Warriors

Warriors focus: Kent Bazemore

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Warriors focus: Kent Bazemore

Editor's note: This is the second of seven individual player analysis, focusing on new Warriors' faces.

The Warriors have made plenty of changes since the end ofthe 2011-12 season. They will likely have four first-year players on their rostercome the start of the season, and they also acquired veterans Jarrett Jack andCarl Landry.Center Andrew Bogut came to the Warriors in March, but hesa newcomer, too, if you factor in that he still hasnt played a game for theteam yet. With training camp set to begin in early October, lets begin ourplayer-by-player analysis of the Warriors new players.Kent Bazemore, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, shootingguard.Whats most important to know about Bazemore -- at thispoint, anyway -- is that hes currently occupying the 15th roster spot, which isthe maximum number allowed in the NBA.Whats also very pertinent is that his contract isntguaranteed. That means that while the Warriors like Bazemore, there are noassurances hell be around for the whole season.Yes, theres a scenario in which Bazemore could spend theentire 2012-13 with the Warriors or their D-League affiliate, which is prettymuch what Chris Wright did last season.But Bazemore is also a candidate to be waived at any time --which is the nature of a non-guarantee.What Bazemore has going for him is that he has the potentialto be the teams best defender on point guards and shooting guards. That alonecould make him worth keeping around.Its not a secret that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, theWarriors projected starting backcourt, do not excel at the defensive end.Jack will help on thatend of the floor, but its not like hes a defensive stopper.Charles Jenkins is certainly improving defensively, butwere still talking about a stocky, 6-foot-3-ish sized player who isntoff-the-charts athletically.Bazemore, a left-hander, is a long 6-foot-5, and hesathletic. On top of that, hes got a defensive foundation, he has goodinstincts and he anticipates well. Bazemore comes into the league afterwinning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in the ColonialAthletic Association his junior and senior seasons.Bazemore defended well for the Warriors in the Las VegasSummer League. He also averaged 1.8 blocks per game, including one game inwhich he had seven. Bazemores length sometimes gives smaller playersdifficulty, and in Vegas, he showed an ability to block shots from behind intransition.There were times this summer when Bazemore and Jenkinsplayed together -- with Bazemore defending the point guard and Jenkins theshooting guard.When you look at the Warriors roster -- top to bottom -- youcould see how a player such as Bazemore could stick around. After all, he hasthe ability to do something very important -- defending guards -- better thananyone else on the roster.You can see why the Warriors like that and like Bazemore,too. Then again, the Warriors liked Wright and Jeremy Lin and even DominicMcGuire -- and none of those players are still with the team.Still, Bazemore has a shot with the Warriors. Lets see whathappens.

Warriors go back to basics early in camp, work on 'a big thing for us this year'

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USATSI

Warriors go back to basics early in camp, work on 'a big thing for us this year'

OAKLAND -- No matter the place in the standings or the collection of accolades or the number of representatives in the All-Star game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr never stops chasing perfection.

Sometimes it’s major issues, other times minor details. But it’s always something.

Three days into training camp, one such area of concern is passes. Whether its bounce passes, chest passes, skip passes, outlet passes, fancy passes or lobs, Kerr has his team working on accuracy.

“We’re doing drills, some basic passing drills and harping on the accuracy of passes as we go through practice,” Kerr said Monday after practice. “No matter what we’re doing, there’s passing involved. So we’re talking about that accuracy constantly and showing some film. It’s a big thing for us this year.”

So . . . Kerr wants the team that led the NBA in assists, as well as assist-to-turnover ratio, to be more precise with its dimes.

So . . . Kerr wants the team that led the league in field-goal percentage to make it easier to connect on a higher percentage of shots.

“We’ve got such great shooters and we move the ball so well that if we can pinpoint our passes better I really believe our percentages as a team and an individual will go up,” Klay Thompson said.

Much of the focus is about passing the ball into the “shooting pocket” of each specific player, especially if he excels at the catch-and-shoot aspect of offense.

“It’s definitely something that I know I need to get better at,” said Draymond Green, who last season led the team in assists.

“It definitely helps, and we’ll get better at it this year,” said Thompson, a fabulous catch-and-shoot player.

“Some would say Coach might be nitpicking. But he expects perfection. And we want to be champs again. You’ve got to be near perfect to be champions.”

The reigning NBA champs have, in this area, gone back to basics. From former MVPs Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant to the guys at the end of the bench, they’re doing elementary passing drills.

By all accounts, the players have been receptive to honing this element.

“With the shooters we have, if you deliver the ball on time and on target, it keeps them in rhythm,” Green said. “As opposed to you throwing the ball and it hits somebody in the ankles, it may take them out of rhythm a little bit. And it could be the difference in the game.”

For Draymond Green, protests can't be short-lived: 'We're screwed' if they end soon

For Draymond Green, protests can't be short-lived: 'We're screwed' if they end soon

OAKLAND -- Easing into a seat for an interview a half hour after the Warriors finished practice Monday, Draymond Green responded to the first six questions at decibels barely above a whisper.

There was candor on basketball matters, because there always is with Green, but the power forward’s tone was relatively relaxed.

Not until the next several questions, all related to America’s polarizing sociopolitical climate, did Green’s heart and mind lock into rhythm. Asked if he believes the current wave of protests against inequality will go away soon, his voice picked up volume and conviction.

“I hope not,” Green said. “If it goes away, then we still have a problem. So I hope it’s not going away in a few weeks. Then we’ve missed the message again.

“So, no, I don’t think it’ll be gone away in a few weeks. And I pray that it’s not, because it’s not a problem that can be fixed in a few weeks. So, no, it shouldn’t be gone in a few weeks.”

Green acknowledged that he did not see the demonstrations that were spread across the NFL landscape on Sunday. He was, he said, out shopping and enjoying the day with his children.

He was aware that some teams stayed in the locker room during the anthem, that others knelt on the sidelines and that some linked arms. Being aware was not enough for Green to feel comfortable addressing that aspect.

But he’s very familiar with the subject matter.

“You just have to stand for what you believe in,” Green said during an answer than lasted more than two full minutes. “What everyone else may believe in, you may not believe in.”

Articulating the difference between the life of the athlete and that of a soldier, Green explaining that he has the “utmost respect” for those in the military.

“I just hope that there can be an understanding that this isn’t against the military,” he said. “It’s not to disrespect anything they do. Because I think everyone respects what they do . . . I appreciate everything they do.”

It was evident, however, that Green is on the same page as those pushing for the progress that would make America great, allowing the country to live up to its pledges stated in the constitution and elsewhere.

That’s why he hopes this activism is not a trend but a movement.

“I’m not saying kneeling shouldn’t be gone,” Green said. “But this conversation, trying to make these changes, absolutely not. If it’s gone in a few weeks, we’re screwed.”