Alen Smailagic

Warriors’ D’Angelo Russell out at least two weeks with sprained thumb (VIDEO)

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UPDATE: The results of the MRI are in and D'Angelo Russell will miss at least a couple of weeks with a thumb he sprained Friday night against Boston.

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And the injuries just keep on coming for Golden State.

D’Angelo Russell left the Warriors game in the middle of the third quarter after spraining his thumb in a loss to the Celtics on Friday night. X-rays were negative, but he will have an MRI on Saturday to get a better look at the damage.

The play was innocent enough, Russell drove the lane and had the ball swatted out of his hands and stolen by Daniel Theis, and on the next defensive possession Russell is seen holding his hand. During a timeout moments later, Russell has his hand checked by Warriors trainer Rick Celebrini, then the two go to the locker room and Russell does not return.

Russell was not the only Warrior to injure his hand during the game.

Russell joins Stephen Curry and Damion Lee as Warriors dealing with hand injuries that have them sidelined. On top of that Klay Thompson (ACL), Kevon Looney (nerve condition), Jacob Evans (strained adductor), and Alen Smailagic (sprained ankle) all also are out right now injured.

Several Warriors leave bench during altercation/stoppage (video)

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Update: No Warriors will receive suspensions, per an NBA spokesperson.

 

The injury-ravaged Warriors got a satisfying win last night.

But will the game leave them even more short-handed?

Golden State guard Ky Bowman drove for a layup late in the fourth quarter. As he turned to run up court, Bowman collided with Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside, who pushed away Bowman. Whiteside got hit with a technical foul.

The big development: Several Warriors – Jordan Poole, Willie Cauley-Stein, Omari Spellman and Klay Thompson – left the bench while Whiteside and Bowman squared up.

Any player who leaves the bench during an altercation receives a one-game suspension. The hard-and-fast rule is designed to prevent fights from escalating.

Golden State might be off the hook, because there was a stoppage – signaled by the referee on the opposite sideline – as the Whiteside-Bowman confrontation got going. The leaving-the-bench rule doesn’t apply during a timeout.

However, the stoppage was seemingly for a Portland timeout. The NBA’s official play-by-play includes no timeout at that time. If not a Trail Blazers timeout, why did officials stop play for a commercial break? That question might determine whether Warriors get suspended.

Suspensions could create quite the conundrum for Golden State. Teams must have eight players “able to participate” in each game. The Warriors had just nine healthy players last night – including Poole, Cauley-Stein and Spellman. Losing those three would drop Golden State below the limit.

Maybe Draymond Green and D'Angelo Russell will return soon from their injuries. But Stephen Curry, Kevon Looney, Jacob Evans, Alen Smailagic and Thompson are out longer-term.

The Warriors are pressed against the hard cap. There’s no easy way to add outside reinforcements.

Cavaliers reportedly snap up Alfonzo McKinnie off waivers

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Going into training camp, Alfonzo McKinnie was expected to be the starting small forward for the Warriors this season.

However, injuries along the front line — Willie Cauley-Stein is out for weeks still, plus Kevon Looney and rookie Alen Smailagic are banged up — and some strong play from Marquise Chriss meant he was going to make the Warriors roster. With the team being hard capped after signing D'Angelo Russell this summer, the Warriors had no choice but to cut McKinnie.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have snapped him up off waivers.

This is a good move by the Cavaliers, a low-risk pickup — McKinnie is on a minimum contract — that could get them a 3&D wing on a young team. He played in 72 games for the Warriors last regular season plus got playoff minutes, and shot 35.6 percent from three. He’s long and athletic and a player both the Raptors and Warriors liked but had to move on from because of other roster situations.

For the Warriors, they will have Glenn Robinson III starting at the three with Alec Burks behind him. They could have really used McKennie.

Draymond Green says teams deserve blame for draft picks not developing, Marquese Chriss agrees

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Marquese Chriss was a No. 8 pick in the NBA draft who has yet to pan out. He showed a little promise as a rookie in Phoenix, but by Summer League the next July issues already seemed to pop up. His shooting percentages dropped, mostly because of questionable shot selection — every season he has taken more threes and made a lower percentage (22.2 percent last season). He wasn’t strong on defense. He looked like a player who might not be long for the NBA.

Now he’s going to make the Warriors roster. Maybe injuries to other frontcourt players — Willie Cauley-Stein, rookie Alen Smailagic, and Kevon Looney are — made keeping the 6’10” forward a smart move, but Chriss’ play in the preseason helped earn him that spot.

