Draft pick uncertainty hangs over Warriors

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Draft pick uncertainty hangs over Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are 5-9 and just about a quarterof the way through this 66-game season. They are currently tied with Phoenixfor the 12th-best record in the Western Conference.Yes, there is plenty of time remaining in the season, but atthe same time, there has been little to suggest that the Warriors are headed tothe postseason.The reality is unless something changes significantly the most important date for the Warriors and their fans will be May 30. Thatswhen the NBA will hold its draft lottery.And thats when the Warriors will likely find out whethertheyll get to keep their 2012 draft pick or not.
In short, the Warriors 2012 first-round pick will go to theUtah Jazz if it winds up being the No. 8 pick or worse. If the Warriors get apick in the top-seven of the draft, they get to keep it.If that happens, and they do get to keep the pick, the Warriorswill be in the same spot in 2013 possibly losing a No. 8 pick or worse. Andif nothing happens next season, theyll be in the same spot in 2014, only thepick will be top-six protected.Thats the case because of the Marcus Williams trade backin 2008, when the Warriors acquired the New Jersey Nets point guard for afuture first-round pick. New Jersey subsequently moved the pick toUtah.The Warriors are currently the ninth-worst team in the NBA,which would project to them losingtheir first-round pick. Making all this tougher to swallow for the Warriors isthat the 2012 draft is expected to be among the best in recent years becausemany of the best college players chose to stay in school this pastseason.If the Warriors keep going at the same pace record-wise,this issue will loom, because for Warriors fans it would really stink to not begood enough to make the playoffs but then also not have a real good draft pickin a year in which the draft is really, really good.Some fans out there believe the Warriors should go intototal rebuild mode immediately, which would likely mean the Warriors end upwith a very bad record but most likely get to keep their pick.To get there, the Warriors could do some very logical things rest Stephen Curry and his injured ankle for most or all of the rest of theseason; trade either Monta Ellis or David Lee in moves that yield future draftpicks and a better cap situation but less immediate talent; play Klay Thompson,Ekpe Udoh and perhaps even Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler more minutes,acknowledging a possible short-term loss for a quicker read and maybe long-termgain.But there are others that want this team to win and win nowbecause the franchise has missed the playoffs in 16 of the past 17 years andthats only going to change with winning and now.They think this team is playoff-close and if they get there,then adding the right piece or two takes you another step toward thetop.However the season ends up for the Warriors, its going toplay a big part in how what happens with their future.

Pau Gasol out indefinitely for Spurs after breaking finger in warmups

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USATSI

Pau Gasol out indefinitely for Spurs after breaking finger in warmups

UPDATE (11:50am on Friday) -- Pau Gasol will undergo left hand surgery to repair the fracture in his fourth metacarpal, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

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SAN ANTONIO -- Spurs center Pau Gasol is out indefinitely after breaking his left ring finger during pregame warmups Thursday night.

Gasol missed San Antonio's 118-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets. He was slated to start but left the court clutching his left hand before the national anthem. He had X-rays, which revealed a fractured finger on his non-shooting hand.

The team said there is no timeline for Gasol's return.

"We're going to look at it tomorrow," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said, "but he's going to be out for a while."

Gasol got hurt when he jammed his left hand against Kyle Anderson's shoulder while attempting a running hook.

"I don't know what happened," Anderson said before exiting the locker room after the game. "I don't know."

It was the first game Gasol missed due to injury this season. He sat out two games for rest.

The 7-foot center from Spain is in his 16th NBA season, but first with the Spurs after signing as a free agent following two seasons in Chicago. He is averaging 11.7 points and 7.9 rebounds in 39 games.

San Antonio also was without point guard Tony Parker, a late scratch from the starting lineup as well. Parker was in uniform and on the bench, but sat out because of a sprained left foot.

Parker is expected to play Saturday in Cleveland.

"It has happened before where his ankle kind of gets locked up, so I think we know what we need to do for it and I think he'll be back for Cleveland," Popovich said.

Thunder's Kanter: Nobody deserves to start All-Star Game over Westbrook

Thunder's Kanter: Nobody deserves to start All-Star Game over Westbrook

Stephen Curry and James Harden will comprise the starting backcourt for the Western Conference in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. 

Russell Westbrook, who is leading the league with 21 triple-doubles and 30.6 points per game, will be coming off the bench, and it's not sitting well with teammate Enes Kanter.

Kanter tweeted on Thursday evening:

     Triple-Doubles

     All-Star starters (COMBINED)=19
     Russ=21

     Nobody deserves to start in the all star game over Russ.

Kanter, 24, has a history of making statements on Twitter. He trolled Kevin Durant this offseason after his former teammate elected to join the Warriors as a free agent. 

Kanter then talked trash to Durant from the bench when the Warriors defeated the Thunder 122-96 on Nov. 3 -- their first meeting since Durant switched jerseys.

"He was talking to me," Durant said after putting up 39 points in 31 minutes. "How many minutes did he play? ... Three minutes. It's kinda, you know... I'm trying to focus on whoever's on the court and he's trying to talk to me from the sideline. But I'm sure he'll put something on Twitter tonight."

The Warriors face the Thunder again this season on Saturday, Feb. 11 and Monday, March 20.