Pacific Notes: Warriors, Kawhi, LeBron, Lakers

Despite injuries draining the Warriors’ chances of competing for a title this season, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have done their best to maintain the uplifting atmosphere the franchise has generated in recent years, writes Mark Medina of USA Today.

Curry last played on October 30 and is expected to miss several more weeks due to a broken left hand, with Thompson still likely to miss the rest of season rehabbing from a torn ACL. Both players have been seen on the sidelines giving advice and firing up teammates despite their injuries.

“They’re just supportive with their antics and are goofy,” teammate Omari Spellman said, as relayed by Medina. “They’re trying to keep it uplifting and loose instead of it being so hectic and chaotic. It’s definitely appreciated that the older guys are taking the time to talk to us younger guys.”

The Warriors have also missed D’Angelo Russell, Draymond Green, Willie Cauley-Stein and others periodically this season, owning the league’s second-worst record at 9-31. Nonetheless, Golden State still sports one of the league’s most formidable cores when healthy, especially when coupled with the positive atmosphere that comes with it.

“That’s what our team has been in the last five years, in terms of taking a lot of joy out of a game and joy in each other’s accomplishments,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “When you see Steph jumping around on the sidelines when one of these young guys is doing something well, it’s a reminder that the foundation has been built.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes Kawhi Leonard‘s health is trending upwards, and the 2019 NBA Finals MVP agrees, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. “You know, he’s been doing it a lot lately,” Rivers said. “I think he is in a far better place now than he was in Game 1 [of the regular season], let’s just put it like that. You can see it with him, you can see it in the practices, it’s just going up. You can feel it, you can see it, he has a better thrust now. And it’s good, it has been really good to see.”
  • Lakers star LeBron James passed Michael Jordan for fourth in career field goals made, converting a layup in the first quarter of Friday’s game to reach 12,192 total makes, Dave McMenamin of ESPN details. James passed Jordan in makes on 324 fewer attempts, McMenamin notes. “Any time you’re in a marathon and you’re able to have feats throughout that marathon, I think it’s just pretty cool to be linked with the greats,” James said postgame. “You said the name Michael Jordan; it just means so much to me. Any time I’m linked with his name, with his greatness and what he was able to do with the game. Hopefully, I continue to make him and all the other greats proud. Any time I’m linked with them. Hopefully, I can continue to make my family and my fans proud, as well.”
  • The Lakers are willing to trade virtually anyone to construct a championship-caliber roster this season, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times writes. With an emphasis on “willing,” Los Angeles is unlikely to make any earth-shattering trades before the Feb. 6 trade deadline, as the team has started the season with an impressive 32-7 record.
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34 thoughts on “Pacific Notes: Warriors, Kawhi, LeBron, Lakers

  1. stevep-4

    Whatever else you say about Lebron, he is a class act. I am from Chicago and likely will never call him better than MJ (never say never though), but he is impressive in his example for younger players today.

      • lebuck

        Care to elaborate or do you just like to throw things against the wall and hope they stick

        • x%sure

          He’s a class act except for his education level. Which, to some people, is mostly what “class act” means. Whatever

  2. phillyballers

    I mean… dudes on the current t squad know that next year they will be role players to the best shooting back court in league history. And they will have a Top-3 pick. And possibly another forward via D Lo trade.

  3. LBJ is better than Jordan plain and simple not by much but he’s ahead.
    I think he will go on to play another 4 seasons and make that clear to most.
    By career projections he is expected to finish 1st in points, 25th in rebounds, 3rd in assists, top 70 in blocks and 5th in steals. That’s just crazy, the mans just elite at all facets of the game and the records just proven that. He might not be the best shooter, best scorer, best defender or something but he’s definitely the best all round player. (Even without 6 rings)

    • Dxit90a

      Even though I believe it unfair to compare players from different decades, LBJ is definitely not better than MJ ! LBJ is a top 5 greatest player.

      If LBJ played in the same era as MJ he would not have the stats he is getting in this soft era . I can go on a long discussion but I will stop their .

        • Dxit90a

          Really man! How old are you like 20 ? If you watched the nba 80’s and 90’s you would know what I am talking about . Some few facts 1) Hand check rule, 2) restricted area 3) three second paint rule 4) tough defense was played in that era . LBJ would be abused in that era . That just a few facts I got plenty more .

      • Z-A

        You can call it a soft ERA for Steph Curry, no hand checking, shoot from 40 ft. But LBJ goes to the rack all game long, he takes a beating all day, more so than Jordan. Jordan would get hard fouled every once in a while, but LBJ gets hacked on almost every play.

        • imindless
          imindless

          @Z-a “lebron gets hard fouled every play” made me laugh. Todays hard fouls are light slaps bro If you saw jordan go to the rack against the bad boys or celtics he got what would be called a flagrant 2 now days. Lebron pads stats in and era where the average game ends 130-120….just watched clips online that even the era kobe played in from 2000-2005 was tougher to score than the last 15 years. Ppg have gone from 96 to 112 a game!! More free throws per game higher scores less defense sorry bud. Mj did it in the harder area to score in which teams actually played defense went 6-0 in finals with just scottie pippen (who averaged 17 ppg his entire career unlike lebron with 12 future hall of famers) mj the goat with kobe, magic, duncan, abdul jabbar next (in no particular order) then lebron somewhere in the 7-10 range.

