No need for Riley's contrite comments on Lin

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No need for Riley's contrite comments on Lin

Warriors general manager Larry Riley is known around theleague as being a nice guy. And he is.Maybe too nice of a guy. The other day, the New York Timesasked Riley about point guard Jeremy Lin, who has had three impressive gamesfor the Knicks in the past week.The Warriors waived Lin at the start of the season after hehad been with the team all of 2010-11.Said Riley: I have egg on my face in telling you that Ididnt think he was going to become a starting point guard with a goodteam.
First of all, there was no need for Riley to say that.Secondly, its not true. Not yet anyway.I dont think Riley has egg on his face. The truth is thatnobody envisioned Lin playing like he has the past three games. But the realityis that the NBA is a cold, hard league and three games arent verymany.STEINMETZ: Jackson, Warriors no regrets about Lin
Also, Lin is not a starting point guard with a good team.One, hes not yet the starting point guard. And, two, the Knicks are not a goodteam. Lin is starting because of injury, and all indications are that whenBaron Davis returns, hes going to be the starter.Yes, the Knicks have won three in a row, but theyre stillonly 11-15, and wouldnt qualify for the playoffs if they were held today.None of this is meant to take anything away from Lin, who isrelentlessly hard-working, steadily improving and quietly as tough a player asthere is in the NBA.Its more meant to say that in Rileys attempt at being anice guy, he overstated Lins ability and made it seem like the Warriors hadmade a big mistake by letting him go.The bottom line is Lin isnt as good as this and wont be asgood over the course of his career as hes been the past three games. In otherwords, no, he cant keep this up.On the other hand, there is no doubt that Lin is a muchbetter player than the one who was on the fringe of the Warriors roster aseason ago. So, how good is he going to be?Well, the guy who comes to mind for me when I think of Linis Flip Murray. But let me be clear. It has nothing to do with similarity ofgame. It has to do with similarity of their situation.In 2002-03, Murray played in 14 games 12 for Milwaukee andtwo for Seattle. He didnt do much, scoring just 27 total points. Few had heardof Murray, who had attended Shaw University (Raleigh, N.C.).The following season, Ray Allen was hurt to start the year,and Murray started at shooting guard. Murray opened the season with thesescoring nights: 24, 22, 24, 24, 29, 20, 16, 26, 31, 26, 21.Eventually, Allen returned and Murray came off the bench,but he finished up having a nice season, averaging 12.4 points in 25 minutesper game and establishing himself as a bona fide player in the league who wouldbe around for a while.Murray ended up having a nice career as a rotation playerand averaged 9.9 points in 22.7 minutes per game. He came off the bench most ofthe time but started here and there.He could be counted on to give you scoring off the bench andwas a consistent player in terms of what you could expect from him.Thats what I see for Lin. I dont see him as an elite pointguard, someone who can keep up what hes been doing. But I dont see him as anon-contributor, either.I see him as a guy like Murray (again, not game-wise butrole-wise) a backup with a defined role, and someone who maybe can start on anot-so-great team or on a good team if a starter is injured.Its the same way I think of a point guard like JarrettJack.If hes your starter, youre probably not going to be verygood. But if hes coming off the bench, well, thats not bad.Look, nobody saw this coming from Lin and, quite frankly,it couldnt have happened to a nicer person. But things are eventually going tosettle down, and when they do, we may all find out that Lin is still a verynice role player in the NBA.And that Larry Riley didnt have to be so nice.

Kerr befuddled by Barkley's criticism of Warriors: 'I think he goes overboard'

Kerr befuddled by Barkley's criticism of Warriors: 'I think he goes overboard'

As Charles Barkley continues to throw rubber darts at the Warriors, disparaging their style of play at every opportunity, sometimes going out of his way to do so, the Warriors continue to shrug them off.

They believe the only significant response to Barkley or any other critic is by producing successful results.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has known Barkley for years and he basically sees his act as perfect made-for-TV moments.

“Having worked with Charles in TV, for TNT, I understand that there’s a show that has to happen,” Kerr said Friday on The Warriors Insider Podcast. “There’s an entertainment value that he brings that nobody else can bring. I think Charles is hilarious. He’s really good at what he does.”

Yet Kerr is at least slightly puzzled when Barkley constantly singles out the Warriors for being a “jump-shooting team” or playing “little girly basketball,” as he said Thursday on TNT.

