Kerr: Looney “hasn’t been able to get in a rhythm” + tons of other topics heading into Poole’s return
Occasionally there will be an off-day plus no official morning shootaround today, apparently, where it falls on a day where Steve Kerr is on the radio talking to his old buddy Tom Tolbert (as well as 95.7) and they just happen to touch on every burning issue with the Warriors.
I’d say the one people are talking about most is Trayce Jackson-Davis and what his increased minutes (as alluded to by Kerr both on the podium postgame BOS-GSW and below, which is the day after) mean for Kevon Looney.
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And so I cobbled together both radio spots plus an extra one with Jonathan Kuminga because he mentioned Anthony Vereen (again) and I think that’s important. So this is for the diehards of DubNation, but tbh there is a wealth of information and I just love the delivery of the questions by Tolbert. That’s it for now; still owe you that Brandin Podziemski insider post (long overdue, my bad)…
I guess people don’t mind that there was only the audio and no video, as this one has gotten a lot of views so far. That’s good to see, a healthy appetite out there for more in-depth, high IQ, erudite Warriors talk…
TOM TOLBERT, KNBR: (Jokes about Dinosaur Jr.) Fun game. I mean, a fun game last night. Like, obviously it was nice that you guys got the win, but it was just a fun game to watch. And it's funny, like Steph shot obviously was, was huge and Klay played really good. But the thing that really, like I thought about when I was driving home last night with it was just Trayce Jackson Davis and how much of a difference he made … I think the one play that I, it was just like frozen. My mind was his block on Jaylen Brown. Like that was going to be an easy layup and he was in there and got the, got the block. He had a few of them. Rebounded. He ran the court. Although I will say he reminds me of Eric Dickerson because I've never seen anybody run so upright like you may think Eric Dickerson run it on the court. He has no lean to his run it's just like straight up and down but damn, he's been he's been really really good and not only has been good, Steve, it's what you guys need.
STEVE KERR: “Exactly what we need. Yeah, I mean, he's such a different player from Looney and Dario and Draymond and it's one of the reasons Mike Dunleavy and his staff targeted Trayce in college. They saw that he could give us, a different dimension. And I think what I liked so much was just the fact that he played four years of college and was really well-coached. And so, we could see. right away that he was ready to contribute. I mean, he understands the nuances of the game and he does a really good job screening and boxing out, all the fundamentals that take guys a while to master. He's already got that. So we felt like he was ready to play. It was more about just finding the opportunity for him. And now that he's getting his chance, he's showing how good he is.”
What has it been? Because I've noticed, I'm sure you have to. Kuminga over the last 10 days, it was funny because I thought he was, he was losing time and maybe not even gonna be in the rotation and then Wiggins’ finger gets slammed in a car door. He plays, he plays well. And ever since that point, it seems like for whatever reason, there's a light switch that went off. He's more under control. He is rebounding, which is huge. He's running the court. He's playing defense without taking too many chances. Like. To me in the last 10 days, he's just made a bigger leap than I would have ever thought was even possible, but he just looks like a different player than he did even 10 days ago. Do you agree with that?
“Yeah, I do. And I think a few things have happened. We did challenge him and told him, look, we got 12 or 13 guys who can all be in the rotation. Everyone, every one of them could make the case for being out there. And, we told him when we're fully healthy, there's a chance you may not go in and he really responded well to that, because I think the game at home against Portland, he didn't play in the first half. And then, when we put him out there, he took over the game with his athleticism. And so I think that's the biggest thing, is he really responded to the threat of the bench, and, and that's what you want from your young players. You want to see how they respond and he's responded beautifully. And now of course, with Draymond being out, Gary Payton being out, he's getting a bigger opportunity and he's making the most of it, but I agree with you. He's attacking the rim more. He's going towards the rim instead of drift, drifting into space, trying, picking and popping, he's, he's rolling more and he's really made a huge impact here of late. So it's fun to see JK developing.”
