Otto Porter

California Notes: Porter, Warriors, Looney, A. Ranadive

Warriors reserve forward Otto Porter Jr. is “probable” to suit up for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said that Porter was a full practice participant on Tuesday, according to Andrews.

Porter missed Game 6 of the Warriors’ Western Conference Semifinals due to right foot soreness, a 110-96 Golden State victory. The 6’8″ veteran forward has proven to be a sharpshooting backup for the Warriors, and will reach free agency this summer.

There’s more out of California:

  • The Warriors made a mint during the first two rounds of the playoffs. Golden State netted about $7MM in gross box office per home game en route to a Western Conference Finals return, according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, who says that number will increase this round. This season marks the first time since the team’s 2019 Finals run that the Warriors have made the playoffs at Chase Center. The Warriors made the play-in tournament in 2021 but did not advance to the playoffs.
  • It appears possible that the Warriors could start center Kevon Looney to begin the Western Conference Finals to counter Mavericks big man Dwight Powell, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter video link). “Loon will play a big role,” Kerr said. “He played well against Dallas in the regular season. We’ll see what that means in terms of combinations, starters, all that.”
  • Kings owner Vivek Ranadive‘s daughter Anjali Ranadive will serve as the assistant GM for Sacramento’s NBAGL affiliate club, the Stockton Kings, per Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 KTXL in Sacramento (Twitter link). Cunningham notes (via Twitter) that the younger Ranadive has already been working with the team’s social responsibility department, and her new position will include player evaluations and development, as well as team strategy.

Steve Kerr Returning To Warriors Bench For WCF Game 1

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and will be available to coach the club in the Western Conference Finals, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Kerr had entered the NBA’s coronavirus protocols ahead of Game 4 in the Western Conference Semifinals series vs. the Grizzlies. Warriors associate head coach Mike Brown, who will depart Golden State’s bench after the season to become the Kings’ head coach, stepped in for Kerr for the final three games of the series. Brown guided the Warriors to an eventual 4-2 second-round series victory.

The Warriors will be playing in their sixth Western Conference Finals since Kerr’s hiring in 2014. Golden State will face the winner of tonight’s Game 7 second-round matchup between the top-seeded Suns and the fourth-seeded Mavericks. Game 1 of the Western Finals is scheduled for Wednesday.

Kerr offered an update on the health of Otto Porter Jr., as well, noting that the Warriors forward did not partake in on-court workouts with the team, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). Porter, who missed the team’s series-clinching Game 6 of the Conference Semifinals due to right knee soreness, was exercising on a stationary bike today, per Slater (via Twitter).

“I talked to him and he said he was feeling better,” Kerr said. “We’re hopeful he will be able to play Game 1.”

According to Andrews (Twitter link), Kerr also offered up an injury update on another Warriors role player, suggesting that guard Gary Payton II may become available to suit up for Golden State at some point during the next round of the playoffs.

“It would be a long shot for him to play, but I think it’s a possibility,” Kerr said.

Payton suffered a left elbow fracture at the hands of Dillon Brooks on May 3, and was initially expected to miss at least three-to-five weeks of game action. A Western Conference Finals return would be on the early side of that timeline.

Warriors’ Otto Porter Jr. Out For Game 6

Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown told reporters, including Mark Medina of (Twitter link), that Otto Porter Jr. will miss Friday’s Game 6 against the Grizzlies. Porter had previously been listed as questionable with right foot soreness.

Brown said he’s contemplating tweaking the rotation with Porter sidelined, with more minutes for Kevon Looney, Jonathan Kuminga and Nemanja Bjelica, Medina tweets.

As Anthony Slater of The Athletic observes, Porter’s absence is a major loss for the Warriors, as he’s been a key cog of Golden State’s best lineups against Memphis. In the second-round series, the Warriors are +45 in Porter’s 106 on-court minutes, and -55 in 134 minutes without him (Twitter links).