          • Dodgethis

            LeBron is a league manufactured star because the league panicked when MJ retired and viewership took a massive hit. LeBron isn’t anywhere near MJ. How many times has that clown traveled and not been called? He’s a “point forward” who can’t dribble. He doesn’t attack the paint to score, he does it to get fake fouls and then cries to the refs every single time he doesn’t get a call. It’s sad.

        • Dxit90a

          Yes I can call it a soft era . In MJ era the center and PF can stay in the paint while now they can’t . In addition their was no restricted area hand checks was allowed. MJ was fouled with hard fouls that would get players ejected today .

          • x%sure

            Dxit90a did not show an example of facts. For instance how is “three second paint rule” a fact? It’s been called the same.

            Tazza listed projections, the legit best that can be done with players in a late stage vs retired.

    • Can’t be bothered to reply back to everyone little 2 cents but as for if LeBron played in MJs era blah blah blah that’s a load of crap.

      3/4 of all nba players in the 80’s/90’s were bums that could be physical. No doubt there were some absolute legends also but there was a huge gap between top players and everyone else. Today’s nba has a lot more athleticism and skill than ever.
      Just compare positionally who LeBron faces Kawhi Leonard, PG, KD, Giannis, Butler, Peirce, Carter, Melo, even modern day Tatum, Ingram, Barnes.
      Who did MJ face in his era Drexler, Miller, Gervin, Dumars, Richmond and that’s about it in terms of good players.

      Today’s NBA has way more depth at position meaning LeBron constantly has to face better opponents that Jordan did. If he played back then he would’ve killed it in games he has to and in games against weak opponents throw up multiple 60 point games.

      MJ has always been remembered as some amazing scorer with his 10 scoring titles. But his career high in points was 65. LeBrons career high is 61 and he’s often criticised because of his shooting and scoring.
      However LeBron has a better FG % and 3P %, MJ averages 3 more shots per game than LeBron however only averages 3 more points per game.

      I’m not saying MJ isn’t an elite scorer cause he is but I’m saying out some respect on LBJ. He’s not KD but he’s really efficient and surprising good at both shooting and scoring.

  4. Z-A

    If you faced Jordan’s Bulls in the East playoffs, you were going home. If you faced LBJ’s Heat or Cavs in the East playoffs, you were going home.

    Difference between Jordan’s era and LBJ’s isn’t hand checking, isn’t rule changes. It’s the Western Conference. As MJ was exiting the league, the West became the powerhouse. Lakers, then Spurs, then GSW.

    Jordan had the best coach of his era. LBJ faced the best coach of his era 3 times in the finals (Pop).

    Look at the opponents. Jordan beat past their prime Magic, Worthy, Drexler, and Stockton. Malone still scored but as 34-35. Barkley, Payton, and Kemp were in their prime still.

    LBJ lost to prime Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Kawhi (2nd time), Dirk, Curry, Durant (GSW), Klay, Draymond.

    He beat prime Kawhi (1st meeting), Curry, Durant (Thunder), Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, Klay, Draymond.

    LBJ beat better players in their prime and lost to better players than MJ beat at the time he beat them.

    That being said…. 1. MJ 2. LBJ

    • lebuck

      Agreed. And comparing players by ring count is ridiculous. Using that logic, Derek Fisher is better than Nash.

    • Not disagreeing with your argument, but how does Serge Ibaka get lumped in with all those HOFers?

      • phillyballers

        He was an elite defender during that time. Led the league in blocks 4 years in a row.

    • imindless
      imindless

      Again the era makes a huge difference for All statistical categories mj also missed 3/4 season. In the tougher era when average games finished in the 80’s unlike today higher scoring less defense. A numbers guys on youtube did a breakdown and said if kobe and mj played in this era mj would average close to 45 ppg and kobe over 40….with the rate of 3’s be jacked up and free throws very possible. Free throws have doubled per player in just 10 years….keep in mind mj did what he did in an era where you could body up players is amazing and he played against dream team players like bird, magic, malone, hakeem, the list goes on and on. Todays stars arent close to what those greats where as todays league there are about 6 good teams and the rest are seeing where they place in the lottery. Again we can keep going but mj is the greatest player ever and that wont change until someone dominates for 15 years and steps up in clutch moments or even makes a mark on culture the way jordan did with his brand. Its not close.

      • x%sure

        That is a misuse of making projections, saying MJ or Kobe could average 45. Everything would be different. For instance either could probably have forced his way out.
        Also, refs called fouls for merely touching MJ at an unprecedented rate, if MJ thought to snap away from the contact.
        As someone said, “Again the era makes all the difference”.

