Mailbag: On Jackson going to bat for Lee's 'D'

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Mailbag: On Jackson going to bat for Lee's 'D'

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Mailtime Do you buy that bit on Lee from coach Mark Jackson that hes not hurting the team defensively? I was there Saturday, and he wasnot good. David, San Francisco: Steinmetz: I actually do buy it. Now, Im notsaying that I buy that David Lee isnt hurting the team on defense. Im sayingI buy the fact that Mark Jackson believes Lee isnt hurting the team ondefense.If theres one thing I think Ive figured out with MarkJackson over the last year-plus, its that he does believe the things he saysat the time whether its that the Warriors would make the playoffs or thatStephen Curry is an elite defender or that Lee doesnt hurt the teamdefensively.REWIND: Jackson defends playing small, Lee's defense
I have no doubt that Jackson doesnt really look at Leesdefense or anyones, for that matter in a vacuum. I think first andforemost its about the team.And what Jackson sees is that his team is holding opponentsto .417 shooting from the field. Right now, thats good enough for fifth-bestin the NBA. When was the last time the Warriors were doing something likethat?The way Jackson figures it and its certainly one way todo so is this: How bad can Lees defense be if were holding teams to thatlow of a shooting percentage?For me, the question isnt so much whether Jackson believeswhat he said about Lee; he does. The question is whether or not what he says iscredible to his team and to a lesser extent, the fans and media.Has anyone seen Charles Jenkins lately? For somereason hes become the forgotten man on this team. He was one of the few brightspots on the team last year. Whats going on? Steve, Albany, Calif.Steinmetz: I had a feeling this might happencoming into the season, and it was tough to see a way around it. Curry is theteams starting point guard and Jarrett Jack is his backup. Both of thoseplayers are entrenched in the rotation and its just not going to leave manyminutes for Jenkins.Jack is going to be Jacksons first choice when he wants tosubstitute for Curry and Jack is going to be Jacksons first choice when itcomes to subbing for Klay Thompson.Jenkins might be able to see some time when Jackson goes toa small backcourt, perhaps in a lineup like: Jenkins, Curry and Thompson orJenkins Jack and Thompson.But the reality is that Jackson feels his best small lineupin the backcourt is Jack, Curry and Thompson.So, that leaves Jenkins fishing for minutes.What exactly is the Warriors offensive style? Aspresently constituted, the Warriors dont strike me as a very athletic team. Isthat a winning formula in todays NBA? Mark, Capitola, Calif.Steinmetz: Good question. Not really sure. When Iasked that question to general manager Bob Myers and Jackson before the season,both indicated that they thought this was a versatile team, with the abilityto play more than one style.The thinking was that certain lineups would be more suitedto run and other lineups would be more suited to play in the halfcourt. Onelineup may be a good offensive one and another may be a good defensiveone.That sounds good, but its tough to pull off. If thats thecase, it would seem to mean that the Warriors might not really have any setrotations this year that each game will be a different one from the previousgame depending on the opponent.Im not really sure what the style of this team is. I dothink theyre better defensively. But I dont buy and I havent bought foryears that the Warriors are fine at the offensive end or that scoring isntan issue for the Warriors.Its one thing to score through three quarters; its anotherto be able to score in the fourth quarter of a game. The Warriors certainlyhavent shown this year they can score late in games.The reality is that theyre a jump-shooting team and theylack players who can create for teammates.I do think its difficult to create an identity withoutAndrew Bogut in the lineup consistently. But I also dont think one will bemagically created just because he comes back.Would Warriors ownership consider signing aveteran shooting guardsmall forward to replace Brandon Rush? Maybe a guy likeMickael Pietrus? It addresses our need for a perimeter defender and spot-up3-points shooter. Or is having Kent Bazemore good enough (salary-wise)? Andrew, San Francisco.Steinmetz: I dont think thats in the cards rightnow and Im not sure it needs to be. First of all, the Warriors have 15 playerson their roster, and 14 of those contracts are guaranteed. Kent Bazemore, No. 15,is on a partial guarantee.So, the first thing the Warriors would have to do sincetheir roster is at the maximum is waive a player. Not sure they want to dothat.Secondly, if the Warriors sign a free agent that money wouldbe tacked onto their payroll. Right now the Warriors are in the luxury taxarea, which means they would go further into it. Conventional wisdom is thatthe Warriors will get back under the tax when it really matters at the end ofthe season so going further above doesnt make sense.Lastly, as for Pietrus, lets just put it this way: I dontreally see him making the Warriors any better.

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.