Steinmetz: Tyler a difference- maker in Warriors' draft

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Steinmetz: Tyler a difference- maker in Warriors' draft

JUNE 24, 2011

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Matt Steinmetz
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Even Warriors executive vice president Larry Riley said the drafting of Klay Thompson on Thursday night was "no surprise." Fact is, Thompson had been linked to the Warriors for some time and that's who they ended up getting.Why then does there seem to be so much positivity surrounding the Warriors' draft night? The answer is simple: Jeremy Tyler.There are two reasons for that. First, at the very least, Tyler represents a young, big body with the potential of turning into a starting power forward or center someday. And No. 2, the mere fact that owner Joe Lacob and his investment group were willing to shell out 2 million to buy Tyler's rights is an indication that it's no longer business as usual at 1011 Broadway.Tyler, of course, is an enigma, a player who skipped his senior year of high school in San Diego to play professionally in Israel. That didn't work out so well and he left the team for personal reasons after just 10 games. Tyler then joined the Tokyo Apache in the Basketball Japan League for the 2010-11 season.
It might seem like Tyler's already been around the block a time or two, but then you realize the kid turned just 20 years old three days ago. Naturally, that's why Riley is preaching patience.NEWS: Warriors to hire Myers as assistant coach
"What I want to see happen with this guy is to put some real muscle on him," Riley said. "And have Mark Jackson and his staff spend time with him. We're not going to rush him; we're going to give him plenty of time to develop and give him an opportunity to become a good NBA player. That's going to require some focus. He's young. There is some immaturity. I'm not going to duck that issue. But he seems to be committed, seems to be ready to go to work and we're anxious to go to work with him."New coach Mark Jackson, however, views Tyler a little bit differently."I don't have time to draft somebody (and wait) for a couple of years," Jackson said. "He's a big kid who is an athlete, that can block shots, finish and rebound the basketball. He's going to have every opportunity to do it now. Who's to say we didn't get better today?"Jackson made it clear he will take a personal interest in Tyler, and then some."I see an opportunity to coach a young man and to spend time with him," Jackson said. "And I just don't look at my job as making him a better basketball player. I look at my job and part of my call is that I want him to be a better basketball player and a better person, too. I'm excited about what lies ahead for this young man. He couldn't have fallen into a better situation."I want to not be just a coach to this young man, I want to be a mentor, I want to be a father figure, somebody he understands he can trust and can grow with. I want to give him every opportunity to succeed."

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

Does Draymond still care about DPOY after another ring? 'At this point...'

OAKLAND -- Even though Draymond Green still would like to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, winning a championship with the Warriors has quenched much of thirst for the honor.

“I don’t really care that much anymore,” Green said after participating in the JaVale McGee Celebrity softball game Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum benefitting the Jug Life Foundation, promoting a healthy lifestyle around water consumption.

“I cared before,” Green added. “But we won the NBA championship now. I don’t care about what happened in the regular season any more at this point. I think I would have cared if I found out in Round 1 or Round 2 (of the playoffs).

“But at this point . . . I don’t even care any more.”

This is in marked contrast to what Green expressed early in the regular season, when he acknowledged the DPOY award is the only individual award he actively cared to win.

As recently as two months ago, in discussing his defensive performance in a season during which he made numerous memorable plays, including some game-saving defensive stands, Green let his words speak on his behalf.

“It is the best defensive season I’ve had, because I’ve continued to grow,” he said at the end of the regular season. “When I look at the last couple years, I think each year I got better defensively. And I think this year I’ve gotten better. So I do think it’s my best season, defensively -- but just not numbers-wise. The numbers are up a little bit more. But I actually feel better about what I’ve done on the defensive end than I have in any other year.”

Winning a championship apparently has an impact on the significance of individual awards.

A finalist for the award for which he finished second in each of the past two seasons, Green said Saturday that his plan is to leave for New York on Sunday and be in attendance when the awards are presented Monday night.

The other finalists for the award are Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who won it the last two seasons.

All three players will be among those at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York for the inaugural telecast of the NBA Awards on TNT.

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Durant fires back at salty Thunder fans with custom cupcake hat

Kevin Durant didn't forget about the taunts.

In February, when Durant returned to Oklahoma City for the first time as a member of the Warriors, Thunder fans heckled him with t-shirts featuring cupcakes, a reference to Durant being soft for joining the 73-win Warriors.

On Saturday, the cupcake graphic made a return with one slight change.

Durant, playing in JaVale McGee's JugLife Celebrity Softball game at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, showed up to the stadium wearing a cupcake hat. But instead of a cheery on top, a championship ring was superimposed on top of the cupcake.

So Durant, an NBA champion, got the last laugh.