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Klay boat ride, Saric violent cuts, Lakers pregame + more
[end of Week 2 digest/video/notes/quotes]
Starting to fall a little behind here with the digests but I promise to make it up to you soon with some super-long informational posts this weekend. Meantime, let’s get caught up on the three biggest developments over the last three days: 1) a boat ride with Captain Klay Thompson, 2) Dario Saric with my favorite description of Steve Kerr’s system for the Golden State Warriors so far, and 3) catching up to pregame vs LA Lakers.
Let’s go in reverse chronological order. First off, pregame at Crypto:
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• Lakers coach Darvin Ham said at pregame that Gabe Vincent, Jarred Vanderbilt and Cam Reddish are out tonight vs Warriors. Everyone else is good to go. (Mark Medina, Daniel Starkand)
• As of pregame, Kerr still does not know if Jonathan Kuminga will be available tonight. Sounds like it will be a game-time decision. (CJ Holmes)
• Kerr says he hasn’t yet spoken with LeBron James about playing in the Olympics next summer. (Daniel Starkand)
From Friday morning, I was able to find some behind-the-scenes footage of morning shootaround at UCLA:
Draymond Green (left ankle sprain) will be re-evaluated in three days. As you can see in the notes below, he stayed after and did a long workout. He then signed autographs for kids (definitely younger than college-aged, so kudos to them for finding out) outside the gym: [Photo: CJ Holmes, SF Chronicle]
Here are the notes from shootaround:
• Brandin Podziemski and Lester Quinones hit consecutive shots from halfcourt (see video above).
• “Last Time That I Checc’ed” by Nipsey Hussle was blaring through the speakers. Special assistant Khalid Robinson will usually play artists from whatever city the team is visiting.
• Austin Reaves confirms he’s playing tonight vs. Golden State. (Jovan Buha)
• Reaves says that Kerr outlawed the Lakers’ “freeze” celebration for him when he played for Team USA this summer, coming off L.A.’s playoff win over Kerr’s Warriors. (Dan Woike)
• Kuminga remains questionable for tonight’s preseason game against the Lakers. Kerr said starters (same) are expected to play around 20 minutes; he will edge up the starter’s minutes from the preseason opener. (CJ Holmes, Shayna Rubin, Anthony Slater)
• Chris Paul only played with the Warriors’ starters in the preseason opener. Kerr said they’ve had him scrimmage some with the second unit in practice and want to mix and match him into that unit during preseason. May not come tonight though. (Anthony Slater)
• Add Stephen Curry to the list of Warriors impressed by rookie Podziemski: "BP really has been showing how much he understands the game of basketball at a young age and how confident he is in himself and that shows every time he steps on the floor. That's a nice surprise."
• Draymond Green just finished up a long individual workout after the Warriors’ shootaround in Los Angeles. It appeared to be full speed. Working with Kenny Atkinson, Jacob Rubin, Mychel Thompson. Green is increasing activity as ankle improves. Regular season opener 11 days away. (Anthony Slater)
• Vanderbilt will miss his third straight preseason game tonight against GSW as the Lakers are "monitoring soreness" in Vanderbilt's left heel, sources told ESPN. (Dave McMenamin)
• James will play tonight against the Warriors. It will be his second preseason game out of four for LAL. (Dave McMenamin)
Kerr and Curry spoke to reporters after shootaround but I didn’t get a chance to get to those yet and those will be part of a mega-post on Saturday and/or Sunday.
Yesterday, the team scrimmaged and we got some glimpses of it thanks to the NBA sending their social media guy to do some “All-Access” coverage, plus Kerr, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jerome Robinson took the podium. We have the interviews transcribed but I’m the interests of time, I’ll post that in the forthcoming “mega”. Here’s the video of all that:
The transcript of Steve is at the bottom of this article.
Then the day before yesterday was actually pretty epic, with Donovan Williams going live on Instagram from Klay’s boat. It was basically an 18-minute experience for all of us to finally know what it feels like to commute home on the Splash Express, past Alcatraz and bending behind Angel Island. And then Williams’ great responses to the friends and commenters on his livestream, check the Description:
So far, Donovan has been so genuine and authentic. His posts on IG make it feel like you’re on this dream journey with him, like I’ve said to describe what LetsGoWarriors is all about, “the 19th man on the bench” — and he literally is that! In the morning shootaround video above, there’s also footage of him in amazement as Draymond is allowed to being his pet poodle on the team plane. Then there’s the walk to UCLA — both of these moments are in the video above.