In 63 regular season games this season, Porter averaged 8.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals on .464/.370/.803 shooting in 22.2 minutes per night. Those figures seem relatively modest, but the 28-year-old forward is a good rebounder, smart defender and has a high basketball IQ. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

In other Warriors news, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that head coach Steve Kerr, who’s currently in the league’s health and safety protocols, might miss Game 7 if the Grizzlies win tonight. The Warriors currently lead the series 3-2, so it’s an elimination game for Memphis. Kerr still needs to return two negative COVID-19 tests prior to making his return, but he’s been actively involved in creating game plans via phone and video calls, Kawakami notes.

Iguodala Out At Least One More Week; Porter Jr. Questionable

The Warriors have ruled out Andre Iguodala for the remainder of the series against the Grizzlies due to his neck injury, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

Iguodala will be reevaluated in a week, which means he’d also miss the start of the conference finals if the Warriors advance.

The veteran swingman, who only appeared in 31 regular season games due to injuries, hasn’t played since Game 4 of the opening round series against Denver.

Iguodala, 38, is on a veteran’s minimum contract and will be a free agent again at the end of the season.

Otto Porter Jr. is listed as questionable for Game 6 on Friday due to right foot soreness, Slater adds in another tweet. Porter played just 12 minutes in Game 5 after contributing double-digit points in the previous two games.

Warriors Notes: Poole, Porter, Kuminga, Wiggins

Before the controversy over Ja Morant‘s injured knee that dominated the postgame talk after Saturday’s GrizzliesWarriors game, there was already a strong focus on his matchup with Jordan Poole, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. After three days of hearing questions about his defense following Morant’s 47-point explosion in Game 2, Poole responded by taking the ball at Morant repeatedly Saturday night.

Both players were selected in the 2019 draft, but while Morant was the second pick and his path to stardom was quick, Poole was taken at No. 28 and had to live with an early label of being a bust before proving that he can play. He welcomes the opportunity to measure himself against Morant, Thompson writes, and he responded to a challenge laid down by his veteran teammates to keep competing no matter how many times he’s targeted on defense.

“It’s going to keep happening,” Stephen Curry said. “Whether it’s me, him, whoever. That’s the nature of the playoffs. But you just have to take that challenge seriously. You have to have some pride around it, knowing that they are trying to put you in the actions for a reason. That doesn’t mean you’re going to get a stop every time. It just means you did your job.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • The team’s most important offseason addition has turned out to be Otto Porter, who signed a veteran’s minimum contract last summer, according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. Porter’s numbers — 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots — didn’t stand out on Saturday, but he was plus-30 in 24 minutes of action and ranks second on the team at plus-76 in the playoffs. According to Kawakami, Golden State tried to sign Patty Mills and Nicolas Batum to a mid-level deal last summer, but turned to Porter when Mills and Batum chose other teams.
  • Rookie forward Jonathan Kuminga was the newest member of the starting lineup Saturday night, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Coach Steve Kerr wants to keep Poole in a reserve role and there are spacing issues when Kevon Looney plays alongside Draymond Green, so Kerr opted for Kuminga, who scored 18 points and matched up well when he was switched onto Morant.
  • Andrew Wiggins set a personal playoff record with 15 points in the first half Saturday, adding another dimension to the Warriors’ potent offense, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “That’s what we’ve been asking Wiggs to do all year … put your head down and get to the hole,” Green said. “It’s very hard to stop him from getting to the basket. It’s bigger than just dunks. The way he’s been rebounding and the physicality that he’s been playing with and boxing out … he’s been doing an incredible job no matter who he gets matched up on.”

Warriors Notes: Curry, Payton, Porter, Kuminga

Stephen Curry returned to practice for the first time since suffering a strained left foot and a bone bruise four weeks ago, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Today’s session focused on preparation work for the first-round series against the Nuggets. The Warriors are scheduled to scrimmage on Thursday, and coach Steve Kerr said Curry is expected to participate. Kerr added that he wants to see Curry in action during a scrimmage before the team determines whether he’ll play in Saturday’s series opener.

