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Kuminga’s FTs, Quinones on earning Kerr’s trust, CP3 x dominoes, Podziemski, Myers, Wiggins, Richardson, Robinson
Key takeaways from the Golden State Warriors’ preseason win over the Sacramento Kings: Jonathan Kuminga is targeting 75% from the free throw line and is growing into his role as the “fence-bender” (as mentioned before in this website — search on “fence bender” — coined by Joe Dumars and mentioned on one of the episodes of the Draymond Green Show), per Steve Kerr, Lester Quinones has read the tea leaves and understands his sole goal is simple to earn Steve’s trust, and Mike Brown isn’t happy with the Kings’ defense, so expect even more physicality Wednesday night.
I have organized all of the following stuff by placing the transcripts last, so if like the granular, please scroll down a lot! I’ll still put the relevant videos up more at the top. Other than the transcripts being at the bottom, everything is in “sort of” chronological order.
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As for Monday’s day off after the Sunday game, I’m told Kerr did a special talk for Rakuten and Warriors employees. We’ll have a snippet of that in the next post. Expect an update on Draymond’s ankle today when Steve takes the podium after practice.
MORE FROM GSW-SAC POSTGAME
• Kerr said one of the Warriors' final two preseason games will be the true dress rehearsal. Starters will play closer to 30 minutes. (CJ Holmes)
• Kerr said the Warriors will crank up the usage for their starters the final two preseason games. Near 30 minutes. Said it’s a dress rehearsal week. Regular season like prep, scouting, shootaround. (Anthony Slater)
• Jonathan Kuminga told me his goal is at least 75% from the free-throw line this season. He’s now at 75.9% this preseason. (Dalton Johnson)
• Monday afternoon: The Warriors have waived Donovan Williams, Javan Johnson and Kendric Davis, per sources. They are signing Javonte Green and Yuri Collins today. All five are expected to land in Santa Cruz to open the G-League season in the organizational pipeline. (Anthony Slater)
[As I put in the digest in an article from Keith Smith of SpoTrac — search on “Exhibit 10” on this website — these waive-and-signs are just procedural as the Warriors build out their Santa Cruz roster. Each Exhibit 10 contract comes with a $50-75k bonus if the player stays with the SCW for one month. Ergo, expect Collins and Green to be waived before training camp ends and possibly more signings as well.]
• This late in the preseason, Javonte Green is probably headed to the Warriors G League team. But I feel like that's one to keep an eye on. He could play there and do some stuff. Tremendous athlete and he's shot it better the last couple of years. (Keith Smith)
• Agree with Keith. No longer 2-way eligible but still kinda shocked he's on a G League deal. Suspect he'll be one of the league's first call-ups. (John Hollinger)
MORE OF LESTER’s MUSIC CHOICES
Quinones with another post with background music from Gunna, proud to pickup full-court on defense with Gary Payton II. He’s posted a lot of Gunna recently, which inspired me to use it in a pregame Shorts video.
PODZIEMSKI ON A PODCAST
I haven’t gotten around to this, but Brandin Podziemski was on fellow Santa Clara alum Jared Brownridge’s podcast. The set actually looks pretty dope:
32:14 podcast on YouTube:
WOJ & MYERS CHIME IN ON KLAY
During the Sunday broadcast, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said there has been no progress on contract extension talks between Klay and Warriors: “I’m told that there has been absolutely no progress on a Klay Thompson extension in Golden State, that they are still apart on years and money. There’s a very real possibility Klay Thompson goes into free agency next summer without a deal… You know in the marketplace teams value shooting, they value high-level wing defense. For Golden State, this has a chance to become the first real test of keeping together that core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.”
Bob Myers, in the same segment (making his ESPN debut?: “This is a delicate negotiation. From what I know and see, he wants to stay and they want him to stay. Doesn’t mean it will happen. But it is a test … and this is probably the first real test.”
Myers then did a presser — which probably indicates it was indeed his debut — and Shayna Rubin of the Bay Area News Group wrote about it:
“I think my answer to (accepting another GM job) would be not right now,” Myers said, asked if wanted to head up another team after ESPN. “I can’t say. The only conviction that I have is that I was done with what that job required. And what that will mean in two years, three years, I just honestly don’t know.
