and still scored 45 points and grabbed 23 rebounds. Against Portland he only scored 13 but had 13 rebounds and four assists. Howard is showing why everyone wants to trade for him.

But Derrick Rose? He's back to playing at an MVP level. No, I'm sorry, that's not right. Because he won the MVP last year and he's actually playing better this season, and did so this week. Rose played four games last week, sitting out with turf toe against the Wizards, and averaged 24 points and 9 assists. That last digit is particularly important. Rose has become a better passer, and is helping what is largely the same Bulls unit become better offensively. Be afraid, NBA.

Western Conference Player of the Week: Best overall performance by Western Conference player

Kobe Bryant

Um... have YOU scored 40 points in each game this week, four times straight? I didn't think so. If I have to explain this, you've been either living in a cave or in suspended animation only to discover a strange new world. Either way, let me break it down. Kobe Bryant = dominant offensively this week. There may be a cost on the Lakers' offense as a whole and the competition was a little weak, but that doesn't change the fact he scored 40 freaking points in four straight contests at age 33.

Struggler of the week: Player with worst performance qualified for expectations

LeBron James

The numbers are fine. The numbers aren't everything. I rarely if ever use the phrase "choked" but James choked away a very winnable game vs. Golden State by missing free throw after free throw. Then had similar issues against the Clippers, struggling in the fourth quarter and overtime. And finally he was frustrated and beaten handily by the Nuggets.

It was probably an outlier, he'll likely rebound, at least in the regular season. But James had a huge letdown after a promising start to 2011-2012.

DOMINATOR AWARD: Most dominant performance

Paul Millsap

Millsap was an absolute beast for the Jazz this week, helping them to a 3-1 record while averaging 23 points and nine boards...while shooting 62 percent from the field. In three of those games, he shot better than 55 percent. Millsap's ability to hit from range, finish inside, and score in the post is making him one of the most complete power forwards in the league. The Jazz really have something going (again) in Salt Lake, and Millsap this week has been a huge part of it.

Broken Promises Award

Mark Jackson, Golden State Warriors

Jackson's guarantee of a playoff trip was questionable when he made it after being hired last summer and it looks even worse now, just 12 games into the season. The team's major free agent prize, Kwame Brown, is likely done for the year, a desperate ownership is realizing it can't make stars appear out of nowhere, and Stephen Curry is tragically sidelined yet again. Jackson, meanwhile, embarked on an historically stupid Hack-a-Dwight strategy en route to a home loss and then watched as his team laid an egg in Charlotte, of all places. The good news: the W's season will be over and Jackson will have plenty of time to get back to the rhyming dictionary to craft some new catchphrases. I know you wanted to make a splash; your mouth made a promise that your team can't cash.

Home Cookin' Award:

Portland Trail Blazers

Portland's hot start and contender buzz hit the brakes this week thanks to a 3-game losing streak. After an early-season win at Oklahoma City raised hopes that this new-look Blazers team might be over the road struggles of previous years, Portland lost back-to-back games in Texas to start its current 6-game road trip, bringing their road record to 1-4 through 11 games. Losing to the undefeated at home Spurs is no shame, but dropping one to the Houston Rockets in overtime can't happen if Portland is to reach its high internal expectations.

Fuzzy Math Award 

Boston Celtics 

The "Big 4" is Boston wasn't supposed to be a reference to how many wins the Celtics have through the first three weeks of the season. But that's where the aging C's find themselves and it's brought on the possibility of a full-fledged identity crisis in the works. Boston is average on offense, average on defense and pathetic on the boards. Given the major cap flexibility the Celtics will have this summer, the worst case scenario is that this season ends up being a waste of time between eras. But settling for that is painful given that four Celtics were 2011 All-Stars.

The Walter White Award

Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder.

It's not a coincidence that the two teams rolling along early in the season are the two squads that had virtually everything in place. With teams like the Knicks and Mavericks looking a bit lost with new pieces early on because of no training camp, the Thunder and Bulls haven't had issues because they haven't had to work on any chemistry. It's already there.

