NBA mailbag: Don't count out Jefferson at SF


NBA mailbag: Don't count out Jefferson at SF

MailtimeWho do you think will start at small forward thisyear? Brett, Albany, Calif.Steinmetz: It's funny. I've been asked thatquestion several times this offseason, and I'm about to give my third differentanswer. But that just shows you that there are legitimate choices there interms of a starter.At first I thought rookie Harrison Barnes would be thelikely starter at small forward. But Im starting to think that wont be thecase. No reason, in particular, just that its asking a lot to have a rookie,albeit the No. 7 pick, be as your starting small forward when you think as anorganization you have a playoff team. And thats what the Warriors are thinkingthey might have.That leaves Brandon Rush and Richard Jefferson. After I initiallyanswered that I thought Barnes would likely start, I began to give Rush morethought. After the Warriors re-signed him this offseason, he made it clear thathe wanted to be the starter. And Rush makes some sense. He's an improvingplayer coming off a nice season, and it would seem to be the next step in hisgame. Rush at the small forward spot would give the Warriors three excellentlong-range shooters, and no doubt, Rush is probably a better defender at thispoint than Barnes.But after more review, I think Jefferson figures in theequation, and could be the starter. Here would be the thinking behind that Its possible that Barnes isnt ready to start right off the bat, and Warriorscoach Mark Jackson prefers to bring Rush off the bench.That wouldnt be hard to see, considering Rush oftenprovided a spark last year as a leader of the teams second unit.Under that scenario, it makes sense to start Jefferson, whoshot 42 percent from 3-point range last season and brings much-needed experienceto the team.One potential issue with starting Jefferson, though, is howthen would Jackson find playing time for both Rush and Barnes? That wont beeasy. A few weeks back, Jackson acknowledged that the small forward positionwas wide option.Well, that certainly seems to be the case.Assuming Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry stayhealthy, whats your win prediction for this year? Adam, Parts Unknown.Steinmetz: Its a little early for specificpredictions. I think the Warriors have a chance to compete for one of the lasttwo playoff spots in the Western Conference. I also think for that to happen, alot has to go right. Obviously, Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry have to behealthy for most of the season.But its not just about Bogut and Curry staying healthy.Its about how fast this team comes together, considering they largely haventplayed together. The other thing is, while they may be a better reboundingteam, they still are below averaged defensively.Theyve got nice depth now, and that should certainly makethem better. There is also some uncertainty in terms of teams such as Portland,Houston, Phoenix and Minnesota, so things could fall into place in that regardfor Golden State.But I think theyre going to have to be better than eitherUtah or Dallas, and thats going to be a challenge. Reason I say that isbecause I see Oklahoma City, the L.A. Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, L.A. Clippers,Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets as playoff teams.So, the question is can the Warriors beat out the four teamsI mentioned above and then either Dallas or Utah? Gonna be tough.The Warriors have had a lot of roster turnover thepast two years, with as many as 16 new players depending on how you look at it.Only Stephen Curry, David Lee and Andris Biedrins have been around longer thantwo years. So, my question, even in this time of unprecedented turnover, isnt16 players in two years some kind of record? Bob, Napa, Calif.Steinmetz: Well, that ones going to demand alittle research, and so Ill look into it. But off the top of my head, Idstill say no. Id say its happened before. It just feels like teams have beendismantled in a hurry in the recent past, whether its Portland of last year orWashington a little bit or Minnesota when David Kahn took over. It feels likeNew Orleans is going to have an entirely different roster than it did two yearsago.But no doubt, the Warriors have turned over a lot in thepast two years personnel-wise. Thats why I think its going to take a littlebit for them to learn how to play together.

Draymond uses expletives in text to Myers, calls Jordan Bell on FaceTime

Draymond uses expletives in text to Myers, calls Jordan Bell on FaceTime

At his introductory press conference on Friday afternoon, Jordan Bell said that he tries to emulate his game after Draymond Green.

He said that he can learn a lot from Draymond.

Then, Warriors GM Bob Myers directed his next words at the newest addition to the team:

[RELATED: Why are Warriors willing to pay for picks? Lacob: 'If you just do the math...']

"Draymond will be a fun challenge for you," Myers said as he laughed and grabbed Bell on the shoulder. "Draymond texted me after I was driving home (following the draft). And he said, 'What the expletive is your problem?' So you can fill in the blank. And then he said, 'I have to hear about this expletive on the internet, you didn't expletive tell me about it?'

