Posts tagged Steve Kerr
Ball Don't Lie EP 57 - AD Is On The Way

The NBA Finals are over, but the NBA is a year-long league. Scott Flows and Pierce weigh in on the Lakers trading for Anthony Davis before diving into the Raptors' championship win, the Warriors' dynasty and a spirited debate on whether Kawhi Leonard is a top five player of his era.

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ball Don't Lie EP 56 - Durant Strong

Scott and Flows break down the NBA Finals as the Warriors force a Game 6 and one final game at Oracle. More on Kevin Durant's injury and how it effects the series and the entire NBA. Can Kawhi's Raptors get it done and bring a title north of the border, or will the Warriors complete a miraculous comeback?

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

WrestleMania might be over but you can still rep Becky Two Belts with the brand new #FreeTheMan tees up now on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Ball Don't Lie EP 54 - KD Doesn't Have a Hive

Wos of Count The Dings and The Athletic join Scott and Pierce to break down the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors. Then, Sporting News’ rankings of the current quarterbacks in the NFL, how we’re coping without Game of Thrones, and Goofy Mog of the Week!

Follow Scott on Twitter: @BarbersChairNet
Follow Pierce on Twitter: @HennyOmega
Follow Wos on Twitter: @BigWos

CHICAGO! Come out and hang with The Barber's Chair Thursday, May 30th for Game One of the NBA Finals! The Golden State Warriors will face off against the Eastern Conference Champion at 8:00 p.m. Fall through for drinks and the big game and meet Scott, Flows and Pierce. 3439 N. Sheffield

As Justin Bieber readies to drop much anticipated new music, enjoy this Barber's Chair playlist of the best hits in Bieberveli's arsenal! 
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2HdG2yN
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2HbTcME
Tidal: http://bit.ly/bieberveli

Throw your diamonds up for more than a decade of heat with the new TIDAL-exclusive Roc La Familia playlist from The Barber's Chair! The greatest hits from the most prolific label in hip hop history.
Listen here: https://tidal.com/playlist/dfcd8a98-7eb0-473e-8666-170acc564443

Listen to the new bangers playlist on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music!
Tidal: bit.ly/tidalbangers
Spotify: bit.ly/spotifybangers
Apple Music: bit.ly/applebangers

Becky might no longer have two belts but you can still get your #FreeTheMan tee on the Barber's Chair Net merch shop
teespring.com/stores/the-barbers-chair
or
teespring.com/freetheman

Boogie expects to start upon his return to the Warriors, but will he close out games?
Garrett Ellwood / Getty Images

Garrett Ellwood / Getty Images

DeMarcus Cousins is expected to return to the hardwood this week for the first time since tearing his achilles last January, this time as a member of the Golden State Warriors. He’s likely to start against the Clippers this Friday, but while it’s good news to most, it doesn’t solve all their problems.

Given the Warriors recent history of centers (Biedrins, Bogut, Pachulia), the promise of Boogie joining Golden State is definitely enticing. He brings a presence inside that the Splash Brothers haven’t been privy to, and that’s a scary thought. It’s not the only role that Steve Kerr has planned for Cousins though, given his newfound propensity to shoot from deep.

In his last two seasons, Cousins has averaged over five three-point attempts a game at a 36 percent clip. That spacing is an aspect of his game that the Warriors will feel immediately with Draymond Green’s defenders having abandoned him from deep. If an opposing center guards Draymond instead of Cousins, Green’s screening then become far more valuable, and similarly, Cousins will have a mismatch too.

Recently, Kerr told 95.7 The Game “We're not gonna slow down just for DeMarcus. So you can probably envision a fast break with us and DeMarcus trailing the play ... the ball comes back out, he's a guy who can spot up and knock down that 3-point shot." That game plan is far different from the one he had in mind when they first signed him. Bob Myers recounts Kerr saying, “I want [DeMarcus] on the block, we haven’t had that threat, we can give him the ball, we can play off of him.”

Kerr’s change in mindset is indicative of the mismanagement that he’s guilty of, but his change of heart in regards to Cousins coincides with how the team has played as of late. Kerr mentioned that Boogie will start upon his return. “After that, everything's on the table. We have to figure out what the rotations will look like, how many minutes he can play. We'll have to play around with the minutes, the combinations, the sets.”