And for the most part, he's kind of noticing when there is a crease to attack …the past couple weeks ago, there were times where he tried to force the issue. There was really no crease there, but he was going to force it. Then he'd do his spin move and he'd turn it over. He'd fall down. The ball would pop up and it would be kind of a mess. But for the most part, it seems like he's noticing. Okay, when I have an advantage, I can take it. And if you don't have an advantage, it's okay just to move the ball and go set a screen somewhere.
Yeah, exactly. I mean, simplifying the game. but I think it's hard to simplify things when you have that kind of athletic ability because you just feel like you can get anywhere. It's why the game was always simple for me from the very first moment I picked up a ball.”
Yeah, both of us. Yes. Yeah, absolutely.
“So it was just, if you make the simple plays, Yeah. So, I just think he is making quicker decisions. And last night he had a couple of plays where he had an open shot and he quickly swung it to Klay, where everybody on the bench is like, yes, that's the one, and no hesitation. Attacking the rim when he sees the scene, not attacking when there's nothing there. Decisions are sometimes decisions to do something. Sometimes they're to not do something and they're equally as important. And I think JK is starting to see some of those pictures clearly.”
ADAM COPES: What in your mind has been different about Klay the last four games?
“Just shot selection. I mean, it's really simple for Klay when you talk about simplifying the game, when he simplifies things, it's really just shoot when you're open, passing when you're when you're not. And that's when he's at his best because he's such an incredible shooter. The good shots seem to get him hot in a hurry. He can make one shot and the basket looks wide open to him. but the same can be true in the opposite. If he takes two or three bad ones where he's off balance and he's drifting, then he loses rhythm and then he gets frustrated. So I think that's the biggest change for Klay over the last four or five is just better shot selection, keeping things simple.”
TOLBERT: I think he may have, like, I've never seen him shoot so many runners. Steve, like, that's something that’s new for him, and I feel like we've talked about him evolving, and I don't know if this is kind of like the start of it, but he's getting into the mid range a little bit more. He's trying to get to the free throw line a little bit more. He's trying to do some other things even off the ball on offense. I just, I don't know if this is it, but we've talked about, when you get a little bit older, you get involved and, again, he's still a great shooter. But I feel like he's not just loitering around the perimeter where it's like, just let me get the ball. And if I get the ball, I'm going to shoot it. He's trusting his teammates again. Like if I pass it, I can get it back again. It doesn't have to be a three. It could be a mid range. Like, I don't know, with him, again, I feel like in the last 10 days or so, he's been a little different.
“Definitely. He definitely has. And, for whatever reason, the play, the poise and the patience, it's right there. You can see it last night. He had several drop off passes to Trayce, that led to,one hoop for Trayce, and then another one, I think, Trayce caught it and then shoveled it to Cory for a layup, but that all starts with Klay just recognizing there's nothing here, just moving on. And one of the reasons he's a great player is because Klay draws attention all the time, and as we all know, like the whole point of the game is to draw two defenders and move it, and then you've got an advantage, and when Klay recognizes that he's creating those advantages, and that's helpful, even when he's not making shots, then I think he feels valuable, and he understands that that's a good way to impact the game too.”
COPES: In terms of Brandin Podziemski's health, he had the back tweak yesterday. You've been excited about his play. You mentioned Trayce Jackson-Davis was going to play more, what's his status for Podziemski going forward? And then is a role that Trayce Jackson-Davis would slot into in terms of off the bench and some rebounding roles there?
“Well, Brandin's doing better today. So the update was that there was some improvement overnight. I think he's going to try to practice tomorrow. He's a young guy. It's nothing serious on the injury. So he should be back soon, hopefully, by Friday, but we'll see how practice goes tomorrow, Trayce is going to play for sure. I mean, he's earned that; he's been amazing. These last two games, we've won them both. He's going to be in the lineup for sure. And, we'll see how he'll play and all that, but he's earned the minutes and he's going to be out there for sure.”