"So I couldn't text and drive so I called him and said, 'OK. All right. Calm down.' He said, 'I need his number, I need to talk to him,' so I gave it to Draymond ... he's like our team mom in a way ... you're gonna love playing with him, because to be honest, with Draymond it's about respect ... that's the type of team we have but we feel like that's how you are, too."

So what exactly did Draymond to say the 2016-17 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year?

"So he FaceTime'd me ... and I was with my friends celebrating. I texted the number back and I was like, 'Who is this?' And then he didn't reply, so I called the number and I was like, 'Yo, who is this?'

"And then he was like, 'Yo. I FaceTime'd you. Hang up right now, FaceTime me back, don't call. So I was like, 'Yeah, you're right.' So I hung up and I FaceTime'd him and he didn't answer. And I was like, 'All right.' I was like I should wait a couple seconds, and I waited like five seconds and I called him back on FaceTime.

"He was like, 'Yo, enjoy this night. Celebrate it. It only happens once, but after this night, we have to get back to work. We trying to get rings over here, so be ready for it."

[RELATED: A behind-the-scenes look at Jordan Bell's NBA Draft party]

Other takeaways from the press conference:

- Andre Iguodala is one of Bell's favorite players of all-time
- Kevin Durant texted Bell on Friday to welcome him to the Warriors
- Steve Kerr called Bell after the draft and on Friday
- Steph Curry texted Myers after the Warriors paid the Bulls $3.5 million for the rights to Bell

And, finally:

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Most talked-about draft in perhaps ever delivered one extraordinary thing

Most talked-about draft in perhaps ever delivered one extraordinary thing

The NBA Draft was a resounding success for the chattering classes – that is, until it actually happened, at which point all the potential scenarios were reduced to reality, and as we are coming to learn, nobody much likes reality any more.

After all, what’s more fun – arguing about where Jimmy Butler was going to be traded, or the trade that sent him to Minnesota itself? Let me help you with that – it was the first one.

Before the act, anything is possible, and therefore anything can be suggested. Once the act is completed, though?

Scoreboard. End of discussion. Fun dies. Go home.

Try this is you don't think so:

Fact: Lonzo Ball wants to be a Laker. Hilarious supposition that drives conversation (and drinks) across the nation: What if he doesn’t get to be a Laker and his father pulls his own head off like a champagne cork? Result that ends all discussion: Lonzo Ball is a Laker.

And then it ratchets itself again. Hilarious re-supposition that re-energizes the argumentals: How good will Lonzo Ball be? Result that ends all discussion: How good he actually is. Tie-breaker: His dad pulling his own head off like a champagne cork.

This is how daily fantasy became popular – the creation of a different reality or realities that have nothing to do with the actual games played by the actual people. This is also how esports became a thing – creatures of the imagination fighting other creatures of the imagination over fictional glories.

Hell, it’s why the best day of the college basketball season is the day the 68-team NCAA tournament bracket is filled. The games ruin it by being the definitive word on the bracket.

It is, in short, the triumph of the process over the actual deed – interactive make-believe gone mad.

So it was Thursday night. The most talked-about draft in perhaps ever which delivered one extraordinary thing – the Butler trade to Minnesota rather than Boston or Cleveland. Everything else about the evening was noise signifying chalk. All the players everyone thought would go high went high, the ones in the middle were pretty much mid-level draftees, and the bottom twenty were . . . well, what bottom 20 picks usually are: G-Leaguers.

There weren’t any goofy foreigners, no stretches, no spite-filled Kristaps Porzingis trade by a fulminating Phil Jackson. Nobody did anything aggressively stupid or jaw-droppingly brilliant, which without all the pre-draft yelling and screaming would have made this a fairly bland evening.

The lesson, then, is this: In the new world of show-me-something-shiny-right-now, the shiny part of the NBA draft was the run-up. And we love the run-up, almost more than we love the games.

Or maybe we’re just better as a nation at the run-up. The NFL Draft is its own industry, right down to the large-men-running-in-their-underwear degrade-o-thon known as the combine. The NHL this year doubled down with an expansion draft the day before its amateur draft. The pregame show does a better number than the rest of the day, and since the new media truth is that the pregame show is all day, every day, we have hooked ourselves on conversations about what might be and flit about like a hummingbird on Ritalin to the next what-might-be thing.

This preference for the individually tailored virtual universe over the one we all actually live in is not something to be lamented or wept over. It just is, and it will remain that way until the games just wither and die and all there is talking about something that actually will never happen instead of a million things that might.

In that moment, the robots will win. Or more precisely, they’ll get to the round of sixteen, and we can all argue about whether they would be better off meeting the Cylons or the shape-shifters in the regional final.