I guess I’ve got to be okay not knowing. I don’t really need to know now. It might be harder as things are presented to me to make those decisions. I’ve had some things presented and pretty easily said, ‘No, thank you. I’m flattered but no thank you.'”
“The Warriors thing, I’ve used this example before, it was like trying to hold on to the tail of a dragon,” he said. “It was ton of fun, but a ton of work, and I admire any executive that can kind of keep it going for 20 years. I did 12, and I just felt like for me, I had to stop.”
Production warned him panelists would ask about Klay Thompson’s contract extension situation, he said, adding that it was a little strange to talk publicly about his former team.
“Talking about the Warriors is hard because I have such relationships there,” he said. “I want everybody to do well. I want Joe (Lacob) to win a title. I want Steve (Kerr) to keep coaching and (Steph) Curry to keep winning, and I want (Mike) Dunleavy who took over for me to do a great job, which he will.
But it’s hard for me to have a ruthless opinion about things over there. It’s tough. I tried my best to say, look, maybe I was saying it would be hard for me. But it would have been hard for me to do that negotiation.”
My take: after the Klay extension article by Anthony Slater of The Athletic, which basically swung the pendulum to the side of, “Oh, he’s a Warrior for life,” there had to be something to balance that out. I’m sure Klay’s agent Greg Lawrence didn’t think that piece was great for negotiations, but I’m just guessing.
The easiest way to think about this is Andrew Wiggins’ contract. He gave a discount, which then Draymond did similarly, and so we all expect Klay to accept a similar type of contract.
But here’s the problem: Klay has a better shot at making the All-Star team at shooting guard than Wiggs at a frontcourt spot; I’m basing this on the bevy of All-Star caliber wings in the West. Whatever the actual odds are, you can be sure that Klay thinks he can be an All-Star again. He’s said as much.
And so if he’s an All-Star again and Wiggs is not, then there’s some built-in bargaining power to squeeze a couple million or an extra year out of Joe Lacob. Betting on himself is the right thing for Klay to do, and without going into detail, I will say that includes consideration of injury (because he’s already been injured and got paid handsomely during which).
But I get it, if I were the ESPN producer of Bob’s debut, I would also conjure up some controversy, or call it “fear”, or call it “separation” on a topic that hits close to home for Myers. That is what you do at billion-dollar media companies of this era 🤷🏻♂️
CP3 IS ELITE AT DOMINOES
This is way late to reach this digest, but Marcus Thompson of The Athletic scribed a masterpiece feature (the block quote below doesn’t do it justice and I highly advise just forking out the money to read this one because the monthly fee pays for it in literally one piece, here) on Chris Paul’s visit to the annual Warriors vs San Quentin basketball game:
“I wasn’t always a basketball player, and I’m not only a basketball player,” Paul said. “The way I was raised, the family I grew up in, we were always just people first before anything else.”
Paul had a connection to San Quentin. His uncle served time there years ago, he said … And how Paul joined the San Quentin trip of his own volition. No one solicited his participation. He got the internal email about it like everyone else and signed up.
This is how he’s approached his entire Warriors experience thus far — all in. He’s been fully invested in ingratiating himself with his new fellowship.
(Klay) Thompson, by the way, was a rock star in his San Quentin debut. He fulfilled every autograph request. He agreed to every photo. He listened to every story, absorbed every praise. And he did it with a grin and display of happiness he most often flashes on a boat.
“It was special,” Thompson said. “A long time coming. A long time overdue. I love to see how what we do inspires people. I’m going back with all the motivation I need this season.”
[brilliant story-telling of CP3 in a dominoes game]
“We ran Draymond Green up outta here last time,” someone shouted. Another added: “We had him walking laps.”
After one more Green comment, Paul fired back.
“What that gotta do with me?”
STEVE HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT JK
Kuminga has been probably the most talked-about subject since his 24 points against the LA Lakers in Preseason Game 1, but Jason Dumas of KRON4 had a fairly early sit-down with Steve on Jonathan, among other topics (Dumas tweeted out the whole TV segment later but I’ll put that in a future post due to time considerations): “The more times on the menu, the harder it is to pick out what you want to eat.”
The full interview can be found on the KRON website (I haven’t had time to watch it yet): https://www.kron4.com/nba/warriors/steve-kerr-discusses-state-of-warriors-ahead-of-2023-24-season-opener/
JASE RICHARDSON TO MICHIGAN ST
Jase Richardson, son of legendary Warrior Jason, committed to Michigan State:
Draymond celebrated the decision in his IG stories.
WIGGS on ALL-STAR, OLYMPICS, ZOO
From Mark Medina: Wiggins to Sportskeeda: "I would love to be an All-Star. I would love to be on the All-Defensive team." Wiggins details last season's injury, interest in playing for Canada in 2024 Olympics, Chris Paul and team's title chances in an exclusive interview:
“This year was tough because I ended the season with a broken rib,” Wiggins told Sportskeeda. “But the goal next year is to be with them in Paris.”
“I’m always cool. I’m playing the game I love. I got a great family and great friends. I have a great life. I’m blessed. I’m in no position to pout. I’m always with all my family and my friends. It’s always a great time to be around them. They have so much positivity.”
So you’ll definitely play for Canada in the 2024 Olympics?Wiggins: “Yeah, I would love to.”And I’d imagine they said they feel the same way?Wiggins: “Yeah” (laughs)
Wiggins: “I try to eat healthy. I stay hydrated. I always know what I put in my body. I don’t eat red meat, pork or dairy. I eat chicken, turkey and fish. I feel clean. Training wise, the method is there. If you train hard and prepare right, then everything will be good. It’s just about having the mindset and the want to do it.”
“I saw a panda for the first time (at a zoo in China). That was cool. I never had seen one before. I got to feed some giraffes. That was cool, too, and they’re friendly. I petted a baby tiger, a sloth and an orangutan. It was a big zoo.”
Was that scary?
Wiggins:“Nah, it wasn’t scary. There were a lot of people there. The chances of them doing something to me and everybody were slim because I’m fast” (laughs).
I could already picture Wiggs’ trademark chuckle in some of those responses to Medina. I love the fact he doesn’t eat red meat (I’m the same and have a wiry frame too, but I also avoid chicken).
It was also nice to see that Medina checked out one of my “China Wiggs” videos and actually embedded it in the Sportskeeda article. In it, Andrew actually tosses a banana to an eager elephant, but misses the elephant’s mouth. I’m pretty sure we all thought he would hit the bullseye on that one!
Continuing the trend of long-overdue digest posts, here’s Connor Letourneau of the SF Chronicle on Usman Garuba:
“It almost feels too good to be true,” Garuba said this week.
At 6-foot-8, 229 pounds, with a 7-3 wingspan and plenty of muscle, Garuba looks like a slightly bigger version of Green. The two players’ similarities — both in terms of appearance and playing style — have prompted some teammates to call Garuba “Baby Draymond.”
“We were so young, man,” Garuba said of those Houston teams. “We didn’t know how the real NBA was.”
Before the 2021 draft, Garuba had dinner in Las Vegas with a group of Warriors decision-makers that included then-general manager Bob Myers. The conversation left Garuba daydreaming about Golden State selecting him at No. 14. Instead, the Warriors took guard Moses Moody there as Garuba fell to the Rockets at No. 23.
In 2013, just 24 months after he first picked up a basketball in his small hometown outside Madrid, he signed with European powerhouse Real Madrid at age 11. Six years later, Garuba became the youngest starter in the history of Real Madrid’s senior team — quite the feat given that Luka Doncic came through that same system.
Frustrated by his inconsistent minutes last season with the Rockets, Garuba often FaceTimed his parents, Mustapha and Betty, Nigerian immigrants who settled in Spain in the 1990s without work permits. As a kid, Garuba had watched them wake up around 5 a.m. to provide for him and his two younger siblings. Nothing in the NBA, Garuba told himself, is as hard as what his parents overcame.
