Five Questions for the Warriors and Kings


Five Questions for the Warriors and Kings

Feb. 17, 2010

Matt Steinmetz

It might feel like Warriors and Kings dont have much toplay for over the next two months. After all neither team is heading tothe playoffs, and in the Warriors case, much of their team wontreturn from injury.

But there are always things to learn about teams and players, even ifthe postseason is out of the question. With the Warriors playing theKings tonight at Oracle, what better time than now to ask fivequestions about each team?

1. Will the Warriors make a move before Thursdays trading deadline?
Its no secret that the Warriors would love to move Corey Maggette andhis 10 million per year contract, but that is easier said than done.Other than Maggette, there have been rumors out there about Monta Ellisand even Andris Biedrins. We should find out a little more in the nextday what the Warriors have in store for the future.

2. Can Ellis and Stephen Curry play together?
Well, we know they can,the question is to what degree? Over the next couple of months,assuming Ellis isnt traded before Thursdays deadline, Larry Rileywill likely be taking a closer look at his backcourt. Does thebackcourt need to be addressed in the offseason or is it a lesspressing concern?

3. What about Don Nelson?
Its looking more and more like Nelson isntgoing to catch Lenny Wilkens on the all-time wins list by the end ofthe season. Question is, will Nelson be around next season to break it?

4. What will happen with the Larry Ellison rumors?
They dont figure todie down. If the worlds fourth-richest man in the world says he wantsto buy an NBA team, chances are hes going to be able to buy an NBAteam. Might be just a matter of when.

5. Can some of the injured players make progress between now and the endof the season?
OK, so we know Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Randolph andBrandan Wright arent returning this year. But its important thattheyre able to get back onto the court early in the offseason to workon their games. Azubuike might be a little bit behind the other two,but its important Randolph and Wright heal and then get to work.

1. Will the Tyreke Evans-Kevin Martin backcourt work?
Its not adissimilar issue from the backcourt issue the Warriors have with Curryand Ellis. By the looks of things, Evans will be the man in Sacramento.Can Martin, who has been the teams leading scorer, deal with that. Andeven if he can, is that the best for the Kings?

2. Who are the Kings?
Are the Kings the team that started the season13-14 or are they the team thats gone 5-21 since? The Kings were thesurprise team of the NBA the first six weeks of the season, but itsbeen downhill since. It would be nice if they could use the next twomonths to figure out exactly what they think they have.

3. How best to improve on the interior?
Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompsonand Jon Brockman each bring a little something to the table. Buttogether, they form one of the least intimidating front lines in theNBA. At some point the Kings are going to have to upgrade up front, andthe next two months should go a long way toward figuring out the bestway to do it.

4. Is Omri Casspi a starter or rotation player?
The fact that were evenasking this question is a good thing. When the Kings selected Casspi inlast Junes draft, the school of thought was that he wouldnt be ableto help for a while. But hes made an impact sooner than anyonethought. Hes intense and emotional, but that only takes you so far.Where does he go from here?

5. What about ARCO?
Everyone seems to agree, ARCO Arena isnt long forthe NBA. Question is can the Kings, city of Sacramento and league comeup with an agreeable, affordable replacement. We will learn more aboutthat in coming months.

What's your take? Email Matt and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

LeBron doesn't care about long Finals odds: 'I only play blackjack in Vegas'

LeBron doesn't care about long Finals odds: 'I only play blackjack in Vegas'

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — LeBron James says the challenge of facing the Golden State Warriors in the Finals is “up there” with any of his career.

Appearing in his seventh straight Finals, James knows the Cleveland Cavaliers are underdogs as they prepare to the play the Western Conference champions for the third straight year. This version of the Warriors is even scarier than previous ones as Kevin Durant is now playing with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

James was in a similar situation in Miami when he went up against San Antonio and a roster of future Hall of Famers.

The three-time champion said playing Golden State is “going to be very challenging not only on me mentally, but on our ballclub and on our franchise.”

Reminded that Las Vegas oddsmakers had made him an underdog in six of his eight Finals, James quipped, “I only play blackjack in Vegas anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”


Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan will retain the role he held the past nine seasons in his first year as head coach of the 49ers.

Shanahan eschewed the formality of naming an offensive coordinator because he will keep those duties for himself. Still, Shanahan made it clear that he alone will not be able to fix the 49ers’ offense.

Shanahan has assembled a supporting cast that he said makes him comfortable to delegate responsibilities whenever his attention has to be focused on something other than the team’s offense.

“I mix it up,” said Shanahan, who previously held offensive coordinator roles with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. “Different guys have different attributes.”

Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan after time together on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive staff. McDaniel is the run-game specialist, while LaFleur, the wide receivers coach, is the pass-game specialist.

Tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly the head coach at Colorado, is Shanahan’s assistant head coach. Shanahan said Embree has a vocal role on his staff.

Moreover, long-time NFL running backs coach Bobby Turner is a trusted assistant after spending 14 seasons in Denver and four more in Washington with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. Turner coached under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons with the Falcons.

”Bobby Turner’s been an assistant head coach for our teams we’ve had in the past and anytime that I need him to take over, he does,” Shanahan said. “So it depends what period it is, depends what we’re talking about.”

The 49ers opened organized team activities last week. It was the first time the 49ers’ rookies and veterans were together on the field for offense vs. defense practices. Shanahan said it takes some adjustment for him to figure out how to best budget his time during the workouts.

“I’m used to knowing exactly where to go and what to do and I always did that from an offensive coordinator standpoint which I still do a lot of those responsibilities,” Shanahan said. “So, at times, I feel most comfortable when I go to do that because that’s something to do. But, when I pass it over to some other guys and let them do it, I find myself walking around a lot and I’m not used to that.

“It feels awkward, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think I should walk around and watch everyone and see it. I always see it on the tape, but that’s later at night. You want players to know you’re there and paying attention to everything and I usually try to cover that in meetings the next day also.”