Five issues Warriors need to solve by opening night

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Five issues Warriors need to solve by opening night

The Warriors hold their annual media day on Monday afternoon at the teams downtown Oakland practice facility. The first day of practice is on Tuesday, when the Warriors will have double sessions.With a revamped roster and two important players coming off injuries, the Warriors have some questions as camp starts. Here are five issues to figure out by opening night Oct. 31st at Phoenix.How healthy is center Andrew Bogut and what will his status be on opening night?Andrew Bogut missed all but 12 games last season with a fractured left ankle. Hes been rehabbing all offseason, but has still not been cleared to play five-on-five. Bogut is targeting a few preseason games, and then playing in Game 1. In any event, it appears the Warriors will monitor Boguts minutes closely particularly early in the season.How does Stephen Currys ankle look?Stephan Curry is in the same boat with Bogut injury-wise, but looks to be further along. Curry missed most of last season with a troublesome right ankle, but he is healthy and is expected to start the season-opener. The Warriors have eight preseason games, and that should give Curry and the Warriors a good look at how everything is progressing.
Who will start at small forward?The Warriors have three viable candidates for the spot: Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush and rookie Harrison Barnes. Yes, who finishes at the small forward spot is more important than who starts, but who starts might give you a feel for what coach Mark Jackson is thinking this year and what he values.Who will backup Andrew Bogut at center or start if Bogut isnt ready by Game 1?The battle for minutes at the backup center spot will be between Andris Biedrins and rookie Festus Ezeli. Biedrins career has plummeted in recent years, but he still can rebound and defend some. Ezeli is raw but relentless, weve been told.Boguts minutes are likely going to be limited particularly early in the season so there are minutes to be had at center.What style will emerge?It remains to be seen what kind of team the Warriors will be. Bogut helps them defensively, but theyre still not strong in that department overall. And they probably wont be the running team theyve been in the past.At the same time they have some terrific shooters, and a couple of big men in David Lee and Bogut, who can pass.It will take a while for this team to develop an identity, but the process should start on Day 1.

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 NBCSportsBayArea.com 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.