NBA Rankings: W's look to '12-'13


NBA Rankings: W's look to '12-'13

Now that that the NBA trade deadline as come and gone, Matt Steinmetz takes a look at every team and what direction they are heading in.

Unfortunately, for the Warriors, they have essentially thrown in the towel and are looking ahead to next season.

As for the Kings, they are as likely to blow out the Celtics and Timberwolves back-to-back, as they are to losing five in a row.

1 (1) Chicago Bulls Everything depends on when Derrick Rose returns 2 (3) Miami Heat Heat and Bulls on collision course for Eastern Conference finals 3 (2) Oklahoma City Thunder
Backup point guard in postseason likely James Harden 4 (4) San Antonio Spurs Will Stephen Jackson acquisition be postive or negative? 5 (6) L.A. Lakers Nothing shows NBA a business more than Derek Fisher trade 6 (5) Orlando Magic Are Magic good enough to make a run in the East? 7 (10) L.A. Clippers Nick Young Not perfect but a nice acquisition 8 (7) Memphis Grizzlies Grizzlies' goal now is to try to get homecourt advantage 9 (13) Dallas Mavericks Lamar Odom's numbers are just plain awful 10 (11) Denver Nuggets JaVale McGee now George Karl's problem 11 (15) Philadelphia 76ers
Significant improvement from Evan Turner this season
12 (12) Indiana Pacers Leandro Barbosa gives Pacers nice weapon off bench 13 (16) Phoenix Suns Look who's knocking on playoff door? 14 (15) Houston Rockets Rockets, like Warriors, had interest in Andrew Bogut 15 (9) Atlanta Hawks Josh Smith stays put 16 (19) Utah Jazz Jazz still one of best home teams in Western Conference 17 (17) Boston Celtics Not pretty but Celtics surviving brutal 8-game trip 18 (22) Milwaukee Bucks Bucks and Knicks will battle for No. 8 playoff spot in East 19 (21) New York Knicks Mike Woodson yet to lose as head coach of New York 20 (14) Minnesota Timberwolves Love-Barea have to be separated in huddle 21 (18) Portland Trail Blazers Now that's how you waive a white flag 22 (20) Warriors It's all about 2012-13 for Golden State at this point 23 (23) Cleveland Cavaliers Cavs gift Ramon Sessions to L.A. Lakers 24 (25) Sacramento Kings Kings as up and down as any team in NBA 25 (24) Detroit Pistons Pistons playing better of late 26 (27) Toronto Raptors Some maintaining Raptors have made strides. That's a stretch 27 (26) New Jersey Nets
Nets do nothing to jeopardize possible Williams-Howard pairing 28 (28) New Orleans Hornets
Chris Kaman, someone everyone figured would be traded, stays 29 (29) Washington Wizards Only player they wanted to move but couldn't: Andray Blatche 30 (30) Charlotte Bobcats Can Bobcats get to 10 wins?

Warriors go back to basics early in camp, work on 'a big thing for us this year'


Warriors go back to basics early in camp, work on 'a big thing for us this year'

OAKLAND -- No matter the place in the standings or the collection of accolades or the number of representatives in the All-Star game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr never stops chasing perfection.

Sometimes it’s major issues, other times minor details. But it’s always something.

Three days into training camp, one such area of concern is passes. Whether its bounce passes, chest passes, skip passes, outlet passes, fancy passes or lobs, Kerr has his team working on accuracy.

“We’re doing drills, some basic passing drills and harping on the accuracy of passes as we go through practice,” Kerr said Monday after practice. “No matter what we’re doing, there’s passing involved. So we’re talking about that accuracy constantly and showing some film. It’s a big thing for us this year.”

So . . . Kerr wants the team that led the NBA in assists, as well as assist-to-turnover ratio, to be more precise with its dimes.

So . . . Kerr wants the team that led the league in field-goal percentage to make it easier to connect on a higher percentage of shots.

“We’ve got such great shooters and we move the ball so well that if we can pinpoint our passes better I really believe our percentages as a team and an individual will go up,” Klay Thompson said.

Much of the focus is about passing the ball into the “shooting pocket” of each specific player, especially if he excels at the catch-and-shoot aspect of offense.

“It’s definitely something that I know I need to get better at,” said Draymond Green, who last season led the team in assists.

“It definitely helps, and we’ll get better at it this year,” said Thompson, a fabulous catch-and-shoot player.

“Some would say Coach might be nitpicking. But he expects perfection. And we want to be champs again. You’ve got to be near perfect to be champions.”

The reigning NBA champs have, in this area, gone back to basics. From former MVPs Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant to the guys at the end of the bench, they’re doing elementary passing drills.

By all accounts, the players have been receptive to honing this element.

“With the shooters we have, if you deliver the ball on time and on target, it keeps them in rhythm,” Green said. “As opposed to you throwing the ball and it hits somebody in the ankles, it may take them out of rhythm a little bit. And it could be the difference in the game.”

For Draymond Green, protests can't be short-lived: 'We're screwed' if they end soon

For Draymond Green, protests can't be short-lived: 'We're screwed' if they end soon

OAKLAND -- Easing into a seat for an interview a half hour after the Warriors finished practice Monday, Draymond Green responded to the first six questions at decibels barely above a whisper.

There was candor on basketball matters, because there always is with Green, but the power forward’s tone was relatively relaxed.

Not until the next several questions, all related to America’s polarizing sociopolitical climate, did Green’s heart and mind lock into rhythm. Asked if he believes the current wave of protests against inequality will go away soon, his voice picked up volume and conviction.

“I hope not,” Green said. “If it goes away, then we still have a problem. So I hope it’s not going away in a few weeks. Then we’ve missed the message again.

“So, no, I don’t think it’ll be gone away in a few weeks. And I pray that it’s not, because it’s not a problem that can be fixed in a few weeks. So, no, it shouldn’t be gone in a few weeks.”

Green acknowledged that he did not see the demonstrations that were spread across the NFL landscape on Sunday. He was, he said, out shopping and enjoying the day with his children.

He was aware that some teams stayed in the locker room during the anthem, that others knelt on the sidelines and that some linked arms. Being aware was not enough for Green to feel comfortable addressing that aspect.

But he’s very familiar with the subject matter.

“You just have to stand for what you believe in,” Green said during an answer than lasted more than two full minutes. “What everyone else may believe in, you may not believe in.”

Articulating the difference between the life of the athlete and that of a soldier, Green explaining that he has the “utmost respect” for those in the military.

“I just hope that there can be an understanding that this isn’t against the military,” he said. “It’s not to disrespect anything they do. Because I think everyone respects what they do . . . I appreciate everything they do.”

It was evident, however, that Green is on the same page as those pushing for the progress that would make America great, allowing the country to live up to its pledges stated in the constitution and elsewhere.

That’s why he hopes this activism is not a trend but a movement.

“I’m not saying kneeling shouldn’t be gone,” Green said. “But this conversation, trying to make these changes, absolutely not. If it’s gone in a few weeks, we’re screwed.”