Immediately inserting Cousins into the starting lineup may seem obvious, but it’s important to note that Kerr didn’t say he would finish games. Part of that is due to the quality production from Kevon Looney. Looney has been on the court at the end of most every game this season, despite Damian Jones starting until his season ending injury on December 1st. He’s the Dubs’ most solid role player, and like a metronome, he can keep his tempo steady no matter the rhythm of the game.

While Cousins is an upgrade over Looney, there is concern of how his ability to switch on defense will affect how the Dubs scheme their coverages. It’s possible Looney could continue closing games while Cousins returns from injury and gets use to the Warriors’ pace of play after almost a year off. There’s a chance he will also prioritize his energy on offense rather than defense; Boogie will return to the free agent market this summer and his numbers will mean something in that regard.

Perhaps they’ll just go small to close out games with Draymond at center. He’s by far their best defensive big, but going small means having Iguodala on the court as well, who like Green has struggled offensively. At least with Looney on the court, there’s a fourth scoring option, without sacrificing too much on defense. Perhaps Kerr will let the game become a shootout, and trust that the five All-Stars will work cohesively on the court.

The good thing is they’ll have three months to figure things out before the playoffs. Boogie’s return will be a breath of fresh air for the entire organization; like the gift that you know your parents got you, but you couldn’t open until Christmas.

Well, Christmas just came a little late in the Bay.

Warriors scarier than ever behind Steph Curry's historic start to season
Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

We’re only a week and a half in and the league is in mid-season form. The same can be said for the Warriors, who have already taken their place atop the West. But they’re not the team we’ve grown used to seeing the past two years with Kevin Durant in tow. This time, Steph Curry is the in charge of things on offense.

Life is great for the #StephBetter contingent. Curry leads the league in scoring at 33.9 ppg on 50-50-90 shooting. He leads the Warriors in shot attempts, just a hair in front of Durant, and incredibly, over half of Curry’s field goals have been 3-pointers.

A good sign of the offensive shift is the amount of three’s Curry is getting off (about 13 a game.) In the last two seasons, it often felt as though the game plan was to keep Durant comfortable, causing Curry’s game to suffer just slightly. However, the Warriors showed in last season’s Finals that they reach their peak when Curry is the primary option.

Steph knows how to embrace the lead man role. It’s been a career long goal for Curry to perfect the balance of creating for others and taking over by himself. Through seven games, he’s on pace to set an NBA record for offensive plus-minus with 12.77. Curry’s done this by limiting his one-on-one three’s, driving more to the rim to create for his teammates, and though he’s missed some easy layups, he’s mastered the art of relocating to the corner before the defense can catch their breath. Teams realize this, but they still can’t stop it, and it doesn’t help that there’s always one other All-Star on the court at the same time.

KD and Draymond Green have followed their point guard’s lead. The two sit just behind him in Assist Percentage at 26% and 28% respectively (Curry is sitting at 25%.) While Golden State leads the league in team assists, they’re also leading the league in team turnovers, 69% (nice) of which are coming off of bad passes. While this stat certainly sounds bad, the silver lining is that they’ve been a byproduct of their willingness to pass, and their commitment to this system. The Dubs need to tighten up their passing though if they want Curry to keep dominating from deep. He’s shooting 70% on assisted 3-pointers (completely insane). Though some may question the sustainability of this level of shooting, Curry is working harder without the ball than with it, and that’s keeping his stamina up in the long term

Should Curry’s hot shooting hold steady, Golden State won’t just run through the league; they’ll tear it apart. Whether it be behind Steph’s historic start to the 2018-19 season, or just the sheer joy that he brings to the sport, Curry is captaining this squad and picking up where he left off in 2016.

Barber's Chair Live - the Funeral of LeBron James
The Warriors are going to their fourth straight Finals, but what the hell is wrong with them?
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year, but not without overcoming the Houston Rockets in a 7 game series for the ages. We saw the best assembly of singular talent, against a group that was built perfectly combat it. And though everything had seemed to turn to Houston's favor, talent eventually won out. But despite the Warriors innate dominance and the legitimate talent in Houston, there’s still something awry in Golden State.

