Bringing in point guard a must for the Warriors


Bringing in point guard a must for the Warriors

The other night after the NBA draft lottery, in which theWarriors secured their No. 7 pick, owner Joe Lacob was asked what kind ofplayer his team needed. He gave a well-reasoned, general answer and touched onvirtually every position.When it came to point guard, he said maybe (the Warriors)could use an additional one.Give Lacob credit for being purposefully vague there. Because,make no mistake, the Warriors need a point guard. It is their biggest area ofneed along with another big body up front.RELATED: Lacob: "We're going to look at everything"
When people talk about the Warriors acquiring a smallforward or looking to upgrade at the three spot, theyre not necessarily wrong.But priorities being what they are the Warriors absolutely should look to thoseother two areas first.You might like to do better than Richard Jefferson andDorell Wright at small forward, but its the most experienced and deepestposition on the team. And when you assess the entire Warriors roster, gettingbetter at the small forward is more a luxury than a necessity.So, for now, lets concentrate on the point guard position.Theyve got Stephen Curry, who missed most of the year with a very problematicright ankle. After that, theres Charles Jenkins, with one season under hisbelt (actually less, if you factor in the lockout). He is improving but stilllearning the position. Nate Robinson doesn't figure to be back, nor is he the type of backcourt player the Warriors need for next season.In short, the Warriors dont have a true point guard undercontract.In addition, keep in mind the Warriors are prepared to startKlay Thompson at shooting guard, a second-year player who showed promise butsomeone who only started getting big minutes the last 30 games of theseason.In other words, theres a lot of unknown and inexperience inyour starting backcourt right now.Lets all keep our fingers crossed and hope Curry is healthyin 2012-13. He played just 23 games last year. But one way to try to keep Curryhealthy would be to limit his minutes.Fact is, it simply wouldnt be responsible to expect ordemand or want to play Curry 36 minutes a game. How about not evenclose?The Warriors owe it to themselves and to Curry __ to reallywatch his minutes, particularly early in the season ... Maybe something like 28or 30 or possibly 32 minutes per game.You see how he does for a while not to mention see how heproduces and you go from there. But it just doesnt make sense to run Curryout there on opening night for 38 or 40 minutes.One way to sneak in some extra minutes for Curry and takea little stress off the ankle, too would be to play him a little more atshooting guard. Thats a little less pounding, not to mention youre involvedin fewer plays and in less traffic at the offensive end.At this point, you dont know if youre going to haveBrandon Rush to back up Thompson, but even if you do, there could be times whenyou could find stretches of shooting guard minutes for Curry.After all, he is the best shooter on the team and one ofthe best in the NBA, quite frankly so it might be nice if the Warriors had aguy to set him up every once in a while.Point is, the Warriors have to get another playmaker inhere, and youve got to believe Lacob and his front office knows it. Otherwise,theyre really rolling the dice.RELATED: Seven options at No. 7Its not that Jenkins might not turn out to be a competentbackup point guard down the line, its that youre really taking a chance if youreready to give him heavy and consistent minutes and perhaps the biggest role ofall the substitutes.You could make a case that a backup point a third guard,in other words shouldcould play upwards of 25 minutes per game for theWarriors next year. Think about it, youve got the 16 or 18 minutes Curryshouldnt be playing every night and another six to 10 minutes at shootingguard.Jenkins, like Thompson, had some nice moments during anabbreviated stint in 2011-12. But Jenkins has even farther to go than Thompson.Thats why it would be a real leap of faith for the Warriors to hand over thosekinds of minutes to Jenkins.After all, Jenkins has played only 51 total NBA games and in19 of those games, he logged 10 minutes or less.Look, nobody is saying that Curry still cant be the pointguard of the future, and nobody is even saying Jenkins cant be your backup intime. But at least heading into the upcoming season, you better believe theWarriors are going to bring in another point guard.Theyd be foolish if they didnt, right?So now that Ive convinced you the Warriors need a pointguard, which of the following free agents ones would you pursue: Andre Miller,Kirk Hinrich, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Delonte West, Goran Dragic, Raymond Feltonor Randy Foye?Or do you have someone else in mind?

