Hurdle aims to follow strategy of NBA's Warriors

Manager likes Golden State's plan of giving regulars rest during season

Hurdle aims to follow strategy of NBA's Warriors

ATLANTA -- Clint Hurdle consults hitting spray charts and strike-zone hot spots, not tea leaves. However, he will admit to one mystical belief: karma.

The Pirates manager thus had to relish his club being in San Francisco earlier this week -- just as the Golden State Warriors were on the eve of their first NBA Finals appearance in 40 years.

Back in Spring Training, you see, Hurdle talked about his plans to emulate Golden State coach Steve Kerr's deployment of his regulars, sharing his belief that consistent breaks along the way lead to maximum production when needed.

And there were the Bucs, sweeping the reigning champion Giants while on a mission to emulate the Warriors all the way to the World Series.

"I had a chance to go to one of their practices, but my daughter [Ashley] was in town, and she took preference over Steve Kerr and the Warriors," Hurdle said. "It's just the way it matched up. I did reach out, but couldn't put anything together."

When it comes to actually mirroring the down times Kerr has given his core players, Hurdle is a little behind. The Bucs had played 53 games entering Friday, and five of their cogs had appeared in 50-plus.

"From time to time, you'll see all five of their reserves on the court at the same time, and you don't see a lot of that with other teams," Hurdle said about the Warriors.

His awareness of the Warriors became focused a decade ago, while Ashley worked for the team when Don Nelson was coach and Chris Mullin was general manager.

"So, I've followed them, to some degree, ever since then. Just the connection," Hurdle said.

Not that he'll lose any sleep over them. The manager admitted missing the overtime period of the Warriors' 108-100 win over the Cavaliers on Thursday.

"I went to bed at the end of regulation. So I was pleasantly pleased that they obviously had more gas in the tank and pulled away late," said Hurdle, who recognizes the similarities between the teams' pasts.

"A once very proud franchise that had really gone through some challenging times -- a 40-year wilderness of their own. And the resurgence this year," Hurdle said.

Now he just hopes the teams' futures will also parallel.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.