Kerr: Lamb “would’ve been a Don Nelson favorite”
[+notes/quotes/video from Warriors-Timberwolves]
Below are the notes, quotes and video from the Golden State Warriors’ win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, plus practice yesterday, plus some league news since then, all in the usual reverse chronological order.
At the risk of getting blank stares by newer Warriors fans (you know, after Don Nelson’s last stint with the #WeBelieve team), Steve Kerr made a reference to Nellie-ball in his assessment of Anthony Lamb.
LetsGoWarriors is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Incidentally he also mentioned the names MPJ (aka Michael Porter, Jr.) and KD (aka Kevin Durant) when talking about Patrick Baldwin, Jr., although he said that with the caveat that he wasn’t making direct comparisons, so be sure to peruse the quotes below for that. I’ll cover PBJ in more detail later and probably repeat that paragraph if and when I do.
Lamb has recently been chastised on Twitter for his help on a dribble penetration, would left the strong side corner open for a dagger three in a recent loss. Draymond Green inadvertently made things worse by mentioning it on the postgame podium, although ironically a game later, he did praise Lamb for a critical charge taken that led to a win (caveat: iirc — I believe it was the game after but would need to be a better journalist and double-check that if I had time; good thing I’m not thumb-typing this on the New York Times’ website lol).
Here’s the thing: 1) we are talking about a two-way player and the 15th spot. But this year, the 15th spot is under the microscope because it’s really viewed as the 13th spot with Andre Iguodala being out so long and Ryan Rollins’ surgery, and of course Kerr elevating both Lamb and Ty Jerome into the rotation when things got hairy after the 0-5 road trip to start the season. Also, the whole “we need a big man” groaning on the bluebird app is a complex issue with a bunch of dominoes falling and outside the scope of this pregame write-up, so I’ll table that for later.
2) Social media zealots love bullying the easy target. If Klay Thompson’s self-proclaimed “idiotic” turnovers do far less harm to his Internet rep than one by Lamb.
And so 3) Lamb has far surpassed the expectations of a two-way player, that cannot be denied, and as for the defensive “lapses”, I wouldn’t even call them “lapses”. Lamb has great natural instincts on the help rotation.
The problem is, sometimes — and only sometimes — he mistrusts his teammate and helps when he shouldn’t. He shouldn’t be crucified for that just like Klay shouldn’t be crucified for a couple boneheaded mistakes here and there. The body of work is there. And as Lamb said on the podium yesterday, “I can help you win,” bottom line.
Do you know how hard it is to teach NBA rotation help? First of all it is completely different than all other levels due to the typical baseline help in The League and the restricted circle. Secondly it is obviously not taught at any other level. In fact, many players go through their entire AAU, high school, and college tenures not being taught any of it, probably due to market pressures [cough cough Jordan Poole, which is actually why his defensive problems don’t infuriate me like they do WarriorsTwitter].
I remember in 2020 at one practice at Oracle Performance Center, the basement of Chase, where Ron Adams was basically teaching NBA Rotation Help 101 to the likes of Eric Paschall, Ky Bowman, and Marquese Chriss, just to name a few. I literally felt like I was back at a basketball camp. Everybody freeze, walk through slow motion where offensive guys are, re-position guys to be in the right place defensively.
And so with Lamb, he comes prepackaged with a higher floor for defense. That’s something that can get better and better. Part of Draymond’s light criticism of Lamb had to do with the fact that Green is the undisputed free safety on the back line. For another guy to do something a free safety did, that’s kind of stepping over the line. But Lamb will get to earn that. And he’s ahead of all the young guys on that front.
That makes him the 10th-best defender on the team after Dray, Gary Payton II, Andrew Wiggins, Loon, Klay, Donte DiVincenzo, Jonathan Kuminga, Stephen Curry, and Andre Iguodala are ahead of him if we were to rank it. Not bad for a two-way. Actually kinda impressive on a team with so many worthy All-Defense type guys.
So with the injured guys out (let’s assume Dray is healthy tonight), Lamb becomes — count them! — the sixth-best defender on the team. And that’s why you see him on the floor late in games when so many guys are inactive.
But I get it, casuals never really worry about help defense, Lamb doesn’t run the floor like a gazelle, and I’m sure the whole off-the-court issues have tainted his overall likability, but let me put it this way: As of today, I trust Lamb more for weakside help rotation than I do Kuminga. It is what it is.