TOLBERT: How did you feel about Wiggins last night? Because he was obviously off on a shot, but he attacked the rim, which I always love seeing him do seven rebounds in 21 minutes is always a positive sign for him. And I thought he battled on defense like that. That to me, I know people would look at it and go, I didn't play very well, and I was like, no, he didn't shoot the ball very well, which is different than he didn't play very well. Like, I thought he played fine. I thought he played good, actually. I just, he played good. Like, two things can be equally true. He didn't play good, and he didn't shoot well. You can play bad and shoot well. Some people think you have a really good game. It's like, nah, he played a horse crap game. It was terrible. He shot the ball well, but he didn't play well. How did you look at last night's game? Because that's how I looked at it. I thought he played like if he plays like that, then guess what the offense is going to be there. And when the offense is there, then people will say, what a great game he played. How did you view it?
“Exactly as you just described. I thought Wiggs was great, really good defensively, battling against Tatum and Brown and those guys, attacked the rim. I think he was 2 for 11. Three of those shots were at the rim on tip ins, like where he made a great play to get to the rim. Maybe got fouled. No call, tries to tip it in twice. Trayce tips it in after that. So basically, Wiggins created the basket, but the box score shows 0 for 3. So, you just have to look at it from the standpoint that, was the play successful? And, there were a bunch of successful plays from Wiggs last night, so I'm encouraged. I think he's been really much better here these last few games since he started coming off the bench, and I hope that it's a great sign that he's going to find his rhythm, consistently now.”
So what was the thought process in bringing Steph back to start the fourth quarter? I'm assuming you felt like well, we could lose the game right here. So I know he's got five fouls, but I can't wait and bring it. Any sense to me whatsoever? So was that the thought process? Like, hey, the game's kind of in the balance and I'm not gonna wait to put him in and we might be out of the game by then.
“Yeah, for sure. I mean, we're playing, if not the best team in the league, one of the very best teams in the NBA and we're down 11 going into the fourth, like, yeah, we're putting Steph out there. If we're up 11, then we're going to start him on the bench and see if we can buy a few minutes. But, yeah, that was a pretty easy decision. What I didn't anticipate was that we would go overtime and he played 16 straight minutes, but, whatever, 17 straight minutes. But, that was my U of A math coming into play.”
Easy. Don't lump me in with that, pal.
“But no, he was, he was great. And, it's funny when a guy, a star player, has a lot of fouls, the other team often just tries to attack him over and over again. And sometimes that takes a team out of rhythm. I thought it actually was not ideal for Boston to keep going at him. And, so in some ways it worked out for us, but it only worked out because Steph was able to defend without fouling. For that stretch, he did a good job. But he's gotta do a better job of not getting into foul trouble in the first place. He had a couple in the first half where he reached, and those are the ones that cause all the problems, because there's always going to be – if you play 35 minutes, you're going to get called for a couple of fouls. So you can't give up any cheapies either, cause that's where you'll get into the long-term trouble.”
I thought one of the biggest, reasons you guys got back into it was after After Jaylen Brown scored eight points coming out of the half all in the paint that you guys kind of like started limiting and sliding your feet a little bit because the first half was rough because it was three pointers and then it was rim runs. It was like, well, we got to take away one of them. We can't give up both of them. And then he comes out and it was eight points right out of the shoot. I'm like, well, this isn't going to work. After that, though. I think you only gave up 16 points or so, including overtime, in the paint. Like I think Trayce Jackson-Davis had a lot to do with that, but I think guys started sliding their feet and keeping them out of the paint because that was I thought that was critical. Like we can't let him get to the rim and kill us from three, right?
“Yeah, yeah, I agree. The first quarter was atrocious. Transition defense was bad. They were getting wide open threes. They got anything they wanted and we did get better, and Trayce played a role in that. Yeah. Wiggs and JK, Chris Paul guarded Jayson Tatum for a good chunk in the fourth and did a great job. So, I think our guys just stepped up when the game was in the balance and did a good job. And then, Boston missed some shots too. They missed some open threes, but hat's all part of the game. shots go in, shots don't. And, you’ve got to take control of what you have control over. And I thought we did a better job of that in the second half.”
