Warriors coach Steve Kerr is using the 1990s Bulls as his blueprint for building a winner with Golden State, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Kerr, who won three NBA titles as a player in Chicago, learned about being demanding from teammate Michael Jordan. “I think that’s a standard that championship teams understand — that there’s a bar that’s set and you’re trying to reach that bar each night,” Kerr said. “You’re not so much playing against all these different opponents; you’re almost playing against your own standards.”
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Despite not playing much, Leandro Barbosa has become a team leader for the Warriors, according to Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle. The 32-year-old guard leads the other reserves in regular competitions after practice and is being credited for helping them improve. “He understands the value and the importance of the work ethic for the guys who don’t see a lot of playing time,” Kerr said. “He started that routine. It’s a shooting contest, competitive and fun. I think it’s a big reason why we’ve had good bench play this year.” Barbosa has a one-year, minimum-salary contract and will be a free agent in July.
- When the Clippers signed Spencer Hawes over the summer, the plan was for the eight-year veteran to play close to starter’s minutes while spacing the floor with his three-pointers. However, Hawes finds himself playing fewer minutes than in any season since he was a rookie. The big man acknowledges that he’s struggling with the transition to being a bench player, as Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times writes.
- Kobe Bryant may have had his third straight season cut short by injury, but Carmelo Anthony has no doubt the Lakers star will be back next year, reports Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times. Bryant had surgery this week to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and is expected to be out of action for about nine months. He will turn 37 in August and has a contract worth $25MM next season. “Oh, he’ll be back,” Anthony said. “He’s going to prove to everybody that he’s coming back. He’ll be back for sure.”
Zach Links contributed to this post.