Some of the Kerr interview from yesterday is repeated, as we had the Kevon Looney and Jordan Poole quotes covered in the previous article to this.
LEAGUE NEWS IMPACTING GSW
• Warriors host the New Orleans Pelicans in three days: Pelicans say Zion Williamson continues to make progress, will update next week when imaging occurs. Jose Alvarado has a stress reaction in his right tibia. He will be re-evaluated in three weeks. Timeline to return updated later. Larry Nance will be re-evaluated in two weeks. (Andrew Lopez)
• Warriors head down south for their last rematch against the LA Lakers in five days: Sources: There's fear Lakers star LeBron James is likely to miss an extended period of time with his right foot injury. James suffered the injury in Sunday's win over Dallas, played through it, and belief is he will be sidelined an indefinite amount. (Shams Charania)
• For the casuals who want to throw Bob Myers under the bus for the James Wiseman pick: Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball suffered a fracture in his right ankle. (Chris Haynes)
• In the distant future we might see the Elam Ending for NBA overtime games: The NBA has been testing the Target Score for G League overtimes this season (and fourth quarters at the Showcase in Vegas). It could make its way to the NBA, but more likely just for OT to limit broadcast time and reduce spikes in player minutes (Eric Pincus)
DISCLAIMER: These are all just notes for my main workflow of YouTube videos, mostly transcribed by me shortly after the interviews and during my coverage of postgame on our livestreams (!). Sometimes I’ll just use what’s tweeted by beatwriters, as listed. The links to the tweets are not available because sometimes I don’t use the full tweet and just having a ton of tweets on this website imo isn’t aesthetically pleasing and gets away from the main goal: transferring information (not so much entertainment) to the brains of DubNation asap.
• Ty Jerome after practice on the mentality for a two-way: “Same mentality… day by day approach, I’m not really thinking about the future, the end of the season.”
• On having an opportunity with so many guys out: “That’s a fact. I don’t even think that’s an opinion. This is the second time this season where we’ve had Steph and Wiggs out… Draymond… Utah… Steph, Wiggs and Klay out… yesterday was very good.”
• On having Virginia head coach Tony Bennett’s voice: “All the time, all the time. I speak to him every few weeks. I watch them whenever I can. The lessons that he taught me have stayed with me.”
• On what he learned from Bennett: “The focus, the day by day approach and the love for the process… figuring out what matters and what doesn’t matter… He barely curses. If he yells, he apologizes after.”
• On Bennett holding the record for best career NCAA three-point percentage at 49.7%: “He still has it… I’ve seen him shoot, mostly midrange… he still has a pretty form. He could still play, probably.”
• On what kind of character he wants to have: “Just who I am. I wanna be the same guy every day… the season is so long, you never wanna get too high or get too low.”
• Anthony Lamb on what body of work he’s shown: “I just hope that I’ve shown my ability to impact the Warriors… whole point of converting me this year… I can help you win.”
• On how much he thinks about the 50-game limit: “I think it’s like two games… crazy… especially with the way we’ve been playing lately, try to be with the guys… let the cards fall where they may… stay locked in… I’d deal with that as that comes too. I guess the future is for the future.”
Klay workout, Steve having the sit-down with JP and Bob jogging around while Steph works out, in the video above.
Curry workout, JaMychal Green, and Dray in the video above from practice yesterday, all set to Afrobeats music — which I will write about more in a future article — the day after JK, Steph and Klay met with recording artists Olamide, Fireboy DML, and Asake (which is part of the behind-the-scenes video below).
• Klay Thompson postgame as he chows down on popcorn, on pulling out wins without main guys: “kinda resembles the run we had to go on last year when Steph and Draymond were out… young guys stepping up… playing through adversity, we’re not hanging our heads.”
• On the stakes of each game: “from here on out especially… we have a nice homestand… incredibly important.”
• On banking in the three: “rare… sometimes you get the shooter’s role. Huge shot too, and it was a two (as he chows down the rest of his cup of popcorn).”
• On Donte: “What a complete game by Donte… his three-point shooting has been great… showing why he was coveted… using his voice.”
• On yelling at their bench: “having fun with one of their assistants, Joe Boylen… here my second year… everytime I see him he’s always chirping… you should see him play pickup, it’s ridiculous.”
