OAKLAND Warriors coach Mark Jackson has shown in recentgames hes not afraid to use his second unit to finish out games. In two of thepast three games both against Sacramento Jackson played his substitutes incrunch time.On Monday, Jackson spent the majority of his post-practiceinterview talking about that approach. Heres the interview:Question: Is it possible to get moreintegration between the first team and second team. In other words, is itpossible not to go with either all the starters or all the subs at the end ofgames?Mark Jackson: Not really. The idealsituation is youre giving your starters a breather and youre expecting to goback to them. Towards the end of the third, make a substitution, a couple ofsubstitutions with Ekpe (Udoh) going in and Brandon (Rush) going in (for twostarters). Thats integration as far as Im concerned. Bottom line, once youve got the other three guys out Ultimately, that second unit duplicated what they did in the previous matchup(in a win over Sacramento on Tuesday). They were the better unit.Question: Why couldnt Dorell Wright getback into the game in the fourth quarter and overtime. He looked like he wasplaying well (24 points in 28 minutes)?Mark Jackson: I guess there are differentinterpretations of extremely well. (The Kings) had 34 points in the thirdquarter. I would argue the case that nobody played well. You give up 34 pointsin the third quarter and they dominate on the offensive board, you may besatisfied. It may look good to somebody else, but to me, we lost the gamebecause of turning the ball over, not rebounding the basketball and not gettingback in transition. And giving up 34 points was a huge part of it.Question: Is it possible for your team togive up 34 points in a quarter and one or two players not be on the hook forthat?Mark Jackson: Yes, yes its verypossible. Dorell played extremely well offensively and looked like his oldself so its nothing against him. That second unit -- it would be awfully foolish of me to take any of them outand look to get anything. I knew what I was getting from them. Sacramentoscored 15 points in the fourth quarter.We got back in the ballgame. To me it wouldnt be a smartmove at all putting anybody in the game whether theyre playing great or not.That unit was in sync on both sides. We were scoring and getting stops. Wefound ourselves with the ball, in control down the stretch. So to me that wasthe right way to go.Question: Do you feel it might bebeneficial in the future to get a mixture of starters and bench players?Mark Jackson: That unit has played greatand theyve forced me to stay with them. In an ideal world, Id go back to mystarters. I look forward to the day where my starters are getting it done. I can say to my bench: Youvedone your job, now starters finish them off. My hand has not been forced thusfar.Question: What Im getting at more is acombination of Mark Jackson: I know what youre gettingat. When five guys play to the level that we expect on both sides of thebasketball, then that day will come. But Im not going to throw guys on thecourt because its time for them to go in.No, its time for you to get stops, run back on transition,compete on a level that we talk about competing at. And thats where Im at asa coach. Question: Whats the message you want tosend to the starters?Mark Jackson: Its really not a message.The message is watching. The same team that just scored 34 on you, somehowcant score against the five guys on the floor. I dont have to send a message.And were sugarcoating it if we believe its anything else. Those five guysthat finished the ballgame somehow limited the guys who were dominating us onthe glass, limited the transition points and took care of the basketball andfound a way to score.It would be foolish of me to try to put somebody else in oranother group in to create what I just stumbled into and found.Question: Could there be a message evenif you didnt want to send a message a message to the starters that you dontbelieve in them?Mark Jackson: No. The proof is in thepudding. I believe the game before that I stuck with them. I have confidence inwhoever does what we practice and preach about doing, that the results willcome. Thats where my confidence is. Not the names on the jerseys, not whos,but whoever is doing what we talk about doing. I have confidence that theresults will come and those guys will be on the floor.Question: But isnt the second unit justa better defensive unit than the first unit?Mark Jackson: Heres my question: Are youwatching? And Im not insulting you. Are you watching the energy, the effort,the focus, the attention to detail, the commitment? Are you saying they both goabout it the same way? Therefore I have no choice. Theyre committed (secondunit) and they find a way to play like their lives depended on itQuestion: If both the first unit andsecond unit reach their defensive potentials, I would say the second unit is going to be a better defensiveunit.Mark Jackson: I wouldnt say that. Iunderstand youve got a defensivestopper in Dom (Dominic McGuire). I think hes the lone defensive stopper onthat second unit. If youre talking about Ekpe (Udoh), he was part of the groupthat was dominated by Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins. Somehow those guysunderstand their flaws and they tie into together and buy in as a unit.Question: So, thats what the first unithas to do find a way to be better defensively as a group?Mark Jackson: I think they do it attimes, no question. But weve got to find a way to do it consistently in orderto have the results we want.Question: How can they learn how to do itconsistently if they dont get back into games to get to do it?Mark Jackson: The good news is they havea chance to do it. I dont start the game with the team that ended the game. Sothey have every opportunity to get it done and Ill ride with them forever.Whoever it is. To me, as a coach, the bottom line is getting wins and gettingthe job done. I dont care who does it. Ive got nothing but love for each andevery one of my guys. I love both units. But in fairness to this team, thisorganization and this fan base Ive got to put the guys that are getting afterit on the floor.No matter how it is perceived in terms of talent notmatching up. I know what it takes to win. Somehow going with that group, got usback in the ballgame, put us in a position to win it and sent the game intoovertime with everything go against them to start.Question: Is that battle worth losing thewar over?Mark Jackson: What war?Question: That if youre going to makethe playoffs the starting five is going have to do it. Conventional wisdom isthe five off the bench cant get you to the playoffs.Mark Jackson: Let me tell you something,Im not that guy. Im not going to sit and watch guys go through the motions,guys not execute, guys not battle and just score points and ha-ha,hee-hee.No, the fact of the matter is Im here to win. I know whatwinning basketball looks like and Im not going to have guys out there notdoing what we talked about doing.The proof is in the pudding. We watch film, we talk aboutit. This isnt an individual thing, this is a collective thing. That first unitwasnt getting it done, and theyll be the first to tell you that. And Id be afool as a coach to put them out there just so we can score 105 points and loseand say Yippee, they ended the game. Not going to happen.
