NBA mailbag: Who subs for Klay Thompson?

846693.jpg

NBA mailbag: Who subs for Klay Thompson?

Mailtime Who will be the first shooting guard off the bench?Will it be Brandon Rush or Jarrett Jack? Or could Mark Jackson bring in Jack toplay point guard and move Curry to shooting guard? Ben, Bay Area.Steinmetz: All of the above are possible.Its a tough one to call because so much has to play out.And honestly, I dont see the same pattern developing game after game aftergame. I see Jackson making substitutions depending on the game situation and itcould change.My hunch is that Rush has a chance of starting, which wouldtake him out of the mix in terms of bringing him off the bench. What I seehappening most of the time is for Jack to be the first guard off the bench, butsome games hell probably come in for Curry and other games hell come in forThompson.Thats the luxury of having a player such as Jack. You canbring him in to play either of the backcourt positions and the best part isthat hes capable of defending both guard positions.Curry and Thompson are more limited than that, with eachpretty much limited to only guarding their own positions.Why did the Warriors keep Kent Bazemore over DominicMcGuire? Was it about the guaranteed contract? McGuire can guard twos, threesand fours. Ned, Bay Area.Steinmetz: I dont think the guaranteed contracthad anything to do with it. McGuire didnt have a guarantee last year and hesout of work now so he would have likely taken a non-guarantee again.The makeup of the Warriors has changed since last year.McGuire found a niche last season at the small forward and power forward spotsin large part because of injury and his ability to defend.This year the Warriors added a rookie small forward inHarrison Barnes and a small forwardpower forward in Draymond Green. For asmuch as McGuire helped the Warriors last season, hes a relatively limitedplayer and youve got to find out about Barnes and Green.I think the Warriors also wanted to avoid a situation inwhich a player such as McGuire was taking minutes from either Barnes or Green.And when you get into the day to day and are trying to win every game, itseasy seeing Jackson calling McGuires number perhaps too much.As for Bazemore, hes also a versatile defender, only he cando it more at the one, two and three positions. Bottom line is Bazemore hasmore of an upside than McGuire.Could Patrick Ewing get the Warriors openassistant spot? Loco, Parts Unknown.Steinmetz: Thats not going to happen. TheWarriors already have hired Bob Beyer, who was an assistant coach the past fiveseasons for the Orlando Magic.Beyer replaces Wes Unseld Jr., who took a job with theMagic. The Warriors have their assistant coaching lineup set with MichaelMalone, Pete Myers, Beyer and Darren Erman.Yahoo Sports reported on Thursday that Ermann had beenelevated into Unseld Jr.s spot. In any event, the Warriors assistant coachingstaff is complete at this point.Do you think Harrison Barnes will be in the Rookieof the Year discussion? Jerry, Los Angeles.Steinmetz: I see Barnes having a nice rookieseason, but I dont see him in the Rookie of the Year discussion. Typically,the winner of the Rookie of the Year is a someone who starts and plays a lot ofminutes and usually its on a team that isnt very successful.Id say my frontrunner for Rookie of the Year is DamianLillard, who will probably be the starting point guard in Portland. Im noteven sure Barnes will start for the Warriors. He could come off the bench, andif thats the case hell likely play between 15-20 minutes game.Then again, even if Barnes does start he will probably getabout that many minutes. The Warriors have re-signed Brandon Rush, and so hesgoing to have to play some. And dont count out Richard Jefferson.I also see the Warriors focusing heavily on trying to makethe postseason. To do that, theyre going to have to win every game theypossibly can, and with that thinking, its easy to see Jackson going more withveteran players.

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

Iguodala making loud free agency case to Warriors in Durant's absence

OAKLAND -- It was with impeccable timing, for the Warriors and for Andre Iguodala, that he has spent recent weeks summoning all the best parts of his game.

He has been a disruptive force on defense, as usual, but at a time when the Warriors needed something extra at both ends of the court, he is providing an abundance of offensive electricity.

Iguodala came through once more on Sunday as the Warriors suffocated Memphis in the fourth quarter to take a 106-94 win at Oracle Arena. Though the team’s Sixth Man again scored at an efficient clip -- 20 points on eight shot attempts -- his ability to energize teammates from Stephen Curry to Draymond Green to Klay Thompson and beyond is no less significant.