All right. Before I let you go, go back to your youth and tell us what your favorite Christmas gift was, toy or gift.
“I think my favorite Christmas gift, I was a UCLA fan growing up. My dad taught there. And in 1976 or 77, they went to the Rose Bowl for the first time and in my young fandom, I was 10 years old. And so my parents got my brother and me tickets and we got up at like five in the morning, went to the Rose Parade. The first time I'd ever done that and then went to the game and UCLA beat Ohio State when Woody Hayes was there. They were No. 1 in the country and it was like this huge upset and it was like probably my favorite sporting event I've ever been to as a fan. I'm 10 years old and in just the wonder of it all, just the scene, the parade. I'll never forget that day for the rest of my life, so that's my No. 1 Christmas gift of all time.”
Who'd you bet on?
“I had UCLA in the under.”
(More jokes about betting as a 10-year-old) Alright, before I let you go, is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
Thank you! Thank you! (More banter)
MARK WILLARD AND DAN DIBLEY, 95.7 THE GAME: (Joking about the first time having Kerr on after a win) – It being Boston and the way it went down, like, can you, can you give our listeners that like, what did last night mean to all of you?
“Well, I think obviously they're a great team. Just saw them in the Finals a year and a half ago. All the same guys. Big, big night at Chase. Really was loud, electric in there. So between winning our third straight game and having it come against a great team being down 17 in the second half. It was kind of just what we needed. I'm hoping that this is a game that can spark us and we can get on a real run here.”
Yeah. We were hoping the same thing and you got a couple of scheduled spots that look more favorable than Boston probably would have felt last night. Steve, what's it like when you're there watching this all take place and you're down 17 and there's no giving up and all of a sudden you're back in it and then you see Steph hit another one of his classic three pointers. And you said in the post game that when he shoots these You expect them to go in, what's that like to see that shot, seeing as much basketball as you've seen, and really expecting it to go in?
“Well, and watching Steph every day at practice too, it's not just games. I mean, I'm so familiar with his motion and the fluidity with which he plays and the rhythm. It's just beautiful to watch. Every once in a while he takes one that seems so outrageous and so, so beautiful. I mean, I think Klay called it a moon ball. And that's what it felt like that ball was up there forever. And I don't know. I mean, I just, I've been around him for a decade now and I fully expect that shot to go in and it did.”
Steve, I want to ask you about both rookies. Let's start with the quick question on Brandin Podziemski. How's he doing?
“He is doing pretty well. Yeah, we got good reports today. He recovered well. The beauty of being young, you can overcome a knock or a bruise pretty quickly. And Brandin's feeling better, so he's gonna try to practice tomorrow and we'll see how it goes. So I would say questionable for Friday, but things seem to be looking fine in that regard. And then, yeah, what was the next question?”
Well, the next one is Trayce Jackson-Davis and what last night means for, for his role going forward?
“Yeah, I mean, it's two games in a row with Trayce where he was really fantastic. And gave us such a big lift at both ends with the rim presence, shot blocking capability. And then also, his finishing around the rim in the paint. He was brilliant both nights and really he was the key to the game last night. So he's going to play. He's going to be in the rotation 100 percent. He really balances out the front line. We’re really excited about Trayce. I mean, he's the 57th pick in the draft. That makes no sense. He looks like a lottery pick to me.”
Speaking of lottery picks, Jonathan Kuminga, lottery pick, and last night sure played like it. Are you seeing his confidence level really emerging in leaps and bounds of late?
“Yeah, yeah, it's really fun to watch JK. I thought last night was one of his best games. I mean, I don't know if it was the best, but definitely one of them because of the details that he was tending to. I mean, he made a couple of quick extra passes to Steph and Klay when maybe he could have shot it, but he recognized it. I mean, the best shooters on Earth or next to him. So throw it to those guys, rebounding, running the floor, attacking the rim, blocking shots, going after (and) challenging shots. And then really the whole reason we drafted him is for nights like that, where when you're playing the best teams in the league, there's going to be. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, there's going to be these monster wings who you have to be able to match up with. And I thought JK did a great job defending and just playing the game last night.”