Last week, it was getting the care package from the Warriors with all the merch. I’m thinking it might be worth my while to go down to Santa Cruz this season just to meet him, even though it’s hard to drag my body to places these days. Williams seems like a super-positive, inspiring spirit.
Finally, Dario Saric took the podium after Thursday’s practice. He’s got this Ivan Drago vibe, if I’m stereotyping the imposing, intimidating European athlete. Just read his transcript below and you’ll see. “Violent” cuts to the basket are only the tip of the iceberg.
Did you know his nickname is “Megalodon”? You can Google it, there’s some history behind it dating back to him being with the Philadelphia 76ers, iirc, so I don’t know if it’s beating a dead horse for a reporter to bring it up this season, but quite simply, DubNation is gonna love this guy on and off the court. Aside from Saric and Kerr, Cory Joseph also took the podium that day:
0:00 Dario Saric on first impressions: “I mean, a lot of things are just automatically. So let's say some plays doesn't go through. The guys already knows what to do. They just flip around and play different kinds of more different kinds of actions. So you can see the footprint. They've been together for a long time, the coach and main players, so it's just amazing to see the winning team, to be part of that and see the culture where they have just like totally different — how they approach to the things. So, happy to be here and to hear that kind of experience for now.”
0:54 on working with Dejan Milojevic (“Decky”) and Ron Adams: “It's been great, obviously, coming from the similar culture, similar background from Europe. His advice is every day just like helping me a lot to be better, try to improve my game, step by step, nothing is not going to happen, like, over the one night. Ron, we know each other since I was like, kid, 13-, 14-year-old. So we were in the same camp in Barcelona, so we have, like, kind of history together. So it's been pleasure, obviously. They know a lot and working with them, it's just the opportunity for me to improve my game… He knows what I was doing when I was kid, how is the mindset of the guys coming from the part of Europe than, let's say, the mindset of the people who grew up here, so he's different kind of mindset. He knows how to talk. He knows what I've been through, so it's kind of get easier to get along about the things we do on the court.”
2:23 on Steph saying recently that it was easy to do a natural DHO with him: “I think yes. So obviously it's just beginning, but obviously in time is gonna show us by think like the old guys, have high IQ and sometimes just naturally, the ball is going their way. You need to do that thing, especially if you have like shooter like Steph, you try to find the plays and the moves for him to get him open. So you're gonna do everything going on the court in that moment to get Steph open. So kind of like having that mindset, kind of like helps me to fit with the team. Obviously I have my strengths, I'm going to try to prove and try to find the space for me, too, but like this high-level IQ team which is like most important thing: We play fast, you know what I mean? I think it's just ball is going so fast. The moves, the actions, the cuts is, like, needs to be violent. So I think what we're doing right now and I think like whole team is going to have trouble to guard it. Obviously, when is the time to play five-on-five and is the time to slow down, get the ball to Steph, to Chris to play their own game to play the pick-and-roll, we're going to do it. But I think the motion-wise and how we move and how we play like team basketball is going to be big for us this season. I think we'll be showing right now. I think we're doing pretty much good. So still a lot of things to improve and I think we'll be playing together more, it’s going to be easier for us, we're going to improve more that particular, like team game, sharing the ball, set the screen, DHOs, you know, kind of just play on the fly, let's say like that.”
4:26 on if it’s been a seamless transition considering he’s a high-IQ player: “obviously I played against Golden State Warriors a couple of times in my years in the league and I see how they play on the court. They always go run deep in playoff, so you got the time to kind of watch them to experience that. Obviously during the summer I was watching … how they play and I think this is the maybe best team for me to fit in. And what I think I'm doing right now, I think I'm doing great, I think I'm doing good and at practice kind of tried to fit in that. And I really like the kind of basketball when you have like five guys quite dangerous in every moment to score the ball, it gets easier for other guys, it gets easier for Steph, and if I score one three points gonna sometimes people need to think about me, so he's gonna give more maybe space, more for Steph and Klay, that kind of stuff. Everybody needs to do their own job and I think should be like great season for us.”