“I think he goes overboard with his criticism of us,” Kerr said. “Everybody is the league is basically doing what we’re doing. Cleveland takes more 3s than we do. They beat us last year in The Finals by going small and shooting 3s and LeBron (James) playing the 4. The series came down to Kyrie (Irving) making a 3.”

It’s apparent to those paying attention that Barkley, who retired in 2000, has not made the observational transition to basketball as it is played in 2016.

The Warriors average 32.2 3-pointers per game, behind the Rockets (37.0) and defending champion Cavaliers (34.8). Only one team, the Pistons, at 19.8, averages less than 20 shots beyond the arc per game.

When Barkley retired in 2000, only the Kings, at 20.2, averaged more than 20 3-pointers per game. The Rockets were second, at 19.8, and Barkley was a member of that team.

“This is just the way the game is played these days: spread the floor, very few low-post plays,” Kerr said. “The game has changed a lot. I don’t know why Charles continues to crush us. But the game’s changed, and almost everybody is playing like this now.”

Whereas the big men of yesteryear – Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson etc. – tended to operate in the low post, those of today are more likely to venture out beyond the elbow, and even the arc.

“The big guys that you see now who are coming into the league, the best players, guys like Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns, they’re out there shooting jump shots, because they grew up handling the ball,” Kerr said. “They grew up as guys who wanted to be Kevin Durant, and not Charles Oakley.”

Though some of the transition is due to bigger players being more versatile, it’s also a matter of coaches understanding new rules and finding rosters that can exploit them. Gone is the hand-check, as well as the days of zone defenses being illegal.

“We do what we need to do to be successful,” Kerr said. “. . . Our players are suited to play the way we play, and we’re not going to apologize for that. But we know that criticism and judgment are just part of the deal. It really doesn’t bother us.”

Kerr acknowledges marijuana use for chronic back pain, advocates for change

Kerr acknowledges marijuana use for chronic back pain, advocates for change

There were days and nights when he was in agony, when no medication – and he tried many – could stop the headaches from corroding his mere existence.

So Steve Kerr tried something once considered radical.

The Warriors coach sought relief in weed.

“I guess maybe I can even get in some trouble for this, but I’ve actually tried it twice during the last year and a half, when I’ve been going through this chronic pain that I’ve been dealing with,” Kerr said Friday on The Warriors Insider Podcast.

“(After) a lot of research, a lot of advice from people and I have no idea if maybe I would have failed a drug test. I don’t even know if I’m subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA.”

During the summer of 2015, Kerr underwent two surgeries on his back, the latter procedure in part to alleviate the pain from the first. Still, the pain continued. He arrived at training camp to coach the defending champions and two days later realized he was not up to the grind.

Kerr, now 51, took a leave of absence that lasted nearly four months, during which time he sought comfort through various painkillers and treatments.

He returned to coaching in January 2016, but it was during his absence from the team that he reached the same conclusion as many medical professionals.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr said. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

Vicodin (hydrocodone) and other pain relievers come with side effects – including nausea, vomiting, constipation and blurred vision – that can be even more damaging to the body. Moreover, painkillers invite the risk of addiction that, for some, can lead directly to death.

“I know enough, especially over the last couple years, having gone through my own bout with chronic pain, I know enough about this stuff – Vicodin is not good for you,” said Kerr, who still has experiences discomfort. “It’s way worse for you than pot, especially if you’re looking for a painkiller and you’re talking about medicinal marijuana, the different strains what they’re able to do with it as a pain reliever.

“I think it’s only a matter of time before the NBA and NFL and Major League Baseball realize that.”

Marijuana has been legalized in some form by 26 states and the District of Columbia. It has been used to treat patients suffering from chronic or acute pain. Yet it remains stigmatized in certain segments of American society.

“There’s this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine, but pot is bad,” Kerr said, explaining that some folks continue to resist the notion that pot is somehow more treacherous than, say, alcohol, while others have studied the subject and become advocates.

“I would hope,” Kerr said, “especially for these NFL guys, who are basically involved in a car wreck every Sunday – and maybe four days later, the following Thursday, which is another insane thing the NFL does – I would hope that league will come to its senses and institute a different sort of program where they can help these guys get healthier rather than getting hooked on these painkillers.”