“We feed off his energy when we see him get a rebound or get a steal, push up the court, make a crazy inside-out dribble and finish at the rim, knock down threes or play-make for other guys,” Curry said. “It’s fun to watch.”

Iguodala’s rise has coincided with the loss of Kevin Durant, the team’s leading scorer and someone who plays the same position. With Durant out, Iguodala has taken on additional playing time, which can be risky for someone in his 13th season.

“He’s been fantastic,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He looks incredibly athletic, bouncy and fresh. He’s a pro. The guy just knows how to take care of his body. He’s done a great job of stepping up in KD’s absence and recognizing what we need from him.”

The Warriors have played 13 games since Durant went down with a knee injury, and Iguodala has played in 11 of them, shooting 44 percent from deep and 61.8 percent overall. The man who shot 62.3 percent from the line in his first three seasons as a Warrior is at 70.1 percent this season. Leadership also is part of the package.

“I try to read (what’s needed) when I get into the game,” Iguodala said. “Try to bring that energy. And, more than anything, lead by example. Not say too much. Just show it.”

When Iguodala is sprinting up and down the court, rising and dunking on one end, stripping balls away on the other, the Warriors are appreciably better team. If the Curry-Durant-Green-Thompson foursome is the engine, Iguodala is the turbo boost.

“We’re a completely different team when he’s as aggressive as he’s been of late,” Green said. “When he’s moving the way he’s been moving -- he’s beating everybody down the floor -- it makes us a completely different team. “

Igoudala’s minutes have spiked, from 23 per game in November, to 26 in December, to 27 in January and February, to almost 29 in March.

“I don’t want to run his minutes up too much,” Kerr said. “But if he has to play a couple extra minutes while KD is out, then that’s fine.”

It’s fine with Iguodala and it’s paying off for the Warriors.

Iguodala hopes it pays off, literally, when he becomes a free agent in July.

Though free agents entering their 14th season don’t often command big money, he is making a very impressive audition for the Warriors or any team that might be interested in his services.

Iguodala has made it clear he’d prefer to stay in the Bay Area, and at this rate the Warriors may have to find the necessary coins to bring him back.

Instant Replay: Warriors finish strong, grind past Grizzlies

Instant Replay: Warriors finish strong, grind past Grizzlies

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- There was plenty of tension and more than a few pulse-stopping moments, but the Warriors found a way to win their seventh consecutive game.

The Warriors’ 106-94 victory Sunday over the admirably recalcitrant Memphis Grizzlies was a work in persistence and overcome moments in which the worst of their work was on full display before a sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Klay Thompson scored 31 points to lead the offense. Stephen Curry had 21 points and a game-high 11 assists, Andre Iguodala had 20 and Matt Barnes finished with 10 as the Warriors evened the season series with the Grizzlies at 2-2.

The Warriors (59-14) fought off numerous Memphis rallies but turned up the defense in the fourth quarter, holding the Grizzlies to 13 points on 5-of-25 (20 percent) shooting over the final 12 minutes.

The Warriors offset 18 turnovers, giving the Grizzlies 16 point, by shooting 54.2 percent from the field.

Mike Conley scored 29 points to lead Memphis, which fell to 40-33.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

As good as the Splash Brothers were, and they were superb, it was Iguodala’s play at both ends that made a major difference.

Iguodala’s line: 20 points (7-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, 4-of-5 from the line), a team-high-tying seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot. He played 32 minutes and was plus-9 for the game.

TURNING POINT

After the Grizzlies pulled into an 81-81 tie with 25.2 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 15-5 run to go up 96-86 on a 3-pointer by Curry with 4:57 remaining.

Memphis got no closer than nine in the final minutes.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain and bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (L foot strain) was listed as questionable and declared out prior to tipoff. F Chandler Parsons (L knee rehab) was listed as out. C Deyonta Davis and F Jarell Martin are on assignment with Iowa of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors travel Monday to Houston, where on Tuesday night they face the Rockets at Toyota Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.