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February 27, 2015 Updates

Looking back, that’s the big takeaway for Field. Though he didn’t play beyond Grade 12, he has these great memories from the year he shared the court with future NBA all-star. “People talk about the basketball side a lot, but what for me stood out was that he was just a really down-to-earth, humble guy. He did not have any big head about it, even though he was clearly the best player in Ontario at the time,” said Field. “He was then, and I’m sure still is, an excellent guy.” Toronto Star

February 26, 2015 Updates

There are just two games in the NBA today, so the pool is pretty shallow. All of the teams feature upstart offenses, highlighted by Russell Westbrook. He'll eat up 18% of your cap at $9,000, but he has netted at least 45 FantasyScore points in nine of 10 games. He has scored at least 50 in six of those. Stephen Curry ($9,000; 18.0%) came back from an ankle issue with 48 fantasy points Tuesday night, and he's a nightly option as well. HoopsHype

Ethan J. Skolnick: David Blatt: "I've been a head coach for 22 years, I think people overlook that too easily, & I think unfairly." That last David Blatt quote was in reference to a question about whether he may have benefitted from assistant job in Golden State. Twitter @EthanJSkolnick

February 25, 2015 Updates

Kerr always planned on coaching, but it wasn’t until two years ago, while working as a broadcaster for TNT, that he says he began preparing in earnest. That summer he attended a sports leadership conference at the Aspen Institute in Colorado and ran into Jeff Van Gundy, whose work Kerr admired. Van Gundy told Kerr what he tells all aspiring coaches: Write down everything. Everything you’ve learned, everything you want to do. Everything you’d change. It’ll organize your thoughts. Develop your philosophy. Sports Illustrated

So Kerr created a Word file on his laptop. Some days he added a few notes; other days he filled pages. During four years of college and 15 seasons in the NBA, Kerr played for Lute Olson, Lenny Wilkens, Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. His teammates included Mark Price, Tim Duncan, Scottie Pippen and Jordan. There was a lot to write, and no detail was too small. He jotted down offensive sets and defensive philosophies, but also included the little stuff - everything from a policy for families traveling on the road to whether players are required to do 20 minutes of cardio after a game if they don't play a certain number of minutes. Sports Illustrated

Iguodala was skeptical at first. “But it’s important not to dismiss things immediately so I thought on it,” he says. Kerr had made some good points. The second unit, so ineffective the previous season, needed Igoudala’s leadership and playmaking. And Iguodala appreciated Kerr’s directness. “I agreed with his larger vision,” he says. Plus, he adds, “I’ve been in this league 11 years and I want my professionalism to be something that stands out.” In the end, he accepted the demotion gracefully. “Who else is going to complain now?” says Kerr. Sports Illustrated

Other times, Kerr’s moves are diplomatic. From day one, he has made a point of consistently praising Mark Jackson, which built good will with his players. Similarly, he downplays his impact on the team at every turn. “In the end both Pop and Phil taught me the players are the ones that do all the work,” says Kerr. “You just want to guide the team in the right direction to play the way that they're best going to utilize their talent and skills.” In pro sports, this mindset is unusual. “Usually winning breeds arrogance but he’s a rare guy,” says Van Gundy, who makes a point to also praise Mark Jackson’s work as Warriors coach. “I think Kerr’s fully aware that he’s done an outstanding job. You don’t play as long as he did without great pride and ego. But the way that Steve has handled himself, forget the coaching. What I have such great respect for is his humility with this success. Very, very few people I’ve known in coaching would have this humility with this success.” Sports Illustrated

Meanwhile, the Warriors evolved as a team, due in part to Jackson’s influence. He emphasized individual skill development, mandating that every player put in at least 15 minutes of extra work with an assistant coach. A pastor at a non-denominational church in Reseda, Ca, Jackson had an uncanny knack for fostering an us-against-them mentality. To this day, the Warriors still exit each huddle yelling “Just Us!”, a unifying chant that began in the Jackson era. Upon his hiring, Jackson had immediately – and foolishly – promised that the team would make the playoffs in his first season. The Warriors didn’t, and wouldn’t for two more years, but Jackson’s formidable public confidence and oratorical skill – which, says one team source, is what got him the job over then-Spurs-assistant Mike Budenholzer, because, “Of course Mark’s going to win the interview” – buoyed the players’ confidence. Sports Illustrated

Players became wary of publicly crediting assistants, lest they incur Jackson’s wrath. Meanwhile, the Warriors were heading into the postseason with a depleted, relatively inexperienced coaching staff and a number of troubling losses. To the Knicks, Hornets and Timberwolves at home. To the Spurs at home even though San Antonio sat its starters. Sports Illustrated

While Jackson excelled as a leader, he was not interested in the minutiae of coaching, according to sources. He so rarely watched film that the video team eventually stopped loading clips onto his laptop. He didn’t draw up plays during huddles, or carry a clipboard. He often looked at his cellphone during practice, even when management was around. His relationship with the front office grew more strained. Sports Illustrated

When Jason Collins publicly announced his homosexuality in April 2013, Jackson told reporters, “I know Jason Collins; I know his family and am certainly praying for them.” This seemed particularly tone-deaf considering that Golden State COO Rick Welts, the first high-ranking sports executive to come out, worked in the same building. Welts says he approached Jackson and had “a nice conversation, like grown‑ups,” adding, “He knew how I felt, I knew how he felt. I’m sure he thought it was an opportunity to educate me, and I thought it was an opportunity to educate him.” Sports Illustrated

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN WARRIORS HISTORY

Wilt Chamberlain never won a championship with the Warriors, but his monstrous stats make him the clear pick for No. 1 player in franchise history.

   

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