“He’s looking good to scrimmage tomorrow,” Kerr said. “Then we’ll take the next step. His conditioning should be good, so it’s more [of] just the training staff making the decision based on their evaluation of him.”

Golden State’s playoff fate could rest on how Curry performs in that scrimmage and how he feels afterward, suggests Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. There’s not time for Curry to go through the normal steps of returning to action, so the Warriors have to hope his foot responds well after his first serious on-court test since he suffered the injury on March 16.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Gary Payton II would like to re-sign with Golden State next season, but not if he can earn significantly more somewhere else, his father told Sean Deveney of Payton made $1.9MM this year, and Deveney believes his next contract could be worth about $20MM over three seasons. The Warriors already have tax concerns and may not be willing to hand out another sizable salary. “I would never tell my son not to explore something that would be better or would be best for him,” Payton Sr. said. “But I think he understands that Golden State is the best situation for him if there is playing time and they get it right. But if it doesn’t work out, he knows that this is a business and he has to move on.”
  • Otto Porter had a significant injury history before he signed with Golden State last summer, so the team monitored him closely all season long, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The Warriors staff watched his minutes, rested him on back-to-backs and sat him for a few games when his back started to hurt. He hopes to be fresh for the playoffs after playing 63 games, but only averaging 22.2 minutes per night. “Training staff here has a plan,” he said. “It’s worked wonders for me.”
  • The highs and lows that Jonathan Kuminga experienced during his rookie season make him an X-factor heading into the playoffs, observes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

New York Notes: Dragic, Brown, Porter Jr., Randle

Nets guard Goran Dragic has entered the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the team tweets. Dragic has been a rotation piece since signing with the Nets as a free agent, averaging 7.3 PPG and 4.8 APG in 25.5 MPG through 16 games.

Bruce Brown has a non-COVID illness and will also miss Saturday’s contest against the Hawks.

We have more on the New York teams:

Warriors Notes: Green, Thompson, Porter, Iguodala

The Warriors are trying to survive the remainder of the regular season without Stephen Curry, due to his foot injury. They were also without three other key players during their lopsided loss in Memphis tonight. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Otto Porter Jr. sat out the game, as Kendra Andrews on ESPN tweets.

On the flip side, Andre Iguodala played for the first time since February 7 after recovering from a back injury. Iguodala wound up playing 16 minutes.

We have more on the Warriors:

  • In terms of Iguodala, he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic he needs to “crank it up.” Knee and hip issues have also sidelined him prior to the back pain. “It’s like cancer spreading out to different areas,” he said. “Small things. Nerve damage here. Bulging disc there. The pieces never really quite come together. One area will feel really good and then another area (hurts) the next day and you’re starting over with your rehab. It’s frustrating.”
  • When Green returns to action, he’s determined to make a bigger impact. In seven games since he recovered from a back injury, Green has a minus-41 plus-minus rating, Andrews notes. “I’ve just got to grind my way out of it,” Green said. “Make plays and impact the game. That’s why I feel like I’ve been terrible. I don’t feel like my impact has been on the game when it needs to be and normally is. I’ve just got to work my way out of it. Chip away at it every time I step on the court.”
  • Unless Green turns things around, the Warriors are doomed to a have short postseason run, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area opines. Green is one of the few players in the league capable of turning a game, or part of a season, in his team’s favor due to his defensive prowess.

Pacific Notes: Fox, Paul, Warriors, Lue, Westbrook

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox admits that it was “definitely hard” to see second-year guard Tyrese Haliburton depart at last month’s trade deadline, according to Logan Murdock of The Ringer, who says Fox had been planning to mentor his young backcourt partner for years to come.

However, Fox – who is now the Kings’ longest-tenured player – has gotten accustomed to a certain level of turnover since arriving in Sacramento. While his coaches and teammates continue to change around him, Fox himself at least appears to be part of the franchise’s long-term plans.