Dead Man Walking Award

Deron Williams 

I don't know how Deron Williams is putting up with this stuff, but he's obviously playing through gritted teeth. Kudos to him, but it has to be painful to basically be flushing a year and a half of your career down the toilet. The injury to Brook Lopez was unfortunate, but let's be honest: The Nets weren't going to be good regardless. If it all works out and Dwight Howard finds his way there, I'm sure he'll look back on these days as a good character builder, but if Howard goes elsewhere and Williams does as well, it'll just be wasted time.

The "Really, guys? Really?!" Award: Worst performance that isn't just bad, but inexcusable

Washington Wizards

You lost to the Bulls without Derrick Rose? Really? You let John Lucas go off on you, John Wall? Really? It's like every time we think the Wizards have hit the very bottom, they show us they can go just a little bit lower.

The "Begin Assembly" Award: Team starting to get it together

Memphis Grizzlies

A tough loss to the Lakers seemed to spark this team. They needed a boost and since that game in which they competed to the end, Rudy Gay has started to produce at the level he has to. Mike Conley is playing well. Marc Gasol is beasting. O.J. Mayo has his shot going. The Grizzlies are moving away from the debacle that was their first game against Chicago.

The "Tom Brady Is Better Than You" Award for Offensive Failure

The Sacramento Kings scored 42 points on Saturday through the third quarter. The Patriots scored 42 points againt the Broncos on Saturday. The Kings were outscored by an NFL team. I don't know who that's sadder for, the Kings or Tebow and the Broncos.

Awkward Water Cooler Conversation Award for Coaching Struggle:

Mark Jackson

Jackon's own players asked him not to go hack-a-Dwight vs. the Magic, feeling they could defend Howard. It would be one thing if it had worked, but Howard dominated them even with the missed free throws and it completely detonated the Warriors' offensive flow. Jackon's been pretty good overall this season, but that was a pretty damaging series of events.

Blog of the Week:

The Two Man Game

With the Mavericks starting to put it together, their analysis is relevant again, and TMG is the best Mavs blog out there. Thoughtful analysis and discussion on the bigger picture, which is what the Mavericks are all about this season.

Awards Watch:

MVP Five to Consider (no particular order):
Derrick Rose
Kobe Bryant
LeBron James
Dwight Howard
Kevin Durant

ROY Five to Consider:
Kyrie Irving
Ricky Rubio
MarShon Brooks
Kawhi Leonard
Iman Shumpert

6th Man of the Year Five to Consider:
James Harden
Al Harrington
Lou Williams
Jamal Crawford
Ricky Rubio
Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:17 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 3:21 pm
 

Kwame Brown out 3 months with chest muscle tear

Posted by Ben Golliver kwame-brown-gsw

The Golden State Warriors can't catch a break.

After losing starting point guard Stephen Curry to an ankle injury, again, the Warriors announced on Thursday that starting center Kwame Brown will miss three months, and perhaps more, witha torn muscle in his chest.
Results of an MRI performed yesterday on Golden State Warriors center Kwame Brown revealed a torn pectoralis major (the large chest muscle that attaches to his right shoulder), which will require him to undergo surgery within the next few days, the team announced today. The surgery, which has not yet been scheduled, is expected to keep him out for a minimum of three months.

“Obviously, we’re very disappointed, especially for Kwame, who was playing extremely well and had worked diligently since his arrival,” said Larry Riley, the team’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager. “In a short time, he had proven to be the anchor to our low post defense and certainly lived up to his reputation as one of the top interior defenders in the NBA. He had provided us a big, physical presence in the middle, which is something that we’ve lacked in the past. Unfortunately, surgery of this nature typically requires, approximately, a three-month recovery period.”

The injury occurred at the 6:22 mark of the fourth quarter during the Warriors’ game against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, January 10.