Coach, I want to ask you this in a silver lining sort of a way. We know that you guys support Draymond and would love to have Draymond Green back as soon as possible, but because of his absence is this potentially creating some avenues for others to get more minutes? Is there a silver lining? Could there end up being some hidden positives?
“I think there's always silver lining in cases like these, where you know somebody's out. I mean, I look back at the year we had the worst record in the NBA. We had all those injuries, right? Steph, Klay out for the year, departures with Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston, finished with the worst record in the league. But you know what happened? The guys developed. Jordan was thrown into the deep end. We had a group of young players who were forced to play and had to deal with a year of adversity and learning about the NBA. And we filled up the cup. It was like, we were so exhausted from whatever it was, five straight trips to the Finals. And our guys were wiped out. And that year we were able to get motivated and get our energy back and we won the championship a year and a half later. So, there's always a silver lining to this stuff and as much as we miss Draymond and want him back, it's going to open up playing time and opportunities for other people.”
Without going into too many specifics, how's it going for Draymond here in these early days of him doing what he needs to do to get back on the court?
“Yeah, I mean, I haven't really seen him… as I've talked about. This is not a sprained ankle where he's in the training room every day. This is the suspension and absence and he's taking some time. We're giving him space and we'll obviously be in touch with him. But, right now there's, there's no update. I mean, I don't have anything to add to that.”
Steve, just so we know, because we've sort of seen the report that, during this time, Draymond would still practice with the team. Is that not the case? Is he not around? Is he going to be able to?
“Not to this point. I think he will be in, he'll be keeping himself in shape and working with our training staff, but in the early part of this, he's getting away. We're giving him space and as I said, this is a much bigger issue than tending to an injury. So we have to give him his privacy on that and space and go from there.”
Well, we appreciate all future updates. We all want Draymond to be back and playing the best basketball he can. In no real related way, looks like the team is certainly playing with a little bit more joy. Is that because the team's playing better or is it because you guys are winning? Are those things just always going to be interrelated with the joy aspect?
“Well, they are to me. They're always interrelated, and what comes first, the chicken or the egg? But what you try to do, what we preach is a sense of joy every day. And it's not about preaching the wrong word. I mean, when your culture takes hold as an athlete, as an athletic team, whatever your values are, those things are alive every day and you don't have to try. It's just that's the vibe and we're lucky. We have Steph Curry, who, I think, personifies joy in sports better than any athlete that I've ever seen in my life.
So I think our players, if you ask them, I think they'll tell you they enjoy coming to work every day. They enjoy being together. Come into the facility, it’s fun. It's vibrant. It's a great atmosphere and then bottom line is, that translates to the court. And, when wins come like they have this past week, then there's no question, it's a greater sense of joy. It's just kind of how it works.”
Coach, 30, 24, 28, 24, those are Klay Thompson's last four games. What has been the key thing to him turning it on?
“I think just shot selection. That’s really the main thing. Patience and poise and recognizing that he's not open. Just move it on. I watched him last night get double-covered off several pin-downs and just immediately dump the ball into Trayce or Looney and he just made the simple play. And I think when Klay simplifies his game, that’s when he really starts to hit.”
Kevon Looney's minutes were down last night, minus 19. I don't know how much stock you put into plus minus over one game. It seems like Kevon is a little bit out of sorts this year. What would you put your finger on in terms of where Kevon is this year as opposed to previous years where he's played more and been more successful? What do you make of that?
