» Kevin Durant

  • Jan

    (PROGRAMMING NOTE: Due to a prior engagement, there won’t be a live blog from the Mavericks-Warriors game this evening.)

    The NBA unveiled the 18 players scheduled to participate in the Rookie Challenge, and despite the fact that nearly half of the Warriors’ roster was eligible to partake, no Golden State representative will take the floor on Feb. 13.

    The omission of Anthony Morrow is ultimately unsurprising, as he simply hasn’t played enough (he’s 20th on the list of total minutes for rookies, sandwiched between San Antonio’s George Hill and New Jersey’s Ryan Anderson).

    C.J. Watson’s failure to earn a berth on the Sophomore team is a little more head-scratching, however, given who made it. Watson compares favorably in pretty much every category with Sophomore team member Aaron Brooks of Houston, especially in terms of his efficiency – Watson is shooting 46.0 percent to Brooks’ 39.7 from the floor (44.3 to Brooks’ 34.6 on 3-pointers) and has a better assist/turnover ratio, better PER score and more Win Shares.

    But Brooks plays on a team that’s 28-18 instead of 14-31, and that’s why he’s going to Phoenix. I get that.

    Yet there are only two true guards on the team – Brooks and Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey. The league’s assistant coaches filled out the other seven spots with forwards and/or centers. (Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant has played some 2 but is still primarily a 3, and though Wilson Chandler has filled in as an emergency guard for the Knicks, according to 82games.com, he’s had less than 100 minutes there all season).

    Now, I’m a Jeff Green fan, but if you’re going to vote using team record as a criteria, you can’t reward the 10-35 Thunder by putting him out there instead of a third legitimate guard. That’s just ridiculous.

    – Geoff

  • Jan

    By Geoff Lepper

    OAKLAND — In five career games against the Warriors, Kevin Durant has already authored 42- and 41-point performances. Stephen Jackson wants to make certain that doesn’t happen again.

    Jackson said that with Jamal Crawford, who’s averaging 25.9 points per game in January, and Corey Maggette, who’s putting up 24.0 ppg in his new reserve role, holding down the fort on offense, he can go back to putting his emphasis at the defensive end.

    And with Oklahoma City coming to Oracle Arena on Wednesday, that makes Jackson’s next target Durant.

    “At the start of the season I got caught up with trying to make too many plays every time, because I felt like I didn’t have enough help,” Jackson said. “And that caused me to have a poor shooting percentage, more turnovers. Now, I can come down four or five times in a game and not even touch the ball, and we’re still scoring, and just play D. That’s definitely helped me contribute to me playing the whole all-around game on both ends of the court . . . I’m not as tired.”

    Read the rest of this entry. . .

  • Jan

    By Geoff Lepper

    OAKLAND — In 568 career NBA games, Warriors guard Jamal Crawford has only gotten to five fouls on 16 occasions. He has not fouled out once.

    Keith Smart, Golden State’s defensive coordinator, doesn’t see those facts in a positive light.

    “If you don’t get in foul trouble, there’s a reason,” Smart said. “You’re probably not close enough to get a foul. So we’ve got to get him thinking about those things.”

    Crawford is thinking about it. He’s an avid film watcher, and Smart has used those sessions to point out Crawford’s flaws on D since his arrival in November.

    “I definitely could get better,” Crawford said when asked if he was playing up to his potential defensively. “I think my whole overall game could get better, though. I think that I could be a better player. And that’s the way I work, what I’m striving towards.”

    Read the rest of this entry. . .

  • Jan

    By Geoff Lepper

    Warriors forward Brandan Wright is 6-foot-10 and endowed with a 7-foot-3 3/4 wingspan that was just a half-inch short of matching that of the No. 1 pick in his draft class, Greg Oden.

    So why is it that Wright can’t seem to put those tools to use fixing the Warriors’ recurring problems on the defensive glass?

    I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the Warriors’ historically bad defensive rebounding rate (they’re on pace to post the league’s worst DRR since the 1999-2000 Mavericks) and Golden State has barely ticked the meter in seven games since then, upping their mark from 67.0 to 67.1 percent.

