Warriors focus: Draymond Green

816030.jpg

Warriors focus: Draymond Green

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fifth installment in a seven-part series that spotlights the seven new Warriors.
Part 1: Harrison BarnesPart 2: Kent Bazemore
Part 3: Andrew Bogut
Part 4: Festus Ezeli

The Warriors have made plenty of changes since the end of the 2011-12 season. They will likely have four first-year players on their roster come the start of the season, and they also acquired veterans Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry.Center Andrew Bogut came to the Warriors in March, but hes a newcomer, too, if you factor in that he still hasnt played a game for the team yet. With training camp set to begin in early October, lets begin our player-by-player analysis of the Warriors new players.Draymond Green, 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, small forwardpower forward.If theres one thing you continue to hear about forward Draymond Green its that hes smart and knows how to play. Yes, he fits the description of the classic tweener, but the Warriors certainly believe hell figure out a way to find a niche in the NBA.Make no mistake, if Green is playing power forward, hell be an undersized four. And if he finds himself playing small forward, well, then, hes going to be challenged athletically and in the quickness department.
But what Green does have is length, and that will give him the opportunity to combat some of the deficiencies hes likely to face navigating those two positions.Green anticipates well, he can pass and he fully understands how to play team defense the result of having played under Tom Izzo at Michigan State for four seasons. Those are the kinds of little things that make it possible for Green to get playing time -- though a close look at the Warriors roster indicates it wont be easy.For every positive, there seems to be a negative when it comes to Green, but you would expect as much from a player drafted in the second round. Hes not an elite athlete, doesnt have what you would call a great body, and isnt yet a consistent shooter.Still, the Warriors clearly believe the positives outweigh the negatives and theyre hoping that down the road Green turns into a contributor. How do we know the Warriors believe that?Well, because the Warriors gave Green a guaranteed contract for two seasons and a partial guarantee for Year No. 3. That doesnt happen to every second-round selection, thats for sure.Green is an OK mid-range shooter, and he seems to have the ability to be a 3-point threat down the road. More important, he plays with consistent energy right now, and he has shown a knack for rebounding the ball.Its nothing short of impressive that Green left Michigan State as the schools all-time leading rebounder, and averaged 10.6 rebounds his senior season for the Spartans.He might not be able to duplicate those numbers at the NBA level, but by the same token those kinds of numbers indicate that Green has very good anticipation, a nose for the ball and some good hands, too.One look at the lay of the land, though, and its tough to see Green getting minutes. Hes No. 3 on the depth chart at power forward behind David Lee and Carl Landry, so theres little to no playing time there.And its not like there are an abundance of minutes at small forward not with rookie Harrison Barnes, re-signed Brandon Rush and veteran Richard Jefferson all in the mix there.Then again, were still talking about a player who was drafted in the second round and doesnt have a definitive position. So, its less about whether Green is going to get playing time and more a question of whether he can play in the league.

Whether Brown or Kerr coach, Warriors sticking to same blueprint

Whether Brown or Kerr coach, Warriors sticking to same blueprint

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.”

After sweeping Blazers, Warriors relishing some needed down time

After sweeping Blazers, Warriors relishing some needed down time

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.

Slackers, eh?

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.