Livingston on Kerr: 'He’s our leader ... somebody that we count on'

Livingston on Kerr: 'He’s our leader ... somebody that we count on'

OAKLAND -- Though much has been said about the agonies and challenges facing Steve Kerr, including speculation about when, or if, he’ll return as head coach of the Warriors, little has been put into words that capture the significance of his absence.

This is perhaps because it can be difficult to explain how one man is able to influence a roster of supremely talented athletes, at the wealthiest point of life, with wildly divergent personalities, at different career stages.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, a man who knows perspective as well as anyone in the NBA, took a moment Saturday to cut through the palaver and pity to offer a clear and vivid illustration of Kerr’s value as a man and as a coach.

“It’s just his presence, his personality,” Livingston began. “His character, the way he fits in with us. He’s kind of the battery pack, in the sense that he makes everybody go. He keeps us all (in harmony), everybody from staff, training staff, coaching staff to the players.

“He bridges the gaps, in the sense of communication, and he makes it light.”

In short, Kerr’s value to the franchise is far greater than his duties as a coach. He has an easy, breezy charisma insofar as he’s so comfortable submerging his own ego while being remarkably good at making everyone matter.

Moreover, Kerr is decidedly inclusive, explicitly emphatically open to ideas. He’s an outreach specialist whose sensibilities are contagious.

All of which helps create a sprightly and genial workplace, something the Warriors sought when they hired Kerr to replace the swaggering and dogmatic Mark Jackson in May 2014.

“Every day it’s something new, in a sense, and that’s hard to do,” Livingston said. “We’re here for six to nine months for the past couple years, seeing the same faces. So it is kind of like a job. But (Kerr) makes it more like a game and tries to make sure we’re enjoying ourselves out there.”

Kerr wants to live his life and coach basketball around four basic tenets: joy, mindfulness, compassion and competition. Maintaining a balance of the four can be difficult, especially when Kerr is dealing with the searing pain that has him on the sideline for an indefinite period.

But Kerr never strays far. His players seem to see and, more important, feel that.

Draymond Green and Kerr, each volatile in his own way, don’t always see eye-to-eye. Yet Green on several occasions has noted that Kerr “always seems to find the right thing to say, at the right time.”

Veteran David West points out that anyone who spends any time around Kerr can sense his basic humanity. Veteran Andre Iguodala, one of the team’s co-captains, speaks of Kerr’s curiosity and desire to broaden his horizons.

Stephen Curry, the other co-captain, kept the ball from the Warriors’ Game 4 win over Portland last Monday night, punctuating a series sweep, and gave it to Kerr, who missed Games 3 and 4 while coping with this prolonged post-surgery pain.

Lead assistant Mike Brown, the acting head coach in Kerr’s absence, concedes he has benefited from being around Kerr and this team.

“The tone he sets is the best I’ve been around,” said Brown, who has been involved in the NBA since 1992. “This is a special, special situation, and he’s big reason why.”

So it’s not just Livingston who throwing rose petals at the boss. He just happened to convey in a few words the effect Kerr has on the team and within the building.

“He’s our leader,” Livingston said. “He’s somebody that we count on.”

Warriors update health status of Livingston, Barnes

Warriors update health status of Livingston, Barnes

OAKLAND -- One day after every member of the Warriors participated in a full scrimmage, the official health updates were released.

Veteran forward Matt Barnes, out since April 8, is listed as probable for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals that begin Tuesday at Oracle Arena.

Veteran guard Shaun Livingston, out since sustaining a finger/hand injury in Game 1 of the first-round series against Portland on April 16, is listed as questionable -- but with an asterisk.

“Hopefully, we’ll be ready for Tuesday,” Livingston said after a light workout Saturday.

Livingston informed earlier this week that he would have been available, hypothetically, if the Warriors were facing a Game 7.

As for Kevin Durant, who missed five weeks with a knee injury before returning April 8, only to sustain a calf strain in Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, he’s fully available.