Steve Kerr

Moody, Warriors taking advantage of rare practice windows

NBC Universal, Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO – The Warriors, as one of the oldest teams in the NBA, don’t often have full practices for hours on end. Rest is a luxury for them. How their schedule has been constructed recently hasn’t helped, either. 

But on Monday during his pregame press conference before the Warriors’ 121-116 win over the Houston Rockets, Steve Kerr seemed downright giddy to get some practices in. Chris Paul, the oldest player on Golden State’s roster and third-oldest in the NBA at 38 years and 199 days, emphasized after the win how a recent practice helped the Warriors finally find balance and cohesion offensively. Monday’s win to snap a six-game losing streak was much more of who the Warriors want to be on that side of the ball. 

They shot 46.8 percent from the field and 48.8 percent on 48 3-point attempts. The Warriors held a 24-point advantage behind the 3-point line and a 13-point advantage at the free throw line. Behind Paul picking apart the defense, the Warriors turned the ball over only eight times and tallied 26 assists. 

Tuesday’s practice focus before flying to Phoenix for Wednesday night’s matchup against the Suns was a long film session. Veteran players didn’t get on the court after a night where Paul played 34 minutes, Steph Curry played the entire fourth quarter and 35 minutes total, and Klay Thompson played 31 minutes – two nights after an overtime loss to the young and spry Oklahoma City Thunder. Younger players spent lots of time on the Chase Center practice court Tuesday, though.

One player in particular Kerr has mentioned he wants to give more minutes to is 21-year-old Moses Moody. The third-year pro admitted Tuesday that he is seeing the value in practice now more than ever after one year in college at Arkansas and his first two years as a Warrior. 

“Practices as of late have been really good, really good for us,” Moody said. “I’ve really understood the importance of practice a lot, very differently this year. At times in the past you kind of dread practice, like, ‘Oh, you don’t want to do this, you don’t want to go through that.’ 

“But we had a long stretch to where we couldn’t practice because the schedule was so rigorous. Then we kind of fell out of rhythm with a couple of things and actually getting to practice, we got to nail down our principles. You can just tell in the games after being able to practice, how much that really affected the team and how valuable that really was.” 

While the majority of veterans stayed away from scrimmaging and intense sessions Tuesday on the court, one player did partake in key activities. Gary Payton II, who missed the Warriors’ last two games after leaving their loss last Thursday to the Oklahoma City Thunder early after sustaining a strained left foot, was currently scrimmaging as Kerr spoke with the media.

“We’ll still call him questionable, because it’ll depend on how he feels afterwards,” Kerr said. 

The Warriors didn’t have Curry for two of the games in their six-game losing streak. They were without Thompson for one game, Green for four and Payton for one as well. The product that has a 7-8 record isn’t close to who the Warriors are when whole. 

That’s how an NBA season goes, however, and as much as the Warriors want everyone to be healthy, young and older players alike aren’t going to rest on their laurels when Golden State is down a man or two.

“That wasn’t an excuse, at all,” Jonathan Kuminga, 21, said Tuesday. “It’s not because we were missing anybody. Things didn’t go our way. Regardless of Steph playing or not playing, we’re a team. We’re all professionals. We got to do what we got to do. It just didn’t go our way. 

“Missing a couple people shouldn’t affect us from going out there and trying to win. I’m glad some of our guys are coming back. Draymond’s coming back soon and we should start rolling again.” 

Practice sessions hold a larger emphasis on players like Moody and Kuminga, as well as rookies Brandin Podziemski and Trayce Jackson-Davis. And still, Warriors players of all ages continue to have one shining example of who to be in practice: No. 30. 

“One of his most impressive things for me was this preseason, watching him workout,” Moody said of Curry. “Then we had a team practice and he’s playing quarters at a time while everybody else is subbing in and out, getting breaks, and he’s just being special in practice. I haven’t been around other guys on other teams, but he’s somebody that’s just – you know how they say you should never meet your idols, he’s the opposite of that. 

“He’s a role model, and kind of shows that it’s possible and what it takes to be on top. You work to become the King of the Hill, and when you’re the King of the Hill a lot of people rest. That’s when somebody else takes over the throne. Well, he’s somebody that’s on top, that’s the King of the Hill and works harder than he did when he first got there. That’s why he’s staying where he is. He shows what it takes to be on top, and how to stay there.”

Following Tuesday’s practice, the Warriors play Wednesday, will be off Thursday for Thanksgiving, play Friday back home against the San Antonio Spurs and then have three days in between heading up to Sacramento to play the Kings for the third time already this season. The Warriors are bound to get quality practice time, and everybody knows who they can try to imitate to the best of their abilities. 

Download and follow the Dubs Talk Podcast

Contact Us