After time with LeBron, Kobe, Mike Brown breaks down Warriors' All-Stars

After time with LeBron, Kobe, Mike Brown breaks down Warriors' All-Stars

Insofar as he has coached the two most iconic players of the post-Jordan era, I had questions for Mike Brown. And the Warriors assistant, as a guest on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Podcast, was kind enough to answer.

Brown spent five seasons as head coach of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, reaching the playoffs all five seasons, once reaching the NBA Finals. Brown was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2008-09, with James winning the MVP award that season and repeating in 2009-10, after which Brown was dismissed and James departed for Miami.

After a year out of the NBA, Brown in 2011 was hired by the Lakers for the monumental task of replacing Phil Jackson and coaching 2007-08 MVP Kobe Bryant. The team was eliminated in the Western Conference semifinals in lockout-shortened 2012, and Brown was fired five games into the following season.

After another turn as Cleveland head coach (2013-14), Brown was out of coaching for two seasons before agreeing to join Steve Kerr’s staff with the Warriors.

Given his experience with James and Bryant, we were compelled to seek Brown’s opinions about Warriors All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

Brown on Curry, the reigning two-time MVP: “I don’t know how you guard him. He would put the fear of God in me if I were on another team. He does it all. He can score with the ball. He can score without the ball. He can score from all three levels. His pace is unbelievable. I don’t know if he ever gets tired.”

Brown on Durant, the 2014 MVP: “I don’t know if he likes to be called this, but he’s 7 feet. And if you’re 7 feet and you can handle the ball and shoot the ball the way he does, you can’t guard him. . . . He can post up. He can play pick-and-roll. He can shoot the 3. He can get to the rim. He can get to the free throw line. How do you want it, he can do it. When you couple all that stuff with him being 7 feet, he’s impossible to guard.”

Brown on Thompson: “He’s got the quickest, most highest release that I’ve ever seen when it comes to shooting the basketball. Most guys, you say ‘put it in the shooting pocket,’ which is probably someplace between your belly button and your chest. You don’t say that about Klay. Just, somehow, some way, get him the ball. Wherever he catches the ball, he’s going from that point straight into his shot, Even if the ball hits him about the top of his head. . . . He’s almost impossible to guard. You can’t take away his airspace, because he doesn’t need any airspace to shoot the ball.”

For the record, Brown’s choice for MVP is Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, whose two-way excellence pushed him ahead of the co-favorites, Rockets guard James Harden and Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.

 

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

OAKLAND -- Even though Draymond Green still would like to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, winning a championship with the Warriors has quenched much of thirst for the honor.

“I don’t really care that much anymore,” Green said after participating in the JaVale McGee Celebrity softball game Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum benefitting the Jug Life Foundation, promoting a healthy lifestyle around water consumption.

“I cared before,” Green added. “But we won the NBA championship now. I don’t care about what happened in the regular season any more at this point. I think I would have cared if I found out in Round 1 or Round 2 (of the playoffs).

“But at this point . . . I don’t even care any more.”

This is in marked contrast to what Green expressed early in the regular season, when he acknowledged the DPOY award is the only individual award he actively cared to win.

As recently as two months ago, in discussing his defensive performance in a season during which he made numerous memorable plays, including some game-saving defensive stands, Green let his words speak on his behalf.

“It is the best defensive season I’ve had, because I’ve continued to grow,” he said at the end of the regular season. “When I look at the last couple years, I think each year I got better defensively. And I think this year I’ve gotten better. So I do think it’s my best season, defensively -- but just not numbers-wise. The numbers are up a little bit more. But I actually feel better about what I’ve done on the defensive end than I have in any other year.”

Winning a championship apparently has an impact on the significance of individual awards.

A finalist for the award for which he finished second in each of the past two seasons, Green said Saturday that his plan is to leave for New York on Sunday and be in attendance when the awards are presented Monday night.

The other finalists for the award are Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who won it the last two seasons.

All three players will be among those at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York for the inaugural telecast of the NBA Awards on TNT.

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Kevin Durant didn't forget about the taunts.

In February, when Durant returned to Oklahoma City for the first time as a member of the Warriors, Thunder fans heckled him with t-shirts featuring cupcakes, a reference to Durant being soft for joining the 73-win Warriors.

On Saturday, the cupcake graphic made a return with one slight change.

Durant, playing in JaVale McGee's JugLife Celebrity Softball game at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, showed up to the stadium wearing a cupcake hat. But instead of a cheery on top, a championship ring was superimposed on top of the cupcake.

So Durant, an NBA champion, got the last laugh.