Draymond Green

Warriors Notes: Curry, Wiggins, Green, Looney

Stephen Curry returned to the Warriors‘ lineup on Thursday night after missing more than four months due to a broken left hand. And while they couldn’t pick up a home win vs. the Raptors, the Dubs gave the defending champions all they could handle and looked like they were having more fun with their superstar back on the court.

Andrew Wiggins, who was acquired by Golden State a month ago in a deadline trade with Minnesota, was on the court whenever Curry was on Thursday, with head coach Steve Kerr aiming to establish some chemistry between the new teammates. As Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays, Wiggins expressed enthusiasm after the game about playing alongside Curry for the first time.

“He makes everyone great,” Wiggins said of the two-time MVP. “He makes everyone play better. He finds open men. He’s like the most unselfish superstar. That’s a good way to put it. He attracts so much attention that he’s going to find the open man, and he makes the right play, so it was fun.”

The Warriors are still an NBA-worst 14-49, but Kerr believes Curry’s return represents a turning point for the team. The veteran head coach, who said that Curry felt good after playing 27 minutes and will get his minutes ramped up going forward (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic), added that he expects to feel a “sense of energy and enthusiasm” in Golden State for the rest of the season.

“To me, this is sort of the beginning of next season in a lot of ways; and I think we’re all starting to get some clarity as far as what our team’s gonna look like,” Kerr said, per Friedell. “And having Steph back is, obviously, a huge, huge part of that now. The next step will be getting Klay (Thompson) back, but that won’t be till next season. But I think these last 20 games are really going to be a springboard into next year, so I think that energy will be high and remain high.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Draymond Green missed his fourth consecutive game with knee soreness on Thursday, but an MRI showed no structural damage, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “I know he would’ve loved to have played tonight, but the training staff just doesn’t feel comfortable putting him out there yet,” Kerr said. “We’re hoping that in the next couple of days it’s something that clears up.”
  • While it sounds like Green should be back soon, that may not be the case for another injured big man, Kevon Looney. He has missed three straight games with hip soreness, an injury Kerr referred to as “a concern,” per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. The Warriors expect to have a more concrete update on Looney later today.
  • After a month with the Warriors, Wiggins said on Thursday that he feels “right at home” with his new team, according to Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. “It’s all been positive here. Just learning how they do things and what it’s like to be a part of a winning culture,” Wiggins said. “I feel like it was time for a change and this is the best fit that could have happened for me, so I’m happy.”
  • Wiggins hasn’t confirmed one way or the other whether he intends to suit up for Team Canada during the 2020 Olympic qualifying tournament this June. However, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse – who is coaching Canada’s national team – is optimistic that the Warriors forward will participate, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca relays (via Twitter).

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Pacific Notes: Suns, Collison, Green, Holmes

Suns general manager James Jones defended his lack of moves at the trade deadline this past Thursday to The Athletic’s Gina Mizell. “I just felt that we’re building, and I didn’t want to disrupt the continuity,” Jones said. “That’s generally why we didn’t make a move. Our guys are getting better. They’re still developing.”

The Suns are currently seeded 13th in the Western Conference with a 21-32 record. They have not made the NBA playoffs since 2010.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Before Darren Collison observed a Lakers-Rockets Staples Center contest on Thursday next to team owner Jeanie Buss, he had already been in contact with some important LA personnel, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Anthony Davis and executive director of special projects Linda Rambis both spoke with Collison once word broke that the point guard was considering returning to the NBA, following his abrupt retirement in the summer of 2019.
  • Warriors forward Draymond Green joined ESPN’s The Jump on their ABC pregame show last night to discuss the team’s disappointing season (Twitter link). “It’s been [really] fun for me trying to mentor these guys,” Green told Rachel Nichols, Tracy McGrady and Richard Jefferson. He also discussed the team’s addition of pricey wing Andrew Wiggins from Minnesota. “He’s athletic, he can run the floor, he can score the basketball,” Green noted (Twitter link).
  • Injured Kings center Richaun Holmes has been participating in portions of the team’s practices this week, including taking some contact, according to a Kings team statement. An injury to the right shoulder joint has held Holmes out of game action since January 7.