“The Kings always told us, ‘He’s our guy. He’s our franchise guy. He’s our max player, and we’ll build it around him, man,'” agent Chris Gaston tells Murdock. “That’s what they told everybody else around the NBA is that, ‘Hey, look, you can inquire about De’Aaron all you want, but we’re building around De’Aaron. This is our guy. He’s our main centerpiece.’ And they are true to their word.”

Fox, currently sidelined due to a right hand injury, has shown improvement in his recovery from that injury but hasn’t yet resumed basketball activities, tweets James Ham of ESPN 1320. While Fox is with the Kings on their current road trip, his return isn’t considered imminent, prompting Ham to speculate (via Twitter) that we may have seen the last of Fox and Domantas Sabonis (knee) this season.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Suns point guard Chris Paul has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game, but is doing “more and more” in recent days and is getting closer to returning from his thumb injury, says Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.
  • Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area makes the case that the Warriors should consider replacing Kevon Looney with Otto Porter Jr. in their starting lineup to help jump-start their offense.
  • Since joining the Clippers, head coach Tyronn Lue has emerged from LeBron James‘ shadow and is developing into a star in his own right, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes, examining how Lue has kept his team competitive while missing stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. “When you build a system around your best two players, a lot of stuff we can’t run anymore,” Lue said. “I had to look at the mirror myself and just figure out what’s best for this team. I had to go back to the drawing board.”
  • Criticized for his inability to score efficiently for much of the season, Russell Westbrook has made nearly 50% of his field goal attempts and 40% of his three-point tries in his last six games. Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group wonders if the Lakers are finally getting the version of Westbrook they envisioned when they traded for him last summer.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Thompson, Veterans, Make-Up Game

The season is unraveling for the Warriors at a really bad time, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Golden State fell to the Lakers Saturday night, extending its losing streak to four games for the first time this season. The team has fallen into third place in the Western Conference after going 2-8 in its last 10 games, and Stephen Curry understands that something needs to change.

“We cannot give in to this losing mentality,” he said. “We’re not that team, and I’m not going to let us be that team. … We cannot give in to this losing spirit of just finding different ways to lose basketball games. We have 18 games left, we have to figure out how to turn things around pretty quick.”

The Warriors are dealing with a variety of issue, with the most notable being the absence of Draymond Green, who hasn’t played since January 9 but hopes to be back in “a couple weeks.” However, the problems go beyond Green, Andrews adds, as Golden State has been struggling with missed free throws, a drop in bench production and executing late in games, which coach Steve Kerr blamed for Saturday’s loss.

“I thought we had several chances to really break this game open,” Kerr said. “This has kind of been a pattern during this bad spell for us. We are not stepping on teams when they are down. We are making mistakes and allowing teams to hang around. And when you do that in this league, you’re dead.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Another concern is a shooting slump by Klay Thompson, who is going through his worst stretch since returning from a long injury-related layoff, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Thompson was just 3-of-13 Saturday night, including an important miss on a wide open three in the final two minutes. “Klay’s pressing,” Kerr said. “He got into a pretty good groove over the month or so before the All-Star break, and I feel like the sickness, the illness that kept him out of a couple of games probably affected his conditioning and his timing. So, he struggled the last two games. He’ll get it back.”
  • The Warriors are getting quality minutes from their young players, but many of the veterans they signed during the offseason aren’t producing right now, Slater adds. Andre Iguodala has only played one six-minute stretch since January 20, Nemanja Bjelica is losing his spot in the rotation and Otto Porter Jr. hasn’t been the same since January ended.
  • Kerr expressed frustration over the league’s decision to schedule a make-up game Monday at Denver and said he won’t have Curry, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and possibly a few other players make the trip, according to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. “We are not sending a lot of our players to Denver,” Kerr said. “The decision was pretty easy. Throwing that game (originally scheduled for December 30) into the schedule the way the league did after that game was postponed and then going back to Denver — three games in four nights, with two of those games being back and forth, we’re not gonna put our high-minutes guys at risk.”