The Warriors Michael Malone is considered one of the mostastute and knowledgeable assistant coaches in the NBA. Thats not just onemans opinion, its the view of many general managers around theleague.This past season, in a survey of all the NBAs generalmanagers, Malone was voted as the best assistant coach ahead of IndianasBrian Shaw and San Antonios Mike Budenholzer.Still, its very difficult to get Malones views on theWarriors during the season because head coach Mark Jackson doesnt allow hisassistants to speak with the media except in rare instances.But on Tuesday night, Malone appeared on After the Game,with Larry Biel and was asked about the team specifically whether he waspleased with the progress the Warriors made defensively over the course oflast season.Not really, Malone answered. We have a ways togo.While that answer doesnt exactly fly in the face ofconventional wisdom, its not quite the same thing that Jackson has been sayingover the past several months.As far as points per game, the Warriors were a betterdefensive team in 2011-12 than they were in 2010-11. Last season the Warriorsgave up 101.2 points per game; the season before that they gave up 105.7.But the reality is the Warriors league rank in thatcategory actually got worse. They were 27th in points allowed twoyears ago and 28th in that category this past season.When you come in as a new staff, Mark Jackson, myself andall the coaches and you try to change a culture and change a system, that takestime, Malone said. And the worst thing we could have had was a lockoutbecause it shortened training camp and you basically have no practice time asthe year goes on.But we definitely tried and we made strides at times. Butwere nowhere close to being where we need to be in order to be a competitiveteam that has to get back to the playoffs. We have a lot of room to growdefensively and offensively.Over the course of the season, Jackson expressedconsistently that he believed the Warriors were better defensively under hiswatch than under the watches of previous coaches.And in December after the Warriors beat the New YorkKnicks 92-78 Jackson went so far as to say: This is going to be strange tohear; were a defensive team.But they still need to get better. Thats something they canagree on.We do whatever it takes to put these players in a positionto have success, Malone said. Obviously, we have to do a better job of thatnext year. Working for Mark is great 17 years in the NBA a wealth ofknowledge played for some unbelievable coaches and basketball minds duringhis career. Obviously, he paid his dues and got his job and he did a very goodjob. And obviously we all have to do a better job next year from the coachesto the players.
Though Wizards center Marcin Gortat took a beating on social media from Warriors fans upset about his role in the knee injury sustained by Kevin Durant on Tuesday, general manager Bob Myers saw it a different way.
Myers was not at Verizon Center, but he got a look at video of the play some considered “dirty” on the part of Gortat.
“I didn’t think anything untoward,” Myers said Wednesday morning via conference call. “My thought -- and I think I speak for the organization -- is I don’t think anything untoward occurred. These things happen in sports.”
Durant was hurt on an action initiated by Gortat in the first minute of the game. Going for a rebound, he grabbed Warriors center Zaza Pachulia from behind and flung him to the floor. Pachulia, 6-foot-11, 270 pounds, fell backward into Durant’s knee.
Gortat was whistled for a foul on Pachulia.
There obviously was no intent to injure Durant, but that was the result the Warriors will have to live with for the next month or more.
Durant was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) as well as the tibial bone bruise to his left knee. He will be reevaluated in four weeks.
On Wednesday morning, the Warriors announced that Kevin Durant sustained a Grade 2 MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise.
Soon thereafter, several players took to social media to offer encouragement to their teammate.
Heal up my Man...we will hold it down til your back on the court with us. Prayers up! pic.twitter.com/R6CVJD9tZo— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) March 1, 2017
Please say prayers for my brother... 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 speedy recovery brother! pic.twitter.com/s93yT0IMkD— Javale McGee (@JaValeMcGee34) March 1, 2017
Praying for a speedy recovery for big bro @KDTrey5!— Ian Clark (@IanClark) March 1, 2017
Durant will be reevaluted in four weeks. He could return before the end of the regular season.