Warriors Notes: Trades, Russell, Looney

Draymond Green admits that the vibe in the locker room in Golden State is different this year because of the trade deadline. There’s a bit of angst among the Warriors‘ players, as he told Hoops Rumors and other media members recently.

“It’s not something that we focus on but we’re all realistic,” Green said. “We understand this business and what could possibly happen.”

D’Angelo Russell, who is being pursued by the Timberwolves,  and Alec Burks, who has drawn interest from the Mavericks, are among the Warriors who could be dealt prior to the trade deadline. Here’s more from Golden State:

  • Russell hears the trade chatter and isn’t letting it faze him, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic relays. “It bothered me when we were further away from [the deadline],” Russell said. “But when we’re closer to it really happening, I’m numb to it. I’m just expecting a phone call. Let me know. … I’m just ready for whatever happens.”
  • The Warriors turned down a Kevin Knox-based package for Russell from the Knicks, according to Brandon Robinson of Heavy.com (Twitter link). Golden State would have wanted Mitchell Robinson and a future unprotected first-rounder for the former All-Star.
  • Kevon Looney, who returned to the court on the Warriors’ current road trip, says he just wants to “get back to feeling like an athlete again” after an injury-plagued season, as Slater relays in a separate piece. While he could be traded before Thursday, Looney hopes to be part of Golden State’s future and prove that he’s worth the three-year, $15MM contract that he inked during the offseason. “You get paid and you want to prove your worth,” Looney said. “You want to show the team they made a smart investment in you.”

 

Pacific Notes: Bagley, Clippers, Green, Suns

Kings forward Marvin Bagley III will miss the next few games after suffering a mid-foot sprain to his left foot, the team announced on social media.

Bagley sustained the injury with 4:05 remaining in the third quarter during Sacramento’s game against Minnesota on Thursday. He exited the contest in pain and was wearing a walking boot post-game. He saw a foot specialist on Friday to diagnose the injury.

Bagley’s injury adds to what’s already been an injury-riddled season for the Kings. The team holds a 12-20 record on the year, mostly playing without Bagley and talented third-year guard De’Aaron Fox.

Bagley, the No. 2 overall pick in 2018, has averaged 13.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 23.6 minutes per game in nine contests for the Kings this season. Sacramento has upcoming games scheduled against Denver on Sunday and the Clippers on Tuesday, followed by a three-game homestand starting January 2.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers are believed to have interest in Bulls forward Thaddeus Young with the February 6 trade deadline nearly a month away, writes Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, citing anonymous NBA sources. Los Angeles could include Maurice Harkless in a deal ahead of the deadline, with Harkless making $11MM in the final season of his contract. “I just focus on what I’ve got going on here. That’s the only thing I can control,” Harkless said. “If I let myself worry about that stuff. … Man, I’ve been in the league long enough where I know how it goes. If it comes to that day, I’ll deal with it when I get there.” Rival executives believe the Clippers are targeting a physical center ahead of the deadline, according to Woike.
  • Nick Friedell of ESPN.com examines how Draymond Green is navigating his new Warriors world, one without the likes of Stephen Curry (broken left hand), Klay Thompson (torn ACL rehab), Andre Iguodala (Grizzlies), Kevin Durant (Nets) and others. The new-look Warriors have posted a 9-25 record on the season with four straight victories, coping with several different injuries to key players. “I got the same mental preparation for a game that I’ve ever had,” Green said plainly. “It’s the same. I don’t [prepare differently] in terms of who’s playing, who’s on the court.”
  • Gina Mizell of The Athletic takes a close look at how the Suns snapped a surprising eight-game losing streak, defeating the Kings 112-110 on the road behind Devin Booker‘s 32 points, 10 assists and two steals. Suns coach Monty Williams held a team meeting on Saturday morning for players to clear the air and work together on how to improve, receiving positive feedback from the group. “We kind of just put it all out on the table,” Oubre said. “The long story short was we all just have to hold each other accountable a little bit more. … If we’re not doing the right things, (we told Williams), ‘Do what you have to do. Take us out, show us a lesson, call us up or just motivate us. Monty’s good for that. He’s good for allowing us to unload — keeping it real, just letting us get things off our chest whenever we need to.”

