Kurt Helin

Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr to travel on Warrior’s road trip, appears near return

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On Friday, the Golden State Warriors will board their charter plane for Southern California, where they will take on the Lakers twice (once in San Diego, once in Anaheim) and the Clippers once (at Staples Center).

Steve Kerr will be joining them, reports Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com. That does not mean he’ll return to the bench after time off to recover from back surgeries, but he’s getting close.

“I think it’s great,” (interim coach Luke) Walton said prior to the Warriors-Rockets game at Oracle Arena. “Obviously, Steve is one of those guys that just having him around makes everything better. He wouldn’t be coming down with us at all if he was still as bad as he was. So I think it shows signs of improvement….

““I don’t think it means he’ll be back in the next two days,” Walton said, “but all we can ask for is that he keeps getting better.”

 

 

Kerr has shown up at a few practices at the Warriors’ practice facility before, he’s not exactly been exiled to Elba.

Remember that Kerr has a home in San Diego, so making this trip with the team isn’t going to be that taxing on him. Still, this is a sign he will be back sooner rather than later, and that’s going to matter because (with all due respect to Walton) Kerr understands this team and knows when to push what button.

Also, Poole notes that Southern California-based Steve Kerr will likely spend some time working with the team while they are on this road trip.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Can Hawks even win 50 games?

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Last season the Atlanta Hawks were the league’s biggest surprise — sharp ball movement, smart use of players and everybody buying into the system got them off to a fast start and eventually 60 wins.

This season, now without DeMarre Carroll, the conventional wisdom is they will take a step back. The question is how big? That’s what we cover in this latest PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

I expect it to be more than 10 games, I see this as a high 40s win team.

51 Questions: Is this the final year of the Tim Duncan Spurs?

Tim Duncan
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PBT is previewing the 2015-16 NBA season by tackling 51 big questions that we can’t wait to see answered once play tips off. We will answer one a day right up to the start of the season Oct. 27. Today’s question:

Is this the final season of the Duncan era Spurs?

Tim Duncan will turn 40 during this season, his 19th.

That’s a lot of miles on his legs.

The past couple summers, after the Spurs’ season ended, Duncan would take some time off — likely to hang out at an auto shop — and collect his thoughts. He considered walking out on top after 2014. He thought about it again after the Clippers bounced the Spurs in the first round last spring. Both times he chose to return.

Will it be different this time? Is this the final season of the legendary Tim Duncan era Spurs?

Probably. But it’s not like Duncan is tipping his hand.

If this is it, like Gregg Popovich himself, we will all be a little sad.

But nobody knows if this is it — not even Duncan. He may have a sense of what he wants to do, but he is going to see how this season plays out, how he feels next spring, then make a decision. Last season he was so consistent, was given enough rest, and the Spurs were still contenders, so he felt he could keep going — and more importantly keep contributing at a high level.

It’s not just Duncan, if he walks away Manu Ginobili likely steps away. Ginobili is physically fading faster; this is likely his last season regardless.

Duncan’s career stats are mind-boggling. He has played 18 seasons and never once missed the playoffs. The Spurs have won at least 50 games every one of those seasons except for the lockout 1998-99 season when they only played 50 games — that season they won 37 (a 60-win pace in a normal season) and won the NBA title. Duncan has won five championships, two MVPs and three Finals MVPs. He’s a 15-time All-Star and 15-time All-NBA team member.

He will go down as the greatest power forward to ever play the game when he steps away (with all due respect to Karl Malone, Kevin McHale, and whoever else you want to throw in the conversation). His legacy is set.

This is a transition year, as the Spurs evolve from the Tim Duncan/Tony Parker/Manu Ginobili Spurs to the Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge’s version. Duncan can hang up his sneakers after an unprecedented run of success and know that the Spurs winning tradition will continue (especially since Gregg Popovich says he will continue to coach beyond when Duncan retires).

But Duncan isn’t going to decide until the Spurs season ends — he hopes in mid-June after another boat parade down the Riverwalk. Whenever he decides, the Spurs will likely announce it in a press release and Duncan will try to avoid any fanfare around it.

But that’s how we’ll all find out.

Blatt, Cavaliers may shut down LeBron James for rest of preseason

LeBron James, Kent Bazemore
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LeBron James is sitting out the Cavaliers’ Thursday night preseason game against the Pacers. That much is certain.

But as LeBron has said he feels like he could use more rest, the Cavaliers may shut him down for the remainder of the preseason. That from coach David Blatt, via Jason Lloyd at the Akron Beacon Journal.

He isn’t hurt, the Cavs are just trying to limit his minutes.

“We’ll see what happens at the beginning of next week,” Blatt said, referring to games at the Toronto Raptors on Sunday and home against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday to conclude the preseason. “I certainly don’t expect him to play both games and I don’t know if he’ll even play one. We’ll see.”

This makes sense, and it’s why LeBron has only played in two of the Cavaliers’ preseason games so far. There’s no question LeBron showed up to camp in shape, and his skill set is plenty sharp. They are going to get him rest during the season, too, but there is no reason to run him much in the preseason either.

It’s all about the big picture, and the little things that Blatt and the Cavaliers do now can help lay a foundation for that.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Wizards will not fade in playoffs

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Washington fans don’t seem sold on Randy Wittman. With some reason — he stayed with the two-big lineup (starting Marcin Gortat and Nene) and played at a slower than league averaged pace for two seasons, not fully taking advantage of John Wall and the talent on the Wizards’ roster. The result was 45 then 46 wins and two second-round exits the last two seasons. That’s not bad, but is he the guy who is going to lift them to the next level?

That’s the root of the bold prediction for this PBT Extra on the Wizards, with Jenna Corrado of course. The prediction is the Wizards will start fast playing small, but fade in the playoffs.

I think the Wizards will thrive playing smaller this season (Nene will come off the bench) but they will not fade come the playoffs. This is the year I think they make the conference Finals.