Golden State Warriors Force Rookies to Dress Up and Sing for Fans

The Golden State Warriors like to have some fun with the rookies every year, and this season is no different.

During Thursday’s open practice, the rookies were required to sing while wearing ridiculous costumes. Former Ohio State guard Aaron Craft dressed as a bear while singing “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus.

Diamond Leung from the San Jose Mercury News tweeted that Draymond Green bought Craft’s costume:


James Michael McAdoo was forced to dress as Pikachu while singing The Fresh Prince of Bel -Air theme song :

[Vine, Instagram, Twitter]

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Warriors’ Starting Small Forward Decision More Complicated Than It Seems

When your starting five registers a net rating of plus-15.4 over 819 regular-season minutes—as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut did for the Golden State Warriors a season ago*—you think it’d be best to leave well enough alone. 

The Dubs’ golden unit is good enough to single-handedly put them in the playoffs. Given the right breaks, it could be what carries them to an NBA championship.

But when it comes to who mans the starting small forward slot, the truth—as in any seemingly sublime relationship—is a bit more complicated.

This is no knock on Andre Iguodala. As the team’s best defender and foremost emotional leader, the 10-year veteran is the definition of “indispensable.” For the Warriors to reach their full potential, however, head coach Steve Kerr must not merely choose rotational convention over better depth.

The crux of the issue is as follows: By bringing Iguodala off the bench, Golden State would have a proven leader and playmaker to bolster what has been one of the league’s most woeful second units.

Meanwhile, starting Harrison Barnes—whose struggles last season were well-documented—could give the third-year forward a much-needed jolt of confidence. That in turn would help bolster Barnes’ value for any potential trade, something that’s been often discussed in the Warriors’ front office.

There’s certainly something to be said about tethering Barnes to Golden State’s stars as often as possible. Per NBA.com (subscription required), the three five-man units in which Barnes was included and that registered a positive net rating over a minimum of 50 minutes all included at least three regular Warriors starters.

It’s the definition of a “risk-reward” scenario. On the one hand, you know what you’re getting with Iguodala in the starting lineup. On the other, how can you know what you might have in Barnes unless you give him more minutes?

The idea of Iguodala as bench ballast was given an early boost during a recent preseason blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Afterward, Kerr told the San Jose Mercury News’ Diamond Leung that he wouldn’t rule out the 2012 Olympic gold-medal winner as a possible sixth-man extraordinaire.

“I thought Andre was brilliant, and I don’t know that (coming off the bench is) the route we’re going to go, but he solidified that unit,” Kerr said. “And our lead went up when we subbed in, which was encouraging.

For his part, Iguodala was a bit more circumspect when asked about the possibility, telling Leung:

It’s just playing ball, you know? You try not to make a big deal out of it. I think we know the depth we have and how many guys we can put out there on the floor, which should help us stay fresh throughout the year. It could be anyone’s night. Coaches continue to reiterate that fact that it could be anyone’s night at any given time, so be patient if that night’s not your night and just go with the flow.

During the 2013-14 season, it wasn’t uncommon see Iguodala serve as a primary ball-handler behind Stephen Curry; that’s how shallow Golden State’s backcourt was (Steve Blake being the only other true point guard in the regular rotation).

The addition of Shaun Livingston—signed to a full mid-level exception of a little over $5 million back in July—certainly changes that equation for the better. Still, beyond Curry and Livingston, Kerr’s only real ball-handler is rookie Aaron Craft, a hard-nosed but physically limited player coming off a woeful stint in the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues.

That’s not to say Iguodala’s only role would be running the reserves show, of course; the installation of Kerr’s triangle offense arguably makes the team’s positional makeup even more moot. Besides, there’s still the matter of that age-old basketball adage: It’s not who starts but who finishes that truly counts.

At the same time, As SB Nation’s Drew Garrison recently underscored, swapping Iguodala and Barnes isn’t a risk-free proposition:

This does represent a long-term trade-off for Golden State, though. Iguodala is one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders and the Warriors will need their defensive stopper as a starter during the postseason. If the Warriors rely on Iguodala leading the bench unit through the regular season, this could cause rotation issues if they shift him back into the starting lineup for the playoffs. He also fits nicely alongside the starting unit, complementing Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry on the wings and providing the kind of defensive support on the perimeter that David Lee and Andrew Bogut need in front of them.

Will Kerr stick with this newfound role for Iguodala? Time will tell, but giving it a chance and seeing how his Warriors respond to the lineup shift is a worthwhile preseason exercise if nothing else.