Pacific Notes: Hield, Shamet, Ayton, Green

Kings guard Buddy Hield, who signed a four-year extension worth up to $106MM last month, had been in somewhat of a shooting slump prior to his 41-point eruption on Monday, Jason Jones of The Athletic notes. Hield was averaging 19.0 PPG on 40.9 percent shooting overall and 37.7 percent from deep before he drained 11 3-pointers against the Celtics. Last season, Hield averaged 20.7 PPG on 45.8 percent shooting and 42.7 percent from 3. Hield wasn’t worried about the dip in numbers and with good reason.

“I’m getting the shots; I just need to put them down,” Hield said over the weekend. “I’m shooting the ball confidently — every shot I think I’m going to make. Yeah, the numbers, the shooting percentages don’t look right, but shooting 38 percent from 3 is not bad. But it’s bad for me because people have high expectations for me, and I have really high expectations for myself.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers guard Landry Shamet is unlikely to return during the team’s upcoming three-game road trip but he’s showing progress, coach Doc Rivers told Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link). Shamet suffered a left ankle sprain two weeks ago. The second-year guard was averaging 9.1 PPG in 29.4 MPG over 10 appearances this season prior to the injury.
  • Suns center Deandre Ayton is making good use of his time while serving out his 25-game suspension, Gina Mizell of The Athletic reports. He has been working out with the team and participating in meetings and film sessions. Coach Monty Williams has noticed Ayton’s added muscle through weight-room sessions with the strength and conditioning staff, Mizell adds. “It’s a really good time for him to grow,” Williams said. “Not just as a basketball player, but to reflect on a number of things. And it’s a great time for us to put our arms around him and show him that we are a family.”
  • Forward Draymond Green is trying his best to display leadership during the Warriors’ injury-related struggles, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. “For me, it can go one of two ways,” Green said. “You can either not have perspective and lose the trust of all these young guys and fail them as a veteran leader. Or you can still try to get everything out of them while teaching them, while trying to win games, but understanding it’s much bigger than that.”

Western Notes: Burks, Williams, Doncic

When Alec Burks signed with the Warriors, not many people expected him to play 27.0 minutes per game. Even fewer expected him to be one of the most reliable scorers on the team. However, injuries have opened the door for him to take on a greater role.

“I definitely knew he could score,” Draymond Green said (via Logan Murdock of NBCSports.com). “When he’s been on any team, he comes off the bench and he gets it going. Going downhill, getting to the basket and I think he’s definitely improved his jump shot”

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans have endured a bevy of injuries this season and Kenrich Williams has stepped up when they needed him the most, as Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com relays. “He makes winning plays, and that’s why we have to have him on the court,” said coach Alvin Gentry. “So we inserted him back into the lineup. I never even look at his stat line, because he just helps you win basketball games.”
  • Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com details the ever-evolving relationship between Rick Carlisle and Luka Doncic. Some within the league were skeptical that the pairing would work long-term given Carlisle’s propensity to be harsh on point guards, but the Mavericks are confident that the right coach is in place. “When we had people here who didn’t think they needed to learn anything, that’s when we’d run into conflicts,” Owner Mark Cuban said. “Luka is a sponge, on the court and off.”
  • Carlisle believes in Doncic, which wasn’t the case for Dennis Smith Jr. and Rajon Rondo were they were on the Mavericks, MacMahon passes along in the same piece. The ESPN scribe hears that Carlisle expressed concern about Rondo’s fit before the Mavs traded for him.

Western Notes: Russell, D. Green, Korver, Zion

Winter weather played a factor in D’Angelo Russell‘s decision to choose the Warriors over the Timberwolves in free agency this summer, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

The Timberwolves initially appeared to have the upper hand, led by Karl-Anthony Towns, one of Russell’s best friends, and Pablo Prigioni, one of his favorite assistant coaches with the Nets. However, the Warriors swooped in on June 30 with a maximum-salary offer as part of a sign-and-trade involving Kevin Durant.