“I feel extremely bad for Kwame,” said Head Coach Mark Jackson. “He had done absolutely everything that myself and our coaching staff had asked of him and quickly started to change this team’s image on the defensive end of the floor. If you look at the last week, in particular, he had some pretty impressive defensive performances, especially against some of the top scoring big men in the NBA. This is a blow, but Kwame and the Warriors will recover and move forward. I know that he will work as hard as he can during rehabilitation.”
The Warriors conclude their 2011-2012 regular season on April 26, approximately three and a half months from now. That doesn't bode well for Brown's availability this year.

Brown, 29, signed a 1-year contract worth a reported $7 million with Golden State during the December free agency period. The size of the contract raised some eyebrows but it wasn't terrible. Starting centers come at a premium price in the NBA and the Warriors struck out previously in attempts to land DeAndre Jordan and Tyson Chandler. With this news, Golden State now has the worst of both worlds: an overpaid center and a hole in the middle that he should be filling but can't due to injury.

Known as a solid low-post defender, this injury hits Golden State, currently ranked No. 23 in the NBA in defensive efficiency, right in the gut. Warriors coach Mark Jackson will now need to turn to Andris Biederins and Ekpe Udoh in the middle while perhaps running more non-traditional small ball lineups. 

Brown averaged 6.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game in nine games this season. 
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:54 am
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Pacific Division Preview



By Matt Moore


We're less than two weeks away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We begin with the Pacific Division.

2011 Standings:

Los Angeles Lakers, 57-25, lost 4-0 to Dallas Mavericks in 2nd round of Western Conference Playoffs
Phoenix Suns, 42-42, NBA Draft lottery
Golden State Warriors,36-46, NBA Draft lottery
Los Angeles Clippers, 32-50, NBA Draft lottery
Sacramento Kings, 24-58, NBA Draft lottery

Best team: Well, see, the thing is... Chris Paul (UPDATE: TIE- LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS)

Chris Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night. Even with the Lakers unable to obtain Paul, the combination of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum is probably enough to take the honors here. But with Paul joining Blake Griffin, even without Eric Gordon, the additions of Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups and re-signing DeAndre Jordan make as tough of a team to face as any. Griffin's impact next to Chris Paul is nearly incalculable.

The Lakers may still have the edge, but after the loss of Odom, everything is up in the air as far as who runs Staples now. The reality is that Paul landing in the city of L.A. will shift the division in one direction or another for the next half-decade at least.

Worst team: Sacramento Kings

The Kings are tricky. They have a convoluted backcourt. Tyreke Evans took a step back last season and it remains to be seen if it was all injury-related or not. There's no telling how Jimmer Fredette will adjust to the pro level. Marcus Thornton will struggle for minutes despite his all-around ability. John Salmons is floating around. There were huge chemistry questions last season and the players struggled against coach Paul Westphal at times.

If things don't improve, if DeMarcus Cousins doesn't mature, if Chuck Hayes can't protect the rim enough with his diminutive stature, things could get bad. And yet...

Biggest surprise: Sacramento Kings

There's so much firepower in that backcourt. Untangling it is complicated but they have everything. Shooting, athleticism, size, range, explosiveness, savvy, handle, everything. They have too much ability to not be effective in some ways. Cousins was a beast last season and even a small amount of maturity and development means he could be a near-All-Star (in the East, the West is too stacked). They have young talented bigs and Hayes who provides savvy and veteran knowledge.

The pieces are there. They're going to be exciting, even if they're struggling with an identity.

Three Best Players: Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Chris Paul

Update: With Paul joining the division, he instantly becomes one of the three best players. The best pure point guard in the league, with excellent shooting touch, terrific defense, and a supreme will to win? He leap-frogs both Pau and Nash. 

Kobe Bryant needs no explanation, even at his age. The end.

Blake Griffin is the most explosive player in the league and the first player in a few years for people to say he could legitimately be the best player in the league at one point. His explosiveness and rebounding is unmatched, his mid-range jumper isn't lightyears away and his defense will get there. Already, Griffin is a force to be reckoned with. What happens when he gets better?

Gasol vs. Nash? Gasol was an early season MVP candidate. He is arguably the most skilled big man in the league (as opposed to Dwight Howard, the most dominant and most talented). And yet his collapse in the 2011 playoffs is the stuff of legend. It was such a complete failure at both ends, when the Lakers needed him most, it's damning. Gasol could very well be the second best player in this division this year. He could also slide back with age.