“I’ve learned over the past couple years not to worry about the things you can’t control,” Garuba said. “If you work hard and do what you need to do, things will work out eventually.”
• Dick Vitale says his goal is to announce Miami at Kentucky on 11/28/2023. He has been battling throat cancer.
STEVE POSTGAME KINGS
0:00 Kerr postgame, checking his phone: “I'm sorry, I'm just checking my fantasy score. Yes, I won! Who’s got the first question?”
0:09 on the young guys: “…doing great job closing games, to win two straight and close ones with clutch play down the stretch, getting stops, getting some hoops, having some good possessions. It's fun to see.”
0:29 on Kuminga’s 17 free throws: “Yeah, I mean, one of the big things that we've talked to JK about is, we're not the most athletic team, we're a very skilled team. But we don't get to the line a ton, near the bottom of the league last year. So if he can attack and get to the rim and get to the foul line, that makes us a better team.
1:01 on if JK (FTP 76%) has a target percentage or if it’s just a mentality: “The mentality. Same with Wiggs. Wiggs got there a lot tonight, which was great. But those two guys can change our team. With their athleticism and their ability to attack and get to the foul line every time we get to the line. Not only is it free points, but you get your defense set up for the next possession. So that's valuable.”
1:26 on Wiggins having a stronger preseason after last year: “Last year was obviously a tough, tough season for him in a lot of ways and he's committed to coming back and having a great year and he's always in a great, great place in terms of his approach, his attitude. Everybody loves Andrew so much. He's a great teammate. If anything, we just need to continue to hammer home the importance of him attacking and being aggressive like he was tonight.”
2:03 on what he liked about Quinones’ performance: “Lester is a really good player. He used all of last year to make a dramatic improvement in Santa Cruz. From training camp last year to now, he's an entirely different player. That's a testament to him, his work ethic, his ability to absorb coaching, and he's put the time in and it shows.”
2:28 on if he’ll crank up the starters minutes: “Yeah. Yeah. We’ll play our starters more minutes. You know, try to get them up closer to 30 minutes and this will be more of a dress rehearsal. So more thorough scouting going into the games and more, I guess, simulations of game day in terms of shootaround and pregame meeting and scout and all that stuff.
3:01 on if both remaining preseason games will be dress rehearsals: “Yeah, not sure about both.”
3:08 on the way Podziemski handled starting in place of Steph: “…he's just really poised. He's got a great feel for the game. He's strong. He makes plays at both ends. So I'm really enjoying watching him play, especially as a young rookie in this league, but he's pretty advanced.”
LES POSTGAME KINGS
3:36 Lester Quinones postgame on what he sees from the boxscore: “I see Loon got the 14 boards, of course that's what he do, we know that but, yeah, just a good overall team win. Five guys in double figures, 18 assists is good. I don't see how many TO’s we had, but — 22? Yeah we gotta probably get the turnovers down, but 18 assists. I feel like we're kind of moving good out there as a group. Overtime went pretty well, a few little minor mistakes, but I feel like our defense kind of tightened up at the end. Offense, we probably could have got a little less turnovers over there, but like I said our defense in that fourth quarter, last stretch to overtime, I feel like that was when we had our best kind of shell and everybody packed in, everybody locked in.”
4:21 on the importance of the young guys to get experience in clutch moments: “I feel like those are moments where you're just being tested… when Steve kind of locks in and sees like, ‘Okay, I could trust him in this situation.’ Or Steve kind of looks for the future: ‘Can I trust him in a league game situation?’ where I go out there and tell him don't foul and he goes out there and fouls and he might lose a little bit of trust in you. So like you said, it's just going out there and getting battle-tested and earning that trust with Steve, to where if he tells you something in those clutch moments and you execute it, that adds a little bit more to your leash. And I feel like we did that today. That's what kind of helped us pull out that win. Like I said, just doing the little things like that, running over, asking him what sets do we want to run, what was spots you want certain guys in, and I'm kind of organizing guys in there. Our defensive schemes, kind of every free throw box-out, every free throw going up to Steve and asking him what he wants. So like I said, that's what he emphasized that last play. When we were up at the end, he kind of emphasized don't foul and switch everything, so I made sure I went over there, talked to everybody, make sure everybody was on the same page. And like I said, just hopefully just building that trust.”
