SACRAMENTO Warriors rookie Harrison Barnes started for thethird consecutive preseason game on Wednesday in Sacramento, but coach MarkJackson still says you shouldnt read anything into it.Jackson said he still hasnt made up his mind who will be thestarting small forward come opening night on Oct. 31 against the Phoenix Suns:Barnes or Brandon Rush.Jackson started Rush in the first two preseason games beforegoing with Barnes three straight.Not committed either way right now, Jackson said beforethe Warriors 98-88 victory over the Kings at Sleep Train Arena. Im verypleased with B. Rush and Harrison has done some good things on the floor and iscontinuing to get better. But Im not sold either way. The great thing about itis that both of those guys will have a key part to the success of theteam.After the game, Jackson was asked if either playerdistinguished himself and he made it clear hes not losing any sleep over whowill start.It would be different if the starter was going to play 40minutes and the other guy was going to be lost, Jackson said. Theyre goingto get their minutes and its not really a big deal.When it comes to Barnes and Rush, the reality is theyrelikely to split time at the position. There are 48 minutes to divvy up at thesmall forward spot, and Rush also has shown the ability to play shootingguard.The one thing Jackson has maintained throughout thepreseason is that hell start the player who blends the best with the startingunit. If thats the case, perhaps Rush is a better fit.The reason: Jackson said Rush is his best perimeterdefender.So it would seem to make some sense to have a defensiveplayer in a lineup that also includes point guard Stephen Curry, shooting guardKlay Thompson and power forward David Lee none of whom excel at that end ofthe floor.At the same time, Jackson could alleviate some pressure onBarnes by bringing him off the bench. That also would likely give Barnes moreof an offensive role since he would be more relied upon to score with thesecond unit.Then again, maybe Jackson has a comfort level with Rush as asubstitute. Rush was a major bright spot off the bench last year for theWarriors, putting together a career year in scoring and 3-point shootingpercentage.Barnes, on the other hand, said the last time he came offthe bench was in ninth grade.Said Jackson: We have the luxury of having two guys who canplay Im very pleased with both of them.
OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.
The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any baseball manager’s batting order.
The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.
West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.
“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.
Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.
Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.
“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.
“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”
Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”
West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.
The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?
The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.
Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.
“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”
West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.
For the 44th time in the 2016-17 season, the Warriors dished out 30-plus assists in one game. Not only does that set a franchise record, Golden State is also the first to do so since one of the greatest teams in NBA history.
On a Steph Curry heave down the court that resulted in an Andre Iguodala running reverse dunk with 38 seconds left in the third quarter, the Warriors made history with their 31st assist of the game. The nifty assist made the Warriors the first team since the 1985-86 Showtime Lakers to hand out more than 30 assists 44 times in one season.
Last season, when the Warriors set an NBA record record with 73 wins, the team finished 43 games with the feat.
The '85-86 Lakers were looking to repeat as NBA champions 31 years ago but came up short in five games to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.
Golden State finsihed Friday night with 37 assists in a 114-100 win over the Kings. Curry led the way with 12 dimes.