After a preseason game against the Lakers Wednesday, Draymond Green stuck up for Chriss, saying it may be less about the player and more about the organization. Via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole.

“He’s been in some pretty tough situations,” Green told reporters… “No one ever blames the situation, though. It’s always the kid. No one ever blames these s***y franchises. They always want to blame the kid. It’s not always the kid’s fault.

“He’s getting older now, so he’s not a kid anymore. But he came into this league as a kid. But it’s never the organization’s fault. It’s always that guy. So I’m happy he’s got another opportunity to show what he can really do. Because he’s a prime example.”

Chriss was grateful for what Green said, as reported by Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“I appreciate him for having my back and I wholeheartedly believe what he said,” Chriss said. “Being a person to go through things like that. Having a lot of blame on you for stuff you can’t really control is tough and its growing pains with being in the NBA. I feel like it takes time to develop and learn.

“It bothers me when people try to come for my character,” he added. “I know what type of person I am and I know how my mom raised me and I know how I want to represent myself and my family so that’s the biggest thing for me is just showing that things that have been said are not true.”

Jared Dudley, who was with Chriss in Phoenix, said that it was a combination of an immature Chriss but also a Suns organization that did not create a good environment to develop players.

“He was immature,” former teammate Jared Dudley told NBC Sports Bay Area Friday afternoon. “But it’s not a bad immaturity, he just had to grow up and they threw him into the fire and sometimes kids aren’t ready for that…

“At the time Phoenix didn’t have the infrastructure to manage and control people and to develop people at that time,” Dudley added. “Three coaches in his year and a half. He was partially to blame, he was getting technical fouls, he was shooting bad shots but sometimes it’s on the organization and they failed him.”

The Warriors have a strong development program for young players, and a strong culture, on that Chriss seems to be thriving in.

Injuries helped open the door for Chriss in Golden State, but to his credit he has pushed it open wide with his play and it would not have been easy for the Warriors to let him go. He’s attacking the rim and scoring 9.5 points per game on 60.9 percent shooting (he’s still struggling from three, 20 percent, but he’s only taking 22 percent of his shots from there, down from nearly half last season). Chriss also has been a beast on the boards, grabbing 8.3 rebounds a game.

That’s impressive, but it’s also the preseason. If he can do it when things get serious starting next week, Chriss will have the redemption he wanted.

 

 

Report: ‘Important voice’ on Warriors urges GM to keep unguaranteed Marquese Chriss

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By acquiring D'Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade, the Warriors hard-capped themselves for the rest of the season. That’s why Golden State signing Marquese Chriss to an unguaranteed contract seemingly carried little significance. For Chriss to make the regular-season roster, the Warriors would have to trade someone with a guaranteed salary or waive Alfonzo McKinnie, who might start at small forward.

But Chriss has drawn a backing.

Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:

Not long after the Warriors’ first preseason game, there was a meeting somewhere in the bowels of Chase Center. It wasn’t a meeting, sources said, as much as it was a petition, a reiteration, an emphasis, to Warriors general manager Bob Myers. The request was simple in scope. Yet, it was also profound, considering it included an important voice in the locker room, considering it was about a player many have given up on.

The request? Get Marquese Chriss on this team.

Thompson doesn’t name that “important voice in the locker room,” but quotes Draymond Green:

“I think he’s been great all training camp,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been on a couple teams, and everybody has kind of written him off. But he’s been amazing in camp, and to me it looked like he’s figuring it out and he’s turning a corner.”

Green – who has touted his salary-cap savviness – should realize how difficult it’d be to keep Chriss.

Maybe another team would take No. 39 pick Alen Smailagic or No. 41 pick Eric Paschall off Golden State’s hands. But teams rarely throw away second-rounders so quickly.

Chriss was also available at the unguaranteed minimum for a reason. The No. 8 pick in the 2016 NBA draft, he has some raw tools. But he has been so undisciplined with the Suns, Rockets and Cavaliers.

In the Warriors’ preseason opener against the Lakers, Chriss had eight points, six rebounds and four assists in 14 minutes. That’s not enough to make much judgment, especially considering the far longer track record of dismal regular-season production. Perhaps, the 22-year-old Chriss has shown more signs of progress behind the scenes.

I still doubt Chriss makes the regular-season roster. If he doesn’t, we’ll see how that goes over with the “important voice in the locker room.”

If Chriss does make it, Golden State faces another interesting roster move to clear room.