The Dubs flash there brilliance most every game, but rarely do it for the span of entire games. It’s not always been this way though, it’s seemed to have started just this season. Though it’s counter intuitive to how we think of dynastic teams, the Warriors are just content to play below their standard until change is necessary. Luckily for them, most teams peaks don’t reach Golden States standards.

Similarly, their lack of respect for their opponents has also troubled them throughout the season. There isn’t “appropriate fear,” a concept that head coach Steve Kerr has harped on constantly, like there was in their last three seasons. Sure they may go over strategy before the game, but the players often size up their opponents as they’re playing, which so often leads to evaluations at halftime and thus their dominant third quarters.

These issues damn near bit the Warriors in the ass against the Rockets, though. After a game 1 of relatively great focus, and a solid offensive game plan, the Warriors cruised in game 2. Though stealing home court advantage kept out the criticism for the moment, their lack of urgency stayed the same. Even as their playoff starter, Andre Iguodala, was sidelined with injury through games 4 through 7, the effort continued to wane.

On the brink of taking a 3-1 lead in game 4 at home, the Dubs lost their 10 point lead at the start of the 4th quarter. The 3rd quarter of game 4 saw an offensive explosion from Steph Curry, but his 17 points would become overshadowed by the mere 12-point quarter the team had to follow it up. The Dubs were caught sleeping, refusing to realize that these games aren’t sure things. Had they made any more of an effort for those 12 minutes, they could’ve dodged a game 7, but it’s a hard thing to change at this point in the season.

I don’t think the players are the only ones to blame for the close call though, some of the onus has to be given to Kerr. They made a big effort in game 1 to hunt switches and let Kevin Durant attack; an uncharacteristic style for Golden State to play but one that was effective. Houston was able to make adjustments though. They let KD attack on isolation plays, and played as physical as possible on the splash brothers, thereby decapitating ⅔ of their 3 headed snake. KD was more than happy to get his buckets, scoring 38 points, as the Rockets beat the Warriors at their own egalitarian game.

ESPN/NBA

ESPN/NBA

It's not that surprising to see Kerr make his adjustments after a game though, rarely do they happen mid game. Occasionally a speech to spark the engine, but he likes to play it game by game. It’s just infuriating when he chooses to go down with the ship, especially when his most infamous blunder came in game 7 of the 2016 Finals. But Kerr finally showed his urgency in games 6 & 7. He cut the rotation down to 8 players, the starters with Kevin Looney, Jordan Bell, Nick Young, and Shaun Livingston off the bench. Maybe going to that rotation earlier could’ve ended the series quicker, or maybe playing the last card early could’ve given Houston a mental edge.

Regardless of the issues surrounding this team, they’re manageable, and aren’t systemic. It’s a matter of circumstance that the players can play without serious consequence or concern. The key to their problems is making sure they don’t become sewed into the fabric of the teams culture.

Western Conference Finals preview
USATSI

USATSI

The Houston Rockets fulfilled their destiny by finding their way to the Western Conference Finals. It seemed like this was bound to happen since the trade sent Chris Paul to Houston, but along the way they exceeded expectations by winning the west, and getting James Harden to play at an MVP level with an all-time point guard beside him.

Now they face the Golden State Warriors with the NBA Finals on the line, and unlike past playoff matchups, the Rockets expect to win.

They’ve been targeting Golden State for years, this season especially. In their opening night matchup, the Rockets came back from down 14 in the fourth quarter to steal the win on ring night, and when a KD jumper was called no good on replay, the Rockets did all but pop the champagne. But now they’re ready for the real bubbly, at least they believe they are, and that’s a huge part of being a title contender.

The Rockets have a vastly different mindset as a team, and that’s a credit to their player development and coaching. Harden doesn’t get caught sleeping on defense anymore, CP3 has smoothly transitioned into a secondary ball-handler, and Clint Capela is playing his role the way Dwight Howard never did during his time in Houston. It’s reminiscent of the Warriors when they play hard every night. It’s the focus of a team that’s finding out they have some chops. Unfortunately for them, they’ll have to go through the big dogs.