“I think some of Loon's struggles have been related to the struggles of the team itself. He’s a complementary player. He's a guy who really supports star players. That's his role in the NBA. And you think about him the last couple of years, with guys playing at such a high level, obviously a championship team, two years ago, last year's starting five, with which Loon was obviously a part of the best unit in the league, I think with the struggles of Klay and Wiggs early on, the suspension of Draymond, you know some of the absences, the lack of rhythm, continuity. I think that's hurt for sure. And because of our slow start, because of some losses and trying to find different lineups, combinations, he hasn't been able to get into a rhythm. But I know that we need him. I know he's going to play a big role. You think about all the games that we've got down the line, with centers that we're going to have to guard those guys. One being Christmas Day against Jokic. Loon's going to play a big role. There's no doubt. But Trayce has earned minutes and he's going to play too.”
Steve, you've indicated in the past, even this year that you really like some structure and continuity with your lineups and especially with what you were just talking about, you’ve shown so much more flexibility for different lineups. Do you see that continuing or are you moving closer … something that you would consider somewhat firm in terms of a lineup in a rotation?
“Interesting. It's a great question, and every team is different. And some years, you just know these are top nine or top ten automatic, and we're going to play these guys. This is not one of those years. I really feel like we have 13 guys who could all be in the rotation and when everybody's healthy, no matter how you slice it, there's going to be three or four guys who are really not thrilled at the end of the night because there's only enough time for nine to ten guys each night, so nothing is set in stone. I think we have to figure out what's going to work each night, who’s playing well, challenges … individually. Players really have to embrace that and accept that and that's not an easy thing to do and as a coaching staff, we have to figure out what those rotations are from night to night and which is different. So, it's a good problem to have a really deep roster, but there's also, at times, questions that are not easily answered.”
Does it help that somebody like Chris Paul has been so willing to adapt to this role, a guy who's never come off the bench in his career and he's almost exclusively been off the bench this year? Does that set a certain tone for the rest of the guys to be more malleable with these lineup changes?
“No question. No question. You have to have vets who sacrifice. I always point to Andre Iguodala, who I thought made the key sacrifice in our run, starting nine years ago when he agreed to come off the bench, and Chris is doing the same now. Chris is a Hall of Famer, one of the great point guards of all-time, still playing at a really high level. And just completely embraced coming off the bench and that sets a tone for all the guys. So we're lucky to have Chris and he's an unbelievable leader for these guys.”
Coach, there's no question that this is a little bit of a different kind of a vibe and a return of an ex-champion player. What are your emotions with Jordan pool returning Friday night?
“Well, number one, I'm excited for him because I know our fans are going to give him an enormous ovation. And he deserves that. He's a champion. We don't win that championship in ‘22 without Jordan, played a huge role. There is an unbelievable success story. 28th pick in the draft. He played that first year that I referenced when we had the worst record in the league, and we really threw him into the deep end. He wasn't ready and took his lumps and then just went to work and put in so much great work and turned himself into the player that he's become. And our fans. They recognize all of that and so do all of our players and coaches. So we're going to welcome Jordan back with open arms on Friday and we're excited to see him.”
Any idea about the video tribute? Will it be pregame, first quarter? Is this something that you even have on your radar? Is it something that you just get surprised by when it actually pops up in game?
“No, I always know when these things are happening. And Raymond Ridder does an incredible job of communicating between the marketing department and the team for different. events or people coming in. We always have these discussions, so everyone's aware of what's happening. And I thought it was so great a month ago or so when Kevin Durant finally got his return to Chase, or debut at Chase, I guess I should say, return to the Bay and our fans gave him exactly the ovation he deserved, being a two-time Finals MVP. And I thought that was a wonderful night and I think tomorrow will be similar for Jordan.”
Coach, kind of getting back to the games that have recently been played, I'm recalling a conversation that we had with you last year where you talked about the analytics of each player and how they do with other players on the floor at the same time. And for a team that seems to have a thirst for more youth and athleticism, I wanted to ask you why Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga aren't on the floor at the same time more often.