Nash? Ho-hum, another 50-40-90 season (got to round up for once, but still). His weighted assists, factoring three-pointers assisted on, left him at 13, which means combined with his 15 points per game, he contributed 41 points per game to the Suns. That's absurd. It's also not the highest in the league for a point guard, but it's still an example of how good Nash is. He's flat-out old in relative terms of the league, and yet is in the best shape he possibly could be thanks to conditioning. Nash is still elite, an therefore neither he nor Gasol can be exempted.

Biggest Question: Can Golden State change its stripes?

Mark Jackson has to completely turn what the Warriors know as their identity inside out. They have to commit to defensive principles. David Lee, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, these players are not known for this, at all. It's going to take a miracle. If Jackson can get them to buy in and if his system is good enough, the Warriors could make a jump. Kwame Brown helps down low (don't laugh, he's become a quality defender). But there's so much to be done in terms of changing this team's indentity, the Warriors could be in for rocky seas.

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Golden State Warriors
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Sacramento Kings
Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:07 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 9:38 pm
 

Pop Quiz: Can Chandler help remake the Warriors?

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... Wait, we're almost to winter. What happened? Who cares, there's a season! The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a couple weeks. To get you ready for the season, we've put together some pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question... 

Can Tyson Chandler help remake the Warriors?

By Matt Moore  

If Dwight Howard is a model of greatness to himself, Greg Oden is the mystery of a career lost, and Andrew Bynum is the intriguing incomplete whippersnapper, then there's a missing archetype. The hyper-competent, hyper-efficient, all-around veteran difference maker who has toughness a young guy can't have, the toughness that comes with maturity.

In the 2011 free agency, that archetype is personified by Tyson Chandler.

Tyson Chandler's story is pretty interesting. From a stone-handed bust for the Chicago Bulls to Chris Paul's alley-oop partner, Chandler was considered only valuable next to a guard like Paul as recently as 2009. He had injury issues, one of which derailed a trade to the Thunder. He wound up in Charlotte, had a forgettable year, and then made his way to Dallas. Boom.

He was the difference, in every way, for the Mavericks. For years the Mavericks were thought of as weak, as poor defensively, as lacking resolve, as lacking toughness around the rim. Chandler changed all of that. He attacks relentlessly and has the veteran sense to understand spacing to float and recover. If you want numbers, he allows just a 39 percent field goal percentage against the pick-and-roll according to Synergy Sports. He blocked 3 percent of all shots last year, including 19 blocks in 21 playoff games.

But it was more than just numbers. It was his approach. Not overly emotional, not tempermental, not prone to impulse. Making the right play, making it strong, and finishing alley-oop after alley-oop. 62 of Chandler's 266 makes last season were on pick-and-roll scoring opportunities and most of those were alley-oops. He and J.J. Barea had a very unique set of chemistry.

Chandler is a pro's pro at this point in his career, and in a league in desperate need of quality starting centers, he does all the things you look for a big man to do. Which is why he's got so many suitors. Reports over the weekend indicated that Chandler's biggest options were Houston, New Jersey (who want to sign every single free agent on the market), and the Golden State Warriors.

That's right, it's a new day in the Bay (so why don't you call it a day and eat some hay, what do ya' say, I just may) and Mark Jackson has vowed to turn the Warriors into a defensive-minded team. When new ownership and management came out alongside Jackson and said that they would be focusing on getting big men, it seemeed laughable. But now the Warriors are in a position to move from their constant rebuilding status of the past few years into at least "acceptably decent" territory. Chandler puts them lightyears ahead.

With a defensive minded coach, if Jackson can reach them, the Warriors have a dynamic point guard who can shoot from anywhere in Stephen Curry, a prolific scorer in Monta Ellis, a low-post scorer and volume rebounder in David Lee, a plethora of talented wings, a young raw big man in Ekpe Udoh who showed flashes last year, and a championship big man in Tyson Chandler. Having that kind of defense at the rim shifts the entire function of the team. If you don't believe a system and capable bigs can help a team with poor defensive talent, I direct you to the fact the Chicago Bulls had one of the best defenses in the league last season and started Carlos Boozer while bringing Kyle Korver off the bench.