5:35 on finally getting going in the scoring department: “Feels great. Feels amazing finally seeing it a go through the net. 2-for-6, shot a couple of end-of-shot-clock ones. The full-court one, I told HB, kind of contesting me on that full-court one, but I feel like I got some pretty good looks tonight. Kind of got in the flow for rebounds, for assists. I'm just trying to be more active, getting more involved. Like I said, defensively being in the right spots, just earning that trust with Steve to where I don't make those mistakes or those little mental lapses where it's like, ‘Okay, I can't see him in this situation with us.’ So I feel like that's what I've been locked in on and today I feel like I was locked in on that 100%.”
6:18 on if he feels solidified in his two-way spot: “I'm just controlling what I could control now at this point. Like I said, going out there, coming right off the bench, just playing with that spark and that energy, given my scoring ability. I feel like it's kind of known that I can score the ball, shoot the ball. So just doing all the other little things, like I said, defensively, extra help, talking, setting guys up, doing all the stuff that other people don't want to do: rebounding, crashing, guarding the best guy, stuff like that. So like I said, you got to start somewhere, and kind of just build off that. So like I said, controlling what I could control now is just the main thing I'm focusing on.”
6:55 on if his mentality during this preseason is to do the little things: “Yeah, definitely. Because we have guys like Steph, Klay, Wiggs. JK solidified himself as a scorer. We have guys like that to where, like I said, we're being tested to where Steve is testing guys to ‘see if I could trust him.’ On the floor with Steph, Klay and Draymond, to not come down and want to hunt for my own shot, look for a crazy shot and make a crazy turnover but being in the right spots for them, adjusting with them because defense around the league changes a certain way when those guys even step on the floor. So being in those positions, in those spots to execute. And like I said, just be ready and be ready for that moment when my name is called to go out there and play with those guys.”
7:35 on if it’s hard to turn on and off from being a shooter in Santa Cruz: “Yeah, one thousand percent. And I feel like that's what makes you a pro, at the end of the day. That professional part of it is being able to go down and adjust your game, like I said, going down and having to play a certain way for Santa Cruz, to win and then coming back up here’s Like I said, we have guys like Steph scoring 30 a night, playing Wiggs, getting 20 a night, Draymond who's getting seven, eight assists, and Loon making plays. So we have guys who already solidified their role doing it on this team, at this level at a high level for years. So like I said, coming in and fitting in with them is the biggest part. And like I said, I'm getting more comfortable with it, starting to figure it out more. And like I said, just just earning Steve’s trust.”
MOSES POSTGAME KINGS
8:24 Moses Moody postgame on the young guys like Brandin and Lester helping to get an overtime win like that, to push them through: “Yeah, it's cool. It's fun getting an opportunity to do that on the NBA stage. It was a regular season atmosphere out there, going against a great coach in Mike Brown and just being out there in a real game situation, being able to pull it out, it means something.”
8:47 on seeing more of an emphasis by Kuminga and the whole team to get downhill and to the free throw line: “Yeah, really important just because he puts so much pressure on the rim. He puts so much pressure on defenders, so when you’re going straight into his chest, it's hard not to foul him sometimes, especially him being so explosive. So that's a big thing for us because you can't always score every possession, but you can go down and get fouls and get to the free throw line, same thing.”
9:14 on if he knew he was starting the second half and Klay would be done: “No, I didn’t until halftime.”
9:21 on making a three right away and the shot feeling good: “Yeah, it did. Just rhythm, flow, what I’ve been working on all summer.” 9:27 on what he’s seen from Podziesmki: “Yeah, I really like his pace. He's been able to put pressure on the rim, attack, and then create, not get overwhelmed when he gets in there, just staying composed. I’m impressed with it.”
9:41 on what’s different with himself: “Composure. I've seen a lot by now, just being in playoff atmospheres, preseason. Not necessarily as much as a lot of guys on our team, but a fair amount of experience. So it's a lot of situations that I've just been in before and it just feels more comfortable and it’s slowing down.”
