Warriors-Grizzlies pregame: Smailagic gets the start in Looney’s absence; Curry out, hasn’t done anything; vaccine talk

Also Wiseman missing hometown trip sucks

Here are notes & quotes from Warriors-Grizzlies pregame (Part Deux of the back-to-back) with Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins and Steve Kerr.

Please check our YouTube channel for the visuals, also from last night and then later for postgame, the next practice, and so on.

Our first video, clickable above, is on Alen “Smiley” Smailagic starting in place of Kevon Looney (out due to COVID protocols, just as James Wiseman and Eric Paschall), when Stephen Curry might be back (out due to that tailbone contusion suffered at Houston), and general strategies for the Grizzlies against the Warriors’ Top 6 (!) defense.

Here’s the second pregame video on protocols and potential vaccination. Cool anecdote on Kerr being tempted to take the team bus 15 miles (south) over to Mississippi to get the team vaccinated!


- GSW getting downhill: “better urgency at the point of attack, I thought they really hurt us on 1-on-1…PNR…cutting with force…No. 1 (in NBA) in assists (GSW).”

- no minutes restriction on Justise 

- JV: “balancing act to me…it can be anyone’s night offensively…I don’t think we moved the ball great last night…when teams are taking away Jonas…he finds a lot of different ways to impact the game (outside of scoring)…we gotta be better tonight…against their aggressive defense.”

- going up against another Top 6 defense: “we try to just continue to emphasize the pace…how we space the floor…moving the ball around…how guys are moving without the ball…create advantages…swing it side to side, create driving lanes…they switch a lot…making that simple play.”

- film/lineup: “no changes to the lineup…1-on-1 defense…our rotations have to be a little bit early…pick and roll game…Wiggins…Poole…and then their off-ball game…3-4 main things defensively…fourth one was second chance points.”


- “Steph will not play tonight”

- starters: “we’ll start Smiley and yes Jordan will start”

- how long Looney out? “We don’t know…we need him…it’s a big blow…walking around town…how badly I feel for James (hometown of Memphis)…devastating for James…kinda where he’s from.”

- Smiley: “the matchup is obviously really difficult with Valanciunas and his size. We don’t want to have to play Draymond on him all game.”

- Smiley 2 NBA games, 5 minutes: “yeah, I mean there’s no doubt (this will be a challenge)…but this is the NBA…he’s dying to play…we’re actually very confident…we’re excited to watch.”

- missing Looney: “just his defense…his intelligence, his defensive awareness, helping others, being in the right spot all the time, verticality.”

- March Madness: “very little, took a long walk, beautiful day in Memphis.”

- carry over from last night: “we had 368 passes last night…ball was really moving, watching the film was as much fun as watching the game itself.”

- Steph couple days of rest? “Hopefully, he hasn’t done anything since the injury…pain tolerance, strength.”

- moments to yourself: “nice to get out of the hotels”

- available players in protocols? “We’re pretty good about all this stuff…masks…on the plane, on the sidelines…they’re very careful…getting tested a couple times every day…league wide effort.”

- vaccinate? “I know that there’s discussion. There are no plans…(different states have different rules)…(bus Memphis)…not having any of us jump in front of the line (NBA)…getting to the point where there are supplies…son drove to Dodger Stadium (extra vaccine)…being creative.”