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.

Wild NBA offseason: Taking inventory of the Warriors' top competition

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AP

Wild NBA offseason: Taking inventory of the Warriors' top competition

Now that the Cavs have finally traded Kyrie Irving, we have a pretty clear idea of what every roster will look like heading into the 2017-18 season.

Of course, things could change if the Knicks trade Carmelo Anthony and/or Dwyane Wade and the Bulls agree to a buyout.

The Warriors are considered the heavy favorites to win back-to-back titles, but many teams improved (some significantly) this summer.

Let's take a look at the projected rotations for Golden State's top competition:

ROCKETS
James Harden
Chris Paul
Trevor Ariza
Ryan Anderson
Clint Capela

Bench: Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute, Nene, Tarik Black

SPURS
Patty Mills
Danny Green
Kawhi Leonard
LaMarcus Aldridge
Pau Gasol

Bench: Dejounte Murray, Tony Parker (unclear when he will return from injury), Manu Ginobili (reportedly coming back), Rudy Gay, Kyle Anderson

THUNDER
Russell Westbrook
Andre Roberson
Paul George
Patrick Patterson
Steven Adams

Bench: Raymond Felton, Doug McDermott, Alex Abrines, Jerami Grant, Enes Kanter

TIMBERWOLVES
Jeff Teague
Jimmy Butler
Andrew Wiggins
Gorgui Deng
Karl-Anthony Towns

Bench: Jamal Crawford, Tyus Jones, Nemanja Bjelica, Taj Gibson, Cole Aldrich

CAVALIERS
Isaiah Thomas
J.R. Smith
LeBron James
Kevin Love
Tristan Thompson

Bench: Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver, Richard Jefferson, Jeff Green, Channing Frye

CELTICS
Kyrie Irving
Gordon Hayward
Jaylen Brown
Marcus Morris
Al Horford

Bench: Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, Aron Baynes, Guerschon Yabusele

We'll be nice and include two more teams...

WIZARDS
John Wall
Bradley Beal
Otto Porter Jr.
Markieff Morris
Marcin Gortat

Bench: Tim Frazier, Kelly Oubre, Jodie Meeks, Tomas Satoransky, Jason Smith, Ian Mahinmi

RAPTORS
Kyle Lowry
DeMar DeRozan
C.J. Miles
Serge Ibaka
Jonas Valanciunas

Bench: Delon Wright, Norman Powell, Bruno Caboclo, Jakob Poeltl, , Lucas Nogueira

Who is the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference?

Do the Celtics have a legitimate shot of taking down the Cavs in the East?

Oct. 17 can't get here soon enough...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Kevin Durant likes tweet about player loyalty to NBA franchises

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AP

Kevin Durant likes tweet about player loyalty to NBA franchises

Isaiah Thomas is revered in Boston.

But on Tuesday, the Celtics traded him (along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 draft pick) to the Cavaliers.

The deal took NBA Twitter by storm.

One such tweet:

Why does this matter?

Well, Kevin Durant "liked" it.

Durant took a lot of heat (quite the understatement) for leaving the Thunder to sign with the Warriors.

In fact, people are still very bitter.

At any point while he was under contract with Oklahoma City, the Thunder could have traded Durant if they felt it was the best move for the franchise (unlikely, but that's not the point).

Yet the Finals MVP was viewed as a "traitor" in the eyes of many because he chose a new path that was the best move for him.

He was a free agent and earned the right to take control of his future.

As for Thomas...

Back on April 15, his sister, Chyna, tragically passed away in a car accident.

Somehow, he managed to play the very next day in Game 1 of the Celtics' opening round series against the Bulls.

After Game 4, Thomas praised the franchise.

"[The Celtics have] been really important. I mean, they've been everything. This organization is the best organization there is, from the people who work in the Garden to the players, the coaches, everybody who's a part of the Celtics. They've been supportive. The whole world has, really, so I can't say enough about that."

On May 2 (what would have been Chyna's 23rd birthday) Thomas delivered an epic performance in Boston's Game 2 win over the Wizards in the East semis -- 53 points, including 20 in the fourth quarter and nine in overtime.

But in the end, this is professional sports and the Celtics made a decision that they believe is best for the franchise...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller