Warriors have lots of voices, but are they united?

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Warriors have lots of voices, but are they united?

Warriors owner Joe Lacob has made a lot of front office and coaching moves in the past few months. Taken one by one, Lacob has seemingly assembled a pretty impressive team and certainly a very large one at that.

The big question, however, is whether this team of more than a half-dozen men is capable of turning around the Golden State Warriors, who have missed the playoffs in 16 of the past 17 seasons?

Most important, do the Warriors decision-makers have the ability to work together? They have an abundance of voices, but do they have focus? Heres the real question: Is this group a hodgepodge of talent or a team put together with chemistry in mind?

Lets take a look:

Joe Lacob: He is the owner, he is interested and he is very much involved in all decisions regarding basketball and basketball personnel. No trade will be made, no player will be drafted and no player will be acquired via free agency unless Lacob signs off on it.

Jerry West: Everyone agrees that his voice is and should be the most respected one in the room. There is certain to be deference shown to West, who has been brought in as an executive board member. We already know West liked Klay Thompson before the June draft, and sure enough, the Warriors selected Thompson with the No. 11 pick.

By the same token, it will not be West working the phones, creating deals or inquiring about players. West will surely be brought in at the end of the process when the franchise believes it has a decision to make.

Larry Riley: Technically, Riley, the teams general managerexecutive vice president of basketball operations is above Bob Myers on the organizational flow chart, and yet it is generally acknowledged that Myers, the assistant GM, has more power and will eventually become the GM.

Riley is still going to be the one in front of the cameras, explaining the Warriors trades, signings, etc., but its tough to imagine hell be the decision-maker he was a year ago.

Bob Myers: There are agents out there who know the game of basketball and there are agents out there who dont know as much. Instead, they see the game more through their clients eyes which often distorts the view.

We have no idea what kind of basketball mind Myers has whether hes creative, whether he understands and values chemistry, whether hes got a specific idea of how to build a team.

By virtually every account, he was a respected agent, forthright and competent. But thats a very different skill set than the one hell need now as the teams assistant general managervice president of basketball operations.

Travis Schlenk: After the transition from Chris Cohan to Lacob, Schlenk came away with a promotion and extension. Hes the teams assistant general managerdirector of player personnel.

Last season, he traveled and saw more college and international games than anyone else in the organization. Riley has openly credited Schlenk with the Dorell Wright signing, which brought in a very competent player at a very reasonable salary.

Riley was said to have leaned on Schlenk quite a bit in the past season or two. Riley still may in fact be doing that, but does it matter? Despite Schlenks promotion, he probably has less decision-making power than he did a year ago.

Kirk Lacob: Conventional wisdom is that Kirk Lacob, the director of basketball operations and son of Joe Lacob, will eventually run the Golden State Warriors. And so he is absolutely in on everything of significance when it comes to basketball operations.

He also was recently named the general manager of the Dakota Wizards the Warriors D-League team which will give us our first clue as to what hell do in terms of assembling a basketball roster, etc. Kirk is very much like his father in that he wants to know anything and everything thats out there in terms of trades. Kirk certainly doesnt have the kind of clout that his dad or Jerry West has. But its not like hes walking around the office without a point of view.

Mark Jackson: Most of the time a coach shouldn't be on this list. But the sheer force of Jackson's personality is going to make him a factor. Not to mention, on the day he was hired, Jackson said he expected to be involved in personnel decisions. And Jackson, more than anyone else, seemed to quell the talk of Monta Ellis being traded. Point is, don't forget about Jackson.

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.