Sue Bird

Warriors Notes: Curry, Green, Kuminga, Playoff Seeding

Warriors star Stephen Curry has started shooting as he continues to make progress in his recovery from a sprained left foot, writes Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area. Curry has been sidelined since March 16 and will miss the rest of the regular season.

He is on the court now, getting some shots up,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters Tuesday after practice. “He has been able to ramp things up a bit, and he’s doing well.”

Curry told Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi on ESPN’s “The Bird and Taurasi Show” that he plans to be back for the playoffs.

My goal is to get back for Game 1 of the playoffs,” Curry said Friday. “Injuries suck. The timing is hopefully on your side in terms of getting back to as close to 100 percent as possible, which is my goal. The boys will hold it down to the end of the regular season.”

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Draymond Green is starting to look like himself again after playing in back-to-back games for the first time since returning from a lower back injury, as ESPN’s Kendra Andrews relays. “I think there have been a few plays defensively that I can kind of feel me getting my time and rhythm back and covering up some things,” Green said. “Offensively, I’m starting to find my rhythm, too. I have to find my touch again. But other than that, I’m starting to find my rhythm. … It does feel that over the last few games it’s starting to come together for me.”
  • Rookie Jonathan Kuminga is soaking up knowledge for his first playoff test, Schrock writes in another NBC Sports Bay Area article. “The coaches, everybody, they always talk about it out of the blue,” Kuminga said on Sunday. “So, you just have to listen. Especially when I get a chance to play in certain games with the speed against the good teams, I see it. After the game or at halftime, they’ll be talking about, ‘that’s how the playoffs are going to be. That’s the pressure. That’s how a lot of the crowds will be like.’ As a young player, you’ve got to open your ears and just listen to what people are saying and learn from that. That’s basically what I have been doing pretty much.” Kuminga’s minutes have fluctuated wildly over the past handful of games, but he could be an X factor in the playoffs for a team with championship aspirations.
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic explores five storylines to watch in the season’s final week, including the playoff seedings in the West. The Warriors are currently the No. 3 seed at 50-29 with three games remaining, and with one more win or a Denver loss, the team will clinch a top-four seed. However, the Warriors only hold a one-game lead over Dallas, and Dallas holds the tiebreaker due to a better head-to-head record. The Warriors face the Lakers, Spurs and Pelicans in their last three games, while the Mavs face the Pistons, Blazers and Spurs.

And-Ones: USA Basketball, Scariolo, OTE, 2022 Draft

Martin E. Dempsey has been reelected as the USA Basketball chairperson for 2021-24, the program announced on Monday in a press release. Dempsey, a retired U.S. General, was first named to the role in 2016.

USA Basketball also expanded its Board of Directors from 11 individuals to 15. Kevin Durant, Harrison Barnes, Sue Bird, and NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum are among the most notable members of the board. The board of directors is responsible for overseeing the program and making major USA Basketball decisions, such as naming Grant Hill the managing director of the national men’s team.

We’re still waiting on Hill to announce who will replace Gregg Popovich as the Team USA men’s coach for the next four-year cycle, which will include the 2023 FIBA World Cup and the 2024 Olympics. Steve Kerr is rumored to be the frontrunner.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In an interesting interview with Donatas Urbonas of, former Raptors assistant and current Virtus Bologna head coach Sergio Scariolo spoke about the challenges that European coaches face when trying to get high-level opportunities in the NBA. “I don’t recall many European coaches being there, which is something to think over,” Scariolo said. “‘We want you here, we want you to help, but we’re extremely cautious in giving front-of-the-bench responsibilities to European coaches.'”
  • Scouts came away from Overtime Elite’s Pro Day impressed by how the new developmental program is operating, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who says it’s clearly being run professionally and the level of investment is “substantial.” Among OTE’s prospects, 2022 draft-eligible forward Kok Yat was a standout during the Pro Day scrimmages and figures to show up on more experts’ top-100 lists going forward, Hollinger says.
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report recently released updated versions of their NBA mock drafts for 2022. Vecenie has Duke freshman Paolo Banchero as his No. 1 pick, while Gonzaga freshman Chet Holmgren is atop Wasserman’s mock.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Bird, Westbrook, Presti

Keeping his young core group together is enough to make the Nuggets a prime Western Conference contender, general manager Arturas Karnisovas told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on “The Woj Pod” (hat tip to the Denver Post’s Mike Singer).