“Well, I mean, you just talked about it, we look at combinations all the time, whether it's two-man combinations, three-man or all five. And we put the ones on the floor, frankly, that we think are going to do the best and that match up the best. And I think those two guys have very similar skill sets. And I know it's probably a thought like, let's get, our two most-athletic guys with the length and all that, let’s get them on the floor together. We really look at who compliments each other in these lineups and we go with the lineups that we feel are suited to help each other and that's always our focus.”
Does that speak to why Brandin Podziemski is playing more than maybe people would have anticipated? Is it because he plays so well with others?
“It's because of all of the positive things Brandin does. He's good in any lineup. He can handle the ball in the half-court set. He can finish the play in transition. He can knock down the three. He's an excellent passer. He can guard multiple positions. He's going to take charges. He's going to box out every single time. I like that. Just make any lineup better, so I'll throw Brandin out there with anybody and that's one of the reasons he's such a valuable player for us.”
Steve, did you hear Shaq last night say that it's time to start asking if Steph Curry is the best player of all time?
“Did I — say that again? Did what happen?”
So Shaq on TNT after the game sort of asked it as a question, but after watching what he did last night said, is it time to start including Steph Curry in the debate for the greatest player of all time?
“I love that. I think the argument — that maybe isn't even an argument — is, is he the most skilled player of all time? And there's all kinds of different ways of looking at who's the best and all that , who's the most talented. You can factor in size and length and athleticism and scoring, inside scoring, whatever. I just look at Steph is the most skilled basketball player I've ever seen. There’s never been anybody, in terms of the shooting and ball-handling ability, the ability to shoot from the distances that he shoots from, and the finishing in the lane, the rhythm, the fluidity. I've never seen anybody as skilled with the ball as Steph Curry. “
Do you think that this conversation, Steve, comes down to a generational debate? Guys your age and my age and Mark's a shade younger than you and I, but does it come down to players that you saw growing up that you're always going to have somewhat of a bias toward?
“I think that's part of it. I mean, I never watched Jerry West or Oscar Robertson play, so I can't really, compare them to Michael Jordan, I mean, I just, I didn't. I didn't really see them. I've seen highlights, but that's different. And then, like I said, all of these decisions, there's so much context involved. I still think Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time, and I am a little biased. But the reason I think that is just because I watched it up close. I watched how much better he was than every other player in the entire NBA, and I watched the fact that he's anything and everything that people threw at him. And I still think he's the biggest killer crunch time that I've ever seen. So that doesn't mean he's as skilled as Steph Curry, and that doesn't mean Steph Curry can't be compared to Michael. It's just, they're just different. And I think all players are different, and that's why when you get into these conversations, it's really hard to actually come up with anything that's finite.”
Steve, we won't talk to you till after the holiday. you guys play on this holiday every year. Now, what is that like for you and the guys?
“I love it if it's a home game. I can't stand it if it's a road game. It’s as simple as that. It’s great to be at home with your family on Christmas morning. And then, you got a game that afternoon or that evening. It feels like just part of the day and it feels great. But when you're on the road, you're gone from your family. You need Christmas Eve. Even worse, I think Boston, they're on this road trip. They play the Lakers Christmas Day, but they're gone from their families this entire week, but that's brutal. For us, it’s not too bad because we fly there and fly back on Christmas night. So it's not ideal, but it's not the worst-case scenario, either.”
Yeah. I was going to say, why don't you just fly in right before? You got a veteran squad. You don't need to just fly in and play and then get out of there.
“That's basically what we're doing. We're gonna go in Christmas Eve, literally in the evening, and get there, play the game and get back.”
And what do you do about the Joker when you get there without Draymond Green? The one guy who's been so good at stopping him, do you put Chris Paul on him? Because Chris Paul said yesterday, he's used to guarding guys bigger than him.
“Well, he took Jayson Tatum last night and did a great job on him. We know that from playing against Chris, he's so strong. He used to guard Kevin Durant at times when Kevin was here; he'd get underneath him and use his strength and savvy and, yeah, good idea. Maybe we'll have Chris guard Jokic. Perfect. I like it.”
