Warriors and Harrison Barnes Unveil New Alternate Jerseys for 2014-15 Season

The Golden State Warriors offered the first glimpse of their new alternate uniforms for the 2014-15 season on Sunday evening.

The new uniform will include a new color for the NBA, slate.

The Golden State Warriors invited a group of social media influencers to Twitter headquarters to unveil the jersey. The influencers got the first look at the jersey and were encouraged to tell the story of the Slate Alternate Uniform on their own social media channels with the hashtag: #DUBSCONFIDENTIAL.

The Warriors will debut the new look on Nov. 15 against the Charlotte Hornets and will then wear them for every Saturday game throughout the remainder of the season.

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Golden State Warriors Better Off Letting Klay Thompson Hit Free Agency

Before the Golden State Warriors invest 10s of millions of dollars in Klay Thompson, before they try to lock down one of the NBA‘s brightest shooting guards, they should do something else first: wait.

Wait, wait, wait. Then wait some more. There isn’t any rush here.

Although the deadline to sign fourth-year players to extensions is Halloween, the Warriors have no reason to operate within said time constraints. Such is the position of power—yes, power—they enjoy.

If an extension isn’t agreed upon by the Oct. 31 “deadline,” Thompson will enter restricted free agency next summer. And if he gets that far, the Warriors can, well, rest easy.

Restricted free agency is a joke for teams. They hold all the leverage. Any offer sheets players sign can be matched. Incumbent squads are free to lowball contract proposals until then, not unlike the Phoenix Suns did with Eric Bledsoe

Only the Suns relented, signing Bledsoe to a five-year, $70 million contract that was not the byproduct of a competing offer, according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The outcome there was unique in its abruptly topsy-turvy development. Understanding that players of Bledsoe‘s ilk wouldn’t flock to Phoenix otherwise, perhaps the Suns valued wrapping him up while they could more than saving a few dollars.

Whatever their intentions, the Suns re-signed Bledsoe. And while the market for his services was nonexistent, this wouldn’t have ended much differently if Bledsoe were fielding phone calls and offers left and right.

That’s the advantage teams hold in restricted free agency. Today’s rules are such that ironing out extensions before the market sets a player’s price only makes sense if he’s clearly cut from transcendent mold, or if the extension in question can be viewed as a steal (see Stephen Curry in 2012).

Neither exception applies to Thompson at the moment.

Sam Amick of USA Today previously revealed Thompson’s agent, Bill Duffy, was seeking a max extension. That’s no discount.

To justify the asking price, Duffy has been busy drumming up his client’s skill set. Said Duffy to Amick

I don’t want (Los Angeles Lakers star) Kobe Bryant to go crazy, but there’s some uncertainty as to who he is right now (because of injuries that limited him to six games last season). But I think Klay Thompson right now is the top two-way, two-guard in basketball. I think when you look at his body of work, when you look at what he accomplished guarding point guards on a regular basis (last season), I think it’s pretty clear.

Nothing about what Duffy says is “pretty clear.” Meeting his contract demands obviously isn’t a no-brainer either; otherwise, negotiations would be nearing conclusion.

Tabling Thompson’s contract situation gives the Warriors another season to evaluate their shooting guard against those claims. Likewise, it gives Thompson the opportunity to rationalize them, because right now they’re absurdly ambitious and hardly reflective of his individual standing.

Thompson’s shooting stroke and defensive acuity are well-known. The latter is more important when playing alongside Curry, who can defer the opposition’s toughest guard assignment to his backcourt brother.

But while that increases his internal value, playing beside Curry hasn’t forced Thompson to expand his game beyond shooting and defending.

Scoring is his bread and butter, his steak and potatoes and his apple pie. And yet he’s painfully reliant on Curry’s marksmanship and playmaking. His already unimpressive field-goal percentage declines when Curry is on the bench, and he often looks out of place when he puts the ball on the floor.

More than 75 percent of his made baskets came off assists last season, and 62.4 percent of his offensive possessions came within spot-ups, in transition or off screens, according to Synergy Sports (subscription required).

