Balls: Rust will be least of Warriors’ worries 

click to enlarge While the Warriors have earned some rest, skeptics say the biggest worry for the team is the long downtime, but the team's numbers in the regular season scream otherwise. - MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ/AP FILE PHOTO
  • Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP File Photo
  • While the Warriors have earned some rest, skeptics say the biggest worry for the team is the long downtime, but the team's numbers in the regular season scream otherwise.

For seven long days, we learned that the Warriors’ toughest playoff opponent might not be the Memphis Grizzlies or the San Antonio Spurs or anyone else.

Could it really be this thing called Rust?

Just who plays for Rust isn’t quite clear — Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving and Magic Johnson in their primes? — but it’s a dangerous team, we’ve been told. As they concern the Warriors, though, the numbers say Rust is almost as o-ver-ra-ted as Dwight Howard these days.

In the regular season, the Warriors had a 4-0 record when they played with at least three days of rest. Granted, that’s a small sample size. Yet the statistics are so dominant — especially on offense — one can’t ignore them. Their average margin of victory was 14 points, four more than their season average.

Logic says an extended layoff can throw an offense out of whack, but the Warriors don’t do logic this season. They shot a lights-out 43 percent from 3-point range and 51 percent overall in those games. Their ball movement was noticeably better — they had assists on 71 percent of their field goals compared to 66 overall.

If the healthy, well-rested Warriors lose more than one game in the series, somebody named Rusty won’t beat them. Balls bets it will be Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

DUBS ARE HARD TO READ: When Kerr was a member of Michael Jordan’s supporting cast, Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson would suggest book titles for his players during extended layoffs in the postseason. Kerr chose not to go that route last week, but the reason wasn’t what you think.

“Yes, all our players can read, I think,” Kerr joked.

Team player that he was, Kerr once read “All The Pretty Horses” (Cormac McCarthy) from cover to cover.

“Phil sort of liked to tie the book to your own background,” Kerr told Balls. “He knew that I had lived in Arizona and attended college there. It’s a very literary book with some beautiful prose. It’s a good story, but it’s not an easy read. It’s not for everyone.”

That includes Dennis Rodman.

Jackson did ask Rodman to read Sacred Hoops in hopes that it would inspire him. He wasn’t interested because the book didn’t contain any dirty pictures, rumor has it.

BASKET MYERS, ASSIST WEST: Bob Myers was a reasonable choice for NBA Executive of the Year honors based on his decision to hire Kerr alone. But the award should be loaned to head consultant Jerry West for a few weeks at least, not that he needs another one.

West was instrumental in the decision to keep the Klay Thompson-Stephen Curry backcourt intact and not to pursue Kevin Love last fall.

Now that Thompson and Draymond Green have taken their games to All-Star levels and Love has an arm in a sling, we know how that could have turned out.

MAYBE THEY’LL GROW ON US: The best thing Balls can say about the 49ers’ new alternative uniforms is, thank god we won’t see those ugly things more than twice a season.

The all-black unies don’t have nearly enough gold, which is the primary Super Bowl 50 color. The red names and numbers are difficult to read. And the jersey and helmet are an odd match, sort of like Jim Harbaugh and Jed York on their worst days.

OH, THOSE SASSY RAIDERS: Even the Raiders couldn’t resist a jab at their cross-Bay rivals when they unveiled their supposed new uniforms in a mock tweet had some of their fans in a panic. “49ers go all black, Raiders go gold to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl,” they pretended to announce.

Which was the funniest thing the Raiduhs did on the first day of the draft. Other than take a pass on future Pro Bowl lineman Leonard Williams, of course.

RUN FOR COVER: Jameis Winston got in trouble when the quarterback walked out of a store with $34 worth crab legs and crawfish that he somehow forgot to pay for. So when the first pick in the draft posted an Instagram of himself with a wide smile on his face, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers cap on his head and a tray of crab legs in front of him, the critics were quick to sack him.

It turns out that the crab legs had been sent by Capt. Keith Coburn of “The Deadliest Catch,” and Winston’s response was nothing more than a thank-you note. A few weeks earlier, Coburn asked the kid to help him auction off a king crab at a charity event.

Hopefully, Winston has learned a lesson that, in this age of social media, his every move will be watched and analyzed more than ever.

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