MIKE BROWN POSTGAME KINGS
0:00 Mike Brown postgame on the Kings’ defense: “…I thought our physicality really showed in the first quarter. I thought defensively we were pretty good in a lot of areas on top of being good defensively, and that first quarter I thought our ball movement, spacing, ball-reversals, or paint touches for sprays, our pace getting off the ball in a timely manner with it was all really good. We scored 38 points in that first quarter and then a decent job of holding them to 25. And then you go from there, I thought that we lost our focus a little bit defensively. They had 42 free throws. I think Jonathan Kuminga had as many free throw attempts as us and he made more than us. So one player on their team got to the free throw line and made more than us… I'm okay if somebody's making a backdoor cut. We stand them up. Or somebody's cutting through the paint. We stand them up or we're aggressive in a screen, but kind of bumping a guy off the route. What disappoints me about their free throw attempts, there were too many times where we were on a guy's hip while he was driving. We just reached or we closed out to the ball or rotated to the ball. We lead with our hands. And we can't do that. That's the only part that I like to take away from tonight defensively, is when we reached and/or lead with our hands. We’ve got to go vertical to take a hit in the chest or take a charge and I know there were at least two times where we could have tried to go vertical or tried to take a charge and it's probably a couple more and we just flat out moved out the way and, again, I talked about physicality, physicality physicality, that's part of it. And that was disappointing to see. We did do some good things. Oh, like I said, especially that first group, our guys figured out how to fight and kind of get back in the game and in the second half, when we were down and to send it to overtime. We just got to give Golden State credit for hitting bigger shots down the stretch than we did, but it all started with our reaching and getting them to the free throw line 42 times, getting the same amount of free throws as us.”
2:33 on Chris Duarte’s injury: “Okay, so good news. Our medical group already did an MRI on him which came back clean. He has a small bone bruise but like I said the MRI was good. It's clean. And then second question: I thought he was really good with that starting group. In that first quarter, I thought defensively he was really good. And I thought offensively, he played the right way.”
3:29 on what he saw from Duarte that worked: “I thought our ball movement, our pace was good. I thought our spacing was good. A couple of times, even played two-man game with Domas and if he didn't get it, he didn't stop, he kept moving. We want to get out in transition and get to the three-point line as quickly as we can. And after we secured a rebound, he took off and he ended up hitting on a wing three because he was wide open and he beat everybody down the floor and then defensively, you're not stopping a guy like Klay Thompson but I thought his physicality was done the right way. He made Klay try to work for his shots as best as he could. And whether it was chasing off a pin-down, Klay trying to post him, he did a good job for being a young guy that hasn't played a ton of minutes.”
4:46 on Keon Ellis: “Defensively, he was great. He’s got great anticipation. He's got long arms. He's a pretty good athlete and I think he led us in deflections tonight, he might have gotten five deflections tonight and so that was huge. I thought, again, he was great on that end of the floor and then offensively, he got a little rhythm, hit a few shots for us, made a couple of plays and so his minutes were really good. He and Colby both split time initiating offense for us for a stretch there. And so for two young guys, I thought they were pretty good. They played really, really hard and tried to play the right way.”
5:36 on anything that has surprised him about this group, with stumbling out of the gate and hockey substitutions: “You know, there are a lot of good things. The thing that I want to see change, like our practices are really, really good in terms of us playing the right way. And we go through too many stretches during the game where we're over dribbling or our spacing is not good offensively. And those are two of our five staples. We want to play 0.5-basketball, we want to get off the ball or make a quick move and then get off the ball. But at times we just dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble, and dribble. And so, that's not what we do offensively. We didn't do that a ton last year. And then like I said, at times we're on top of each other and we don't trust our spacing and each other to make the right play. But in practice, we do a pretty good job of it, our energy is there and all that and then on the defensive side of the ball, I think our physicality and practice is at a much higher level the right way. We’re chest-ing guys, we're trying to actually try to take charges in practice and going vertical in practice. And then when we get out in a game, at least so far, it really hasn't shown, I thought, the first game or maybe the Lakers game. We took four or five charges, which was beautiful. It was great to see. But I don't know the other two of our preseason games. I didn't really see it and so, for me, continuing to try to play physical like we do in practice, to try to do that in the game for 48 minutes hasn’t happened. And so that's been a little disappointing. And then, like I said, our spacing and our ability to get off the ball in practice, especially those two things, probably more than anything else has been really good in practice. But at times it hasn’t been good in games and so it's a little disappointing, too. But in stretches we have done some things. It's just trying to put it together, some really good things, just trying to put it together for 48 minutes.
