Kurt Helin

With Andrew Bogut gone, Steve Kerr says Warriors will have “growing pains” on defense


Andrew Bogut didn’t do the high-flying spectacular shot blocks that end up on the highlight package, but he is an elite defensive center. Not only can he play man defense in the post, but he also anticipates the play amazingly well and had his big body in the way and protecting the rim. When he sat, the athletic rim protection of Festus Ezeli was often on the court. They helped anchor the Warriors defense that has been top five in the NBA two seasons running.

Now they are both gone, salary cap sacrifices to bring in Kevin Durant.

Steve Kerr told Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com that with them gone, and Zaza Pachulia taking over the role at the five, the team’s defense will have to adjust.

“The thing that’s different will be a lack of rim protection,” Kerr told CSNBayArea.com. “We had great rim protection from Bogut and Ezeli, and both those guys are gone. Zaza’s a very good defender, but he’s more of a positional guy than a shot blocker.

“So there’s definitely adjustments we’ll have to make, even schematically. We’ll have some growing pains, especially on defense, as we try to make sure we get everything right and comfortable.”

The Warriors brass has been busy tamping down expectations for their superteam, saying they expect some struggles early. And we’ve seen that with other alleged superteams — the first season of the Heat took time to gel, the Lakers’ superteam never came together.

That said, by Christmas, expect the Warriors to be rolling. Too much talent and too many selfless players for this not to work.

Basketball Hall of Famers now get orange jackets with induction

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) The Masters has its green jacket. Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame get a yellow one.

Now inductees to the basketball Hall of Fame will be presented with a “Naismith Orange” blazer when they are enshrined in hoops immortality.

The Hall unveiled the new jackets on Thursday before presenting a 2016 class of inductees that includes Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming. Basketball hall inductees have long been presented with a blue blazer.

“We’ll certainly be seen wherever we are,” said Hall chairman Jerry Colangelo, who was presented with the first jacket.

The American-made jacket by Haggar features a Hall of Fame crest on the left breast and special buttons.


Ben Gordon hopes for one more shot in NBA

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Two seasons ago, Ben Gordon was coming off the bench for the Orlando Magic in his 11th NBA season, but his skills had been in decline, and the team didn’t pick up the option on the second year of his deal. Last season he got an invite to the Golden State Warriors camp, but he was the first guy cut in training camp. He didn’t catch on with another NBA team.

This summer Gordon has been playing for Great Brittain in the EuroBasket qualifying rounds, and he told talkbasket.net he’d like another shot in the NBA, but understands he may be playing this season in Europe.

“I’m open to any contract offers, obviously the NBA is my main goal but if the offer in the EuroLeague is good, it will be a great opportunity for me,” Gordon said to TalkBasket.

“End of the day though, I’m just going to look at my options and evaluate what’s best for me and if it falls in the NBA or the EuroLeague or elsewhere, then I’ll head there.”

Gordon may need to play in Europe (or China, or somewhere overseas) to prove to NBA scouts that he could handle an NBA comeback. He is 33, and his skills were showing decline a couple of seasons ago — plus he was seen as a guy battling injuries but quitting on the Bobcats the season before that. Gordon can shoot the three but is seen as a gunner, and a growingly inefficient one at that.

Maybe if he goes to Europe and proves those perceptions wrong he can get another shot. Or, maybe he could just enjoy the time in a different culture with a someone different style of basketball, and make a few more bucks before he hangs it all up.

Shaq helps Yao Ming put on his Hall of Fame jacket, dusts him off

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When you’re 7’6″, not a lot of people can help you put a jacket on.

Fortunately for Yao Ming, as he slid into his orange Hall of Fame jacket Thursday, he has a nearly as tall Shaquille O’Neal to help out — and dust him off a little. And yes, the jackets are a new touch this year.


With the big kid that is Shaq involved, this is going to be an entertaining Hall of Fame weekend

Add Larry Brown to list of guys who doesn’t like Kevin Durant joining Warriors


I can literally picture Larry Brown in a white undershirt leaning out his front door telling a bunch of kids to get off his lawn. (And I’m using literally correctly.)

It also doesn’t surprise me in the least that the decidedly old-school Brown doesn’t like Kevin Durant‘s decision to join the Warriors. Here is what Brown said during an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

“I’m not really excited about the fact that the best players are teaming up together,” said Brown. “I don’t think Michael (Jordan) would have done it or Larry Bird or Bill Russell or Magic. I don’t think those guys would have done it. I’m not real comfortable with the league going in that direction.”

I’m weary of this discussion.

Obviously, as a free agent who spent nine seasons in Oklahoma City, Durant had the right to choose his place of employment, and he chose the working environment he felt was best for him. If anyone should understand the desire to change jobs to find a better situation, you would think it would be Brown.

The Jordan comparison is silly — as is the one with Larry Bird or Magic Johnson or Bill Russell — because they were already on superteams loaded with the league’s top talent. The simple difference is those teams were put together by white guys in suits, and somehow it’s fair when they have the power. However, when players use their power to band together, it is seen as taking the easy way out and some kind of threat to the system.

Whatever. I’m more curious to see if the Durant, Stephen Curry and the rest of the Warriors can live up to the hype. That’s far more interesting than this continued debate.