“To show that another way, Thompson, who ranked No. 29 in points per game, checked in at No. 96 in Scorer Rating, a new metric developed by myself and Bleacher Report’s Kelly Scaletta,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Adam Fromal. “He was hurt most significantly by that same extreme inability to create for himself.”

Equally troubling, Thompson doesn’t stand out in many other areas. He doesn’t rebound particularly well (3.1 per game for his career), nor is he a playmaker himself. Double-teams eat him alive, and he picks up his dribble far too early for someone who hasn’t perfected Dirk Nowitzki fadeaways.

Of the 44 guards who appeared in at least 50 games and averaged 30 or more minutes last year, Thompson finished 41st in assist percentage. Joe Johnson (37th) was better. So was J.R. Smith (36th). He wasn’t even close to DeMar DeRozan (27th).

There’s also his frequent disappearing acts to consider, as SB Nation’s Eddie Maisonet talked about right around the time Kevin Love negotiations fell apart: 

All of these numbers will likely go up on a bad team, but the biggest concern with Thompson has nothing to do with the stat sheet. It’s that he has a tendency to be on the Milk Carton All-Stars.

Time and time again, Klay Thompson will become virtually nonexistent in games. There are moments where Thompson will make virtually anything he throws near the rim, but there are moments where he doesn’t get involved.

This is the player seeking a max contract? The one who, through three NBA seasons, has yet to post an above-average player efficiency rating? The one who, per Amick, basically removed Golden State from contention for Love?

The Warriors already rolled the dice by deeming him untouchable in Love negotiations. Knowing he’s still an unfinished product, they owe it to themselves to wait and see if Thompson’s actually a star.

“We value him in the highest way,” general manager Bob Myers said, per the San Jose Mercury NewsDiamond Leung, “and we want to keep him on this team for a long time.”

Even if the Warriors cherish Thompson enough to pay him immediately, there’s no harm lining his pockets later. Worst-case scenario has them matching the max contract he would cost them now. And if there’s a team out there willing to go that high next summer, it means Thompson had a season worth rewarding, rendering the matter of compensation a non-issue.

Standing pat for the time being doesn’t only prolong the inevitable, to be certain. It buys the Warriors peace of mind after digesting the facts for another year.

At that point, Thompson is either worth his asking price, or he isn’t. Or, quite preferably, the Warriors’ intent to retain him could scare other suitors away, positioning them to sign him at the discount he isn’t currently giving.

That Thompson cannot combat this tactic makes it an easier call. He can shop around all he wants next summer, but the Warriors will have final say. Signing his qualifying offer worth $4.2 million, playing through 2015-16 and reaching unrestricted free agency the following summer would be the only way he regains leverage.

Chances of that happening, though, are slim. Nothing out there suggests Thompson and the Warriors are at odds. It’s even less likely there would be a torched bridge money couldn’t repair if anything happens between now and then. 

Just as there isn’t any incentive to locking Thompson up this second, there’s no additional downside to waiting.

All the Warriors risk doing is paying Thompson what he isn’t worth now, later.

 

*Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and NBA.com unless otherwise cited. Salary information via ShamSports.


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New Warriors coach Steve Kerr eager to begin camp (Yahoo Sports)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr played golf with Stephen Curry, traveled to Australia to meet with Andrew Bogut and spoke with every other player on the Golden State Warriors in some form or fashion this summer.

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Is Harrison Barnes Entering Make-or-Break Season with Golden State Warriors?

Harrison Barnes‘ perceived upside has been saving him for years. 

It wasn’t that big of a deal when Barnes underwhelmed his freshman season at North Carolina. Or when he returned his sophomore year, only to experience similar problems with inconsistency and ultimately shoot 32 percent from the floor in the NCAA tournament.

With that 6’8″ textbook frame, smooth athleticism and all-around offensive game, Barnes’ upside remained intact despite his somewhat unconvincing play.

And he was OK his rookie year in Golden State—9.2 points, 4.1 boards, 43.9 percent shooting—though Barnes still left something to be desired.  