Coach, we’ll let you run, but a lot of our listeners, I know they're all thinking the same thing. Steve Kerr, is he still alive in the fantasy playoffs or not?
“Complete collapse, guys.”
Don't tell me it was coaching.
“Oh, it had to be coaching.”
Oh, Steve. Steve, no! You played the wrong lineup, Steve?
“I was 8-2, and I'm now 8-7. I've lost five in a row. We do like Premier League style. We don't have a playoff. We just do best record at the end of the year, 18 weeks and 18 games. So I've fallen out of contention and it's devastating.”
Oh my God. I like it. That's old school. Yeah. That's old school, man, who took you out? Is it this the former Arizona teammates? Was it, was it Craig McMillan who took you out?
“Oh, no, I couldn't. Matt Ock is my fellow Wildcat, who's in the league. Yeah, but, Craig, Craig's not in the league, but, yeah, it's mostly U of A guys, a bunch of college buddies and we love it. But, yeah, this was a tough stretch here the last five weeks, man.”
BONTA HILL WITH FESTUS EZELI AND MONTE POOLE: JK, welcome to Warriors postgame live. Great game for you. Your second quarter. Can you just walk us through the second quarter there? Because it felt like the game was getting away early and you had a key spurt there. Take us through getting the crowd fired up. Some big time finishes there in that second frame before we get to overtime.
JONATHAN KUMINGA POSTGAME ON-COURT: “I mean, just definitely being confident, it was just a lot of confidence, and just seeing that I was still in the game at that time, that brought me a lot of confidence, just from my teammates, my coaches, and obviously I had to just go out there and play freely.”
JK, when you play against guys over and over and over, after a certain point you start to understand their tendencies. It seems like you're starting to understand that's where the confidence is coming from.
“I mean, it's just AV (Warriors assistant coach Anthony Vereen); he always watch film. I mean, like people say, be a student of the game. It's just watching film every single day and obviously I'ma go out there and guard the best players, people that make so much money and they're so good. So it's just watching what they do every single day. Obviously, I'm not going to stop them every time I go out there, but it's making their life harder.”
I looked on the stat sheet and I looked for how many fouls you committed and it was zero. Now, you've been whistled up for some crazy fouls and some fouls that maybe shouldn't be fouls, but you committed no fouls tonight, despite you were guarding Jayson Tatum a lot, you were guarding Jaylen Brown. Tell me how you were able to get through this without committing a single foul in this game?
“Just obviously staying solid, knowing what they're trying to get into, and not fouling. I mean, if they had to score after I worked so hard, I'll let them do it, but obviously staying solid and just not reaching most of the time.”
JK, let me ask you, where's the game slowing down for you mostly? Because you have seven straight nights where you scored double-figures, you're playing exceptional defense, but where has this game slowed down for you most, offensively, defensively? Just discuss that here in your third season.
“I mean, pretty much offensively, just know my spot, know my money, know where I need to go, know what I need to do, especially with certain people on the floor. And defense, obviously, just staying solid and not fouling.”
JK, it seems like ever since they said there was a team meeting that happened, and we're not asking you to give the details, but it seems like this team is playing with a lot more confidence, especially with the rotations being solidified. You're in the starting rotation. Tell us, talk to them about the team's confidence right now. Where's the level of confidence for this team?
“I mean, obviously we have a great team. and we got a lot of all the fans of the team. And they’re not here to lose a game. They're not here to lose, like a rebuilding team or anything like that. So, obviously, they have that confidence every day they come to work. They're not coming to lose the game. They're coming to win a game. So, me and the rest of the young guys, we just get adapted to that, to a point where we don't need to be losing every time. And it becomes something where it brings confidence to everybody and motivation to come every day to work. And making sure we get some wins.”
Steph Curry grabs you at the end of regulation. What did he say to you after that great individual defense on Jayson Tatum?
“I mean, obviously, like, you see the game, they was trying to switch, ‘cause he had five fouls. And so we had to just talk a little bit and try to figure out how to guard the two-man game.”
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