• On controlling the offense more: “I don’t feel burdened at all… I love the challenge… that’s when basketball is the most fun is when you have to extend yourself and play outside your comfort zone.”
• On if he’s scoreboard-watching: “Yeah, it comes with the job. Gotta be aware.”
• On if he blocked McLaughlin’s shot: “I don’t think so. I contest with all my might so it’s gotta count for something.”
• On what happened with those turnovers at the end: “Be sure with the ball. Unfortunately I made two idiotic plays… uncharacteristic of myself… happy we got the win.”
• Kevon Looney postgame on Q4: “We were just getting stops… first quarter… fouling a little bit… weren’t able to get into transition… play with pace.”
• On holding them to less than 40% shooting Q4: “trying to do that all year… especially on the road… at home when the crowd gets behind us… extra little bit of juice… put it together throughout the whole game.”
• On overcoming 18 points in Q3: “know who we are… control what you can control… turnovers… fouling.”
• On surviving right now without key guys: “we know every game is gonna be important especially at home… play our style and compete at the highest level… we have enough talent, we showed that tonight… stay in the flow.”
3:30 • Minnesota head coach Chris Finch postgame on Klay: “Well I mean he’s a great player and he’s really found his form, looks like he’s fully back in a lot of ways. He’s going to make shots and some of those shots you just gotta live with and you know we’re prepared to live with those, bank three from the corner was a little bit of a back breaker at the time. But yeah we battled him and he didn't get a ton of clean looks I’ll say that, but he doesn’t need a lot of time or space.” (Warriors PR)
4:15 • On the Warriors: “Feels like we got good looks… they’re a good switch team, kinda bogged us down for a little bit there.”
• Anthony Lamb in-studio postgame recap: “The biggest thing was just getting stops… going into the fourth quarter down ten… it showed up in the fourth.”
• On emphasizing the defense: “We got some stops.”
• On the bad Q3: “They were hitting shots and we weren’t.”
• On the weakside defense: “being pulled over early gives you the opportunity to stop the drive… then you scramble out on the backside… I’m not the most athletic guy but if I’m in position early.”
• On guys stepping up like Klay: “we’re finding our flow together as a team. That’s very empowering… earlier in the year we would’ve folded… even without three of our best guys… against a team that was giving us the business earlier in the game.”
• On the two-way limit: “(not my role)”
• On Donte: “I just know he’s a winner… his ability to hit big shots… not afraid of any moment… helped me with my defense and my reps… talk me through… he’ll set me straight.”
• On Looney: “whenever I have Looney behind me I know we’re gonna get that rebound.”
• On what playing at Chase is like: “I’ve never seen an arena like this… they started booing the other team… I couldn’t hear anything else (the Austin Rivers flop).”
• Steve Kerr postgame on the Q4 grittiness: “Our defense was much better, much more active… Donte was brilliant… Klay got hot… 31-17… convert the other way.”
• On Donte: “He’s a winner. Final Four MVP… I think he won two championships when he was there… Milwaukee… he just fills up the boxscore… he’s everything, he just brings it every game… relentless… really fun to coach him.”
• On the guys stepping up: “I was a bench player… in some ways it’s sort of liberating… everyone knows they’re gonna play… go out and swing away… after the slow start our guys got to a point where they just competed, didn’t worry too much about the result.”
• On Klay creating shots: “There’s also much more of a need for it. If we have Steph out there we’re not gonna do it as often… his shooting range… we’re relying on him heavily right now… pick and roll game and beat people off the dribble.”
• On Klay’s growth as a leader: “Klay is really stepping up on the leadership front. He’s been more vocal… encouraging the guys… recognizes he’s much needed in that role.”
• On the defensive numbers: “Sometimes shots go in and sometimes they don’t… a game that we earned… all we can do is look forward… keep competing, see what happens.”
• On the grit to appear more consistently: “Get out of our own heads and just compete together… no hanging of the heads, just go play.”
• On going to zone in entire Q4: “We came into the game knowing we wanted to mix up our coverages and give them some different looks… next game could be totally different… search… find something… stay with it.”
• On the two-way spots: “That realization happened a long time ago… helped us win Lamb does a whole lot of stuff a lot of people (don’t recognize)… (defense and rotations) small 5… he and Kuminga have been a great combination… 4 steals, 3 assists (for Jerome) that’s kinda what Ty does… Andre’s absence, Ryan Rollins’ surgery, we need the depth.”