5:50 on being the 4-man in the system, the spacing and being open at the top of the key last Saturday: “In this situation I was like really open and I see the play before I was open. I see like I'm gonna be open probably again, so I need to show that, but the spacing one is different. Usually you hear like five guys playing a perimeter. Sometimes you have guards going in the low post, and you tried to do this protection. I think this is team here like so many options, so many different kinds of players, but high-IQ-level players, so they can feed their own game in a system. So that's it's the biggest, biggest, biggest thing for us and the spacing like obviously when you hear like Klay and stuff, you're gonna be little space for other guys. So you just need to be ready in a certain moment.”
6:47 Cory Joseph on if the back injury is what kept him out of the World Cup: “Yeah, but feels great to be back on the court. Making good progress, which I'm happy about. Just got to continue to keep going … just tweaked it really, my hips got tight and kind of out of place and then have to keep running and whatnot. Just some certain movements. I can't tell you exactly which movements...”
7:25 on being a mentor to Podziemski: “Yeah, it's been good. I mean, he's having a great camp so far. He's doing really well, doing everything he's supposed to be doing plus more. And just kind of talking to him through my experience. You know, when I was with San Antonio, it's kind of similar to this program here right now. So I just tried to, whenever I see something, speak up and likewise. We have an open dialogue. If he sees something, he speaks up to me and we just talk about it, but he's been having a great camp.”
8:15 on who his vet was in San Antonio: “It was a multitude of guys. That was a veteran team. Obviously Coach Pop … Tony Parker who played my position, TJ Ford also played my position. Manu, Tim Duncan. There was a bunch of guys that I could go and get that veteran leadership from.”
8:36 on if he expects to play on Friday: “Whatever they tell me. I'm just kind of going day by day and going through the process. So whatever they know, whenever I check off those boxes, and figure it out.”
8:51 on if there’s any parallels between the 2014 championship Spurs and the ball movement of these Warriors: “Yeah I think you just kind of said it in terms of the ball movement, player movement, the selfless basketball, beautiful basketball that you talk about is similar to how they play here. And yeah, just completely selfless basketball. Those are parallels for sure.”
9:37 on the similar systems helping him integrate, and learning from the guys: “Oh, it's been great, just sitting back right now and watching guys, how they prepare, how they play, what they like to do from the sidelines right now. And just got to do my first practice today, but you could always learn. And it's been great so far, integrating myself into this, into the system but there's a lot of similarities to the Spurs when I was younger, playing for that team. And the other guys, it should be easy to play with them because all the guys have high IQs. So, it makes it easier.”
10:17 on what he was able to do today, considering the injured back: “Just the drills that we did, defensive drills that we did, shooting drills, the 5-on-0 stuff, all of that stuff that they had. It was a full practice for me, so it was great.”
10:36 on it still being wild to see Steph with CP3, despite being a veteran: “Yeah, 100%. Obviously, we know the battles over the years that have been happening between those two guys and I'm very happy to have them on my team. Obviously two Hall-of-Fame point guards that are in my position, so I get to learn a lot from them every day and I get to watch them work which is the behind-the-scenes every day. Yo play people on the game-to-game basis, but getting up close and personal watching them is incredible.”
NOTES/QUOTES FROM KERR WEDNESDAY
0:00 Moody workout glimpse
0:09 scrimmage (Wiggins buckets, Podziemski 3)
1:35 CP3, Steph and GP2 dunk
1:47 CP3 workout
3:03 Steve Kerr after practice, on Cory Joseph’s status and if he’ll play Friday: “Yeah, Cory looked great. Good to have him back. We didn't do anything live. But he's feeling healthy and we're excited to have him back... I don’t know, we’ll see (if he’ll play Friday).”
3:23 on how Rudy Gay has looked in practices: “Yeah, Rudy has been solid. He’s been around, obviously, for a long time. He's a skilled player. He's got good size, picks everything up because he's seen everything over the course of his career. But he's had a good camp.”
