Steinmetz: Smart's strong words for Warriors' Curry


Steinmetz: Smart's strong words for Warriors' Curry


OAKLAND -- For seemingly the umpteenth time this season, Warriors coach Keith Smart was asked Wednesday after shootaround about the Stephen Curry-Monta Ellis backcourt.

Thats been a hot topic lately, mostly spurred by owner Joe Lacob, who said recently that nobody on the Warriors is untouchable.

RELATED: Q&A with Warriors owner Joe Lacob

Smart is always diplomatic when talking about Curry and Ellis, making sure to talk of the positives and negatives of both players.

But on Wednesday, Smart seemed to make it clear that he hasnt been crazy with the Currys first half of the season -- and that he hasnt stepped up in Year 2.

Steph I dont know what it is, Smart said, when asked about how the backcourt is evolving. Maybe hes just a late starter. Maybe he just takes 40 games off and then decides to turn it on. We saw this a little bit last year with him.

NEWS: Curry OK to face New Orleans

Smart was referring to Currys slow start at the beginning of last season, his first in the NBA. Smart acknowledged Curry is playing better of late and that some of this seasons struggles likely have been because hes still figuring out all the nuances of becoming a point guard.

I think trying to run the team and doing the things we wanted him to, getting everybody involved, not really looking for his shot -- now I think hes being a bit more aggressive, Smart said. And I think the team wants him to do that and he needs to do that for us.

I think thats happening. Hes still playing even if you look at the numbers from last year, and I just think hes really tried to focus on being that point guard, and running the team and getting guys the ball.

Even the turnovers he was having it was based on trying to make a play for a teammate. Now hes being more aggressive for himself and that will open up things for him, open up lanes for him.

But he and Monta Monta, of course, has been playing at his normal pace and Steph is now moving up. Steph and David are now playing very well. So, thats three guys who are playing well. Weve got to get a couple more guys playing at a high level like those guys."

What's your take? Email Matt and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Blazers GM: Former Warriors big man will not play for Portland next year

Blazers GM: Former Warriors big man will not play for Portland next year

Festus Ezeli will not be back with the Blazers next season, Portland GM Neil Olshey said on Tuesday.

Last summer -- after the Warriors let Ezeli walk in free agency following the addition of Kevin Durant -- he signed a 2-year contract worth just over $15 million.

But Year 2 was essentially a club option with a $1 million buyout.

A knee injury prevented Ezeli from ever suiting up for the Blazers this season.

He underwent cadaver ligament replacement surgery in early March.

The Warriors drafted Ezeli 30th overall in 2012.

Over 46 games (13 starts) with Golden State in 2015-16, he averaged 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds over 16.7 minutes per contest.

Stephen Jackson: Draymond Green 'is a new version of me'

Stephen Jackson: Draymond Green 'is a new version of me'

In the Warriors' sweep of the Blazers, Draymond Green was fantastic.

He averaged 13.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 4.3 blocks and 1.8 steals per game, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 55 percent from deep.

On Tuesday morning, former Warriors forward Stephen Jackson was asked about the two-time runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year.

"I don't want to change him at all. That chip on his shoulder, the way he plays, as Steve Kerr will tell you -- every team needs a guy like that," Jackson said on KNBR 680. "I was that guy in San Antonio. I was that guy on a lot of teams.

"You need a guy like that to even it out. You don't want your team to be a pushover. And sometimes, his emotion might hurt the team. But you can live with that, because you got a guy going to bat for all your guys.

"He's one of the best all-around players in the league -- Top 5 -- and you need a guy like that. He makes that team better.

"He's one of those guys that puts his body on the line for a team, passes up a shot to make a pass, guard the best player and not worry about scoring -- that's my type of guy."

When the "We Believe" Warriors upset the Dallas Mavericks in 2007, Jackson averaged 22.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals, while shooting over 47 percent from 3-point territory in that series.

"I say Draymond is a new version of me -- just way more athletic," Jackson added. "And I love it. I wore his jersey last year to The Finals, and I plan on wearing it again."