• On closing the game out: “Yeah, I mean, we’ve got control of the game, we've lost a couple of those this year and you just don't want to see what's on the other side of the door. You got to finish the deal. We had, I don't know, two or three turnovers in that stretch. I should’ve taken a time out when we had the ball full court and we got the turnover. I think (Anthony) Lamb was throwing it to Klay (Thompson) and they got a little mixed up. I think Klay cut the other way as Lamb made the pass. I probably should have taken a timeout there and advanced it. We got the job done anyway, so that's a little bit nerve-wracking, but we finished.” (Warriors PR)
• On if wins like tonight are more important with the core out: “This is a huge win, not only for the standings but for the confidence of the guys. That was a team win. I mean everybody came in there and competed and played well. We're down 10, I think, in the 4th and to make that comeback against that team, that we are tied with in the standings, just an enormous win. Winning the other night, obviously, they’re all big, but I like this one for the grit that we had to show to get it done.” (Warriors PR)
• Donte DiVincenzo postgame: “it’s huge for our confidence… home stretch around New Year, same sort of thing… when those big dogs come back we’re clicking in the second unit… not that huge difference in gap like there was in the beginning of the season.”
• On Klay: “He made some really good reads tonight… hit Loon on the dive… once he gets it going, he’s shootings over two people… two big ones.”
• On the Q4 turnaround: “Heart. Honestly. We stayed within 10 for a while in that third quarter. Anywhere from nine to 12, we knew that is a quick turnaround in the NBA. We had to keep our heads up. We know that when we are up nine and 12, the game is not over, the other team is going to keep fighting. That was the message during the timeout, just to keep fighting. We are right there. We are in fighting distance. We came out and we hit like four-straight threes and layups and made that run. They had to call two timeouts. Once we changed that everyone kind of picked that up, picked it up in their confidence, their energy picked up, and we closed out the game.” (Warriors PR)
• Klay Thompson postgame on-court with Ros Gold-Onwude for ESPN, on holding on for the win: “That’s on me. Two bad turnovers under four minutes. That’s uncharacteristic of myself but I’m proud of every single guy on the squad. We gotta win ugly… JP stepping up… Donte making the clutch shot. Lamb, top of the three. Looney, a double-double machine. Collective effort.”
• On what he’s unlocked in his game since the New Year: “Ha! A lot of individuals calling me washed and the best years are behind him. That just fuels me to keep going. I had some early-season struggles. I wasn’t in the best shape but now I’m feeling like myself again and I feel like I can do anything with the ball in my hands as far as scoring. Continue to build.”
• On the team leaning on him with stars out: “I love the challenge. These other guys getting reps is just gonna make us stronger come postseason. Strength in Numbers has been what we’ve been all about a whole decade now, so if the usage rate goes up, I’m up for meeting the challenge… let it fly… fly around these screens and just have fun.”
• Donte DiVincenzo halftime on-court: “We dug the hole in the first quarter.”
• On the boards: “in particular me when they get down hill we gotta get to the rim.”
• On Ant Edwards only having four points: “you’re not gonna stop him… make him make tough ones.”
• Kevon Looney on-court postgame recap: “protect home court… group effort… it was my job… glass.”
• On all the guys being out: “everybody has to step up. Klay’s been showing out… be more of an anchor, talk more… following Klay.”
• On Klay having the best two months of his career: “Showing why he’s a future Hall of Famer, should’ve been Top 75… always fun to see him get hot… gonna need him to keep doing it.”
• On Donte playing like him: “leadership, toughness on the defensive end… carrying us in the second unit… why he’s a champion in college.”
The last clip in the above is where JK meets the Afrobeats artists, who are all signed by Empire Distribution CEO and native of San Francisco, Ghazi Shami.
3:45 the whole notion of Draymond Green being injured because of wear and tear. Is this a shot a Steve Kerr? Because we don't have a big?
11:15 poll: is Draymond's injury based on wear and tear or was it more of a freak injury? If you're gonna call that wear and tear, why not call the Steph Curry injury wear and tear. This is a designed plot by negative people on Twitter to tear down Steve Kerr and Bob Myers.