The Warriors are looking at this series quite different than Houston is. They’ve gone to hell and back in the playoffs, but they’ve also got a lot more chemistry than the Rockets. They’ll probably end up screwing around and start Javale to match up with Capela because they know their margin of error is the highest in the league. It really comes down to the talent, and Golden State wins that battle.

With Klay Thompson most likely guarding Harden, it sets up for a CP3-Steph match-up, conjuring up memories and emotions from when the Clipper-Warriors rivalry was at its peak. CP3’s instinct may take over where he’ll feel the need to go at Steph, but I think he can be much more effective in the rhythm of their offense. Steph has added muscle to be able to hold his own in defensive switches in the pick and roll, but Paul comes into this series as a much healthier player, and with some momentum after that crazy 40/10 closeout performance vs. Utah in the semifinal. He’s going to try to get Steph out of the game whenever he can, goating him into making mistakes in 1 on 1 defense, but in the end, Curry’s output on offense should win the individual match-up.

Another intriguing match-up is Harden vs. Kevin Durant. While they won't be guarding each other much this series, they’re the best scoring options on their respective teams. Houston simply cannot guard KD 1 on 1. Durant can shoot over, dribble past, and finish on anyone, Trevor Ariza included, and while Harden lacks the height that KD brings to the table, he’s gotten into peak physical shape which has elevated his game to MVP levels. Most likely, we’ll see various actions to get Harden running downhill off the pick and roll. The Rockets love their pick-and-roll sets where Capela immediately uses a downscreen from a shooter (Eric Gordon, for ex.) who can pop out for three. The Warriors defense will formulate a gameplan, preemptively switching the defenders involved, but it’ll require a series long focus. If Harden runs the Dubs tired, it could mean a game to the Rockets.

There's no question that the Rockets give the Warriors the best challenge they've seen in the playoffs. For the first time in the Steve Kerr era, the Warriors won’t have home court advantage, and will have to play a Game 7 on the road if the series stretches that far. Game one could be the closest of them all, as the Warriors come in looking to steal home court & Houston's momentum. One thing I'm sure of is this: the winner of this series will win the NBA title.

Dubs in Fo’

Exploring the best case scenario for the Warriors this postseason
Photo: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Photo: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

One of the biggest criticisms throughout the Warriors reign of the NBA is the lack of “real adversity” they faced. But I’d beg to differ. In fact, Since they began their current run of making the playoffs in 2013, Golden State has instead turned their misfortune from water into wine. From not trading Klay Thompson for Kevin Love to signing Kevin Durant after blowing a 3-1 lead in the Finals, time and time again they’ve had the best case scenarios play out in their favor. But with all of the injuries of late, the worst being Steph Curry’s MCL strain, we should explore possible positive of their most recent slump.

The best thing going for the Dubs comes down to two words: Kevin Durant. The reigning Finals MVP was brought to the Bay for moments like this. It was reported Durant would be returning to the court Thursday against Milwaukee, but we saw exactly what KD can do without Steph during his first injury stint earlier this season. The Dubs defensive rating was tops over that period of time, and Durant locked himself in on both ends, subsequently drawing tons of Defensive Player of the Year buzz.

His versatility also shine through in their change of pace. While he's deadly on the break, he’s still the best iso scorer in the league, equipped with innumerable ways to get buckets. Surely they’ll get KD post touches and let the teams off ball movement create mismatch opportunities to attack.

Something to look for as Durant, and then later, Draymond and Klay return, is how the Warriors step up defensively. Golden State needs to conform to a more appropriate system without Curry. Without Steph heading the snake that is the Warriors’ offense, they’ll need to focus on the possession game, and stops on defense will hold even more importance. They’ll also hope to get good minutes from the young guys.

Pat McCaw has still struggled mightily on both ends, but as Omri Casspi losses his spot in the rotation, rightfully so, McCaw could find his rhythm and gain the confidence he’s flashed every so often. Jordan Bell could make a Javale McGee-esque impact on offense on lob attempts, but will need to calm down on defense being that his last few injuries have come from reckless shot-block attempts.