    • Dxit90a

      The era does matter . And MJ did face great players in the finals ( magic and worthy ( age 31 still considered in their prime ) , Byron Scott ( age 30) , Divac ( age 23 ), Clyde Drexler (age 30 still in his prime ), Clifford Robinson(Age) 23) ), Charles Barkley (age 29) Kevin Johnson (age 27) , Dan Majerle ( age 28), Kemp, Shawn( age 26) , Gary Payton ( age 27), Detlef Schrempf ( age 31) , Malone, Karl ( age 33, 34) , Stockton, John ( age 34,35). He was the same age as Malone . So yes MJ knocked down every NBA challenge he had between age 27 to 35 . He also stuck with his teammates in bad times and good time unlike LBJ using his teammates then dumping them for new ones

      • Half those players aren’t in MJs position however.
        Byron Scott is trash his career averages are 13/3/2.5
        Divas was a centre that averages 12/8, Robinson is a PF that averages 14.5/4.5/2, Majerle averages 14.5/4.5/3, kemp is a PF that averages 14.5/8.5, Schrempf is a PF that averages 14/6/3.5 these guys are a bunch of average blokes not challenges.

        Gordan Hayward has better career stats than these guys and he broken his shin and his anckle and took 2 years to come back from that.

        Bron has taken down Paul Peirce, KD, Giannis, Butler, PG, DeRozan, Leonard, Prime Vince Carter, Prime Tracy McGrady, Prime Shawn Marion, Melo and heaps more these are just the guys that play a similar position.
        I could go on to say Curry, Kobe, Cousins, AD up until now, Garnett, Duncan, Parker, Ginobilli, Howards, Beal, Russ, CP3, Griffin, Jordan, Aldridge, Conley, Lowry, Lillard, Harden…

        All these guys Bron has stopped getting rings or beaten in the final before

        • JD Candello

          Your kinda proving his point if you actually think Gordan Hayward is better than anyone outta that list because of “stats”-

          You are using all the benefits of todays game and not applying them subjectively – Going even further you are taking AVERAGES of guys who played long careers and putting them up against a guy whoes only seen “supposed ” prime years in Hayward-

          All in all Taz, its just too transparent of an argument to be taken seriously from you and your last post pretty much solidifies that. Id bet you are young and besides ESPN classics have never even watched a game from the 90’s in totality

          These “GOAT” discussions are always the dumbest newayz- Worthless when you reach the end of the road and trip is always rocky-

          • Dont understand ?
            I meant those guys that challenged MJ were just glorified bums like average stat lines.
            I used Hayward as an example of something who was slightly better than average to compare stat lines another could have been David West.

            David West averages 13.5/6.5/2 which is a pretty similar stat line to those of MJ competitors. West was a 2 time champion and a 2 time all star. That’s similar to a say Shawn Kemp. Now Kemp was a 6 time all star and made two all nba teams.
            Yes you can say MJ stopped Kemp from ever winning a ring but on the flip side LeBron never even saw West as a threat to him. Yes West won two rings when he was old with an overpowered GSW team but I’m using this example to show Kemp and West had similar stat lines, where similar level ability wise but Kemp because he played in the 80/90 and was better than average was viewed as a someone good that was a threat to jordan winning.

            It’s like saying LBJ stopped Roy Hubert from winning a ring, we don’t praise that cause Hubert isn’t an elite player but back in Jordan’s era he would’ve been Vlade Divac.

            To further show my point, if the modern day David West looks something similar to Shawn Kemp then LBJ would’ve looked like Wilt in that era. He would’ve dominated, I’m not saying 100 point games or 50 a season average but he would look like a man amongst boys and would have Jordan esk scoring seasons.

            • JD Candello

              So I take you havent seen any games from the 90s in totality by your response and I think thats where the problem lies-

              You havent seen both sides with your own eyes so its probably best to just void everything you’ve said

        • Dxit90a

          Tazz all due respect you are proving my point . 1) look at the stats of the players I listed in the period they faced MJ in the finals and when they were in their prime . Read up on them more and you will see they are not “bumps” . 2) as stated before DEFENSE was an important thing in MJ era.teams would pride them self in defense more than offense . LBJ era not so much its all about scoring 3) the rule does matter . Hand check ( made illegal in 2004 read this article to see how it changed the game link to sportskeeda.com)
          Makes you more aggressive in defense and the defensive three second rule ( incorporated in 2001) and restricted area ( Incorporated in 1997) makes the ability for centers and PF to clog the paint making it harder to drive. 4) due to my previous point it was a “ Team defense era.
          5. The emphases of three now days skews stats in MJ era coaches discouraged their teams from shooting threes . 6) LBJ FG % is a bit higher than MJ due to LBJ driving more than MJ ( again easier during LBJ as proven in previous points) and MJ taking more mid range shoots ( btw LBJ has a bad percentage in mid range 38% While MJ shoot 45%) LBJ is shooting better in 3pts % but took around 1000 more threes than MJ. MJ shoot better at the free throw (MJ 83.5 % vs LBJ 74%). So you can’t Say LBJ is a better shooter .
          I can go on and on …

  5. El Don

    Larry Bird & Magic better than Jordan & LBJ, not much in it, but all 4 are the best ever, hard to choose one above the others… Bird was better in the RS, LBJ in the playoffs, Magic & MJ were good in both.

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