MINNEAPOLIS — The Warriors are slogging through perhaps the roughest travel stretch of their schedule.
After Monday night’s loss in San Antonio, they flew several hours north to Minneapolis to end a four-game trip with the rough end of a back-to-back set. Warriors forward Draymond Green called the scheduling quirk “crazy” before demanding that the league “figure something out.”
But no crazy travel will keep The Chronicle from publishing its Warriors mailbag. In this week’s installment, I fielded questions about a wide range of topics.
@KharmaPharma: Have Kerr and Dray smoothed things over between them? Or are they still sick of each other?
I’m not sure there ever was a real issue between them this season. It’s well-chronicled that Kerr and Green had problems early in their relationship, but I think they worked through those and have been in good standing with each other for a while.
Although Green obviously wasn’t happy with his one-game suspension in mid-November, I never saw him take out his frustration on Kerr. The recent viral video of Kerr complaining to Mike Brown that he was “so f— tired of Draymond” might have been blown out of proportion.
Over the course of an NBA season, players and coaches are going to get tired of each other’s antics at times. It doesn’t necessarily mean there is some big internal conflict. I thought Green was being genuine when he said he wasn’t offended by the clip of Kerr.
Photo: Reinhold Matay / Associated Press
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@JoeCorey17: Are the Warriors better without Kevin Durant? Legit question.
No. Durant is one of the best scorers in NBA history, and although he might force isolation situations at times, he is a selfless teammate who seldom infringes on others’ greatness.
In Durant, the Warriors have the ultimate offensive bailout — a scorer whose fade-away jumper is nearly impossible to defend. His value is most felt in the playoffs, as evidenced by his two straight Finals MVPs.
@MR_G_01: With Russ getting suspended for his 16th tech, got me wondering. How’s Draymond’s and KD’s situation? Are they in danger of suspension?
Green is tied for second-most in the league with 14 technical fouls, and Durant is tied for eighth with 11. NBA rules dictate that a player receives an automatic one-game suspension once he is assessed his 16th technical of the season, with another one-game suspension for every two additional techs.
So, Green and Durant need to not get two and five more techs, respectively, to avoid suspension. With 13 games left, that seems doable. They have both shown that, when they get close to the 16-tech mark, they’re more careful around officials.
@RNPSF: Who are these people that vote on All-Defensive Team and “don’t really know the game,” per KD? Do you agree with his assessment?
All-Defensive Team, like all end-of-season NBA awards, is voted on by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the U.S. and Canada. As far as Durant’s assessment, I understand where he’s coming from.
A lot of times, media members — myself included — get too caught up in the analytics instead of voting based on what we see in games. Numbers are a helpful tool, but they shouldn’t be the only barometer used when deciding who are the best defenders in the league.
@bazkenziee: Why isn’t Jerebko playing?
A lot of fans have been surprised by Jerebko’s dip in minutes, which is understandable given how well he played in the first half of the season. But Kerr knew it’d be tough to find consistent time for Jerebko once Cousins returned from his Achilles injury, and that’s why Kerr repeatedly said that he had told Jerebko to expect his minutes to fluctuate as the season progressed.
Since Cousins came back in mid-January, Jerebko has struggled to adjust to a more limited role. He has shot 28.6 percent in March after shooting 41 percent in February.
@acheney747: Does Bogut’s arrival mean Damion Lee is history?
Not necessarily. As I wrote earlier this month, Bogut took the final guaranteed roster spot, but Lee could still play in the postseason if the Warriors decide they’re willing to waive Alfonzo McKinnie, Jonas Jerebko or Quinn Cook — all of whom aren’t under contract for next season.
Golden State has until the end of the regular season to make that decision. The question is whether Lee, who is averaging 4.3 points on 42.7 percent shooting (38 percent from three-point range), will do enough to prove he deserves a playoff spot. Since he hit four 3-pointers in the Warriors’ March 2 win over Philadelphia, Lee has only totaled four points in four games.
@alextsui68: Why is Kerr reluctant to move Cousins to come off the bench and play him with the second unit? It makes so much sense, and he did it with Iggy.
That’s a relatively drastic move that doesn’t seem necessary right now. Before he got injured in Saturday’s loss to the Thunder, Cousins had been finding a better rhythm with the Warriors’ other starters.
I’m not saying Kerr won’t make that change, but I wouldn’t expect it to happen until deep into the playoffs. There’s no need to risk the locker-room issues it could bring unless it’s glaring that Cousins is better suited coming off the bench.
@ScottInTheBay: With only 2 games separating fourth through 8th place in the West standings, what team do you believe would be the toughest 1st round opponent?
I don’t see Portland falling out of the top-5, so I’ll pick between San Antonio (42-29), Oklahoma City (42-29), Utah (41-29) and the Clippers (41-30).
Among those four, I think the Jazz would the toughest matchup for the Warriors. With one of the league’s savviest head coaches (Quin Snyder), the reigning Defensive Player of the Year (Rudy Gobert) and a dynamic young guard (Donovan Mitchell), Utah would make things interesting, even if it’s not ready to seriously push Golden State in a seven-game series.
Last season, the Warriors went 1-3 against the Jazz, with those three losses coming by a combined 89 points. In its road opener Oct. 19, Golden State gave up 19 3-pointers to the Jazz, only to escape with a one-point win after Jonas Jerebko got the tip-in with three-tenths of a second remaining. In their five-point loss to Utah on Dec. 19, the Warriors were undone by a lack of ball movement.
@TheNBAAnalyst1: We often say the Warriors are a team of joy. So, my question — and maybe this is a vague one — is this: Are they joyful this year? Do you still sense that same joy around the team? Joy isn’t based on circumstance, and I get the drama and tougher road this year. But is joy there?
That’s an interesting question. I haven’t seen joy present in the Warriors’ locker room on a nightly basis like it was early in Steve Kerr’s tenure, but that’s not to say this team is completely without its fun moments. Most of the players seem to genuinely enjoy each other.
@TheAmazingRocha: How much playing time will Bogut see?
It will fluctuate based on matchups and injuries. With Cousins sidelined by a sore ankle Monday against the Spurs, Bogut logged 19 minutes, which I expect to be near his max. There will be plenty of nights, however, that Bogut isn’t needed.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/Warriors-mailbag-Why-isn-t-Jerebko-playing-13700894.php.