OAKLAND The Warriors held their annual open practice and scrimmageon Saturday at Oracle Arena, and it was mostly fun and games. Coach Mark Jackson,micd up for approximately 5,000 to hear, played the animated role of master ofceremonies, there was plenty of crowd participation, and the rookies all had tosing and dance like in years past.But there was the more serious business of the scrimmage andit was during that time that two players showed a little something: BrandonRush and Jeremy Tyler.Rush, who was mostly a spot-up shooter a year ago, hit acouple of jumpers off the dribble and also found a way to knock down a shot ortwo on his own, when he elevated over Klay Thompson.That wasnt Rushs game last season, but Jackson said fanswill see more of that this year.He came with the reputation of not being able to put it onthe floor and make plays, Jackson said. And we knew right away that wasntthe case. Actually, last year we put him in position. There were times when wewere a cold-shooting team from the perimeter and wed say Somebodys got toput the ball on the floor and make a play.He was the one guy who did it and did it well. So theresno surprise with him doing that. One thing I challenged him with in theoffseason was being able to put the ball on the floor better and being able toplay in pick-and-roll situations. Hes very good at it and hes going to haveplenty of opportunity to do that quite a bit this year.Tyler has kind of been the forgotten man on the Warriors. Hedidnt play much as a rookie in 2011-12, and this season seems to be behindDavid Lee, Carl Landry, Andrew Bogut (when he gets healthy) and Festus Ezeli.But Tyler played well at times during the Blue-Whitescrimmage. He was on the White team, which was made up what appeared to be thesubstitutes.Tyler had effective stretches on the interior against a teammade up of mostly first-team players.He is developing, Jackson said of Tyler, in his secondseason. Hes a much better basketball player now than when we first got him. Ithink this summer has been big for him as far as working with our young guys,being in the summer league. Battling against Festus Ezeli every day. It makesyou better. Hes got a more professional attitude and hes improving. Hesstronger and he has a better understanding of the game.The scrimmage: The Blue team was leadingthe White after three quarters, when Jackson called off the fourth quarter.Jackson said he didnt want to overwork his players and felt like theyd had agood enough workout. The Blue team was up by approximately six points.The Blue team consisted of: Harrison Barnes, Kent Bazemore,Andrew Bogut, Carlon Brown, Stephen Curry, Festus Ezeli, Draymond Green,Charles Jenkins, David Lee and Klay Thompson.The White team consisted of: Andris Biedrins, LanceGoulbourne, Stefhon Hannah, Jarrett Jack, Rick Jackson, Richard Jefferson,Tarence Kinsey, Carl Landry, Brandon Rush and Jeremy Tyler.
For the third straight season, Draymond Green is considered one of the best five defenders in the NBA.
The NBA announced Monday that Green was named to the 2017 NBA All-Defensive First Team.
Of the 100 ballots submitted, according to the NBA, Green received 99 first-place votes, but no second-place votes, meaning one voter left Green off their ballot.
Green is joined by Utah's Rudy Gobert, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles' Chris Paul and Houston's Patrick Beverley.
Gobert and Leonard also recieved 99 of a possible 100 First or Second team votes.
Green, Leonard and Gobert are the three finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year, which will be announced Monday night during the NBA Awards Show in New York.
Green is the first player in Warriors franchise history to earned All-Defensive First Team honors three years in a row.
In a season when he had several game-saving plays, Green averaged 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.38 blocks and a league-leading 2.03 steals in 76 games. Green was also the first player in franchise history with at least 150 steals and 100 blocks in a season.
Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson received eight First-Team votes and 29 Second-Team votes for a total of 45 points. NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant received six Second-Team votes. Sixth Man of the Year candidate Andre Iguodala received one First-Team vote and one Second-Team vote. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry received three Second-Team votes.
Below are the voting results for the 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Teams. The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP. Complete media ballots will be posted at NBA.com/official tomorrow (Tuesday, June 27).
The private jets have arrived, most of the swank parties are on and the red carpet has been laid. The NBA is set to announce from New York the winners of its individual awards Monday night at 6 p.m. on TNT.
Rapper Drake, a very public fan of the NBA, will serve as the host. Among the presenters are actors Nick Cannon, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jesse Williams, as well as athletes Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce. In addition, Nicki Minaj is scheduled as the music guest.
The NBA clearly wants to make a splash in its inaugural show.
Here is our forecast for the six major awards to be presented:
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER:
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks: Rare combination of defensive skill, offensive tools and superior athleticism. Began the season as a Top-50 player, ended it in Top 15.
Rudy Gobert, Jazz: Still raw offensively, arguably the best rim protector in the NBA made appreciable improvement on defense. He’s what Dwight Howard used to be.
Nikola Jokic, Nuggets: Improved enough to be mentioned among best European centers ever to reach the NBA. He’s only 22 and bound to get even better.
Should win: Antetokounmpo.
Will win: Antetokounmpo.
SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR:
Eric Gordon, Rockets: Improved conditioning and revived his career after offseason trade from Pelicans. He finished No. 2 among NBA bench scorers.
Andre Iguodala, Warriors: WD-40 for whatever the league’s best team needs, whether it’s offense or defense or leadership. Not among the top 15 bench scorers.
Lou Williams, Rockets: Ace shooter split season between woeful Lakers and playoff-bound Rockets. Led all bench scorers in scoring. Plays no defense.
Should win: Iguodala.
Will win: Gordon.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Rudy Gobert, Jazz: See above.
Draymond Green, Warriors: Best team defender in the league, finished second in the balloting the past two seasons. Got better, making several game-saving defensive plays.
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs: Best on-ball defender in the league. Won the award in each of the past two seasons. Defensive numbers dropped a bit this season.
Should win: Green.
Will win: Green.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:
Malcolm Brogdon, Bucks: Second-round draft pick evolved to become starting PG on playoff team. Showed respectable two-way ability and the savvy of a veteran.
Joel Embiid, Sixers: Hands down, most impressive rookie in the league and future franchise player. Played only 31 of 82 games, though. Does that constitute a season?
Dario Saric, Sixers: Impressive, multi-skilled forward with a smooth touch and a nice feel for the game. Two-time Rookie of the month. Played 81 games.
Should win: Saric.
Will win: Saric.
COACH OF THE YEAR:
Mike D’Antoni, Rockets: Took over a dramatically revamped team, implemented his style and far exceeded reasonable expectations. Co-winner in a vote of coaches.
Gregg Popovich, Spurs: Still the league’s gold standard and once again got the most of his team while simultaneously phasing out the old and installing the new.
Erik Spoelstra, Heat: 30-11 second half among best recoveries in NBA history, pulling bottom-five team into the playoff race until final day. Co-winner in vote of coaches.
Should win: D’Antoni.
Will win: D’Antoni.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER:
James Harden, Rockets: Officially became PG for the first time and led league in assists while operating a new offense without sacrificing scoring. Improved on defense, from abysmal to almost satisfactory.
Kawhi Leonard, Spurs: Probably the best two-way player in the league moved into leadership role and hardly skipped a beat. Does it all without flash, practically undercover. A treasure.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder: Most scintillating player in the league, constantly in overdrive. Set record for most triple-double in a season, while averaging a triple-double for the season.
Should win: Harden.
Will win: Westbrook.