Chandler is likely going to draw a King' ransom based on his reputation, the weakness of this free agency class, the weakness of this league at the center position, and the teams currently in the market. Golden State is a big-market team looking to put itself on the map with new owners, a new coach, and players they can trade, most notably Ellis, who has been on the block for what feels like a decade.

Chandler is 29, if he's given a near-max extension or, even worse, a max, he'll be 32 when the deal expires. That's a quality length of time. Golden State has tried going young and athletic, now it wants to get serious.

It doesn't get much more serious than Tyson Chandler.

The Warriors could be in position to make a serious move in 2011-2012.
Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:26 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 11:52 am
 

Stephen Curry 'flows' through unpredictable year

Posted by Ben Golliver

stephen-curry

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry would be forgiven if his head was spinning.

In the past year, Curry has had to adjust to a new owner, a new management team, a new coach, a new wife, a new wheel (a surgically-repaired right ankle), and, of course, the NBA’s new world order: a no-end-in-sight but could-end-any-minute lockout.  It's a minor miracle that Curry has survived trade rumors, rehabilitation, and endless labor negotiations intact, but it's also not all that surprising, given that we're talking about a player who made his reputation by pushing past doubters at every step in his NBA journey. 

Curry made his current mantra clear in a phone interview last week. The injuries, the Warriors’ organizational transition, the labor impasse, the wedding, and an unlikely return to college -- all of it -- will be taken in stride. He will "flow" regardless of what happens. He’s one of many NBA players who continue to be about their business even though the lights in the NBA arenas are turned off, the practice facilities are locked, and coaches are no longer a phone call or text message away, lest NBA commissioner David Stern appear from the shadows to levy a mega-fine. 

That business began back in May, when Curry underwent surgery to repair ligaments in his right ankle after vicious sprains dogged him throughout the 2010-2011 season, and has continued with a lengthy rehabilitation program, a brief stop at the "Lockout League" in Las Vegas, and extensive work with Accelerate Basketball in North Carolina, where Curry is working to complete his degree at Davidson. Now, more than five months post-surgery, Curry says he would be ready if NBA training camp were to open tomorrow.

“I’d be ready,” Curry said, before offering a qualifier. “It would just be seeing how it reacts to two-a-days and back-to-back games and that kind of thing. When I’m on the floor right now, I feel unlimited in my motions, and feel confident mentally and physically when I’m out there. It’s a good start.”

A good start, but not yet a total recovery, at least not without the knowledge that the ankle will hold up to game conditions.

“I don’t know what it’s going to feel like,” Curry admits. “The first week of training camp will be able to tell me exactly where I’m at with the rehab and physically speaking. When the actual games start, I don’t want to be limited [minutes-wise], so hopefully the week of training camp that we have will allow me to just get out and play and help my ankle respond when I’m out there competing.”

It’s not just the ankle that will need to respond to game situations when he next takes the court. Curry will be looking to new head coach Mark Jackson, brought in by new Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, instead of Keith Smart, who was let go after the Warriors season ended with another trip to the NBA Draft Lottery. 

Last week, Jackson told CSNBayArea.com that his practice philosophy will focus on quality not quantity. Working long hours just to say they did it won’t be the Warriors way.  “There’s no sense coming in at 6 in the morning,” Jackson told the site. “It’s fake hustle. I appreciate it. But for what? Enjoy life and make sure you’re ready.”

Jackson, No. 3 all-time on the NBA's assists list, was hired just three weeks before the NBA’s gag order went into effect and hasn’t been able to contact Curry since June. Regardless, Curry likes what he hears when it comes Jackson's outlook.

“I like that approach,” Curry said. “We’re going to be focused, we’re going to be efficient, we’re going to work hard, watch film and get better. Like he said, just practice 3-4 hours, everybody has to be focused on what’s going on. I get my extra work in individually. It’s not like I’m deprived of court time when it comes to practice and during the season.”