“I thought the opportunity here was amazing … ” Russell said of the Timberwolves on Friday. “But then when this (Warriors) opportunity came, the weather is way better, so that helped me. … I did my first winter in New York and that was tough. So to get the opportunity to go somewhere where it’s warm again, I think that played a major part in my plan.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors are still months away from getting Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back, but it appears Draymond Green is ready to return to the lineup. Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets that Green is “trending toward” returning on Monday vs. Utah after missing five games due to a torn ligament and small bone chip in his left index finger.
  • It was an eventful offseason for veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who was traded from the Jazz to the Grizzlies to the Suns, then was released by Phoenix before signing with Milwaukee. As Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune writes, Korver admitted he was surprised by the initial trade out of Utah. “Yeah, definitely caught me off-guard. Like I said, I’ve been traded a few times before — very rarely do you see it coming,” Korver said. “You know, the NBA is a beautiful job for a lot of reasons; living stability is not one of them.”
  • Pelicans fans anxiously awaiting Zion Williamson‘s debut will almost certainly have to wait until at least December, as head coach Alvin Gentry recently confirmed that a November return date would be “ambitious” (Twitter link via Andrew Lopez of ESPN). Williamson, who is recovering from meniscus surgery, said last week that his knee is “getting stronger day by day” and is confident he’ll still have plenty of opportunities to contribute over the course of the 82-game season, writes Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com.

Alex Kirschenbaum contributed to this post.

Warriors Notes: Future, Russell, Green, Looney

No matter how poorly this season turns out for the Warriors, the franchise is in good position for the future, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Golden State has seen a nightmarish run of injuries dating back to last year’s NBA Finals, and while none of the currently active players were on the roster last season, the situation gives the front office time to assess what they have before trying to jump back into title contention in 2020/21.

Windhorst notes that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all in the prime of their careers and are under long-term contracts. In addition, the first-round pick the Warriors owe Brooklyn in 2020 is top-20 protected and seems in no danger of conveying. It could wind up high in the lottery and provide another building block for the future. Also, Golden State holds a $17MM trade exception from the Andre Iguodala deal that doesn’t expire until July 7, and the franchise has the top source of revenue in the league thanks to a new arena.

The team also has a prime trade asset in D’Angelo Russell, who becomes eligible to be dealt on December 15. Windhorst believes the Warriors can get another first-round pick and at least a role player for Russell, who is in position to be showcased once he returns from an ankle injury. He adds that if no deal can be reached by the trade deadline, Russell should keep his trade value for the summer.

Willie Cauley-Stein and Alec Burks, who signed with Golden State expecting to be part of a playoff team, suddenly look like valuable trade assets as well, Windhorst adds.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Golden State started three rookies for the third consecutive game tonight, and coach Steve Kerr told Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that the immediate focus will be on player development. “While we have guys out, we have to try to bring along our young players, help them develop and give them every opportunity to develop into rotation players, maybe even starters,” Kerr said. “If we can do that, that makes this a successful season or half season, however long it is. And we have a leg up when guys get healthy again.”
  • Green, who has a torn ligament in his left index finger, didn’t accompany the team on its current road trip, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. He won’t return to action until Monday at the earliest.
  • The Warriors are encouraged by the latest tests on Kevon Looney, who is undergoing treatment for a neuropathic condition, Slater adds (Twitter link). The team believes he will be able to play again this season, but he has been ruled out for the next two weeks.

Draymond Green Has Torn Ligament, Will Miss Several Games

Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters today that the injury to Draymond Green‘s left index finger has been diagnosed as a torn ligament, tweets Logan Murdock of NBC Sports. Kerr said Green will be sidelined for “the next few games.”

Green hurt the finger during Friday’s loss to the Spurs and had his hand wrapped after the game. Kerr talked about limiting Green’s minutes for the rest of the season even before the diagnosis, which turned out to be severe enough to keep him out of action for a while.

The news continues a terrible run of injury luck for Golden State, which started the season without Klay Thompson and lost Stephen Curry for at least three months with a broken left hand. Also ailing are Kevon Looney, who is consulting with a specialist for a neuropathic condition, and offseason addition D’Angelo Russell, who sprained his right ankle last night in the midst of a 30-point outing, his best game since joining the Warriors.

Tim Kawakami of The Athletic notes that none of the 15 players who took the court for Golden State in last season’s playoffs will be available for tonight’s game (Twitter link).