While most of the focus with the Warriors centers on free agency these days, theres still a summer league team to put together and the Warriors are finalizing that roster.Three of the Warriors four draft picks will play for the team, and games begin July 13. Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green will head to Las Vegas this weekend to start practicing.Warriors assistant coach Pete Myers will coach the team.Ognjen Kuzmic, whom the Warriors selected with the No. 52 pick in last Thursdays draft, will not play for the team. Warriors general manager Bob Myers said on Monday that its likely too quick of a turnaround for Kuzmic to play for the summer-league team, then rejoin his Bosnia and Herzegovina national team later this summer.Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins, two second-year Warriors players, will also play in Las Vegas. Tyler didnt distinguish himself during his rookie year with the Warriors, though the organization still seems to be high on him.But theres no doubt, the Warriors front office will be keeping an eye on how Tyler does against Ezeli and vice versa.As for Jenkins, he exceeded expectations his rookie season, but the issue now is whether the team can count on him to be the first guard off the bench. As promising as Jenkins rookie season was, at this point it would be asking a lot to be the full-time backup point guard. But at this point, its Jenkins job to lose.Klay Thompson, penciled in as the starting shooting guard in 2012-13, is already in Las Vegas, practicing with the US Select team. Myers said he doesnt expect Thompson to play with the team, but that if Thompson wanted to play he could.Also expected to play for the Warriors summer league team are Rakim Sanders, Justin Burrell and Wendell McKines.Sanders, who attended Fairfield, impressed the Warriors with his pre-draft workout. Burrell, who played for St. Johns in 2010-11, has worked out in recent months against Thompson, Tyler and Jenkins.McKines, an Oakland native, worked out twice for the Warriors in the weeks before the draft. McKines is undersized, but he averaged 10.7 rebounds per game last season for New Mexico State.Warriors partial roster in Las Vegas: Charles Jenkins, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Jeremy Tyler, Festus Ezeli, Justin Burrell, Rakim Sanders and Wendell McKines.
OAKLAND -- For the first time since he joined the coaching staff last summer, Mike Brown on Wednesday morning arrived at the Warriors facility a man in charge.
As acting head coach, he would decide when practice started and when it ended, and conduct proceedings in between.
The general activity was not much different for anyone else, though, as it continues to become evident that everything the Warriors do for the foreseeable future will be a Brown-Kerr, or Kerr-Brown, production.
“Steve is going to be a part of this process the whole time,” Brown said after practice. “Almost before I do anything, I’m going to consult with him. The only time I won’t consult with him is probably during a game.”
Since Kerr’s announcement last Sunday that he was taking an indefinite leave to attend to personal health issues, Brown has been wielding the clipboard. He actually coached Game 3 against Portland last Saturday, in Kerr’s absence, before knowing in advance he’d also coach Game 4 Monday night.
Brown is 2-0, with the Game 4 win clinching a Warriors sweep of the Trail Blazers. Yet Brown is quick to remind anyone that he is following the plan laid out by Kerr. The two exchanged texts Tuesday and, according to Brown, “spoke at length” after the game between the Jazz and the Clippers -- one of which will face the Warriors in the next round.
Though the Warriors are operating under a different head coach, all indications are the atmosphere around the team remains stable and relatively unchanged.
“Obviously it’s different personalities, but when you make it about the players, when you make it about winning, all that other stuff really doesn’t matter,” Kevin Durant said. “He coaches us. He coaches the game of basketball and he does it very well. Our whole coaching staff does the same thing.
“When it’s about basketball, it’s not about trying to have authority over us. He’s just coaching us. He’s just coaching us up. He’s just telling us the proper way to do things on the basketball court. It’s pretty simple when you try to do that. Then it’s on us to try to execute.”
Execution has gone well, particularly over the last six quarters of the series against Portland. The Warriors wiped out a 16-point deficit in the second half to win Game 3, and then rolled to a 35-9 start in Game 4 before coasting to the closeout victory.
Brown was on the sideline in Game 4, with Kerr watching the game from the locker room.
It’s fairly apparent, though, that everyone involved feels a heightened sense of accountability and ownership.
“Mike has had a pretty big voice throughout the whole season,” Durant said. “He’s been a head coach before, understands what it takes to be a head coach. And the coaching staff is just so smart, and they empower each other.
“Anybody, if you’re around us on a day-to-day basis, anybody can tell that they work well as a group. Coach Kerr does a great job. He spearheads it all by empowering everybody, from the coaches to the players.”
OAKLAND -- After arriving in Oakland in the wee hours Tuesday morning, the Warriors took the day off, went through a light practice Wednesday and will take another day off Thursday.
Not really, when the next game is at least four days away.
The semi-lax scheduling isn’t the decision of acting head coach Mike Brown. It’s not even the decision of head coach Steve Kerr, who was not at practice Wednesday and remains out indefinitely. It’s a common sense call that was made between the two men, with players and staffers on board.
“If you can sweep every series,” Kevin Durant said after practice, “then that’ll be perfect.”
This is one of the perks of sweeping a first-round opponent. By eliminating the Trail Blazers in four games and with their next opponent undetermined, the Warriors are able to balance work and rest.
“With this group here,” Brown said, “the continuity that the nucleus has and how intelligent the guys are, with the big-time veterans we’ve brought in, we feel that rest for their bodies and mentally (are) more important than coming in here and having practice on a daily basis.”
They also have a couple guys recovering from injuries. Forward Matt Barnes (right foot/ankle bone bruise) has been out two weeks, and guard Shaun Livingston (right index finger sprain/hand contusion) has missed the past nine days. Both, however, are expected to be available for the next series.
The soonest that would be is Sunday against Utah, which owns a 3-2 series lead over the Clippers and can close it out Friday in Salt Lake City. If the Clippers win and push the series to seven games, the Warriors would then open against the Clippers-Jazz winner on May 2.
Meanwhile, the Warriors have no choice but to prepare for both, with plenty of time to do so.