Steve Kerr wants to get the Warriors running more, Iguodala out of the corner

13 Comments

The Golden State Warriors did not play slowly this past season — at 98.5 possessions per game they were sixth fastest in the NBA.

Steve Kerr wants them to play faster next season.

And while he’s at it, he wants Andre Iguodala to get the ball on the move more, less as a spot up shooter.

That’s what Kerr said in series of interviews following his introductory press conference Tuesday.

We will start with this very good point about Iguodala.

Iguodala got 25.1 percent of his shot attempts this season on catch-and-shoot spot up attempts, and he shot just 36.3 percent on those. To be fair, he did shoot 39.1 percent on his spot up threes. However, on the 24 percent of his shots he took in transition Iguodala shot 64.7 percent. Off cuts in the half court he shot 80.6 percent. (Stats via Synergy Sports)

Kerr is right. It’s not that Iguodala is a bad spot up shooter, it’s that there are better ones on the Warriors and Iguodala is better — and harder to guard — when in motion.

Kerr also spoke after his presser with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News and laid out his offensive philosophy.

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….

I like to see flow and ball movement and spacing. And this team has a lot of skill players who should be able to work together and create easier shots for one another.

If you don’t think running is part of the triangle offense you haven’t read the works of Tex Winter, the creator of the offense. At times under Phil Jackson the offense was a lot slower, but Winters’ basic principles call for early fast break offense, but with spacing to create good looks.

(Plus remember Kerr played for Lute Olsen in college and Gregg Popovich — he has more than one mentor.)

The Warriors certainly have the talent to play this way. It will be interesting to see how well they can defend at a faster pace, but anything that gets the offensive firepower on this team cleaner looks is a good thing.

Of course, it’s one thing to say that in an interview. Execution remains the question, starting with the untested coach.

Marcus Smart on Game 7: “It’s not going to be pretty.”

Getty Images
1 Comment

Game 7s are not pretty basketball. Everyone is tight, shots clank off the front of the rim, and players tend to think rather than just react, sucking the flow out of the game. It’s a game for grinders.

Marcus Smart is good with that, and he told Chris Forsberg of ESPN the team is preparing for this style.

“It’s not going to be pretty. You got to be able to get down and get dirty. You can’t go out and try to look pretty. You have to be ready for a dogfight. We got to be ready to come up with our nose bloodied. We got to be ready to come out with our mouth bloodied. We have to come out ready to fight.”

If Boston is going to win this game, they will do so with the physical, smart, and unrelenting defense that carried them all season. That’s their grit. Without Kevin Love (out with a concussion) the Celtics have one less scorer to worry about, but things do not necessarily get dramatically easier — LeBron James is going to get his buckets, but can the Celtics keep George Hill, Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith and the rest of the role players from helping out with big nights of their own.

Which one of these teams is better positioned to win a grinding, sloppy game? Who is willing to dive on the floor and give that little extra effort? A case can be made either way, but Sunday night will decide it.

Report: Warriors’ Patrick McCaw cleared, will be available for Game 6

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We haven’t seen Golden State’s Patrick McCaw on an NBA court since March 31, when he was undercut by Sacramento’s Vince Carter and took an ugly, nasty spill.

McCaw is finally cleared by the team doctors and will be active on Saturday night for Game 6 against Houston, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Golden State Warriors are planning to activate swingman Patrick McCaw for Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

McCaw, on paper, would help the Warriors — he’s a 6’5″ switchable defender who can provide some offense in transition. That’s especially true if Andre Iguodala is out for Game 6 (his status is a game-time decision). McCaw played about 17 minutes a night for the Warriors during the regular season.

However, the idea of taking a second-year player who has not been on a court in six weeks and throwing him into Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals — a win-or-go-fishing game for Golden State — is risky, at best. Don’t expect him to get on the court unless this is a blowout.

Kevin Love in concussion protocol, listed as out for Game 7

Getty Images
6 Comments

As if winning a Game 7 on the road against a younger, more athletic team that has not lost on its home court all playoffs was not difficult enough, things just got harder for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kevin Love has a concussion and is not expected to play in Game 7 on Sunday.

While it is technically possible for Love to clear out of the concussion protocol in 24 hours, it is highly unlikely. He would have to pass a rigorous physical test and have no concussion-related symptoms, something cleared by both the team doctor and a league-approved neurologist. This is something that tends to take days if not weeks to get over.

Love was injured just five minutes into Game 6. Love had set up position in the midpost and was setting a screen for George Hill, who was curling out to the arc. Jayson Tatum was trailing Hill and he banged heads with Love. It wasn’t pretty.

Love spent a few minutes on the ground, went straight to the locker room, and did not return to the game.

LeBron James is going to have to carry even more load in Game 7, and now more pressure falls on George Hill (the bellwether for this Cavs team), J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and others to step up without Love there to space the floor and get buckets.

Report: Raptors interview Spurs’ assistants Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka for coaching job

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s not officially a coaching search until some Spurs’ assistants are interviewed.

So it looks like the Toronto Raptors’ search is underway.

Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri fired Dwane Casey right after Casey’s peers voted him Coach of the Year for leading the Raptors to 59 wins and the No. 1 seed in the East. That said, after several frustrating years of running into the brick wall that is LeBron James in the East, maybe the Raptors did need a new voice and some changes to try to take the next step (especially with Boston and Philadelphia coming on fast in the East hierarchy).

But if you’re going to fire a 59-win Coach of the Year kind of guy, you better have an impressive replacement in hand or at least a clear plan.

Ujiri reportedly wanted Mike Budenholzer, but the former Hawks’ head coach took the job in Milwaukee after meeting with Toronto.

The leading candidate for the job is still considered to be Nick Nurse, the Raptors’ assistant who was in charge of their changed and improved offense last season. The Raptors also interviewed two other internal candidates, assistant coach Rex Kalamian and G-League coach Jerry Stackhouse.

Casey, by the way, is the target of the Detroit Pistons.