The Warriors were better than average offensively in 2010-2011, but their bottom-five defense kept them from making a serious playoff push. Curry knows what Jackson’s focus will be next year, as the Warriors hope to climb into the postseason for just the second time since 1994-1995.

“Coach Jackson is going to come in and set the tone for us defensively. We have to have that presence every night when we come out and play. For me, being the point guard and general on the floor, that’s going to start with me and trickle down to everybody else, be his extension on the court.”

Coming off a season in which he posted 18.6 points and 5.8 assists per game – but also committed 3.1 turnovers per game -- Curry is looking for the same things from himself in his third NBA season that Warriors fans want to see: consistency and leadership. And, listening to him survey his roster of teammates and describe his team's needs, it sounds as if he feels like he has the horses to compete.

“We have four key guys coming back and a lot of great rookies that are coming in,” Curry said. “We just need some depth on the bench. We have myself, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright and David Lee. We’re going to be the starting four. Andris Biedrins is coming back, he’ll be our starting five, most likely. That’s going to really be a good start.

"We just have to get our bench production up. We’re missing Reggie Williams, who is over in Spain right now, so we’ve got to fill his spot. We drafted well with Klay Thompson and Charles Jenkins who will be our backup guards and who can play some decent minutes. We also drafted Jeremy Tyler who is a beast down low. We just need to get a couple of veterans who can be voices in the locker room for us."

Curry had a brief taste of his leadership duties back in September in Las Vegas, where the Warriors led the NBA in attendance at Impact Basketball's Competitive Training Series, an independent "lockout league" for players to get into shape and experience full 5-on-5 runs against fellow NBA competition. More than half of Golden State's roster showed up.

“It was just an opportunity for us to get together and see each other collectively for the first time in three months,” Curry said. “Get on the floor, get some workouts in. I played in the Impact League for about five minutes, it was my first time playing since the season was over with. It allowed me to get some reps but not push it too hard. All the guys that were out there worked hard, hopefully we won’t have to schedule any more of those.”

With summer officially over and school back in session, Curry is currently surrounded by classmates instead of teammates. Not many NBA players have returned to school during the lockout, and even fewer had the kind of impact that Curry did at Davidson, where he put the small school on the national map by averaging 25.3 points per game and earning All-American recognition.

Curry admits that his presence drew some extra attention when he first stepped on campus but says that things have mostly settled down. “[The other students] have treated me like normal after the first week or two, and everybody realized that I was on campus for real and actually taking classes,” he said. “[I’m trying to handle] myself in a normal fashion. I think that helped a little bit.” 

stephen-curry-wedding

There it is again. That same theme. Trying to handle himself normally despite a series of changes and circumstances that have been, by and large, out of his control. For the time being, "normal" means establishing a nice routine: workouts, classes, and spending time with his wife, Ayesha, whom he married in July.

“We’ve kind of went with the flow,” Curry said, describing his first few months of married life. “It’s been odd timing, just a transition from the summer to seeing if the lockout was going to end. Not knowing where it was going to yet. Just a period of transition that hopefully ends soon.” As hard as Curry tries to roll with the punches, his anticipation is palpable. 

For now, he just waits, and waits, and waits, looking forward to the eventual return of the NBA and, more immediately, to the release of the latest Call of Duty video game next week.

“I’ve got the big screen in my man cave that’s geared up and ready for Modern Warfare 3,” Curry says, laughing gleefully about his plans for coping with the lockout boredom.

But how does his wife feel about him spending all his time in front of a 70” flat screen in his basement? “I might just have to put a controller in her hand and hopefully she might just pick it up and play,” Curry said. “Get on that multiplayer. I’m going to be competitive. I won’t take it easy on her.”

Buy an extra controller; problem solved. Five months in and Curry clearly has this whole marriage thing figured out. We can only hope that he offers his expertise to the NBA’s owners and the players union.