“Definitely we’re banking on our continuity,” the Nuggets GM said. “A lot of teams that made changes and added huge pieces and stars, they’re still dealing in hypotheticals. We’ve watched this group show us last year, take us to a 54-28 season, having the best home record, 34-7, so this group is (established) and they’re still the third youngest group in the league.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • Longtime WNBA star Sue Bird has a wide variety of duties as a basketball operations associate with the Nuggets during her league’s offseason, as Alex Coffey of The Athletic details. She observes games and practices, sits in on front office meetings, watches film and helps scouting college and international players. She also provided advice to point guard Monte Morris, which he found insightful. “She helped me stay encouraged when things were getting tough,” Morris said. “She would tell me things she noticed in how I played. It wasn’t always positive. There were times when she was like, ‘This guy’s guarding you this way. Try to counter him this way.’ Just little things like that.”
  • The Thunder have lost superstars before but the trade of Russell Westbrook to the Rockets has left a void, as Brett Dawson of The Athletic details. The bond between Westbrook and the city was stronger than any other star player.
  • Thunder GM Sam Presti remains hopeful the team can be fairly competitive next season despite trading away Westbrook and Paul George, Nick Gallo of the team’s website writes. “It’s going to be a different iteration of Thunder team than we’ve seen over the last several years,” Presti said. “The way we were able to pivot has given us the opportunity to have a much brighter future going forward and still have a team coming back this season that we feel good about.”

Nuggets Hire Sue Bird In Front Office Role

The Nuggets have officially hired WNBA star Sue Bird to their front office staff, the team announced today in a press release. According to the club, Bird will serve as a Basketball Operation Associate in Denver.

“We are very excited to have Sue join our organization,” president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said in a statement. “Her résumé certainly speaks for itself and as a still active player she will offer an extremely unique perspective.”

Bird has familiarity with several people within the Nuggets’ organization, including head coach Mike Malone, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, who tweets that Bird and Malone got to know one another when Bird was rehabbing an injury in New York and Malone was an assistant coach for the Knicks.

Bird, a longtime WNBA player who has earned 11 All-Star nods in 16 seasons, is the latest in a string of female basketball stars hired by NBA franchises. Kristi Toliver (Wizards), Lindsey Harding (Sixers), Jenny Boucek (Mavericks), and – of course – Becky Hammon (Spurs) are among the current or former WNBA players who are now members of NBA coaching staffs or basketball operations departments.

Northwest Notes: Westbrook, Bird, Okogie, Reed

Thunder star Russell Westbrook is nearing his return after missing the team’s first week of action, targeting Sunday’s home game against the Kings, according to ESPN’s Royce Young.

The team currently lists him as out for the game, but cautioned that his status is always subject to change. Should Westbrook miss the game against Sacramento, it’s possible that he makes his return on Thursday against the Celtics.

“A lot of it is him and the medical staff talking to each other and him giving feedback,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “In my conversations with him, it’s always how he’s feeling the next day. And I think for him, he needs to be right because you don’t want to have something lingering. And he knows his body better than anybody else.”

Westbrook underwent a preemptive arthroscopy surgery on his right knee last month, the fifth knee operation of his 10-year NBA career. He held per-game averages of 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists last season, and has played in at least 80 games throughout the past three seasons.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • WNBA star Sue Bird is meeting with the Nuggets executive staff this week, which could turn into a job with the team, Chris Dempsey of reports (Twitter link). Bird is still an active WNBA player, meaning she cannot work full-time with the organization.
  • Timberwolves rookie Josh Okogie played a solid role in the team’s game against Dallas on Saturday, filling in for Jimmy Butler at small forward and showing flashes of potential on both ends of the floor. “I knew where to pick my spots and what my role is when I’m on the court with them,” Okogie said, as relayed by Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I came in the game ready to make an impact. I knew I just had to come to the game, rebound, do the dirty stuff, let the others shine.”
  • The Salt Lake City Stars drafted former NBA center Willie Reed with the No. 1 pick in this year’s G League draft, banking on his experience and close ties to the organization, as written by Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News. The Stars are the G League affiliate of the Jazz, a team that features the likes of Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors and Ekpe Udoh at center.