    There has been some interesting individual movement, however, as charted here:

    Defensive rebound rate numbers for the Golden State Warriors through 34 games

    Marco Belinelli’s minus-1.8 drop is fairly staggering, but the most distressing item, if you’re a Warriors fan, a Warriors coach or, say, a second-year Warriors forward out of North Carolina, is the erosion of Wright’s defensive rebounding. He now ranks behind Ronny Turiaf (not a huge problem, given Ronny’s improvement of late) and even Corey Maggette, which is a blazing, 40-by-40-foot red flag, given how badly Maggette fared on the boards on his one healthy leg.

    Shockingly, according to data at 82games.com, the Warriors are 4.1 percent worse at defensive rebounding with Wright on the floor (63.1 to 67.2). The only guy on the team with a worse differential than that is Turiaf (62.9 to 67.6).

    The problem came back into focus after the Warriors were ripped yet again by opposing rebounders — this time for 14 offensive boards and 25 second-chance points by Oklahoma City a 107-100 victory Wednesday for the NBA’s worst team.

    Jeff Green had five offensive boards, and Chris Wilcox had four. Wright, meanwhile, had just three defensive rebounds, and while part of that was due to a disparity in minutes — Green played 43:47, Wilcox 36:01 and Wright 19:58 — that’s not the whole story.

    Here’s a collection of observations on the wrongs of Wright’s rebounding against OKC:

    1, 11:17: Wright doesn’t get credit for one, but it sure looks like he blocks Green. In any case, the miss ticks off Wright’s right hand, although it’s eventually scooped up by Belinelli.

    1, 10:08: Kevin Durant beats Belinelli to the R baseline, requiring Andris Biedrins to rotate over and close off the lane. When Biedrins leaves his man, Robert Swift, Wright is stationed about 10 feet from the hoop, looking over his left shoulder at the unfolding play while reaching…

  • Dec

    By Geoff Lepper

    So, how much do you think Warriors coach Don Nelson said he would fine anyone who dribbled downcourt and jacked up a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left on the shot clock against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday? $5,000? $10,000?

    Whatever the case, the price was right in the Warriors’ 112-102 victory.

    Where the Warriors managed to hoist four no-pass 20-footers in the space of nine possessions in the first quarter Saturday, they only did that once in the first quarter on Monday, and even that was by design: C.J. Watson was holding the ball at the end of the quarter, trying to drain as much clock as possible so as not to give Oklahoma one final shot, before hitting his own 18-footer.

    Jamal Crawford was the biggest revelation on that front. Where he had been in the vanguard of the “Dribble, Dribble, Launch” Brigade in San Antonio on Saturday, along with Watson and Corey Maggette, Crawford was much more judicious in the application of his own offense Monday.

    Against a team as pliable as Oklahoma City, Crawford could have gone wild; on Nov. 14 with the Knicks, he took 22 shots in 44 minutes and dropped 29 points on Thunder. But Crawford took only 13 shots Monday, instead choosing to show off his facility at getting Andris Biedrins an open layup off the pick-and-roll or with an unexpected wraparound pass.

    In fact, the Warriors were guilty on occasion of being too unselfish, as when Ronny Turiaf passed up a wide-open dunk to give Kelenna Azubuike an opportunity to show off in his home state, only to be blocked from behind by Kevin Durant.

    That was one of at least four instances of fast breaks gone awry, something that speaks, sadly, to the unfamiliarity of this team with running; it’ll be fascinating to see if Monta Ellis, when he does come back, sparks a renaissance in that area, or if the rest of the reconstituted team will struggle to catch up to his tempo.

    Wright wronged?
    I wasn’t in OKC, so I haven’t talked to Nelson about why Brandan Wright didn’t play in the final 17-plus minutes of the game. It appeared as though the decision stemmed from a couple of misplays: Wright was whistled for a defensive 3-second call at the 5:39 mark of the third that drew Nelson’s ire. And then on the ensuing possession, Wright was in the lane while Russell Westbrook went…