Regardless, his big-time NBA ceiling didn’t go anywhere. And in 2012-13, he flashed enough promise to keep fans and coaches excited—even if that promise came in sporadic spurts and doses, like in the 2013 playoffs, when he averaged 16.1 points a game. 

That April and May, Barnes finally appeared ready to break through as the star many had pegged him to be out of high school.

Until he didn’t. 

Barnes took a head-scratching step back as an NBA sophomore, having regressed or plateaued in a couple of key areas.

While it was disappointing to see his pedestrian scoring average stay roughly the same, the fact that his field-goal percentage dipped below 40 percent is really the bigger concern.

Though the bar has been set fairly high for Barnes since entering the national scene, given his previous status as an consensus top-five recruit, he’s continuously come up short, whether it was at North Carolina or through two years in the pros.

What happens if he fails to make any progress as a third-year NBA forward?

His upside has to expire eventually. How long do we wait before concluding that Barnes’ elevator simply wasn’t built to reach the ceiling his talent projects?

Maybe former coach Mark Jackson just didn’t know how to maximize Barnes’ ability or put him in position to succeed. Maybe new coach Steve Kerr has the formula.

At just 22 years old, it’s too early to write off Barnes, who’s just trying to find a way to convert those flashes into every-game occurrences. We’ve seen the complete offensive repertoire, from three-point shooting to mid-range scoring and explosive drives to the rack. The next step is putting it all together, a step he’s struggled to take.

Just studying his numbers and observing his tendencies, it’s not tough to pinpoint where he’s gone wrong.

As an on-ball, one-on-one scorer, Barnes has trouble getting to the basket, resulting in too many low-percentage jumpers—jumpers he’s capable of hitting, just not with legitimate consistency. 

He averaged just 2.9 drives per game this past season and ultimately shot only 27.2 percent on pull-up jumpers, a shot typically taken as a backup plan for getting to the basket. 

Barnes’ rookie year, 32.3 percent of his shots came at the rim. His sophomore year, that number fell to just 22.4 percent.

Off the ball, Barnes failed to capitalize as a shooter, having connected on just 40 percent of his catch-and-shoot jumpers and 37 percent of his spot-up threes. Those aren’t horrible numbers, but given his struggles getting to the basket, Barnes can’t afford to miss the good shots created for him by teammates.

Go ahead and blame the Warriors‘ ex-coaching staff for misusing Barnes in the offense. But the inaccurate shot-making is on him. 

The problem or concern is that despite sporting textbook shooting mechanics, his jumper really hasn’t improved much since 2010.

Barnes’ three-point percentage has essentially been the same since his freshman year at North Carolina—right around average. His free-throw clip remains below average, while his true shooting percentage plummeted this year to an ugly 48.6 percent. 

Obviously, Barnes will never reach his potential unless his shooting accuracy and consistency improve. 

With a good-looking stroke, I’d like to think some of Barnes’ shooting troubles are tied to confidence. He hasn’t exactly been used much in Golden State’s offense over the past two years—his usage rate has been under 18 percent in each. 

Hopefully that changes under coach Kerr, who seems motivated to get the most out of Barnes and keep him heavily involved. 

“Harrison is incredibly driven. So we’ve got big plans for him this year,” Kerr told KNBR-680 (via CSNBayArea.com). ”We think he can be a great player in this league…he’s going to continue to get better.”

It’s not just his offensive game that needs fine-tuning. With Andre Iguodala in the starting lineup, the Warriors have been a much tougher team to score on than when Barnes has been in there, as outlined by RealGM’s Benjamin Cantor. Feel free to add defense to the list of things in which Barnes must show improvement. 

Overall, it would ultimately be bad news if he didn’t take that next step in Year 3, considering how long he’s been stuck on the same one. At some point, there aren’t going to be any free passes left with Barnes’ name on them. 

Because upside only holds meaning for those capable of reaching it. There’s no denying Barnes’ NBA ceiling, but sooner or later, unless he finally takes off, we’re going to have to rule that his developmental elevator is officially out of service. 

