Steinmetz: Can Kings draft impact at No. 7?

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Steinmetz: Can Kings draft impact at No. 7?

June 22, 2011

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Matt Steinmetz
CSNBayArea.com

It's been too many years in a row for the Kings with these high draft picks. At some point, you'd think one of these top selections would help propel the Kings into the NBA playoffs -- and out of the lottery -- right?Well, come Thursday, it will be another June draft for the Kings and another selection near the top. But the plain truth is that nobody expects this year's pick -- the No. 7 overall -- to have the kind of impact of their past two selections.And that's the cold, hard reality facing Kings general manager Geoff Petrie and the rest of the franchise. In the past two drafts, the Kings have hit home runs -- with Tyreke Evans in 2009 and DeMarcus Cousins in 2010 -- and yet as good as both have been, they weren't good enough to get Sacramento out of the doldrums.Neither was Spencer Hawes nor Jason Thompson, a pair of lottery picks selected in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
Now put two and two together. This year's draft is considered one of the weakest in memory and the Kings are drafting in a worse spot than they have each of the past two years.RELATED: NBA Draft central
The bottom line is it's difficult to envision the Kings coming out of Thursday's draft in a significantly better spot than before it started.If the Kings have one thing going for them it's that they have a building block in place in the frontcourt (Cousins) and in the backcourt (Evans). Logic would suggest the next step for the Kings would be to find a small forward -- or more broadly a perimeter-type player.No wonder San Diego state small forward Kawhi Leonard is someone the Kings are looking at. From a practical standpoint, Leonard would seem to make the most sense. He's a long 6-foot-7, plays extremely hard and is an above-average athlete.Leonard also may be the best rebounding small forward in the draft, and his work ethic is unquestioned. At the same time, Leonard is limited offensively, and his shot has a long way to go. He's not someone who is going to come in and have a big offensive -- or defensive -- impact immediately.RELATED: Steinmetz's small forward positional previewThen again, not many draftees will.Also in the mix in Sacramento is BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, a consensus college player of the year and a member of virtually ever All-America team out there. Fredette doesn't fit exactly what the Kings need, and yet he's just intriguing enough and fits just enough that you've got to consider him.Fredette is a two guard who will likely have to play point guard in the NBA to reach his full potential as a player. The Kings already have Beno Udrih, who is under contract for two more seasons, and, of course, Evans. Could a three-guard rotation of Udrih-Evans-Fredette work?Well, it might not be perfect, but if Fredette turns out to be the real deal, then Sacramento could have a little something there.NEWS: Kings reportedly talking trade for Spurs' Parker
The Kings also might have an opportunity to draft Jonas Valanciunas, an intriguing Latvian center who some consider the best big man in the draft. Valanciunas is not likely to make it to the NBA until 2012-13 because of some buyout issues in his contract.Still, waiting one year -- and a possible lockout year, no less -- doesn't seem like that big of a deal to a Kings team that likely won't be competing for a playoff spot in 2011-12 anyway. Center Samuel Dalembert is a free agent and isn't likely to return to Sacramento. That alone could get you to make a case for Valanciunas.But no matter whom the Kings draft, there's pretty much no way he'll pitch in early as much as either Evans or Cousins. That's why you get the feeling the Kings will be in the same position come next June's draft.

Report: W's encouraged by KD's rehab, hopeful for regular season return

Report: W's encouraged by KD's rehab, hopeful for regular season return

When the Warriors announced the severity of Kevin Durant's knee injury, they did not rule out a return before the end of the regular season.

And based on the progress of his rehab, the team is "hopeful" but "cautiously optimistic" that Durant will indeed play before the end of the regular season, according to ESPN.

The Warriors have 11 games remaining on their schedule and their final regular season game is April 12 against the Lakers.

On Tuesday, prior to the Warriors game against Dallas, Durant was seen working out on the court and putting up jump shots.

Just a day earlier, Durant worked up a good sweat while riding a stationary bike in Oklahoma City.

Durant is expected to be re-evaluated by the Warriors' medical staff next week.

After initially struggling without Durant, the Warriors have won five straight games. Durant sat on the bench for the road wins in Oklahoma City and Dallas.

Over the weekend, Warriors PG Stephen Curry and PF Draymond Green addressed Durant's recovery.

“You can tell he’s making improvements and following the game plan,” Curry told the media. “I see him in the weight room doing cardio stuff trying to stay as close to game shape as he can while he’s hurt. You like to see improvements every day. We still don’t know when he’ll be back.”

“When he’s ready, we’ll know,” Green told the media. “But it’s not really our job to try to figure out every day how he’s doing. You can kind of see he’s getting better and you just leave it at that.”

 

Adonal Foyle recalls brutal first talk with Don Nelson

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USATSI

Adonal Foyle recalls brutal first talk with Don Nelson

SAN FRANCISCO -- He is among the greatest basketball coaches ever to walk a sideline. Creative and abrasive, accomplished yet unfulfilled, all wrapped in a 6-foot-7 package of Svengali.

Some say Don Nelson, who served two stints coaching the Warriors, was brutally honest, others insist needlessly cruel. There is little dispute, though, that “Nellie” could be as subjective as the sun is hot.

If you were one of “his guys,” you could do little wrong.

If you weren’t, you knew it early and you heard it often -- as former Warriors center Adonal Foyle, who was on the roster for 10 seasons, discovered in 2006.

“Don Nelson told me the first day he showed up at the gym: ‘You suck. You’ll never play for me. You make too much money.’ That was it,“ Foyle recalled Tuesday on the Warriors Insider Podcast.

“And he was having a cigar when he did it.”

Foyle, who returned to the Warriors in 2014 to serves as a Community Ambassador, clearly enjoyed his time with the “We Believe” Warriors, despite and because of the presence of Nelson. Foyle quickly learned about the two sides of Nellie.

Nelson had favorites. There was, in his first stint coaching the Warriors, Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway, to name two. In his second stint, there was Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson.

Yet the list of those who could not seem to escape Nelson’s doghouse may have been longer, including the likes of Terry Teagle, Tyrone Hill, Sarunas Marciulionis and, later, Al Harrington, Ike Diogu, Marco Belinelli. Nelson’s most famous object of disgust was, of course, Chris Webber.

Foyle, who logged 1,824 minutes before Nelson’s arrival in 2006, played only 475 minutes in 2006-07.

“I knew I wasn’t going to play, because he made it clear,” Foyle recalled. “So I could be pissed off. I could be angry.

“I’m just going to be there. I’m just going to do my job the best way I could for that year. And I’m just going to learn. And I’m just going to help our where I can. I’ll help my teammates out. I’ll do the job that I’m paid to do.”

Foyle, the team’s all-time leader in blocked shots (1,140), scored a total of 107 points that season. His 50 blocks ranked third on the team. His ratio of blocks, one every 9.5 minutes, led the team.

The Warriors staged a furious rally to close the season, ending a 13-year postseason drought by gaining the No. 8 seed. They pulled off an epic upset, stunning top-seeded Dallas in the first round.

The Utah Jazz in the second round eliminated the Warriors in five games, the last played on May 15.

Ninety days later, Nelson and the Warriors bought out Foyle’s contract. He spent his final two seasons in Orlando and Memphis.