Nice win for the Warriors 92-78 over the Knicks at Oracle.Makes the Warriors 2-1, with a home game against Philly on Saturday. Then theygo out on road for first time this season with games at Phoenix, San Antonioand the L.A. Lakers.Lets talk a little about the game If you dont think the Warriors are really a defensive team,take a look at their roster. Youcould make the case they have more defensive players than offensive players.Or, put another way, more players capable of being better defenders thanoffensive players.In fact, the only players on the Warriors who could reallybe considered offensive players are their three core players and first-rounddraft pick: Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, David Lee and Klay Thompson.All the other significant contributors on the roster havemore of a defensive bent: Dorell Wright, Andris Biedrins, Kwame Brown, EkpeUdoh, Brandon Rush, Dominic McGuire and Ish Smith.Bottom line might be that this team couldnt beoffensive-minded anymore even if it wanted to...If this is the way its going to be, and Warriors coach MarkJackson is going to go with guys who are willing to play hard-nosed defense,then that doesnt bode well for rookie Thompson.Look, Thompson may very well be a nice player down the road,but right now hes not nearly at the defensive level of players such as Rush,Wright and McGuire.Thompson played seven-and-a-half minutes against the Knicks,and I wouldnt be surprised if Jackson makes sure to go to Thompson at leastonce a game but doesnt tolerate more than a mistake or two before he goes toone of the three guys mentioned above.And really, thats the way it should be.Ish Smith gave the Warriors better minutes at point guardagainst NY than any of the teams backup point guards gave them last year.Smith is not perfect, and thats why hes not a starter. But, still, theres alot to like. He can make some plays and you better account for his quickness ifyoure on the other team.Honestly, I didnt think Wright was the kind of player whocould help you if he had just eight points on 3-for-9 shooting in 42 minutes. Figuredhed need to be knocking down about six or seven 3s to be playing that manyminutes.But thats what he did against the Knicks, chipping in alongwith others to hold down Carmelo Anthony, getting eight rebounds and notturning the ball over.A few days ago, I thought Wright seemed a little lost. Hehadnt really had an impact in any of the four previous games (including twopreseason) and you could see down the road his minutes getting eaten at. Butagain, as long as Jackson is demanding defense and Wright is willing to playit Wright is going to get minutes.
OAKLAND -- Even though Draymond Green still would like to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, winning a championship with the Warriors has quenched much of thirst for the honor.
“I don’t really care that much anymore,” Green said after participating in the JaVale McGee Celebrity softball game Saturday at the Oakland Coliseum benefitting the Jug Life Foundation, promoting a healthy lifestyle around water consumption.
“I cared before,” Green added. “But we won the NBA championship now. I don’t care about what happened in the regular season any more at this point. I think I would have cared if I found out in Round 1 or Round 2 (of the playoffs).
“But at this point . . . I don’t even care any more.”
This is in marked contrast to what Green expressed early in the regular season, when he acknowledged the DPOY award is the only individual award he actively cared to win.
As recently as two months ago, in discussing his defensive performance in a season during which he made numerous memorable plays, including some game-saving defensive stands, Green let his words speak on his behalf.
“It is the best defensive season I’ve had, because I’ve continued to grow,” he said at the end of the regular season. “When I look at the last couple years, I think each year I got better defensively. And I think this year I’ve gotten better. So I do think it’s my best season, defensively -- but just not numbers-wise. The numbers are up a little bit more. But I actually feel better about what I’ve done on the defensive end than I have in any other year.”
Winning a championship apparently has an impact on the significance of individual awards.
A finalist for the award for which he finished second in each of the past two seasons, Green said Saturday that his plan is to leave for New York on Sunday and be in attendance when the awards are presented Monday night.
The other finalists for the award are Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who won it the last two seasons.
All three players will be among those at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York for the inaugural telecast of the NBA Awards on TNT.
Kevin Durant didn't forget about the taunts.
In February, when Durant returned to Oklahoma City for the first time as a member of the Warriors, Thunder fans heckled him with t-shirts featuring cupcakes, a reference to Durant being soft for joining the 73-win Warriors.
On Saturday, the cupcake graphic made a return with one slight change.
Durant, playing in JaVale McGee's JugLife Celebrity Softball game at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday, showed up to the stadium wearing a cupcake hat. But instead of a cheery on top, a championship ring was superimposed on top of the cupcake.
Kevin really put a ring instead of a cherry on top of the cupcake 👏🏽 pic.twitter.com/1GVaFNbQet— Julie Phayer (@juliephayer) June 24, 2017
Peep KD's hat.— NBCS Warriors News (@NBCSWarriors) June 24, 2017
Cupcake with a ring on top. 👀 pic.twitter.com/VmXAhRz8k5
So Durant, an NBA champion, got the last laugh.