 

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com unless otherwise noted.

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Warriors’ Proposed New Arena Eerily Resembles A Giant Toilet (Photo)

The Golden State Warriors have big plans for a proposed new arena in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco. For humor’s sake, let’s hope those plans don’t go down the drain. Oracle Arena has been the Warriors’ home since 1966, so the team called upon the fine folks at Snohetta architectural design company to draw up some concept designs. Here’s what they came up with, courtesy of SocketSite.com. This arena looks pretty cool. It also looks like a giant toilet. The Warriors haven’t won an NBA championship since 1975, so maybe the designers are just expressing how they feel about the hometown team. Or maybe they’re starting the latest trend of toilet-shaped stadiums, and everyone else just needs to catch up. Either way, the fact that no one seemed to recognize this is pretty hilarious. The arena is still in the planning stages, though, so it’s possible these lovely sketches could get flushed away. Here are a few more views of the arena, which can seat 18,000 people in its basi…

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Are the Golden State Warriors Deep Enough at the Center Position?

The Golden State Warriors maneuvered shrewdly during the offseason and built elite depth at multiple positions. The guard spot became a strength, small forward is now brimming with talent and they have multiple options at the power forward position.

The center spot, however, is a whole different story.

Leading the group is Andrew Bogut, a defensive force of nature who spends as much time nursing nagging injuries as he does on the court. Behind him is Festus Ezeli, a young, promising player who had his development stunted when he missed all of last season recovering from knee surgery.

Clearly there is a trend here.

The Warriors have high aspirations this season and have most of the pieces to the puzzle already in place. All it will take, though, is one blow to either Bogut or Ezeli to have it all come crumbling down around them. The problem they are now facing is that only scraps remain in the free-agency barrel, with guys like the mercurial Andrew Bynum and the perpetually injured Greg Oden leading the pack.

The Warriors will be hard pressed to find any outside help.

Keeping Bogut healthy will be of the utmost importance this season. With him in the lineup, the Warriors outscored their opponents by 15 points per game. That number could rise even more when Steve Kerr debuts his new offense, one that should feature him and not diminish him the way Mark Jackson did.

Bogut touched the ball on only 12.5 percent of the Warriors possessions last season, an unacceptable number for a big as skilled with the ball as him. Fortunately, Kerr understands how effective he can be and plans on getting the most out of his abilities, courtesy of Diamond Leung of the San Jose Mercury News:

We have great passing bigs with Andrew and David (Lee), and I want to put them in passing situations. I want the ball to move. That’s the biggest thing. We’ve got to get more ball movement, more passes per possession.

Jackson fell in love with isolation offense and outside shooting. Kerr understands that he needs his big men to be effective for the offense to run at its full capacity. While it’s true that Bogut has been injury-riddled throughout his career, he did play a respectable 67 games last season before being lost for the playoffs.

That was his highest total since the 2009-10 season. With a healthy Ezeli backing him up, Kerr can limit his minutes and keep his body fresh for the entire season.

Still, the Warriors cannot bank on this scenario. History has proven that at some point during the season, Bogut will falter. When that happens, creative lineups will be the key to the season. If they can’t go big, they’ll have to counter with small, explosive bursts of offense.

The simple answer is that no, the Warriors clearly do not have enough depth at the center position, especially when considering that it is possible that their tandem plays only 82 games, combined.

What the Warriors lack in depth, however, they make up for in versatility. David Lee might be a defensive sieve but he has the offensive skills to torture any center in the league not named Dwight Howard or DeAndre Jordan. He can fill in the gaps in spurts and help to simply outscore the opposition during portions of the game.

While history may suggest that Kerr might be privy to the traditional two-big set, he recently said in an interview with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News that he wants to expand the offense, implementing parts of the triangle offense and of course, run far more:

I think you’ll see a lot of ball movement; I think you’ll see the bigs utilized as passers on the elbows and on the block. I think you’ll see some Triangle concepts. We’re not going to look like the Chicago Bulls in the ’90s… I think in today’s NBA you have to run; you have to play fast and score early. The rules dictate that. And so I’m not going to take away our running, in fact I want to encourage more running.