OAKLAND – As the hours and minutes toward opening night tick down for the Warriors, forward Draymond Green has an idea of what’s coming this season.
Constant surveillance, plenty of opinions and a lot of debate are in store.
And in the wake of signing megastar free agent Kevin Durant, Green and the Warriors can expect plenty of resentment.
“Usually, when you’re doing something the right way, people hate,” Green said after practice Sunday. “And, usually, when you’re doing something someone wants to do, they hate. Usually when there is success, with success comes hate. So that kind of just comes with the territory. It really doesn’t matter.
“KD being here definitely adds to that. But with the success we’ve had, people are going to hate us anyway. That comes with the territory.”
Though Durant is certain to be targeted for boos, Green also will hear his share. NBA fans generally cast a few players as villains, and Green moved snugly into that role last season with his kick to the groin of Oklahoma City center Steven Adams, followed by throwing a jab to the groin area of Cleveland star LeBron James.
The mini-skirmish with James, in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, landed Green on the suspended list at a critical time: Game 5.
The incident also affixed Green’s photo to the wall featuring NBA road rascals, right up there with the likes of Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes, DeMarcus Cousins, Metta World Peace and, at various times, Kobe Bryant.
Because Green is in that role and Durant, at least for now, is the subject of so much unfavorable scrutiny, there is a sharper edge to the identity of the Warriors.
“Some people say we’re villains,” Green said. “I don’t think we’re really going into this saying, ‘Hey, we’re villains. We need to do this.’ ‘Who . . . cares?’ It really doesn’t matter what role people try to make you play. It’s about getting on the court, getting between these lines and performing.
“What everybody else draws up and tries to make you out to be . . . they can make you out to be whatever they want. If you’re winning games, or not winning games, that’s what matters. I don’t think this team is looking and saying, ‘Hey, we’re villains. Let’s do it.’ Nobody cares.”
Green was the subject of a much-publicized magazine article that depicted him as a source of unrest among this teammates and coaches. He’s acutely aware of the characterization and realizes he must walk a fine line or risk puncturing team chemistry.
He’ll accept being the villain, and perhaps even embrace the booing. Only Steph Curry among the Warriors shares Green’s profound delight in silencing arenas on the road.
“This is about getting between these lines and performing,” Green said. “Everything else outside of that, it really doesn’t matter. Things are going to be said. Some things are not going to be said. But when it’s all said and done, the only thing people are going to talk about at the end is whether you won or lost.
OAKLAND – Fingers crossed and knocking on wood, the Warriors opened training camp four weeks ago hoping Kevon Looney would survive the preseason.
The 6-foot-9 forward did more than that, easily clearing the ultra-low bar set for someone striving to keep alive his NBA dreams after surgery on both hips.
Looney was rewarded on Sunday, when the Warriors announced they were exercising the third-year option on the UCLA product, extending his contract with the team through the 2017-18 season.
“It was a no-brainer,” coach Steve Kerr said after practice. “He’s the 30th pick (in the 2015 NBA draft). He missed all of last year. We pick up the option and have him locked up for next year after, I think, a really good training camp.”
Warriors general manager Bob Myers saw enough to give the team another year to develop Looney and assess his potential. As a rookie last season, Looney appeared in only five games, a total of 21 minutes, between hip surgeries.
He played in six of seven preseason games, making one start and totaling 73 minutes. He shot 50 percent from the field and ranked fifth on the team in rebounding, exceeding his own expectations.
“I was actually real nervous,” he said, “because last time it was a little different. I came back in the middle of the season, so my rehab was different. I didn’t have a chance to really practice with the guys. They were already in the full swing of things.
“So this is really my first time playing with the guys. I was a little nervous. I was nervous about my hips last time, and I went down again. I feel much more confident. I feel ready.”
Looney, still smoothing out his gait, conceded that he’s still seeking rhythm on offense, saying he’s not yet comfortable with his shot but acknowledging that it’s not a major issue on a team with so many talented shooters.
Kerr considers Looney capable of providing help at power forward and center. The coach does not seem worried about Looney’s offense.
“Now he’s healthy, knock on wood,” Kerr said. “So it was an easy decision for Bob. We briefly talked about (picking up the option), but it wasn’t even really a decision. It was just automatic.”