13:00 same thing with PBJ: how would you as a coach have given PBJ minutes when we had our full lineup healthy? Don't forget the depth chart from Game 6 at Boston (instead of Otto Porter it was Jonathan Kuminga and instead of GP2 it was Donte DiVincenzo)
25:45 JK has a way of getting the clutch shot a la Kawhi 9min15 Q1
23:00 Ty Jerome in early with 7min50 (was the last swing by Minny JP's fault?), or was JP subbed out to have more stagger with Klay?
24:00 Jerome helped on Klay in the post, makes no sense
29:30 Tony Brothers falls for Austin Rivers' flop 5min30, I disagree with Fitz that a challenge would've yielded a layup
34:00 analysis of Donte's turnover earlier (rather subpar play so far)
36:30 3min15 JaMychal three is why we got him and not a "big"
45:30 PBJ and both two-ways start Q2
46:30 we need more basketball in basketball, as Klay commits what looks to be like a ghost foul and the camera stays on Klay looking up at the jumbotron at the replay we are waiting for
48:15 11min05 refs abuse spirit of the rule on hanging on the rim
10min11 56:30 give credit to JP for being super-resilient on the ankle tweaks
1:04:00 4min00 JK fails to get back and help on Looney's man Naz Reid who scores easily and Kerr yells at bench, particularly PBJ in the teaching moment, GP2 nods
1:05:00 3min19 Ant Edwards telling Garza how to box out without moving after Loon got the oreb
1:06:45 good effort with 2min51 down one after JK scoop, if we had this effort vs the Lakers we would've won although MIN does not have that superstar (yet), Kerr also gives JK the teaching moment that was initially directed at PBJ
1:09:00 Kerr's teaching moment: the difference now is that we have no choice but to play JK. Earlier in the season, we had a full roster and if you screwed up, with our "chasing wins" record, you had to pull JK from the game
1:16:00 0min53 JK with a Draymond pass to Klay in transition PLAY OF THE GAME
0min20 Rivers misses both, basketball gods!!!
1:28:00 DIATRIBE ON POSITIVITY AND THE STRESS CAUSE DOMINOES OF NEGATIVITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
1:47:00 4min58 Q3 JK has to know that the double gives HIM the advantage, had Loon wide open vs Conley on the double in the post
1:51:15 Brothers has been awful today 2min37 box-out foul on Lamb vs Reid was nowhere where the ball bounced
2min10 no call by Brothers on the reach on J-MIke's rebound
2:08:00 analyzing Donte-Looney switch that never happened that led to a threee that made it 94-84
2:14:45 Lamb is usually in the right spot, good HELP instinctive player
2:16:00 ELEVATORS!!! 6min14
2:20:00 5min07 no need for Klay to reach in
2:24:00 99-99 wonder if Lawler's Law still is in effect in this era
2:27:45 Jason Remolona is the Fist of DubNation, onscreen, but one time I didn't agree with his criticisms of Draymond esp as Jason has played in my basketball league
2:29:00 1min33 Klay 3 challenged has a Bill Kennedy high-five
2:31:30 1min32 Brothers calls a jump foul on Loon
2:34:00 if you throw Lamb under the bus 0min24 for the terrible pass, gotta throw Klay under for the same one before that
2:37:30 jump ball Donte is because we don't have athletic guys that can make free throws and they do plus length 0min6.7
2:40:00 hard to practice inbounds, plus it's a very unathletic free-throw shooting squad, so I can't really blame Steve for the last few incapable inbound plays
2:48:00 Dean Chambers: "Loon should on an All-Defensive team. Top 10 big in the league."
2:57:30 Donte having turnovers and things like that, at least in the clutch moments, he makes clutch plays (but yeah he's still a bench player)
• Warriors F/C Draymond Green (knee) has been downgraded from questionable to out vs. Timberwolves. Steve Kerr at pregame said it “flared up today” unexpectedly. Called it a setback. Training staff will get more of a look today. Probably an MRI or X-ray: “He will be more thoroughly checked out today by our medical staff. It was sort of unexpected. The way he came through treatment yesterday everything was was looking good and he had a setback today.” (Monte Poole, Anthony Slater, Madeline Kenney, Kerith Burke)
• With Draymond Green out again tonight, Steve Kerr says they'll stick with last game's starting lineup: Poole, Klay, Kuminga, Looney and DiVincenzo. (Tim Kawakami)
I’ll try to add the belated Houston Rockets video to the previous Warriors-Rockets post later.
LetsGoWarriors is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.