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."

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

OAKLAND -- Though Kevin Durant is eager to get back to the court, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his assistants are in preliminary stages of planning his return.

One thing is certain: There will be restriction on the number of minutes Durant is plays in the first few games after he receives medical clearance.

“It’s something we’ll consult the training staff on,” Kerr said Saturday after practice. “I imagine we’ll ease him back by playing him shorter minutes to start, so he can build up his rhythm and his conditioning.”

Durant has been out since Feb. 28, when he sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and bone bruise to his left knee. After several days of strict immobilization, he has over the past week progressed to the point where he is engaging in vigorous workouts and shooting sessions.

Yet Durant will not be re-evaluated until next Thursday, which means he likely will not be cleared before the week of April 3. Not until then will the coaching staff devise a plan to reintegrate Durant.

“That obviously has a domino effect on the entire rotation,” Kerr said. “When we get to that point, we’ll figure that out. But it’s not something I’m giving a lot of thought to right now because he’s still at least a couple weeks away.”

The Warriors lost five of seven in the immediate aftermath of Durant’s injury but have recovered to win the last six in a row.

 

Feeling more comfortable, West cleaning up Warriors' messes down stretch

Feeling more comfortable, West cleaning up Warriors' messes down stretch

OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.

The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any baseball manager’s batting order.

The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.

West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.

“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.

Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.

Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.

“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.

“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”

Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.

The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?

The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.

Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.

“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”

West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.