8:10 on how Kevin Huerter responded to coming off the bench and asking for more physicality on defense from him: “I thought he was better defensively. I thought he tried to play physical and he ended up with three quick fouls. I don't think his fouls were reaching. I thought he was trying to body Klay and or whoever else was out on the floor, if I recall correctly. So again, we just need him to sit down, guard, be physical just like everybody else and try to do it while showing your hands and if you get a chance to take a hit by going vertical or taking a charge, step in and do it for your team.
STEVE PREGAME KINGS
9:01 Steve Kerr pregame on his starting lineup: “Brandin, Klay, Wiggs, Jonathan and Loon. I might not be so accommodating in the regular season.”
9:16 on if there's been a big jump in confidence this preseason from Kuminga: “Yeah, he's playing with a lot of confidence. And I think the big thing is he's really embracing everything, the coaching, the challenge, the awareness of having to really focus on a lot of different things, the things that make them matter and make a difference in terms of winning a game, losing a game. All those things, he's really much more aware of, now in his third year. So he’s had a good camp and he just has to keep going.
10:10 on how Chris Paul has interacted with teammates in the locker room: “Yeah, it's hugely important, chemistry of a team connection within the group. All of that is so important to a winning team. And Chris is great. He's a vet. He's one of the most respected players in the league for a lot of different reasons, but he's here and he's really embraced his role with us. He's asking a lot of questions, but he's really also helping the younger guys and he's coming to us, I think, at a time where, frankly, we need his leadership, his ability to control the game and just his experience, I think, is going to be really important for us.”
11:10 on if Rodney McGruder and Cory Joseph remain out: “Yes, they’re both out.”
11:15 on if Joseph will make his debut in the preseason: “Yeah, yeah. He played 3-on-3 yesterday. So he just has to get get some reps, but I think there's a good chance he can play.”
11:27 on if McGruder might be back at least in practice this week: “Hopefully, yeah. I mean, he's in the latter stages of (concussion) protocol. So tomorrow off and then see where he is on Tuesday.”
11:40 on Jerome Robinson being an older player at 26 years old on a two-way deal: “He's got a lot of experience at his age. He knows what wins when I put him out there he makes winning plays. If he is out there for us this year, he’ll elp us win some games. He really is a solid pro. And he's important for us because he helps young guys. He has shown great leadership last year in Santa Cruz. So one of the reasons we wanted him on the two-way was to have that ability to impact the younger players with his leadership, but also help the team win if he's out there… He’s great. He’s a guy who understands the league. He's a first-round pick and then didn't make it and has had to scrap his way back and there's a lot of respect for him in the locker room and he's one of those guys who only speaks when he has something important to say and I think the guys appreciate that.”
12:53 on if he’s excited to experiment tonight with Wiggins and Kuminga as a defensive combo: “Two guys who can guard the opponent's best players, for sure. I think the main reason they haven't played a whole lot together is because generally we've had Steph and Klay and others out there. So tonight will be a good look to see them together and see what kind of combination they can make.”
13:28 on how facing the Kings so much impacts the preseason going into the regular season: “If you have a couple of wrinkles that you're thinking of, you don't show them now. Obviously, we've got these next two games and then one more preseason game before we get rolling. So I would expect both teams to stay pretty vanilla.”
14:09 on how the Kings were effective at defending them in the playoffs, despite being a Bottom-Ten team in defense last year: “Oh, they were very physical. They attacked the glass, they got offensive rebounds. It helped them slow us down a little bit. And they tried to jam us up and did a good job with our off-ball stuff. It was a great, great series. They did a really good job.”
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