The idea of leveraging more minutes in order to massage Barnes’ trade value wasn’t conceived in a vacuum. With the team’s salaries already maxed out and both Klay Thompson and Draymond Green—a bench revelation in his own right—due extensions over the next 12 months, it’s incumbent upon Golden State to cleave open as much cap space as possible.

Green adds yet another wrinkle to the Warriors’ small forward logjam, what with the third-year forward already being talked about as a possible replacement for the defensively limited David Lee as the team’s starting power forward.

Still, despite logging only 14 percent of his team’s minutes at the 3, Green’s impact—the Warriors registered a plus-8.2 with him as the small forward according to 82games.com—is enough to at least make Kerr consider what a Green-Lee, Green-Iguodala or Green-Barnes forward duo might look like.

Whatever Kerr’s ultimate decision is, it should be neither pressing nor permanent, which is a luxury one can afford when wielding one of the league’s deeper teams.

Sensational as Golden State’s starting unit was a season ago, it’s impossible not to see the end result—a disappointing first-round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers—as reason enough for a bit of tweaking and tinkering.

Even if the five that finish—Iggy included—are as much a certainty as Sunday Mass at the Vatican.

 

*Stat courtesy of NBA.com (subscription required).

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Season Predictions and Analysis for the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors will look to make some waves in the Western Conference this season under new coach Steve Kerr. Can Kerr and the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, lead the Dubs on a deep run?

Howard Beck and Ric Bucher join Adam Lefkoe to give their take in the video above.

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Ezeli returns as Warriors beat Clippers 125-107 (Yahoo Sports)

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 21: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a layup against Spencer Hawes #10 of the Los Angeles Clippers on October 21, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Festus Ezeli got the best birthday present he could imagine: playing in an NBA game.


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Warriors vs. Clippers: Live Score and Highlights from 2014 NBA Preseason

The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors are clashing for the second time this preseason Tuesday evening. 

You can catch all the action on TNT. 

Keep it locked here on Bleacher Report throughout the night for real-time updates, highlights and analysis of all things Clippers-Warriors. 

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Brandon Rush Injury: Updates on Warriors Guard’s Back and Return

The Golden State Warriors have one of the most talented backcourts in the NBA. On opening day, though, they could have slightly less depth, as Brandon Rush continues to deal with back spasms.

Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears has the details:

The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Rusty Simmons noted the official diagnosis:

Although he hasn’t done much in the last two seasons, the 29-year-old Rush is capable of adding a decent scoring punch as part of the second unit. With Shaun Livingston also doubtful for the season opener, per Spears, the Warriors’ bench is going to be significantly thinner in the backcourt.

Of course, when you have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson that doesn’t really make a huge difference. The Splash Brothers are likely to play as much as they can handle against the Sacramento Kings, while Leandro Barbosa and potentially Andre Iguodala will see more minutes at the 2.

Still, Rush is good for about eight to 10 minutes per game. If Steve Kerr doesn’t want to run his stars too much to begin the year, he’ll be hoping to get Rush and Livingston back soon.

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Why Warriors Fans Should Expect Fewer 3s and More Wins Under Steve Kerr

The Golden State Warriors will be looking to take the next step under new head coach Steve Kerr, hoping that a healthy lineup can make waves in the Western Conference. What can we expect out of the Dubs in year one with the new coaching staff?

Matt Kolsky of KNBR joins Stephen Nelson to play a game of over/under in the video above.

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Rockets beat Warriors 90-83 in exhibition game (Yahoo Sports)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 14: Trevor Ariza #1 of the Houston Rockets shoots against Omer Asik #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on October 14, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

HIDALGO, Texas (AP) — The Houston Rockets welcomed back two stars who had been dealing with injuries most of this preseason. The Golden State Warriors rested their two stars.


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Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets 10/19/14: Video Highlights and Recap

The Golden State Warriors squared off against the Houston Rockets in a preseason matchup Sunday night. 

Steph Curry’s Warriors are finding a groove this preseason under new head coach Steve Kerr. 

The Rockets will be looking to prove that their top-heavy roster is capable of contending with any team in the Western Conference. 

Watch the video for full highlights. 

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Heat win first game of preseason, beat Warriors (Yahoo Sports)

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 17: James Ennis #32 of the Miami Heat shoots the ball against the Miami Heat during a game on October 17, 2014 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chris Bosh scored 21 points and Luol Deng and Shawne Williams added 19 each to help the Miami Heat win their first game in the preseason with a 115-108 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.


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