Jackson: 'Our strengths are depth, versatility'

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Jackson: 'Our strengths are depth, versatility'

I recently caught up with Warriors coach Mark Jackson and asked himabout the teams offseason and what to expect from the upcoming season.
Question: How are you feeling about the upcomingseason?
Jackson: Im very excited. I thought our ownershipgroup and Bob Myers did an outstanding job. The whole front office did anoutstanding job making us better. The moves theyve made have put us in aposition of feeling good going into the year. Obviously, the key is going to bethe health of Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut. But I watched Stephen Curry thispast week and thats even more reason to feel optimistic about this season.REWIND: Bogut says he may miss preseason games
Question: What kind of style do you anticipateplaying?Jackson: We have a lot of versatility, with different weapons anddifferent players we can use. Well have a lot of different ways to play,depending who is on the floor. Our bigs are skilled scorers and passers, canscore some with their backs to the basket and are good screen-setters. And ourguards are knock-down shooters. I think well be able to play some uptempo,some halfcourt, inside and out. I think the strength of this team isversatility and our ability to play more than one way.Question: Other than versatility, what do you thinkis the strength is of this team?Jackson: Our depth. We havent had this type ofdepth on our roster before. Lets face it, at times last year if you took a guyout of the game, you sometimes didnt know what youd get. It was a fight justto stay in the game. We flat-out have more talent on this team. For us, JarrettJack and Carl Landry, Brandon Rush they give us a lot of options. You take aguy like Jarrett and he can play both the one and two and defend the one andtwo. It gives us more options.Question: Are you feeling more pressure to win thisseason?Jackson: At the end of the day, I dont put anymore pressure on myself than before. I want to win. If I was coming back andcoaching the same team, there would still be pressure. We have improved and Imoptimistic. We want to win. Thats my entire focus. And, in fairness, any coachin this league should feel pressure to win. Not just me.Question: On paper, it seems like four of the fivestarting positions are pretty much set. But is it fair to say the small forwardposition is wide open?STEINMETZ: Should Rush start at small forward?
Jackson: I would say yes. Thats fair. We haveplayers capable of playing that position depending on certain situations. Imgoing to do whats best for the team, collectively. At the start of camp, wellsee how it goes and make that decision. But Im going to make the best possibledecision for our basketball team. I want to win.

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.