Surprisingly their most important young player may be Kevon Looney. His style of play would be perfect for a Steph-less team, good at rolling and popping on offense, and moving with patience on defense. It’s when the pace speeds up that Looney begins to struggle.

Quinn Cook’s play will also play a huge role. There just isn’t another point guard on the team that can space the floor and who’s willing to shoot the ball and keep defense’s honest. Hopefully, he gets in a good enough flow that he becomes their backup point guard for good, as it seems as though Shaun Livingston may have run his course as a key rotation player. For years Golden State has searched for their backup PG, and Cook's game just seems to fit the role.

While they've already clinched a playoff spot, the Warriors still need to tread water. As their injured stars begin to trickle back to the court, the ultimate hope is for them to be fully healthy come May and June. At this point, the playoffs won’t mean anything if their key players aren’t able to get in the games. If Durant can keep the team afloat sans Draymond and Klay, the team may want to keep the two stars sidelined until absolutely necessary. The #1 seed is surely Houston's, so a final push for home court advantage shouldn’t be on their mind, just get their guys back when the time is right.

Should Curry miss the first round, who would the Dubs want to face? Oklahoma City currently sits at 4th, but are still liable to drop into the 7th seed. Without a healthy Andre Roberson, Russell Westbrook would be guarding the point guard, but without Steph, Russ will have even more time to rest on defense, which would be a huge benefit for OKC. Their biggest strength in the matchup without Curry on the court would be their staunch defense. Without the pace that Curry brings on offense, OKC will have a much easier time getting stops, and creating fastbreak opportunities, of which Westbrook and Paul George would salivate for.

Utah, Minnesota, New Orleans and San Antonio just don’t have the star power to match ¾’s of Golden State's. They’ll also lack the all important wing defender to try to stop Durant. If the Wolves can get Jimmy Butler back, it could smell trouble, but it’s no sure thing that he would be fully healthy. So to revisit those two all important words I noted up earlier, it’ll all come down to Kevin Durant.

Why Steph Curry's injury hasn't removed him from MVP consideration

With 2:55 left in the 3rd Quarter, it looked as though Stephen Curry’s night was over. He had dropped 35 points and hit nine threes to give the Warriors a 103-87 lead. In unanimous MVP fashion, Curry did this all in 22 minutes of play. But their lead diminished in the fourth quarter, and with five minutes to go, Curry checked back in, gets Marc Gasol on an island and goes to work.

Cross, cross, snatch-tween, splash, filayyyy! Steph leaves Gasol at the nail and stomps it into the coffin.

After missing eleven games due to an ankle sprain, Curry's return was emblematic of what he means to the Warriors. Without him, they were still able to win 9 of 11 games behind Kevin Durant, but their change in play was evident. The Warriors pace dropped from 103.94 down to 98.94 without Steph. This is largely due to the Warriors sticking to a slower offense, consisting of post-entries that lead to off ball cutting. With Steph in the lineup, there’s more room for improvisation, and it’s encouraged as well. The shots he puts up from three not only keep the defense guessing, but they have a 40% chance of going in, and the byproduct is easier shots for everybody else.

There was a silver lining to Curry’s injury. Before his absence, the Dubs led the league in both offensive rating (114.6), and net rating (12.9). Without Steph at point, Steve Kerr plugged in lengthier guards like Patrick McCaw and Shaun Livingston. The Warriors ORTG dropped to 17th in the league, at 105.9, but their DRTG became the best in the league at 98.7. This isn’t all due to Curry being out though. Zaza Pachulia injured his shoulder in the same game that Steph hurt his ankle - he returned two games before Steph. This left significant minutes on the table for rookie Jordan Bell, who got to show off his defensive potential, even starting in their Christmas matchup against the Cavs.

The Warriors, and Curry, hope to see the defense continue to dominate, and if it does, Curry should see more MVP consideration. Steph is still the team' leading scorer at 26.8 ppg, and leads the team and the league in plus/minus at +288 - even more impressive considering the games he missed and the fact that he’s playing the least amount of minutes per game of his career. (not counting 2010-2011 when he had ankle surgery after 26 games). After a month of rest and a hot start to the new year, Steph should be able to explode offensively while the defense gives him opportunities to push the break, and continue to do so at a high efficiency.