Through the team group chat, Steph Curry organized a players-only mini camp in Los Angeles at the end of August. Most of the team — except Dario Saric, who is playing for Team Croatia in the FIBA World Cup — attended for the near week-long gathering. As a group, they practiced and had team dinners.
“Just a great thing by our vets to set that up and team bonding off the court which was really helpful for guys like me and Trayce,” Podziemski said on Thursday from the Alcatraz ferry back to Pier 33 in the city. “Went out to a couple dinners, walked around. It was more of a get to know each other on a level where basketball wasn’t involved. Obviously we played basketball as a group, but it was good to finally get to meet people. For all the new guys, it was super helpful.”
At Lockwood, the Currys played soccer and basketball with the kids, who giggled and ogled and high-fived. They ate bolognese pasta in the cafeteria. They had funny conversations, like with a kindergartner who wanted to know if Steph played basketball, how long they were going to stay and play, and if they made his mac and cheese. Their own son, Canon, has just started kindergarten, so their interactions felt familiar and fun.
“He was so spunky and funny — we have one ourselves,” said Ayesha.
“Fundraising is so important, but being at Lockwood today, you see the impact of what we’re doing,” Steph said. “It goes way beyond what you can see on paper. This is the motivation to keep doing what we’re doing.”
2. Draymond Green
You wouldn’t think a player with Green’s shooting deficiencies could fill such a vital role in a win-now team’s offense. You also wouldn’t expect someone whose temper can boil over to be the emotional leader of an NBA dynasty. But he has been defying odds throughout his career, and the Dubs have clearly (and correctly) determined they wouldn’t be the same without his defense, dime-dropping and competitive fire.
Sources told ESPN that Davis made it clear to the organization he wanted to have more support at center so he wouldn’t have to play so much 5 during the regular season.
Davis was slotted at center in 99% of his minutes last season, according to Cleaning the Glass data. While Davis’ performance in the middle earned him a three-year, $186 million contract extension this summer, the Lakers’ strategy with Rob Pelinka in charge of basketball operations has been to partner with their stars as stakeholders in the process.
In case you missed it at Golden State of Mind:
Klay has never seemed greedy, money-hungry, or power-hungry. He’s always just wanted to be properly respected. The last time he was a free agent, the Dubs signed him to a five-year, $190 million contract that critically paid him $32.7 million in the first year — a year that the team knew he would miss all of when he signed it. And then, of course, Thompson ended up missing another year-and-a-half with a second injury. So seeing that token of respect from the front office — willing to pay him tens of millions of dollars for a lost season, and banking on him recovering from one of the worst injuries in sports to still be worth nearly $40 million a year — might have taken the desire to chase every dollar away. Thompson seems much more comfortable with how the organization values him now than he did five years ago, something Lacob hinted at when he said, “We love him, and I know he knows we love him.”
Steve Kerr unleashes a barrage of pressure upon Italy as Team USA cruises toward the 2023 FIBA World Cup semifinals
Not only did Kerr and Team USA slow down the Italians’ offense — they ground it to a screeching halt. Italy managed to score a paltry 0.75 points per possession, shot poorly on both twos (16/37, 43.2%) and threes (7/38, 18.4%), and turned the ball over 14 times which were translated into 25 points off of turnovers by the Americans.
The operative term for Team USA’s defensive approach against Italy was “pressure” — or to be more specific, full-court pressure. It’s quite rare that they resort to a full-court press early on during a game, but that’s exactly what they did against Italy, who thrives in the half court with their pattern and movement.