Count Rick Barry as a former player who thinks the current Warriors team is one of the greatest of all time. (Sal Veder/1974 AP)

Barry goes off, puts Warriors haters in their place

The NBA has an acute CTE problem. Seems that whenever a former player opens his mouth about the Warriors these days, something goofy comes out of it.

Well, Balls is glad to inform you that not every ex-NBAer suffers from Oldtimers.

“I can’t believe what I hearing from supposedly knowledgeable people about a team that has been this good,” 72-year-young Warriors legend Rick Barry told Balls. “It boggles the mind. [Former Chicago Bull] Scottie Pippen says he would hold Steph Curry to what — less than 20 points a game? Gimme a freakin’ break! Is he desperate for publicity or something? It’s a joke.”

True, Barry was a Warrior for most of his Hall of Fame career. But anyone who is familiar with the guy knows that he’s a lousy politician and even worse suck-up.

“Scottie was a very good defensive player, but you don’t stop great shooters in this league. They have to stop themselves,” Barry said. “It’s ludicrous to think that Scottie or anyone else could pick Steph up near half court then stay in front of him and do it for 30-or-more minutes. But I’m not saying this because I played for the Warriors. I’m saying it from a basketball perspective.”

Ex-Bulls Bill Wennington and Randy Brown recently told Balls that their epic 1995-96 team would whip the Warriors in five and six games, respectively. Typically, TNT funnyman Charles Barkley said Bulls in five. But even that wasn’t as bad as the concussed Pippen, who predicted a four-game sweep.

“Any predictions are pure speculation. We’ll never know the outcome,” Barry said. “But for Scottie and Charles to say that the Warriors would win one game at most in a best-of-seven series … C’mon, those are silly statements.

“Both teams are very good at both ends. The Warriors would have trouble against Michael Jordan, obviously, and the Bulls would have trouble against Steph. The Warriors would spread the floor, and the Bulls would have to work so much harder that they wouldn’t be as effective defensively. It would be a competitive series.”

Yep, Barry just nailed another one.

TIRED EXCUSE: Rest has been a hot topic in Warriors camp lately — and yeah, they do look to be a quart low at times — but it shouldn’t be that big a factor in this day and age. The players have access to the best food and nutrients, receive the best medical treatment and have the best travel accommodations.

How much rest did Wilt Chamberlain get when he played nearly 47 minutes per game for the Warriors in the dark ages? How did Barry manage to average 40.9 minutes per game in the 1967 playoffs on a bum foot?

(Fun Fact of the Day: In the 1966-67 season, the Warriors played five games in five days in five different cities. Barry averaged 40.6 points per game.)

REST OF THE STORY: Forget fatigue. It’s the other F-word that should concern Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his players right now — focus.

See, it’s not enough for the Warriors to just win games any more. They have to go all Harlem Globetrotters while they do it. That translates into turnovers and sloppy performances and an occasional loss.

The solution begins with Curry, who seems to think that they give bonus points for degree of difficulty. Even worse, teammates see his behind-the-back dribbles and no-look passes and want to be part of the act.

As Kerr has reminded Curry and others more than once, it’s time to knock off the cute stuff and just play ball. Because if the Champs pay attention to the details, there isn’t a team that can touch them.

BEWARE THE BUMS: The Giants would be wise to Beat L.A. while they have the opportunity. Chances are the Dodgers will be a legit threat in a few months.

The Dodgers lack what the Giants have in Johnny Cueto — a proven No. 2 starter in the rotation — and it’s even money that they’ll land either Sonny Gray or Jose Fernandez before the trade deadline. The Dodgers inquired about Fernandez last year, in fact, but the Miami Marlins asked for everybody except broadcaster Vin Scully in return. When the Marlins fall out of wild card contention in a few weeks, the price figures to be more reasonable.

As for Gray, A’s genius Billy Beane and Dodgers boss Farhan Zaidi have a history that dates back to to their Oakland days. If Beane has a fair bone in his body, he won’t subject his best player to more cruel and unusual punishment this summer.

SHARK BAIT: The Stanley Cup playoffs are all about the masked men in goal, which means the Sharks are in trouble before the first puck has been dropped as usual.

Martin Jones was brutal again on Thursday, when the Winnipeg Jets lit him up for five goals on 26 shots. The loss marked the fourth in his last five starts.

If coach Peter DeBoer wants to win in the playoffs, he’ll call on James Reimer, who has outplayed Jones from here to Fremont down the stretch. But if DeBoer wants to protect his boss, he’ll start Jones, in whom general manager Doug Wilson has invested an unprotected first-round draft pick.

Then again, maybe it won’t matter who’s between the pipes. Jones and Reimer have all of nine games of postseason experience between them, and either one has the potential to crap his pants on the big stage.

JUST SAYIN’: Condolences to the Athletics and the 20-something other teams that have been eliminated from playoff contention, but thanks for playing …

Cheer up, A’s fans, Josh Donaldson began the weekend on a pace for only 81 home runs and 162 RBI this season.
There’s no rush, but Buster Posey can prepare his Hall of Fame speech right now.

If the Denver Broncos would even consider Mark Sanchez and Johnny Manziel as their quarterbacks next season, that kinda tells us what they think of Colin Kaepernick at the moment.

Another reason why the NHL is better than the NBA: It has more bad teams that play to win games, not higher lottery picks.
Georgia Tech says it’s not interested in the “coach that’s on the West Coast at this point in time,” and one assumes it means Cal’s Cuonzo Martin, although the “coach” part is a bit confusing.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to pladd@aol.com, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.Colin KaepernickNCAApaul ladewsiSan Francisco 49ers

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