The Warriors are well equipped to do just that, with or without a center in the lineup. They can go small with versatile stars like Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes. Curry can run the pick and roll with Lee. The triangle can be tweaked to fit their needs.

Will the lack of center depth hurt them in the long run? Perhaps. But to say that they can’t compensate for their biggest weakness would be foolish. With Steve Kerr at the helm, the Warriors have the players to overcome any obstacles, including the ones on their own team. 

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Warriors GM says team embracing high expectations

Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers says franchise is embracing high expectations

      
 

 

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Proposed design for Warriors arena looks like huge toilet

While it’s not fair to “dump” on initial renderings of a massive architectural undertaking, an image released of the proposed design of the Golden State Warriors’ new arena leads to one comparison regarding its appearance. It looks like a giant toilet. A nice, top-of-the-line American Standard toilet, sure, but a toilet nonetheless. In a presentation […] The post Proposed design of Golden St. Warriors arena makes it look like a huge toilet (pic) appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

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Warriors GM says team embracing high expectations (Yahoo Sports)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers believes he has done all he could to improve the roster with the moves he made – and didn’t make – this summer.

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Shaun Livingston Injury: Updates on Warriors Guard’s Toe and Recovery

Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston is expected to miss a majority of training camp as he continues to recover from offseason toe surgery, general manager Bob Myers announced Tuesday.   

Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle first reported the news, noting it’s possible Livingston misses the entirety of camp:

Livingston, 29, underwent surgery on his right big toe on Aug. 13 and was initially expected to be out six-to-eight weeks. Given the timing of the injury, Myers’ pessimism isn’t much of a surprise. An eight-week injury would keep him out until the middle of October, so the main takeaway here is that Livingston is on the slow end of the initial timetable.

The Warriors open training camp in October. Their first of eight preseason contests is against the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 7 as part of a week-long stay in Los Angeles for games against both Staples Center tenants.

While odds remain in Livingston’s favor for returning before the regular season opens, his absence is a concern. The former first-round pick signed a three-year, $16 million deal with the Warriors in July and was their only offseason signing of great import.

An excellent passer and solid defender with more than enough length to go against both guard spots, Livingston fills a hole left by Jarrett Jack, whom the Warriors let walk during the 2013 offseason. The Warriors tried and failed to replace Jack with a revolving door of talent that included Steve Blake, Toney Douglas and Jordan Crawford.

Livingston’s injury has already cost him much of his offseason—he was diagnosed with the toe injury during his physical. The lengthier his absence the more difficult it’ll be for Livingston to establish a rhythm with starters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and gain the trust of new coach Steve Kerr.

As a member of the Brooklyn Nets in 2013-14, Livingston averaged 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists. It was by far the best he’s looked over a full season since suffering a gruesome knee injury in 2007 that nearly cost him his career.

His comeback story was inspiring, but with a new contract comes increased expectations. Livingston is a unique player. He shot six three-pointers all season and 54 times outside 15 feet, shooting 28.3 percent on those attempts, per NBA.com. Curry and Thompson are widely considered the NBA‘s best shooting backcourt; finding the right way to work all three together in the most efficient manner was always going to take time.

Kerr will not be able to entrust Livingston to run the second unit alone without its offensive efficiency dying. He’ll need to stagger Curry and Thompson’s minutes to have a shooter on the floor at all times, perhaps playing Curry off the ball a bit more than last season. 

“So I’m sure they have the game plan to make it work, and we have to be coachable and figure out how to put the pieces together and make the right plays,” Curry recently said, per Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group. “Coach and (his staff) have done their homework. I’m sure they’ll learn on the job obviously, but they know based on our roster what to do to put us in the best position to win, so we’ve got to accept that.”

Finding the right balance here will be key. The fit was a bit of a question mark many raised at the time of Livingston’s signing. With the injury keeping him out possibly into the regular season, it’ll be interesting to see how Kerr’s guard rotation shakes out when he returns.

 

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