3:43 on if Draymond has been able to do anything: “Yeah, still still rehabbing. But he's able to work on on his conditioning and his body and stuff. So he's getting plenty done, but has not practiced.”
4:03 on any update on Rodney McGruder: “Doing better and I think he's in the latter stages of the concussion protocol…nothing in practice.”
4:21 on if the team will focus more on getting to the rim, as they only had 27% of their shots at the rim last season, by far the lowest percentage in his tenure: “Well, we don't necessarily tell the guys, ‘Hey, we want to improve our percentage,’ but it is something we always want to do, is try to put pressure on the rim and as you know, Kuminga continues to develop and grow and as he gets more time, that number should go up. But if we execute offensively, we've never been a team that had a ton of finishing at the rim other than — I'm talking about from the center position — other than maybe JaVale and Bogut, some on lobs but for the most part with Loon and Draymond, we kind of play inside-out and obviously shoot a ton. But the more we can get to the rim, the better and some of it comes from personnel, some of it is execution.”
5:33 on if JK and Moody will have bigger roles or if they will continue to just fit in: “Well, they're both having really good training camps. That’s the important thing is that they continue to grow and develop and they're putting the work in and they have great, great approaches, great attitudes and and then this is a profession where it's a merit-based deal. Like whoever plays best will get the minutes and we got a lot of guys playing really well. So everyone's got to earn it.”
6:14 on his thoughts when they first signed Garuba: “I was really excited. I've liked Garuba the last couple of years, watching him in Houston. He's got sort of a Draymond-Loon type game, not necessarily the most athletic but really smart, good passer, good dribble-handoff guy, excellent defensively. He's a very intriguing player. So I'm really, really excited about having him as one of our two-ways, and he's still very young. I think he's 21. So, good young prospect and I think this is a good fit for him here, probably a better fit than Houston, given just how many young guys they were trying to bring along at the same time. And you look at our club now, we have a heavy veteran presence and he can learn from a couple of guys in Loon and Draymond, who he can can emulate.”
7:15 on how Saric is fitting in: “Dario is a perfect fit. Perfect fit. He's been great, now that he's got his legs underneath him and a feel for how we play. He's getting better and better every day. And we really missed that dynamic last year that Bjelica-Porter type of player, big who can stretch the floor but still make plays and a good passer. That really changes the equation offensively when you have someone out there, kind of run the offense through and can space the floor with a three-point shot. So I'm really excited about him.”
8:07 on what specifically Moses Moody needs to do to earn more minutes: “Well, he's working every day on all of the skills that are necessary to become a complete player and a rotation player. Last year I thought where he really improved was crashing the glass on offense. He did a great job of that in the playoffs. He's still learning a lot of the skills necessar to be a wing or guard who's going to handle the ball and in our offense, there's a lot of movement, you’ve got to recognize patterns. You know, if Steph’s in the corner and you're at the wing, you’ve got to cut through and create that space for Steph. So that's an example of something we're working with him on. Recognizing all that stuff just takes time. This is a different game here. The NBA, it's not something that you adapt to easily right away, especially if it's just one year in college. So he's still working on all that stuff and as he gets better and better with his recognition of all that stuff, then he's got a better and better chance to play.”
9:44 on Cory Joseph and his mentoring of Brandin Podziemski: “He's just a great human being. I mean, he's a great teammate. He's been through what Brandin has gone through already. He, as a rookie in San Antonio, one year in college he had a lot to learn. And so that was a great place to go, to be coached by Pop and play with that group. And so he can recount those experiences to Brandin and Brandin can relate to that. And Cory is just rock solid. I mean, whether he's playing or in a reserve role he's going to be a really important member of the team because he's always pulling for the group.”
10:39 on Jonathan Kuminga needing to get better with rebounding, decision-making, and catching on the short roll: “He’s been rebounding better. He had eight boards against the Lakers Game One (of the preseason) and that was good to see. He looked comfortable with his shot. He did a lot of good things in that game. So he’s just got to continue to work and continue to make the right decisions and play with energy, sprint the floor, crash the glass, all that stuff. And as he gets better and better with that, he will play more and more.”
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