“If they can hear each other say 'yes' every once in a while, that might warm up the negotiations a little bit,” Curry said. There you have it. Move over, George Cohen. 

For a guy whose head should be spinning after the last year, Curry sure seems to keep his on straight. 

Photo credit: kristinviningphotoblog.com 

Posted on: September 2, 2011 11:23 am
Edited on: September 2, 2011 11:25 am
 

Mark Jackson explains link to alleged drug lord

Posted by Royce Young

A few weeks ago, Warren Braithwaite was arrested. For what? Something about running a massive criminal organization specializing in a massive drug ring. No big.

Why is this important though? Well, because Braithwaite is friends with a lot of important people. Jamie Foxx, Lady Gaga and what makes this NBA news -- Warriors coach Mark Jackson. Such good friends that Braithwaite was a guest of honor at Jackson's introductory press conference with the Warriors.

Not that Jackson was involved in any of these shenanigans, but he's definitely linked to a drug lord. Finally, via the San Francisco Chronicle, Jackson explained his ties:

“At the end of the day, Brother Warren doesn’t have a relationship with Mark Jackson, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors,” Jackson said in a phone interview Wednesday. “He wouldn’t say, ‘Mark Jackson, my friend’ or ‘Mark Jackson, my coach.’

“He would say, ‘Pastor Mark, my spiritual father…’ “

“In fairness to me, as a pastor, I’m going to be linked to drug dealers, drug addicts, liars and fornicators,” Jackson said. “The church is a place for sick people to be healed. I’m going to help them, but I’m not going to co-sign on their troubles.”

Two things: I like that Mark Jackson refers to himself in third person and yes, if you didn't know by now, Jackson is a pastor.

And Jackson's comments are entirely spot on. As a pastor, it's his job to make acquaintances with everyone, no matter what their background is, no matter what they're doing. It's part of the job.

We've all seen "The Wire" and how the deacon associates with everyone around whether it be drug dealers, hitmen, crooked politicians or prostitutes. Part of the gig. No different for Jackson and while it's unfortunate his acquaintance is tied up in such an ugly mess, it doesn't have anything to do with him.

Via PBT
Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:05 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 11:11 am
 

Mark Jackson linked to alleged drug kingpin

By Matt Moore

Warren Braithwaite is one of those people who is an "associate" to various celebrities. You know what I'm talking about. Those people who don't have an official capacity, but always hang around with well-known people and are always involved in various ventures with them. He's friends with Jamie Foxx, Lady Gaga, held a soiree for Magic Johnson, and generally hung out with the ritziest of the ritz, including one new head coach of the Golden State Warriors, Mark Jackson. 

Oh, and one more thing. He's currently being charged by federal authorities with running a massive criminal organization specializing in a massive drug ring. Along with 22 of his associates. 

So that's not good. 

Just how close were Jackson and Braithwaite? According to Star Magazine
In fact, Jackson took Braithwaite to a news conference on June 100 -- just 4 days before Braithwaite’s arrest -- when he announced his decision to leave broadcasting and accept the role.

Braithwaite was also involved at the True Love Worship Center International, in Van Nuys, Calif., a ministry helmed by Jackson and his wife.

While the Warriors had no comment, Jackson tells Star he has “not seen one piece of evidence that Brother Warren is the person police say he is. Our prayers, thoughts and love are for Warren and his family.”
via INVESTIGATION: Jamie Foxx, Lady Gaga & NBA Coach Mark Jackson Linked To Drug Kingpins | Radar Online.

(Side note: Jackson can preach. )

Jackson clearly wasn't the only one close with Braithwaite; he's a known commodity in celebrity circles. But especially for a coach who values traditional morals, the charges have to be a shock. What's more, Jackson must feel pretty strongly about Braithwaite in order to speak on his behalf to Star Magazine about him. The typical line is to not comment. Now Jackson's on record as speaking out in defense of an acccused drug kingpin. Then again, if Braithwaite is clear of all charges, Jackson will have stuck by his friend through the hardest of times. You can bet the Warriors are monitoring this situation pretty closely. 

(HT: PBT)
 
 
 
 
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